Wednesday, December 28, 2005

New Study Shows Drinking Tea May Reduce Risk of Developing Ovarian Cancer

A new study has found that tea-drinkers may reduce their risks of developing ovarian cancer by almost half.

The Karolinska Instutite conducted the study, revealing that middle-age women who drink two or more cups of green or black tea every day are likely to cut their chances of developing epithelial ovarian cancer by 46 percent. And each additional cup could lower the risk by another 18 percent.

While Dr. Susanna C. Larsson and her colleagues do admit that additional factors come into play, (ex. tea drinkers were also more prone to be more health conscious in general) the prevalence of the findings are too significant to simply dismiss. “The dose-reponse relationship for tea consumption with ovarian cancer risk makes chance less likely.” says Larsson.

Ovarian cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer death for women in the U.S. Only 30 percent of women diagnosed with ovarian cancer survive beyond five years.

H/T to Vanessa at Feministing

Original Comments Made for This Entry:
CatS. wrote on 12-27-2006
Hi Rachael. Thank you for the good info. I suppose I should put my tea kettle to use more:)

Friday, December 23, 2005

Adverse Prenatal Diagnosis & Maternal Health Conditions Information and Support

It's not an easy time for you. You suspect that something's wrong with your pregnancy or baby, and maybe you've had a positive test, which only confirm your fears. Or perhaps you're here seeking out information and/or help for a friend or relative. Here you'll find a wealth of resources and information to educate, empower, and support you. Take a deep breath, try to relax, and then learn everything you can about your situation.

About Prenatal Testing and General Information:

American Pregnancy Association: Birth Defects
Education on diagnosis, prevention, causes, and treatment to help families manage birth defects.

American Pregnancy Association: Prenatal Testing

StorkNet: Pregnancy Complications

Association of Birth Defect Research for Children, Inc.
The Association of Birth Defect Children (ABDC) is a non-profit organization, started by parents in 1982, which provides information and support to parents of children with birth defects.
930 Woodcock Road
Suite 225
Orlando, FL 32803
Tel: 407-895-0802
800-313-ABDC (2232)
Fax: 407-895-0824

Specific Disabilitities/Illness Information:

Absence of Corpus Callosum:
Agenesis of the Corpus Callosum means a complete or partial absence of the bridge between the left and right sides of the brain. In and of itself, the corpus callosum is not necessary for life or health, but conditions associated with ACC can lead to serious medical problems including abnormalities of cerebrospinal fluid or mental retardation. Some individuals will have mild symptoms while others may be severely restricted in their daily life. Treatment is supportive and corrective and can help these individuals reach their full developmental potential, with early educational intervention and special education services in the school, in-home education and support services for the family, behavioral therapy, medication, physical therapy, and occupational therapy as needed, and correctional and supportive treatment of physical abnormalities.

National Organization of Disorders of the Corpus Callosum

Amniotic Band Syndrome:
Amniotic Band Syndrome refers to abnormalities caused by fibrous strands that can entangle or confine developing parts of the fetus. These strands are believed to arise from membranes that form outside the placenta. Symptoms associated with Amniotic Band Syndrome include limb or skull abnormalities, cleft lip/palate, scoliosis, and other, more complex abnormalities. The treatment is supportive with physical therapy, occupational therapy, orthopedic instruments, and when necessary, surgery. Most individuals will have a normal lifespan.

Amniotic Band Syndrome
Acardiac Twinning (TRAP):

Anencephaly, Encephalocele, Hydrocephaly, Spina Bifida, and Related Conditions:
Anencephaly is a type of neural tube defect (NTD). Babies with anencephaly have major portions of the brain, the skull, and the scalp missing. They usually have normal bodies and functioning organs. The child may be born stillborn or the presence of a brain stem may keep the organs operating for a period of time, and the child may live anywhere from days to weeks, however the condition is ultimately terminal.

Encephalocele is a birth defect that results in a hole in the skull through which brain tissue protrudes. Other abnormalities often occur with encephaloceles. These may include hydrocephalus (excessive fluid in the brain), mirocephaly (abnormally small head), paralysis of the arms and legs, seizures, developmental delays, mental and growth retardation, and/or vision problems. Treatment is supportive and corrective and can help these individuals reach their full developmental potential, with early educational intervention and special education services in the school, in-home education and support services for the family, behavioral therapy, medication, physical therapy, and occupational therapy as needed, and correctional and supportive treatment of physical abnormalities.

Hydrocephalus is an abnormal build up of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) in the brain that causes ventricles to enlarge and the pressure inside the head to increase. Hydrocephalus occurs when there is an imbalance in the amount of CSF being produced and absorbed. Hydrocephalus is treated by surgically placing a shunt in the brain, which drains into the abdomen, where the excess fluid is then reasorbed. Most individuals with this condition will have a normal lifespan and lead normal lives.

Anencephaly Blessings from Above
A pro-life anencephaly support group. A christian forum to encourage and support families whose baby has been newly diagnosed; who are currently carrying a baby to term or have carried a baby to term; who are considering, in the midst of, or having experienced a subsequent pregnancy; and any others who have been touched by anencephaly - parents, relatives, professionals, or friends who wish to share their stories and support. This forum respects the sanctity of life from conception to natural death.

Anencephaly Support Foundation
Non-profit support organization with information, personal stories, and resources for families, parents, and medical professionals.
Tel: 888-206-7526

A comprehensive website of of parents stories, medical information, support, and resources

Faith Hope
A diagnosis of anencephaly has not stopped this young single mom from embracing every day, every moment, of her child's life, who lived beyond birth with this condition. A wonderful story of hope and encouragement for other mothers experiencing this devastating diagnosis.

Hydrocephalus Organization
Non-profit support and advocacy group information on resources and education for families and individuals.
870 Market Street, Suite 705
San Francisco, CA 94102
Tel: (415) 732-7040 or toll-free (888) 598-3789

Spina Bifida Association
Voluntary health agency dedicated to support, education, advocacy, research and service
4590 MacArthur Boulevard, NW
Washington , DC 20007
Phone: 202-944-3285
Toll Free: 800-621-3141
Fax: 202-944-3295

Anophtalmia/Microphtalmia (absent or small eyes):
Anophtalmia means that one or both eyes didn’t form during the early stages of pregnancy. Congenital anophtalmia may occur alone or with other malformations. Microphthalmia means that the eye/s started to form during pregnancy but stopped, leaving the baby with eyes that are smaller than normal. Treatment is supportive and corrective and can help these individuals reach their full developmental potential, with correctional and supportive treatment of physical abnormalities.

International Children's Anophthalmia Network

Micro and Anophthalmic Children's Society

Micropthalmia Group

Anorectal Malformations (imperforate anus, rectal atresia):
Anorectal malformations are a group of birth defects than involve the external opening of the anus preventing the normal passage of stool. The anal opening may be smaller than normal size; in an abnormal location or not visible upon examination. Imperforate anus is usually present along with other birth defects—spinal problems, heart problems, tracheoesophageal fistula, esophageal atresia, renal anomalies, and limb anomalies are among the possibilities. Treatment for anorectal malformations includes immediate surgery to open a passage for feces and for the other accompnying conditions treatment consists of supportive treatment with physical therapy, occupational therapy, orthopedic instruments, and when necessary, surgery..

The Pull-Thru Network

Cincinnati Children's Hospital: Imperforate Anus / Anorectal Malformations

Cleft Lip and Cleft Palate:
An oral cleft is a split or separation in the baby’s lip and/or palate. Cleft lip means that the two sides of the upper lip did not grow together properly. Cleft palate is a split or opening in the roof of the mouth. The opening in the lip or palate may be unilateral, only on one side, or bilateral, on both sides. Cleft lip and palate can occur together or individually. Cleft lip and palate is very treatable; however, the kind of treatment depends on the type and severity of the cleft. Possible treatment options include speech therapy, prosthetics (to cover or to close the gap made by the cleft palate), lengthening of the palate, and surgical procedures. A cleft lip or palate can be successfully treated with surgery, especially so if conducted soon after birth or in early childhood, and the scar becomes less visible with age. Speech problems are usually treated by a speech-language pathologist.

American Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Association/Cleft Palate Foundation
1504 East Franklin Street, Suite 102
Chapel Hill, NC 27514-2820
(919) 933-9044

Cleft Lip and Palate Association
First Floor Green Man Tower
332B Goswell Road
London EC1V 7LQ

Chromosomal Abnormalities:
Trisomy 13 (Patau Syndrome)
Patau syndrome, also known as trisomy 13 and trisomy D, is a chromosomal abnormality, a syndrome in which a patient has an additional chromosome 13, which means each cell in the body has three copies of chromosome 13 instead of the usual two copies. Medical management of children with Trisomy 13 is planned on a case-by-case basis and depends on the individual circumstances of the patient. Treatment of Patau syndrome focuses on the particular physical problems with which each child is born. Many infants have difficulty surviving the first few days or weeks due to severe neurological problems or complex heart defects. Surgery may be necessary to repair heart defects or cleft lip and cleft palate. Physical, occupational, and speech therapy will help individuals with Patau syndrome reach their full developmental potential.

Trisomy 18 (Edwards Syndrome)
Trisomy 18 (T18) (also known as Trisomy E or Edwards syndrome) is a genetic disorder caused by the presence of all or part of an extra 18th chromosome. Only 50% of liveborn infants live to 2 months, and only 5–10% survive their first year of life. Major causes of death include apnea and heart abnormalities. However, it is impossible to predict the exact prognosis of a child with Edwards syndrome during pregnancy or the neonatal period. The median lifespan is 5–15 days. One percent of children born with this syndrome live to age 10, typically in less severe cases of the mosaic Edwards syndrome.

Trisomy 21 (Down Syndrome)
Down syndrome is “a developmental abnormality characterized by trisomy of human chromosome 21" Most individuals with Down syndrome have mental retardation in the mild (IQ 50–70) to moderate (IQ 35–50) range, with individuals having Mosaic Down syndrome typically 10–30 points higher. Cognitive development in children with Down syndrome is quite variable. It is not currently possible at birth to predict the capabilities of any individual reliably, nor are the number or appearance of physical features predictive of future ability. Due to the nature of prenatal screens, each has a significant chance of a false positive, suggesting a fetus with Down syndrome when, in fact, the fetus does not have this genetic abnormality. Screen positives must be verified before a Down syndrome diagnosis is made. Treatment for individuals with Down Syndrome is supportive and corrective and can help these individuals reach their full developmental potential, with early developmental/educational intervention and special education services in the school, in-home education and support services for the family, behavioral therapy, medication, physical therapy, and occupational therapy as needed, and correctional and supportive treatment of physical abnormalities.

99 Balloons
A video journal created by parents documenting the life of their son Elliot, who was born with Trisomy 18 and lived 99 days.

A Trisomy 18 Journey
Support website with information on Trisomy 18/Trisomy 13, personal stories, and resources for families, parents, and medical professionals.

Band of Angels
Offers outreach, education, and support to parents and families of children with Down Syndrome as well as awareness and education for the medical professionals and the general public.

Offers scientific research, information, education, and suuport to parents and families of children with Down Syndrome as well as awareness and education for the medical professionals and the general public. Written by parents of a child with Down Syndrome.

Hidden Treasures: The Trisomy 21 Journey
Parents from all around the world, who would like to share their stories.

International Mosaic Down Syndrome Association
The International Mosaic Down Syndrome Association is designed to assist any family or individual whose life has been affected by mosaic Down syndrome

Living with Trisomy
Support for Trisomy Families

Mosaic Down Syndrome
Karlee has mosaic Down Syndrome. Her site also contains a whole page of family stories of other mosaic Down Syndrome children from around the world complete with e-mail links.

National Down Syndrome Society
Offers advocacy, outreach, education, and support and resources for families, parents, and medical professionals. Helpline: 1-800-221-4602

Pathfinder Village
A place where persons with Down Syndrome can get the support and acceptance they need to live productive lives.

Recommended Down Syndrome Sites on the Internet
Compiled by Len Leshin, M.D.

Support Organization for Families of Trisomy, a nonprofit volunteer organization offering support for parents who have had or are expecting a child with a chromosome disorder and education to families and professionals interested in the care of these children.

Three Weddings
A journal created by a mother, documenting the joys and challenges of raising 3 daughters, including daughter "Peanut" who was born with Trisomy 21 (Down Syndrome). Also, under her Blogroll, you can find links to blogs of other parents with infants/children with Down Syndrome.

Unique - Rare Chromosome Disorder Support Group (UK)

Video: DOWN SYNDROME!? not MY baby!!
Information and support by a parent for other parents of a child newly diagnosed with Down Syndrome

Video: Dreams
Dreams features children and adults who have Down syndrome talking about their dreams and what they're proud of in their lives. This fun and inspirational video made by Scott and Julia Elliott celebrates the work of the National Down Syndrome Society and the larger Down syndrome community.

Video: Grace: A Story of a Family and Down Syndrome

Video: "My Wish"
A video made by a family about their son with Down Syndrome, Cole

Chromosomal Abnormalities (Others):
Prader-Willi syndrome (deletion on chromosome 15)
Cri-du-chat (cat cry) syndrome (deletion on chromosome 5)
Wolf-Hirschhorn syndrome (deletion on chromosome 4)
DiGeorge syndrome also known as 22q11 deletion syndrome ( deletion on chromosome 22)

(Cat Cry Syndrome)
P.O. Box 268
Lakewood CA 90714
(888) 970-0777

Chromosome Deletion Outreach
P.O. Box 724
Boca Raton FL 33429
(561) 395-4252

Genetic and Rare Conditions Site
Medical Genetics, University of Kansas Medical Center
Lay advocacy and support groups, information on a wide variety of genetic conditions/birth defects for professionals, educators, and individuals.

The National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD)
55 Kenosia Ave.
P.O. Box 1968
Danbury CT 06813
Tel: 1-800-999-6673

Prader-Willi Syndrome Association
5700 Midnight Pass Rd., Suite 6
Sarasota FL 34242
(800) 926-4797

Dandy-Walker syndrome (DWS)
Treatment for individuals with Dandy-Walker syndrome generally consists of treating the associated problems, if needed. A special tube (shunt) to reduce intracranial pressure may be placed inside the skull to control swelling. Treatment may also consist of various therapies such as occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech therapy or specialized education. Services of a vision teacher may be helpful if the eyes are affected.

Abbygail Marie
A mother and child's journey with Dandy-Walker syndrome

Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS) (also known as "Cutis hyperelastica"):
EDS is a group of inherited connective tissue disorders, caused by a defect in the synthesis of collagen (a protein in connective tissue). There is no known cure for Ehlers Danlos Syndrome. The outlook for individuals with EDS depends on the type of EDS with which they have been diagnosed. Symptoms vary in severity, even within one sub-type, and the frequency of complications changes on an individual basis. Some individuals have mild symptoms while others are severely restricted in their daily life. The treatment is supportive with physical therapy, occupational therapy, nutritional, orthopedic instruments, and when necessary, surgery. Most individuals will have a normal lifespan.

