Ep. 16 – The ousting of Dr. Leana Wen and the future of Planned Parenthood
Conversations with Consequences

 
 
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Planned Parenthood: With revenues of over half a BILLION dollars a year from taxpayers, is this giant corporation a “healthcare” provider or a political machine? We argue that the recent firing of Dr. Leana Wen tells us Planned Parenthood is not interested in women’s health, but only in their bottom line and political clout.

Dr. Grazie Christie and Ashley McGuire of The Catholic Association drill down in lively conversation.

 

Ep. 16 – The Ousting of Dr. Leana Wen and the Future of Planned Parenthood Transcript

Dr. Grazie Christie: Welcome friends. You’re listening to Conversations with Consequences, the weekly podcast of the Catholic Association, where you get witty and charming conversation about the topics that matter to you, with the leading thinkers of our time.
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Today we’re doing our podcast, our radio show. It’s just me, your host, Dr. Grazie Christie of the Catholic Association, and my colleague Ashley McGuire, who is joining me on the phone. This is an almost bi-coastal podcast. I’m in Miami and she’s in Colorado, which is not the coast, right? It’s the middle of the country.

Ashley McGuire: It’s a little way away.

Grazie: It feels like the other end of the world. She’s in Colorado.

Ashley: It’s from the mountains to the sea. Yes.

Grazie: We wanted to talk about something that just happened, well just happened a couple weeks ago, but I think this is a really interesting development in the history of abortion policy and the way Big Abortion moves in the United States, which has everything to do with Planned Parenthood.
What’s happened recently is that Dr. Leana Wen, the president of Planned Parenthood, the woman who’s been president for the last eight or nine months, was summarily ejected from her position sort of suddenly, right? It was a sudden thing and it was a rather shocking day. I know they’ve invested very heavily in Dr. Wen, and I think she was having an impact. I think she was moving the ball forward as far as abortion in the United States, abortion activism in the United States. Anyway, she’s gone now, and this says a lot.
We believe, Ashley and I believe, the Catholic Association believes about Big Abortion in the United States, what their aims are and what they’re looking forward to in the future. What do you think, Ashley?

Ashley: Yes, I mean, I think everybody was shocked on both sides of the issue by the abruptness of her firing a.), and then b.), the way that she kind of came out or sort of went down firing, if you will. I mean, she tried to straddle the fence and say, “I still love Planned Parenthood I still believe in the organization,” but she was also critical. She wrote a piece in the Sunday edition of The New York Times. Her criticism was that she wanted to make Planned Parenthood actually be a women’s health organization.

Grazie: A little background on that for our listeners is that she was a real physician, a treating physician, an emergency room physician. This is something that in Planned Parenthood hasn’t happened for many, many decades, that you have an actual physician heading the organization. Usually for the last few decades, it’s been a political person like Cecile Richards or someone like that.

Ashley: Right. I think the fact that she was young, I think they viewed her as a major investment to sort of move the organization in a new direction and they probably envisioned her being there for a really long time.
The problem is that she did not prioritize enough abortion activism and her hiring coincided with this sort of tidal wave of state laws which have been passed largely in the wake of the sort of reshaping of the Supreme Court and a general nationwide sense that we may be on the precipice of Roe v. Wade being overturned. States started passing bills left and right, basically limiting or eliminating abortion.
Then you have the Trump administration really getting aggressive about its pro-life policies. I really think the straw that broke the camel’s back, if you will, was the Ninth Circuit Court in California upholding the Trump administration’s new regulation, basically saying that they’re going to enforce the rule that if you are an abortion clinic or a women’s health clinic and you receive taxpayer funding…

Grazie: For contraception? Are you talking about Title 10, if you’re receiving money for contraception? Right? That that our government funds…

Ashley: Yes, family planning. So if you’re a women’s family planning center, most of them, or many of them do abortions, but many, many of them don’t. They basically said, you’ve got to separate this out. You have to have separate facilities, separate banking accounts so that taxpayer dollars are in no way paying for or even subsidizing abortions.

Grazie: And this is a big blow for Planned Parenthood, right?

Ashley: Huge. I mean, it’s a tens of millions of dollars blow. Probably the biggest blow Planned Parenthood has ever received. And I think that they were expecting, like so many other laws that it would be overturned in the courts. So as I wrote in my USA Today article on this, I don’t think it was coincidental that that ruling came down and the next day she was fired. I bet you they had an emergency secret board meeting. She said in a Tweet that they did have one, a secret board meeting.

Grazie: She said that, she did say that. Yes, but I think that… [crosstalk]

Ashley: Go ahead.

