Kathleen Gilbert

Major study: changing sexual orientation is possible

Kathleen Gilbert
Kathleen Gilbert

WHEATON, Illinois, September 29, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Therapists who favor normalizing homosexuality say that it is impossible to change sexual orientation, and that the attempt to change is inherently harmful. However, the final results of a long-term study published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy has joined hundreds of other studies in concluding that such therapy is both possible and potentially well-indicated for many individuals.

Psychologists Stanton L. Jones of Wheaton College and Mark A. Yarhouse of Regent University are the authors of the longitudinal study, which tracked individuals who sought sexual orientation change through involvement in a variety of Christian ministries affiliated with Exodus International.

The authors note that the study overcomes a primary criticism of same-sex attraction (SSA) therapy data - that the results are not adequately documented over a period of time - by assessing its 98 candidates over a period of six to seven years after therapy concluded.

Jones and Yarhouse’s results show the majority of candidates were successful in their goal of changing sexual orientation, and that the attempt was not harmful on average. 

Of the original 98 subjects, 61 were successfully categorized for general outcome at the last assessment. Fifty-three percent were categorized as successful outcomes; specifically, 23 percent reported success in the form of an essential change to heterosexual orientation and functioning, while an additional 30 percent reported no longer identifying as homosexual while maintaining stable behavioral chastity. At the six-year mark, 20 percent reported fully embracing a gay self-identification.

Meanwhile, the authors say the measure of psychological distress did not, on average, reflect increases in psychological distress associated with the attempt to change.

“These results do not prove that categorical change in sexual orientation is possible for everyone or anyone, but rather that meaningful shifts along a continuum that constitute real changes appear possible for some,” states a press release announcing the study. The release also emphasizes, “the results do not prove that no one is harmed by the attempt to change, but rather that the attempt does not appear to be harmful on average or inherently harmful.”

Dr. Jones told LifeSiteNews.com that the study was likely skewed toward optimism towards therapy, as it wasn’t able to count candidates who dropped out early. However, he said, the study still stands out from the crowd for its value as a long-term assessment of the viability of same-sex attraction therapy.

“The ‘silver standard’ [of SSA therapy studies] is a longitudinal study that follows people repeatedly over multiple years and also a prospective study that assesses people from the beginning of change. To the best of our knowledge, ours is the first such study,” wrote Jones in an email Thursday.

“The ‘gold standard’ would be a completely experimental and longitudinal study that would also randomly assign participants to different treatment groups with highly defined treatments; we believe such study would actually be impossible to perform.”

A meta-analysis of over 100 years’ worth of research into therapy for unwanted same-sex attraction published in June 2009 concluded that homosexuality was not immutable, and that individuals seeking change could benefit from therapy. The report, published by NARTH, included 600 reports from clinicians, researchers, and former clients principally published in professional and peer-reviewed journals.

Although the American Psychological Association discourages mental health professionals from offering sexual reorientation therapy, the group’s official position on such therapy states that there is “insufficient evidence” to either approve or discredit the practice.

Homosexuality was declassified as a mental disorder in 1973 in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), the universal standard for classification of mental illness, after years of high-pressure lobbying by gay rights activists. The change sparked a policy shift in other top professional associations, which now uniformly oppose SSA therapy.

Dr. Robert Spitzer, who was in charge of the DSM change, reversed his position on therapy for unwanted same-sex attraction nearly 30 years later to support such therapy based on his own research.

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Gina Raimondo, Democrat candidate for governor of Rhode Island http://www.ginaraimondo.com/
Lisa Bourne

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Catholic school removes alumna’s photo after she endorses abortion in bid for governor

Lisa Bourne
By Lisa Bourne

A Rhode Island Catholic school has removed the photo of an alumna from its halls after she endorsed abortion in her campaign for governor.

LaSalle Academy of Providence took alumna Gina Raimondo’s photo down from the school’s Wall of Notables last week after she publicly stated she does not support the Church’s teaching on life and would work to support abortion.

"You know the Catholic Church has a clear position, and I have a clear position,” the state general treasurer said, according to ABC. “And I am clearly pro–choice and as I've said, I as Governor, support the decision in Roe v. Wade."

