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Natural Procreative Technology

In this age of astonishing advances in medical treatments, not all progress comes in the form of pharmacological discoveries. Some innovations, in fact, are as old as time itself.
 
This is the case with Natural Procreative Technology (NaProTECHNOLOGY), a holistic approach to women’s healthcare where diagnoses are made in concert with a woman’s intimate understanding of her own body and where treatments do not disrupt or suppress natural reproductive function. NaProTECHNOLOGY uses the Creighton Model of Natural Family Planning to identify underlying causes and provide natural solutions for a range of gynecological issues, including infertility, miscarriages, ovarian cysts, premenstrual syndrome and postpartum depression.
 
In February, a NaProTECHNOLOGY practice opened at Catholic Medical Center in Manchester, N.H., under the leadership of Dr. Sarah Bascle and assisted by Nancy Malo, a certified fertility care practitioner, as well as a registered nurse and a certified nurse midwife, who will all be dedicated to the philosophy. The practice is the first, not just in New Hampshire but in all of New England and much of the East Coast, that is solely dedicated to Natural Family Planning and NaProTECHNOLOGY.
 
Because NaProTECHNOLOGY is effective, science-based and in complete accord with the moral teachings of the Catholic Church, the staff at the medical center is excited to welcome Bascle to their medical team to provide a regional natural procreative practice that will be able to serve patients from far beyond the West Side of Manchester.
 
Nicole Pendenza, director of Maternal and Child Health Care, conveyed the enthusiasm of her colleagues. “We have been looking to open a practice like this at CMC for many years now but have had difficulty finding the right practitioner.”
 
When Bascle entered medical school at Tulane University, she requested that she be able to fulfill her residency “without having to leave my faith at the hospital door, and they accommodated this,” she said. She also began doing her own research and became acquainted with alternatives to birth control and hormonal treatment for fertility, respectively known as the Creighton Model FertilityCare System and NaProTECHNOLOGY.
 
The Creighton Model and NaProTECHNOLOGY was developed by Dr. Thomas Hilgers while working at the St. Louis University and Creighton University Schools of Medicine. Hilgers, who is now currently a senior medical consultant in obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive medicine and surgery at the Pope Paul VI Institute and a clinical professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Creighton University School of Medicine, published “The Medical and Surgical Practice of NaProTECHNOLOGY” in 2004.
 
Malo had been looking forward to welcoming a NaProTECHNOLOGY practice to the hospital. “Now we will host the only practice in the region with full service OB/GYN care that is couple-centered and morally acceptable to people of all faiths. I’ve been told repeatedly by women ‘This is an answer to my prayers!’”
 
For more information visit cmc-womenswellness.org, naprotechnology.com or call 603-314-7597.

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By Gary Bouchard, originally published in Parable, magazine of the Diocese of Manchester, Nov./Dec. 2016 
 
  • Published in Nation

Against assisted suicide

By Greg Schleppenbach
 
The campaign to legalize doctor-prescribed suicide has been wisely rejected by most policymakers in our society.
 
Most people, regardless of religious affiliation, know that suicide is a terrible tragedy, one that a compassionate society should work to prevent. They realize that allowing doctors to prescribe the means for any of their patients to kill themselves is a corruption of the healing art.
 
But assisted suicide proponents like the deceptively named group “Compassion & Choices” have renewed their aggressive nationwide campaign through legislation, litigation and public advertising, targeting states they see as most susceptible to their message. So the battle against doctor-assisted suicide continues to rage on many fronts.
 
In 1994, Oregon became the first state to legalize doctor-assisted suicide. The assisted suicide campaign has since advanced to legalize the deadly practice in Washington, Vermont, California, Colorado and the District of Columbia.
 
Montana’s highest court, while not officially legalizing the practice, suggested in 2009 that it could be allowed under certain circumstances.
 
Assisted suicide advocates got similar legislation introduced in 27 states this year. Thankfully, many of these bills have been, or likely will be, defeated. But several states still face serious threats, including Hawaii, Maine, New York and New Jersey. They are also turning to courts to overturn laws banning the practice, with lawsuits pending in New York, Hawaii and Massachusetts.
 
The U.S. Congress was drawn into the debate when Washington, D.C.’s City Council passed a law legalizing assisted suicide in November 2016. Our Constitution gives Congress ultimate control over District laws and efforts to nullify are underway. But since Congress has not addressed assisted suicide for many years, members need basic education from constituents about why assisted suicide is dangerous for patients and their families.
 
Another battleground is in the medical profession itself. Long-held opposition to assisted suicide by medical associations has been essential to preserving laws against the practice. That is why C&C is infiltrating medical associations and urging them to abandon opposition and adopt a position of neutrality. The move to neutrality by medical associations in Oregon, Vermont and California helped pave the way for legalization of assisted suicide in those states. And now the American Medical Association is considering whether to change its decades-long position against assisted suicide to one of neutrality.
 
One way to counter the C&C effort is by asking our doctors their position on assisted suicide. If they oppose it, thank them for their stance and urge them to speak out against the practice with their medical associations, their state legislature and with Congress. If the answer is “support,” try to change their minds—and if they won’t, find a new doctor, letting your former doctor know why you left.
 
Euphemistic terms like “aid in dying” “compassion and choice” cloak the reality that assisted suicide is a deadly act: Doctors prescribing a lethal drug for suicide by overdose. Far from fostering compassion or choice, assisted suicide fosters discrimination by creating two classes of people: those whose suicides we work hard to prevent and those whose suicides we assist.
 
