Thursday, October 23, 2014

(144) Highlights of the 2014 Respect Life Conference of the Diocese of Steubenville


            Each one of us has a very important part in promoting life that is being snuffed out in over a million pregnant mothers in the United States alone each year and also more and more in the terminally ill who society believes have outlived their usefulness.  To be effective in promoting life in our families, among our friends, in our parishes, in our communities, and in loving dialogues with pro-abortion people as well as young girls contemplating abortion, we must know what we are talking about.  We must be informed.  With such excellent and expert speakers, it was disappointing that only about 75 people from the entire diocese attended the recent Diocesan Respect life Conference in Marietta.  Since this is Respect Life month, I would like to share a few highlights of that excellent conference.
Right to Life from Conception to Natural Death

                                                                 End of Life Issues

Jason B. Negri, MS, JD, the Assistant Director of the Patients Rights Council (, author of many articles, and a practicing attorney gave the keynote address not on abortion, but on a growing threat…….euthanasia.  It is legal in some states and even where it is illegal, there is often de facto euthanasia.  “It happens all the time that the patient is receiving comfort care and suddenly s/he’s gone since death is hastened”.  Some experts predict that it will increase especially when treatment is too costly and euthanasia is cheaper.  An insurance company may pay for euthanasia, but not life saving treatment.  In Belgium and the Netherlands, 32% of euthanasia is done without the patient’s consent.  The same could happen here if trends continue.   Then medical professionals would have to participate in assisted suicide and abortion or lose their jobs.

            Thus Mr. Negri recommends advanced directives as a living will with your wishes stated or a medical power of attorney in case of dementia and inability to function.  The problem with an advanced directive is who interprets the document.  It could be somebody in the hospital with a bias for euthanasia.  If your wishes are not specifically stated, most states accept the decision of first the spouse and second the adult children.  It could also be a hospital board that may not be your advocate.

The Church does not require vitalism…….sustaining life in the terminally ill as long as possible.   “As Christians we should not be afraid of death and as St. Francis even welcome it to be with God.  Most people prefer to die at home in the presence of their loved ones.  However there is a big distinction between allowing the terminally ill patient to die naturally and killing him.  The benefit verses the burden should be considered in deciding whether to give the patient more quimo, keeping him on a ventilator, etc.  However, food and water must be given to the patient unless the body is shutting down and cannot process it.  It is not medical treatment, but normative even if through a tube.  That is essential to comfort care.  Death must not be hastened as by an overdose.  It is form of coercion to tell the patient “Maybe assisted suicide is an option”, implying that s/he is a burden.  Of course, pain should be and invariably can be alleviated even though the patient is offering it up.

            I might add that euthanasia is evil not only because it is “mercy” killing, but because it deprives the patient of the time needed to prepare spiritually for eternity.  We don’t know how God uses that additional time.  There are great spiritual benefits in offering up suffering as a prayer for peace, the Church, and loved ones in faith and trust in God.  Such an attitude is a path to sanctity (see my blog #133).
How can Society allow the destruction of so many miracles?

Post Abortion Healing

Lynette Hawrot, a licensed clinical counselor, asserted from her experience that post abortion trauma is very real despite denials by the pro-abortion camp that it does not exist.  “At least 80% of women suffer great guilt, although some 10% don’t.”   In addition there is anger, depression, and often alcoholism.   Common is “I know God forgives me, but I can’t forgive myself”.   One priest in the audience revealed that some 15 girls confessed to an abortion and the common thread was that they hear a baby crying at night.  Ms. Howrot confirmed that commonality.   

Therapy may include writing a letter to the aborted baby after giving him/her a name; bringing flowers to her; putting a teddy bear in a corner of the house; using or; and of course, confession.  The women must forgive themselves and must accept God’s mercy because many feel that their abortion is so evil that God won’t forgive them.   She recommended the books “Forbidden Grief, the Unspoken Pain of Abortion” by Theresa Burke and “Unplanned” by Abby Johnson on her experience working in a Planned Parenthood abortion clinic.

The Need for Conscience Protection

            Amy McInerny of the National Committee for a Human Life Amendment ( & updated us on what’s current and proposed in Congress.  The “No Taxpayer funding for Abortion Act” was voted down in 2010.  Also introduced by Chris Smith (R-NJ) is the “Abortion Insurance Disclosure Act”.  The Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby Decision held that the contraceptive mandate as applied to closely held for–profit corporations violated the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA).  The Health Care Conscience Rights Act (HCCRA) was introduced in both houses, but needs your support via letters to your congressmen.  The U.S. Supreme Court struck down a 2007 Massachusetts law that made it a crime to stand on a public sidewalk within 35 feet of an entrance or drive to an abortion clinic because it violated the First Amendment.    

Reacting to the Hobby Lobby case, Senate liberals introduced the so called “Protect Women’s Health from Corporate Interference Act” that would revoke conscience rights now guaranteed by RFRA (“Restoration of Freedom of Religion Act”) for employers and could empower federal officials to mandate abortion in health plans.  It failed by only two votes.  The “Women’s Health Protection Act” would mandate that abortion be treated as a routine medical procedure.   That would knock down almost every state or federal law that seeks to restrain or regulate abortion.  I might add that a few weeks ago our 17 year old son was refused an eye exam until he received parental permission by law, but a 16 year old girl can get an abortion and the parents may never know.

             We must urge our congressmen to vote for pro-life legislation.  Letters to congressmen are very effective.  She repeated the quote: “When the government fears the people, that’s liberty; when the people fear the government, that’s tyranny”.  She suggested that we follow the admonition of Pope Benedict XVI: “When you speak the truth, speak with charity”.  The United States Catholic Bishops Conference website ( gives updates on legislation.

Babies were tremendous witnesses in the 2012 March for Life

Challenges Faced By Medical Professionals

            Dan Halrot, a pharmacist, would not be able to work in conscience for most drugstores.  There are an estimated 1,894,000 abortions per year due to the pill.  The use of contraceptives actually increase pregnancy rates because the false sense of security increases sexual activity and the failure rate is very significant.  There is indeed a correlation between the pill and breast cancer despite denials of the so called experts.   Many vaccines are created using aborted fetal cell lines (see  Children of God for Life ( provides a list of products that use fetal cell lines.
            One obstetrician observed that seeing a cadaver was a life changing experience because he thought that there must have been something that gave this mass of tissues life.

            Halrot encouraged pro-lifers: “We have the truth.  Be firm; promulgate the truth.  We’re the lighthouse and cannot move and adjust course as a ship can.  We live in the Church and go to the world.”

            Another speaker advocated the positive in pro-life campaigns…….showing the beauty of a baby’s development from conception to birth and beyond.

Mass & Homily by Bishop Monforton

            He introduced his homily singing: “Let your light shine through the darkness”.  We are not alone.  He noted that most girls who come for an abortion at Ohio University are freshmen.  If the guy says: “I support you in your decision”, there’s a 90% probability that the girl will keep the baby.  Teaching the kids in the 8th grade about the evils of abortion is too late.  The culture already has them indoctrinated.  Kids learn from their parents.  This was evident by the experience of our daughter as a babysitter.  She played “Mommy” with a little girl, who said:  “I’m going to have my tubes tied”.

                As a postscript, let me share the true story of Jane Roe, actually Norma McCorvey of the Roe v Wade Supreme Court Decision.  Click on

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