Fetal Lower Urinary Tract Obstruction (LUTO):

Fragile X Syndrome (Martin-Bell syndrome):
Characteristics of the syndrome include intellectual disability, an elongated face, large or protruding ears, flat feet, larger testicles in men (macroorchidism), low muscle tone. Speech may include cluttered speech or nervous speech. Behavioral characteristics may include stereotypic movements (e.g., hand-flapping) and atypical social development, particularly shyness, limited eye contact, memory problems, and difficulty with face encoding, and some individuals with the fragile X syndrome also meet the diagnostic criteria for autism. Currently, the syndrome can be treated through behavioral therapy, special education, medication, and when necessary, correctional and supportive treatment of physical abnormalities

Heart Malformations and Defects:
A congenital heart defect is any abnormality of the heart’s structure or function. The following are a fee of the most common types:

Hypoplasia: Hypoplasia can affect the heart, which typically results in the failure of either the right ventricle or the left ventricle to develop adequately, leaving only one side of the heart capable of pumping blood to the body and lungs.

Septal Wall Defects: The septum is a wall of tissue which separates the left heart from the right heart. It is comparatively common for defects to exist in the interatrial septum or the interventricular septum, allowing blood to flow from the left side of the heart to the right, reducing the heart's efficiency.

Cyanotic Defects: Cyanotic heart defects are called such because they result in cyanosis, a bluish-grey discoloration of the skin due to a lack of oxygen in the body. Such defects include persistent truncus arteriosus, total anomalous pulmonary venous connection, tetralogy of Fallot, transposition of the great vessels, and tricuspid atresia.

Sometimes congenital heart defects improve with no treatment necessary. At other times the defect is so small, it does not require any treatment. Most of the time congenital heart defects are serious and are treatable with surgical repairs in infancy or childhood and/or medications. Interventional cardiology now offers patients minimally invasive alternatives to surgery.

Congenital Heart Information Network
information, support services, financial assistance and resources

Information, support, and resources for parents and medical professionals

Little Hearts
Support for parents of children with heart defects

Limb Abnormalities:
The Clubfoot Club (Electric Handbook of Hand Surgery): Syndactyly
Information on the condition as well as treatment and therapy options. (Electric Handbook of Hand Surgery): Polydactyly
Information on the condition as well as treatment and therapy options.

Helping Hands Foundation
A not-for-profit support group made up of parents who have children with upper limb differences.

This UK group gives support and advice to families with children with a hand or arm deficiency.

Super Hands Network
Hope and encouragement for kids with upper limb differences

Polycystic Kidney Disease/

PKD Foundation
The PKD Foundation is the only organization, worldwide, dedicated to promoting research to find a cure for polycystic kidney disease (PKD) and improving the care and treatment of those it affects.
Potter's Syndrome/Renal Agenesis

Potter's Syndrome Website
Whether your a family whose baby has just been diagnosed with Potter's Syndrome (Renal Agenesis, Potter's Sequence) or a family member or friend, or even someone who already has lost a baby to Potter's Syndrome and is looking for answers, this website was made for you.

Selective Intrauterine Growth Restriction (SIUGR)
Thanatophoric Dysplasia
Thanatophoric dysplasia is a severe skeletal disorder characterized by extremely short limbs and folds of extra skin on the arms and legs. Children with this condition are usually stillborn or die shortly after birth from respiratory failure. Those who make it to birth will have difficulty breathing on their own and will require respiratory support such as high flow oxygen through a canula or ventilator support via tracheostomy.

Turner Syndrome
Turner syndrome or Ullrich-Turner syndrome (also known as "Gonadal dysgenesis") encompasses several conditions, of which the absence of the X sex chromosome is most common. It is a chromosomal abnormality in which all or part of one of the X sex chromosomes is absent.

Turner Syndrome Society of the US
The Turner Syndrome Society of the United States creates awareness, promotes research, and provides support for all persons touched by Turner Syndrome.

Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome

Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome Foundation
information, the various treatments available, complications of multiple pregnancy, valuable support
Ventriculomegaly is a brain condition that occurs when the lateral ventricles become dilated. The most common definition uses a width of the atrium of the lateral ventricle of greater than 10 mm.

UCSF Fetal Treatment Center: Ventriculomegaly

Maternal Health Conditions:

Diabetes and Pregnancy (from the American Diabetes Association
"Health care providers no longer discourage women with diabetes from becoming pregnant. We now know that the key to a healthy pregnancy for a woman with diabetes is keeping blood glucose (sugar) in the target range -- both before she is pregnant and during her pregnancy. To do this, you need a diabetes treatment plan that keeps meals, exercise, and insulin in balance. This plan will change as you change with pregnancy. You will also need to check your blood glucose often and keep a record of your results. With your blood glucose in the target range and good medical care, your chances of a trouble-free pregnancy and a healthy baby are almost as good as they are for a woman without diabetes."

Hyperemesis Gravidarum
An entry I've created for awareness about HG with links to information sites, organizations and support boards.

Preeclampsia Foundation

Pregnant With Cancer
Information, resources, support, and hope

Study Finds Abortion Not Needed When Pregnant Women Face Cancer Treatment
Dr. Beth Beadle, who works at the prestigious medical center and is the lead author of the study, told AP that both mother and baby can be cared for during treatment.
Ruth O'Regan, an associate professor at Emory University's Winship Cancer Institute in Atlanta, also told AP that cancer doctors can treat both mother and child without the need for an abortion.

Continuing a Pregnancy After an Adverse Prenatal Diagnosis:

A Child of Promise
A ministry of the First Evangelical Free Church, A Child of Promise is a support group aimed at encouraging families to continue their pregnancy following an adverse pregnancy diagnosis. They currently provide individual counseling, and would like to eventually provide a monthly or bi-monthly support group meetings as they have enough families. A Child of Promis is a Christian organization, but is open to those of all faiths and to both mothers and fathers.
1375 Carman Rd.
Manchester, MO 6301
Tel: 636-227-0125

Abiding Hearts
A support system for parents continuing pregnancy after prenatal diagnosis of fatal (or non-fatal) birth defects; unplanned pregnancies included. Also a newsletter for parents who choose to carry a baby with a genetic defect to term. A $5 donation is requested to help defray mailing costs.
P.O. Box 904
Libby, MT 59923
Tel: 406-293-4416
Fax: 406-587-7197

Alexandra's House
A Charitable Perinatal Hospice and Infant Refuge, founded and located in Kansas City, Missouri, serving families across the United States of America. Their mission is to give hope, comfort, and meaning to suffering families and their very special babies. These are babies that are expected to die at or shortly after birth, but their parents make the heroic decision to carry their babies to term, in spite of its desperate outcome.

American Association of Pro Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists
Provides referrals to medical doctors who are willing to provide care to women carrying a high risk pregnancy or adverse prenatal diagnosis to term.

Be Not Afraid
Be Not Afraid is an online outreach to parents who have received a poor or difficult prenatal diagnosis. The family stories, articles, and links within are presented as a resource for those who may have been asked to choose between terminating a pregnancy or continuing on despite the diagnosis. The families faced the same decision and chose not to terminate. By sharing their experiences, they hope to offer encouragement to those who may be afraid to continue on.

Carrying to Term Pages
After a devastating prenatal diagnosis, it's too often assumed that a mother will automatically terminate the pregnancy. This website was designed for those who are determined to carry their unborn child to term despite the child's fatal condition. While many tips come from personal experience, this site actively solicits tips from other mothers and fathers who have been there.

High Risk Moms
A support group for and quarterly newsletter for those experiencing problem pregnancies. They provide perinatal telephone contact with moms who have experienced similar situations.
P.O. Box 389165
Chicago, IL 60638-9165
Tel: 708-515-5453

Miracle Angels Support Group
An email support group for parents who choose to continue their pregnancy after recieving a devastating prenatal diagnosis, whether or not the prognosis is fatal.

My Child, My Gift: A Positive Response to Serious Prenatal Diagnosis
A well-researched yet easily understandable, positive guide when you need to make sense out of what seems to be senseless.

National Challenged Homeschoolers Associated Network
Christian Families Homeschooling Special Needs Children

Poor Prenatal Diagnosis Advice And Support
Information on treatment options, where to go for Information/Support/Resources, referrals for Fetal Treament facilities- prenatal corrective surgery, and stories from parents of a child with a condition.

