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August 2, 1996     The Message
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August 2, 1996

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4 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana August 2, 1996 -.=. Taking the time to make a difference m Listening to someone who has 'been there' When is the last time your heard something about the family? If it has been too long, read on, "All families are healthy in some ways and unhealthy in some ways," said Dolores Curran, quoted in a Catholic News Service story from California. Curran, an author, syn- dicated columnist, lecturer, and mother of three, said she wrote the book, "Traits of a Healthy Family," published in 1983, "because I-was convinced that families were stronger than they knew." Modern ctilture tbcuses too much on familie that break down, Cur- ran said, adding that many families are doing much worth celebrating. Curran's comments were quoted from her presen- tation at a regional conlirence of the Christian Fam- ily Movement, in Santa Clara Calif., in late July. The CNS article was written by Loretta Pehanich. Following are some more of Curran's comments, taken from that article. * She emphasized the importance of families inter- acting with families of different ages and experiences. "One of the things I love about CFM is its age di- versity," said Curran. She and her husband, Jim, were members of the movement for many years. "We By PAUL R. LEINGANG EDITOR don't listen enough to parents who have been through it," she added. During her presentation, she in- vited parents with grown children to tell what they would do differently if given the opportunity. Among their responses was the de- sire to spend more time with their children, be less rigid, treat each child as an in.dividual, and be less critical. Curran's approach toward chil- dren is not critical -- but it is straightforward. "Any child who can't operate a x"ashing machine, a dish- washer and a vacuum has no husi- ness operating a car, which is a much more compli- cated piece of machinery." Curran is convinced that 80 percent of kids" ar- guments occur to entertain themselves, to distract parents from real issues or to get attention. I often take delight in reading the comments of Do- lores Curran. She provides a lot of assistance tbr real- lif Christian families who are involved in everyday grief and everyday joy. Her advice is important in a world full of hand- wringing about the deterioration of the family. De- spite the reality of modern society, there is much yet to celebrate. Also important to my way of thinking is Curran's comment about the value of "age diversity." No two families are alike, of course, but there is quite a good chance that a family with older children might be a valuable resource for a family whose children are: about to get older. -I: :I: Take the time today to think about your own ily of origin, and your current family life, too. " :i: How did your family relate to relatives or other ' families of different age groupings? How does life today compare to the litb of your family Where do you go for advice? Comforting? ,. What in your family is a cause tbr celebration? If you find something less than desirable your examination of your real-life situation todaY;? take. some action to change it fi)r the better. Perhaps you can find thmilies of diverse ages )n: your neighborhood or at your church. Take tage of opportunities -- you and your whole -- to work on vohmteer projects or find other ways to : get to know other families. Take the time to listen to those who have beerl through it. 4 Comments about this column are welcome ai or the Christian Family P.O. Box 272, Ames, Iowa 50010. :,: ----Washington Letter RU-486: Many questions remain unanswe By NANCY HARTNAGEL Catholic News Service WASHINGTON (CNS) --A panel of scientists has said the abortion-inducing drug RU-486 is safe enough for the U.S. mar- ket, hut opponents of the con- troversial drug and its fast-track approval process said many questions remain unanswered. A new drug application for RU-486 was flied with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in March by the New York- based Population Council, a nonprofit research organization that holds U.S. patent rights. The drug was developed in France in the 1980s and has been used by 200,000 European women since 1989. The application got a boost in mid-July, when an FDA advi- sory committee heard testi- mony, then voted that the bene- fits of an RU- 486/misoprostol regimen for terminating early pregnancies outweigh its risks. But among those testifying were physicians, lawyers and private citizens who voiced con- cerns about long-term risks to i The MESSAGE 4200 N. Kentucky Ave. Evansville, IN 47711 Weekly newspaper of the Diocese of Evansville Published weekly except last week in December by the Catholic Press of Evansville PuNisher ............. Bishop Gerald A. Gettetfger Editor ...................................... Paul R. Lengang Iodudion Technician ............. Joseph Dietrich /kieising ................................... Paul Na Staff Writer ............................ Man/Ann Hughes Address all communications to P.O. Box 4169, Evansville, IN 47724-O169 Subscription rate: $t7.50 per year Single CopyPrice: $.50 Entered as periodical matter at the post office in Evansville, IN 47701, Publica- tion number 843800. Postmaster: Return POD forms 3579 to Office o( Publication  1966  Pmee of Evarlte the physical and mental health of women who may take RU-486 and the legal ramifications of chemical abortions. Dr. Donna Harrison, an ob- stetrician-gynecologist at South- western Medical Clinic in Berrien Center, Mich., said if only one-third of the 1.5 million surgical abortions performed an- nually in the United States are converted to chemical abortions, thousands more women could experience pelvic infections from abortions, producing "a dra- matic increase in subs.equent sterility." She also said there have not been adequate answers to such basic questions as how long the drug stays in the body, where it accumulates, and the effect it has on common medical prob- lems such as diabetes or asthma or on rarer ones such as AIDS. The effect of repeat usage also unknown, according to Har- rison --is a real concern be- cause 42 percent of U.S. abor- tions are repeats. In the RU-486 regimen, Women also take an oral dose of misoprostol, a prostaglandin that stimulates uterine contractions. Harrison said the effects of RU- 486 on other tissues and organs sensitive to prostaglandins -- in- cluding the brain, the endocrine and immune systems, the breast and the ovary -- are "unknown and unstudied." Harrison said the Population Council had set up an expecta- tion that "RU-486 will be avail- able with minimal supervision." She told Catholic News Service this is especially troubling to her because she practices in a county "that has one of the high- est teen pregnancy rates in the country" and 40 percent of her patients are indigent. In such a medically under- served population, she said, women do not have the re- sources to deal with hemorrhage or malformed children, risks confirmed in the data from RU- 486 clinical trials. Helen Donovan, an Arlington, Va., attorney who represents women and families of women "who are injured and killed by abortion," said the most vulner- able population of women those who are poor, adolescent, uninsured or speak English as a second language -- stand to lose legally as well. "Seldom can these women af- ford to call the medical and pharmaceutical industry to ac- count through litigation," she said. Donovan said she expected "more injuries and deaths with the use of RU-486," adding that "the women who raise claims of injury will have difficulty recov- ering (damages)." Donovan suggested that "physicians will blame the woman and the manufacturer. The unknown manufacturer is overseas, and the newly in- vented distributor will conve- niently disappear." Donovan was referring to Ad- vances in Health Technology, a Washington company set up last year to distribute RU-486 in the United States. Dr. Susan Allen, the company president, told Associated Press that the company has hired a manufacturer to produce enough of the drug for 650,000 women. But she wouldn't name the manufacturer yet anti-abortion Olivia Gans ican Victims of Abortion, fled that the tror' issue that is selling point for imen "may actually lea greater trauma" and more tional difficulties than are rently documented for following surgical "In a surgical abortioP woman generally doe,' the baby," she said. taking RU-486 see babies." Gans said those like who work with peer support group: "that a woman who her own hand, the cocktail which could experience an backlash of de tions." The RU-486 new cation is classified such a classification, to make decisions months," an FDA See 'Please do not sign!' To the editor: Deacon Jim Cavera's article "The Call to Hospitality" ap- peared in the July 12 Message. He spoke about The New Ways Ministry  a seminar he at- tended given by Notre Dame Sister Jeannine Gramick, and Francis DeBernardo at Kordes Enrichment Center. The Center is operated by the Sisters of St. Benedict in Ferdinand. Sister Gramick and De- Bernardo travel around the country ministering to lesbians and gays. Sister Jeannine is the co-founder of New Ways Min- istry and DeBernardo is the Pro- gram Director of New Ways Ministry. New Ways Ministry is one of many organizations united under the umbrella "We Are Church.  The coalition, named We Are Church, hopes to gather at least a million signatures within a year to send to the Vat- ican calling for sweeping re- forms of the Church. Please do not sign! Other organizations along with New Ways Ministry are as follows: Call to Action  an or- See LETTERS page $ Bishop's schedule se, ed" The following activities and events are listed on the ule of Bishop Gerald A. Gettelfinger: