Thursday, October 7, 2010

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U.S. Judge Delivers Setback to ObamaCare Foes

by LifeSiteNews.com Thu Oct 07 11:15 EST Comments (0)

By Peter J. Smith

DETROIT, Michigan, October 7, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A federal judge in Detroit has delivered a setback to opponents of the national health care reform law passed in March, ruling that the individual insurance mandate and other aspects are constitutional.

U.S. District Judge George Caram Steeh ruled Thursday that Congress has the authority to mandate that individuals carry health insurance by 2014 in the Affordable Care Act.

Steeh said the commerce clause of the U.S. Constitution allows Congress to not only regulate economic activity, but also the decisions of individuals that impact a “broader regulatory scheme.”

Robert Muise, senior lead counsel for the Ann Arbor-based Thomas More Law Center, which filed the suit on behalf of four individuals in March, said the ruling was “troubling.”

He told LifeSiteNews.com Thursday that Steeh “essentially ruled that the commerce clause authority is not limited to just economic activity, but that Congress can also regulate decisions related to economic activity.”

However, the judge cited two U.S. Supreme Court cases which broadly expanded the power of Congress to regulate economic activity as key precedent for the individual mandate in the Affordable Care Act.

Steeh invoked the New Deal era case of Wickard v. Filburn (1942), which substantially broadened the authority of Congress to regulate under the Commerce Clause. The high court agreed with the federal government that Roscoe Filburn’s decision to grow excess wheat for himself would affect interstate commerce, because the farmer would not be forced to buy extra wheat under a New Deal regulatory scheme designed to increase wheat prices during the Great Depression. 

He also referred to Gonzales v. Raich (2005) in which the high court upheld Congress’s efforts to fight marijuana consumption on the basis that the “Commerce Clause affords Congress broad power to regulate even purely local matters that have substantial economic effects.”

But Muise disagreed with Steeh’s conclusions, saying that under his reading of the commerce clause “there is virtually no limit to what Congress can regulate.”

“Our founding fathers created a federal government with limited enumerated powers. If the commerce clause can be read so broadly, then that whole fundamental concept of our constitutional republic no longer exists,” said Muise.

The case was the first lawsuit filed against the national health care law, President Barack Obama’s signature legislation, in the United States.

Steeh, however, did recognize that the plaintiffs had legal standing to challenge the Affordable Care Act – a critical victory for the Thomas More Law Center, which allows them to appeal the case on its merits.

He said the plaintiff’s claim of present and future economic injury was “entirely reasonable” as they would have to start saving today in order to buy more than $8,000 in insurance per year, starting in 2014.

Additionally, Steeh denied the U.S. Justice Department’s claim that the Anti-Injunction Act prevented the plaintiffs from requesting an injunction on the law since the facts of the case “have nothing to do with the assessment or collection of taxes.”

 “The case is set up nicely for an appeal, which we intend to do,” said Muise.

Thomas More Law Center plans to appeal Steeh’s decision to the Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Twenty other state attorneys general have filed a separate lawsuit which is pending in Florida.

The Attorney General of Virginia has also filed a challenge to the health care law, which is pending in a federal court in Richmond.

Legal challenges to the Affordable Care Act are expected to end up before the U.S. Supreme Court.


Judge Steeh’s decision (Case No. 10-CV-11156) can be read here.

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New Iowa PAC Fuels Speculation of Santorum White House Bid

by LifeSiteNews.com Thu Oct 07 11:15 EST Comments (0)

By Peter J. Smith  

DES MOINES, Iowa, October 7, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Rick Santorum is fueling even more speculation that he is laying the groundwork for a possible 2012 US presidential bid in Iowa. 

Santorum, a leading pro-life figure and former US Senator from Pennsylvania, announced he is setting up new political action committee in Iowa to support Iowa conservative candidates.

“My federal PAC, America’s Foundation, has already assisted some candidates in the Hawkeye State, but I am eager to do more, and the Iowa Keystone PAC will help us do that,” Santorum said.

Santorum has pledged to donate at least $25,000 to Iowa conservative candidates before the November 2 midterm elections. “There are many strong conservatives running in Iowa and assisting them with financial support may help put them in the victory column come Election Day,” he said. Santorum is making his sixth trip to Iowa between October 13-14, where he will stop to meet with voters and candidates. 

Making visits to Iowa and setting up a state PAC are seen as key steps toward building the infrastructure to make a White House run.  

Iowa is where the GOP race for the White House begins, and where state caucuses can give the winner a big boost before heading into the New Hampshire primary. GOP hopefuls look to curry favor with the state’s conservative voters who often catapult more obscure candidates, such as Mike Huckabee in 2008, into the limelight. 

In addition, Iowa election law also allows state-registered PACs to raise an unlimited amount of money for candidates, unlike federal PACs, which limit individual donations to $5000 total.

Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, a conservative and presumed GOP hopeful, has already established his own PAC in the state.  Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin also fueled speculation about a 2012 run with in her visit to Iowa last month, where she delivered a speech at the Iowa GOP’s Ronald Reagan dinner. 

Santorum has indicated since last year that he is mulling a White House run, and has become more vocal about the possibility in the past few months.

In August, Santorum told the Des Moines Register that he was “still seriously going through this process” but was “very encouraged” about the possibilities in Iowa for a 2012 presidential run. 

