Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Miss America promotes sexual risk avoidance education

Excerpted from “Miss America 2011 joins Capitol Hill briefing to communicate the value of sexual risk avoidance education,” Abstinence Works, March 12, 2013 -- Supporters of Sexual Risk Avoidance (SRA) Abstinence Education held a briefing on Capitol Hill today featuring Teresa Scanlan, Miss America 2011 and Sarah Koniszewski, a teen from New York. Speakers shared information during the briefing that underscored the importance of the recently introduced Abstinence Education Reallocation Act (H.R. 718; S. 13) in Congress. Briefing topics included Sexual Risk Avoidance Education as:
  • An optimal public health strategy
  • A holistic approach addressing many facets of teen life
  • A poverty prevention strategy
  • An effective message that benefits all teens
  • An approach overwhelmingly supported by parents.
“Informing policy makers of the importance of giving our youth the best opportunity to achieve optimal health by the elimination of all risk is a strategy that must be given serious priority in our national sex education policies. We hope we have clearly communicated the value of this message today,” said Valerie Huber, President/CEO of the National Abstinence Education Association.


Miss America 2011Miss America 2011, Teresa Scanlan (from briefing): "I remember doing a radio interview with Sirius XM and the deejay was sarcastically asking me, ‘So, you’re Miss America, so you’re a virgin, right?’ And I said, ‘Yes, actually, I am,’ and he didn’t know what to say.

“It’s one of those things that people are surprised at because they think it’s not possible. But then you see the numbers—that almost 75 percent of 15-to-17-year-olds are wanting to wait. That’s pretty incredible.

“This attitude that people have that ‘everybody is doing it’ is not necessarily the case. It takes some people to stand up and say the truth--that you can 'survive' until you’re 20 years old [as I am] and that you can wait until you’re married. And yes, it’s difficult, but having not only parents but school as well communicating that message makes a huge difference.

“We’re now seeing the results and consequences of [sexual activity]. Our parents grew up in an environment of ‘free sex for everyone.’ Well, guess what—we’ve had enough of that; we don’t want to try that anymore. We want [sex] to be something special; we want it to be something more. Young people are searching for relationships that mean more. Young girls are searching for men who are going to value them more.

“This is about the health issues and should be taught the same way that drug and alcohol prevention are taught. It’s not just ‘okay’ to do—the health risks are too high. There is nothing that will protect against pregnancy or an STD 100 percent except abstinence.

“Now for me it’s mostly for moral and theological reasons, but you don’t have to agree with me theologically to believe that this is the best route to take. There is no reason we should not be presenting this side of the story. Young people are wanting it; they are needing it. I have seen the ramifications firsthand, with so many friends and family members. I’ve had many teenage friends get pregnant just in the past six months.

“It is possible to make smart decisions and to be responsible, and young people need to be encouraged in that. They will rise to the challenge when we say, ‘Your future and your health are in your hands.’”

Use our Freedom2Care Legislative Action site to tell your U.S. Representative and Senators to support the Abstinence Education Reallocation Act (H.R. 718; S. 13). Just click each link below and enter your zip code to access and send the pre-written, customizable message:
Contact your Representative
Contact your Senator

National Abstinence Education Association
Abstinence Works
CMDA Ethics Statement: Human Sexuality

House pushed to pass conscience protections

Excerpted from “Catholic Bishops to GOP House: Repeal Obamacare Reg in CR or Other ‘Must-Pass’ Bill,” CNS News, March 19, 2013 -- The Catholic bishops of the United States are asking the Republican-controlled House of Representatives to do something concrete and effective--rather than merely symbolic—to repeal a regulation the administration has issued under Obamacare that will force Catholics and other Christians to act against their faith in purchasing or providing healthcare plans that cover sterilizations, contraceptives and abortion-inducing drugs.

Last June, the bishops unanimously declared this regulation an “unjust and illegal mandate.” Since then, dozens of Catholic and Protestant private business owners, schools and non-profit organizations have sued the administration seeking to fully or partially overturn the regulation, arguing it violates their First Amendment right to free exercise of religion.

