Reproductive Health Act: A Life and Death Law in Illinois

When the Supreme Court issued the Roe v. Wade decision in 1973, no one could imagine that 45 years later the number of lives terminated in the United States would be 61 million. Some believed that marriages would be better, women would be happier. Has that happened?

Last Friday the Illinois legislature passed the Reproductive Health Act. I took the time to read through this bill. I am deeply saddened. Section 1-10 states that the life of a child that survived abortion needn’t be preserved. The wording is tortured because it is hard to describe the right to let a living child die.

Section 1-10 “Abortion” means the use of any instrument, medicine, drug, or any other substance or device to terminate the pregnancy of an individual known to be pregnant with intention other than to increase the probability of a live birth,to preserve the life or health of the child after live birth, or to remove a dead fetus.

When maternity care is described I wonder what the term, a patient’s legal proxy, means. Are the parents of a teenage girl informed?

“Maternity care” means health care provided in relation to pregnancy, labor and childbirth and the postpartum period, and includes prenatal care, care during labor and birthing, and postpartum care extending through one-year postpartum. Maternity care shall seek to optimize positive outcomes for the patient, and be provided on the basis of the physical and psychosocial needs of the patient. Not withstanding any of the above, all care shall be subject to the informed and voluntary consent of the patient, or the patients’s legal proxy, when the patient is unable to give consent.

Section 1-15

“Every individual has a fundamental right to make autonomous decisions about the individual’s own reproductive health, including the fundamental right to use or refuse reproductive health care.”

This section of the law describes the individual’s rights to make a decision about their health care. This is a precedent for parental rights. When medical procedures have risks and benefits, parents must have the right to consent or refuse for their child.

With all restrictions on abortion lifted, we must continue to educate young people on the facts of abortion, the risks and side effects to a woman. People of faith need to stand in support of a woman experiencing an unexpected pregnancy, especially if she is unmarried and without financial resources.

Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live. Deuteronomy 30:19b

Click here to read the full text of the Reproductive Health Act.

Street Names and a Chicago Library

Today I took the Metra train to downtown Chicago. I had plans to do some research at the Harold Washington Library. The library is about a mile walk from the the train station.

Because it was warm and sunny the streets were crowded with pedestrians: people in business clothes carrying attache cases, teenagers in shorts and t-shirts, couples holding hands and elderly folk with walkers.

I watched the street names as I walked. Many of them have a historical reference—La Salle, Madison, Monroe, Adams, and Jackson.

At the library I spent time looking through newspaper microfilm, until I was literally dizzy! I was searching for more information about the Chicago Midwifery Institute that existed for about nine years (1889 to 1898). 

Chicago was a center of growth and competing medical philosophies at the end of the 19th century. Dr. Paoli, at one time the president of the Chicago Medical Society, was behind the certification requirements for midwives in Illinois. He was also on the board of directors for the Linnean Hospital that hosted the Chicago Midwifery Institute. 

A Finnish midwife attended this school and received a diploma. In 1905 she was at the center of a legal battle in Massachusetts that dragged on for four years. After practicing midwifery for eight years she was accused of practicing medicine without a license. Her court case had an impact on the gradual diminishment of midwifery in the United States.

After a lunch break I visited the 9th floor that had an exhibit in honor of Harold Washington, the former mayor of Chicago that put plans for this library in motion. Sadly, he passed away before he could begin his second term. He didn’t see the completed library that was named after him.

Quote on the wall of the library

I’m joining the Five Minute Friday writing community. Today’s prompt is: NAME. Visit Kate’s site to read more takes on this prompt.

Culture Informed by Worldview

The prompt for Five Minute Friday is: CULTURE This topic has been on my mind for a couple of weeks, stimulated by a book I am reading.

Worldview: a particular philosophy of life or conception of the world

Culture: a) a particular stage of advancement in civilization b) the characteristic features of such a stage or state c)behavior typical of a group or class

Nancy Pearsey begins her book, Love Thy Body, with a discussion of worldview. Culture is informed by worldview. She explains how Darwin, Freud and other scientists/philosophers have had an effect on worldview and culture.

We as individuals living within the culture can be subtly influenced by the major worldview. When you read a novel, are you able to recognize the worldview of the author? I see a clear difference in novels written more than 100 years ago and recently written novels.

It is helpful to recognize the prevailing worldview when we interact with the culture around us.

Jesus lived out a worldview completely consistent with the word of God—and he was still gentle with the tax collector and the Samaritan woman. He invited them into his worldview.

Personhood, Women’s Roles and Herbal Infusions

Most evenings I spend some time reading. Here are a few of the books I am enjoying.

A friend of mine loaned me the book, Love Thy Body, by Nancy Pearcey. Ms. Pearcey addresses many of the controversial issues in our culture. 

She begins by discussing personhood. Some view human beings as simply biological organisms until they display cognitive function which then allows them to be recognized as a person. The assumption is that body and soul are separate. The biblical perspective is that when human life begins it is body and soul united.