Prenatal Hospice: A Gift of Time
Compassionate support and resources for parents who have chosen to carry to term.

Prenatal Partners for Life: Support, Information, and Encouragement
Prenatal Partners for Life is a group of concerned parents (most of whom have or had a special needs child), medical professionals, legal professionals and clergy whose aim is to support, inform and encourage expectant or new parents. We offer support by connecting parents facing an adverse diagnosis with other parents who have had the same diagnosis.

Sidelines National Support Network
P.O. Box 1808 s
Laguna Beach, CA 92652
Tel: 1-888-447-4754.
A national network of volunteers offering support, education, advocacy and resources to families dealing with high-risk pregnancies. They publish a magazine, LeftSide Lines. To request support or information, or to order the magazine, call the above toll-free number.

String of Pearls
String of Pearls was created to provide a nurturing and safe place for families as they navigate the path following a fatal prenatal diagnosis that will result in the death of their baby prior to, or shortly after birth. The path between grief and hope is a difficult place to walk; our desire is to provide guidance, compassion and practical suggestions as plans to honor the life of pre-born babies are crafted. Each life has a story worthy of telling and we are here for support as stories are lovingly written.

Waiting with Love
For parents who choose to continue a pregnancy knowing their unborn baby will die before or shortly after birth and for families who learn their newborn will die

Waiting With Love Multiple Pregnancy - Knowing Ahead
A checklist for families who are expecting multiples and know that one or more of the babies will not survive. Includes things you can do before birth and to prepare for birth and afterward.

Welcoming Babies with Down Syndrome
Information and support for parents who choose to carry their baby to term after a Down Syndrome diagnosis.

Welcoming Babies with Spina Bifida/Hydrocephalus
Information and support for parents who choose to carry their baby to term after a Spina Bifida/Hydrocephalus diagnosis.

Memorials and Healing for Loss:

A Place to Remember
This site offers information and support for those who have been faced with a crisis during pregnancy or the death of a baby. There is also an on-line bookstore with many books that might be helpful to families.

Mommies Enduring Neonatal Death
M.E.N.D. (Mommies Enduring Neonatal Death) is a Christian, non-profit organization that reaches out to families who have suffered the loss of a baby through miscarriage, stillbirth, or early infant death.

Mothers in Sympathy and Support
This website provides support to families after the death of their baby or young child in the form of confrences, an online memorial, and healing resources.

"Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep"
When a baby or infant has died, Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep, through its nationwide network of professional photographers, will arrange a tasteful private sitting at the hospital with no charge for any services or pictures.

Remembered Forever
This site was created to allow grieving users to build personalized memorials dedicated to their loved ones. The site was created after a sudden loss in the family, and Ian McIntosh and his whole family found it an excellent way of not only easing the grief process, but celebrating the life of a family member. Memorialization is important to families, and via the Remembered Forever site, it is unique in that it allows all members of the family to place their thoughts, memories, and condolences in one place.

SHARE Pregnancy and Infant Loss Support
SHARE's mission is to serve those who are touched by the tragic death of a baby through miscarriage, stillbirth, or newborn death.

For a Full Listing of Websites and Resources for Genetic Disorders try Genetic and Rare Conditions Site
This List of Websites for Poor Prenatal DX

Resources found through:
Google Search - poor prenatal diagnosis
Prenatal Diagnosis/Prognosis Support
University of Wisconsin-Madison Family Village

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Today's Pro-Life Blogroll

Jivin Jehoshaphat cues us in to the newest abortion-promoting t-shirt. The Richmond Reproductive Freedom Project has created a new t-shirt for post-abortive women who are looking to fund another's abortion. This one reads, "ask me about my abortion!"

Naaman the Ex-Leper bids us fairwell. From a previous post: "In hindsight, I am becoming a little burned-out with respect to online debate. Please don't confuse burn-out with defeatism. I still believe that the handwriting is on the wall for the death of 'choice'."  And from this current post: "... And now I'm ready to close the blog. I have responsibilities to my family, my church, my Via de Cristo brothers & sisters, and my employer." Fairwell, Namaan. Although I haven't always seen eye to eye with you, you were often the calm voice of reason between po-life and pro-choice. You will be missed. I wish you all the best for yourself, Mrs. Naaman, and little Naaman.

Christina at RealChoice explains the under-reporting of legalized abortions and inflation of maternal mortality numbers. "...any death of a pregnant woman, or of a woman who was known to have been recently pregnant, gets coded as "maternal mortality," even if her death had nothing to do with the pregnancy (i.e. automobile accident), or if her death was due to an induced abortion."

Dawn Eden of The Dawn Patrol temporarily comes out of hibernation to give us excellent pieces on Planned Parenthood caught in a proud confession of covering up rape and enabling an 11-year-old girl's rapist to continue his crimes. Also see crime expert Steve Huff's take on the matter, Part I and Part II

Annie Banno of After Abortion has put up a great list of links to news articles giving background on accusations that have been made against Planned Parenthood in various blogs

The Raving Athiest writes a piece entitled, "Don't Ask, Don't Care", which is about the non-cholant attitudes of some members of the Haven Coalition, an organization that provides overnight housing for women who flock to New York for elective, late second-trimester abortions.

I had unintentionally mistyped Steve Huff's name and this has now been corrected. My apologies to Steve.

Monday, November 28, 2005

The Church's Stance on Pregnancy Outside of Wedlock

Last week, The Pro-Woman Pro-Lifer wrote about the concerns of a client she was pregnancy counseling. Was it her goals, dreams, and future? Her partner? Finances?  Nope. She did have some concerns about her future, but she was able to work around those things. Her primary concern was her church. She's Catholic and lives in a small town. She expressed that she was concerned what others in her church would think of her and if they'd ridicule her for becoming pregnant outside of marriage. Most of the more conservative church's, including the Catholic Church, often teach and discourage sex outside of marriage, but that's not the issue. It's how they respond to women who've become pregnant....
A woman pregnant outside of wedlock may be shunned by those around her. I can understand why they wouldn't want to come off as condoning sex outside of marriage, but at the same time, they are essentially ostracizing and condemning woman who become pregnant out of wedlock.  In the post, the PWPL pointed out to one of her pregnant clients, "how hypocritical it is for the church (Catholic or Protestant) to teach that abortion is murder and then shun women who decide not to have one." Eventhough the church teaches abortion is wrong, a woman may feel having an abortion is better than the shame and stigma of having the baby. It's no wonder that according to the Alan Guttmacher Institue, a large percentage of women who've had an abortion are Christian. According to the Pro-Woman Pro-Lifer, "The main focus should be to show them how helping pregnant women remain pregnant makes you feel good and does the work of Christ. That way, should she become pregnant, she'll know you won't ostracize her or judge her (or fire her). Preach the Gospel, and when necessary, use words. Teach them that children are a blessing that can be brought out of a bad decision, but abortion is a bad decision brought out of another bad decision."

Related Links of Interest:
U.S. and International Crisis Hotlines
If You Have An Adverse Pregnancy or Prenatal Diagnosis
If You're Facing an Unplanned or Unwanted Pregnancy
Various Religious Groups Beliefs on Abortion

Related Stories:
An unmarried Catholic school teacher named Michelle McCusker was fired after she told her employers that she was pregnant.,0,1503042.story?coll=la-home-nation

Thursday, November 24, 2005

The Search for A Perfect Baby in an Imperfect World

Perfect Baby Syndrome
by Gina R. Dalfonzo
Bill and Emma Keller had a terrible decision to make. The tests showed something was wrong with their unborn child. He wasn’t growing properly, and it appeared his organs weren’t developing well.
Bill and Emma were torn over what to do. But Emma’s obstetrician knew. “We know you can get pregnant easily,” she told Emma. “Why risk an unhappy outcome?” She suggested an abortion. Other doctors they consulted also expected them to abort.