Grazie: No, but to set the table for our listeners who may not know all the background, what Dr. Wen was doing and I personally, I think you also are of the opinion, Ashley, is that she was being quite successful in presenting Planned Parenthood clinics as primary health providers for women of the lower incomes in the United States.
She had a constant media presence talking about Planned Parenthood as not just a place where you sort of skulk in, hoping nobody can see you to get in some dingy office in the worst part of town, right? They always are like that to get an abortion, but a place where a woman, you know, could go and receive other kinds of care, which really that’s not what Planned Parenthood does.
We know they do mostly abortion, but she really had an effect, I think, in the country. She was really pushing this idea that a woman could receive…
She didn’t actually ever come out and say it because it would have been untrue, but I think she really had people thinking that if you were a diabetic woman, maybe Planned Parenthood is a place you could go and get some diabetic care or if you were worried about having a breast cancer, that’s a place that you could get a mammogram.
You know she didn’t say you could get a mammogram because they don’t do them, but she was really, I think, pretty successful in building Planned Parenthood as a primary care provider.

Ashley: Yes, or at least on the facade. But what was clear, that she made clear, is that she wanted it to be more than a facade and more than just a PR stunt.

Grazie: That’s right.

Ashley: I think that she probably pretty quickly realized that what they actually meant was just make Planned Parenthood look like it’s a place where women can go for these things. Don’t actually spend the resources and divert money and staff away from the thing that we’re really about, which is not just providing abortion, but being a sort of political machine that advocates for abortion laws.

Grazie: And for tax payouts, right? Like advocating all the time for more attacks and more tax money for abortion. And to remind our listeners, Planned Parenthood gets over 500 million dollars a year in federal and state tax subsidies from us, from American citizens, right?

Ashley: Mm-hm.

Grazie: You say in your piece, Ashley, you mentioned in your piece and it and it made an impression on me, you say: “I found myself admiring when for what is clearly a genuine commitment to providing care and treatment to women as a whole.” I think what you’re saying, and I believe it, is that she really did believe that Planned Parenthood could have a role or should have a role in the primary care of women of lower income.

Ashley: Yes, it’s funny. Like Leana Wen, I got the vibes from her that she’s the kind of pro-choice person I could be friends with. You know, that she wasn’t like a dogmatic extremist. But she and I would disagree about the morality of abortion and whether or not it has a rightful place in the category of, quote unquote “women’s health”, however, I think the things she was trying to do were really interesting. Like she wanted to offer onsite counseling for women dealing with prenatal and postpartum anxiety and depression.

Grazie: That’s right, she did.

Ashley: She wanted to offer addiction treatment or treatment and care for pregnant women struggling with addiction, which is a huge problem in this country. Those are things I think, she really was the real deal and I sort of admire that.
She was clearly not willing to go along with and let herself be used, her credentials, her career, everything she had built for Planned Parenthood’s PR gimmick, and that she was willing to sort of speak the truth on her way out the door.
I mean, I suspect she is enemy number one right now in the pro-choice movement because of the way that she sort of lifted the lid on what their priorities are about. I admire that sort of philosophical conviction and consistency.

Grazie: I also felt Ashley, when she was brought on board, I also felt an affinity for her. I mean she’s a she’s a minority woman like me and a doctor like me and a mother of a family and I did also sense from her that she was sincerely interested in the health of women, which is not something I’ve sensed from anyone, from any other big figures at Planned Parenthood over the last few years when I’ve been paying attention.
I think she did have a sincere interest in promoting women’s health and she was brave. She was very brave to walk away or maybe, okay, maybe she didn’t walk away but she was very brave the way that that she left, because she, I’m sure, has burned many bridges with what is a very, very powerful abortion advocacy and abortion lobby in the United States, which is led by, you know, Planned Parenthood and their allies.

Ashley: You know, speaking of bravery, another thing that she did shortly before she got fired that I thought was really interesting and I read in one of the articles, I think it was in The New York Times, about the sort of shenanigans leading up to her being fired, which she wrote a piece,
I think it was for The Washington Post about her miscarriage.
That really ruffled feathers and upset people at Planned Parenthood, because I genuinely believe that there is a sort of concern among the pro-choice lobby that the sort of growing openness about miscarriage sort of undermines abortion.

Grazie: Why? Why do you think it undermines it?

Ashley: One, it sort of shows that there’s a natural human grief that a mother feels at the loss of her unborn child.

Grazie: Mm-hm. That’s something that abortion activists want to minimize that human connection between mother and child, right?

Ashley: Totally. Everything they can do, they want it to be a clump of cells. You shouldn’t feel anything by destroying it, eliminating it, terminating it, whatever euphemistic terms, but the sort of opposite is happening when you have people like her or Meghan McCain writing articles, talking about the profound sadness and grief they feel, almost inexplicable grief they feel at the loss, sometimes so early that they don’t even really get to see the child anyways.
I thought that was interesting too, that she apparently didn’t tell anybody. She’s going to do this, wrote this piece for The Washington Post about the sadness that she felt. Now she said that it only increased her commitment to abortion care, but it did sort of put a little chink in the armor of Planned Parenthood when you have the face of their organization saying that she felt grief and sadness at the loss of her own unborn child.

