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Welcome to the STD epidemic

Feb 20, 2018 | 0 Comments
STD epidemic

Prince Ernest was hopelessly in love with the lovely widow, Harriet. Harriet felt the same and threw herself into the German prince’s bed for what she assumed would be an evening of passion.

There was a problem: the prince had syphilis.

To his credit, he was able to gather himself and deter the inflamed, young woman from making a mistake that could haunt her the rest of her life. You can watch the melodrama unfold in this scene from the PBS hit series, “Victoria.”

Now syphilis is treatable

In an era before antibiotics, syphilis was devastating. Today, it can be treated with antibiotics, with this warning from the Center for Disease Control (CDC):

“However, treatment might not undo any damage that the infection has already done.”

Syphillis is widespread, with 88,000 reported cases in 2016. However, the CDC reveals the problem of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) goes far beyond syphillis, as the graphic below reveals. Our country is awash in a STD epidemic.

STD epidemic

Multiple sex partners fuel the STD epidemic

You are at risk if you are sexually active, and if either you or your partner have had multiple partners.

The consequence of contracting an STD can last your entire life, because some STDs cannot be cured. With each new partner, your odds of contracting an STD increase exponentially.

The CDC tells us that STDs infect 20 million NEW people every year. Worse, many people don’t know for a long time, because they aren’t tested. As a result, STDs infect 110 million Americans today.

The CDC says that you are most likely to be infected with one of the following STDs (in this order):

HPV

Chlamydia

Trichomoniasis

Gonorrhea

Genital Herpes

Syphilis

HIV

HBV

Even though syphilis is only sixth on this list, this timeless destroyer of lives still infects 117,000 Americans.

Women and men ask these common questions about STDs:

If I use a condom, will that prevent me from contracting an STD?

No, not necessarily. The Food & Drug Administration (FDA) says,

“The most effective way to avoid getting an STI is to not have sex. Another way is to limit sex to one partner who also limits his or her sex in the same way. Condoms are not 100% safe, but if used properly, will reduce the risk of getting a STI.”

Which STDs are incurable?

The United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) tells us:

“More than 30 different bacteria, viruses and parasites are known to be transmitted through sexual contact. Eight of these pathogens are linked to the greatest incidence of sexually transmitted disease. Of these 8 infections, 4 are currently curable: syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia and trichomoniasis. The other 4 are viral infections and are incurable: hepatitis B, herpes simplex virus (HSV or herpes), HIV, and human papillomavirus (HPV). Symptoms or disease due to the incurable viral infections can be reduced or modified through treatment.”

How often should I test for STDs?

That depends on whether are sexually active with multiple partners, in which case the CDC recommends at least once a year. In the case of gay and bisexual men, it should happen as often as every 3 months.

What are complications from STDs?

According to the Mayo Clinic:

  • Pelvic pain
  • Pregnancy complications
  • Eye inflammation
  • Arthritis
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease
  • Infertility
  • Heart disease
  • Certain cancers, such as HPV-associated cervical and rectal cancers

Can STDs kill me?

Yes, especially AIDs. Some are curable or treatable, but some impact your immune systems in ways that can shorten your lifespan.

Back to Prince Ernest. Ultimately, he was an honorable man who denied himself pleasure to protect the woman he loved.

The STD epidemic impacts our entire culture. Protect yourself. Protect your partner. Live a healthy life and avoid the anguish and remorse wrought by STDs.

[LEARN more. Get our Women’s Reproductive Health Resource Book online without obligation.]


 

The Iowa fetus is becoming an endangered species

Feb 15, 2018 | Comments Off on The Iowa fetus is becoming an endangered species
Iowa fetus

Iowa fetusThe Iowa Fetus is becoming endangered. The replacement birthrate in the Hawkeye State has been below replacement level since 2009.

The replacement birthrate in developed nations is 2.1 births per woman, but here in Iowa, the rate had dropped to 1.99 by 2016.

Our population growth is stagnant. Small towns are drying up, and what little growth we’ve experienced in recent decades has been through immigration.