Rhode Island Bishop Thomas Tobin responded the same day in statement on his Facebook page.

“It is always disappointing when a Catholic candidate for political office abandons the teaching of the Church on the dignity of human life for the sake of self-serving political gain,” he said. Such actions demonstrate an inexcusable lack of moral courage.”

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“Pope Francis has explained how evil abortion really is, that every aborted child bears the face of Jesus Christ,” he continued. “Similarly, I wish to remind Catholics of the Diocese of Providence, in the clearest terms possible: Abortion is a sin, and those who provide it, promote it and support it will be held accountable by Almighty God for the unjust death of unborn children.”

Raimondo, valedictorian of the 1989 class at LaSalle Academy, made her comments at Planned Parenthood’s Rhode Island PAC’s endorsement of her candidacy September 25. She said as well that she is “more pro-choice” than Republican candidate Allan Fung, and that she opposes the Hobby Lobby ruling in support of religious freedom for employers.

According to the Providence Journal, she also said she would oppose efforts to incorporate an option in the Rhode Island health insurance exchange that would exclude abortion or contraception. Raimondo also pledged to seek repeal of a 1997 Rhode Island law banning partial-birth abortion.

Drew Lagace, La Salle’s communications spokesman, told the Providence Journal the school took the photo down and didn’t want to elaborate. But he told the local NBC affiliate, “Her statements were very bold against the Church and the teachings of the Church.”

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Last Call! Can you donate $5?

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By Steve Jalsevac

This is it!

Today is the LAST DAY of our Fall Campaign. But with only hours left to go, we still need to raise just over $40,000 to reach our goal of $150,000

Will you help us now in this 11th hour to reach our goal? 

Please keep in mind that this is just the bare minimum that we need to raise just to keep our news service going until our next campaign! 

We need everyone who has not yet made a donation to do so right now!

The last few days of our quarterly campaigns are always the most stressful times of the year. The stakes are so high, because LifeSite’s existence depends upon the success of these campaigns. <

It is also stressful because we know that we have a responsibility to reach even MORE people with the truth about life and the family, and that we need to be doing even MORE reporting on critical life and family issues.

And yet, at the same time, I am filled with peace, knowing that this work is not our own work, but God’s, and that as long as we strive to do His will, He will always provide us with everything we need!

And I also know that I can always count on our readers to come through for us, no matter how worrisome things might look.

You always have!

And in return, I pledge to you LifeSite’s 100% commitment to doing everything in our power to spread the truth and to promote a Culture of Life, no matter how heavily the odds are stacked against us!

I know we can reach our goal today. 

Of the tens of thousands that will visit our site in the next few hours, I know there are at least 1,000 readers who could chip in just $40 to bring us to our goal. I know there are just 200 people out there who could give a $200 donation and help bring us to the finish line. Or, 500 people who could donate $75. 

It wouldn’t take much if everyone pitched in a little! Whatever you can give, whether its just $5, or $5,000 - every donation counts towards our goal.

It’s all in your hands now, and we thank you for helping us continue our mission!

We will leave the thermometer up on our site for a few more days as we collect mail-in donations. Don’t forget you can also make a donation by phone. Our staff would love to thank you personally for your support. 

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Hospital strongly advised mother to abort ‘fatally ill’ baby – who was totally healthy

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By Kirsten Anderson

A British couple have just celebrated their healthy son’s second birthday after being pressured by doctors to abort him when they thought they saw potentially fatal birth defects during prenatal testing.

Robyn Wilson says her son Harry was born “absolutely perfect” on September 27, 2012, weighing 8 lbs., 5 oz.  But if Wilson had listened to her doctors early in her pregnancy, he wouldn’t be here today. 

Wilson and her husband, Adam, were told at their 12-week ultrasound that the doctors saw markers for Trisomy 21, more commonly known as Down Syndrome.  They tested Robyn’s blood and found abnormal levels of pregnancy hormones they said indicated a high risk of the baby being born with a chromosomal disorder such as Trisomy 21, Trisomy 18, or Trisomy 13. 

