Wednesday, April 29, 2009
But seriously... has anyone stopped to consider the very real ramifications of literally millions of couples eschewing sex "au natural" in favor of a more controlled and convenient conjugal collaboration? No? Well, I suppose nobody asked questions about pumping bovine growth hormones into our dairy cows until our nine year olds began menstruating, either, but I digress.
The point is this: for a society so infatuated with the practice of lessening consumer tendencies, it's awfully fishy that no body's pointed a finger at Merck or Wyeth or one of Big Pharm's other big players, asking the tough questions about energy output and the environmental ramifications of pumping billions 0f gallons of estrogen-enhanced waste through our waterways.
I wrote last year about Boulder, Colorado's dirty little secret: one of the "greenest" towns in the USA is turning a blind eye to the mutation of one of their beloved indigenous animal species. A strange phenomenon for a city known to be infatuated with all things animalia... but then, stranger things have come from Boulder.
Dr. Janet Smith of "Contraception, Why Not?" fame spoke her piece on the Pill at Boulder's CU campus recently, where she jokingly retitled her signature talk "Green Sex" for the occasion. She made a good point, though. And it's one worth examining further.
Why aren't we hearing any buzz about "green sex?" Why hasn't there been public outcry over the pollution produced by hormonal contraceptive use? And perhaps most disturbing of all, why aren't women up in arms about the ramifications that even short-term contraceptive use have on their health?
Because going green - in the bedroom - is not the most convenient option. Because we don't really care what we're doing to our bodies, as long as our bodies do exactly what we tell them to.
Because what it's really about, contraceptively speaking, is convenience at all cost. At any cost. For some, the cost will be greater. But every one of us is paying the price.
Friday, April 24, 2009
well, you know the rest.
In a return to my hope-filled practice of ending the workweek on a positive note, I wanted to throw some inspiring words out there:
Man cannot live without love. He remains a being that is incomprehensible for himself, his life is senseless, if love is not revealed to him, if he does not encounter love, if he does not experience it and make it his own, if he does not participate in it intimately. ~ John Paul II
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
"U.S. District Judge Edward Korman has ruled in a lawsuit filed in New York that Bush administration appointees let politics, not science, drive their decision to restrict over-the-counter access.
Plan B is emergency contraception that contains a high dose of birth control drugs and will not interfere with an established pregnancy. It works by preventing ovulation or fertilization. In medical terms, pregnancy begins when a fertilized egg attaches itself to the wall of the uterus*."
Let's nullify every natural consequence of sex... and see what happens.
Let's pump astronomically elevated levels of estrogen into 17 year old reproductive systems and see what happens a decade later with their fertility.
Let's show the world how highly the United States holds her women in esteem.
*And by the way, pregnancy, in the real world (i.e. medical textbooks) indicates the presence of a fertilized embryo in the body of the mother. So yes, you are "pregnant" before implantation. And no, you did not have another person inside of you with a totally unique set of DNA and chromosomes from both parents prior to fertilization. Nice try, but no.
The rest of the article appears below.
WASHINGTON -- Seventeen-year-olds will soon be able to buy the "morning after" emergency contraceptive without a doctor's prescription, after the Food and Drug Administration bowed to a federal judge's order Wednesday.Reversing a contentious policy of the Bush administration, the FDA said in a brief statement it will not appeal a judge's order that overturns restrictions limiting over-the-counter sales of "Plan B" to women 18 and older.
Conservatives called the decision a blow to parental supervision of teens. But women's groups said the FDA's action was long overdue, since the agency's own medical reviewers had initially recommended that the contraceptive be made available without any age restrictions.
U.S. District Judge Edward Korman ruled last month in a lawsuit filed in New York that Bush administration appointees let politics, not science, drive their decision to restrict over-the-counter access.
Korman ordered the FDA to let 17-year-olds get the birth control pills. He also directed the agency to evaluate whether all age restrictions should be lifted.
The FDA's latest action does not mean that Plan B will be immediately available to 17-year-olds.The manufacturer must first submit a request.
"It's a good indication that the agency will move expeditiously to ensure its policy on Plan B is based solely on science," said Nancy Northup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights, which filed the lawsuit.
Conservatives said politics drove the decision.
"Parents should be furious at the FDA's complete disregard of parental rights and the safety of minors," said Wendy Wright, president of Concerned Women for America.
Plan B is emergency contraception that contains a high dose of birth control drugs and will not interfere with an established pregnancy. It works by preventing ovulation or fertilization. In medical terms, pregnancy begins when a fertilized egg attaches itself to the wall of the uterus.
If taken within 72 hours of unprotected sex, it can reduce a woman's chances of pregnancy by as much as 89 percent.
