UFI

Archive for the ‘Family Planning’ Category

Win at the Supreme Court

In Abortion, Courts, Democracy, Diane Robertson, Drug Use, Family Planning, Free Speech, Gender, Government, Health Care, Human Rights, Population Control, Religious Freedom, Sanctity of Life, Supreme Court, Values, Women's Rights on July 2, 2014 at 6:24 am

Hobby Lobby Supreme Court decisionDiane Robertson

Monday morning in the west, we awoke to the good news that the Supreme Court actually sided with Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood!! These companies and other companies that can show “closely held” religious beliefs can opt out of the HHS contraceptive mandate. A win for religious freedom—yes! A sweeping win for religious freedom—no.

The justices limited their ruling to laws made by the federal government. If a state makes a law that limits the religious freedom of business owners, this ruling will not apply. The Supreme Court could have ruled that every American citizen could run their own companies according their consciences. As Matt Walsh put it:

“This ruling is a limited victory for freedom and sanity, but it doesn’t go nearly far enough. The justices could have issued a sweeping decision fortifying every person’s right to run their lives and their companies according to the dictates of their conscience, rather than the dictates of an authoritarian government bureaucracy. Instead, they focused the issue down to the specifics of Hobby Lobby’s particular situation, meaning that other companies, businesses, and corporations will still be subject to Orwellian speech infringements.”

And of course, if anyone is still under the belief that Judges aren’t partisan, here is another 5 to 4 ruling along party lines. As is often the norm, more conservative Justices Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas, Antonin Scalia, and chief Justice John Roberts joined by the most independent Justice Anthony Kennedy ruled in favor of Hobby Lobby and the more liberal justices Sonia Sotomayor, Stephen Breyer, Elena Kagan, and Ruth Ginsburg ruled against Hobby Lobby.

As a conservative, I am quite happy about this ruling and hope and pray that none of the conservative justices retire until after 2016. There is always hope for the future right?

Some in the media will accuse the men who ruled in favor of religious freedom as furthering the war on women and taking away women’s reproductive rights. That is just silliness.

Unlike Justice Ginsburg, who in her dissent lamented: “The ability of women to participate equally in the economic and social life of the Nation has been facilitated by their ability to control their reproductive lives.”  Women need not be concerned with how well they can participate in the economic and social life of this nation. This ruling in no way limits women’s ability to get birth control. Women are still free to purchase any birth control they want. They are still free to apply for work with whatever employer provides the sort of health insurance they want. Women are still free, and now business owners are free from burdensome federal laws that keep them from acting according to their consciences.

 

A Waste of Talent

In Child Development, Demographic Decline, Education, Families, Family Planning, Feminism, Marriage, Media, motherhood, Myth Buster, Parenting, Population Control, Schools, The Family, Values on May 2, 2014 at 11:16 am

women freeze eggsMaryn Holladay

My husband subscribes to Bloomberg Businessweek.  This magazine and I have a good thing going on.  Like weekly clockwork: the magazine arrives, I thumb through, I focus on a fascinating article or two (or six), and a few minutes (or… longer) later, I feel rather amazed at the ingenuity of some of my fellow humans. Knowing this routine of mine—this expectation of curiosity and awe—I was taken aback with the front cover of a recent issue that was sitting innocently on my kitchen counter.

Now, I believe that women are just as capable business leaders as their men counter parts, in fact I think women can bring perspectives to the conference room table that men can’t.  I’m grateful that our country has fought for the capability and opportunity of women.  I fully believe in education, especially for women, and I think every woman, no matter their marital status or their plans to be stay-at-home-mothers, should have an education, training, or vocation to provide for themselves and their families if necessary.

But this article crossed a line for me.  A renowned business magazine is not only giving this sort of intimate advice, but they blew it up all over their cover with a confident looking, successful white woman.  It’s like they’re saying, “Here!  You wanna play with the big boys?  Go through expensive, invasive medical treatments to put your eggs on ice like bulk hamburger meat and then we will accommodate you!”

That being said, I am grateful for this technology.  I can see the wonderful blessings that can arise from it when used appropriately, such as freezing eggs before chemotherapy, or early hysterectomy.  And though I believe in the strength, love, and power that can come from getting married and building a life and family together, I can see why unmarried women who are the “latchkey kids of glass-ceiling breakers” (as the article so put it) would see this technology as a blessing.  They want kids, haven’t found the right husband, were so focused on a career that they all of a sudden look around and realize they’re 39 years old and are running out of time for the family they wanted to have.  I can understand their fear.

