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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Midwife Care versus Planned Parenthood

L of L

Two questions that are facing our nation and our state  could  be    connected. Should our tax dollars go to Planned Parenthood?  Will   Illinois certify Professional Midwives (CPMs) to provide home birth care? A number of states do recognize CPMs, but not all. In some states they can bill medicaid for home birth care.

In the United States we have three designations for midwives: Direct Entry who are apprentice trained;  Certified Professional Midwives who have taken courses, are apprentice trained and certified;         Certified Nurse Midwives who have completed a masters program in midwifery and almost exclusively practice in the hospital or in birth centers.   Hospital birth and home birth are different and require     different approaches to care. CPMs are skilled in attending home birth.

In the past I have written about my experience with home birth. After working in hospital labor delivery units for many years—beginning at Hutzel Hospital in Detroit in 1972—I made the surprising decision to sign on to a home birth practice (never thought I would do this). For four years I took weekend call as the birth nurse, attending women in labor, in their home.  A doctor or a CNM came for the  birth.  This    practice closed and attendants for home birth in Illinois are very few.

I attended 66 labors, 61 of which birth took place at home, 5 were transferred to the hospital. Through this experience my understanding of birth expanded. I was consistently attending women all the way through labor, birth and recovery.

Midwives and Birth
photo credit: T. Adriaenssen

All of the skills that I had taught as a Lamaze instructor were easier to include in the home setting. Women were more intuitive about working with their body. Interventions were fewer.

It was very important to carefully observe the progress of labor and recognize risk factors. An observant birth attendant could tell when transfer to the hospital was advisable. Unlike the hospital, where the use of medications, surgical rupture of membranes, a stationary position in bed and anesthesia pumps could set off a sudden emergency, problems became apparent gradually in the home. There was enough time to make a transfer to the hospital. Certification of  professional midwives at the state level could insure that midwives had the skills necessary for home birth.

What maternity care needs is a good communicating system between home birth attendants and hospital staff. Fear of a negative reception at the hospital sometimes leads to a delay in transfer to the hospital. Receiving a home birth patient in crisis can upset hospital staff– but on the other hand they are equipped to handle emergencies. The fear of lawsuits hovers over doctors.

But we should solve this. Midwives are focused on women’s health. They have more opportunities to teach and provide hands on care for women. Doctors are often balancing a very full schedule with minimal time with the patient,  I learned so much  about  the  women  I    attended by seeing them in their home setting. Midwives will bring the cost of maternity care down  and  improve the establishment of       successful breastfeeding.

Instead of putting tax dollars to work at Planned Parenthood,  let’s use the money to invest in health clinics  and  to increase  midwifery    services. CNMs that primarily work in the hospital could do a rotation in home birth, learning from CPMs. CPMs could do a rotation in the hospital with CNMs.  The legislature could work on tort reform  and   relieve doctors from the constant fear of lawsuits.

What can we do to move this forward?

  • Call or e-mail your Senators and House Rep., asking them to defund Planned Parenthood.
  • If you live in Illinois call or e-mail your House Rep. and ask him to support the House Bill, HB 4341.
  • You may also want to visit the website of Women Speak for Themselves. Not all women think that the government should provide funding for abortion.

Midwives and Birth

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Is Medical Research Supporting Planned Parenthood?

L of L

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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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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