Santorum lost his senate seat to nominally pro-life Sen. Bob Casey Jr. in 2006. Although it was bad year for Republicans overall, Santorum had also strained relations with his conservative base due to his decision to back strongly pro-abortion Sen. Arlen Specter over pro-life challenger Pat Toomey in the 2004 GOP primary. 

Santorum later said he made a pragmatic decision, as he felt Toomey would be unlikely to win the election, and had been assured Specter would adequately protect pro-life interests in the two upcoming Supreme Court nominations.

"I got a commitment from Arlen Specter that no matter who George W. Bush would nominate, he would support that nominee," he said. 

Toomey, who lost the 2004 GOP primary by a 1.7 percent margin, has now secured the GOP nomination and is the favorite to win Specter’s seat in November. 
 

See related coverage from LifeSiteNews.com: 

Santorum: 'Separation of Church and State' Meant to Protect Church from Gov't, Not Vice Versa  
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2010/sep/10091309.html

Santorum: Conservatives Must Battle 'Toxic Tide' of Pop Culture more than Politics  
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/dec/09120409.html 

Santorum: The Triumph of Socialism in U.S. Requires Destruction of Family and Church  
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/oct/09101909.html 

Santorum Admits to Pondering Run for Republican Presidential Nomination - Asks for Prayers  
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/sep/09091202.html

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U.S. Gov Infected Hundreds of Guatemalans with STDs in 1940s: Obama Admin Apologizes

by LifeSiteNews.com Thu Oct 07 11:15 EST Comments (0)

By Kathleen Gilbert

WASHINGTON, D.C., October 7, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The U.S. government has issued a formal apology after it was discovered recently that the American government had infected hundreds of unwitting Guatemalans with syphilis and gonorrhea as part of a medical experiment between 1946-1948.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius condemned as "appalling" an unpublished study describing the U.S. Public Health Service's trials on Guatemalans decades ago as they sought to test penicillin's effectiveness against the diseases.

The scheme was uncovered by Medical historian Susan Reverby of Wellesley College in Massachusetts. Reverby said in a press release that Guatemalan prisoners, institutionalized mental health patients, and even soldiers were subjected to the trials. Researchers infected the subjects, Reverby said, through intercourse with infected prostitutes or inoculation with a syphilis-causing bacteria on subjects' arms, faces, and penises.

"In total, 696 men and women were exposed to the disease and then offered penicillin. The studies went on until 1948 and the records suggest that despite intentions not everyone was probably cured," she wrote.

Guatemala has officially requested for full disclosure on the details of the Guatemalan study.

The revelations immediately sparked comparisons with the infamous Tuskegee syphilis experiment, another clinical study conducted by the Public Health Service, in which 399 poor African-Americans with syphilis were unknowingly subjected to analysis starting in 1932. Unlike the Guatemala experiments, the Tuskegee subjects already had the disease, and were not intentionally infected.

But the study, which later led to reform such as informed consent law, was roundly condemned because researchers withheld lifesaving information and treatment from test subjects, leading to their deaths and the infection of their wives and children. The experiment ended in 1972 after it was leaked to the press, 25 years after penicillin had been established as a treatment for syphilis, and by which time 128 of the original subjects had died of syphilis or related complications. Former U.S. president Bill Clinton apologized for the Tuskegee experiments in 1997. 

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Schwarzenegger Vetoes Gay-Sponsored “Trojan Horse” Measure on Marriage

by LifeSiteNews.com Thu Oct 07 11:15 EST Comments (0)

By Peter J. Smith

SACRAMENTO, California, October 7, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) – California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger earned muted praise from pro-family advocates last week after he vetoed a measure that one pro-family group described as a “Trojan horse” that could have helped homosexuals overturn Prop. 8 in 2012.

SB 906, authored by the openly homosexual Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) and supported by many homosexual groups, would have changed the Family Code to refer to “civil marriage” instead of just “marriage.” The bill also stated that no authorized religious official would be forced to officiate a marriage against the tenets of “his, her, or its [sic] faith,” and that religious entities would not face loss of tax-exempt status for refusing to do so.

However, the Civil Marriage Religious Freedom Act still would not have protected individuals who have conscience or religious objections to homosexuality, who are not ministers but who are involved in the wedding industry, such as caterers, photographers, and renters.

Supporters of SB 906 had hoped that it would have helped blunt the criticism that gay “marriage” infringes upon freedom of religion (a key factor in the passage of Prop. 8 in 2008), and thereby increase the odds of successfully overturning the pro-marriage amendment on a 2012 ballot measure.

Catholics for the Common Good (CFC) called Leno’s bill a “Trojan Horse measure.” By creating a “new class of marriage into California law,” the bill could provide the legislature and the courts a backdoor opportunity to legalize same-sex “marriage,” said the group.

While maintaining his support for the goal of same-sex “marriage,” Schwarzenegger vetoed the law on the basis that the legislation was redundant and created the impression of different kinds of marriage, i.e. “civil and religious marriage.”

“Unfortunately, I cannot sign this bill due to the extraneous amendments that will change the term 'marriage' to 'civil marriage' within the California Family Code,” said Schwarzenegger in his veto message.