“After being handed the results, we were told there was a very high chance our baby would die before birth,” Wilson told the U.K.’s Daily Mail. “We were told if he did live to birth, he might die shortly after, or that if he survived, he would be seriously ill or have health defects.”

After that, Wilson was referred to the maternity clinic at Jessop Hospital in Leeds.  The doctors there pressured her to abort.

“The hospital decided to book me in for an abortion to get rid of the baby – though they said it wasn't compulsory,” Wilson said.  “The option was there and they advised that it could be for the best, as they were fairly certain something was going to be wrong with the baby.”

“Adam and I were a complete mess.  It's really not what we wanted to happen,” Wilson continued. “We wanted to be telling people about the baby at this point – not finding ourselves unsure as to whether or not there would be a baby.”

“When we were advised to abort, everything was just rushing through my mind – I just kept thinking ‘What would be worse? Having an abortion, or having the baby in my arms for just a few minutes or days, maybe weeks?’” Wilson said.  “I thought I was never going to get that first hug, his first birthday party or that first day at school – let alone more. I thought it had all been taken away from me before it had even begun.”

Doctors scheduled Wilson for an abortion, but she decided to have one more test performed before going through with it.  The test, called “chorionic villus sampling” or CVS, can be risky for the baby because it involves puncturing the uterus with a needle to take a sample of the placenta.  In about 1 out of 100 cases, the procedure causes miscarriage.  But unlike ultrasound and maternal blood testing, the results of the test are definitive.

Three days before the scheduled abortion, the results came back – baby Harry was perfectly healthy, with no signs of chromosomal abnormalities.  Wilson’s doctors found this impossible to believe, so they ordered another round of ultrasound scans.  This time, there was no evidence of anything wrong.  Even so, hospital staff remained skeptical.

At Harry’s birth, Wilson told the Daily Mail, the doctors “rushed him off, as they were expecting to find something wrong with him, but he was completely fine.”

“The doctors and nurses couldn't believe it,” she said. “They all call him ‘the legend baby.’”

Still, she said, “I couldn't really enjoy the first few months of motherhood.  Every time a doctor could come around I would be thinking ‘This is it, this is it, someone is going to tell me what is wrong now,’ but still to this day, that hasn't come."

Now, Wilson says of Harry – who just celebrated his second birthday – “He's my best friend. I wouldn't change a thing. He's so perfect.”

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The value of early prenatal screening has been the subject of increasing scrutiny and debate in recent years.  The high rate of false positives leads many women to submit to riskier, more invasive tests that sometimes result in the loss of their babies, healthy or not. The pro-life movement has long criticized the practice because it is used primarily for eugenic purposes.

A 2008 report by Frank and Sue Buckley of Down Syndrome Education International estimated that between 400 and 600 perfectly healthy unborn babies are killed in the U.K. every year due to invasive diagnostic tests performed after an abnormal result during early screening. 

“The vast majority of screen-positive results are false, yet encourage invasive diagnostic procedures that pose additional risks to unborn babies,” the Buckleys wrote.  “As a direct consequence many babies who do not have Down syndrome are lost. We estimate that current screening practice in England and Wales reduces annual live births of babies with Down syndrome by around 660 and leads to the losses of 400 babies without Down syndrome.”

Writing for the British Medical Journal, Dr. Des Spence, a Scottish physician, noted the dichotomy between the medical establishment’s treatment of parents and babies prenatally diagnosed with abnormalities, and its treatment of families who are surprised by unexpected issues like prematurity or birth trauma.

“In 2010 in the United Kingdom there were 1173 terminations for anomalies after 22 weeks’ gestation.  And because fetal viability occurs around this stage of gestation, feticide is conducted before delivery,” Spence wrote.  “These are extraordinarily painful decisions for couples to have to make.  By contrast, if a child without disabilities is born after 22 weeks, neonatal life support is offered or given automatically. This is despite prematurity being associated with high levels of physical and mental disability.”

“Pregnant women and couples are vulnerable, often entering into screening without giving much thought to the consequences,” Spence added. “And when an abnormality is detected, they get little time or specific direction on the decision to terminate. Meanwhile, for ‘normal’ children, life comes with no guarantees; the only certainty is a myriad of unpredictable and often devastating life events that await us all.”

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