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May 22, 1998     The Message
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May 22, 1998

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10 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana RU-486 reports said to not tell whole WASHINGTON (CNS) -- A pro-life spokeswoman for the U.S. Catholic bishops said news reports on results of U.S. testing of RU-486 are incomplete and fail to examine what she called "the appalling psycholog- ical ordeal" that use of the abortion regimen causes. Helen M. Alvare, director of planning and informa- tion for the U.S. Catholic bishops' Secretariat for Pro- Life Activities, was commenting on recently released data on the Federal Drug Administration's first formal testing of RU-486. The Associated Press reported April 29 that the U.S. testing found that the drug ended pregnancies in 92 percent of test subjects. The study was conducted on 2,121 women at clinics and university hospitals around the country. The pro- cedure was Considered a success if pregnancies were ended within 15 days of taking the drug. In the study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, the drug was slightly less effective in this trial than in earlier European studies. Abortions in the earlier trials were triggered in 96 to 99 percent of women. Company officials say they expect the drug to be on the market in 1999. The RU-486 abortion procedure is a two-day regimen used to terminate early pregnan- cies. It involves two types of medication w RU-486 itself, which is mifepristone, and a prostaglandin. Alvare criticized coverage of the study as incomplete. She noted The New York Times reported that only 892 of the 2,121 women in the study actually completed the whole process. The 92 percent success rate refers only to those 892 women, she said. No mention is made of the women who did not complete the study. Other arti- cles reported only the 92 percent success rate and the 2,121 women participating in the study. In addition, news reports and discussions on talk radio programs failed to offer any moral reflection on the use of the drug or "the appalling psychological ordeal" its use causes, Alvare said. "There was no discussion of the devastating psycho- logical effect of sending people home after halfway aborting a child," she told Catholic News Service. Alvare said she worries about how women who go through the process will be affected psychologically. "They are doing it to themselves," she said, whereas women who undergo surgical .abortions can say an abortion provider was responsible. Women who have used RU-486 indicate higher lev- els of stress and guilt than women who undergo sur- gical abortion, according to Alvare. Furthermore, she said, the surgical procedures -- and go surgery anyway if the pills Women who use the drug second time and that, she said, eight percent of women undergoing aborti0os previous abortions. "It may said. Although Alvare says RU-486 easy, she worries that continuing research as easy as popping a pill. "It's my will seem like no big deal," she said. The first U.S. testing of RU-486 also cism from U.S. Rep. Chris Smith, chairman of the House Pro-Life ....... the FDA for taking part in the testing. !: "It is tragic and sad beyond words son known as RU-496 is by the Clinton administration try m especially Planned method of violence against ment. "The FDA should move to guard both women and their concoction," he said. What do Cuba and the United States. have in ce Sadly, Cuba and the United States both make abortion avail- able legally and without restric- tions. NEWS AND COMMENTARY By SOOZI SCHELLER Contributing writer provides an environment neces- sary for families to grow in love. This January, when Pope John Paul lI gave his first homi- ly on Cuban soil, he intended parts of his message to be heard by the entire world. He deliv- ered the following words at Santa Clara, Cuba, the site of the first papal Mass: "Today families in Cuba also are subject to the challenges experienced by so many families throughout the world. Count- less members of these families have struggled and devoted their lives to attaining a better life, in which fundamental human rights are guaranteed: work, food, housing, health, education, social security, and participation, in the life of soci- ety. The family, the fundamental cell of society and guarantee of its stability, nonetheless experi- ences the crises which are affect- ing society itself. This happens when married couples live in economic or cultural systems which, under the guise of free- dom and progress, promote or even defend an anti-birth men- tality and thus induce married couples to have recourse to methods of regulating fertility which are incompatible With human dignity. There is even an acceptance of abortion, which is always, in