The regulation, however, is beginning to take effect now, and pending lawsuits could take years to reach the Supreme Court--where it is uncertain how they would be decided. Given the gravity and immediacy of the issue, the bishops are asking Congress to act now by incorporating language repealing the regulation into “must-pass” legislation.

H.R. 940 would permanently negate Obamacare’s sterilization-contraception-abortifacient regulation. It would do this by ensuring that no individual worker, private for-profit business, hospital, school, charity or other form of non-profit enterprise could be forced to buy or provide a healthcare plan that included coverage for abortion or any other item or service to which the individual or organization had a moral or religious objection. It would also protect health-care workers from being discriminated against if they decline to participate in abortions or abortion-related services.


Jonathan ImbodyCMA Vice President for Govt. Relations Jonathan Imbody: “We’ve been working hand-in-hand with the bishops and many other groups—over 50 are included in our Freedom2Care coalition—on conscience issues for well over a decade. The conscience laws passed in prior years unfortunately do not apply to or provide protections for healthcare professionals under the new Obamacare law. Nor do existing federal laws give health care professionals who have experienced discrimination the option to fight for justice in the courts.

"Currently the only recourse for healthcare professionals provided for in the federal conscience regulation, which the administration eviscerated in 2011, is to file a complaint with the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services—the very agency that Congress recently took to task for committing discrimination! HHS disqualified pro-life service providers from human trafficking grants simply because they declined to participate in abortions.

"After the last election, some politicians normally supportive of pro-life bills unfortunately now feel a bit gun-shy, worrying that social issues distract from their economic message. The only sure way to shore up their commitment is to show the determination of their constituents—particularly influential constituents like healthcare professionals—in demanding conscience protections as an American right and as a requirement for the practice of ethical medicine.

"For the sake of your own career and the rights of many others including your patients, please take a moment right now to make your voice heard."

Use this easy pre-written, customizable form our Freedom2Care legislative action center to let your Representative know today you want conscience protections in healthcare.

Submit your own comment to the administration on the contraceptives mandate, using our pre-written, customizable text.

Read CMA's official comment to the administration on the contraceptives mandate
CMDA Right of Conscience Resource Page

CMA human trafficking commentary published in Washington Times

Sex trafficking needs more awareness,” published in The Washington Times, March 13, 2013 by Jonathan Imbody, CMA VP for Govt. Relations

Former sex trafficking victim Barbara Amaya highlights the need to “educate the public about the horrors of human trafficking or modern day slavery” (“Sex trafficking: Has anything changed in 45 years?” Web, March 9).

While federal government agencies including State, Homeland Security and Health and Human Services have all impressively ramped up efforts to educate the public and law enforcement communities, there remains a critical need to focus in depth on medical professionals who see but fail to recognize and report many human trafficking victims. One medical study of victims interviewed after rescue found that up to half had been taken to a medical facility, yet not a single victim had been reported for rescue.1

One solution is to invite leaders of America’s medical specialty colleges to a White House symposium on human trafficking and to challenge them to adapt existing awareness building resources and data in order to educate their own members on how to recognize, report and treat victims.

For example, the Christian Medical Association now offers an in-depth online curriculum, with continuing medical education credit, to train healthcare professionals how to recognize, report and treat human trafficking victims (available at If other medical specialty organizations do likewise, hundreds of thousands of healthcare professionals can learn how to recognize, rescue and rehabilitate thousands of victims who otherwise would languish in slavery.
Take human trafficking CME course now available online!

