Women’s Rights & Midwifery

Prayer and RestWomen today have more rights than our ancestors. As we have made progress it is odd that the loudest voice in the current women’s movement is for abortion. I would rather support the right of women to give birth in the setting that they choose. Across the world there is unresolved controversy over midwifery and home birth.

At the same time that suffragists were fighting for a woman’s right to vote, the medical system in the United States, was fighting against the practice of midwifery.

For the past few years I have been researching the life of Hanna Pörn and her court case. She was a Finnish midwife that received a certificate of midwifery from the Chicago Institute of Midwifery. She lived and worked in the Finnish/Swedish community of Gardner, Massachusetts. After eight years of practice, having better statistical outcomes than the local doctors, she was arrested for practicing medicine without a license. The case went to the district court, and was appealed several times. In 1909 she was found guilty and sentenced to two months in jail.

Other countries have had lawsuits against midwives. In recent years Agnes Gereb left her position as an obstetrician and trained as a home birth midwife in Hungary. After delivering many babies in the home setting, she was arrested because one baby died. She was placed in house arrest and the case has been moving through the courts. You can read about her case here.

Today my husband handed me the Wall Street Journal pointing out this article, Sweden Blacklists an Antiabortion Midwife. Ellinor Grimmark trained as a midwife in Sweden in response to the current shortage of midwives.

In spring 2013, with one term left in her studies, she asked supervisors at the hospital where she planned to work to accommodate her conscience rights. [She did not want to participate in abortion.]

She received a furious call from one manager. “How could you even think of becoming a midwife with these opinions?” *

It is a strange world if, in order to attend the birth of babies, you must be willing to kill babies. This brings to mind the Biblical account of two midwives.

The king of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives, whose names were Shiprah and Puah, “ when you help the Hebrew women in childbirth and observe them on the delivery stool, if it is a boy, kill him; but if it is a girl let her live.” The midwives however feared God and did not do what the king of Egypt told them to do; they let the boys live. Exodus 1: 15-17

Ellinor Grimmark was unable to secure a position in Sweden and is now living and working in Norway. Swedish mothers are coming to Norway to give birth.

Many women are seeking a kinder, gentler way of birth.   Birth  has    physical, emotional and spiritual aspects. Midwives understand this.

So  much  emphasis  is  placed  on  the   physical aspect of birth alone—treating pregnancy like an illness. Frequently, aggressive management of labor takes place in the hospital—and there are consequences. We need to swing the pendulum back. Let labor and birth take place at a natural pace. Midwives have an important role in providing healthy birth care.

In Illinois the Home Birth Safety Act is up for debate in the senate.      Thirty-two states allow midwives to provide home birth care. Illinois should join these states and pass SB 1754. If you live in Illinois, call your state senator and ask him to support SB 1754.

*Sweden Blacklists an Antiabortion Midwife, The Wall Street Journal, April 10, 2017, A17.

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Five Ways to Support the Choice for Life

On Friday (1/27) the March for Life will take place in Washington D.C.  Every year, after the ruling on Roe v. Wade was handed down, people have marched to the Supreme Court in protest. God is the giver of life. We should support all life.

Events recorded in the Bible emphasize the value of human life. When the maid servant, Hagar, became pregnant by Abraham, tension grew between Hagar and Sarah. Hagar ran away to the desert, but God sent angels to watch over her.

And the angel of the Lord said to her, “Behold you are pregnant and shall bear a son. You shall call his name Ishmael, because the Lord has listened to your affliction.”

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So she called the name of the Lord who spoke to her, “You are a God of seeing,” for she said, “Truly here I have seen him who looks after me.” Genesis 16: 11, 13

When Hanna struggled with infertility she wept and prayed.

She [Hannah] was deeply distressed and prayed to the Lord and wept bitterly. And she vowed a vow and said, “O Lord of hosts, if you will indeed look on the affliction of your servant and remember me and not forget your servant, but will give to your servant a son, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and no razor shall touch his head.”

March for Life

And in due time Hanna conceived and bore a son, and she called his name Samuel, for she said, “I have asked him from the Lord.” 1 Samuel 1: 10-11, 20

My heart goes out to women who are struggling with infertility.   I am    encouraged that NaProTechnology has made progress in diagnosing the   underlying health problems related to infertility.

My hope is that as a nation we will value human life. There are ways that we can assist women that are in difficult circumstances and need support.