Grazie: Well, she was injecting some humanity and subtlety into the pro-choice side, into the pro-abortion side. I’m rephrasing what they might say or write, someone who’s being subtle on the pro-abortion side. They say women ought to have the ability to terminate their unborn children and at the same time, women make connections with those children. They have hopes and dreams associated with the pregnancy that then they have to grieve, right?
These are terrible griefs and whether or not you terminated on purpose or it was a spontaneous abortion, these are griefs that women and their fathers too, right? Fathers of the babies and the remainder of the family, they are missing a human being in their lives and this is a very real grief that women experience and their families.

Ashley: Right. Absolutely.

Grazie: I also felt when I read that piece about her miscarriage, I also felt that I understood Planned Parenthood side as well, because it makes it very apparent, no? Because I tweeted about it, I spent a lot of time tweeting to Dr. Wen. I’m not doing it anymore, but I wanted as a doctor speaking to another doctor and saying, “Look, you are obviously a woman who cares. You’re obviously a mother, a woman who knows how to love. This is not the job for you.” Right?
So she writes this piece on miscarriage and of course, I’m thinking, “Wow”. So a spontaneous termination, a spontaneous abortion is a grief for all the forceful terminations are also great griefs.

Ashley: Yes, I think she’s a very sort of complex figure and she really unintentionally did a lot of damage, I think, to Planned Parenthood. I mean, I don’t know how Planned Parenthood rehabilitates itself.

Grazie: After this?

Ashley: Out of this.

Grazie: Okay, so tell me, Ashley, you have a lot of insight into this. Imagine yourself. You’re at the board of Planned Parenthood. You’re in the secret meeting where they’re thinking of terminating Dr. Wen. What do you think the conversation is going on? What’s underlying all this? What underlies this ejection of Dr. Wen?

Ashley: Well, I mean again, I really think it was sort of panic mode. Like okay, not just tens of millions of dollars as a result of this this lawsuit coming down, but also their entire business model.
I mean, they don’t have any clinics where it’s you have two separate buildings, one for the family planning and the other for the abortion services. I think it was just sort of sheer, “This is getting real. Dr. Wen has got a vision that does not…”, you know. I think this was just all about dollars and cents. I really do.

Grazie: What about the fact that the Supreme Court is now leaning conservative and hopefully pro-life and Roe v. Wade may come to the chopping block. Do you think that this is something that the Planned Parenthood worries about at night, the board?

Ashley: Yes. I mean, I think that when she was hired, it was right before a major shift in the ground in terms of, I can’t remember the timing if she was hired before or after—I think it was after Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed to the Supreme Court, but I think the sort of rapid acceleration of things after that made them realize we don’t have the time to sort of play out her hand to see that. What we need, if we’re going to survive as basically a taxpayer funded abortion Ponzi scheme, is somebody who’s going to focus like a laser on keeping those financial pipelines open and pumping.

Grazie: And it’s not enough, is it, for the states like Vermont and Rhode Island and all the other states to have some strong pro-abortion government that have passed these very radical abortion liberation laws? That’s not enough for Planned Parenthood, right? I mean, everything’s about money and the federal money is hugely at stake.

Ashley: Yes. I think that at some point in the future, people will look back and regard Planned Parenthood as the largest taxpayer funded sort of Ponzi scheme, if you will, where they get half a billion dollars in taxpayer money, which they turn around and use to aggressively lobby the voters to elect officials who they then lobby to protect a.) abortion, but also their
hundred five hundred million dollar pipeline.

Grazie: Our money.

Ashley: That’s their business model is to protect their taxpayer funded stream of revenue to continue aggressively lobbying for their stream of revenue.

Grazie: You know, I can’t really think of any other organization in the United States that has this kind of power, right? And this kind of arrangement with this kind of reach.

Ashley: No. And that’s really gets at the heart to me of what is so interesting about them firing Leana Wen, is that they have been trying so hard to sort of disguise or mask that reality that that is what they are and what they are about. Nothing exposes that for what it is more than firing her so abruptly the way that they did, so soon into her tenure.
It makes me wonder if they’re so blinded by, I don’t know, greed and ideology? That they’re starting to make bad decisions that will lead to their own demise. I just think taxpayers, one thing we know is they don’t like taxpayer funding of abortion.
People still tend to support abortion in the abstract. When you drill down on what kind and when, how far into the pregnancy, it gets a lot more nuanced. You know, Americans are still a pretty pro-choice country, but they do not like taxpayer funding of abortion and suddenly Planned Parenthood is the taxpayer funding of abortion emperor with no clothes.