The Heartbeat Bill will help

A bill before the Iowa legislature (SSB 3143) would ban human abortion once a heartbeat is detectable in an Iowan Fetus. As you can guess, support falls pretty much along party lines, with Republicans largely supporting the bill and Democrats vigorously opposing any legal protections for the Iowa Fetus.

The Iowa Code DOES protect some life

By contrast, sections 481A and B in the Iowa Administrative Code do sanction you for killing life in Iowa to the tune of $1000 per life. Here is a partial list of some life forms protected by law here in Iowa:

√ Indiana Bat

√ Plains Pocket Mouse

√ Spotted Skunk

√ Common Barn Owl

√ Piping Plover

√ Iowa Pleistocene Land Snail

Iowa law even protects an expansive list of plant life, such as the sumpweed.

Here’s the question …

Here’s the obvious question: isn’t a human being worth more than a skunk? Or a snail? Or a rodent?

The list of protected species above enjoys bi-partisan support. Why not the Iowa Fetus, which has become endangered in recent years?

The Iowa Fetus is in the early stages of the arc of its life, but it will become the people who build our roads, cure our sick, and take care of the elderly tomorrow.

These are the people who will not only feed Iowans, but the entire world.

We need them.

Opponents of the bill insist that the Heartbeat Bill infringes on a woman’s “right to privacy” as defined by Roe V Wade. And yet the Iowa Administrative  Code will fine you even if you kill a spotted skunk in your own backyard, privacy be damned.

Opponents of the Heartbeat Bill correctly observe that a woman’s body isn’t the same as your private property. And yet if someone kills the Iowa Fetus against the mother’s will, the state will treat the fetus as a person and the crime as a homicide.

How can the same fetus be considered a person in one breath and a disposable clump of cells inferior to a spotted skunk in the next?

The Heartbeat Bill recognizes the intrinsic dignity of human life. The bill was passed in a Senate sub-committee by an 8 to 5 vote this week. It will most likely be debated on the Senate floor next week.

If you think the Iowa Fetus deserves the same legal protection as a Spotted Skunk, contact your State Legislators immediately.


 

Abortion takes the life of a baby

Feb 12, 2018 | Comments Off on Abortion takes the life of a baby
abortion takes the life of a baby

Hi, I’m Laura Limmex.  I am the Executive Director of Restored by Grace and I’m a founding member of The Coalition.

I too had an abortion at the age of 16, and for many years I denied the fact of what happened that day and the memories of what happened that day.  Today I work with women across the state of Iowa and this Midwest region who are struggling following the decision to have an abortion.

Abortion takes the life of a baby

Many were never able to conceive a child again and those that did were deeply disturbed when they first heard that first heartbeat. They immediate realized the abortion took the life of a baby. There was a beating heart, a human being, their baby.

Human abortion doesn’t resolve problems

It left them to navigate grief, guilt, remorse, anger, depression, anxiety. Things that they thought were being resolved with the abortion were only escalated. They were affected mentally, emotionally, many times physically and spiritually.

I’m going to be brief and just end with a couple questions.

adoption option

State Capitol Building, Iowa

As a community, Nation, State what do we value?  Should not our legislators as representatives protect and stand up for people who are young both before birth and after?

Thank you.

[The above is a transcript of Laura Limmex’s testimony before the Iowa Senate’s subcommittee on the Heartbeat Bill, SSB 3143, on February 8th. The full committee debates the bill today in room 116. Please attend beginning at 4PM to show your support.]


 

The Heartbeat Bill will save 1515 Iowa lives per year thanks to the adoption option

Feb 11, 2018 | Comments Off on The Heartbeat Bill will save 1515 Iowa lives per year thanks to the adoption option
adoption option

[Here is a transcript of Kim Laube’s testimony before the Iowa Senate’s subcommittee on the Heartbeat Bill, SSB 3143, on February 8th.]

I am Kimberly Laube, Director of Life Ministries for Lutheran Family Service.  I direct the adoption agency and pregnancy counseling program that began in 1901 in Fort Dodge, Iowa.

I would like to address the question:

Does Iowa have the infrastructure to handle the number of children born to women who would have otherwise sought an abortion if were not for a law prohibiting them from an abortion after a heart beat is detected?