All marriages are civil marriages under California law, as is the case in most jurisdictions. The state authorizes religious representatives to officiate marriages on the state’s behalf in the context of that religion’s wedding ceremonies.

While Schwarzenegger said that in his view SB 906 would actually harm “the goal of marriage equality” in California, homosexual groups were less than pleased.

In a statement released by Equality California (EQCA), Rev. Rick Schlosser, Executive Director of California Council of Churches IMPACT, accused Schwarzenegger of playing “partisan politics” and insisted that “the reason given for the veto is not even remotely credible."

Sen. Leno also said in the EQCA release that he disagreed with Schwarzenegger’s assertion that there was no legal difference between civil and religious marriage.

“The state cannot, and never will be, in the business of religious marriages,” Leno said. “The Governor’s belief that this bill would have created a separate classification of marriage is misguided.”

Pro-family groups that fought against the bill had restrained words of praise for Schwarzenegger, who has declined to defend constitutional challenges to Prop. 8 in federal court.

“While we’re glad the Governor vetoed SB 906, which would have deceptively aided homosexual 'marriage' legalization on a future ballot, that’s a drop in the bucket compared to the great damage he’s inflicted upon marriage, the California Constitution, and the voters by refusing to appeal the judicial-activist ruling that struck down Prop. 8,” said Randy Thomasson, President of SaveCalifornia.com, another California pro-family group opposed to the measure.

EQCA leaders indicated that they may bring up the measure again in 2011, however they are watching how the political landscape changes in November. Democrat Attorney General Jerry Brown is running for governor against former eBay CEO Meg Whitman, a Republican.

Brown supports same-sex “marriage,” while Whitman has pledged that she would defend Prop. 8 and keep marriage defined in law as the union of a man and a woman.

Real Clear Politics shows Brown overall ahead by a 6.2 percentage spread. A Rasmussen poll, performed after a Univision debate and revelations that Whitman employed an illegal Latina immigrant as a housekeeper, found Brown pulling ahead of his GOP opponent 49 percent to 44 percent.

Just two weeks ago, Rasmussen showed Brown and Whitman running neck-and-neck, 47 percent to 46 percent respectively.

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Nevada: GOP’s Pro-Life Angle Builds Lead, while Harry Reid Crumbles in Polls

by LifeSiteNews.com Thu Oct 07 11:15 EST Comments (0)

By Peter J. Smith

LAS VEGAS, Nevada, October 6, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Despite a month of enduring relentless attack ads, pro-life GOP candidate Sharron Angle now leads in several polls over Nevada Democrat Harry Reid, the leader of the U.S. Senate, in what may be the nation’s most hotly contested Senate race.

Rasmussen reports Thursday that Angle has now broken the 50 percent threshold of likely voters, and enjoys a four point lead over Reid (46 percent).

Just two percent of voters would prefer another candidate, and two percent say they are undecided. In Nevada, voters have the option to vote “none of the above,” which conservative activists fear may work to Reid’s advantage rather than Angle’s.

The U.S. Senate Majority Leader, once considered pro-life, was the legislative godfather of the unpopular “Affordable Care Act,” which pro-life advocates roundly attacked for having back-door abortion funding provisions. If Angle takes down Reid on November 2, it would be a major blow to Senate Democrats, who would likely nominate pro-abortion U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) as their next caucus leader.

Reid has waged a fiercely negative ad campaign, intended to make his pro-life and Tea Party-endorsed opponent look kooky and out-of-touch with Nevada voters.

But the tide seems now to be turning in Angle’s favor, as voter dissatisfaction with Reid scores higher than voter problems with Angle.

According to a Fox News/Pulse Opinion Research-Rasmussen poll of 1000 likely voters, 56 percent said the Senate Majority Leader had “been in office too long,” while 53 percent said Angle’s views were "too extreme." Reid also had higher unfavorable ratings (55 percent) than Angle (53 percent).

According to that poll, Angle is ahead of Reid by three points, 49 percent to 46 percent, and leads in several key voting demographics: women, independents, and voters over 40.

The GOP state senator has consolidated 85 percent of her GOP base, and has the support of a majority of women and independents (both 51 percent).

Reid has the support of his Democrat base (87 percent) and leads Angle among younger voters aged 18-39. But he only slightly beats Angle among men, 49 percent to 48 percent, and trails when it comes to getting the support of women voters (43 percent) and independents (42 percent). 

Angle also leads Reid by three points among older voters ages 40-64 (49 percent), and is ahead 10 points among voters ages 65 and up (52 percent.)

The poll results fall within the three-point margin of error.

A CNN/Time poll also has Angle leading Reid, but just by two points (42 percent to 40 percent.)


Read related election coverage:

The Hill - POLL: Independents prefer divided government and are leaning Republican

The Hill - POLL: Dislike of healthcare law crosses party lines, 1 in 4 Dems want repeal

Politico - Health vote haunts anti-abortion Democrats


Related coverage by LifeSiteNews.com:

Palin: Nov. Election a Battle between "Culture of Life" and "Culture of Death" 
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2010/oct/10100609.html

Survey Finds Tea Partiers Socially Conservative, Religious  
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2010/oct/10100603.html

Rick Scott Seizes Lead over Pro-Abort Emily’s List Challenger in Florida Governor’s Race  
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2010/oct/10100504.html

Pro-Abortion Obama Sinks to New Low in Public Opinion Survey  
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2010/oct/10100502.html

AUL Action “Life Counts Campaign” Targets ObamaCare’s Pro-Life Dems  
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2010/oct/10100507.html

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Police: Ohio Man Forced Girlfriend into AbortionFacility at Gunpoint

by LifeSiteNews.com Thu Oct 07 11:15 EST Comments (0)

By Kathleen Gilbert

COLUMBUS, Ohio, October 7, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) - An Ohio man has been charged with kidnapping after police say he tried to force his girlfriend into having her unborn child killed through abortion after she had resisted undergoing the procedure.