You can now receive a comprehensive education with CME credit on the issue of human trafficking, or modern-day slavery. Learn how you can recognize, report and treat victims and how to better understand and address their spiritual needs. Consider also approaching your own specialty college officers to urge them to either promote the CMDA CME course to members or to use it as a guide to developing their own curriculum on human trafficking.
  • Module 1: Introduction to domestic trafficking within the US
  • Module 2: Introduction to International trafficking
  • Module 3: The physical health consequences of human trafficking
  • Module 4: The mental health consequences of human trafficking
  • Module 5: The identification and medical evaluation of labor trafficking victims
  • Module 6: The identification and medical evaluation of sex trafficking victims
  • Module 7: Identification and treatment of long term health consequences
  • Module 8: Multi-disciplinary care of the trafficked person
  • Module 9: The health care professional’s role beyond the clinic setting
  • Module 10: The spiritual basis for a response to human trafficking
  • Module 11: Caring for victims in low resource settings

1 Baldwin, et. al., “Identification of human trafficking victims in health care settings,” Health and Human Rights, July 2011 Vol. 13, No. 1.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Speak up on conscience bill

Excerpted from "Lawmakers, medical workers speak up on conscience bill," Catholic News Agency, by Pauline Chen, MD. March 5, 2013--Members of Congress and individuals who have been forced to violate their consciences came together to stress the need for a federal law protecting religious freedom in the field of healthcare. Highlighting the importance of conscience protections for all individuals, Rep. Diane Black (R-Tenn.) Black spoke at a March 5 press conference in Washington D.C., following her introduction of the Health Care Conscience Rights Act the previous day. The legislation aims to protect the conscience rights of healthcare workers, employers and individuals who are morally opposed to cooperation with the provision of contraceptives, sterilization and abortion. Reps. Jeff Fortenberry (R- Neb.) and John Flemming (R- La.), who are among 50 initial co-sponsors of the bill, also spoke at the press conference.

Flemming, who previously worked as a family physician, argued that there is “no excuse for this assault on our First Amendment Rights, no excuse for this assault on our conscience protections.” He described the protections of the “freedom of religion – which is really freedom of conscience” provided by the bill. The proposed law, Flemming explained, “applies a long-standing policy of conscience rights” to the Affordable Care Act, particularly its mandate requiring employers to offer health insurance plans covering contraception, sterilizations and some early abortion drugs.In addition, the bill would protect healthcare workers from discrimination if they choose not to participate in procedures they find unconscionable. It would further give medical personnel specific standing in court, enabling them to file lawsuits if they are illegally forced to undergo abortion training and assistance against their conscience. This last provision of the legislation will protect individuals such as Cathy Cenzon-DeCarlo, a nurse who filed suit after she was forced to participate in the abortion of a 22-week-old pre-born infant or face termination of employment.

Congressman Fortenberry offered comments, saying that government should respect healthcare workers, recognizing that “the very purpose of healthcare is for healing, not to create ethical divisions.” He also quoted President Barack Obama – whose administration is responsible for the mandate – agreeing that “we should not leave our values at the door” and should protect those values in the law. “No American should be forced to choose between their faith and their job,” Fortenberry stressed. Click here to read full article.


Dr. C. Brent BolesCMDA Member and Board Certified Obstetrics and Gynecology C. Brent Boles, MD: “Representative Diane Black is to be commended for her introduction of the Health Care Conscience Rights Act. There are many settings in which individuals have been subject to discrimination, ridicule and even threats of termination of employment if they refuse to participate in activities that run contrary to their faith and to their conscience. As individuals, the most profound parts of our own identity and self-image are derived from our beliefs about ourselves and the world around us. For many people, this worldview is based on faith. The founders of our nation, the authors of our Constitution, saw the importance of religious freedom and chose to make a stand about that in the First Amendment. It was not the Second or the Eight or the Tenth--it was First and it was the foremost right in their minds. To force an individual to violate their own deeply held beliefs is to assault that individual in a most profound way. Representative Black and Representatives Fortenberry and Flemming deserve our gratitude and our support, as do the other co-sponsors of the bill. Those who share these concerns should most certainly take the time to contact their own individual congressmen and express their views."

