Wednesday, December 15, 2010

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Adult stem cells cure man with HIV, claim scientists

by John Jalsevac Wed Dec 15 18:45 EST Comments (0)

 

December 15, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A team of researchers has claimed that a German patient has been cured of both HIV and leukemia after receiving a bone marrow transplant that included stem cells from an HIV-resistant donor.

“Our results strongly suggest that cure of HIV has been achieved in this patient,” wrote the authors from the Charite-University Medicine Berlin, in the pre-released article on the website of the journal Blood.

The patient, 44-year-old Timothy Ray Brown, first tested positive for HIV in 1995, and then was diagnosed with leukemia in 2006.

After intense chemotherapy failed, doctors turned to the last-ditch option for leukemia sufferers – a highly risky bone marrow transplant.

This time, however, the transplant would have a twist. The doctors decided to search for, and found, a marrow donor with an extremely rare genetic mutation that renders the subject practically invincible to HIV infection.

Now, three years after the transplant, the researchers say that they cannot find any trace of the HIV-infected cells, and have pronounced the patient “cured.”

The extraordinary case is just the latest breakthrough for adult stem cells, which have been used in countless successful therapies, while their much-touted rival, embryonic stem cells, have failed to produce a single viable cure to date.

Despite the promising results in Brown’s case, however, experts warn the cure used on Brown is unlikely to yield any widely applicable HIV cure, given the riskiness of the procedure used and the rarity of the mutation.

Some have also warned that while it may appear that Brown has been completely “cured,” there is the possibility that HIV-positive cells are still lingering in his body.

US AIDS researcher Margaret Fischl told the Miami Herald “I would call this a functional cure.”

“It’s on the level and a very remarkable case. But would we do this with an HIV patient? No.”

Tags: aids, stem cells

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Numerous bishops clarify pope did not approve condoms in any circumstances

by John-Henry Westen Wed Dec 15 18:19 EST Comments (3)

 

VATICAN, December 14, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) – From America to Africa and the Philippines to Australia, at least forty of the world’s bishops (that we are aware of), including four Cardinals, have spoken out publicly to affirm that Pope Benedict did not approve the use of condoms in the new book-length interview Light of the World. The massive media misrepresentation of the pope’s remarks on condoms in that book has created confusion amongst many, including some prominent Catholic leaders.

In the last few weeks seven American bishops, and all 26 bishops in Kenya, Africa, have joined bishops from the Vatican, Australia, Spain and the Philippines in attempting to set the record straight, stating plainly that the Pope did not justify the use of condoms under any circumstances.

LifeSiteNews has compiled the key statements made by some of these Catholic Church Bishops on the question.

(Interventions by Vatican Cardinal Raymond Burke, Sydney Cardinal George Pell backing the statement of Australian Bishop Anthony Fischer,  as well as Philippines Cardinal Ricardo Vidal, the Archbishop of Cebu have previously been covered on LifeSiteNews.com)

UNITED STATES

Youngstown, Ohio Bishop George Murry

“A careful reading of (the Pope’s) remarks reveals, however, that Pope Benedict neither proposed any change to the teaching of the Church on the immorality of the use of contraceptives, nor does he justify condom use, or characterize their use as a lesser evil. … Pope Benedict was not justifying condom use for male prostitutes or for anyone else.”


Providence, Rhode Island Bishop Thomas Tobin

“It’s still wrong. It’s still evil. But if a person uses condoms to prevent the spread of disease, at least there is some kind of humanity there, some kind of decency, that the pope referred to as the first step toward moralization,” Tobin said.


Denver Colorado Archbishop Charles Chaput Nov 21:

“But intense controversy—at least in Europe and the United States—has always surrounded the Catholic rejection of condom use in AIDS prevention. The Church holds that condom use is morally flawed by its nature, and that, equally important, condom use does not prevent AIDS and can actually enable its spread by creating a false sense of security.”

“In the context of the book’s later discussion of contraception and Catholic teaching on sexuality, the Pope’s comments are morally insightful. But taken out of context, they can easily be inferred as approving condoms under certain circumstances.”


Toledo, Ohio Bishop Leonard Paul Blair, said on December 11:

“In 2009 Pope Benedict made the claim that condom distribution is not helping, and may actually be worsening, the spread of HIV/AIDS in Africa. Now in 2010, he reaffirmed this claim in a recent book interview in which he repeats what he has said in the past, namely, that condoms are not the answer morally or otherwise to the scourge of AIDS.”

“All the pope did was to express a hope that maybe in the hypothetical situation he describes the use of a condom might be the first stirring of a conscience on the long road to conversion.”


Springfield, Illinois Bishop Thomas John Paprocki

“(The Pope) does not say that the condom use is justifiable or acceptable, but only that it “can be a first step in the direction of a moralization, a first assumption of responsibility.” That’s not saying much. That reminds me of the news reports a few years ago about the so-called “Gentleman Bandit” who was given that nickname because he was very courteous to the bank tellers during a hold-up. One could say that the thief’s courtesy “can be a first step in the direction of a moralization, a first assumption of responsibility,” but that does not justify his theft. He was still a crook!”


San Angelo, Texas Bishop Michael Pfeifer

“The pope has indicated he’s not providing any change in church teachings,” Pfeifer said Tuesday. “He’s trying to make a point that a person, like a known prostitute, if they were to use a condom to prevent passing on a disease like HIV, it could be the first step in the conversion of that person’s life.”

“In no way is he saying prostitution is acceptable. In no way is the use of a condom acceptable,” Pfeifer said.