Columbus police say that Dominic L. Holt-Reid drove his girlfriend, Yolanda Burgess, to Founder's Women's Health Center Wednesday morning while holding her at gunpoint. Holt-Reid allegedly became angry with Burgess after she refused to go through with the procedure scheduled for 9 a.m. that morning.

According to police, after Holt-Reid and Burgess dropped off their 4-year-old son at school, Hold-Reid pulled the handgun from the glove compartment of Burgess' vehicle. Police were notified by an abortion clinic worker to whom Burgess had slipped a note indicating her distress.

Holt-Reid, who was also charged with carrying a concealed weapon, is being detained in the Franklin County jail and is scheduled to appear in Franklin County Municipal Court Thursday morning.

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Democrats Hope Pro-Life Candidate Will be GOP Spoiler in Illinois Pro-Abort Senate Battle

by LifeSiteNews.com Thu Oct 07 11:15 EST Comments (0)

By Peter J. Smith

CHICAGO, October 7, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) – In Illinois voters are faced with two pro-abortion politicians slugging it out for the lead in the senate special election race. However one third party candidate is pro-life, and Democrats are hoping that his candidacy could end up having a spoiler effect on the GOP’s chances to cobble together a majority in the U.S. Senate.

GOP’s Mark Kirk, who is presently serving in the U.S. House, and Democrat Alexi Giannoulias are about evenly matched in their struggle to capture (for the GOP) or retain (for the Democrats) President Barack Obama’s former U.S. Senate seat.

According to Rasmussen, Kirk is just edging ahead of Giannoulias, 45 percent to 41 percent. That’s still within the polling firm’s +/- 4 percent margin of error.

Illinois is listed among four states rated “Toss-Ups” by Rasmussen Reports, which right now predicts 48 Senate seats for the Democrats and 48 Senate seats for the Republicans. The other toss-ups are California, Nevada, and Washington – all these states have pro-life candidates facing pro-abortion opponents.

The GOP’s Kirk has scored a nearly perfect pro-abortion voting record in Congress, according to NARAL Pro-Choice America, but angered abortion activists in November 2009 by voting for the Pitts-Stupak amendment, and against the health care reform bill.

The candidate also has a strong history of voting with gay activists, and received legislative ratings of 76 percent in 2006 and 85 percent in 2008 from the Human Rights Campaign, a homosexual lobby group.

However, Kirk, a former commander in the U.S. Navy Reserve, voted against the repeal of a 1993 law dealing with gays in the military (commonly referred to as Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell), angering gay activists.

The only pro-life candidate in the race is Michael Labno. The Libertarian Party candidate has barely made a blip on the political radar, while Green Party candidate LeAlan Jones is in third place with 4 percent of the vote.

However, Labno’s candidacy recently got a boost in publicity from a high profile endorsement by none other than Giannoulias, who issued a press release welcoming Labno’s official entry on the state ballot. The Democrat, who is trying to deal with Jones’ third-party candidacy, which is taking away what could be Democrat votes, has been eager to highlight Labno’s social and fiscal conservative credentials in a bid to siphon off votes from Kirk, who voted for Wall Street bailouts.

Since the Illinois Senate race is also a special election, the winner of the race will be seated immediately in time for the upcoming lame-duck session, where a bill to overturn the military ban on DADT and abortions on bases will be on the Senate’s agenda, along with 19 other legislative items.

The GOP is counting on Kirk to strengthen their filibuster; he has said he will vote against any lame-duck legislation. Senate Democrats, on the other hand, need Giannoulias in the chamber to keep their 59 seat majority intact in the lame-duck; the odds of enacting their legislative agenda increases if they need to pick off just one GOP vote and not two or more.

Whether Giannoulias’s strategy has any effect on Kirk’s campaign still remains to be seen. So far, more than one out of ten voters say they prefer “some other candidate” (5 percent) or are “not sure” (6 percent).

 

See related coverage by LifeSiteNews.com:

GOP Leads Democrat in Pro-Life Senate Race for West Virginia  
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2010/sep/10092802.html

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Carleton University Rep.: Pro-Life Students Arrested for Trespassing because of Content

by LifeSiteNews.com Thu Oct 07 11:15 EST Comments (0)

By Patrick B. Craine

OTTAWA, Ontario, October 7, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) – While Carleton University said earlier this week that it had five pro-life students arrested mainly because they had set up a display in an area on campus that the university claimed was “not normally permitted” for displays, a university representative today told LifeSiteNews.com that the real issue was “the nature of the content.”

The students – four from Carleton and one from Queen’s University - were arrested around 9:00 a.m. Monday as they were preparing to set up the Genocide Awareness Project, which compares abortion to past atrocities through graphic imagery, in the university’s Tory Quad.  They had been denied that central outdoor location and told to set it up in Porter Hall, a room the students described as out of the way.