Still, I am angry that business leaders think they can dangle the carrot of promotion alongside the caveat of “but you’ll have to stall your God-given role and right to have and nurture a family.”  What is that telling women?  That their roles in society are secondary to trying to be like men?  Think about it.  That is not empowering women.  That is degrading.

Recently, I watched a television episode of a popular law drama where a female associate lawyer decided to quit because she wanted to have a family.  My applause at her courage quickly turned to frustration as her female boss somberly sighed and commented that it was a waste of talent.  A waste of talent?  What do you think will happen to our world when society tells us that raising a family is a waste?

I am an educated, intelligent woman.  I do have ambitions to use my graduate school degree towards giving back to my community.  But now, I am using my education to raise my children.  Women have been charged with the role of nurturing future generations, and I embrace that role whole-heartedly and gratefully.  My children bring me more joy, more growth, and yes…more patience, as I carefully nurture, teach, care for, and observe them.  I learn things about life, the world, humankind, and frankly physics that could never be learned in the workplace.  And my kids learn things from me and feel things from me that don’t necessarily come from a daycare worker.

I absolutely know that I can have more influence on this world by shaping my children into the best selves that they can be than I could have by going to work.

I have found that putting off a family for career reasons is the real waste of time and talents.  Don’t let industry leaders, Hollywood, or misguided friends and family tell you otherwise.

 

Parenting: A Couple Effort

In Birth Rate, Child Development, Diane Robertson, Divorce, Education, Families, Family Planning, father, Marriage, Media, motherhood, Parenting on April 23, 2014 at 2:48 pm

mom:dad:babyDiane Robertson

As a stay at home mom of 9 children, I get many people asking me the question, “How do you do it?” My answer is simple. I do not do it alone. I am a stay at home mom of many children only because I am married and my husband and I have chosen to bear our children together and to make the financial sacrifices necessary to keep me at home.

While staying home to raise my children, I have the time to keep a clean and organized home, make healthy meals, help with homework, and be there for the little struggles and triumphs of my children. I could not be the same mother if I had to leave the house every day to work a full time job. I have the option of staying at home because I am married to a man who is willing to work hard to provide for a family. Being a mother is not hard when it is coupled with a supportive and loving marriage. In fact, motherhood under these circumstances is beautiful and rewarding.

However, our society is teaching the opposite– marriage is difficult–being parents is too hard–staying home to raise your children is a waste of your education and talents. These teachings and ideas about family life are simply not true. Sure, a happy marriage requires time and sacrifice, but the benefits always outweigh the costs. Yes, parenthood is tiring and messy. It is also wonderful and amazing, and completely worth the time and mess.  Of course, when a mother stays home she is not using her education and talents to earn money, but she is using her education and talents to teach and train the next generation—nothing is wasted.

Unfortunately, the negative voice about marriage and parenting is the louder voice and it is taking a toll on the family. With 41% of children being born to single mothers and 40% to 50% of first marriages ending in divorce, many, many mothers do not even have the option to be stay at home moms.  Not only do these mothers have to work, they are much more likely to live in poverty and their children are disadvantaged educationally, socially, and economically. These statistics are sad and sobering.

Yet, the answer to fix these problems is simple. As a society, we need to stop listening to the negative voices about marriage and family and make the choice to get married, stay married, and make child rearing a couple effort. Family life is a happy, fulfilling life, and marriage is the best place to raise a child.

Choosing Children

In Birth Rate, Child Development, Demographic Decline, Families, Family Planning, Feminism, motherhood, Parenting, The Family, Values on January 17, 2014 at 6:03 am

mother-daughterElise Ellsworth

In the last number of years a good amount of material has been published about the rewards of parenting.  Are parents truly happier?  Is parenting worth it?  Many of these articles highlight the downsides of being a parent.  Dirty diapers.  Crying babies.  Bulging tummies.  Tyrranical teenagers.  Authors (often childless) tell us that parents are more stressed, their marriages are less idyllic.  They convey the message that parents are less happy than their childless counterparts who travel the world, grow their bank accounts, eat out, attend the movies and pursue ambitious professional dreams.  In a culture that values immediate gratification many now assume that parenting is just not worth it.  Choosing a child-free life has become an increasingly acceptable option, even among married American women.

