U.S. Notes & Quotes

Adultery's Approval Ratings Drop

Leaving high-profile cases aside, adultery is definitely frowned upon in the United States—and new programs are springing up to prevent it and heal its consequences.

In the United States, adultery is more unacceptable than it has been for decades, said a University of Chicago National Opinion Poll quoted in the Detroit News (Jan 31). Those who disapprove of it have grown from 69.8% in 1973 to 78.5% in 1996, according to the poll results released last June.

The Church is responding. The newspaper reported the ministry of Nick and Virginia O'Shea whose 41-year marriage has had to survive two affairs. They credit a program called Retrouvaille (“rediscover” in French), which their Catholic diocese referred them to, with saving their marriage. The two now counsel other married couples on how to avoid adultery—and how to mitigate its consequences.

Described as “Christian-based”, Retrouvaille consists of a weekend retreat followed by six-weekly sessions dealing with topics such as sex, intimacy, listening, and conflict resolution. The program matches troubled couples with “teams” of three presenting couples, according to the article. The presenters explain how they were able to salvage their marriages in the face of grave difficulties, often adultery.

Bud Ozar, director of the Life and Youth Center at the Archdiocese of Detroit explained that Marriage Encounter was designed to help good marriages improve. Retrouvaille is designed to resuscitate marriages that are nearly dead.

Two Women Debate Abortion

On the 25th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision, which legalized abortion nationwide, MSNBC featured an on-line debate between two members of the Common Ground Network in support and opposition to abortion on demand.

The organization is envisioned as a place for those who favor and oppose abortion to argue their differences civilly. At one point in their debate, the two described how they first formed their positions on abortion. Susan Kloc's reason for supporting abortion came from her experience of sexuality in a young age, she said.

“When I was in college I thought I might be pregnant. I remember the fear, the panic, the shame. Although I did not have to wait long before I found out I was not, the experience stayed with me because I remember thinking about my options. I visited a Planned Parenthood clinic soon after and was grateful to find someone I could talk to who provided me with meaningful birth control information. (This was around 1972-73 when my family doctor asked some leading questions while implying that I was not supposed to be sexually active.)”

Frederica Mathewes-Green, who had an early pro-abortion sticker on her car, “converted” from supporting abortion to opposing it around the same time. She read “What I saw at the abortion” by Richard Selzer in Esquire magazine.

“Selzer described the patient, 19 weeks pregnant, lying back on the operating table, and the doctor sliding into her abdomen the needle of a syringe to deliver a dose of prostaglandin. Then he says he saw something he never expected: the needle began to bob and jerk against the woman's abdomen ‘like a fishing line nibbled by a sunfish.’ … What shook me up about this essay was realizing that in abortion I had welcomed, even celebrated, violence.”

Abortion ‘Pill’ Delayed Indefinitely

Although one New York group of abortion-advocates has raised enough money to provide a limited supply of RU486 to 11 doctors around the country, widespread distribution of the “chemical abortion pill” is “on indefinite hold,” according to the Detroit News (Feb. 1).

What happened to the drug treatment that President Clinton and the Food and Drug Administration have both supported? According to the article: Hoechst AF of Germany, the drug's original distributor, has been forced to limit its markets to England, France, and Sweden under international pressure from pro-lifers.

After the nonprofit Population Council gained U.S. patent rights to the drug in 1996, it chose Joseph Pike to arrange for the drug's production here. It later discovered that he had resigned from the North Carolina Bar in a forgery scandal. After he refused to sell his controlling interest in the project, he had to be taken to court. Control went to a number of investors.

A privately held company called Advances/Neogen was created to handle the introduction of RU486 into the United States, but the chief executive of that company stepped down and no replacement has been named.

The Hungarian company that had made an agreement with Advances/Neogen to manufacture the drug suddenly stopped and did not produce it. “Nobody knows why,” Lawrence Lader of Abortion Rights Mobilization is quoted saying.

As yet, no U.S. drug company is willing to manufacture the drug.