Carleton’s director of communications Jason MacDonald told media Monday, in comments published by major media such as the National Post, that the group was denied the space because “student groups are not normally permitted use of the Quad for displays.”  He stated that, “in addition,” there were concerns about the content of the group’s display.

Today, however, the student group issued a press release saying that Carleton was “misleading the public” by suggesting that the pro-life students were asking for special treatment in the use of the public area.

In the release, club president Ruth Lobo said she found it appalling the university would "mislead the public by making the arrest look like we violated university policy instead of what it really was: that Carleton censors opinions on campus thereby violating their own policy of academic freedom."

When LifeSiteNews questioned MacDonald on his previous remarks, he admitted, “The real issue was the nature of the content.”

“Our goal was to balance the desire to allow the Carleton Lifeline group to exercise its right to free speech by offering them a room to set the GAP up in and a table in the galleria to make students aware of the exhibit and direct them to it should they desire to see it,” he added.

Club vice president James Shaw responded to MacDonald’s admission, saying that the group is “astonished that the university admitted to censorship.  It is clear that it is censorship, and that it is because of the message that we were trying to give.  This confirms a lot of things for us.”

“I question why they changed their story, and were misleading people that we weren’t allowed to book the space,” Shaw added.

In their press release, the students insisted that the Quad is listed as bookable space and has been used by student groups in the past.  They pointed out, further, that the university at no point mentioned the space was not bookable during the two parties’ months-long negotiations over the event.

The students’ lawyer, Albertos Polizogopoulos, had written to the university yesterday, listing several occasions in the last few years when the Quad has been used by student groups, such as last month by The Goggles Project, a group promoting sustainability.

“Clearly, Tory Quad has been available for student booking in the past,” wrote Polizogopoulos.  “We therefore request that you refrain from making misleading statements in future.”

In an initial letter to the students in August denying them the space, the university was clear that the issue was content.  “While we wish to provide your group with an opportunity to express itself freely on this matter, we are also aware that The Genocide Awareness Project uses promotional materials which are disturbing and offensive to some,” wrote David Sterritt, the Head of Housing and Conference Services.

"It's clear by their direct communication to us," said Lobo, "that this is content-based discrimination.  This censorship should concern everyone, regardless of one's views on abortion."


Contact Information:

Dr. Roseann O’Reilly Runte, President and Vice-Chancellor  
503 Tory Building  
1125 Colonel By Drive  
Ottawa, ON K1S 5B6, Canada  
Tel: 613 520-3801  
Fax: 613 520-4474  
Email: presidents_office@carleton.ca

See related LifeSiteNews.com coverage:

Five Canadian Pro-Life University Students Arrested for Setting up Display
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2010/oct/10100402.html

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Canadian Center for Bioethical Reform Launches Site with Wealth of Pro-Life Info

by LifeSiteNews.com Thu Oct 07 11:15 EST Comments (0)

By Patrick B. Craine

CALGARY, Alberta, October 7, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A leading Canadian pro-life organization is aiming to “raise the bar” for pro-life activism in the country with the launch of a new website geared to training our multimedia generation in pro-life arguments and strategy.

“We want the site to be a must-stop location for anyone who wants to know about abortion in Canada,” explained Jose Ruba, co-founder of the Canadian Centre for Bioethical Reform (CCBR).

The site features an in-depth and brand-new Pro-Life Classroom with a series of four-to-six-minute video clips illuminating the sound science, philosophy, and reasoning undergirding the pro-life view.  The videos are complemented by written explanations, in basic and advanced form.

“There’s nothing like [the classroom] yet in Canada, in terms of going through systematically all the arguments for the pro-abortion position and showing why that doesn’t make sense,” said Ruba.

CCBR is an educational pro-life organization based in Calgary that aims to “make abortion unthinkable.”  They are known in particular for the use of graphic images of aborted babies to highlight the humanity of the unborn.  Presentations by Ruba and CCBR co-founder Stephanie Gray on university campuses have sparked controversies that put them at the centre of the recent free-speech debate in Canada.

The site includes a detailed section on pro-life strategy, and a teaching section explaining CCBR’s approach to social change.  It also features free, downloadable resources, tools and recommended reading for those facing an unplanned pregnancy or dealing with a past abortion.

Mark Harrington, executive director of the Center for Bioethical Reform’s affiliate in the US Midwest, said, “This is the best website of its kind; and represents one of the biggest contributions of on-line resources to the pro-life movement thus far.”

“We’re actually raising the bar in terms of pro-life training and teaching in Canada,” said Ruba, adding that they hope other pro-life groups will be “proud” of the site.

“We need as pro-lifers – not to compromise our principles – but to be ready to change our presentation as our culture changes,” he said.  “So this is a tool that will be perfect for this generation, this multimedia-online generation.”


The Canadian Centre for Bioethical Reform’s brand-new website can be found here.

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BC Government Sues Contraceptive Patch Manufacturer

by LifeSiteNews.com Thu Oct 07 11:15 EST Comments (0)

By Thaddeus M. Baklinski

VANCOUVER, October 7, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The British Columbia government has filed a lawsuit against pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson Inc., claiming the maker of the "Ortho Evra" contraception patch “aggressively marketed the contraceptive without disclosing the safety hazards associated with Evra.”

