Kathleen Gilbert

Bay and her Boys: the story of a single mom, three boys, and the family that wouldn’t lose

Kathleen Gilbert
Kathleen Gilbert
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May 13, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Bay Buchanan is not a mom you want to cross.

Pat Buchanan’s policy-wonk sister, once the youngest-ever U.S. treasurer under Ronald Reagan, Bay is well-dressed, well-spoken, and could probably handily cut you down in a live televised debate on trade policy.

She has just published a book that features herself on the cover. Ms. Buchanan looks crisp but relaxed above a wide white collar, red cardigan, and understated jewellery, not unlike her appearances on CNN and MSNBC. Yet for this cover, she ditched the debate table and is instead flanked by three handsome, smiling men.

These are the surroundings she likes best - the three boys she raised alone from the moment two decades ago that the political strategist known for her “rapid-fire retorts” found herself staring at a handful of divorce papers. When their father abruptly walked out of their California home, Billy was four, Tommy was two, and Stuart had not yet been born.

In “Bay and Her Boys: Unexpected lessons I learned as a (single) Mom,” we get a fascinating view of what Bay herself surely wished she could have seen that dreadful first day: just what happens when a sharp analytical mind and a truly indomitable will turn to attack full-force the problem of bringing three boys across the ocean of a fatherless childhood.

The results are extraordinary, and Bay wants everyone, especially single moms, to know that - no matter what the statistics say about kids without dads - it can be done.

Ms. Buchanan lays out a short list of the essentials: put the kids first. Strip parenting down to the basics. Give your kids a home to love. Rely on family traditions. With an unflagging determination to “love being your kids’ mom,” she says, these will get you through.

But she insists early on: this success is simply impossible under the illusion that single motherhood is a system that inherently works. Instead, it’s precisely because of her clear-eyed certainty that a father is irreplaceable that she says she was equipped to meet her son’s real needs.

It is a bittersweet testimony to the importance of family that stands at the heart of the book. That man, to her nothing more than a painful void in her life, was more than solid gold in the eyes of her boys. No matter how thin the scraps of that gold, she decided, they would have them all.

Even though friends pushed her to take advantage of her large extended family and great job opportunities in Virginia, Bay stayed in California after the divorce to give her boys a chance to see their dad in custody visits - which were often rescheduled or dropped - for six years. And her sons couldn’t be more grateful.

“What little time I did spend with him is more precious to me than all the riches in the world, more precious than anything, save time spent with my Mom,” wrote Stuart.

“Today,” wrote Billy, the eldest, “I would trade most anything for a moment longer with Dad.”

It’s a truth about family Buchanan couldn’t have missed if she tried. The product of a strong Catholic family of nine children, she often reflects in “Bay and her Boys” on her own father’s role in her life, anchoring her family deep into a home that flourished with strong affections.

When she describes the cluttered, comfy home her boys grew up in, although Bay acknowledges it’s far from the ideal of her own childhood home, her words betray a deep pride. She and her sons agree: however messy, however overrun with pets (the house had twelve furry additional members), their home was the boys’ sanctuary and Bay’s masterpiece.

“My house wasn’t just a building where I ate, slept, and loved. It was where I always wanted to eat, sleep, and live. And I wasn’t the only one; my friends felt the same way, and if any of them try to deny it, ask them how many days they spent at their own homes during the summer,” wrote Stuart. “And my house was hardly the biggest, or the cleanest, or the nicest. But we loved it, and that made all the difference.”

Bay’s advice on building a physical home was plain: “Design it around them,” she wrote, “and join them there.” She molded her home the way she molded her own life.

Throughout the book are peppered stories of how kids clashed with career - or more accurately, with whatever assignment she happened to snatch up in those unsteady years. One live debate in Texas on the impact of U.S. trade policy on agribusiness required hours of research that evaporated into a sleepless night with a vomiting 9-year-old. At other times, Bay came away the victor, turning down producers of the political talk show Equal Time offering a co-host position until they agreed to tape the show when her boys were at school.