Currently Iowa reports abortion statistics in terms of those prior to 13 weeks gestation and those after 13-week gestation.  In 2014, according to The State of Iowa’s Vital Statistic Report, 283 children were aborted either surgically or medically that were over the age of 13 weeks.  All other abortions, which totaled 3732, were performed at gestational age 0-13 weeks.

We do not know the exact number, because but we can use national statistics to help us reach a good estimated number.

According to Guttmacher Institute, two thirds of women have an abortion prior to 8 weeks gestation.  Using that statistic 1232 of the 3732 women who were reported to have abortions before 13 weeks would have had their abortion after a heart beat could be detected and would have been prevented from doing so.

The adoption option

Using those assumptions, In the state of Iowa there may be 1,515 children being born to mothers who otherwise would have had an abortion.

The National Council for Adoption has complied quite a bit of data surrounding adoption and abortion.  There is a national adoption rate of 7 babies to every 1000 babies aborted or born to unwed mothers in the United States.  This is called the Adoption Option Index.

The National Council for Adoption broke out their numbers further and reported on the Adoption Option Index state by state.

Iowa is an adoption friendly state

There were some very important findings… important enough that I would like to quote The National Council for Adoption about their findings.  Here is what they had to say.

In 2014, four states had Adoption Option Indexes three or more times higher than the national average—Utah (36.3), Arkansas (26.8), Montana (23.1), and Iowa (21.4). There were two to four adoptions for every 100 abortions plus births to unmarried women in these states. This suggests that in these states women may have more extensive counseling, services, and facilities to orient pregnant women towards adoption—among other factors.

That’s good news!

Iowa’s Adoption Option Index appears to show that we currently have an infrastructure that helps us succeed at least three or four times the national average!

According to various sites, including the Federalists, American Adoptions and other websites, it is common to use the statistic of 2 Million American Couples are waiting to adopt.

That is approximately 36 couples waiting for every one infant adoption.

It is not realistic to believe that all 1,515 extra births in Iowa annually would be placed for adoption.  Our Adoption Index would indicate it is somewhere around an additional 30 children who would be placed for adoption.  There are multiple adoption agencies throughout Iowa besides Lutheran Family Service who could easily absorb an additional 30 placements.

Some of course will be parented and may rely on welfare or other state aid.  But, Vital Statistics indicate that about 60% of the women seeking abortions in Iowa have some college education which will make them less likely to need welfare assistance throughout their life time.

It will remain to be seen the impact this bill will have on our infrastructures, welfare, Medicaid and adoption, but there are some indicators here that lead me to believe we have a good foundation for support.

I rise in favor of SSB 3143 and rejoice in the 1515 lives it will save annually.

[The Heartbeat Bill needs YOUR help this Monday. Can you attend a crucial hearing Senate subcommittee hearing Monday, February 12th, 5PM, in room 116? Planned Parenthood will be out in force. Pro life proponents need to show their support. Be sure to read/watch Maggie Dewitte’s testimony.]

If a heartbeat exists, it is a life

Feb 10, 2018 | Comments Off on If a heartbeat exists, it is a life
If a heartbeat exists, it is a life

[Here is a transcript of Scott Valencia’s remarks before an Iowa Senate subcommittee in support of the proposed Heartbeat Bill legislation. Mr. Valencia is Executive Director of the NATURAL JOURNEY ALLIANCE and Chairperson of THE COALITION OF PRO LIFE LEADERS:]

Good morning Senator Sinclair, Schultz, and Petersen.  I am Scott Valencia, Chair Person for the Coalition of Pro-Life Leaders. I appreciate your taking the time today to hold this sub-committee.

If a heartbeat exists, it is a life

It’s not a secret that our coalition believes that life at fertilization is the gold standard that Iowa should strive for, because all lives from the moment of fertilization have value.

We also understand that specific points within life at fertilization currently has challenges for both legislators and Senate leadership, in both legality and enforceability.

This is not the case with this bill.