The lawsuit claims that women using the patch “did not receive any warnings about the increased risk of developing blood clots, pulmonary emboli, strokes, heart attacks or deep vein thrombosis associated with Evra.”

The BC government is seeking to recover past and future health care costs associated with caring for women who develop serious and sometimes fatal illness as a result of using the dangerous hormonal contraceptive.

The patch delivers the hormones estrogen and progestin directly into the bloodstream through the skin, whereas oral contraceptives, which contain a similar amount of the drugs, must pass through the digestive system before being absorbed.

Health Canada approved the contraceptive in 2002, following approval by the US Food and Drug Administration in 2001.

The lawsuit claims that, although doctors reviewing the clinical trials of Evra before its approval recognized the potential for serious health problems from the use of the patch, Johnson & Johnson was negligent in providing adequate label warnings, failed to conduct long-term use risk studies, and failed to provide Health Canada with complete and accurate risk information.

Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiary Ortho-McNeil Pharmaceutical have faced a string of lawsuits since introducing the Ortho Evra patch.

In 2006, 43 US women sued the company, which was facing approximately 400 similar lawsuits, after suffering long-term debilitating effects from the patch.

At least 23 women have died from the use of this form of contraception, including an 18-year-old New York fashion student who collapsed in a city subway station. An autopsy on Zakiya Kennedy's body found a blood clot had moved into her lungs, and the medical examiner ruled that the clot was a side effect of the Evra birth control patch she was using.

Vancouver pharmacist and writer Cristina Alarcon told LifeSiteNews she is "ecstatic" to see the BC government take this action on behalf of women who are injured by the use of this product.

"I am ecstatic to see that perhaps our government is beginning to take women’s real healthcare needs more seriously," she said. "The history of artificial contraception was fraught with problems from its inception. Today, we continue to be used as guinea pigs for every new brand of synthetic contraceptive that hits the market."

Noting that in 2005 the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), part of the UN’s World Health Organization, classified hormonal contraceptives as Group 1 carcinogens for breast, cervical, and liver cancers, Alarcon observed that "the carcinogenic effects of the Pill are always downplayed for political and ideological reasons. The Pill is a huge money maker for Big Pharma."

"The Evra patch has problems, but then so does the current birth control pill," Alarcon concluded.


See related LSN articles:

43 More Women Sue over Birth Control Patch Dangers
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2006/nov/06110206.html

Woman Sues “Birth Control” Patch Manufacturer for Pulmonary Embolism
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2005/sep/05091303.html

Abortion-Causing Birth Control Patch Manufacturer Faces Class-Action Lawsuit
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2005/jul/05072703.html

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http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2004/apr/04040606.html

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Abortion is not a Right, but a Crime, Say Mexican Women’s Groups

by LifeSiteNews.com Thu Oct 07 11:15 EST Comments (0)

By Matthew Cullinan Hoffman, Latin America Correspondent

MEXICO CITY, October 7, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A coalition of Mexican women's organizations and other NGOs issued a communiqué Tuesday denouncing the promotion of abortion as a "right," a claim made with increasing frequency in the nation's media.

According to Mexico's El Universal newspaper, the organizations decry the use of maternal mortality statistics as a "pretext" to pressure officials to legalize abortion, pointing out that the World Health Organization attributes only 13 percent of such cases to unsafe abortions.

Claudia Perez of Codigo Mujer (Women's Code) observed that the major causes of maternal mortality are not being addressed, and that poor women often don't have access even to antibiotics to treat hemorrhages or infections, a violation of their constitutional right to health care. 

For many politicians and organizations, it is cheaper "to kill her child before it is born and even when it is born" than to provide a woman with the maternal health care she needs, remarked Patricia Lopez Macera of the Center of Integral Formation and Study for Women - Cancún, who added that abortion is not only not a "right" but continues to be a crime according to Mexican law, and is only depenalized in some circumstances.

In addition to the above-named groups, the organizations Sé Mujer (Be a Woman) and the Center for Studies and Reflection of Veracruz were also among the authors of the communiqué, which was issued following two months of increasingly intense activity by pro-abortion organizations in the country.

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Breakthrough: Pro-life Lobby Soundly Defeats EU Attack on Conscience in Dramatic Reversal

by LifeSiteNews.com Thu Oct 07 11:15 EST Comments (0)

By Hilary White

ROME, October 7, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) – An attempt to erase the conscience rights of EU health care workers has been soundly defeated at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) this evening. In a vote of 56 to 51, the PACE rejected the proposal of Christine McCafferty, a British politician and abortion activist, to “regulate” conscientious objectors to abortion across Europe.

The McCafferty Report, titled “Women’s access to lawful medical care: the problem of unregulated use of conscientious objection,” had been identified by pro-life advocates as the latest in a string of EU and PACE efforts to establish abortion as a universal human right.

As of tonight, Resolution 1763, re-titled “The right to conscientious objection in lawful medical care,” instead of creating a requirement for doctors to participate in abortion, actually affirms their right to refuse. The provisional edition published tonight reads, “No person, hospital or institution shall be coerced, held liable or discriminated against in any manner because of a refusal to perform, accommodate, assist or submit to an abortion, the performance of a human miscarriage, or euthanasia or any act which could cause the death of a human foetus or embryo, for any reason.”