Use our Freedom2Care easy form to tell your U.S. Rep. to support the conscience rights bill
This Video Shows Moving Testimony of Nurse Forced to do Abortions
CMDA Ethics Statement: Right of Conscience
Right of Conscience Resources

Personalized stem cell patch kit

Excerpted from "Newly discovered cell could heal damaged tissue, organs, researchers say," Jewish World Review, by Sandy Kleffman. To their surprise, University of California, San Francisco researchers have discovered a new type of cell in women's breast tissue that might one day be used to heal a variety of wounds and damaged organs, without having to destroy embryos to acquire stem cells. The newly discovered cells act similarly to embryonic stem cells in that they can be placed in mice or in a Petri dish and "instructed" to produce many different cell types. That raises hope that the cells might someday be used as a sort of personalized "patch kit," without the controversy that has surrounded stem cells taken from human embryos. "When we saw that they could make cartilage, bone, gut, brain, pancreas cells — even beating heart tissue — we were excited and intrigued," said senior study author Thea Tlsty, a UCSF professor of pathology.

Scientists had previously believed that so-called pluripotent cells, which can transform into most cell types, did not exist in the body beyond the embryonic stage of development. The new cells may have some advantages over a 2007 scientific breakthrough that revolutionized the field of regenerative medicine — the discovery that adult skin cells could be reprogrammed or reverse-engineered to act like embryonic stem cells and transform into a variety of cell types, said Tlsty. Researchers dubbed these reprogrammed cells induced pluripotent stem cells, or iPS. Such cells are made without destroying embryos and hundreds of scientists around the world are researching them, but some have wondered whether these cells might form cancerous tumors when introduced into a human body. Tlsty noted that the newly discovered cells are more genetically stable than the iPS cells and are limited in how often they can reproduce, making them less likely to form cancers.

A leading California stem cell researcher who was not involved with the study called the results "really interesting and intriguing," but said more research is needed. The cells were first discovered in healthy breast tissue from women who were undergoing breast reductions. Researchers have since looked at tissue from more than 60 women. All had some of the cells, although it isn't yet known whether they exist in older women and young girls. "We anticipate that we'll be able to get them from other tissues, and that's some of the research that we're doing now," Tlsty said. She added that researchers believe the cells will be found in both men and women. They are calling the newly identified cells endogenous pluripotent somatic cells, or ePS. "Pretty much everything we've asked them to make, they've made," Tlsty said. "These cells have responded beautifully." Full story can be found here.


Dr. Dave PrenticeCMDA Member and Senior Fellow for Life Sciences, Center for Human Life and Bioethics David Prentice, PhD: “Here is one more example of the benefits of ethically-oriented science that protects life. We heard in the past that the only pluripotent stem cell was the embryonic stem cell, and from that perspective that embryonic stem cells were the only 'real' stem cell. But obtaining embryonic stem cells relies on destruction of young lives, young human embryos. The clear alternative—adult stem cells—was maligned as having less 'potential' and being inferior, despite the fact that adult stem cells are still the only stem cells to treat patients, thousands of them annually. The induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells) produced by Shinya Yamanaka (and for which he won the 2012 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine) provided an ethical pluripotent alternative to embryonic stem cells, because their production does not require human embryos, eggs or cloning. But despite their utility as lab models, there remain skeptics of the practical utility of iPS cells for patients. This report provides yet another ethical alternative to embryonic stem cells, 'endogenous pluripotent somatic cells' (ePS cells) from healthy breast tissue. The cells can be easily isolated and display similar pluripotent characteristics as those seen with embryonic stem cells, producing cartilage, bone, brain, pancreas and heart cells.

“Moreover, the cells grow in a more regulated manner than embryonic stem cells or iPS cells, decreasing chances of tumor formation. Since these ePS cells are from normal healthy tissue and do not require destruction of human life for their isolation, they provide a natural and ethical source of pluripotent stem cells. We truly are 'fearfully and wonderfully made!' (Psalm 139:14, NIV)."

CMDA Ethics Statement: Human Stem Cell Research and Use
Stem Cell Talking Points
Stem Cell Facts