Grazie: That’s right and really Americans feel, like you say, it gets very, very complicated as the pregnancy goes on, at how far along a woman is and how people feel about abortion. But definitely people don’t think in general that they ought to be paying for other people to have abortions and this makes complete sense to me. I hate the thought of my money going to Planned Parenthood. I stay up at night worrying about that, Ashley.
And you know, Ashley, we have to take a break so we will. This is a reminder for our listeners. This is Conversations with Consequences. I’m your host, Dr. Grazie Christie, and I’m talking to my colleague Ashley McGuire about Planned Parenthood’s firing of their president, Dr. Leana Wen.

We will be right back to talk about this some more and about the direction going forward of Planned Parenthood, at least what we think they’re going to be doing.
Welcome back. friends, I’m your host, Dr. Grazie Christie. I’m joined today by my colleague, Ashley McGuire. We are the Catholic Association, and this is our weekly radio show or podcast.
Please subscribe to Conversations with Consequences wherever you get your podcasts. You can go to thecatholicassociation.org/podcasts.
So today we already talked in the first segment about Dr. Leana Wen’s sudden ejection as president from Planned Parenthood. She was only president for eight or nine months and she was trying, as we talked about in the first segment, she was trying to bring a facade to Planned Parenthood, which is well known for its abortion clinics.
She was trying to make them seem more like a place where a woman or a man or a whole family, I guess, would go for sort of primary medical care if they were low income. She, I think, was sort of successful in building this facade and we do believe that maybe she was trying to build a new Planned Parenthood where people could actually get healthcare.
But Planned Parenthood had other ideas and they got rid of her. So what do you think, Ashley, going forward? We’re pretty sure, because Planned Parenthood has been very open about it, that they are going to drill down, especially now that the elections are coming, the 2020 elections and in light of everything that’s happening in the state. So many states that are restricting abortion or putting in new regulations that make it harder to get an abortion, that they are going to really focus on abortion, on political abortion advocacy to maintain their stream of income, which comes from us, from us taxpayers.
So what do you think, Ashley? Do you think that this is going to be something that they’re going to be very open about? They’re going to find a new Cecile Richards, someone really tough and hard for the top position at Planned Parenthood?

Ashley: It’s hard to predict, but I do think that it’s going to be a lot of fighting speech, a lot of, “This is under attack and fight for women’s health.” I think it’s just going to be a lot of…

Grazie: “Women will die, women will die.”

Ashley: …us versus them, exactly. That can be effective, but I think it’s a short-term strategy and I think what Leana Wen was trying to do was a long-term strategy.

Grazie: That’s right.

Ashley: You know, it shows that they’re not interested in a long-term strategy, whether that’s because they’re short sighted or because they feel genuinely panicked about that they’re on the losing side. We keep seeing these studies that are like, “Oh, more Americans than ever support abortion or Planned Parenthood,” but when you drill down and look at where people’s support starts to taper off, it’s shockingly early in the pregnancy. Also just sort of where the pulse of Americans is at and what we’re seeing happen in the states does not suggest that people are trending in the pro-choice direction.

Grazie: You know, what I think might be worrying Planned Parenthood also is the fact that chemical abortions are becoming more and more common. Every year there are more chemical abortions. Do you know the percentage of abortions being chemical goes up, right? I don’t know exactly. Maybe seventeen or twenty percent right now of abortions are chemical.
There’s a lot of pro-abortion advocates that advocate that this should be completely unregulated, that you can basically buy these online and do it. You can watch a YouTube video how to do your own home abortion and do this online. I think this must feel dangerous to Planned Parenthood, whose business model is built on getting women into these clinics and charging them $500 for start for their abortions and having that as their big income stream, along with our tax money of course.
But then I’m just speculating. I’ve never been to one of those board meetings. I hope no one ever invites me. I would be a duck out of water, but I do think that the business model of abortion is also changing with chemical abortion.

Ashley: Yes, that’s interesting. It’s like cutting out the middleman. Planned Parenthood is the middleman.

Grazie: Right, we’re going back to your do-it-yourself abortions, which are dangerous. I need to say for our listeners, you know, the chemical abortions are dangerous. There have been at least twenty-four.

Ashley: That’s so interesting. Twenty-four deaths?

Grazie: Yes, twenty-four deaths since the year 2000. These are the ones that are cataloged by the FDA. This is on their website and that’s why chemical abortion is very heavily regulated drug. Mifepristone is a very heavily regulated drug because the FDA finds that that’s the only way to allow it, because it is very dangerous.
If a woman has an ectopic pregnancy, which means a pregnancy that is not inside the uterus where it supposed to be, doing a medical abortion at home could kill her, very easily kill her. Before you take those pills, you need to know. A doctor needs to tell you that that the baby’s actually in the uterus because otherwise it can mean death for the mother.