  1. Pray for our country and a message of life. The Colson Center has an app available, 21 Days of Prayer for Life.
  2. Pregnancy care centers provide support. Care Net is nationwide. Volunteer at one of the centers.
  3. Often these centers will have a fundraiser. Participate in a fundraiser for a pregnancy care center. In my area Informed Choices has a fall banquet and Hike for Life in the spring.
  4. Some centers have a resale shop. Proceeds from the shop support the services of the Pregnancy Care Center. Donate to the resale shop or volunteer to work there.
  5. Write letters to your Congressman and Senator to defund Planned Parenthood and redirect taxpayer dollars to community health care centers that provide full services for women’s health.

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Celebrating Life on Planned Parenthood’s Anniversary

As Planned Parenthood celebrates their 100 year anniversary, I choose to mourn the lives lost and the wounds that many women carry. Although Planned Parenthood portrays itself as woman’s health care,  its most      lucrative business is abortion. It masquerades as compassionate care.

I give thanks for the growing number of pregnancy care centers and for support groups that help women heal from the trauma of abortion.

Our community held a march for life, proclaiming that life is a gift.       Together we offered this prayer:

O God, our Creator, all life is in your hands
From conception until natural death,
Help us to cherish our children.
Help us to understand and respect the awesome
privilege of our share in creation.
May all people live and die in dignity and love.
Bless all those who defend the rights of the
unborn, the handicapped and the elderly.
Enlighten and be merciful toward those who fail
to recognize the sacredness of life.
Give us courage to speak with truth and love
and with conviction in the defense of life.
Let freedom be tempered by
responsibility, integrity and morality.
We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

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The Psalmist did not have the tool of ultrasound, yet he offers a clear    understanding of life. These verses convey a deep truth.

Oh, yes, you shaped me first inside, then out;
you formed me in my mother’s womb.
I thank you, High God—you’re breathtaking!
Body and soul, I am marvelously made!
I worship in adoration—what a creation!
You know me inside and out,
you know every bone in my body;
You know exactly how I was made bit by bit,
how I was sculpted from nothing into something.
Like an open book, you watched me grow
from conception to birth;
All the stages of my life were spread out before you,
the days of my life all prepared
Before I’d even lived one day.

Psalm 139: 13-16 MSG

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The Lack of Respect for Women

Words. Ugly references to women. It is hard to listen to the political mud slinging. Trump’s words revealed on a recording were vulgar and cannot be condoned. These words have opened wounds that many women carry.

Our culture is saturated in sex. I wonder if we are ready to assess the damage that has been caused by the push for sexual freedom. Perhaps the ugliness of this campaign will encourage discussion.

When sex is separated from a committed relationship, when men do not have responsibility for the potential pregnancy that may result from sex, women are hurt.

Beginning in the 1960s, significant court decisions took place. In 1965 contraception for married women was legalized by the Supreme Court under a right to privacy decision (Griswold v. Connecticut). In 1972 contraception for unmarried women was legalized as a right to privacy (Eisenstadt v. Baird). In 1973 abortion was legalized for all women as a right to privacy (Roe v. Wade).

The Supreme Court has a huge influence on our culture.

These court decisions set laws in place that made sex available to men without commitment or shared responsibility. This is not what God intended. God designed the family and the bond between husband and wife.

In the Bible Jesus reiterates the sacredness of marriage. When Jesus was asked about divorce he said this:

“Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, Therefore shall a man leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”         Matthew 19: 4-6

Some people viewed contraception as necessary to avoid over population. Some people of faith thought that contraception would improve marriages and the care of children. The Bible does not specifically mention contraception, but the word itself is against life.

A couple can deepen their relationship by talking about sex  and  the   potential for pregnancy.  With contraception a woman may feel that she has to be always available.   Sex can be a self-centered act  instead of    affirming the sacred bond of marriage.

What about when we look at the big picture? What has changed?

Failure of contraception led to the “need” for abortion.   The rate of    abortion has increased over time. Millions of babies have been killed in their mother’s womb. Women have been wounded by abortion. The rate of divorce has increased. The number of children born out of wedlock has increased. Women’s health has been impacted by hormonal contraception. And respect for women?

Our human remedies may fail us. We need to seek God’s ways. This text states a hard truth.

For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools . . . Romans 1:21-22

The current political mud slinging should cause us to pause. We have God’s remedy for the moral descent that is going on.

If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.       2 Chronicles 7:14

God heals us if we turn to Him.

Bless the Lord , O my soul, and forget not all his benefits,
Who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases.
Psalm 103:2-3

Prayer:  Lord God, my human nature leads me to seek my own way.     Forgive my sins and guide me in the path of life. I praise you because you are my redeemer and healer.

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Is Birth a Human Rights Issue?