Evidence shows that legalizing assisted suicide can reduce access to quality end-of- life care, put pressure on patients and their families and open them up to abuses from insurance companies, among many other dangers. Your help is needed to expose these and other dangers. Equip yourself with fact sheets, videos and other resources available at usccb.org/toliveeachdaypatientsrightscouncil.org and patientsrightsaction.org.  
 
Greg Schleppenbach is associate director for the Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. To read the U.S. bishops’ 2011 policy statement on assisted suicide and related resources, visit usccb.org/toliveeachday.
 
  • Published in Nation

Supporting a friend when she’s unexpectedly expecting

   
I had been brought up to believe that life is always a gift, but it certainly didn’t feel like one when I gazed in shock at a positive pregnancy test. As a mom who had my first baby in college, I know that an unexpected pregnancy can sometimes bring fear, shame and doubt.
 
However, I also know that an unexpected pregnancy can bring joy, excitement, awe, gratitude and deeper love than I knew was possible. About nine months after looking at that pregnancy test, I received the very best gift I have ever been given: my daughter, Maria.* An unexpected pregnancy might be confusing along the way, but life -- though at times difficult -- is ultimately beautiful.
 
Perhaps one of your friends has become pregnant unexpectedly. As someone who has been there, I encourage you to support her in her new journey of being a mother; it’s important that she knows you are thinking of her and supporting her.
 
An unexpected pregnancy can send a woman into crisis mode. If your friend just found out she is pregnant, she may not be thinking clearly, and she may feel she has no control over anything at the moment. When a woman experiencing challenging circumstances confides she is pregnant, the reaction of the first person she tells tends to set the tone for her decision-making.
 
Avoid responding with shock or alarm, and be calm and understanding. Be aware of how she is responding to you. Listen to her and let her know you love her, you are there for her, and it’s going to be OK. Pay close attention to her emotional state, and act accordingly.
 
Depending on where she is emotionally, it may or may not be helpful to congratulate her at that time. However, it is always important to affirm that every person’s life—including her child’s and her own--is precious and beautiful no matter the circumstances.
 
Pay attention to what might make her feel most loved. One person might appreciate encouraging words, while another might feel more supported if you help with specific tasks. Don’t be afraid to ask her if she needs help with anything or to make specific offers to help. For example, you might offer to help with cleaning, finding a good doctor or running to the store to pick up the one food that won’t make her feel sick. (But remember to read her cues and make sure you’re not being overbearing.) Simple things -- letting her know that you care and are always ready to listen, that you are available to help her, that you are praying for her -- can give hope and courage when she might otherwise feel alone.
 
The most important thing, though, is to pray; it’s the most effective way we can help. Pray for her, for her child and for guidance in how you can give her the best possible support.
 
Your support might be the only support she receives. Even if we never know how, the smallest things we do can change someone’s life. You can make a difference in her life.
 
Will you?




 
* Name changed for privacy.
 
This issue of “Life Issues Forum” has been adapted and shortened from “10 Ways to Support Her When She’s Unexpectedly Expecting,” originally published in the 2015-16 Respect Life Program. Visit bit.ly/10WaysRespectLife for the original version. A directory of pregnancy services can be found at heartbeatinternational.org/worldwide-directory.
 
  • Published in Nation

Father Mattison reflects on synod

By Father Thomas Mattison, pastor of Christ our Savior Parish in Manchester Center and Arlington

Burlington Bishop Christopher Coyne has convoked a diocesan synod. What? Why? And why care?
 
A diocesan synod is a legislative action by which a diocesan bishop, after broad consultation, establishes the laws that will govern his diocese. But, we thought the pope made the laws! Well, he does – for the universal Church. But it is obvious that the situation of the Church in Vermont is different from that of the Church in Africa. So, the Church in Vermont will need to have rules and procedures that it will use in applying the universal law.
 
Moreover, Vermont may well have unique needs, unforeseen by the universal law, that require unique approaches and treatment.
 
Let me list a few:
‐ Vermont is divided in two by the Green Mountains; east-west travel takes a disproportionate amount of time.
‐ Burlington is a long way from the whole of southern Vermont. (Bennington is closer to the sees of Albany, N.Y; Springfield, Mass.; Worcester, Mass.; and Manchester, N.H., than it is to Burlington.)
‐ The population of Vermont is concentrated in Burlington, as is the wealth and everything else but the scenery.
‐ The rest of the population is scattered in small towns and villages.
‐ There is little industry in Vermont and, so, few jobs for our youth.
‐ Thus, the population of Vermont is weighted to the gray end.
‐ More Vermonters describe themselves as “church-less” than in any other state.
‐ Of these, 60 percent call themselves “ex-Catholics.”
 
The Catholic Church in Vermont, since it is made up of Vermonters, reflects all of these issues. Obviously, then, the Catholic Church in Vermont faces challenges and has opportunities that must be met and seized that the universal law of the Church could not have imagined.
 
One might just decide to leave each scattered little population center to work things out for itself. The ensuing chaos is not hard to imagine, but it is very hard to imagine that this would create a meaningful Catholic presence in the state as a whole. Besides, such “congregationalism” is absolutely antithetical to the very meaning of “catholic.”
 
So a synod is necessary:
‐ to assure that every section of this “scattered” diocese is heard
‐ that the religious needs of every section are met
‐ that the pastoral priorities of the diocese as a whole are clearly laid out
‐ that lines of communication and responsibility are well defined
‐ to draw up fair and uniform policies for the allocation of assets – money, personnel, buildings
‐ to define criteria for the creation, modification or closure of any Church ministries.
 
A synod is big business. Its work will touch every single one of us. We should watch its work, support its outcome and pray for universal wisdom and charity.
 
For more information on Father Mattison’s parish, go to christoursaviorvt.com.
 
 
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