Ashley: I will say that this is a little bit of a result of Planned Parenthood’s own doing, because they’ve been the one pushing and advocating for this idea that women should have unfettered access to any kind of abortion and then nothing should stand in their way. And now it’s like not even the doctor.
You know, another thing that they’re doing is lobbying in these states that are passing these incredibly permissive abortion laws, like allowing abortion up until the moment of birth is also removing the requirement that it be a licensed medical doctor who performed the abortion.

Grazie: Isn’t that interesting? Isn’t that interesting that the whole purpose of Planned Parenthood for so many decades was to supposedly save women, right? Because women are in danger, they’re getting back alley abortions, are using coat hangers and we need to bring it in to medical care. There’s got to be a doctor present and a nurse, an anesthesiologist in and it’s going to be perfectly safe.
Then they switch gears rapidly and then it was all about, and it is all about, removing all these what they call “barriers to access”.

Ashley: Right, barriers to access.

Grazie: They called for many decades of regulations that ensure women’s safety, making sure that you don’t have some hack coming to your house and destroying you through your abortion.

Ashley: Well I’ve written about this in pieces, and you probably have too, that for the longest time, the mantra of the pro-choice movement was “Safe, legal and rare.” And obviously rare is out the window because we have more than a million abortions a year in this country and people are now being encouraged to, quote unquote, “Shout their abortion”.

Grazie: I hate that.

Ashley: I heard that Planned Parenthood PR campaign.

Grazie: Hate that, hate that.

Ashley: They’re really chipping away at the at the safety component, starting with the whole women’s health case in Texas where they argued that it was unconstitutional to require that an abortion clinic have the same safety standards as a tanning salon.

Grazie: I shouldn’t laugh.

Ashley: This pushes to remove, make sure that that licensed doctors aren’t performing this invasive procedure, which they say is on par with dental work. Now what you’re talking about, I’ve heard about the installation of literally Plan B vending machines, which is also an abortivation. It’s not as strong as the—

Grazie: Chemical abortion pill.

Ashley: —chemical abortion pill but it is pretty strong and intense and it’s a huge dose of hormones. I just know.

Grazie: Think about it. I always think about this when I hear about putting Plan B in vending machines, right? It’s been floated in California, I think.
Think of a thirteen or fourteen-year-old girl who’s out in a horrible relationship with some older man. He’d have to be an older man, right? When you’re thirteen, taking you know, maybe going by the vending machine every month. She could totally wreck herself.
It’s very dangerous to put these things into the hands of people. We would never. You can’t even get Tylenol from them. I mean, it’s so hard as a minor to get access to anything except, you know in this scenario.

Ashley: Well, there’s no counseling about the long-term effects on your fertility. I know somebody who regularly availed themselves of Plan B, and they had an extremely difficult time naturally conceiving as an adult. You’re not thinking about this when you’re eighteen and you’re taking these enormous doses of hormones and chemicals, but when you’re twenty-eight and you’re trying to have a baby, your body has been affected by those drugs.

Grazie: That’s right. There can be nothing less natural than inducing a period. This is what Plan B does. It induces a period out of your normal cycle and probably people who do it, don’t do it once, they do it over and over and over again, I imagine. I don’t know the actual numbers on that, but I imagine it’s not something that happens one time in your life or twice in your life. If this is something you’re going to do, you’re probably going to do it again. Anyway, that’s Plan B.

Ashley: It’s interesting that there’s been this emergence of other family planning clinics that are sort of an alternative to Planned Parenthood in that a.) they offer a much broader spectrum of healthcare for women. They actually do provide things like ultrasounds, but also, they help women make these sorts of decisions, these sort of reproductive decisions in the broader context of who they are and what they want in life. Like, do you want to have children one day? Are you interested in a way to sort of manage your fertility without having to take hormones and drugs and chemicals that bring with them all sorts of health risks?
One of them is a chain of these clinics out in California, just actually received the Title 10 funding that was diverted away from Planned Parenthood because Planned Parenthood couldn’t separate out their abortion work from their family planning work, so the grant was given to these clinics.
I think it’s such a sort of hopeful sign for the future. I think about my own daughter and I hope that she has access to resources like this, where they a.) look at her as a woman as a whole and not just like a way to make a buck off of doing something traumatizing to her, but b.) helping her to understand how her body actually works and how to make these important decisions while respecting the sort of integrity of her body.