The first debate between Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump left me with a sense of incompleteness. Some of the questions posed by the moderator had little relevance to current issues in the United States. After the debate I wrote a letter that was published on the editorial page of our     local newspaper. Here is the text of my letter:

During the first presidential debate the topic of abortion did not come up. Neither candidate was asked about taxpayer funding for Planned Parenthood. I was thinking about this when I opened the current issue of Midwifery Today. The theme of the issue is: Birth Is A Human Rights Issue.

I wonder if we have lost sight of mothers and their infants in the attention that has been placed on the provision of contraception and abortion.

The article written by Jan Tritten quotes a point listed under Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (United Nations 1948):      Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection.

Some would like us to believe that the most important issue for women is the freedom to have an abortion.   Is anyone paying attention to        maternal/infant morbidity and mortality? Why is the United States one of the few countries where the maternal death rate is increasing?

More attention needs to be directed at healthy choices that support life. Countries that have a greater percentage of midwives have better outcomes. Many states in the U.S. have limited the practice of midwives. In Illinois midwives have been fighting for legislation that would license them to attend homebirths.

Healthy women want to have the option of giving birth at home with a midwife.

Recently a law that requires pregnancy care centers to offer referrals to abortion clinics (SB 1564) was signed into law in Illinois. This law strips away the conscience rights of health care workers. I hope this law is challenged. In the meantime I think abortion clinics should have the same standard. They [clinics like Planned Parenthood] should be legally required to offer referrals to pregnancy care centers.

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Is Medical Research Supporting Planned Parenthood?

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For the past five months I have been studying the book of Acts. The book provides a picture of  the early church,  the work of the Holy    Spirit and the challenges that believers faced.

Times and circumstances are different now, but the challenges are similar. When we pursue truth we will encounter pushback. The 19th chapter of Acts records a confrontation between silver craftsmen and the Apostle Paul.

About that time there arose no little disturbance concerning the Way. For a man named Demetrius, a silversmith, brought no little business to the craftsmen. These he gathered together, with the workmen in similar trades, and said, “Men, you know that from this business we have our wealth. And you see and hear that not only in Ephesus but in almost all of Asia this Paul has persuaded and turned away a great many people, saying that gods made with hands are not gods. And there is danger not only that this trade of ours may come into disrepute but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis may be counted as nothing, and that she may even be counted as nothing, and that she may even be deposed from her magnificence, she whom all Asia and the world worship.” Acts 19: 23-27

Is medical research supporting planned parenthood?
Planned Parenthood in Houston Texas: photo via wikimedia

Planned Parenthood has enjoyed a profitable business in our country, promising women their independence and control over reproduction. The organization receives tax dollars for women’s health. Recently some little known truths began to emerge when videos showed that Planned Parenthood is willing to provide baby parts for purchase.  With a little research I discovered that the interest in aborted fetuses for the purpose of research dates back to the legalization of abortion. On another post I wrote:

In 1950 Finland legalized abortion. Socialized medicine paid for the abortions; research provided a return on the investment.

In the past week Alliance Defending Freedom reported that the Planned Parenthood clinic in Madison, Wisconsin is selling baby parts to the University of Wisconsin. ADF obtained documents through the freedom of information act. Read the press release here. I know that the University of Michigan is doing embryonic stem cell research. Are they buying baby parts too?

Medical research is enshrined in this country. We want answers. We want to eradicate all infectious disease. Should the life of innocent pre-born babies provide for the health of others—and does it even work? How does this fit with God’s design for human life?

In this twisted culture we have a spiritual battle  going on.    The       producers of the videos, showing abortion and the planned sale of body parts, are being indicted. Planned Parenthood gets a pass.  The      abortion industry has deep roots, people that support it for their own profit.

Pray for our country. Pray for truth to prevail. Pray for all innocent life to be protected.

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UPDATE: LifeNews.com has an article that details the sale of fetal tissue–and the tax dollars that support research that utilizes fetal body parts. Click here.

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Why I Participate in the March for Life

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Sunday is the March for Life in Chicago. For the past three years I have participated in the march that takes place in my community. This year our community is joining the Chicago March for Life. I wasn’t sure that I wanted to ride the bus into Chicago, and so I have thought about this. Why do I participate?

As a nurse I believe with my whole heart that abortion is damaging to women. Early in my career I refused to participate in an abortion that took place in the hospital where I was employed. Besides the fact that medical people were killing a  human  being,  I felt that our unit had insufficient resources to help a woman through the emotional impact.