This bill creates protections at a fundamental level, that any person no matter political affiliation or education level can understand. If a heartbeat exists, it is a life. And so the coalition is supporting SSB 3143 [the Heartbeat Bill].

I would like to address quickly a few key points:

Healthcare shouldn’t be about finding ‘safer’ ways to take a life

• Senator [Janet] Petersen stated:

“If this law was passed we would lose our only obgyn residency program and create an environment that OBGYN’s would not want to risk working in.”

I am confused.

Most  postgraduate training programs are preparing the practicing obstetrician/gynecologist to be adept at the care of female reproductive organs’ health, and at the management of pregnancy.

Wouldn’t we be better suited in creating a program for providing better care for the women and babies of Iowa … and not welcome a program that’s training apparently hinges on finding safer ways to take a life?

And if we are losing doctors because we are NOT taking lives, don’t we have a much bigger issue?

Taking another’s life is not a ‘health choice’

• We heard today that a woman’s health should take the main spotlight, and I agree that a person’s health should be the primary concern. But I always struggle with how the taking of another’s life is a health choice. When it is a health choice involving the risk of life to the mother, this bill addresses it giving the ability to the doctor to terminate if taking the life will save the mother.

No one argues that “a heartbeat does not prove life”

protect human life

State Capitol Building, Iowa

• Last, it seems that many people speaking here today have tried very hard to avoid the statement that “a heartbeat does not prove life.” I think that is very telling

Thank you for your time.

[The Heartbeat Bill needs YOUR help this Monday. Can you attend a crucial hearing Senate subcommittee hearing Monday, February 12th, 5PM, in room 116? Planned Parenthood will be out in force. Pro life proponents need to show their support. Be sure to read/watch Maggie Dewitte’s testimony.]


 

IFL Executive Director, Maggie Dewitte, testifies before Senate subcommittee

Feb 9, 2018 | Comments Off on IFL Executive Director, Maggie Dewitte, testifies before Senate subcommittee
adoption option

[Here is a transcript of Maggie Dewitte’s remarks before an Iowa Senate subcommittee in support of the proposed “Heartbeat Bill” legislation:]

When death is determined

In Iowa, death is determined when an individual has sustained irreversible cessation of circulatory or respiratory functions.  In other words, the heart stops beating.  It is not hard then, to draw the logical conclusion that when there is a heartbeat, the person is alive.

When heartbeats begin

According to Embryology textbooks, the human heart is the earliest functioning organ beginning at 4 weeks in utero.

In Planned Parenthood’s explanation of D & E abortions (Dilation & Evacuation), “In later second-trimester procedures, you may also need a shot through your abdomen to make sure the fetus’s heart stops before the procedure begins.”

Planned Parenthood fears live births

Though Planned Parenthood does not give an explanation as to the reason to stop the heart, the Orlando’s Women’s Center website, provides the reason:  it assures nearly 100% that there will be no evidence of a live birth when the delivery takes place.

When organizations who perform abortion stipulate the need to stop the heart, are they not in fact acknowledging the child in the womb is in fact alive?  And if alive, does that child not deserve the protections all human beings deserve?

Protect human life

On behalf of the coalition of pro-life leaders, I urge passage of this bill to protect the most vulnerable of our society.

[The Heartbeat Bill needs YOUR help this Monday. Can you attend a crucial hearing Senate subcommittee hearing Monday, February 12th, 5PM, in room 116? Planned Parenthood will be out in force. Pro life proponents need to show their support.]


 

The Iowa Legislature considers the Heartbeat Bill

Feb 7, 2018 | Comments Off on The Iowa Legislature considers the Heartbeat Bill
the Heartbeat Bill
the Heartbeat Bill

State Capitol Building, Iowa

When does human life begin? Scientists state the obvious that it begins at conception. Even pro abortion advocates agree, as you can see in the video below.

An adult, a teenager, a child, an infant, a fetus, an embryo, a blastocyst, and a zygote are all human beings at different stages of development. The culture divides over who is deserving of 14th Amendment protections. Some politicians suggest that the zygote, blastocyst, embryo, and fetus should have no human rights whatsoever, despite the acknowledgement of their humanity.

