Archive for the ‘Unwanted Pregnancies’ Category

How to Decrease Teen Pregnancies, Decrease Crime, and Build Our Economy

March 21, 2009

Personally as a pediatrician, I found the highest teen birth rates in three groups. 1. Teens in distressed families (drug addict or absent parents [not single moms], poverty where parents are working 2-3 jobs, overextended and therefore technically absent and rich parents with unsupervised kids); 2. Teens in very religious families relying on abstinence, that wouldn’t talk about sex, leaving kids to figure it out on their own (these kids constantly were super rebellious); and 3. idol teens who had no hobbies except hanging out with friends and who had self-esteem problems such that they would do anything to appear popular.

The saddest case that is a commentary on how we talk but don’t help distressed teens and families was an eighth grade girl who told me she purposely got pregnant because she wanted someone to “love her.” She had lived mainly on the streets taking care of herself in South Carolina (the bible belt) where social services were inadequate to help her. Her parents were unavailable. The churches, schools, and social services viewed her as important and worthwhile as a dead dog. What do you expect! Three girls in her class were pregnant that year.

Until we promote individual worth; provide adequate eduation so that kids are motivated to learn and therefore kept busy with self motivation(our high school education is like a junior high education in most civilized countries – teachers are in general miserably undertrained); teach kids the value of being involved with others and with activities such as the arts, volunteering, involvement with government and social services, gardening, sports without a goal of being a major leager; teach that community and family is more important than self and instant gratification or material goods; promote a village atmosphere where people in one small neighborhood or a few blocks in a city know each other, meet regularly with each other (difficult with two jobs and long commutes) and help each other (70 % of Americans don’t know their neighbors); make real job training and jobs available to young men and women; reform laws so that like in Europe women can stay home with a child the first two years of life and still have a job available and career available when they return to work, we will make no progress in regards to teen births or abortions.

We need to shift our priorities and donations to the REAL problems that result in teen pregnancies and abortions. If we simply fight about ideology nothing will be accomplished. United We Stand, Divided We Fall. Perhaps it is time to agree to disagree on ideology and work together on issues that we all agree upon!

The benefits would be enormous. We would not just deal with teen pregnancies and reduce abortions, we would reduce crime and increase our countries productivity saving huge amounts of money and rebuilding our economy.

Is a Frozen Embryo “Life” or Just Living Tissue?

March 14, 2009

In the United States we have the Constitution with the 1st Amendment granting freedom of religion. Why should those who believe there is no “life” until there is a functional brain be forced to believe that “life” exists in a ball of cells. Is the ball of cells or early embryo just living tissue or is it “life”. Science will never tell us as science cannot prove or disprove the concept of soul. This is a religious belief and a matter of faith. Some believe “life” starts at conception. Others believe “life” starts when there is a functional brain. Under the First Amendment in the United States government is forbidden from deciding this question due to issues of religious freedom.

I can transplant a frog skin cell nucleus into a frog enucleated ovum and produce a frog. This can be done by with any living creature. Does this mean that skin cells are all “life” and that amputation of an arm is murder, just because ALL cell nuclei can be used to produce “life”, though artificially prepared?

Shouldn’t we stop trying to shove one person’s religious faith upon another? Please show respect for the religious beliefs of others who do not believe that a ball of cells (an eight cell embryo for example) is “life”. Those that do not believe an embryo without a functional brain is “life” have no problem with “aborting” or destroying this non-“life”, not non-living ball of cells. Skin cells and other human tissues are alive but are not “life”.

Many believe “life” is a soul and cannot be without a functional brain. Souls do not reside in dead bodies or in lumps of tissue. That is why brain death is defined and it is legal to unplug someone from a ventilator who is brain dead. To bar this across the board would be making a religious decision.

There is a problem with misuse of terms and rhetoric that disrespects religious freedom. Religious freedom is guaranteed in this country. I respect those that believe “life” starts at conception. They are free to refuse to allow their embryos to be used for stem cell research. They are free to refuse to have an abortion at age 12 after being raped by an uncle or when they are carrying an anencephalic fetus (congenital absence of brain). They are free to keep a brain dead relative on a ventilator until the body rots at their expense.

We shouldn’t expect the entire world to be subject to the specific religous dogma of a portion of the population that believes “life” begins at conception and ends when the brain dead body’s heart stops beating even when on a ventilator.

I don’t believe that in a country with freedom of religion where I do NOT believe that a ball of cells is a human life or that a twitching pre-heart vessel in a 7 week embryo (some falsely call a beating heart) that does not yet have a developed brain is “life” that I should be FORCED to have this “religious faith” that some others possess. This is NOT religious freedom. This is government imposed religion.

An anencephalic 35 week fetus (no brain or skull but just a space where you can look at the back of the face and sinuses and the top of the oozing spinal column) is not life to me either because without a functioning brain, there is no life. We call this brain death (or lack of brain) and yet an anencephalic fetus has a beating heart, hands, feet, and a body and fact that twitches with spinal reflexes! Someone who is brain dead has a beating heart but no one argues the right to pull the plug! Phrases such as “I saw the beating heart” or “I saw the arm twitch” mean nothing in the definition of life. Life to me is a functioning developed brain where thought is possible. A chicken with its head cut off flaps around for a few minutes due to spinal reflexes.

As to stem cells. Adult stem cells and stem cells derived from skin or umbilical cords have not yet proven to have as much potential to develop into all organs of the body as embryonic stem cells, which are still the gold standard. You must use the gold standard to prove that the adult stem cells, umbilical stem cells, and skin derived stem cells have the same potential and use as the gold standard. This has NOT yet been done, despite the rhetoric of those opposing stem cell research.

Why should the man and woman who donated their cells to produce a frozen embryo be forced to follow the religion of others. Nothing says that if a man and woman who are “owners” of a frozen embryo who believe that it is a “life” cannot refuse to have it used for embryonic stem cell research. Nothing says that they cannot donate it to a woman who wants to try to carry it to term.

I just don’t want people who do not hold the religious belief that a frozen embryo is a life forced to follow the religious beliefs of others and forced not to donate it for stem cell research. I do believe there should be a ban on selling it for research.

I find it of utmost importance to uphold the right to religious freedom guaranteed by the constitution. Anything less is obscene to me.

Abtinence Programs for Sex Education Worse than NO Sex Education

November 16, 2008

I did extensive scholarly research on abstinence programs about 6-7 years ago. My notes have been lost, but I am absolutely sure that what I found was that they didn’t work at all and in fact may have increased the pregnancy rate.

 

We should stop wasting our taxpayer dollars on things that sound good but have no value.

 

We don’t need to re-invent the wheel. After all sex has been around for a long time!!! All we have to do is obtain objective scientific data on how well different programs work and then promote programs that really work.

 

I’m sick of decisions being made based on emotion, religious views, and partisan politics. There is a more rational and accurate way to make such decisions. We need real, honest, transparent, cost-benefit analysis.

 

I plan to do this regarding sex education and I’ll report the results to you when I am finished. It may take some time.


%d bloggers like this: