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Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Why the US Should Strategically Invest in Foreign Aid and Engage with Faith-based Organizations

W.H.O.: faith-based organizations provide
up to 70% of healthcare in Africa.

Faith-based organizations (FBO's)

·        The World Health Organization released a report revealing that between 30% and 70% of the health infrastructure in Africa is currently owned by faith-based organizations.[1]
·        The Gallup World Poll asked sub-Saharan Africans in 19 countries about their confidence in eight social and political institutions. Overall across the continent, they were most likely to say they were confident in the religious organizations (76%) in their countries. [2] 
(FBO's) typically are:
1.      Efficient - know how to operate on limited budgets and tap vast resources of volunteers.
2.      Accountable - answerable to governing boards and donors who expect a high yield on their donations.
3.      Transparent - overseen by charitable organization watchdogs and use well-established networks in local communities to reach the people most in need.
4.      Sustainable - typically long-established in communities and dedicated to remaining to serve communities long after grant projects are completed.

Gallup: Africans most likely to say they were
confident in the religious organizations (76%)
in their countries

5.      Apolitical - motivated by faith tenets, not by political ideology.

U.S. Funding Goals:

Our government should carefully target foreign aid to reflect the values of the American people, who expect aid to be:
1.      Efficient: Programs meet quantifiable goals and demonstrate a high return on investment.
2.      Accountable: Programs produce measurable results.
3.      Transparent: Open accounting proves that U.S. funds actually reach the needy.
4.      Sustainable: Programs will continue yielding benefits long after U.S. funds are expended.
5.      Apolitical: Aid reflects universal values of compassion and not partisan ideology.
Besides meeting these criteria, aid can also serve pragmatic American interests by prioritizing aid that will keep Americans safe. Death and disease lead to economic instability, making a country vulnerable to radical political movements. For example, when mothers in Africa die from AIDS, their sons become the recruiting targets of terrorist groups. Foreign aid can help prevent country disintegration that ultimately threatens American security.
Additional worthy goals can include aiding countries that: advance democracy by practicing or moving toward American values and strengthen alliances with countries that provide economic, energy, military and political advantages to the United States.



[1] "Faith-based organizations play a major role in HIV/AIDS care and treatment in sub-Saharan Africa," February 8, 2007: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/notes/2007/np05/en/index.html.
[2] Gallup Poll, "Africans' Confidence in Institutions -- Which Country Stands Out?" January 18, 2007: http://www.gallupworldpoll.com/content/?ci=26176

Monday, December 4, 2017

Essay 3: Medical ethics: Bedrock oaths versus zeitgeist barometers

Editor's Note: This is the third essay in a series on conscience in healthcare, by Freedom2Care Director Jonathan Imbody. For the other essays, click "ConscienceEssay" on Topics at left. 
On the heels of World War II, with medical ethics in the spotlight following unconscionable Nazi atrocities, the World Medical Association (WMA) decided that the Hippocratic oath, which had guided medicine since around 500 BC, needed to be replaced. So the Association developed a new oath that contained some of the principles of the ancient oath but opened the door to continual modernizing.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Christian Medical Association doctors and Freedom2Care applaud HHS initiative to connect sex education to science

Washington, DC—November 3, 2017: The 19,000-member Christian Medical Association (www.cmda.org) and the 30,000-strong Freedom2Care (www.Freedom2Care.org) today applauded a new initiative by the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services to ensure that its investment in sex education is backed by sound and objective scientific research.
"The HHS leadership recognizes how important it is to tie policy and programs to  sound research, and this project promises to tie that knot securely," said CMA CEO Dr. David Stevens. "Research not only on what programs work but also what communication with youth works should go a long way toward equipping our youth with sound strategies for sexual health. It's also vitally important to involve parents in any strategies, such as sexual risk avoidance programs, for their children's sex education."
Freedom2Care director Jonathan Imbody added, "The new $10 million research project with HHS's Administration for Children and Families (ACF) and the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health (OASH) promises to make a reality what too often is just a slogan: evidence-based policy. It's tempting to bend social science research to fit one's ideology, and we trust that this effort will provide a transparent process, scientifically sound methodology and accurate and objective interpretation of results to produce the best strategies for our youth. With so many previous federally funded sex education programs failing to produce positive results, it's imperative to translate this research into policy quickly and effectively for the sake of our youth."