Her honesty about these clashes is brutal. “For years,” she wrote, “I had heard so-called experts talk about the need for moms to set aside personal time and private space. ...

“And every time I did, I laughed out loud. What were these people talking about?”

“Many professional women argue that they’ve worked too hard getting to where they are, that they’ve got too much to lose if they put it all on hold, that they’ve grown accustomed to the money their career provides,” she mused. “I suspect many are just scared.

“It’s a huge change for them, a significant sacrifice that takes them out of their secure world and drops them into unchartered waters. But being a good mom means putting your kids ahead of your career along with everything else in your life.”

The book is an often funny, often incredible testimony to the force of a full-throated “yes” to life and family, even after a family has been broken. Bay’s intelligence and intimidating drive focused like a laser beam on how to be her son’s mom, no compromises, period. An analytic precision that could have launched her to the top of the political map was instead poured into the title she valued most.

Bay, who now resides in Virginia, says that she hopes the book will fill an appreciation gap for single moms who feel battered by both sides of the aisle.

“It is indisputable that life is tougher for kids raised without a dad in their home but, for millions of us, that is no longer an option for our kids and we struggle every day to see that our kids beat the awful odds,” she said in an interview accompanying the book. “Surely, I would often think, there is a message of hope for us - an encouraging word or some guidelines on how we too can succeed? But I never heard it from the right or left.”

Ultimately, “Bay and her Boys” is a fascinating tribute to the power of motherhood - single or married - and a heartening encouragement to all moms who feel beaten by the odds.

“It’s our job to see that our kids make it. It is tough and, at times, brutally difficult, but we can do it, and we can do it well,” she wrote.

“Numbers don’t tell our story. We do. We are moms.”


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Jonathon van Maren Jonathon van Maren Follow Jonathon

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Arguments don’t have genitals

Jonathon van Maren Jonathon van Maren Follow Jonathon
By Jonathon van Maren

“As soon as he grows his own uterus, he can have an opinion.”

That was a comment left on The Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada’s Facebook page by a woman who presumably opposes men speaking out against misogyny, domestic abuse, rape culture, and female genital mutilation as well. Apparently, you see, male genitals disqualify people from speaking out on various human rights issues deemed by women who define themselves by their uteruses while protesting angrily against being defined by their uteruses as “women’s issues.”

Which abortion isn’t, by the way. It’s a human rights issue.

To break it down really simply for our confused “feminist” friends: Human beings have human rights. Human rights begin when the human being begins, or we are simply choosing some random and arbitrary point at which human beings get their human rights. If we do not grant human rights to all human beings, inevitably some sub-set of human beings gets denied protection by another group with conflicting interests. In this case, of course, it is the abortion crowd, who want to be able to kill pre-born children in the womb whenever they want, for any reason they want.

Science tells us when human life begins. Pro-abortion dogma is at worst a cynical manoeuvre to sacrifice the lives of pre-born human beings for self-interest, and at best an outdated view that collapsed feebly under the weight of new discoveries in science and embryology. But the abortion cabal wants to preserve their bloody status quo at all costs, and so they make ludicrous claims about needing a uterus to qualify for a discussion on science and human rights.

Click "like" if you are PRO-LIFE!

In fact, feminists love it when men speak up on abortion, as long as we’re reading from their script, which is why the carnivorous feminists have such a support system among the Deadbeat Dads for Dead Babies set and the No Strings Attached Club.

Male abortion activists have even begun to complain about “forced fatherhood,” a new cultural injustice in which they are expected to bear some responsibility for fathering children with women they didn’t love enough to want to father children with, but did appreciate enough to use for sex. Casual fluid swaps, they whine, should not result in custody hearings.

This is not to mention a genuine social tragedy that has men forcing or pressuring women to have abortions or abandoning them when they discover that the woman is, indeed, pregnant.

Or the fact that abortion has assisted pimps, rapists, and misogynists in continuing the crimes of sex trafficking, sexual abuse, and sex-selection abortion.