Irish senator Ronan Mullen and Luca Volonte of Italy, led the assembly in passing a series of amendments which totally reversed the thrust of the report. The changes forced McCafferty and other pro-abortion Assembly members to vote against their own proposal.

Sophia Kuby, a pro-life advocate and head of the group European Dignity Watch that has been lobbying hard against the McCafferty Report, told LifeSiteNews.com tonight that the surprise turn-around “is a victory for common sense and for freedom” and “a great victory for Europe.”

“Europe has made clear tonight that freedom of conscience constitutes a pillar of a democratic society that needs to be defended, at times also against a radical minority that wishes to limit freedom and impose a unique pro-abortion thinking in Europe,” Kuby said. 
  
“It is a great sign of hope that a majority has clearly voted against a radical pro-abortion, anti-freedom, anti-diversity lobby that tries to establish unhealthy and suffocating legislation.”

The Resolution’s second paragraph affirms the universal right to freedom of conscience, saying, “The Parliamentary Assembly emphasizes the need to affirm the right of conscientious objection together with the responsibility of the state to ensure that patients are able to access lawful medical care in a timely manner.”

It says that the PACE is “concerned that the unregulated use of conscientious objection” may affect low income women or those living in rural areas, but went on to affirm that “in the vast majority of Council of Europe member states, the practice of conscientious objection is adequately regulated.” It “invites” the 47 member states to “develop comprehensive and clear regulations” that protect the right to freedom of conscience.

Anthony Ozimic, communications manager for the London-based Society for the Protection of Unborn Children said, “This evening witnessed an incredible victory for the right of staff in medical institutions to refuse to be complicit in the killing of unborn children and other unethical practices.

“SPUC is immensely grateful to the large number of our supporters who lobbied the assembly in recent months, as well as to Senator Mullen, Mr. Volonte and the assembly-members who supported them.”

A the World Prayer Congress for Life in Rome SPUC's John Smeaton announced the result of today's vote one-half hour after it had taken place. The message was greeted with loud cheers by conference participants, a number of whom, including Smeaton, who had been key players in efforts to defeat the McCafferty Report. 

Canadian gynecologist Dr. Robert Walley, who conducts international medical aid projects and networks with international pro-life physicians, told LifeSiteNews, "tell your readers that there are two gynecologists here who will sleep much better tonight." Walley and many of the Rome conference participants have been very anxious about today's vote. 

See the
final amended resolution as passed today.

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Addressing Homosexuality with “Love in Truth”

by LifeSiteNews.com Thu Oct 07 11:15 EST Comments (0)

By Hilary White

ROME, October 7, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) – What is the best way to present Christian teachings on homosexuality in the face of an increasingly hostile secular culture? How can Christians answer the accusations leveled against their beliefs? John-Henry Westen, LifeSiteNews.com’s editor-in-chief, told an audience of the world’s pro-life and pro-family leaders at a conference in Italy this week that the only way is “caritas in veritate;” to speak the truth in love.

(Read the complete speech here)

It is an act of love, he said, for parents to correct and discipline their children. “It is not love,” he said, “to allow your children to rampantly misbehave without correcting them.”

“So too the Church, especially Her shepherds – the fathers of souls - must feed the flock, must teach the truths however difficult and politically incorrect.  That is true love.”

Speaking at Human  Life International’s Fifth Annual World Prayer Congress for Life north of Rome on Wednesday, Westen proposed that the “vast majority” of clergy and bishops have shied away from the forthright presentation of Christian teaching on all aspects of sexuality out of a fear of losing “human respect” - in essence, out of a desire to fit in and be accepted. 
  
“And what has come of these lapses in teaching? Has the silence of the Church led to cultural peace in these matters? No.” 

Christians, he said, have balked at defending their beliefs in all the areas of concern in the Culture Wars, from abortion, adultery, homosexuality and divorce to human embryonic stem cell research.

“It is precisely in those hard cases where it was believed prudent, or convenient, caring or pastoral, to be silent and appease the prevailing culture.” 

Westen identified the issue of acceptance of homosexuality as particularly urgent across the western world. Homosexual “marriage” is legal in 10 nations; homosexual civil unions are legal in another 20 nations, and the matter is under political consideration in another 43 nations.

Westen posed the question of how Christians can now begin to present their beliefs forthrightly in a culture that is so firmly rejecting them. The answer, he said, is to be found in the Christian principle of love of neighbour. Specifically, the love of those suffering from homosexual temptations and those men and women in the grip of a destructive lifestyle.

“Even from just a medical perspective it is love to oppose homosexual acts,” Westen said.

Addressing a largely Catholic conference audience, Westen highlighted a flaw in the approach of most of the Catholic Church’s hierarchy towards the “gay marriage” debate. He noted that despite the fact that the Vatican forbade silence on the matter of the immorality of the homosexual act, the vast majority of Catholic leaders have failed to teach this relying rather on less controversial arguments in favour of heterosexual marriage.

The 1986 CDF document entitled “Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons” states: “But we wish to make it clear that departure from the Church’s teaching, or silence about it, in an effort to provide pastoral care is neither caring nor pastoral. Only what is true can ultimately be pastoral. The neglect of the Church’s position prevents homosexual men and women from receiving the care they need and deserve.”

“Unfortunately, the ways in which we have communicated the Church’s truth on sexuality, or failed to communicate it, have for the most part helped us to lose the majority of Catholics,” said Westen.

The failure of the Church in recent decades to address effectively the smaller issues, he said, has led to a virtually uncontested field for the opponents of life and family and traditional Christian values.

“The rampant practice of contraception has inevitably led to the abortion holocaust.  Unchecked immodesty and total lack of custody of the eyes has brought us to the near universal addiction to pornography. In vitro fertilization gave us embryonic stem cell research.  Homosexual acts by their acceptance have led to homosexual ‘marriage’ and even restrictions on the freedom of religious practice in various nations.”

Westen said that homosexualist activists, in seeking to create “gay marriage,” had little interest in committed, permanent unions, but were rather focused on attaining marriage “as a societal stamp of approval to homosexual behaviour.”

Societal approval of their behaviour, he said, is sought as a means of quelling the voice of conscience. “For practicing homosexuals as with all those engaged in aberrant sexual behaviour, the conscience speaks uncomfortably.”  

Westen received a standing ovation after his talk with numerous conference participants personally thanking him for the talk throughout the day. After the talk Westen received invites from pro-life leaders to speak in England, New Zealand and Austria and one European Bishop expressed interest in having John-Henry to come to his diocese to speak to his priests and seminarians.

Read the full text of Westen’s talk here.

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Family is Under ‘Permanent Attack’ by United Nations, Says Cardinal

by LifeSiteNews.com Thu Oct 07 11:15 EST Comments (0)

By Matthew Cullinan Hoffman, Latin America Correspondent

GUADALAJARA, Mexico, October 7, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The Cardinal Archbishop of Guadalajara, Mexico, Juan Sandoval Iñiguez, gave a speech Sunday in which he lashed out at the United Nations and other international organizations that he says are running a campaign to destroy the family.

"The family is being permanently attacked," said the cardinal at a meeting of the international Catholic relief organization, Caritas. "And the organizations that are in charge of rearranging the family are powerful organizations, beginning with the United Nations Organization, the World Bank, the Interamerican Bank, the big leftist parties in the world."

The United Nations Organization, said the cardinal, has been promoting a new concept of "gender" since 1995. "Gender isn't something like [the sex of a person], but rather a relationship, with whomever I interact sexually," he added.

"If we so decide, for example, bestiality, well that would be another gender, doing it with animals, fetishism, where men get excited by feminine dress and live that way."

Sandoval Iñiguez observed that the same organizations are also vigorously promoting the legalization of abortion in poorer countries, promoting the idea of "the right of the woman over her body, and it is propagated everywhere, and they have required governments, because they are in debt, they have required governments to accept abortion in their laws."

The cardinal's comments come in response to an increasingly intense campaign waged in recent months by Mexican pro-abortion and homosexualist groups, often funded and coordinated by foreign organizations and governments, to change Mexico’s laws on abortion and gay “marriage.”

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YouTube Censors Pro-Life Sermon Seen by Millions of Brazilians

by LifeSiteNews.com Thu Oct 07 11:15 EST Comments (0)

By Matthew Cullinan Hoffman, Latin America Correspondent

October 6, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Google's YouTube service decided to give an "X" rating on Tuesday to a pro-life sermon given by a Brazilian pastor that has been seen by over four million people, and which appears to have had a serious impact on the Brazilian Presidential elections.

Viewers who attempt access to the link are now given a warning that "it is possible that the content of this video or group is inappropriate for some users in accordance with the way that the YouTube user community has indicated."  In order to see the video, users must now log in to YouTube and indicate that they are eighteen years of age or older.

The video depicts a sermon given by Paschoal Piragine Jr, pastor of the First Baptist Church of Curitiba, in which he denounces the pro-abortion and homosexualist policies of Brazil's ruling Labor Party.  During the sermon Piragine shows a video to his audience that includes photos of aborted babies, and ends with a call to vote against the Labor Party.

During the same time as millions of Brazilians were viewing the video, the Labor Party's presidential candidate Dilma Rousseff saw her support from Evangelicals drop dramatically, provoking threats of legal action against Piragine by at least one high ranking government official.

In combination with similar statements made by Catholic bishops and priests and other Evangelical pastors, Rousseff lost several percentage points of voter support and failed to win the Brazilian presidential contest on the first voting round on Sunday.  She will now face a runoff in early November.

Following Rousseff's defeat, which her party's leadership has blamed on "fascists," YouTube announced the partial censorship of the video, without giving a detailed explanation.

Reinaldo Azevedo, a columnist for Brazil's Veja magazine, decried the measure, accusing YouTube of "a form of censorship against the Evangelical pastor," and asking "who requested it?"

Quoting YouTube's message calling the video "inappropriate" for some users, Azvedo responded: "Well! You don't say!  Inappropriate for whom?  Especially for the Labor Party, huh?"

Azvedo said that the video "is not exposing anyone's privacy and it is not slander.  It is political criticism, whether you agree with it or not."


Previous LifeSiteNews coverage:

Brazilian Pastor Threatened by Government for Opposing Pro-Abortion Policies  
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2010/sep/10091713.html

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