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Essay 2: Autonomy quickly translates to tyranny

Do the rights of patients in healthcare
trump everyone else's rights?
Note: This excerpt is the second in a series of essays on conscience in healthcare, by Jonathan Imbody, Vice President for Government Relations of the Christian Medical Association and Director of Freedom2Care. For other essays, click "ConscienceEssay" under Topics, at left.

In a New England Journal of Medicine piece entitled, "Physicians, Not Conscripts — Conscientious Objection in Health Care,"[i] Obamacare architect Dr. Emanuel Ezekiel and professor Ronit Stahl assert that the "rights of patients" in healthcare trump everyone else's rights. But why? On what basis?

Monday, October 23, 2017

Federal Legislation Top Priorities - 2018

Note: The official positions of the Christian Medical Association and its affiliated Freedom2Care cover many policy areas. To maximize impact with current resources, CMA's Washington office focuses on the foundational right to life and freedoms of faith, conscience and speech—upon which all other rights and freedoms hinge.

Top Priorities: Freedom of faith, conscience and speech

·        Conscience Protection ActS. 301, H.R. 644 - Prevent government coercion related to abortion.
·        Free Speech Fairness ActS. 264, H.R. 781 - Protect free speech on political issues for nonprofit organizations including churches.

Top Priorities: Right to life

·        Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection ActS. 1922, H.R. 36 (passed) - Protect developing babies from abortions at the stage in which they can feel pain.
·        House Resolution on Dangers of Assisted SuicideH. Con. Res. 80 - Prevent assisted suicide.

Other bills supported

·        Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act S. 811, H.R. 1881 - Protect religious freedom of faith-based child service providers.
·        Title X Abortion Provider Prohibition Act - H.R. 217 - Redirect tax dollars from abortion businesses like Planned Parenthood to federally qualified health centers.
·        Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection ActS. 220, H.R. 37 - Save lives of babies born in an abortion.
·        No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure ActS. 184, H.R. 7 (passed) - Prevent tax dollars from funding abortion.
·        Parental Rights Resolution - S J Res 48 - Proposes an amendment to the Constitution of the United States relating to parental rights.
·        Federal Disaster Assistance Nonprofit Fairness Act – S. 1823, HR 2405 – Gives community centers, including tax-exempt houses of worship, eligibility for disaster relief and emergency assistance.

·        Heartbeat Protection Act - HR 490 – would not allow a physician to perform an abortion: (1) without first determining whether the fetus has a detectable heartbeat, (2) without informing the mother of the results, or (3) after determining that a fetus has a detectable heartbeat.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Christian Medical Association and Freedom2Care Applaud Administration's Actions to Protect Conscience in Healthcare


Washington, DC—October 6, 2017: Today the nation's largest association of Christian health professionals, the 18,000-member Christian Medical Association (CMA, www.cmda.org) applauded the administration's actions to restore conscience freedoms in healthcare. The administration took action concerning the Obamacare contraceptives mandate, insurance premiums used to pay for abortions, and regarding government respect for religious freedom.

"We are thankful to see these vital conscience freedoms restored in healthcare," noted CMA Senior Vice President Gene Rudd, MD, and Ob-Gyn physician. "For millennia, medical ethics have provided for conscientious opposition to abortion by physicians who took up the practice of medicine as a healing art never to be used for the destruction of human life. And until recently, our government reinforced those ethical principles with conscience protections. We are heartened to see our government heading back in the direction of these vital freedoms that protect patients, medicine and freedom in our country."

Jonathan Imbody, director of Freedom2Care (www.Freedom2Care.org), which is affiliated with CMA said, "As Americans who have inherited a nation founded upon freedom of faith, conscience and speech, we can agree that the government must never force individuals to violate their deepest held beliefs on vital and extremely controversial issues such as abortion. When our leaders forget these principles, and take to forcing nuns to participate in matters they consider wholly immoral, the American people realize that our fundamental freedoms are in jeopardy. If the government can take away the rights of one group, then no one is safe from government coercion.

"These actions today by the administration are an important step back in the direction of freedom and respect for one another, and we look forward to more actions in the future, including restoration of the conscience rule for health professionals that President Obama gutted."