I am reading a chapter at a time and learning about some of the events in science history. Sometimes a couple sentences will cause me to pause. After referring to the theory proposed by Darwin (all life occurs in an evolving chain) she considers the impact that Darwin had on science. No special status is assigned to being human—because there is no human species. As a result, “life becomes a set of parts, commodities that can be shifted around” to suit some geneticists’ vision of progress. The floodgates have been flung open for unfettered refashioning of human nature itself. (p. 100)

Thoughts and questions came to mind. As we learn more about the human body are we attempting to redesign what God has created? When do the advances in medicine support health, and when does scientific experimentation cross moral and ethical boundaries? In our desire for control what are we overlooking? What are the longterm consequences?

Today I read a well researched article. I was startled to learn that the use of aborted fetal tissue for research began in the early 1900’s. The article notes research that took place after forced abortions that were allowed under the Eugenic Sterilization Act. Here is a portion of the article (to read more click on the quote):

In just one such research paper, Drs. Thicke, Duncan, Wood and Rhodes graphically describe their work: “Human embryos of two and one-half to five months gestation were obtained from the gynaecological department of the Toronto General Hospital. They were placed in a sterile container and promptly transported to the virus laboratory of the adjacent Hospital for Sick Children. No macerated specimens were used and in many of the embryos the heart was still beating at the time of receipt in the virus laboratory.” (15)

At the same time I am reading North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell, a book from our local library. Elizabeth lived in the 19th century and wrote about women’s roles and their relationship to men in the social strata of the time. Her observation of human nature, description of the industrial age and society norms is fascinating. It is also a well-crafted story.

My daughter gave me Healing Herbal Infusions by Colleen Codekas. It is fun to browse through the pictures and recipes in this book. 

I love the springtime when I am adding herbs to my garden. Recipes throughout the book include a variety of herbs. The chapter titles are enticing: Infusions to Boost Your Immunity, Infusions to Relieve What Ails You, Infusions to Nourish Your Skin, Lips and Hair. I will try some of the recipes.

This post is joining the link-up at Literacy Musing Mondays.

The Promise of a Seed

In January and February I receive seed catalogues in the mail. I page through them, planning what I will plant in the spring, and I send in my order (or place it on-line).

When the seed packets arrive they hold the promise of plants—herbs, flowers and vegetables. It is my pleasure to start some of the plants inside, watching for them to sprout. Each seed will sprout according to its kind, just the way it is recorded in the Bible.

Rouge Vif D’etampes Pumpkin and Inca Jewels Tomato

And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so. Genesis 1:11 KJV

The word, seed, appears in the Bible a great number of times referring to descendants. When Mary sings the magnificat she alludes to the descendants of Abraham.

He hath helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy; as he spake to our fathers, to Abraham, and to his seed forever. Luke 1: 54-55 KJV

In the Hebrews chapter on faith, Sara’s pregnancy is mentioned.

Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised. Hebrews 11: 11 KJV

There is joy and blessing in fertility and fruitfulness.

Sharing this post with the Five Minute Friday writing community. Today’s prompt is: PROMISE

Practice Makes the Perfect Pie Crust

Meals and special desserts are a part of family life. In our home we enjoy pies, especially fruit pies. I have practiced and tweaked my recipe for pie crust until I was satisfied. The shortening in pie crust should be 1/3 the amount of flour. (I don’t remember where I learned that.) 

So when I am making a two crust pie I add 1/4 teaspoon of salt to 1 + 1/2 cup of flour. Then I cut in 1/2 cup of butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. A little bit of vinegar acts as a conditioner to the pastry dough, so I add a tablespoon of vinegar to 1/2 cup of cold water. As I add the water slowly to the flour, I am mixing it in with a fork. It is important to add just enough water—might not need the full 1/2 cup— mix only enough to have the dough hold together.

Then roll out half the dough on a lightly floured board to line the pie plate. Roll out the remainder for the upper crust. My mother would always fold the this top piece in half twice (so it resembles a triangle) and then make decorative cuts in the dough before laying it in place. And so I do too.

Once the pie is ready for the oven I brush the surface of pie crust with a few drops of water and sprinkle a teaspoon of sugar over it.

You can find a recipe for a blueberry/black raspberry pie here.

The prompt for the Five Minute Friday writing community is: PRACTICE

Women & Children at Botanica

When we visited Botanica, the Wichita Gardens, I especially enjoyed the focus on women and children. There is a children’s garden area where they can water plants. The children can walk through monster trees and climb the stairs to a fairy house.

The peonies, roses, irises and clematis were in bloom.

Peonies at Botanica

Throughout the gardens sculptures of women graced the landscape.

Sharing this post with Sue’s image-in-ing

Learning from History

Recently I read the novel, Saving Amelie, by Cathy Gohlke. It is historical fiction set in Nazi Germany. The story involves twin girls who were the subjects of medical experimentation. The story was riveting.