Grazie: You know, that’s a very good point, because Planned Parenthood has a one size fits all model for American womanhood, doesn’t it? It says start contracepting early, certainly before you get married but much earlier. Start contracepting early. Contracept early, contraceptive often and it’ll fail, and we’ll be here for you and we will traumatize you through an abortion, something you’ll probably live to regret deeply and then you’ll be back next month, sort of repeat, flash and repeat. You know I read ultrasounds. One of the things I do as a radiologist is I read pelvic ultrasounds and we always ask the woman’s history as far as pregnancies and births and terminations. It’s very sad for me. I see women who’ve had over a dozen terminations. I think my highest number I’ve seen is something like eighteen.

Ashley: Oh my gosh.

Grazie: And to me, it’s beyond shocking and it stops my heart when I see something like that because I see each of those episodes as really an abuse of the woman herself by probably a spouse or a boyfriend that doesn’t respect her and love her enough to make her feel safe about bringing her child into the world. And then from the abortionist, the abortionist who then denied her that that great joy of her child.
So it’s wonderful to hear that this money is being diverted through these changes by the Trump administration, through the Title 10 regulations, so that our tax moneys that are meant for family planning clinics aren’t being gobbled up by Planned Parenthood with their greedy, greedy demands that grab all the money in the world and then go out and abort American children.

Ashley: I think that the bottom-line message with the with the new regulation was that abortion is not family planning, and that’s something Americans overwhelmingly agree with. Abortion is not family planning. It is something different. It is, as you said, it is something you do when your family planning has failed, and it’s is violent. It’s traumatic. It’s horrific and I’m really excited to see a push to clinics that actually help women with family planning, starting with offering them alternatives to what the pharmaceutical industries are pushing on them, what you know, as you say, Planned Parenthood is pushing on them.
Planned Parenthood is known for pushing in communities types of contraception that fail so that then those people then become patients a second time over. Things like condoms that have a twenty, thirty percent failure rate.

Grazie: Wow. I didn’t know that actually.

Ashley: Of course, these clinics are being attacked. The Washington Post just came out a week or two ago with an extremely lengthy hit piece on these clinics trying to say that what they’re teaching is akin to the rhythm method and it’s not.
What we’re talking about are apps that people use, people like myself, who use these apps that don’t just help you either achieve a pregnancy or avoid a pregnancy, but also help you understand what’s going on with your fertility. Why are you having these changes or these symptoms and helping you understand the way your hormones are affecting your whole body and your whole life.
But of course, they’re being attacked as being anti scientific, which is so ironic because the reason that there’s a shift away from the status quo and towards things like fertility awareness method, these apps, these new clinics, is because women are so disenchanted with this sort of almost like pseudo-science of the old stuff. Like I said, like condoms or the methods that are just sort of dangerous and oppressive, like the intrauterine devices that are leading to women having higher rates of ectopic pregnancies, rupture uteruses.

Grazie: You know what I find so interesting about the contraceptive culture, the contraceptive mentality, is that people who are very concerned, as they should be, with a natural lifestyle of ingesting things that are natural and healthy, whether it’s food, they’re also promoting and they also take on themselves these hormonal interventions that last for decades and completely, disrupt the natural, healthy female cycle. And for what?
The female cycle has times of fertility and times of infertility, which can be harnessed, right? And used as a way to regulate our families. This is something that we Catholics, we have access to this information from when we do our pre-stuff before we get married, and our parishes have this information that we can access right at the archdiocese level. We know that these things exist but for other Americans, other American women who want to lead healthy lifestyles and not do hormonal interventions which have significant side effects and risks, then these clinics like the ones we’re talking about in California—Obria, they’re called? They have this other way to access this wonderful information.

Ashley: Yes, I am a believer that girls starting at age twelve should be taught the sort of fertility awareness method basics because women don’t know how their bodies work. That’s because women have been medicating away their natural reproductive functions for decades.
I remember reading something where women couldn’t even identify—these are adult women on a chart like your basic reproductive organs—let alone explain to you how the cycle works. Many women are under the impression that you can get pregnant at any time and in fact, more and more women are starting to use the fertility awareness methods as a means to achieve pregnancy because it helps them educate themselves about when they can get pregnant.
I think on the flip side of things, there’s a real sort of growing problem with infertility in this country. You were talking earlier about miscarriages and how more and more women are speaking out about the grief they experience with miscarriage. But the same thing has been happening with them with issues related to infertility—

Grazie: That’s right.

Ashley: —that more and more women are speaking out about the fact that this is something that they struggle with and this is something where a place like Planned Parenthood has absolutely nothing to offer because you’re in the business of, ending fertility, not helping women achieve it.