Monday, October 2, 2017

Essay 1: Weaponizing "the patient comes first" eliminates ethical protections and professional judgment


Note: This excerpt is the first in a series of essays on conscience in healthcare, by Jonathan Imbody, Vice President for Government Relations of the Christian Medical Association and Director of Freedom2Care. For other essays, click "ConscienceEssay" under Topics, at left.

Obamacare architect Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel and University of Pennsylvania professor Ronit Stahl advocate barring from medicine all physicians who would decline a patient's demand for morally controversial services such as abortion.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

In Defense of Healthy Children: Recent Papers Expose the Truths About Dangerous Gender Dysphoria Treatments


Editor’s note: The following commentary reflects the personal views of the author and does not represent the official stance of the Christian Medical and Dental Associations




The most popular therapies to treat gender dysphoria in children are dangerous and biased, according to new research published in, Growing Pains: Problems with Puberty Suppression in Treating Gender Dysphoria.” by Johns Hopkins physicians Hruz, Mayer, and McHugh.


Key Takeaways


  • The effectiveness and success of gender-affirmation therapy and its use of puberty-blocking hormones is unknown, unproven and unapproved by the FDA.

  • Despite the claim that puberty suppressors are “fully reversible,” puberty suppressors have not been proven either reversible or harmless.

  • Physicians are advising children to endure experimental treatments to treat a mental disorder that has a 95% chance of disappearing with time.

  • Gender-affirmation treatments lead most children toward a transgender adulthood, a lifestyle known for its 41% suicide rate.

  • Parents deserve full and unbiased information when making choices concerning their children’s health, and an objective review of the evidence concerning the gender-affirmation approach.


You walk into a doctor’s office with your child who isn’t feeling right. The doctor proposes two treatments: one has a 95 percent chance of success and the other increases the risk of death by 41 percent.  Which would you choose?   


This scenario depicts the gender dysphoria debate stripped to its bare bones. If the child was being seen for any other condition besides gender dysphoria, the later treatment would never even be considered. It would appear that too often, physicians who propose puberty-blocking hormones may be unduly swayed by cultural pressures and emotional appeals.


Physicians and parents alike should understand that they do not need to sacrifice good medicine and good parenting in order to be loving and caring towards these children. Sometimes we have to wipe our children’s and patient’s tears away and still say “no.”  


When our children feel like breaking into the medicine cabinet, our hearts skip a beat as we slam the cabinet door shut. And yet, when our children tell us they feel that they want to be a different gender, why would our default be to accommodate that feeling with experimental drug treatments?  


With transgender activism sweeping society, children who identify as “trans” are being welcomed into the spotlight. But should such activism and ideology dictate decisions parents make concerning their children's health?  


An objective review of the evidence on “transitioning” into another sex is not as cut and dried as Caitlyn Jenner and other trans activists might make it seem.


Leading Medical Experts Concerned About Children


In a paper entitled, “Growing Pains: Problems with Puberty Suppression in Treating Gender Dysphoria,” published this month in The New Atlantis, three medical experts laid out the groundbreaking results of their research.


Physicians Paul W. Hruz, Lawrence S. Mayer, and Paul R. McHugh conclude that families are not being properly educated about their children’s gender dysphoria.


The Johns Hopkins experts conclude that the research, statistics, studies, and results do not support the methods of treatment and therapy which are currently being presented as the healthiest and most loving option for children with gender dysphoria.


Physicians are telling parents that their sons and daughters are trapped in the wrong body and in order to free them from their mental anguish they need to take medical action. This popular form of consultation is known as gender-affirmation therapy. Rather than strive to help the gender dysphoric child to accept their biological gender, the physician or therapist affirms whatever gender the child prefers.


Assuming children to be fully capable of understanding their gender identity at a very young age, gender-affirmation therapy charges children to make decisions that will affect the rest of their lives. We put age restrictions on driving motor vehicles, the consumption of alcohol, enlisting in combat, even when purchasing a rental car, because we recognize the limits of adolescent maturity both mental and physical. And yet physicians are expecting 9 year olds to decide whether or not they’d like to retain their fertility in adulthood.(1)  


Unfortunately, many families will never hear about reputable studies that contradict the gender-affirmation position.  For instance, one study found that 80-95% (2) of children with gender dysphoria will grow out of gender dysphoria and will embrace the gender of their biological sex. In his 2016 report, Sexuality and Gender,(3) McHugh discovered that the concept of gender is very fluid among children. He insists that children are not fully capable of grasping the concept of gender identity. But this is exactly what is to be expected of children according to the leading medical and advocacy groups who monopolize this discussion.