I didn’t know that there actually was a doctor (gynecologist) who was working on a vaccine that could surreptitiously cause infertility. Dr. Carl Clauberg’s goal was to have a vaccine for non-Aryan woman that would be given to them during physical examinations. This morning I read an article on-line (salem-news.com; Nov-07-2011) that referenced him. The article titled “Have the Rabbis Forgotten the Experiments on Jewish Women at Auschwitz?” was written by Rachel Goldstein.

Auschwitz was the largest and one of the most infamous of the camps and the site of numerous ‘medical’ experiments. This historical study uses primary source documents obtained from archives in England and Germany to describe one type of experiment carried out at Auschwitz — the sterilization experiments… “

It is immoral to experiment on human beings. The MMR vaccine may have done some good, but it can also be considered an experiment on children. I recently read through the documentation of the licensing of this vaccine. It amazed me that the vaccine was approved. A summary of the document can be read here.

It troubles me to know about all the experimentation on aborted fetuses that led to the development of the rubella portion of the MMR. I wrote about the research on a previous blog

Because children are now receiving so many vaccines and medications for chronic illness it is hard to isolate the cause of autism. A research study describes the possible association between vaccines and autism.

The reason for the rapid rise of autism in the United States that began in the 1990s is a mystery. Although individuals probably have a genetic predisposition to develop autism, researchers suspect that one or more environmental triggers are also needed. One of those triggers might be the battery of vaccinations that young children receive. . . . The higher the proportion of children receiving recommended vaccinations, the higher was the prevalence of AUT [autism] or SLI [speech and language impairment]. A 1% increase in vaccination was associated with an additional 680 children having AUT or SLI. Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health 2011;74(14) 903-16  You can access the abstract here.

With have lessons from history. At this time, when there is great concern about measles cases, we have the opportunity to learn about the issue and ask that the vaccines children receive are given greater scrutiny. We can ask that the vaccine schedule be reviewed for safety and effectiveness. I am learning ways to reach out to my legislators with questions and research articles.

This post took me longer than 5 minutes, but it is related to the readings I have done this week. I am joining the Five Minute Friday writing community with todays prompt: OPPORTUNITY

Touching and Being Touched

Yesterday we visited the Tanganyika Wildlife Park in Kansas. The park has interaction stations—people can touch the animals and the animals can touch the people. Our grandchildren were delighted to feed a leaf to a giraffe.

On lemur island the children fed lemurs that sat demurely on a pole. They reached out with their paws touching the arms and hands of the children.

We all fed the birds with a little cup of juice. The birds landed on my husband—and all of us.

It was a treat to see a mother kangaroo with a baby kangaroo (7 Months old) in her pouch. I was amazed at the size of the joey (baby kangaroo). In the picture the head and hoofs are sticking out from the pouch. 

The mother kangaroo keeps this close connection to her joey for a year. When the joey is pushed out of the pouch around a year old, he can still put his head back in the pouch and feed for additional months as needed. The grandchildren were able to touch the mother kangaroo’s back. 

It was beautiful to observe the connections among the wildlife, and even to touch them. It is a blessing to participate in the world God created.

Joining Five Minute Friday as we write to the prompt: TOUCH

The View of Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives: Visiting Gethsemane

In 2012 my husband and I made a trip to Israel with a group of friends from our church. It was amazing to see the places that we had read about in the Bible. The two weeks in Israel were an encouragement to our faith.

When we went to Jerusalem we visited the places mentioned in the events of Holy Week, leading to the crucifixion.

The church of Dominus Flevit is on the Mount of Olives, not far from the Garden of Gethsemane. A window of this church gives a view of Jerusalem. The golden dome is the Dome of the Rock, which sits in the same place that Israel’s temple once stood.

The olive tree in this picture is ancient. Perhaps it was there when Jesus prayed in the garden of Gethsemane before he was arrested.

We went to the Church of St. Peter. In the courtyard there is a sculpture depicting Peter with the maiden that questioned him about being a disciple of Jesus. Peter denied knowing Jesus.

Below this church—we walked down a stairway to view an ancient and deep hole. A sign near this Sacred Pit gave an explanation.

Prompted by the dungeon-like appearance of the pit and its proximity to Caiaphas’ palace, thought to have been located in this general area, the Byzantines recalled here Jesus imprisonment overnight as he awaited trial before Caiaphas and the Sanhredrin. Faithful to this ancient tradition, Christians continue to remember Jesus, the Suffering Servant of the Lord, placing on his lips the words of the psalmist:

My soul is surfeited with troubles . . . You have plunged me into the bottom of the pit . . . Upon me your wrath lies heavy . . . I am imprisoned and cannot escape . . . O Lord I call upon you. Psalm 88

We walked along the Via Dolorosa and visited the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

Finally we visited the garden tomb.