Critics of the contraceptive say Plan B is the equivalent of an abortion pill because it can prevent a fertilized egg from attaching to the uterus. Recent research suggests that's possible but not likely.
The battle over access to Plan B has dragged on for the better part of a decade, through the terms of three FDA commissioners. Among many in the medical community, it came to symbolize the decline of science at the agency because top FDA managers refused to go along with the recommendations of scientific staff and outside advisers that the drug be made available with no age restrictions.
"The FDA got caught up in a saga, it got caught up in a drama," said Susan Wood, who served as the agency's top women's health official and resigned in 2005 over delays in issuing a decision. "This issue served as a clear example of the agency being taken off track, and it highlighted the problems FDA was facing in many other areas."
The treatment consists of two pills and sells for $35 to $60. Women must ask for Plan B at the pharmacy counter and show identification with their date of birth. The drug is made by a subsidiary of Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, an Israeli company. It does not prevent sexually transmitted infections, such as HIV/AIDS.
Supporters of broader access argued that Plan B is safe and effective in preventing unwanted pregnancy and could help reduce the number of abortions.
Opponents, including prominent conservatives, counter that it would encourage promiscuity and might even become a tool for criminals running prostitution rings, as well as for sexual predators.
Early in the Bush administration, more than 60 organizations petitioned the FDA to allow sales without a prescription. But according to court documents, the issue quickly became politicized.
In 2003, a panel of outside advisers voted 23-4 to recommend over-the-counter sales without age restrictions. But top FDA officials told their subordinates that no approval could be issued at the time, and the decision would be made at a higher level. That's considered highly unusual, since the FDA usually has the last word on drug decisions.
In his ruling, Korman said that FDA staffers were told the White House had been involved in the decision on Plan B. The government said in court papers that politics played no role.
In 2005, the Center for Reproductive Rights and other organizations sued in federal court to force an FDA decision.
The following year, the FDA allowed Plan B to be sold without a prescription to adults. But the controversy raged on over access for teens.
Monday, April 20, 2009
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
I had the day off work, and my (now) fiance had taken a personal day "to spend time with me" and instructed me "not to make a single plan." Intrigued and somewhat expectant, I agreed to be ready at 7:30 (that's A.M., people. Clearly, I'm crazy about the guy.)
Since Friday was day nine of a novena (which I had written) that we had been praying to St. Joseph, we began with Mass at St. Joseph's parish, a gorgeous 100 year old Polish church north of downtown. I'd never been there, and I was astonished by the simple beauty of the place. It looked as though it had been plucked from rural Poland and dropped into old industrial Denver. The ceiling was a brilliant cerulean blue with depictions of the life of the Holy Family, and the beautiful old priest who celebrated Mass had a thick Polish accent ala JPII, which delighted me to no end...
After Mass (which was all of 15 minutes), Dave had planned for us to stay for a holy hour and Benediction, but the regular First Friday devotion had been moved to later that evening, and would be completely in Polish, Fr. informed us. We declined his invitation to return later that evening, citing previous obligations, but told the good father that we'd be back.
"Why you come a here thisa morning?" He asked us, grinning broadly as we exited the back of the church. We paused under a giant picture of JPII to explain that we had been cultivating, of late, a devotion to St. Joseph, and had desired to visit a parish of his patronage.
"Oh, St. Joseph es thee most powerful saint...he died in za Blessed Lady's arms you know."
We nodded our agreement and chatted with him for a few minutes about the virtues of Joseph and his own devotion to the Patron of the Universal Church. Well, Dave chatted... I just reveled in his accent and pretended I was in the late Holy Father's local parish.
Upon returning to the car, I sweetly inquired whether Starbucks might be on the itinerary for the day, (I believe my exact words were: take me to Starbucks or lose me forever) and my beloved acquiesced, pulling up in front of a local coffee shop to feed my addictio-er... to get a morning cuppa. Mocha's in hand, we headed west on I-70, winding our way up ski highway into the high country.
No more than an hour into our journey, we had traded Denver's sunny skies for torrential snowfall, and about 15 minutes east of Breckenridge, the state patrol closed the highway and was diverting traffic to lower elevations. Dave, much to his credit, was seemingly unperturbed and suggested that maybe we'd just return to the city and catch a movie. This perturbed me, however, dampening my expectations significantly. Which was probably the point.
On our journey down to lower ground, we stopped to picnic in a quasi-mountain town called Evergreen, which is high enough to feel alpine by low enough to be spared from the inclement weather. After a few minute's driving and a foray into a sketchy local Exxon station to buy a scratch ticket (I was feeling lucky), we obtained directions and successfully arrived at Evergreen Lake. The lake itself was ringed by running trails and pine trees, surrounded on all sides by mountains and set in a natural valley. There was a golf course along the south shore, so we parked and hiked up to higher ground, ending up on (I think) the ninth green, overlooking the entire lake and enjoying a spectacular view of the valley.