Some of these same politicians even honestly refer to the baby in the womb as an “infant.”  Nonetheless, they support “human” abortion. (The word human is an important descriptor for an act that ends a human life.)

Fetal pain bill passed last year

Last year, the Iowa Legislature passed a law which provided legal protections at the stage when a fetus can feel pain, which is at the 2oth week. The rationale is that it is inhumane to kill another person in a cruel and intentionally painful manner. Human abortion subjects them to excruciating pain. We don’t even subject murderers on death row to this kind of treatment. The fetal pain bill remedied this injustice.

The Heartbeat Bill

This year, the Iowa legislature proposes to extend human rights protections to the preborn at the stage when a heartbeat is first detected. This occurs around the 5th week after her conception.

The proposed legislation is simply called the Heartbeat Bill, or SSB 3143 as it is designated by the legislature.

Here’s an excerpt:

“The bill prohibits a physician from performing an abortion upon a pregnant woman when it has been determined that the unborn child has a detectable fetal heartbeat, unless, in the physician’s reasonable medical judgment, a medical emergency exists. A physician who knowingly and intentionally performs an abortion on a pregnant woman, when it has been determined that the unborn child has a detectable fetal heartbeat and a medical emergency does not exist, is guilty of a class “D” felony.  A class “D” felony is punishable by confinement for no more than five years and a fine of at least $750 but not more than $7,500.”

The rationale: all human beings should be treated equally. The Heartbeat Bill  suggests we shouldn’t discriminate against a human being just because she has a tiny heart. The sweep of history demands an ongoing expansion of human rights. That is what the Heartbeat Bill does.

This rationale very much comports with the compassionate thinking of social justice warriors from the 19th century. They fought a racist status quo that considered people with black skin as being subhuman. The culture then considered the slave unworthy of basic liberties of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The culture today imposes the same injustice on persons with tiny, beating hearts.

The Heartbeat Bill is an important piece of legislation that advances the cause of human dignity. We encourage advocates of social justice to vigorously support this bill by contacting their legislators. For every voice they hear, they know you represent another hundred people.

You can make a difference today.

[You are encouraged to attend a committee hearing at the statehouse tomorrow at 8AM, room 22. The more supporters of human dignity in attendance, the better.]


 

A modern day hero

Feb 2, 2018 | Comments Off on A modern day hero
adoption


 

By Maggie Dewitte

Ryan, Rebecca, and Hope Holets stand with Melania Trump at the State of the Union address.

For me, the highlight of the president’s State of the Union address Tuesday was Ryan Holets.

Did you hear what happened? President Trump shared the story of Mr. Holets who is a cop in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He responded to what seemed to be a routine call about a possible convenience store robbery.

When he arrived at the scene, he came upon a couple sitting behind the store about to shoot up heroin.

The woman, Crystal Champ, was 8 months pregnant.

Let that sink in.

The cop cried out,

“Why are you doing this stuff? It’s going to ruin your baby. You’re going to kill your baby.”

At this moment, the history of the world turned on a dime. Ms. Champs lashed back, engulfed by sobs:

“How dare you judge me? You have no idea how hard this is. I know what a horrible person I am. I know what a horrible situation I’m in.”

She acknowledged she needed someone to adopt her baby. And guess what, the cop had an idea of someone who would be willing to adopt her child: him.

He said he felt God talk to him. He went home, discussed it with his wife, Rebecca, and they decided to adopt the unborn child of a heroin addict.

The baby girl was born a few weeks later. They named her Hope.

How beautifully fitting.

This innocent little girl came into the world heroin-addicted through no fault of her own. She had to fight through withdrawal for ten days before they let her new parents take her home from the hospital.

She’s home, and her life is filled with hope.

She knows love.

Can this happy ending get any better? Yes. The cop set up a GoFundMe page for the birth mom to help pay for drug rehab. According to CNN, she received treatment and has been sober for 40 days.

Will it stick? Don’t know.

Will baby Hope grow up unaffected by heroin poisoning? Don’t know.