And coming against these disgusting trends are thousands of men in the pro-life movement who believe that shared humanity means shared responsibility, and that when the weak and vulnerable are robbed of their rights, we have to stand up and speak out.

We are not at all convinced by the feminist argument that people should think with their reproductive organs or genitals. We think that the number of people currently doing that has perhaps contributed to the problems we face. And we refuse to be told that protecting the human rights of all human beings is “none of our business” and “outside of our interests.”

Arguments don’t have genitals, feminists. It’s a stupid argument trying to protect a bloody ideology.

Reprinted with permission from CCBR.


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Rachel Daly

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Gvmt strikes UK Catholic school admission policy that prefers Mass attendees

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By Rachel Daly

St. Joseph's Catholic Primary School in Epsom, England, was ordered to change its admissions policy after it was ruled discriminatory by the nation's Office of Schools Adjudicator, according to Your Local Guardian. St. Joseph's reportedly had been granting preferred acceptance to students whose families attended Mass at the affiliated church.

St. Joseph’s School is for students from age 4 to 11 and describes itself as “enjoy[ing] a high level of academic success.” The school furthermore places high priority on its Catholic identity, affirming on its homepage that “We place prayer and worship at the center of everything we do.”

The school states in its current admissions policy that it was "set up primarily to serve the Catholic community in St Joseph’s Parish" and that when the applicant pool exceeds 60 students, its criteria for prioritizing students includes "the strength of evidence of practice of the faith as demonstrated by the level of the family's Mass attendance on Sundays." 

Opponents of this policy reportedly argue that since donations are asked for at Mass, it could allow donation amounts to influence acceptance, and that forcing non-accepted local students to seek education elsewhere imposes a financial burden upon their families. 

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As Your Local Guardian reports, the adjudicators dismissed claims that donation amounts were affecting school acceptance, given that it is impossible to track donations. Nonetheless, the adjudicators maintained that "discrimination ... potentially arises from requiring attendance at the church rather than residency in the parish."

The Office of Schools Adjudicators, according to its website, is appointed by the United Kingdom’s Secretary of State of Education, to perform such functions as mediating disputes over school acceptances. The Office's ruling on St. Joseph's will require the school to release a revised admissions policy, which is expected in the next few days.

Reprinted with permission from the Cardinal Newman Society.


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Carolyn Moynihan

African women at risk of HIV, hostages to birth control

Carolyn Moynihan
By Carolyn Moynihan

Which should be the priority for a health organisation: preventing an incurable disease, or preventing a natural function that might have adverse physical consequences?

Preventing the disease, you would think. But the World Health Organisation would rather expose African women to HIV-AIDS than withdraw its support from a suspect method of birth control, arguing that childbirth is also risky in Africa. Riskier, apparently, than the said contraceptive. And at least one of WHO’s major partners agrees.

This is one of the stories you will not have read in coverage of the International AIDS Conference held in Melbourne last week, despite the fact that WHO made an announcement about it during the conference and the findings of a highly relevant study were presented there.

The story is this: there is increasing evidence that the method of contraception preferred by family planning organisations working in Africa (and elsewhere) facilitates the transmission of HIV. The method is the progesterone injection in the form of either DMPA (Depo Provera, the most common) or NET-En (Noristerat).

Millions of women in sub-Saharan Africa receive the injection every three months. The method overcomes problems of access. It can be given by nurses or health workers. A wife need not bother her husband for any special consideration; the teenage girl need not remember to take a pill.

But for 30 years evidence has been accumulating that, for all its “effectiveness” in controlling the number of births, the jab may also be very effective in increasing the number of people with HIV.

Three years ago at another AIDS conference in Rome, researchers who had analysed data from a number of previous studies delivered the disturbing news that injectables at least doubled the risk of infection with HIV for women and their male partners.

That study had its weaknesses but one of the experts present in Rome, Charles Morrison of FHI 360 (formerly Family Health International, a family planning organisation that also works in AIDS prevention), considered it a “good study” and subsequently led another meta-analysis that addressed some of the issues with previous research.

