Wednesday, 31 October 2007

Humorous Journal Article

Here is a link to another blog of mine, which then links you to an article from the British Medical Journal. The article applies the concept of evidence based medicine to what appears to be a 'no-brainer' intervention.


Pope Calls for Conscientious Objection by Pharmacists

The Holy Father has weighed in on the controversy concerning Catholic pharmacists dispensing contraceptives and abortifacients.

Vatican, Oct. 29, 2007 ( - Catholic pharmacists should not be involved in the distribution of drugs designed to cause abortion or euthanasia, Pope Benedict XVI (bio - news) said on October 29.

In a short talk to members of the International Federation of Catholic Pharmacists, the Holy Father urged the group to be sensitive to "the ethical implications of the use of particular drugs."

Specifically, the Pope said, "we cannot anesthetize consciences as regards, for example, the effect of certain molecules that have the goal of preventing the implantation of the embryo or shortening a person's life."

Sunday, 28 October 2007

Catholic Physicians Encouraged To Apply Their Faith

From Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory in Atlanta:

ATLANTA—Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory reminded Catholic physicians and healthcare workers attending the 76th annual Catholic Medical Association conference that they should strive to be “Catholic first” in a profession that often challenges church wisdom.

Long-held classical and biblical ideals of reason and freedom have been “trumped” by modern notions of “self-determination” and “self-creation,” “deeply invad(ing) the medical profession in our culture,” explained Archbishop Gregory in closing remarks to about 300 doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals from the United States, Canada, Chile and Zimbabwe gathered in Atlanta for the conference held Oct. 3-6 at the JW Marriott Hotel in Buckhead.

From the Catholic perspective, “our freedom finds itself in surrender to the objectivity of the values that God has placed within the body and within nature,” he said.

Tuesday, 23 October 2007

Womens' Conference Assailed for Pro-abortion Tilt

From EWTN News:

The global conference Women Deliver failed in its objective of finding ways to reduce maternal mortality and morbidity, reported various participating humanitarian organizations dedicated to the woman, family and the protection of life.

Several participating agencies objected to the pro-abortion agenda:

The letter's signatories noted that numerous U.N. reports, such as "The World's Women 2005: Progress in Statistics," "have concluded that accurate data about maternal mortality, including abortion, are not available, especially for the developing world. Therefore, the presentation of unsubstantiated and unreliable data on illegal abortion as fact can only be seen as a deliberate attempt to mislead the conferees and the international community."

"To assert that 'unsafe abortions' are only those that are illegal, and to subsequently imply that legal abortion is therefore safe, is both disingenuous and scientifically flawed," they wrote. "The consistent assertions that improvements in the maternal mortality rate are dependent on the promotion of legal abortion not only diverts attention from the urgent need for basic heath care, skilled birth attendants and emergency obstetrics, it threatens to undermine the field of obstetrics and gynecology if implemented on a wide scale."

The letter concludes with a call to "the conference partners to focus on basic health care, skilled attendants and emergency obstetrics, which have been the key to decreasing maternal mortality in the developed world, instead of exploiting the tragedy of maternal mortality to promote abortion rights."

Saturday, 20 October 2007

Failure of Sex Ed in California

According to EWTN News:

According to a study published last month in the Californian Journal of Health Promotion, there were 1.1 million new cases of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) among young Californians in 2005, the California Catholic reports.

The figure is ten times higher than previously believed. If the study is accurate, diseases such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, HPV, and HIV now infect almost one out of four Californians in the 15-24 age group.

The authors believe that their figures are underestimated because of incomplete screening of sexually active young people and failures in follow-up testing.

The California Department of Education reports that 96 percent of California school districts provide comprehensive sexual health education. All California schools have been required to teach HIV/AIDS prevention since 1992.

Linda Klepacki, sexual health analyst for Focus on the Family Action, thought the dramatic increase was unsurprising. "California has insisted on teaching contraceptive-based sex education in their schools all along. They expect teens to be sexually active. They don’t raise the health standard to abstinence… It's clear California supports sexually active teens, and STI rates will naturally explode with these policies," she wrote in an on-line press release.

Plan B, the so-called "morning-after pill," could be another factor contributing to the increase in STIs. Sexually transmitted infections soared in the British Isles when Plan B was made available without prescription in 2000. California was one of the first states to permit the sale of Plan B over-the-counter without an age limit.