All we know is that one little life has hope today because of brave decisions made by three people:

  1. Ryan Holets, the cop who intervened, and said YES to God’s call to adopt.
  2. Rebecca Holets, the wife who quickly said YES to God’s call to adopt.
  3. And the biggest hero of all is Crystal Champ who said YES to life, and demonstrated the most profound form of love the world has even known: agape love.

What is agape love? It is sacrificial, self-giving.  It says you’re more important than I, that I’ll die for you.

Crystal Champ surely died a little the day she gave her baby to the Holets, but she KNEW in heart that it was absolutely the right thing to do.

Adoption is the answer.

Agape love. That’s the kind of love Jesus lived out for us … on the cross.

What’s next? Did you know that there are 36 couples standing in line to adopt every available baby placed for adoption?

These are couples that may not have wealth or status, but they have an abundance of love to offer.

We need more heroes like Crystal Champs who make the loving choice and chooses adoption, not death for their babies.

Life is beautiful. Adoption is beautiful.

If you need help trying to figure this all out, here’s a great resource: Lutheran Family Services. They’ll give you the information and support you need right now.

Planned Parenthood: “Irreplaceable” and “Life-Saving”?

Sep 8, 2017 | Comments Off on Planned Parenthood: “Irreplaceable” and “Life-Saving”?

In its most recent annual report, the Planned Parenthood Federation of America makes two
fundamental claims, both of which are directly relevant to the question involving continued
government funding for its services, approximately $555 million in the fiscal year ending
June 30, 2016.1 These claims are:
• First, that Planned Parenthood health centers are… Continue Reading

I Want My Doctors To Help Me Live, Not Die

Jul 14, 2017 | Comments Off on I Want My Doctors To Help Me Live, Not Die

Published by the Wall Street Journal on July 6th, 2017
By J.J. Hanson

Aggressive brain cancer is trying to end my life. The best doctors in the world are racing to find a cure. Meanwhile, legislation promoting assisted suicide all over the nation would dismantle essential protections and care on which I, and so many others, depend as we fight terminal illnesses. Bills that would legalize or expand assisted suicide have been introduced in 29 states.

Three years ago, I was living the American dream. I was happily married, our son had just turned 1, and I had a job I loved. My life changed in an instant. I had a grand mal seizure at work and went to the hospital. Doctors ran tests, including a CT scan, but could not find anything wrong. As they were preparing to send me home, my wife demanded an MRI.

That’s when they found the cancer—grade 4 glioblastoma multiforme. The neurosurgeon told me it was inoperable; my prognosis was four months to live. Three doctors told me there was nothing they could do. Surgery, chemotherapy and radiation rarely work on this type of brain cancer.

I’m a U.S. Marine Corps veteran of Iraq. I’ve been through a lot in my life and always resolved never to give up, but there was a moment after my diagnosis when I felt despair. In that moment, had assisted suicide been an option, I might have taken it. With my family’s support, I came through that depression. But not everyone is lucky enough to have that kind of support.

So despite the doctors’ pessimistic prognosis, I pursued standard and experimental treatments. I knew doctors weren’t always right and I was going to fight for every moment of life I had left. That was three years ago. Today our second child is on the way.

Sadly, too many others—thrown into clinical depression by a grim prognosis, illness-induced disability or fears of being a burden—lose hope and become willing to take their own lives. A study conducted in Oregon in 2006 found 25% of patients requesting assisted suicide were depressed, and several of them went on to receive the lethal medication.

Legislation being pushed throughout the country promotes assisted suicide for cases like mine. Instead of providing support and working to make life more comfortable, this legislation would encourage victims to choose the least expensive option—death. We cannot trust insurance companies, which are profit-driven businesses, to continue offering quality care to terminally ill patients. They will choose the cheaper option every time.

I’ve seen the danger of assisted suicide, and that is what moved me to dedicate the last year and a half to fighting assisted-suicide legislation across the country with the Patients Rights Action Fund. If suicide becomes a normal medical treatment for terminally ill patients, lives will be tragically shortened, as patients who might have outlived their prognoses by months or even years kill themselves prematurely.

Mr. Hanson is president of the Patients Rights Action Fund.