The story of Hagar in the Bible has always caused me to pause and muse on God’s  care for a single woman who became pregnant–through Sarai’s plan to achieve a child. Twice an angel was sent to rescue Hagar.

Painting by Francesco Cozza
Painting by Francesco Cozy

The angel of the Lord found her by a spring of water in the wilderness, the spring on the way to Shur. And he said, “Hagar, servant of Sarai, where have you come from and where are you going?” She said, “I am fleeing from my mistress Sarai.” The angel of the Lord said to her, “Return to your mistress and submit to her.” The angel of the Lord also said to her, “I will surely multiply your offspring so that they cannot be numbered for multitude” . . .  

So she called the name of the Lord who spoke to her, “You are a God of seeing,” for she said, “Truly here I have seen him who looks after me.” Genesis 16:7-10, 13

Later when Hagar’s son was about seventeen years old, Hagar was sent away by Sarai and Abraham. She and the boy were out of water in the desert and an angel directed her to a well. The Bible demonstrates God’s care for all women, in all circumstances. As Christians we can be God’s hands.

One of the arguments for abortion is that if we defund Planned Parenthood women will have unsafe abortions. And yet many of Planned Parenthood’s clinics do not meet the safety standards for a surgical center.

I  recently read a study  that  was  done in  Chile  after they  made  abortion illegal. Did  hospital admissions  for abortion complications  increase or decrease?  Hospital admissions decreased and maternal mortality decreased. Chile has better statistics on maternal mortality than the United States! You can read the article here.

World Magazine includes an interview with an obstetrician. She was asked about rape victims. Would she perform an abortion for a rape victim? She shared an experience that she had with a teenager that was pregnant by incest. Here is what she said:

So we talked with the girl and her family. She said, ‘Oh, you mean you’d kill the baby? I don’t want to kill the baby. No, no, no. I just want you to stop Grandpa from hurting me.” . . .

When you say there is a pregnancy as a result of incest, there’s usually some horrible abuse that must be diagnosed and treated.  To kill  the   victim doesn’t really treat the crime.*

I am not in favor of protests in front of an abortion clinic. I am glad that for the most part the approach has changed to prayer and sidewalk counseling. Clinics like Informed Choices and Caris, in my area, provide support for women that are pregnant and in a difficult place or life situation.

The Christian community can do more.   Women that are single       parents need help. Children in foster care need to be adopted. We can all increase our attentiveness to women and children in need.

UPDATE: The cold temperature in Chicago and wind chill factor predicted for tomorrow is going to be hazardous. Prayer for this event is welcomed!

SUNDAY: We encountered brutal wind chill but all were in good spirits and the march went well!

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Camilla Hersh, “The Happiness Specialist”, World Magazine, January 23, 2016, p. 29

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The Uncomfortable Truth About Vaccine Research

 

vaccines

Gut wrenching videos. Do you wonder what kind of research requires live baby parts? The barbaric procedures we have seen in undercover videos did not happen overnight. Biological research has been taking place for years with ever increasing boldness. I was shocked when I came across a link to a Finnish research article that detailed experimentation with live fetuses during abortions.

In the past I have expressed pride in my Finnish heritage. But medical research culled from abortion? I am saddened. In 1950 Finland legalized abortion. Socialized medicine paid for the abortions; research provided a return on the investment.

A research paper titled, “Development of Mammalian Sulfur Metabolism”, was published in Pediatric Research in 1972.  It details an experiment performed on live fetuses, just prior to the termination of their life. The purpose of the study was to track the metabolism of amino acids—requiring that the fetus live for 10 minutes beyond the injection of a solution into the umbilical cord. This study was designed to assist in the production of infant formula.

The article states: We have therefore examined the development of the transsulfuration pathway in 58 human fetuses obtained at therapeutic abortion during approximately the 2nd-6th month of gestation and in liver from 5 full term and 3 prematurely born infants.

The article goes on to explain the procedure that was used on live fetuses lifted from the uterus during a surgical procedure (hysterotomy): For “in vivo” experiments, each fetus immediately after removal from the uterus was injected with . . . [a specific solution]. All injections were made into the umbilical vein through a short Teflon catheter which was then rinsed with 0.2 ml 0.9% NaCl; the whole cord was clamped on the fetal side of the point of entry of the catheter to prevent blood loss during the experiment. After 10 min, the cord was severed close to the fetus, and as much blood as possible was collected into a tube which contained heparin as anticoagulant. The fetal organs were quickly removed and dropped into liquid nitrogen. The plasma and organs were prepared for amino acid analysis as described previously [26]  Click here to access the article.

