A toughening of Catholic medical directives could include enforcing a ban on tubal ligations.
The Vatican has an absolute prohibition on sterilization for the purposes of birth control.
The U.S. Catholic bishops consider the procedure "intrinsically immoral," on par with abortion. Yet for years, Genesys Health System, a Catholic medical center near Flint, Mich., allowed doctors delivering babies there to tie the tubes of new mothers who wanted to ensure they never got pregnant again.
Genesys's policy wasn't hard to fathom: Performing a tubal ligation immediately after childbirth is the long-established standard of care, especially if a woman is having a cesarean section. "She's already cut open — her tubes are right there," said Sarah Ward Prager, an associate professor in obstetrics and gynecology and director of family planning at the University of Washington Medical School. Subjecting a new mother to a second surgery carries "unnecessary risk," Prager said. "It is simply unethical to say, 'I'm going to make you come back to a different hospital to have another surgery in six weeks because the bishop says I can't tie your tubes right now."
Then, seemingly out of the blue, Genesys reversed course. Starting November 1, sterilization with the "direct" aim of preventing pregnancy — as opposed to for some other medical ("indirect") reason — was banned. Patients who had planned to have the procedure after childbirth were left scrambling; their irate doctors were, too.
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Smoking is suicide by instalment plan. Giving up smoking should be a New Year resolution for 2015 for all smokers
With a few hours to go before 2014 ends, it is time to reflect on that most regularly violated new year resolution and is it possible to stick by it. We are talking of course of tobacco.
Each one of us has a different story as to how we got into it in the first place. But the fact remains that smoking has now become an integral part of our life and one of habits that tags along in whatever we do.
It is also well recognised that the smoker at home is causing "passive" smoking among others at home, including the wife, children and elderly parents.
Every now and then, we do talk against smoking to one and all, particularly our growing children, pleading, cajoling and sometimes threatening them not to smoke. But we ourselves must smoke. When protests become strong enough, we tend to sneak out to the terrace, outside and occasionally take a puff or two inside bathrooms. A little commotion follows and then we carry on with our smoking. Since smoking is usually banned in the office, we manage to find some outdoor chores, so that we can "enjoy" our smoke uninterrupted.
Parents who are smokers tend to closely observe their children's routines. Do they now stand at a distance when they speak to you? Do they visit the bathroom frequently to brush up? Do they show any signs of fatigue, panting and breathlessness when they have to climb up or down the stairs? Or do they cough frequently?
Or, most alarmingly, do you find missing sticks in your cigarette pack, which you left lying here, there or everywhere?
The only way to stop the spread of this habit is to lead by your own example. Although there are so many methods advocated, nothing seems to work.
A visit to the Treatment4addiction website would be revealing and useful. If a person smokes 20 cigarettes a day it would literally wipe off 10 years of your life. In simple terms, it would mean that every cigarette smoked would knock off 14 minutes of your life. Is it worth while taking the step to “enjoy” a smoke, when you know full well that you are slowly committing suicide by instalment? At 14 minutes for every smoke?
Why not making a new beginning in 2015? Save your life and others' by giving up smoking from midnight, tonight!
(AK Ramdas has worked with the Engineering Export Promotion Council of the ministry of commerce. He was also associated with various committees of the Council. His international career took him to places like Beirut, Kuwait and Dubai at a time when these were small trading outposts; and later to the US.)