Grazie: I know that there’s other ways Planned Parenthood ends fertility. The way infertility presents itself as women get older, has a lot to do with having many, many sexual partners over the years, right? Then this causes scarring, sort of low-level infection in the body, in the fallopian tubes. This causes scarring so women then in their late thirties get married, want to have babies, and then it’s not working.
So Planned Parenthood has a vested interest in promoting and it does this very heavily, promoting promiscuity among young people and these lifestyles where any sexual thing goes. It’s really scary, actually. If you go on the Planned Parenthood website and you look for their educational materials, what they call educational materials for young people, it’s really all about sex—often, early and often. I mean, often, early and with anybody at all. And they put little quotations, they call it “safe” but what’s safe about young people having multiple sex partners? There’s nothing safe about it.

Ashley: Right.

Grazie: It’s very dangerous and one of the dangers is infertility. That is Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood promotes promiscuity and then reaps the benefits by having women come back and have to have abortions because suddenly they’re facing life with a baby that they can’t welcome into the world. But it’s wonderful news.
We’re coming to the end of our segment time, Ashley, but it’s wonderful news that Planned Parenthood, I think through this process of ejecting Dr. Leana Wen, has had to rip off its mask, right? And show exactly who they are and what they intend to do, which is to drive down, drill down on their abortion advocacy and protect their income stream.

Ashley: Absolutely.

Grazie: It’s good to know what people are like actually meaning to do. It’s good to have that information, especially as we go into the election and everybody, all our listeners and us, we all have to be very knowledgeable about the people who are running for office and exactly where their allegiances lie. Do their allegiances lie with the real health of women and children and families or with the deep pockets of Planned Parenthood?

Ashley: No, no, you’re absolutely right and the thing is that Planned Parenthood makes it pretty easy to know. They published their own grades of candidates and they make it clear who they support and who doesn’t support them.

Grazie: You know, I suggest any listener who is not that well informed about Planned Parenthood, go on their website. They’re very frank, they’re very sincere about what they want for American men, women and children. They’re not ashamed. They’re not ashamed about what they want. They should be. They should be very ashamed.
Well, thank you so much, Ashley, for joining me from your vacation in Colorado to talk about Dr. Leana Wen and her ejection from Planned Parenthood. And thank you to all our listeners for listening.
This is your weekly radio show or podcast from the Catholic Association. I’m Dr. Grazie Christie, your host, and again I was joined by Ashley McGuire, my colleague at the Catholic Association.
Please subscribe. Tell us if you like this podcast and you can find us anywhere you get your podcasts and also at thecatholicassociation.org/podcast.
We’re going to take a short break and then we’ll be back with our TCA media clips and Father Roger Landry’s wonderful homily that he gives us once a week to prepare us for this Sunday’s gospel.
Every morning, the Catholic Association reviews all the latest news and sends our subscribers a carefully curated collection of the most important news of the day. Items are specifically selected for a smart Catholic audience like you. Don’t let the world take you by surprise. Subscribe to our daily media roundup at thecatholicassociation.org.
This week I’ve picked out just two articles since our time is a little short that that I thought were very interesting. The first one is from the Associated Press, August 4th and the title “As Pope Encourages Priests Disheartened by Sex Abuse Fallout”. And it’s about the fact that Pope Francis, on Sunday, sent a newsletter to priests worldwide offering encouragement in light of the global sex abuse scandal that has shaken the Roman Catholic Church. Don’t you think, Ashley, this is a great letter for a priest to receive. I’m thinking of my own poor parish priests who I know have suffered so much through all this.

Ashley: Yes, I think priests are so often the demonized ones in all of this but it’s important to remember that the overwhelming majority of priests are good men who have given their life in service to the Church and that this is just as heartbreaking for them and they need the encouragement of the Church as much as the laity.

Grazie: Well, the letter was over 5000 words. Pope Francis, this is a quote from the letter, he acknowledged the pain of priests who, quote, “feel themselves attacked and blamed for crimes they did not commit”.
And frankly, when I look at all these priests, I’ve known many, many priests over my life and they’ve done tremendous things for me. I’ve never had any bad interaction with a priest in my life since I was little, never that I can remember. I think how it must be horrible to be lumped in by people with men who have committed the most heinous of crimes, right? Which is the abuse of child.

Ashley: Yes, absolutely.

Grazie: Yes so, I’m really glad that the Pope wrote that letter and I hope it helps all our priests live with that great pain of having to be part of that group that people find so rightfully disturbing.
So anyway, the next article is “Advocates Aimed to Overturn a Ban on Surrogacy, New York State Law Forbids Reproductive Practice” and this is from The Washington Times on August 1st.
To me, it was an interesting thing because we often talk about issues of reproduction and infertility and what’s just and what isn’t just. Personally, I find the whole idea of surrogacy completely unjust that somebody with a means should rent the body of a woman who is doing this for money, usually because she has to, to give somebody else a child. To me, this is a heinous kind of abuse.

Ashley: It’s so interesting because right now the third season of The Handmaid’s Tale is out and
it’s all about surrogacy.

Grazie: I did read the book.