Eliminating problems
The remarkable unanimity of the Kellers’ physicians demonstrates a subtle but important shift in the way our society thinks about those with disabilities. As technology improves, more and more women will be able to find out whether their unborn children have abnormalities.

Our culture has bought into the bizarre idea that the best way to eliminate certain illnesses is simply to eliminate people who are ill before they have a chance to be born. It’s like a passage out of Madeleine L’Engle’s famous novel A Wrinkle in Time, where three children discover a planet that has “conquered all illness, all deformity,” because they have decided that “it is so much kinder simply to annihilate anyone who is ill.”

Picking and choosing

But we’ve gone even further in our quest for perfection. New techniques enable couples to choose the sex of their children — and if the procedure accidentally produces the wrong gender, the parents can eliminate the results and start again. Genetic engineering is rapidly advancing so parents will be able to create stronger, smarter, better-looking babies, raising the possibility of a world where anyone who hasn’t been artificially enhanced is seen as inferior.

How have we reached the stage where such manipulation — and destruction — have become viable options for parents? Its roots go back to Roe v. Wade, which changed the way many of us view our children and those with disabilities. The legal right to end the life of one’s unborn child transformed the parent-child relationship in ways the Supreme Court justices probably never anticipated.

In many ways, we now treat the unborn child more as a piece of property than as a sacred human life — a piece of property that must meet the buyer’s standard or be thrown away.

In an April 2004 article for The Weekly Standard, Gordon College professor Agnes Howard puts it this way: “Already we act as though what gives moral standing to pregnancy is the choosing of it, preferably in advance, if necessary after the fact, but always the conscious determination to continue rather than end it. . . . To universalize genetic diagnosis is to entrench even more deeply than we already have the idea that a baby becomes a baby only when we choose to grant that status — if and when it passes genetic muster.”

Sadly, the story of Bill and Emma Keller perfectly illustrates this attitude. For a long time, they held out hope that their unborn child, whom they called “Charlie,” might be normal. But as time went on, it became less and less likely. They lost hope that their child’s life would be worth living, or that his life would be worth their time and energy, not to mention the risk to Emma’s health.

“Facing the prospect of a greater heartbreak, watching a child die or suffer inconsolably, or exhausting the emotional resources needed for two other children, we decided to end it,” Bill Keller wrote in The New York Times. “The last thing Emma was aware of before surrendering to the anesthetic was Charlie kicking madly.”

According to the article, the Kellers still mourn the loss of Charlie. But they have since had a baby girl, who is — fortunately for her — normal.

The search for the perfect baby may sound harmless enough on the surface. But Charlie Keller is only one of its countless victims.
By destroying children like him; by forgetting the words of the One who said, “Whatever you did to the one of the least of these . . . you did to Me” — we may defeat certain diseases, but the price is our own moral and spiritual health.

Gina R. Dalfonzo is a writer for Chuck Colson’s BreakPoint program.

This article appeared in Focus on the Family magazine.
Copyright © 2005 Focus on the Family.
All rights reserved. International copyright secured.

H/T to Luke'smom6 over at Baby Center's Carrying Pregnancy to Term Despite Fatal Prenatal Diagnosis Board

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Abortion: A Solution to Pregnancy from Rape?

I've seen some interesting commentary going on in reply to a post over at Abortion Clinic Days which got me thinking about my own stance on rape and abortion. I understand and sympathise with the woman who has been raped and support theraputic abortion in the case of rape. However, I'm concerned that  societal stigma and well-meaning families and doctors are pressuring women who've become pregnant as a result of rape to have abortions and it's not a decision freely chosen by women. Also, I'm concerned that women are being mislead into believing that having an abortion and erasing the pregnancy will help bring them healing or closure from their rape, which they may not so easily find.

Caution: This post is an expression of my own personal opinions and views. This post is of a contraversial and sensitive topic, and may be a trigger for those who have experienced rape and/or abortion. I only recommend continuing to read this post and responses if you feel that you're at a place where you've found healing/peace and you are ready for often strong and opposing political views. If this posts upsets you or makes you feel uncomfortable in any way, this may not be the right time for you to read this and you may want to come back at a later time. Thank you.

A woman who has been raped has been physically assaulted, personally violated, and left with her an enormous and long-lasting trauma. In the case of rape and abuse, where she has been violated against her will, understandably there is a sense of loss of control over one's life. There are several essential needs at this point 1) address her physical needs by providing adequate medical care in the post-rape physical exam to treat for possible STDs and to prevent pregnancy, while respecting her privacy and the sensitivity of the situation 2) to address her emotional needs by providing non-judgmental support, understanding, and encouragement to seek professional counseling. 3) to stand by women and encourage them to report the rape early so that she can receive immediate medical treatment and so the rapist can be prosecuted so he won't trouble her or someone else again. We should provide a huge amount of support to help the woman report the rape. Only about 40% of rapes sexual assaults were reported to law enforcement in 2003(1).

In 2003, there were 198,850 victims of rape, attempted rape or sexual assault sccording to the 2003 National Crime Victimization Survey. Unfortuantly, up to 4,065 pregnancies may have resulted from these attacks(1). Both sides of the debate typically accept the notion that women with a pregnancy resulting from a sexual assault would want an abortion and the abortion will some how help her heal or recover from the assault. "But in the only major study of pregnant rape victims ever done, Dr. Sandra Mahkorn found that 75 to 85 percent chose against abortion."(2)Having an abortion is a major life event which is almost always stressful and sometimes even traumatic. Will an abortion truly help her, or will it only cause further hurt? "In answering this question, it is helpful to begin by noting that many women report that their abortions felt like a degrading and brutal form of medical rape"(3). Abortion involves an often intimate and painful examination of a woman's sexual organs. Also, once she is on the operating table, she must temporarily give up control of her body. This experiential association between abortion and sexual assault is very strong for many women. It is especially strong for women who have a prior history of sexual assault, whether or not she is presently pregnant as the result of an assault(4).Second, research shows that after any abortion, it is common for women to experience guilt, depression, feelings of being "dirty," resentment of men, and lowered self-esteem. What is most significant is that these feelings are identical to what women typically feel after rape. Abortion, then, only adds to and accentuates the traumatic feelings associated with sexual assault. Rather than easing the psychological burdens of the sexual assault victim, abortion adds to them."(6) Also, a woman may find that the emotional and physical hurts may still be there even after an abortion and she will still need lots of love, support, counseling, and time to heal.

Feelings of guilt, shame, devaluement, humiliation, and dirtiness are common reactions following a sexual assault. These may be further perpetuated by stereoptypes and myths about rape. A victim or rape may be stigmatized by her peers, friends, and even family. They may subtlly or not so sutly push for an abortion. "Feelings of guilt and shame are common reactions following a sexual assault. Because of misconceptions about rape, some victims blame themselves, doubt their own judgment, or wonder if they were in some way responsible for the assault. Feelings of guilt and self-blame may be reinforced by the reactions of others, who, because of prevalent myths about rape, may blame the victim or criticize his or her behavior."(6) Those encouraging abortion often do so because they are uncomfortable dealing with rape victims, or perhaps out of prejudice against victims whom they see as being "guilty for letting it happen. 'Wiping out the pregnancy is a way of hiding the problem. It is a "quick and easy" way to avoid dealing with the woman's true emotional, social and financial needs'(5). Keep in mind rape is usually a pre-meditated act of violence, of control and domination.

