Life Notes

New Role for Amniocentesis?

NEW SCIENTIST, Oct. 11 The medical journal reports that researchers at Boston's Children's Hospital have found early-stage stem cells floating in the amniotic fluid of a pregnant woman.

The stem cells were detected through amniocentesis, a procedure that has been used mainly as a method to find fetal disorders, with abortion used as a “solution” if a problem is discovered. The new research could give amniocentesis a distinctly life-affirming purpose. If scans suggest a baby may have defects, doctors could isolate cells from this fluid that could be grown into tissue to correct the defects.

Medical Conscience Clause

THE SENTINEL, Oct. 15 — Michigan State Rep. Stephen Ehardt, a pharmacist, has introduced a bill that would allow all medical professionals, including pharmacists and others, to say “no” when a procedure or a prescription runs contrary to their religious or moral beliefs.

Curbing prescriptions for birth control, the abortion pill and the morning-after pill are not the purposes of the legislation, said Ehardt. He simply wants to protect employees from pressure to violate their consciences.

Greg Baran of the Michigan Pharmacists Association said current protections are not always viewed as covering pharmacists, nurses and clerical staffs.

Abortion Regs Upheld

ASSOCIATED PRESS, Oct. 15 — A federal appellate court has denied a request by abortion providers to temporarily halt new state restrictions on abortion clinics in South Carolina.

The Center for Reproductive Law and Policy filed a lawsuit on behalf of abortion facilities in Greenville and Charleston, calling the pro-life regulations burdensome and an attempt to undermine abortion. The regulations were passed in 1996 and took effect in August.

The regulations govern a variety of activities, from bookkeeping to air flow in offices. They also require that a list of counselors, including clergy, be provided to women considering abortions.

Parents Block Sex Book

ANCHORAGE DAILY NEWS, Oct. 9 — Bowing to a groundswell of parental opposition and criticism from a number of teachers, the Anchorage School Board voted 6-1 to restrict access to a sex education book that includes explicit drawings.

Instead of serving as a required textbook, It's Perfectly Normal, may now be checked out of school libraries by elementary and middle school students, but only with their parents' permission.

More than 100 people attended a school board hearing on the book. Parent Tammy Hogge said, “I do not need my 7-year-old to know how to use contraceptives. I need him to learn how to write and read and do math.”

Cistercian Father Thomas Esposito says of discerning one’s college choice, ‘There has to be something that tugs at you and makes you want to investigate it further. And then the personal encounter comes in the form of a visit or a chat with a student or alumnus who communicates with the same enthusiasm or energy about the place. And then that love of a place can be a seed which germinates in your own heart through prayer.’

Choose a College With a Discerning Mind and Heart

Cistercian Father Thomas Esposito, assistant professor of theology at the University of Dallas (UD) and subprior (and former vocations director) of the Cistercian Abbey of Our Lady of Dallas, drew from his experience as both a student and now monastic religious to help those discerning understand the parallels between religious and college discernment.