The Culture of Life - a New approach
Opinion by Sondra Jonson
Special to the McCook Gazette
How do we build a culture of life?
While our country is divided on the justice of legal abortion, most Americans agree that abortion is a radical and traumatic procedure that should be seldom used.
Attitudes may differ on feminism, yet most of us agree that the "hook-up" trend among our youth is injurious to both their physical and mental health.
The rise of Planned Parenthood and easy access to contraceptives have not cured or diminished the social problems that challenge American society: out-of-wedlock births; spread of STD's; high divorce rate; rising porn industry; and emotional instability among our youth. In each of these areas, the statistics are escalating rather than decreasing.
Perhaps it's time to take a fresh approach to the turmoil that seems to plague our 21st century community. Perhaps we can encourage healing by addressing the very foundation of our society -- the marriage relationship and how we welcome or do not welcome new life.
In the sophistication of modern science, we have the unique ability to plan if and when we will open our lives to children. The concept of "planning" has been elevated to a virtue, but it has had the unforeseen consequence of reducing a child to a "choice." Despite our best intentions, we have unwittingly robbed children of their mystery and miracle. We have forgotten that it is not we, but God who plans and creates life. We may talk about "unplanned pregnancy," but to God there is not a single unplanned soul.
This veiled ambivalence towards fertility and the conception of children is neither unnoticed nor unfelt by our youth. Quick to pick up on their parents' attitudes, they perceive from a young age their place in the parents' plan and timetable. The subtle message that a child was 'chosen' by the parents rather than 'received' from God has changed the very fabric of our society.
In a 1939 essay, Mahatma Ghandi spoke about this very issue and the coming corrosion of society that would result from contraception dominating human fertility:
"(The) sex urge has been isolated from the desire for progeny, and it is said by protagonists of the use of contraceptives that conception is an accident to be prevented except when the parties desire to have children.
......Marriage loses its sanctity when its purpose and highest use is conceived to be the satisfaction of the animal passion without contemplating the natural result of such satisfaction. I have no doubt that those learned men and women who are carrying on propaganda with missionary zeal in favor of their use of contraceptives, are doing irreparable harm to the youth of the world......The greatest harm, however, done by the propaganda lies in its rejection of the old ideal and substitution in its place of one which, if carried out, must spell the moral and physical extinction of the race.
...God has blessed man with seed that has the highest potency and women with a field richer than the richest earth to be found anywhere on this globe. Surely it is criminal folly for man to allow his most precious possession to run to waste. And so is a woman guilty of criminal folly who will receive the seed in her life-producing field with the deliberate intention of letting it run to waste."
In an even earlier warning, Aldous Huxley's 1932 novel, "Brave New World," paints an eerily accurate portrait of our current culture: babies viewed as burdens or even "punishment;" pregnancy categorized as disease; human embryos conceived in Petri dishes then product-tested and often discarded; unborn babies aborted at all stages of development; and sex equated with casual entertainment.
As Huxley foresaw, the intricate control we now have over our fertility, rather than rendering us a braver, finer society, has left us a more callous, less courageous, and less generous community. And as always when society takes a wrong turn, the greatest injury is to our youth.
The question remains -- How do we build a culture of life? How can we heal such a pervasive societal disorder, and is healing even possible? This issue, so fundamental to parents, children and family, will need to be addressed at its most elemental level -- the nuclear family.
Can we consider with fresh vision our great gift and responsibility of generating and nurturing new life? Can we shed our fears of a growing family? When the need to postpone pregnancy is truly necessary, can we embrace periodic abstinence (natural family planning) rather than chemicals, medications, implants and plastics?
Can we foster in our young people a new dignity and respect for themselves and their role in our lives and in their world? Rather than encouraging them to sexual experimentation and systematic corrosion of their inner dignity and identity, let us help them understand the privilege they will one day have of conceiving new life within the sacred relationship of marriage.
Again, Ghandi's words pierce the heart of the matter: "It was reserved for our generation to glorify vice by calling it virtue. The greatest disservice protagonists of contraceptives are rendering to the youth of today is to fill their minds with what appears to me to be wrong ideology.
Let the young men and women who hold their destiny in their hands beware of this false god and guard the treasure with which God has blessed them and use it, if they wish, for the only purpose for which it is intended."
Ghandi may have been a "voice crying in the wilderness." Today, in what appears a sea of sterility and degradation, he echoes the words of scripture which proclaim, "Be not afraid; Children are a gift; Be fruitful and multiply; and Choose life!"
Gene O. Morris
Thumbs Up to Business Correspondent
The result of 38 years of clinical research, the system educates women about their fertility cycles, thereby helping them to avoid or achieve pregnancy through daily charting of their menstrual and fertility cycles.
"It is an all natural, completely safe and morally good system," says Sister Renee Mirkes, who is the Director of the Center for NaProEthics at the Pope Paul VI Institute in Omaha.
Sister Renee, who recently spoke at a Theology on Tap gathering at the Bieroc Cafe in McCook, said one of the most wonderful effects of Natural Procreation Technology is the close bond it builds between couples.
"The Creighton Model FertilityCare System of NaProTechnology is now in use all over the world, with fertility care practitioners serving on every continent," Sister Renee said.
The list of Fertility Care practitioners includes Kate Siegfried, a Registered Nurse from McCook. Fortunately for this area, Kate had already achieved certification as a FertilityCare practitioner when she and her husband, Ben, and their young family moved to McCook in 2010.
Now Kate serves clients in Southwest Nebraska as well as in the Garden City, Kan. area, where the Siegfrieds formerly lived.
"The bonding that takes place between couples who embrace the Creighton Model FertilityCare System is inspirational," Kate says. "The statistics show the powerful effect of using a natural method to plan a family, the divorce rate is less than 5 percent for couples who devote themselves to a natural system." That's amazing, especially when you consider that the national divorce rate percentage is close to 50 percent.
In the Creighton Model FertilityCare System, women monitor several different biological markers, including menstrual flow, mucus flow and dry days. The charting, which takes just a few minutes daily, is the key to understanding the biomarkers which indicate times of fertility and infertility.
Also of great importance, the daily charting helps pinpoint abnormalities in a woman's health.
Kate Siegfried, who was introduced to the Creighton Model of NaPro Technology in church counseling sessions before marriage to Ben, is grateful for the difference it has made in Ben's and her life and that of their family, which now includes Jack, 7; Ellie, 5; and Sam, 2.
"It has been very special to work with couples both here and in the Garden City area," she said. "It is particularly uplifting when the fertility care sessions help childless couples conceive. The charting is also of great benefit in detecting medical problems, such as endometriosis."
This is shown by statistical studies of NaProTechnology. Among the results are the following.
* Multiple pregnancy (triplet, quadruplets, etc.) rates are 10 times lower than the national average. With artificial reproductive technology, multiple pregnancies happen quite regularly, leading doctors to either suggest selective abortions to decrease the numbers, or babies born with increased medical needs.
* There is a success rate of 95 percent in the treatment of premenstrual syndrome;
* It is nearly three times more successful than in-vitro fertilization in assisting infertile couples, and:
* There is a success rate of 95 percent for treating postpartum depression.
As a Fertility Care Practitioner, Kate is available to serve members of all faiths. For more information, those interested may call Kate Siegfried, R.N., at 308-345-5812, or they may e-mail her at email@example.com.
For more information on Creighton Model FertilityCare System and NaProTechnology you can visit fertilitycare.org.