This was not the only research being conducted through abortions. I did a little more searching. Timo Vesikari writes about his participation in vaccine development in an article titled, “From Rubella to Rotavirus, and Beyond”.* Here is an excerpt from the abstract:

Next, in late 1966, I was incredibly lucky to meet Antti Vaheri (later Professor of Virology) who had just returned to Finland from the Wistar Institute in Philadelphia with all the latest knowledge in rubella research. . . . Live attenuated rubella vaccines were being developed and the leading candidate was HP-77 high passage virus from NIH. An important open question was whether the live attenuated vaccine would cross placenta same way as wild type rubella virus. The crucial study was to be done in Finland, away from potentially damaging publicity in the US, with Dr. Fred Robbins, a Nobel Laureate, as godfather of the project. Under the seniors I was to do much of the work: vaccinate pregnant women prescreened to be seronegative for rubella and scheduled to have a legal abortion a week or two later. The plan was to isolate rubella (vaccine) virus from the products of conception [the baby] and, in fact, we succeeded in doing that.

Vaccine research continues. According to a table that is available here, twenty-one vaccines indicate a line of fetal cells in their preparation. The terms that identify a line of fetal cells, from individual fetuses are: WI-38, MRC-5, HEK-293, PER C6, Procell92, RA273. I believe that it takes experiments from many abortions to achieve one line of live cells.

I am not against scientific research that provides medical treatment, but we need to have boundaries on what is ethical. We shouldn’t being killing children of the next generation to provide vaccines that may or may not prevent an infectious disease.

I hope you will join with me in praying for our members of congress. We must demand that they look at research practices, defund planned parenthood and review the manner in which vaccines are produced along with the risks and benefits. Pray for the women that have been traumatized by abortion. Pray for the children.

For more about the MMR vaccine (which contains rubella derived from fetal cells), click here.

UPDATE: A scientist speaks up against the use of fetal tissue in research.             Click here.

UPDATE: A new line of fetal cells for the purpose of making vaccines, has been developed from more abortions.  Click here.

Psalm 139

 

*Vesikari, Timo, M.D., PhD., “From Rubella to Rotavirus and Beyond”, Human Vaccines & Immunotherapies, vol. 11, issue 6, 2015 pp. 1302-1305.

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Miscarriage and Abortion

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Have compassion on me, Lord, for I am weak.  Heal me, Lord, for my body is in agony.   Psalm 6:2  NLT

The reality of abortion is before us. The videotapes taken undercover show barbaric practices. What about the women that received abortions? Did they suffer? In the fifth video one of the abortion clinic workers affirms that the women receive conscious sedation but sometimes it doesn’t cover the pain—the patient may not be cooperative for a good collection of the fetus.

I recalled an experience that I had as a nurse in the hospital. My patient experienced a miscarriage. At sixteen weeks gestation, the infant had died in the womb.  The mother had experienced wrenching physical and emotional pain as she labored.   She had moaned, tossing and turning in bed.   As her nurse, I had given morphine ordered by the doctor, but it had not covered the pain.  After eight exhausting hours the body of the tiny girl baby was delivered.

We wrapped the baby in a blanket and after the mother held her, I made the memorial card. I held the tiny feet gently, applied ink and made footprints on the bereavement card—a memorial to the life of a baby girl and one aspect of bereavement care provided at the hospital.

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At the nurse’s station, a doctor was explaining various medications that he had used to abort pregnancies.  He talked about the abortion process and it struck me that women going through abortion may have experienced the same misery that I had just witnessed.   The difference was that they did not receive bereavement care.  Women went home from the hospital or clinic quietly. The experience may have been traumatic and done in secret.

Health care has physical, emotional and spiritual aspects. That is what I learned in nursing school in the 1970s. Whether a woman experiences a miscarriage or an abortion, it is traumatic. It is helpful if she can talk about it. Our God is merciful and compassionate.  He is able to bring healing. As believers we can affirm life, acknowledge loss and speak truth in love.  We can reach out to hurting women and tell them about God’s love and compassion.

Here are some specific ways to help.

1.  Support your local pregnancy care center. In the Chicago area we have Informed Choices, Caris and Care-Net.

2.  If you know a woman that has had an abortion or miscarriage be willing to come alongside her and listen. Let her know that God loves her.

3. Some of the pregnancy care centers provide post-abortion counseling. Rachel’s Vineyard offers a retreat for women that have had an abortion.

4. The bill to defund Planned Parenthood, sponsored by Joni Ernst, provides funds for women’s health though other health providers. Continue to contact your senators and congressmen, asking them to defund Planned Parenthood.

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