Also, those surrounding the woman (friends, co-workers, family) may harbor a sense of animosity towards a child concieved in rape and/or the child may be looked down upon unfavorably because of the circumstances surrounding her conception. The woman may be strongly pressured by those close to her and around her to have an abortion. Some may see wiping out the pregnancy is a way of hiding the problem. Another concern is that of will carrying to pregnancy to term cause the woman more emotional damage and serve as a reminder of the rape? The child of a rape will not necessarily cause further emotional damage to the mother. It may be in fact beneficial to her healing. Should she continue with the pregnancy, she may sense that if she can get through the pregnancy, she will have conquered the rape. Also, she might feel that she wants to rise above the violence done to her by protecting her child, has the ability to show compassion to her child, and prove to herself that she is brave and loving where the rapist was cowardly and hateful, that she is peaceful where he was violent, that she respects life where he tried to ruin hers. And so from that she may heal and grow stronger and prove to all that she is an infinitely better person that he could ever be(5). Also, by carrying the pregnancy to term, she would reveal the abuse which has happened to her.

A child conceived in rape may be labeled "the rapist's spawn" and even blamed for the rape or ruining the woman's life. No, harm was already done when he violated her. No one is to blame but the rapist for forcing the pregnancy on her. The child had no control over how he/she was conceived and is a second victim of the rape. Describing a child concieved in rape as the rapist's baby implies that he has some sort of ownership of the child that he forced upon the mother, and so implies that she can never truly take guardianship of the child and despite nurturing the child in her womb; that the child will always somehow be his or a monster like him in some way beyond mere genetics. The preborn child is an individual person in existence at fertilization and is not an extension of the father's body and is not a part of the mother's body. The child is more than just a product of rape, this is also her baby and individual human being. Regardless of the circumstances surrounding a child's conception, each child has worth and is deserving of love. How the child began is not what matters as much as a child raised with love, nuturing care, and encouragement so she can make the most of her life.

Regardless of the pregnancy outcome, a victim of rape still needs lots of love, support, and counseling, and time to heal.

If you have ever been raped, it's not too late to get help:
Call the RAINN hotline at 1.800.656.HOPE It's free and confidential.
or see my listing of hotlines for a complete list and international numbers.
State Laws on Statutes of Limitations
Books Suggested by Survivors
Understanding the Impact of Rape
Drugs Used in Rape

Works Cited: 1. The Rape, Abuse, and Incest Network's Statistic's page.
RAINN's "two and a half minute" calculation is based on 2003 National Crime Victimization Survey from the Bureau of Justice Statistics, U.S. Department of Justice.
2. Mahkorn, "Pregnancy and Sexual Assault," The Psychological Aspects of Abortion, eds. Mall & Watts, (Washington, D.C., University Publications of America, 1979) 55-69
3. Francke, The Ambivalence of Abortion (New York: Random House, 1978) 84-95, 167.; Reardon, Aborted Women - Silent No More (Chicago: Loyola University Press, 1987), 51, 126.
4. 3. Zakus, "Adolescent Abortion Option," Social Work in Health Care, 12(4):87 (1987).
5. David C. Reardon, Ph.D. in Rape, Incest and Abortion: Searching Beyond the Myths.
6. Rape Treatment Center, Santa Monica - UCLA Rape Treatment Center
Impact of Rape: Self-Blame and Shame

I would like to thank the following sites for providing valuable insight and information:

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Study Compares Depression with Abortion and Carrying to Term

Long-term Study Compares Depression with Abortion and Carrying to Term
Quoting from this site:
Abortion doesn't raise depression risk: study shows
Fri Oct 28, 2005 8:53 PM BST

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Among women with an unwanted pregnancy, those who carry the pregnancy to term are more likely to experience later depression than those who terminate the pregnancy with an abortion, new study findings suggest.

Well-designed studies have generally shown that abortion does not contribute to an increased risk of depression, Dr. Sarah Schmiege and Dr. Nancy Felipe Russo note in their report in BMJ Online First, published October 28.

However, one previous study examining these associations among women with an unwanted first pregnancy found that induced abortion was associated with a higher risk of depression than a pregnancy carried to term.

But Schmiege, from the University of Colorado in Boulder, and Russo, from Arizona State University in Tempe, believe this analysis was flawed.

For their study, they identified a large group of women ages 14 to 21 in 1979 who had an unwanted pregnancy between 1970 and 1992 and for whom personal and outcome data were available. The women were interviewed over several years to examine the relation between pregnancy outcome and later depression.

The authors found that terminating compared to delivering an unwanted first pregnancy was not directly related to risk of depression. Instead, women who delivered before 1980 had a much higher risk of depression than all other groups.

These findings "directly contradict the claim that terminating an unwanted first pregnancy puts women at higher risk of subsequent depression, particularly for younger women," Schmiege and Russo contend.

Their analysis also showed that women who had aborted a pregnancy had significantly higher mean education attainment and income and lower total family size. These factors could explain the higher risk of depression among women who don't abort an unwanted pregnancy.

"This suggests that if the goal is to reduce women's risk for depression, research should focus on how to prevent and ameliorate the effect of unwanted childbearing, particularly for younger women," the authors conclude.
The complete study can be found at:

I do not have a response to this at this time; however, The Pro-Women Pro-Lifer has written a well-thought-out response to this study.

David C. Reardon, Ph.D and author of the previous study responds to the new study and findings:
His response is the 5th one down and is called, "Study fails to address our previous findings and subject to misinterpretation."

Also, After Abortion has a listing of medical research about the psychological aftermath of abortion

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Hurricane Katrina - How You Can Help the Victims

Now in the aftermath and ruins of Hurrican Katrina, the victims need your help in re-building their lives. The following is a list of agencies providing relief efforts. Volunteer agencies provide a wide variety of services after disasters, such as clean up, childcare, housing repair, crisis counseling, sheltering and food.
Here is a list of phone numbers set up solely for cash donations and/or volunteers.

Donate cash to:
American Red Cross
1-800-HELP NOW (435-7669) English,
1-800-257-7575 Spanish;
America’s Second Harvest
Humane Society of the United States
Operation Blessing
United Jewish Communities

Donate Cash and/or Volunteer:
Adventist Community Services
B'nai B'rith International
Catholic Charities, USA
Christian Disaster Response
941-956-5183 or 941-551-9554
Christian Reformed World Relief Committee
Church World Service
Convoy of Hope
Corporation for National and Community Service Disaster Relief Fund
(202) 606-6718
Disaster Psychiatry Outreach
Feed the Children
Lutheran Disaster Response
Mennonite Disaster Service
Nazarene Disaster Response
Presbyterian Disaster Assistance
Salvation Army
1-800-SAL-ARMY (725-2769)
Southern Baptist Convention -- Disaster Relief
1-800-462-8657, ext. 6440
UJA Federation of New York
212 836-1880
Union for Reform Judaism
United Methodist Committee on Relief

Advice Regarding Charitable Giving
Helping Victims of Hurricane Katrina: Your Guide to Giving Wisely
Better Business Bureau's Wise Giving Alliance: Tips on Giving

Also there are other ways you can help:
Operation Share Your Home
Hurricane Help for Schools (Ed.Gov site)
List from

Monday, September 5, 2005

Moving Beyond Politics to Assist Women Facing an Unplanned Pregnancy

Each side of the abortion debate is quick to find fault with the other as to what they need to do to assist women facing unplanned pregnancy. However, persons in the pro-life movement as well as the pro-choice movement are working to reduce the number of abortions and provide assistance to women in an unplanned pregnancy situation. Family planning clinics on the pro-choice side offer low-cost prenatal care, gynelogical care, and general health care. However, their services are limited in scope and the focus is primarily on contraceptive and abortion services, while a woman may occasionaly be referred out for adoption and practical assistance for continuing the pregnancy. On the pro-life side there's various pregnancy resource center agencies who are able to offer limited practical needs care including materinity clothes, baby clothes, formula, baby blankets, diapers, cribs, and strollers/car seats as well as parenting preperation courses and refferals to community and government organizations. However, pregnancy resource centers largely rely on donations are there's a strong stigma surrounding them because some centers have stepped out of line in religous evangelism and politics. The Nuturing Network, an independent organization unrelated to PRCs, has over 42,000 volunteer members, in all 50 states and 25 nations, whom form an extensive employment, medical, educational, counseling and residential network which enables a mother to continue her pregnancy without sacrificing her own hopes and dreams. Services include: counseling (by licensed nurses, counselors and social workers), maternity homes, medical assistance, financial assistance, assistance in continuing her education, employment assistance, adoption counseling, adoption services, and parenting prepardness education.  Feminist for Life lobbys for higher mininum wages, against domestic violence, and for equal employment opportunities rights for women with children. Both sides are contributing in a way that supports their political views and each has something to offer. But each side is unable to move past seeing their opponents only for their idealogical views, and unable to work together. Political differences are keeping women from being able to completely explore avenues of resources. Will we be able to set politics and rhetoric aside to really be able to focus on and assist women in an unplanned pregnancy situation?

