Tag Archives: America

Why Planned Parenthood is NOT for Women’s Health

As a twenty-something American women who is highly in favor of the defunding of Planned Parenthood, the biggest opposition I hear is that by taking funds from Planned Parenthood, we are hindering women’s rights and limiting the healthcare options that women have available to them. Many people say that, if not for Planned Parenthood, they would have nowhere else to go for basic reproductive healthcare. The simple fact is that this is not true.

Since the Affordable Care Act has been signed into place, it is required by law for all Americans to have health insurance. Furthermore, all health insurance providers are required to provide basic reproductive services (including a yearly exam, mammogram, and pap smear) free of charge. These services are offered at any OBGYN office.

What about people who do not have insurance? Funnily enough, the same people who use this argument are traditionally staunch advocates of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act, which fines those who do not have healthcare. So to these people I ask, where do you truly stand? Is insurance required at the risk of paying a penalty? If so, then why the need for Planned Parenthood? And if the Affordable Care Act does not supply insurance as it should, leaving women without healthcare options, then how can you fail to see the glaring lack of practical application of the ACA?

Setting that aside, there are numerous organizations which provide healthcare to those who do not have insurance. In August of 2015, the Charlotte Lozier Institute produced a map listing over 13,000 non-abortive healthcare facilities in the United Stated compared to only 665 Planned Parenthood locations.  Clearly, there are many alternatives to seeking true healthcare without the need for Planned Parenthood.

So what does Planned Parenthood offer that cannot be obtained elsewhere? Not anything to help advance women’s healthcare, I can tell you that. Planned Parenthood provides contraception. And Planned Parenthood provides abortions. Oh and about those contraceptives? Let’s go back to that lovely Affordable Care Act once more. The ACA requires contraception to be provided free of charge. So why exactly is Planned Parenthood necessary? What is it that women are getting at Planned Parenthood that they cannot get elsewhere, aside from abortion?

Why should our federal tax money be supporting this organization which places such a strong emphasis on contraception and abortion when the actual healthcare needs of women can be met in so many other locations? If we’re going to spend the money on healthcare, why not put it towards facilities that do not offer abortions? Why not use it to help provide better healthcare to our veterans? Or to children battling cancer? There are so many better uses for this money.

To convince society that all women will have sex promiscuously and need the contraceptives and STD testing Planned Parenthood provides is insulting to women. We are more than mindless sex machines who cannot stop ourselves from giving into bodily pleasures. And our young women need to be taught that they are worth so much more than a one night stand. Instead of throwing our hands up and saying, “It is what it is. They’re going to have sex. Let’s make sure they do so safely”, why not fight back? Sexual promiscuity does not have to be the norm.  And America’s young women deserve to know that.

Life is to be protected at ALL stages.  To spread the lie that a child within the womb is not a baby is truly evil. To tell women that it is just a blob of tissue that can be easily disposed of and then turn around to “harvest” what, in truth, is very valuable tissue, the tissue of a living baby…well this is a bold faced lie that the devil himself couldn’t be more pleased with.

I don’t care if it makes me “old-fashioned”. I don’t care if you think I need to “get with the times.” Truth does not change with time. And the truth is that life, ALL life, is created by God. It is not ours to dispose of as we so choose.

As the United States election creeps closer and closer, please pray for God’s guidance in electing our next President. Please pray for those who fight for life.  Please pray for those who feel they have no other choice than abortion.  Pray for those in the abortion industry and those who support Planned Parenthood, that their eyes and hearts may be opened.  Pray for America.  Pray for life.

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A Prayer for September 11 – Pope Benedict

800px-US_Flag_Backlit

O God of love, compassion, and healing, look on us, people of many different faiths and  traditions, who gather today at this site, the scene of incredible violence and pain.

We ask you in your goodness to give eternal light and peace to all who died here— the heroic first-responders: our fire fighters, police  officers, emergency service workers, and Port  Authority personnel, along with all the innocent  men and women who were victims of this  tragedy simply because their work or service  brought them here on September 11, 2001.

We ask you, in your compassion to bring healing to those who, because of their presence here that day,
suffer from injuries and illness. Heal, too, the pain of still-grieving families and all who lost loved ones in this tragedy. Give them strength to continue their lives with courage and hope.