Yet, interestingly, when researchers ask parents whether they would make the choice to be a parent again they get an overwhelming response.  Yes.  94% of parents would do it again.  On the other hand, only 24% of childless adults over 40 would choose childlessness again.

Why the discrepancy?  Perhaps the hard work of parenting has its own rewards.  Studies support this idea.  A study recently published in Psychological Science showed that older adults with children are happier than their childless peers.  Another worldwide 2011 Pew Research study showed that while parents in their twenties rated themselves as less happy than their friends without children, this trend equalized during the thirties and then reversed itself in a person’s forties and fifties.  After fifty, the more children one had, the greater the happiness.  Other studies have supported the idea that the happiness of parents grows as they age.  Interestingly, studies also show that parents of all ages, happy or not, find more meaning in life than parents who do not have children.  Parenting is hard, creative work akin to planting a garden, playing the piano or painting.  But the work of parenting has both tangible rewards and intangible satisfactions.  Many of the tangible rewards come in the middle and later years of life as children become interesting adults and as parents begin to realize their own multi-generational impact on a growing family.

Of course there are those who cannot have children of their own.  Many of these adults can and still do choose to impact the lives of children in other meaningful ways.  But to those who have the option – consider the rewards.

Parenting is not glamorous.  But choosing to have children pays great dividends.  It is a choice to devote oneself to an endeavor with endless potential and with limitless possibilities for growth and for good – choosing children is choosing to invest in, to advance, and to create life itself.

Putin Promulgating Procreation

In Abortion, Birth Rate, Child Development, Demographic Decline, Families, Family Planning, Government, Homosexuality, Marriage, motherhood, Parenting, Population Control, Same-Sex Marriage, Sanctity of Life, The Family, Values on December 12, 2013 at 12:39 pm

PutinRachel Allison

What do I have in common with Vladimir Putin?  Apparently more than I formerly realized.

In September, 2014 the World Congress of Families Conference is being held in Moscow, Russia. The Conference focus:  “Every Child a Gift:  Large Families—The Future of Humanity.”  Take note:  The conference in Russia is focusing on large families. Why? Russia’s population has been in decline since 1991, falling at a rate of about 0.5%.  Not until 2010 when the government started supporting and even encouraging childbirth has Russia seen a population increase of 0.4%, the highest in Eastern Europe. More recently Russian lawmakers are pushing to limit or completely ban abortions believing that they are partly responsible for the country’s dwindling population. Currently the birthrate in Russia is 1.7 children per woman. Their society is unsustainable at that rate and they know it.  In June of 2013 the Russian Parliament past a law that prohibits propagandizing of “relations not conducive to procreation.” Russian leaders are pulling out all the stops.  They want their country to thrive again, and they see large families as the key feature in the accomplishment of this goal.

Growing up in the fifties large families were the norm where I lived.  My mother had eight children.  Dorothy, who lived across the street, had six.  Elma next door had five.  Aunt Barbara had six. Large families were everywhere.  So when I got married in 1975 I couldn’t imagine my newly created family without children…lots of them.  In May, 1985 my fifth baby was born, and I knew my family was complete. Was my life frenzied? Most of the time, yes. But it got better and better as I focused on learning how to keep our lives scheduled, positive, and always moving forward.  My memories are sweet and I wouldn’t trade them for anything in the world! When honesty, goodness, hard work, and responsibility are taught in the home, the result is not only a strong family, but a stronger community and thriving society. This is what Russian leaders are hoping to bring back to their country.  How unfortunate that it took the demise of the family and society for Russian leaders to recognize the correlation.  The laws being implemented are to encourage a family-centered society. It may take generations to recover what they have lost, but Vladimir Putin is finally coming around to my way of thinking.

 

“House of Horrors?” Country of Horrors?

In Abortion, Bioethics, Eugenics, Family Planning, Physician Assisted Suicide on April 11, 2013 at 10:53 am

House of HorrorsMaddi Gillel

By now you’ve read about Dr. Kermit Gosnell and his Philadelphia abortion clinic also known as the “house of horrors.” It is exactly that.  I’ve heard bits and pieces of the case and don’t want to hear anymore; it’s too heartbreaking and disturbing.