Last week at the Melbourne conference he presented the results. His team had re-analysed raw data on the contraceptive use of more than 37,000 women in 18 prospective observational studies. Of these women, 28 percent reported using DMPA, 8 percent NET-En, 19 percent a combined oral contraceptive pill, and 43 percent no form of hormonal contraception. A total of 1830 women had acquired HIV while in a study.

The analysis showed that both injectables raised the risk of infection by 50 percent:

Compared to non-users [of any hormonal contraceptive], women using DMPA had an elevated risk of infection (hazard ratio 1.56, 95% CI 1.31-1.86), as did women using NET-En (1.51, 95% CI 1.21-1.90). There was no increased risk for women using oral contraceptives.

Similarly, comparing women using injections with those using oral contraceptives, there was an elevated risk associated with DMPA (1.43, 95% CI 1.23-1.67) and NET-En (1.30, 95% CI 0.99-1.71).

Morrison also noted:

The results were consistent in several subgroup and sensitivity analyses. However, when only studies which were judged to be methodologically more reliable were included, the increased risk appeared smaller.

Morrison acknowledged that observational studies such as the FHI analysis depended on have their limitations. He is looking for funding to conduct a randomised controlled study – something that, after 30 years of suspicions and evidence, still has not been done.

So what is his advice to the birth control industry? Stop using this stuff in regions with a high prevalence of HIV until we are sure that we are not feeding an epidemic?

No.

One reason is that FHI is at least as interested in contraception as it is in HIV prevention. Though its website reflects a broad range of development activities, its core business is integrating birth control programmes with HIV prevention. The WHO – one of its partners -- describes the US based, 83 percent US government funded non-profit as “a global health and development organization working on family planning, reproductive health and HIV/AIDS.”

Another reason is that FHI 360 has a vital stake in precisely the kind of contraceptives that are under suspicion. Its annual report refers to:

Our trailblazing work in contraceptive research and development continues, as we develop and introduce high-quality and affordable long-acting contraceptives for women in low-income countries. Research is under way to develop a new biodegradable contraceptive implant that would eliminate the need for removal services. We are also working with partners to develop an injectable contraceptive that would last for up to six months. Currently available injectables require reinjections monthly or quarterly, which can be challenging where health services are limited.

That project is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and USAID.

So Morrison did not argue in Melbourne for restrictions on the use of injectables, and neither did the WHO, whose representative at the conference outlined the UN body’s new guidelines on contraception and HIV. Mary Lyn Gaffield said a review of studies up to – but not including Morrison’s – did not warrant a change to WHO’s policy that DMPA and NET-En should be available, without restriction, in areas of high HIV prevalence.

The most WHO will advise is that women should be informed of the risk:

“Women at high risk of HIV infection should be informed that progestogen-only injectables may or may not increase their risk of HIV acquisition. Women and couples at high risk of HIV acquisition considering progestogen-only injectables should also be informed about and have access to HIV preventive measures, including male and female condoms.”

Condoms? How do they defend such cynicism? By equating the risk of HIV with the risks of motherhood – complications of pregnancy or childbirth, maternal death and the effect on infants... And yet motherhood remains risky precisely because 90 percent of the world’s effort is going into contraception!

Seven years ago a meeting of technical experts convened by WHO to study the injectables-HIV link showed the reproductive health establishment worried about that issue, to be sure, but also concerned that funding was flowing disproportionately to HIV-AIDS programmes, setting back the cause of birth control. The integration of family planning and HIV prevention spearheaded by FHI 360 looks like they have found an answer to that problem.

Whether African women are any better off is very doubtful. They remain pawns in a game that is, above all, about controlling their fertility. They and their partners are encouraged to take risks with their health, if not their lives, while researchers scout for funds to do the definitive study.

FHI had an income of $674 million last year, most of it from the US government. Couldn’t it give Charles Morrison the money to do his research today?

Reprinted with permission from Mercatornet.com.


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