addition to being an abominable crime (cf. Gaudium et Spes, 51) a senseless impover- ishment of the person and of society itself. In such a situation, the Church teaches that God has entrusted to men and women the mission of transmitting life in a way worthy of man, the fruit of responsibility and love between husband and wife." Under the "guise of freedom and progress" whether in com- munist Cuba or in the capitalist United States, people promote the contraceptive lifestyle.. Unfortunately, the promotion of contraceptives and abortion here and elsewhere brings unprece- dented rises in the rates of divorce, child abuse, teenage pregnancy, out of wedlock preg- nancy, single motherhood in poverty and sexual abuse. Cuba is the only Latin Amer- ican country to allow abortion like the United States does. Cuban statistics show" that for every 100 mothers who give birth, 60 mothers get abortions. Statistics for the United States show that for every 100 births there are 42 abortions. Cuba has the world's leading divorce figures: four divorces for each six marriages. Since con- traceptives have become readi- ly available in the United States, the divorce rate here has increased almost 200 percent. Now, half of all marriages occur- ring in the U. S. end in divorce. Cuba and the United States share an obvious need. They need what Pope John Paul II calls a "culture of life" which TV review: 'Cancer Wars," May 25, PBS By GERRI PARE Catholic News Service Hitler was concerned about pre- serving the health of women of child-bearing age. A half-centu- ry later, German women have four times less lung cancer than their American counterparts. When Germany lost the war, many of the leading Nazi scien- tists committed suicide and the valuable studies gathered dust, as any Hitler-subsidized would be universally scorned. At war's end in America, can- cer was something that almost always killed, was considered shameful and was little dis- cussed. Doctors shunned getting involved with the frustrating dis-. ease and treatment was basically confined to massive cutting and blunt radiation that often harmed as much as helped patient. The government's priority in the 1950s was the arms race against Russia. Concern about Native Americans working in dangerously radioactive urani- um mines was swept aside by arrogant scientists who insisted such work was safe. The series' first hour is a fas- cinating one. Health and medical news Despite the evidence of the harmful effects of contraception and abortion on our society, lob- bying groups like the feminist majority are fighting to get a manufacturer in the United States to distribute the abortifa- cient "morning after" pillscalled, RU-486 when one of the more favorable studies shows it some- times left women hospitalized with excessive bleeding. Contra- ceptives and abortion have neg- ative and dangerous side effects on women's health. Contraceptives rob the act of human intercourse of its digni- ty. Natural Family Planning pre- serves it. Users of Natural Fam- ily Planning experience lower divorce rates than society at. large. By practicing periodic abstinence in marriage, parents have greater credibility as they teach their children about absti- nence before marriage. NFP husbands protect the health of their wives from the side effects of contraceptives. NFP wives do not ask their husbands to don a barrier to intercourse before engaging in the act. NFP hus- bands and wives develop an appreciation of God's design for their sexuality. They grow in appreciation of their fertility and the children that result from it. Our society faces these ques- tions? Which do we think offers freedom -- Natural Family Planning or the contraceptive lifestyle? What effect will Pope John Paul II's words in Santa Clara have on Natural Family Planning in Cuba? people were open sage. "For us in I presence of th e an honor and a immense blessing and non Rodriguez, a claims to be a NEW YORK (CNS) -- How society and science have pro- ceeded in the battle against a killer disease is chronicled in "Cancer Wars," a four-part series airing Mondays, beginning May 25, I0-11 p.m. EDT on PBS. The opening hour, "Blind to Danger," covers the 194os -ough the '60s, and starts with the unex- pected account of how Nazi sci- entists were the first to conduct a thorough scientific study of the clear link between tobacco use and lung cancer. They were also the first to publish studies about the dan- gets of asbestos and to urge breast self-examinations, as impression President and his cal prisoners li er Vigil time in ward to the John Paul when he comes less that For more otle Family Mary's 4110; the tal and Hea at (812). .7295: or The as NFP (812) tions ly Evansville, Foundation art Natural are available Health Matters The price ductory $essioa one year. ST.MA ,.ore. C.,,o,,. perspective is a courtesy of Services