Gosnell has committed extraordinary atrocities and hopefully will never be allowed to harm another woman or child.  But the bulk of abortion doctors are performing a legal ‘medical’ procedure. They are doing what the ‘mother’ asks and pays them to do, and what our society allows them to do! Nevertheless, where are their hearts/did they ever have one?

So, we’ve talked about the doctors. Number two on the list are the women who request this procedure. I have no sympathy or tolerance for women who do this.  Do they not know what causes pregnancy? With all the birth control so available in our society, there isn’t any excuse for abortion!  Do these women have no moral code in their heart/mind/life that tells them that pre-marital/extra-marital sex are wrong and that ending their unborn child’s life is not the way out of their predicament?  Last but not least – where are these women’s hearts?  How can they allow a tiny helpless baby to be killed – inside their uterus, OR outside!?  Where is their tenderness, sympathy, their motherly intuition? Can they feel any emotion at all?

Now, third on the list is our society.  I would venture to say that if we think nothing of killing the smallest and most helpless in our society – the sky is the limit.  Then we have no sympathy or tenderness for old people, the maimed, physically or mentally impaired, how about minority groups?  By the way, Planned Parenthood’s founder stated that the program’s purpose was to get rid of and prevent the birth of the undesirables in our society.  Planned Parenthood performs the most abortions per capita on women of minority groups with African Americans at the top of the list. You do the math and draw your own conclusions.

Remember Nazi Germany. They started out exterminating the Jews, the mentally and physically disabled, homosexuals, and moved on to religious groups.  Evil usually begins small, and then, incrementally and insidiously, takes over: Nazi Germany and WWII.

The actress Ashley Judd and her batty views have been in the news lately. God is ambiguous to her and she believes it is abominable to “breed.”  She’s white and beautiful.  She would be the last in Nazi Germany to have been given any grief.

This is the state of many in our society today: heartless, Godless, narcissistic, unsympathetic, past feeling.

So, who should really be on trial in the above case?  The mother?  Probably. The Doctor? For sure.  Our society? Absolutely.

Shame on us.

 

‘Till Death do us Part

In Families, Family Planning, Marriage, The Family, Values on March 19, 2013 at 10:48 am

bride and groom making vows

Rachel Allison

Because of current circumstances in my life, I have had opportunity to witness seven or eight weddings over the past two weeks. I was actually surprised at how many young couples are getting married.  I thought that marriage was a thing of the past.  But apparently I have been wrong.  Good!  I’m glad I was wrong.  Before pronouncing the marriage vows the officiator has offered advise to the bride and groom.

His counsel:

1.  Communication is a key to a successful marriage.  Together your joys will be doubled, and your sorrows will be divided.  To the bride:  “When your husband gets home each evening, ask about his day…and then listen with your ears and your heart.  Your concern and interest can lighten his load and inspire confidence.”   To the Groom:  “Ask about her day…her ups and her downs.  Be the man she can lean on.  Be the man who willingly takes time to listen to her. And both of you need to know when not to speak.  That too, is an important part of communication…wisely determine when to let emotions calm before voicing your opinions.

2.  Create a budget, and live within that budget.  The only time you should go into debt is for a home, education, or a modest car.  You are at the beginning of your lives.  You don’t need the newest and the best.  Character is built when second-hand is okay while together you work and save and sacrifice for better. You have years to reach your financial goals.  Be patient.  Don’t allow debt to destroy peace and harmony in your marriage.

3.  To the husband:  Take your wife out once a week…just you and her.  Every day she should know how much you love her, but that weekly date is the time when you let her know she is still your sweetheart.  At first you may only be able to afford a walk around the park with an ice cream cone.  But it’s the one on one experience that can reignite the reason why you are here today with a desire to live together as life companions.

To the wife:  Get dressed up for your date with your husband.  Wear his favorite dress…or his favorite jeans.  Fix your hair the way he likes it best.   Make him happy to take you out.  And if for financial reasons it’s only a walk through the park, put your arm through his and let him know that things will get better.  You have confidence in him, the future, and your financial goals.