We are mindful as well of those who suffered death, injury, and loss on the same day at the Pentagon and in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Our hearts are one with theirs as our prayer embraces their pain and suffering. God of peace, bring your peace to our violent world: peace in the hearts of all men and women and peace among the nations of the earth. Turn to your way of love those whose hearts and minds are consumed with hatred.

God of understanding, overwhelmed by the magnitude of this tragedy, we seek your light and guidance
as we confront such terrible events. Grant that those whose lives were spared may live so that the lives lost here may not have been lost in vain. Comfort and console us, strengthen us in hope, and give us the wisdom and courage to work tirelessly for a world where true peace and love reign among nations and in the hearts of all.

Pope Benedict XIV–Prayer at Ground Zero
New York, 20 April 2008

God Bless America

800px-US_Flag_BacklitTomorrow is the 4th of July and here in the United States of America, it is Independence Day.  It will be a day filled with parades, cookouts, family gatherings, and fireworks lighting up the night sky.  Songs like the “Star Spangled Banner” and “God Bless America” will ring out and American flags will be proudly displayed.

As we enjoy our picnics and fun times, tomorrow should also be a time to reflect in prayer.  America was founded as “one nation under God.”  God has always been a part of our country.  Certainly with religious freedom not everyone must worship the same way or even worship at all.  But God has always been there.  284px-Rocky_Mountain_National_Park_in_September_2011_-_Glacier_Gorge_from_Bear_Lake

We have beautiful landscapes surrounding us.  From the Atlantic to Pacific, the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico.  From the Rocky Mountains, to the Grand Canyon.  The Appalachian Mountains to the Redwood Forest.  The hand of God is certainly visible in this beautiful country.

Lately it seems that God is being taken out of America.  Under the guise of freedom, America is turning less to God and more towards man. America is a wonderful country filled with many, many people who know and love the Lord.  The media tries to make it seem like we are the minority.  But we are not.  God may not make the nightly news, but He is still present here in America.  People can try to take God away but they will never succeed.

This year, as we celebrate the 4th of July, I pray that all Americans turn once again to the Lord who created this beautiful land and who watches over us all.  I pray that the Christians here in America take a stand for what is right and just.  That we will work together to grow in faith and inspire others to know the Lord.  I pray that tomorrow as we watch fireworks bursting in the inght sky, we can gather together and truly mean the words we sing,

Fourth_of_July_fireworks_behind_the_Washington_Monument,_1986“While the storm clouds gather far across the sea,
Let us swear allegiance to a land that’s free,
Let us all be grateful for a land so fair,
As we raise our voices in a solemn prayer.
God bless America,
Land that I love,
Stand beside her, and guide her
Through the night with a light from above.
From the mountains, to the prairies,
To the oceans, white with foam
God bless America, My home sweet home
God bless America, My home sweet home”
 
“God Bless America” by Irving Berlin, 1918

What Happens Next in Syria?

I am an American.  I am not a politician.  I am not a historian.  I cannot pretend to know all the facts regarding international affairs and I cannot know for certain that the news stories I hear are not biased.  I read the news and try my best to stay up to date on current events both here in America and in other areas of the world.   I am proud to be an American.  Sure we have our problems.  Not everything is perfect in America.  But I enjoy my freedoms, respect my country, and honestly do love living here.  That is not to say that there are times when I disagree with political decisions.  Nor do I know what our course of action should be in international affiars.

Like most Americans, I distinctly remember September 11, 2001.  The images, the video, the stories stick with you.  Just as vividly, I can recall the debate that ensued in the years to come.  Who was to blame?  An attack had occurred on American soil.  Clearly something had to be done, but what? How do you launch a war on “terrorism” when we cannot be certain who may be classified as a terrorist and where they may be located?  The result was the deployment of U.S. and NATO troops to Afghanistan for a war which has been ongoing ever since.  Now over a decade later, thousands of thousands of soldiers are still on active duty in Afghanistan.