Ashley: These women are forced to be surrogates. It’s a fine line between when something becomes allowed versus it becomes compulsive and in The Handmaid’s Tale, sort of elite class that uses these women to bear their children so it’s the instrumentalization of women, the commodification of the female body for profit.

Grazie: It is and when you consider that this is done transnationally, right? Internationally? So countries where people are well-off, they’re going to other countries and renting women’s bodies, instrumentalizing their bodies, which I think is a terrible thing. I hope that New York state is able to resist the temptation to overturn their ban on surrogacy, which I think is very appropriate.
To our listeners, you’ll find the links to these clips in the podcast notes and I encourage you to subscribe to the podcast and the media clips at thecatholicassociation.org.
This week, as is customary, Father Roger Landry will give us a short but brilliant homily on this coming Sunday’s gospel. Please stay tuned for Father Landry and do look up his daily homily, written and audio on his website, catholicpreaching.com.

Father Roger Landry: Hi, everyone. This father, Roger Landry and let’s turn together to the conversation with consequences Jesus wishes to have with us on Sunday. It’s a very lengthy gospel in which he’s going to focus on where our treasure is, because wherever our treasure is, our heart will be and he wants us to examine that prayerfully with him so that hopefully our hearts will always be able to be lifted up to the Lord, our hearts might always place their treasure in God.
Jesus depicts with a series of images, the life of faith as living each day, as if we were living with Him visibly at our side, says that the faithful person is one whose heart desires the inexhaustible treasure of heaven, begins even now to seek to amass that treasure with money bags that don’t wear out using our lives and our belongings for others; says of the faithful person is always ready for a journey with loins gird and the lamp of his heart burning with love, awaiting the Lord ready to open immediately when the Lord comes and knocks.
We can think of waiting for someone we really love to arrive at the airport and how prompt we are to run to hug that person when the person finally shows. The faithful person likewise seeks always to be vigilant for the Lord’s coming, so they may respond promptly when and however the Lord knocks on the door of his heart, maintaining this love, longing and alertness. Even if He should come in the middle of the night, the faithful disciple guards his heart, lest any intruders or thieves find ways to break in, Jesus says.
The faithful disciple will always be found at work, being a trustworthy steward of the Lord’s gifts, doing the Lord’s work, even sleeping. In short, the faithful disciple acts in the Lord’s supposed absence just as if the Lord were physically, invisibly present. Jesus promises that all such servants will be blessed. This an incredible lesson for us about how to live the faith. One of the greatest principles of the early fathers of the desert, those Christian monks who went out to the desert to pray was what they called amnesis, literally unforgetting.
They realized that one of the principal ways the devil seeks to attack our faith is by getting us to forget God’s presence, because the evil one recognized that if we knew God were present, helping us, loving us with us, few of us would ever choose against him, and so the first weapon in his arsenal is to get us to forget about God in day-to-day life, so that the devil can tempt us in God’s apparent absence.
Jesus, in the gospel we will hear about on Sunday, describes what happens when we forget God, tells of a servant who says, “My master is delayed in coming,” and then thinks he can do whatever he wants in the meantime, begins to beat the servants, to pig out, to get smashed, to hurt others and live for his pleasures alone, abusing the talents and opportunities the Lord gave him.
These are all behaviors he would never engage in if the master were there. Such a servant thinks that he’ll have to change his behavior later, tidy things up later, to get his act together later before yes, to render an account. Such a steward is plainly unfaithful, just as unfaithful as a husband or wife would be if they cheated on a spouse in that spouse’s absence.
Eventually, that unfaithful servant will be caught off guard, not because the master wants to ambush him or catch him red handed, but because the more one gets used to thinking the return of the Lord won’t occur today, the more one is not prepared to answer immediately the knock of the master. The less ready one will be on the day that the master comes so it’s key for us to make a practical application of which is described to us about how we live each day.
Are we alert for his presence? Is the lamp of our heart burning, are our loins gird to get him to lead us on a journey to deeper faith? Or do we forget about him most of the day, most of the week in most of our life to prepare for that consequential conversation on Sunday? Let’s ponder this. Just how aware am I of the Lord at my side right now as I listen to these words about which he will speak more in depth in a couple of days?
God bless you all.

Grazie: Thank you so much, Father Landry, for our weekly treat. Unfortunately, it’s time to say goodbye to all our listeners. You’ve been listening to Conversations with Consequences, which is a service of the Catholic Association. I’m your host, Dr. Grazie Christie, and I was joined today by my dear colleague, Ashley McGuire, and we were really glad to have you. Be sure to subscribe to the podcast of our show wherever you get your podcasts. You can go to thecatholicassociation.org/podcasts. Tell all your friends about us and/or join us next week on our radio show, 11:00 a.m. on the Guadalupe Radio Network. Goodbye, friends.