As the officiator offers this advise the young couples have smiled and nodded their heads in agreement.  It’s easy to agree before life’s challenges come into play.

Understanding how important marriage is to man, woman, and child, I have said a little prayer for each bride and groom.  I pray they will remember the officiator’s counsel.  And I pray they won’t give up on each other and their love.

For thirty-eight years I have experienced the highs and lows of marriage and family.  These experiences have given me a wisdom I didn’t have as a young bride.  Even if the officiator’s advice is accepted and lived, it cannot guarantee that their marriage will weather the storms of life.  But those storms will be less fierce when caring communication, financial peace of mind, and devotion to each other (and none else) are fundamental to that relationship.

For Better or for Worse, be Committed to your Marriage

In Divorce, Education, Families, Family Planning, father, Marriage, motherhood, Parenting, The Family, Values on January 21, 2013 at 10:29 am

Couple riding  bikesKristi Kane

Growing up, my parents gave me good advice. I didn’t realize how good until I got married. From my Dad, I learned the importance of making wise financial decisions like “putting money aside for a rainy day,” (or saving), and “living within your means” (never spend more than you make). From my Mom, I learned the importance of  marrying someone you were crazy about and who was also your best friend. “That will see you through the bad times,” my Mom would say. Of course marriage put all of their advice to the test, and I have been the better for listening to and applying their advice.

It’s my Mom’s advice that I would like to focus on here. I’ve attended many weddings. They all are pretty much the same. Everyone is smiling and radiant. There are happy tears, tears of joy. The bride and groom are saying loving words to each other during their vows. Their first kiss as husband and wife is filled with promise of a happy future and perfect wedded bliss. Now fast forward a few years, in some cases, even a few months. The recently blissful bride and groom are now angry. They see only each other’s short comings. There is a general disillusionment towards the idea of marriage. The words “separation” or “divorce” start to frequent the conversation, and then- pop! The happiness is over and so is the marriage.

In each scenario I think, “What happened?! They were so happy? What went wrong?” There are a variety of answers here, but they all boil down to the same thing. Someone or both of the someones got selfish. Thoughts of “how can you make me happy?” or “You are not making me happy enough” entered and replayed over and over in their brain. One spouse did all the giving, the other, all the taking, or there was no giving at all.

The most recent separation in my own family was between my nephew to his bride of eight years. When I heard of the separation, one very strong visual image came to my mind. It was at their wedding luncheon. I could see my nephew standing at the wedding table and glowing with love and emotion, even tears, as he told all of us, his wedding guests, how much he loved his wife, his best friend. He even pulled her up from her chair and put his arm around her, and put her hand on his heart. I must admit, I was touched. It was very sweet. And then the announcement.

Again, I played in my head, “What happened? They were so happy? What went wrong?” To give you the boiled down version, life happened, as it happens to all of us. Children came along. One of the children has a chronic medical condition. My niece-in-law who had ADD had now also developed anxiety and depression. So life happened. And after two sessions with a marriage counselor my nephew announced that “he tried” and “I’m done.” I was floored.

I realize there are some very justifiable reasons for contemplating divorce, like adultery. But there again, it is because someone got selfish and committed an act of irreversible consequence. And even then, I’ve seen spouses forgive the wandering party and work things out.

Now in my case, there were years when my husband was in graduate school that the only time I saw him was on Sunday. There were two years of my marriage when I had four children under 11 that my husband was gone almost 24/7 working on a restructuring of his company, and at that same time, I was diagnosed with a heart defect that was going to require surgery. We had financial distress and health issues, enough to sink any marriage. And yet in all of that mess, one phrase my husband said to me when he asked me to marry him kept playing in my mind: “There is one word we never say in our family, and that is ‘divorce.’ We are married for life. We work things out.” I’d never heard anyone say it like that, but I liked that idea.

So no matter the stress, we worked it out. Was it easy? No. Were there times when resentment and frustration entered our marriage? Yes. Do I think we will ever be faced with trouble again? You tell me. We now have three teenagers.  But we have made a commitment long ago that we both believed in. I have no doubt we will have more challenges, but we will take them as they come and roll with the punches. What else can we do? That’s life. And for better or for worse, we’re going to make it through.