Upon arriving on our fairway, Dave spread out a blanket for us to sit down. I plucked a few broken tees out of the closely shorn grass and teased him about how impressed my father would be that we'd chosen a golf course for our picnic site. He insisted that, no, we were at a lake and just happened to be sitting on the edge of a golf course to enjoy the view. I laughed and let him have his way (note to self: practice this)
After settling onto the blanket, Dave pulled out his folded copy of the novena I'd penned, suggesting that this was the perfect place to finish it. We began to pray, reciting the now familiar lines invoking St. Joseph's intercession and protection. After we'd finished, heads still bowed, Dave continued his prayer, asking each member of the Holy Family for specific graces upon us each.
First addressing St. Joseph, Dave asked that he would be strengthened in the virtues of courage, fidelity and fatherhood. (Is that a virtue?) Then he asked the Blessed Mother for her intercession on my behalf, that she would be my model for gentle strength and motherhood. (At this point I had a decent idea where things were heading.) Finally, he addressed Jesus, thanking him for our love and for His presence in our lives. Getting up on one knee (we were sitting, after all) he took my hands in his, and with a surprisingly steady voice made his offer.
"Jennifer, I've been waiting for you for a long time. I've been praying that God would bring you into my life, and He has exceeded every expectation. I want to spend the rest of my life with you - I will never leave you - will you be my wife?"
I'm sure there was more to his proposal, but I was dumbfounded and rendered temporarily silent, which is extremely rare for me. Sensing this, Dave prodded a bit: "I have a ring for you...but I want your answer first."
Nodding, I said "yes" and threw my arms around his neck, and then deafened him with my squeals. Then he pulled the ring out. And now... he is profoundly deaf.
He pulled out a bottle of champagne and some strawberries and chocolate, and we sipped and celebrated and hugged and screamed and spent the next hour talking about our future, about our family, about our new lives together. "We're engaged!" I shouted to the random man in the North Face fleece walking his dog in the distance. "He's my fiance!" I shouted to the Canadian geese populating the lake.
After a calming dose of some really good champagne, (well, half the bottle) we packed up and headed back down to Denver to hit up our favorite adoration chapel to tell Him the good news. After some great prayer time, my wonderful man pulled into a strip mall parking lot and took his vain fiance to get a manicure, lest anyone ask to see the ring and be put off by my unkempt cuticles. After I'd been polished and we'd made a ridiculous amount of phone calls, (Verizon called me yesterday and offered to upgrade me to the next service plan. I swear) we headed for Hacienda Colorado, the place we met last summer, and lingered over a fabulous Lenten Mexican dinner. (Who says cheese enchiladas aren't celebratory?)
The night was not yet over. After dinner, Dave told me there was one more surprise - that he'd called our friends, family and co-workers the night before and told them of his plans, asked for their prayers, and invited them to our surprise engagement party the next night. This man is confident.
And that's the story. We partied (responsibly) into the evening, (okay, until 11...we're not in college anymore) sharing the story with a huge group of our favorite people all at once (highly recommended) and toasting to the beginning of the rest of our lives. We decided not to plan at all during this, Holy Week, and while it's been really, really tempting... it's been a blessing to be able to focus on this new thing which has transpired. I guess the stress will come later, and in greater force. But for now, I've got a gorgeous ring, a great story, and a future husband whose number one goal is to get me to Heaven. It doesn't get much better than this...
Saturday, April 4, 2009
Guess what? It's all true. I found out how very true yesterday, a little after noon mountain time, when my best friend David got down on one knee and asked me to be his wife. God is so good, and I can't wait to have some firsthand knowledge of all my favorite blog topics to explore in fuller and richer detail... Please pray for us as we prepare for the Sacrament.
St. Joseph, pray for us!
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
Mothers are Losers
“The argument that women who become pregnant have in some sense consented to the pregnancy belies reality…and others who are the inevitable losers in the contraceptive lottery no more ‘consent’ to pregnancy than pedestrians ‘consent’ to being struck by drunk drivers.’”
Pregnant Women are Fetal Containers
“The woman is constantly aware for nine months that her body is not wholly her own: the state has conscripted her body for its own ends. Thus, abortion restrictions ‘reduce pregnant women to no more than fetal containers.’”
Pregnancy equals Slavery
“Statutes that curtail her abortion choice are disturbingly suggestive of involuntary servitude, prohibited by the Thirteenth Amendment, in that forced pregnancy requires a woman to provide continuous physical service to the fetus in order to further the state’s asserted interest.”
All of these outrageous statements were made by Dawn Johnsen, who has been appointed by President Obama to head the Office of Legal Counsel in the Department of Justice.