The medical community is presenting the gender-affirmation approach as the only compassionate response to gender dysphoric children and usually results in the child eventually transitioning into a transgender adult.  They characterize all opposing views, such as the opinion of Hruz, Mayer, and McHugh, as bigoted and anti-LGBTQ. Although the opinions of these qualified medical experts are rooted in sober science and a concern for children, the heated rhetoric of the left-wing gender ideologues will characterize them as superstitious religious zealots whose opinions are a form of hate speech.  An example of this can be found in a leftist rebuttal of McHugh’s report, in which a “trigger warning” is shown prior to The New Atlantis’ interview with McHugh and Mayer.(4)




This particular counterargument coveys a common example of discrimination in which the credibility of the report is rejected due to the author and publisher’s Judeo-Christian beliefs.   
Physicians and patients alike should be wary of any ideology forming a dictatorship over the medical community.  Scientific facts do not always coincide with the fashions and fads of the times. Patients ought to be able to find comfort in their physician's reliance upon unbiased data.     


Misguided “Guidelines” and Experimental Treatments




Puberty suppression is a hormone intervention that prevents the normal progression of puberty:


“...The testicles and penis of the boy undergoing puberty suppression will not mature, and the girl undergoing puberty suppression will not menstruate. The boy undergoing puberty suppression will have less muscle mass and narrower shoulders than his twin, while the breasts of the girl undergoing puberty suppression will not develop. The boy and girl undergoing puberty suppression will not have the same adolescent growth spurts.”(5)   


Medical experts who endorse puberty suppression have been publishing guidelines for treatment which suggest that children as young as age 9 can begin receiving puberty-blockers and then at age 16 be administered cross-sex hormones.  Doctors Hruz, Mayer, and McHugh discovered no well-established consensus about the safety and efficacy of these treatments. Regarding treating any patient, particularly a child, administering drugs is a step which should always be taken with great prudence, especially when the medications have not been tried and tested. Hruz, Mayer, and McHugh insist that experimental treatments for children must always be subject to intense scrutiny since 1) children cannot provide their own legal consent, and 2) they are consenting to become a subject to an unproven therapy.  


Since puberty-suppression treatments were originally developed to normalize puberty for children who undergo puberty too early, all clinical trials undergone for these medications focused on delaying precocious puberty. Only in 1990 did physicians begin using these medications for treating otherwise physiologically healthy children who exhibited gender dysphoria.


These medications have never been approved by the FDA for treating children with gender dysphoria.


Hruz, Mayer, and McHugh assert, “Whether blocking puberty is the best way to treat gender dysphoria in children remains far from settled, and it should be considered not a prudent option with demonstrated effectiveness but a drastic and experimental measure.”(6)


False Claims of Reversibility


Medical experts who attest to the provenness of puberty suppression also assure their patients and their families, absent any proof, that these medications are “fully reversible.”


Even LGBTQ advocacy groups such as the Human Rights Campaign have noted how “extremely distressing” the development of secondary sex characteristics can be and that “some of these physical changes, such as breast development, are irreversible or require surgery to undo.”(7)


Hruz, Mayer, and McHugh insist, “It seems difficult to expect that a 12-year-old would have an understanding of the effects of these complex medical interventions and of the ‘social consequences of sex reassignment’ when these are matters that are poorly understood by doctors and scientists themselves.”(8)


Should Encouraging Your Child to Transition Take Priority Over Their Health?

Children want to be happy, to “fit in”, to be loved.  These are perfectly natural desires which both physician and parents wish for the child.  Yet the means to achieve these goals may not be the most avant-garde approach.


Hruz, Mayer, and McHughs urge families to consider the very real possibility that therapies which involve puberty-suppression and cross-sex hormones will inevitably lead to the child desiring sex-reassignment surgery.  In other words, gender-affirmation therapy commonly leads to transgenderism. Transgenderism has not been shown to heal children from their existing mental ailments. No follow up studies ensure that the child’s gender dysphoria and their depression and suicidal thoughts will desist. Reliable studies that even transgender advocates cite convey shocking results:


  • The transgender population shows a 41% suicide rate compared to the 4.6 rate (9) of the general population.
  • People who have had transition surgery are 19 times(10) more likely than average to die by suicide.