Original Comments Made for This Entry...

The Pro-Woman Pro-Lifer wrote on 09-06-2005:
I think it goes deeper than the "politics and rhetoric" for many who are pro-life, because we believe that abortion clinics are wrong on a moral level and that they harm women (and children) on a routine basis.
I'm glad that they are able to care for some of the women who aren't there for abortion services, but that doesn't mean that I support them. I cannot, because that would mean that I would support something I believe harms women. I'd much rather see a woman who needs basic medical care go to a community health center. Some pre-natal care can be given from medical pregnancy centers, and the rest really should be from an OB/GYN anyway.
Can you see how there might be more to this than mere politics and rhetoric? Do you agree that some might think that sending a woman to PP gets her one step closer to choosing abortion if she were to become pregnant, since she is aware of the clinic, has been indoctrinated with thier information, etc. Can you see how referring a woman elsewhere would be better? What do we need to work together on? Why can't we just be sure that we offer all the support a woman needs?
Looking forward to your reply. ;) Interesting topic!

Rachael wrote on 09-09-2005 (01:34:03):
Unfortuantly, the focus of the mainstream pro-life and pro-choice movement seems to be focused on influencing legislation, rather than assisting the woman facing the unplanned pregnancy. The debate has become so polarized, abortion rights versus the rights of the unborn that often times the woman with the unplanned pregnancy is forgotten. And at the same time, for the most part, both sides feel hostility towards each other. Most pro-choice persons wouldn't refer a woman to a PRC for aid because they don't share their ideological views. At the same time, as you make a point of, most pro-lifers wouldn't send a woman a woman to a health clinic unless they were pro-life. Well, not all family planning clinics provide abortions (such as community health clinics) and may provide necessary health services that may be otherwise unaffordable for the low-income and uninsured. No, I'm not advocating PP's since their political agenda is their priority. However, as mentioned above, community health clinics are usually a good place, since they are usually run by the local health department or hospital. Yes, some PRCs provide health care services, however it's usually limited to pregnancy tests, ultrasound and prenatal care (no immunizations, STD testing and treatment, or regular preventive screening) and these centers are few and far between. Rather than blaming the other side for inaction, both sides need to refocus and find common ground in addressing the social issues that led women to have unplanned pregnancies and drive women to have an abortion. Only then we can begin to care for the woman's needs and reduce the abortion rate.

The Pro-Woman Pro-Lifer wrote on 09-09-2005 (09:24:54) :
So you're talking about groups like NARAL and RTL rather than the local pregnancy centers and family clinics. Yes, the legislative groups are more interested in getting laws passed that further their beliefs. I don't think that will change, and I do agree that that is unfortunate. But this isn't only occuring in the abortion debate - all issues have people that lobby and people that work hands-on.
The pregnancy centers around here make referrals to the community health department. I don't think there's a problem with that, but they aren't going to refer to PP, which is what you were wondering about. This isn't due to hostility as much as out of concern for the woman...we want to make sure that women are helped and not hurt. They, conversely, think that the pregnancy centers will hurt and not help. That's the reason for the divide.
You're not going to find common ground within the abortion clinic/referral agency and the pregnancy center the way things are now. They are on polar opposites for a reason. Instead, I think it'll take a new "breed" of support.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Abortion Rights Threatened By Ultrasound

An abortion rights activist admits that the availability of elective ultrasounds leds women to re-consider abortion. This is from message 2113 (Tue Aug 16, 2005) in the Yahoo! Group: Abortion Celebration:
"I believe it was the invention of the ultrasound that is killing the right to choose. Now that people have the ability to see their baby while it's inside your body, it makes it harder to go through with the procedure. Don't get me wrong, I think the ultrasound is wonderful for those who wish to have their baby and it's a great way to see your baby and get excited about it but for those who just want to have an abortion and are already having enough problems with the whole thing, seeing the ultrasound is like twisting the dagger that's already in your stomach."
This poster, and many other pro-choice activists perceive the availability of elective ultrasound to be a threat to abortion rights. Why? While some laws seek to make viewing of the ultrasound mandatory, I don't believe women should be forced to see an ultrasound if they don't want to; however she should be given the option of viewing it if she so desires. If anything ultrasound isn't taking away a woman's ability to choose, but allows her to make an informed decision with information on the development of her pregnancy. Rather the threat is to abortion rights.  They acknowledged what we've known all along, there's a developing human child in there and it's not just tissue, and a woman seeing her child on ultrasound could have a profound impact on her decison. A woman may see her developing child in the ultrasound and become emotionally attached, deciding to not have an abortion. But for the woman who's decided to have an abortion, she may have rationed that this decision is for the best, and emotionally seperated herself from her unborn child. To see the ultrasound, she would face that reality the abortion would be ending the life of her unborn child (or potential life) within her, and coming to terms with death is nothing any person wants to do. It's a tough call, because while viewing ones ultrasound may have its benefits, it has negatives as well.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Rights and Responsibilities

I'm soo tired of hearing the "the fetus is an unwanted intruder" or "forced gestation" argument from pro-choicers. Pregnancy is a normal, biological result of human sexual function and the natural occurance resulting from intercourse. There is no forced gestation -- no outsider's impregnating her against her will (except rape) -- pregnancy is a naturally occuring process resulting from the actions of the two individuals having sexual relations and would most likely develop to term if not interrupted. This is a fact of basic human biology. The fact is, when there is intercourse and/or reproductive bodily fluids are exchanged, even with contraception, there is always a risk that pregnancy may occur. This is how the human body is biologically programed, regardless of whether the woman and her partner have made a conscious decison to not have children. If you're going to have sex, you need to accept the possibility that it could lead to pregnancy or even STIs (Sexually Transmitted Infections), regardless of how careful you are. It is incredibly rediculous to claim the embryo/fetus is an unwanted intruder that appeared there suddenly without their willingness or involvement. However our culture has divorced the association between sex and pregnancy, leading to individuals developing the unrealistic idea that pregnancy won't happen to them. And when they do, they're surprised, and not ready to accept the responsibility of the pregnancy or raising the child. This is why the risks and potential consequences of casual sex need to be considered and realistically weighed beforehand.

"With great rights comes great responsibility" - Unknown

Monday, August 8, 2005

Feminists Views of Abortion as Beneficial Experience for Women

Quoting from Pinko Feminist Hellcat:

I'm not one of those people who decry abortion as a necessary evil. I'm not one of those self-righteous misogynists who would pass judgement on pro-choicers, pregnant women, or women who chose to abort. I don't hate abortion.I think it's wonderful. I think it's wonderful because it frees women from unwanted pregnancies, it keeps women from enduring the risks and complications that can arise from pregnancy, and it gives them say over when they will have children. If ever.