Shortly after the start of the war in Afghanistan the talk of a new war began again.  Allegations against Iraq’s possession and potential use of weapons of mass destruction created a divide in America and abroad.  Were there weapons?  If so, would they actually be put to use?  Sadaam Hussein was widely known for his brutality and cruel dictatorship, but whose responsibility was it to fix?  The media was no help in the debate.  Depending on what news station you watched, what reports you read, you could hear a variety of “facts” about the situation at hand.  The fact that 9/11 was still so vivid in the minds of Americans certainly did not help matters as the situation was presented in a manner that seemed to say if Sadaam was not stopped…what could happen next?  Should the U.S. wait for a UN decision and act as a unified front or go it alone?  In 2003, for better or worse, a US and UK led coalition went into Iraq.  War ensued, Sadaam was captured and executed, the regime toppled, and troops remained in Iraq until 2011 when the war was officially over.  Despite all of that, Iraq is still faced with internal conflicts and violence leaving the question lingering…did international involvement help?

Now it seems we are on the brink of entering into another war.  The allegations of Syrian President Bashar Assad’s use of chemical weapons on civilians has prompted an international response.  The response is varied throughout the international community.  With Russia and China strongly opposed to military intervention, the UN pleading for more time and further investigation, and the US and its Western allies already beginning talks of the best military action to be taken, should the decision be made to do so…Who is right?  Is intervention necessary?  How long do we wait?  What proof will be needed?  If it does come to military intervention, are we looking at another full blown war?  Will troops be sent out?   Or will we rely on long range missiles.  How will Syria and its allies react?  Will they fight back?  The questions come and come and without any real decisions having been made yet, the answers are unknown.

I do not know the “right” answer.  Just as I did not known nor do I know now if the appropriate action was taken in Afghanistan and Iraq.  What I do know is this: innocent civilian men, women, and children are dying in Syria.  But whose responsibility is it to help?  And where do we stop?  Certainly many other nations around the world are involved in conflicts and deal with violence and uprising within their own political systems.  Egypt. Sudan. Israel and Palestine. The Congo.  The list goes on and on.   Certainly we cannot become involved in every conflict overseas.  We cannot “fix” every problem.  And who is to say that our “fix” is the “right” one?  With America being involved in Afghanistan and Iraq in recent years, I would venture to say that almost every American either knows someone who was deployed overseas, or knows someone who does.  Friends, neighbors, relatives.  Men and women who fought bravely.  Some who gave their lives.  Do we want to send more Americans into another war?  Will this be another “Iraq” situation?

With all these thoughts running through my head as I read the headlines, one passage comes to mind:

“A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell into the hands of robbers, who stripped him, beat him, and went away, leaving him half dead.  Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.  So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.  But a Samaritan while traveling came near him; and when he saw him, he was moved with pity. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, having poured oil and wine on them. Then he put him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said, ‘Take care of him; and when I come back, I will repay you whatever more you spend.’ Which of these three, do you think, was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?” He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”  (Luke 10:30-37)

I cannot help but hear the reports of people in need and think of this parable.  Who is neighbor to those suffering in Syria?  We may not know the victims, but we are called to help our neighbors in need.  Whether that “neighbor” is truly next door to us or half a world away is irrelevant.  We are called to show mercy to those in need.

I am not saying war or military intervention is the answer. But I am saying that we need to do something.  Not just the United States.  And not just in Syria.  We are called as Christians regardless of the country we live in and the allegiances we hold to show mercy to those who need it.  How can we do this?  I certainly don’t have the money or resources to personally reach out to every victim of violence, poverty, hunger…even just in America let alone the world!  I cannot begin to know where the help is most needed or what the “proper” action is to take.  What I do know is that we are called to do something.

Here is what we can do.  We can pray.  The only One who truly knows what is best in any situation is the Lord.  Jesus tells us “For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.” (Matthew 18:20) There are certainly more than two or three Christians out there.  Despite the fact that we may not all be gathered physically in the same place, we are all One in Christ.  We all need to join together and pray for peace in Syria and in all the world.  We need to join together in prayer for political leaders of every nation to be led by the Holy Spirit and to do what is truly best for their country.  We need to pray for the victims of violence and war and indeed we even must pray for those perpetuating the destruction, that their hearts might be changed.

There will always be war, violence, hunger, poverty, sadness, and despair so long as there is sin in the world.  Even with unlimited resources to help those in need, as long as sin exists, so will death and destruction.  There will come a day when the sadness will end, when destruction will be no more, when war will be obsolete.  When Jesus restores His kingdom on earth, peace will reign.  Until that time, we cannot escape the reality of war in our world.  I pray that President Obama and the leaders of all nations will be guided by the Lord in any decision they make, particularly in regard to Syria.  I pray that the Lord will watch over all those involved and send His angels to protect those who need it the most.  I may not be able to solve the world’s problems.

I may not know the solution to the war in Afghanistan or what was the “right” thing to do in Iraq.  I may not know what should be done next in Syria.  But I know the One who does know.  And I know that He hears our prayers.  Let us all join as One people in the Lord in prayer for the guidance and wisdom of the Holy Spirit to rest on the decision makers of our nations and for the true and lasting peace of the Lord to overcome the darkness of war and destruction in Syria and in all the world.

Who Can We Trust?

The election is creeping up faster and faster.  Many of the ads and articles about the election revolve around who we can trust.  Can we trust what Obama tells us?  What about Romney?  People argue back and forth.  Debates ensue not only between candidates but inevitably between friends, co-workers, and so on.  Everyone has their own opinion.  When it reaches this point in election season I begin to think about how divided we become.  Despite wavering statistics, America seems to be split in half over Obama vs. Romney.  But the fact of the matter is: only one will win.

I certainly understand people becoming passionate about their choice for President.  As Americans, we should become involved in the election.  I myself know who I plan on voting for and I will support my decision because of the values that I hold as a Catholic.  We need to hold tight to our values and support candidates who support those values.  But when the election is over, half of America will be disappointed.

As Christians, we are called to love everyone.  We are called to recognize the face of Christ in all everyone we come into contact with.  How do we display our Christian values as we promote our candidates and prepare for the election?  Are we truly praying for guidance and for God’s will in our next President?  Or are we so busy promoting one person that we forget to pray about it?  When discussions and debates arise over hot topic issues, do we calmly state our opinions and truly strive to educate the other person?  Or are we so busy slamming those with opposing opinions that we come across rude and angry?  Do we hold hatred or contempt for the other person?  Or do we pray for them?

After the election, we will have four years with the winner as our President.  And while half of America will be thrilled, do we really want the other half to be miserable and hateful? Of course not!  While it is important to fight for your beliefs, we need to keep things into perspective.  We are called to be in the world, but not of the world.  Becoming involved in the election certainly places us “in” the world.  But we know that this world is only a small part of our existence with God.  God created each one of us at the moment of conception and when we leave this world, we will be able to spend eternity with Him and all His heavenly angels and all the saints in a place far more glorious, beautiful, and peaceful than we can even imagine.   And that is what truly is important.

Will we be able to trust Obama if he is re-elected?  Can we trust Romney to lead us and remain strong in his values if he wins?  We don’t know.  But we have a leader far more powerful who we can trust in every situation and that is our God.  Regardless of who wins this election, He is still in charge.  We can trust Him to always care for us, to always be there, and to always guide us to do the right thing. 

As we near election day, I hope that we will all remember to pray for guidance as we go into the polls.  To pray that God will watch over us and our country whatever the results may be.  To pray for both candidates, that they may be open to God’s will.   And once the election is over, to pray that those who did not win will remember that although their choice for a leader here in America may not have won, God is ruler above all and with Him on our side, we have nothing to fear.  This is only one election.  Win or lose, we have a greater victory to look forward to in Heaven by following and promoting the One True Ruler and Leader of all nations.  In God alone should we place all our trust.

Still fighting…

Just a quick update on the HHS mandate and the recent compromise made by the government.  Many people are wondering why religious institutions are still upset.  Here it is:

The government is still trying to decide what constitutes a religious institution at all!  The government is telling us right now they will provide full exemptions for religious institutions but that if you serve more than one faith, you do not qualify.  Of course Catholic hospitals, universities, and other charitable organizations serve many faiths.  Jesus served many faiths!  That is what we are called to do!  So the fight at this point is mostly concerning this decision to determine what a religious institution is.

The other part of this is that many small organizations will still have to pay for the contraceptive services because they pay the insurance companies who will have to provide it free of charge to women!

So while the compromise seemed to be in the right direction, the fight for religious freedom continues.  We’ll see where it goes!  Jus keep on praying that those in power in our government will make the right decisions!