Some argue that the morbidity rates associated with transgenderism are entirely due to the unproven “social stress model,”(11) which attributes the social stress of the individual to discrimination and stigmatization. The medical community simply does not yet know why the transgender population experiences such tragic mental health outcomes.


If the goal of the physician and the parent is to relieve a child of mental anguish, they must look these disconcerting facts straight on and accept that there is a high chance that a transgender lifestyle may not be the best solution.


Protecting Our Children  
Photo by kazuend on Unsplash


The health of little boys and little girls must never fall victim to the ideological or political movements of the present age.


Protecting our children’s health requires both sober science and loving hearts.  


When a daughter struggling with anorexia comes to her parents for help, we would never expect her parents to affirm their daughter’s belief that she is fat. A physician would never prescribe a weight-reduction diet for the daughter.


The anorexia analogy does not sit well with the transgender community.  This is largely due to the widespread belief that gender dysphoria is a biological orientation--something we are born with, fixed and immutable. Children struggling with gender dysphoria are constantly consuming what the media and the most popular youtubers inform them concerning transgenderism. Unfortunately, these outlets do not provide reliable medical facts. Qualified medical experts like Hruz, Mayer, and McHughs conclude that there is no evidence that gender dysphoria among children is fixed. McHugh explains these conclusions in the report he co-authored with Dr. Mayer, Sexuality and Gender.  In an interview concerning his report, McHugh claimed that the science is never settled, saying “The claim that it is settled now; that the issues such as born that way or you’re fixed or it’s immutable. There is no evidence from the science that those things are correct.”(12)




McHugh’s results may not parallel the party line, but his approach is unbiased and rooted in genuine concern for a vulnerable population prone to severe mental disorders and a high morbidity rate.


As far as medical research can tell us, the path down which physicians and families are ushering vulnerable children is dangerous and even deadly.  Parents must not cease in performing their duty as parents: to love and protect. Any therapy that families pursue should be rooted in the best and safest medicine. Perhaps the best therapy a parent can provide is affirming that a child’s worth, value, and identity is not rooted in gender but in the fact that they are loved and wonderfully made.   

---------------------------------------------------------------


Paul R. McHugh, M.D. is University Distinguished Service Professor of Psychiatry and a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He served for twenty-six years as the psychiatrist-in-chief at the Johns Hopkins Hospital.


Lawrence S. Mayer, M.B., M.S., Ph.D. is a scholar in residence in the Department of Psychiatry at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and a professor of statistics and biostatistics at
Arizona State University.


Paul W. Hruz, M.D., Ph.D. is an associate professor of pediatrics, endocrinology, and diabetes and an associate professor of cell biology and physiology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.


Sources:






Monday, August 7, 2017

Scientists' hubris, greed and propaganda = Rx for human suffering

Probably the most common factor in biological, aerospace, civil engineering and other disasters is scientific hubris--a cocky overestimation of scientific understanding and one's own intellectual capacity and a fatal underestimation of the complexity of factors of our world--including our own bodies. 
A scientific journal recently proclaimed that "Researchers have demonstrated they can efficiently IMPROVE the DNA of human embryos." This kind of propaganda that emanates from the scientific community serves to advance their own financial and intellectual interests. 
Mix hubris, greed and propaganda and you have a prescription for human suffering and loss of life. A quick Google turns up instructive disaster examples in Aerospace (e.g., Columbia Shuttle, Concorde, TWA Flight 800), civil engineering (e.g., World Trade Center Collapse, Quebec Bridge) and other areas of science (e.g., Titanic, Nuclear Fuel Rod, Bhopal, Flixborough). 
But with this particular scientific disaster-in-the-making (the phrase "improving the DNA of human embryos" says it all), we're talking about a new and abominable kind of disaster that will potentially span generations.
These particular researchers have already shown that they are not concerned about the sanctity of human life, by destroying human embryos as if they were guinea pigs. 
It's time we stop thinking of scientists and researchers as somehow, unlike every other kind of person on earth, totally objective and trustworthy. We need to end the notion, pervasive among our modern culture that essentially worships science as an alternative religion, that somehow we need to let scientists do whatever they fancy because, well, they're so much smarter than all the rest of us combined. 
We cannot--must not--let a hubristic, well-funded but ethically bankrupt elite run our society. Wake up and speak up about this.