H/T to JivinJehosphat

It seems Pinko Feminist Hellcat has this notion that opposing the act of abortion is passing judgement on women who've had an abortion (not necessarily true). And by condoning abortion, she is supporting the women who've had one. It's an abstract thought. Showing real support for a woman who's had an abortion would be physically, in person taking care of her after the procedure and comforting her, regardless of whether or not her feelings support your political agenda. Her utopian idea that abortion is always a wonderful experience is a little off. First of all, having an abortion doesn't magically solve the issues or circumstances surrounding the unplanned pregnancy. Also, it's important to note that not all women experience life-threatening pregnancy complications, just like not all women have a complicated abortion. In addition, rather than abortion as the pat treatment, prenatal care and early diagnosis and treatment of pregnancy related complications is the key to a positive woman's health and childbearing. Also, it's misleading to portray all women as happily skipping out of the abortion clinic, happy with their decision. For every positive abortion story out there, there's a difficult abortion and reverse, because every women's individual situation and experience may be different. Also, most women don't take the decision to have an abortion lightly.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Mercy, Compassion, and Forgiveness for the Post-Abortion Woman

I came across this awesome quote from a pro-life visitor to the contraversial website of Operation Rescue West (don't even get me started on their negative impact on the pro-life movement):

Sunflower wrote:
"judge and you shall be judged" [Bible]
'Ultimately we should not be judging anyone for their sins or actions, but we should however be forgiving them and hope they can forgive themselves. We should be compassionate for whatever their "sins" might be, especially in the case of abortion, where no one knows what might bring a "mother to be" to come to such decision!'

I completely agree with this. It is not our place to judge. Especially if she is feeling hurt, loss, regret, or sorrow, she doesn't need salt rubbed into her wounds (metaphorically speaking) But nor do we have to condone the sin to love the sinner. "Hate the sin but not the sinner" [Bible, I need to look up the verse) I reassure you that we don't have to condone abortion to give compassion and mercy to the woman facing an unplanned pregnancy or who have chosen abortion. This is the attitude more of the pro-life movement needs to take on.

On an additional note, there's a grieving post-abortion woman on Feminist Forum needing support. As I was following a referral link to my web journal from a Google search of abortion regrets, I found a grieving post-abortion woman's post at feminist forum in the UK.

She originally wrote: "I already have a nine year old daughter and have a very good job and am still with my daughters father, but i fell pregnant in feb and had a abortion and now i feel so gulity. I was given the injection that last three months and it will be over may 12 i want i have a baby now because i now feel that ishouldnt have done it. what shall i do?"

She received a lot responses from pro-choicers and prolifers condemning to indefferent (telling her to "seek forgiveness" and to "get over it").

Her original post is a few months old, however another greiving post-abortion woman posted in June. These ladies could use some supportive and encouraging words among the highly political responses.

Friday, July 1, 2005

Hyperemesis Gravidarum: It's Beyond Morning Sickness.

Hyperemesis gravidarum is a rare condition adversly affecting pregnant women, where nausea and vomiting is excessive and severe to the point a woman and her unborn baby's health can be adversely affected. It is not the same thing as your typical morning sickess. But you don't have to suffer through this alone. I hope to help you by connecting you with information, support, and resources on dealing specifically with hyperemesis gravidarum.

Defined by Rare
"Hyperemesis gravidarum (HG) is a rare disorder characterized by severe and persistent nausea and vomiting during pregnancy that may necessitate hospitalization. As a result of frequent nausea and vomiting, affected women experience dehydration, vitamin and mineral deficit, and the loss of greater than five percent of their original body weight."

An article from a Ugandan newspaper about hyperemesis gravidarum:
Morning Sickness: The Ignored Killer

H/T to After Abortion for the link

Informational and Professional Websites:

Beyond Morning Sickness: Battling Hyperemesis Gravidarum
The website, named for the book written by Ashli McCall, contains resources as well as a support forum for women suffering from HG.

Body Mutiny: Extreme Morning
"Through this website, hyperemesis survivor Jenna Schmitt recalls her high-risk pregnancy, offering insights and education that speak volumes to pregnant women and their families. In particular, those suffering from hyperemesis gravidarum or any other complication will find understanding and inspiration here. Jenna’s pregnancy has produced her first book entitled Body Mutiny: Surviving Nine Months of Extreme Morning Sickness. In a powerful mix of poetry and prose, she takes you through 40 harrowing weeks of a hyperemesis pregnancy."

Take Two Crackers...
"Approximately two-thirds of all pregnant women experience some form of morning sickness either at the beginning or throughout the duration of their pregnancy. Our goal is to introduce lifestyle modifications and increase nutrition awareness to help reduce morning sickness during your pregnancy. Miriam Erick has pioneered the modern discussion of truly effective diet and lifestyle modifications that help women tolerate morning sickness during pregnancy. She is an experienced Registered Dietitian (Clinical Obstetrics, Rheumatology, General Surgery and Orthopedic). Her approach to morning sickness is explained in her informative, eye-opening book "Take Two Crackers and Call Me in the Morning!".

HER Foundation: Hyperemesis Education and Research
The HER Foundation provides education & support for mothers suffering from hyperemesis gravidarum and those who care for them.

Blooming Awful
The UK hyperemesis gravidarum awareness group

A personal website with basic information on the condition and available treatment options.

HuGs: Hyperemesis Gravidarum Survivors
A personal website with women's stories, medical information (i.e. treatment options and dietary information), and a support message board.

HG Help Boards
A support forum for the women and their families suffering from HG

Motherisk: Resources for Nausea
Offers facts and resources on morning sickness through a publication on nausea research; offers a toll-free helpline for North America.

Matria Health Care: Nausea and Vomiting in Pregnancy

Information for Women and Clinical Practice Guidelines for Nausea and Vomiting in Pregnancy
Prepared by the Obstetrics Committee of the SOGC (requires Adobe Acrobat Reader)

eMedicine Health - Vomiting During Pregnancy
Learn about causes, diagnosis and treatment options

Hyperemesis Gravidarum
by Richard Chudacoff, M.D. Discussion of Alternative Treatments for Hyperemesis

HG Supplies, Pharmaceuticals and Supplement Product Pages:

Her Foundation: Common HG Medications

Morning Sickness Help
Various products including vitamin suckers, discreet vomiting bag, and aromatherapy for lessening the effects of morning sickness.

Women Share Their Personal Stories:

Baby, You're Making Me Sick!

"I am a happy wife and a mother to two adorable little boys. I had severe Hyperemesis Gravidarum during both of my pregnancies. I started this blog so I can share my own memories and experiences with the other .03%-2.0% of pregnant women who are experiencing this unrelenting illness."

Building My Baby
"A blog following me through the ups, downs, joys, and woes of pregnancy"

Getting Personal With HG

"This blog will detail my journey through HG. It may not be the most uplifting thing to read or view every day, but it's important to spread awareness about this disease, which often goes undiagnosed."

Hyperemesis Gravidarum: a diary
Journal of a Ashli McCall's 4th experience with hyperemesis gravidarum

My Hyperemesis: Anna's Blog
"This is a collection of information I have gathered through my experience with HG and postpartum residual nausea. My goal is to raise awareness about this understudied, misunderstood pregnancy illness."

Christa's HGStory

One woman's story in her struggle with HG during her first pregnancy, with a husband who stayed by her side

Island of Grief, Mountain of Joy
The story of a woman's triumph, tragedy and hopefully more triumphs with Hyperemesis Gravardium. Often a misunderstood, misdiagnosed and mistreated disease

Knocked Up-Knocked Over: My Journey Through Hyperemesis Gravidarum
A woman details her journey through HG. It may not be the most uplifting thing to read every day, but it's important to spread awareness about this disease, which often goes undiagnosed.

The S.I.C.L.E. Cell
A blog by Ashli McCall, author of Beyond Morning Sickness, who suffered from severe hyperemesis gravidarum during a previous pregnancy. Following the advice of her doctor and relatives, she relented into a late-term abortion, ending the very much wanted pregnancy. Her blog consists of her personal experience and insights of her situation, as well as healing from the abortion.

The Whinning Puker

Thoughts, agitations and cogitations of a 27-year old woman considering a second pregnancy while pondering the likelihood of a recurrence of hyperemesis gravidarum.