Saturday, 6 October 2007

More on Connecticut and Plan B

The National Catholic Bioethics Center has issued a statement regarding the Connecticut bishops' decision regarding "Plan B" in Catholic hospitals.

NCBC Statement on Connecticut Legislation
Regarding Treatment for Victims of Sexual Assault

October 3, 2007

Recently the Bishops of Connecticut permitted a protocol in Catholic hospitals for the treatment of victims of sexual assault. This action on the part of the Connecticut bishops received national attention and requires some commentary. This is a complex moral matter and does not lend itself to brief explanation. This difficulty was rendered all the worse by inaccurate reporting and inappropriate, indeed misleading, terminology.

Catholic hospitals have always provided contraception for the victims of sexual assault. This was usually done with a medication or medications which would prevent ovulation. If an egg is not released from the ovary, the victim cannot become pregnant. There was a difficulty here, however, because some medications appear to have a negative effect on the lining of the womb that might prevent an implantation of a new human embryo if one is engendered as a result of the assault. This would amount to an early medical abortion that would not be allowed.

In light of these facts, two protocols were generally developed and approved by bishops. One protocol allowed for no use of a medication for contraceptive purposes because it might have an abortive effect.

Another more commonly used protocol tried to take into account the variety of circumstances surrounding a sexual assault in such a way as to allow the use of a contraceptive medication – if it truly worked as a contraceptive.

The document concludes:

In matters that have not yet been decided definitively by the Holy See, The National Catholic Bioethics Center has refrained from adopting one or another position on a disputed question. However, in the matter of protocols for sexual assault, there is virtual unanimity that an ovulation test should be administered before giving an anovulant medication. The protocol the NCBC has supported requires the ovulation test because it provides greater medical and moral certitude that the intervention will have its desired anovulatory effect. The NCBC objects strongly to state mandates, such as those passed by Connecticut and Massachusetts, that do not allow health care professionals and facilities to exercise their best medical judgment and which do not protect the consciences of all parties. We also object to state mandates that do not allow the victim of sexual assault to have all the information necessary for a medical intervention so that she might make an informed judgment. However, the NCBC understands the judgment of the Connecticut bishops that the administration of a contraceptive medication in the absence of an ovulation test is not an intrinsically evil act. However, it is immoral to violate one’s conscience, including the corporate consciences of health care agencies, and the unwillingness of the state to allow an exemption of conscience makes the law unjust and onerous.

Wednesday, 3 October 2007

Did You Take The Hippocratic Oath?

You may have taken the unadulterated oath when you graduated, but medical school graduates today may opt to "improve" upon the ancient wisdom. According to Second Hand Smoke, today the oath has been watered down to accommodate today's medical "ethics."

When I tell lay audiences that most doctors no longer take the Hippocratic Oath, which clears the way to permit some to engage in (now formerly) unprofessional acts (e.g., sex with patients) and still call themselves ethical, they are stunned and appalled. They know that the Oath was one of their best protections against abuse. Too bad Conis can't understand that simple truth and apparently embraces the ongoing deconstruction of professionalism that is afflicting our society in medicine, science, law, journalism, academia, and other areas of important endeavor.

Tuesday, 2 October 2007

More on Connecticut Bishops and "Plan B"


In an interview with Feldman [spokesman for the bishops] displayed a fundamental error in thinking around Plan B. He suggested that the "morning after pill" which was condemned by the Pontifical Academy for Life in 2000 was entirely different from "emergency contraception" such as Plan B which was now being permitted in Catholic hospitals for rape victims after the administration of a pregnancy test.

Asked if he was familiar with the Vatican document issued in the year 2000 on the Morning After Pill, Feldman responded, "Yes I am."

That document available from the Vatican website ( here:; ) refers to the morning after pill as "a well-known chemical product (of the hormonal type) which has frequently - even in the past week - been presented by many in the field and by the mass media as a mere contraceptive or, more precisely, as an 'emergency contraceptive', which can be used within a short time after a presumably fertile act of sexual intercourse."

The Pontifical Academy for Life voiced a clear prohibition on the use of the morning after pill. "Consequently, from the ethical standpoint the same absolute unlawfulness of abortifacient procedures also applies to distributing, prescribing and taking the morning-after pill," said the document. "All who, whether sharing the intention or not, directly co-operate with this procedure are also morally responsible for it."

Seems to me that if the bishops believe that they are correct on this issue, they should be out front addressing the "flock." Gentleman, with all due respect, get a spine.