Valued Choices

In Child Development, Divorce, Education, Families, Family Planning, father, Marriage, motherhood, Parenting, Religion, The Family, Values on November 21, 2012 at 10:20 pm

Rachel Allison

Today I am thankful for a mother who chose a husband who would love his family and be devoted to his responsibilities to us…a selfless hard-working man who was loyal and faithful to her, his children and his faith in God.

I am grateful to a father who chose a wife who above all else would be selfless and committed to her family.  Our dad chose a woman capable and willing to teach and train us to be true to our faith in God, responsible in our duties and assignments, hard working and thrifty.  The result of her time and effort helped us develop self-confidence in our capabilities and discerning in our desires for the success we sought in life.

Their decisions made all the difference in the lives of their eight children.

My mind has returned to Maddi Gillel’s UFI article last Thursday that referred to the lowering of the watermark.  I fear for a society that allows this to happen.  Students of American history have read and even observed the improvement of each generation as education, hard work, thrift, and integrity have been applied. What is happening when this improvement stops…or worse, when it regresses?  I would venture to guess that part of it stems from the choices made by young men unwisely choosing the mother of their children, and young women unwisely selecting the father of their children.  This selection of love and marriage is not primarily about sex, or even companionship.  In my opinion it’s about the conscious decision to form a loving, and solid family unit, with hopes of creating children to bless that families’ love and devotion to each other.

When a society (Hollywood…grrrr!) starts dictating what love is supposed to be, and when there are men and women naïve enough to fall for love based on the shallowness of looks and glamour, a weakened family is the result, and unless a course correction is made and attitudes selflessly mature that weakened family could be destined to crumble.

Give me a society that rises above Hollywood “values,” and I’ll place bets on that society raising the watermark for love, family values, and prosperity.

Increased Contraception = Increased Abortion: Who knew?

In Abortion, Abstinence, Cohabitation, Family Planning, Marriage, Research on November 2, 2012 at 10:05 pm

Ann Bailey

Increased use of contraceptives results in increased abortion…who knew!  Seems counter-intuitive, but it is true.  Recently, the media and the Obama spin masters have been all over a study that  supposedly shows that if you hand out free birth control (under Obamacare) you’ll have fewer abortions.  They’re hoping this type of research will convince the general public that forcing employers to pay for their employees’ contraception is a good idea.

The problem for the pro-contraception/pro-abortion team is that the research from countries like Spain, Sweden, England, and Wales tell a completely different story – when you increase contraceptive use you get higher pregnancy and higher abortion rates.  Not to mention that the new Obamacare-supporting study is full of some significant research flaws and invalid assumptions.

Research coming to us from The Guttmacher Institute (a Planned Parenthood affiliate and no friend of the pro-life movement) shows that increased used of contraceptive in the U.S., Canada, Denmark, Netherlands, Singapore, and South Korea also brought about an increased rate of abortion.

Despite an increase in the use of contraceptives in England and Wales, the number of abortions increased from 175,542 in 2009 to 189,574 in the year 2010.  Commenting on this increase in the abortion rates, Paula Franklin, director of Marie Stopes International, states:

“with improvements in contraception rates last year, these figures come as a surprise… Although the rise is small, these abortion figures send a warning for the government’s family planning strategy.”

Since Marie Stopes International is one of the largest abortion providers in the UK, it leaves one wondering just how concerned about that news they could actually be.

Why does increased contraception = increased abortion?   When contraceptives are flowing people will engage in more sex acts and in riskier sexual behavior – often outside of marriage which provides a stabilizing influence to human sexual behavior.   You get more pregnancies because contraception (even when consistently used) is far from 100 percent effective and contraception fails in predictable percentages.   By the way, the highest rate of abortion occurs in cohabiting relationships – a fact that this writer finds shocking and disturbing considering the massive increases in the cohabitation rates over the past few decades.

Now stop and think about the increase use of contraception accompanied by increased sexual activity and what that is going to do to the rate of sexually transmitted disease/infection.  With the exception of limited protections provided by barrier methods such as condoms, contraceptives provide zero protection from sexually transmitted diseases.  The Centers for Disease Control provide supporting data, but there should be no surprise to anyone that there’s a clear link between birth control and increases in STDs.

You don’t have to oppose contraception because of religious reasons to have serious misgivings about the efficacy and the wisdom of flooding the world with contraceptives.

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