Fargo, North Dakota Bishop Samuel Aquila said on Nov. 22:

“Despite recent news articles which falsely construe the words of Pope Benedict XVI to suggest otherwise, that teaching has not changed in any way.”

“The Holy Father is not condoning the use of condoms, but making an observation regarding the awakening of a sense of responsibility in the people who are caught up in the habitual sin of prostitution. He does not offer a new moral evaluation of the use of condoms, neither in principle nor practically in this circumstance, but is merely describing a psychological development as one, even in the grip of sin, can begin to acknowledge the safety and human dignity of another.”


SPAIN

Bishop Juan Antonio Martinez Camino, General Secretary of the Spanish Bishops’ Conference

Noted on Nov. 26, at the conclusion of the Spanish bishops’ 96th plenary assembly, that the use of condoms “always” takes place “within a context of immorality.” Thus, he continued, it “can never be recommended.”


KENYA

Nairobi Kenya Cardinal John Njue and the 25 other Kenyan Bishops signed a statement Nov 29:

“We reiterate and reaffirm that the position of the Catholic Church as regards the use of condoms, both as a means of contraception and as a means of addressing the grave issue of HIV/AIDS infection has not changed and remains as always unacceptable.”

“The church and indeed the Holy Father reaffirms that “naturally the Church does not consider condoms as the “authentic and moral solution” to the problem of AIDS.”

“(The Pope) is not speaking on the morality of the use of condoms, but on something that may be true about the psychological state of those who use them. If such individuals are using condoms to avoid harming another, they may eventually realize that sexual acts between members of the same sex are inherently harmful since they are not in accord with human nature. This in no way condones the use of condoms in itself.”

Tags: benedict xvi, catholic, condoms, pope

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Historic ecumenical defense of marriage ignored by media

by Chuck Colson Wed Dec 15 16:59 EST Comments (1)

 
Chuck Colson

Dec. 15, 2010 (BreakPoint.org) - Nearly two decades ago, theologian Timothy George coined the expression “the ecumenism of the trenches.” It referred to the way that Protestants and Catholics had managed to set aside their theological differences and work together on the picket lines in defense of human life and the family.

“Setting aside” isn’t the same as “sweeping them under the rug.” The differences remain real and worth arguing about. It was simply recognition that there are times when it’s necessary to move beyond our divisions and stand together, especially when the most important issues like life and marriage are gravely threatened.

The letter (which you can read here) is entitled “The Protection of Marriage: A Shared Commitment.” The word “shared” isn’t mere rhetoric. Among its signers are include leaders from various Christian traditions including Catholics, Orthodox, Anglicans, Baptists, Evangelicals, Lutherans, and Pentecostals.

Unlike the Manhattan Declaration, this letter is not limited to Christians: Its signatories include other faiths, like Jewish and even Sikh leaders.

What the signers all share is the belief that marriage is the “permanent and faithful union of one man and one woman.” It is the “natural basis of the family” and “an institution fundamental to the well-being of all of society.” All of society, not just religious believers.

As Archbishop Timothy Dolan put it, “people of any faith or no faith at all can recognize that when the law defines marriage as between one man and one woman, it legally binds a mother and a father to each other and their children, reinforcing the foundational cell of human society.”

Thus, “the law of marriage is not about imposing the religion of anyone, but about protecting the common good of everyone.”

This last point is especially important: At the same time that the statement was being issued, the Ninth Circuit was hearing arguments in Perry v. Schwarzenegger, which overturned California’s ban on same-sex marriage.

At the heart of the district court’s ruling was the idea that the ban served no rational purpose and was merely the imposition of a religious point of view.

As the letter makes clear, if anything, the opposite is true: traditional marriage is a universal human phenomenon and the kinds of things Judge Walker is talking about, like so-called gay “marriage,” they’re the real imposition in this case.

Maybe that’s why you would have been hard-pressed to hear or read about the letter in the media. The same people who trip all over themselves to tell us what the likes of Lady Gaga think about so called same-sex “marriage” were conspicuous by their silence in this instance.

What a double standard! The news media report everything about the gay-rights movement. But a statement historic in its broad sweep of religious leaders is utterly ignored.

So, it’s up to us to spread the word. The only way people are going to understand that our belief in tradition marriage is not the product of “religion-based hostility to homosexual persons” as the court says, is if we tell them. The only way they are going to understand what is universal and what is now being imposed on them is if we show them.

But these are times we live in. The media may be silent, but we must winsomely, lovingly speak the truth to our neighbors.

This article reprinted with permission from www.breakpoint.org

Tags: chuck colson, faith, gay marriage, marriage

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The dangerous worlds of analog parents with digital teens

by Albert Mohler Wed Dec 15 16:48 EST Comments (1)

 
Albert Mohler, President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

Dec. 15, 2010 (AlbertMohler.com) - Sunday’s edition of The New York Times gave front-page attention to the problem of adolescent bullying on the Internet. There can be no question that the Internet and the explosion of social media have facilitated the arrival of a new and deeply sinister form of bullying, and the consequences for many teenagers are severe. For some, life becomes a horror story of insults, rumors, slanders, and worse.

Meanwhile, many parents are baffled about how to help — if they are not completely out to lunch.

As Jan Hoffman reports: “It is difficult enough to support one’s child through a siege of schoolyard bullying. But the lawlessness of the Internet, its potential for casual, breathtaking cruelty, and its capacity to cloak a bully’s identity all present slippery new challenges to this transitional generation of analog parents.”

These “analog parents” are often vastly outgunned in terms of expertise with social media as compared to their digital offspring and their adolescent peers. It comes as no surprise, therefore, that the bullies are winning the war.

One New Jersey lawyer asked a room filled with seventh-graders if they had ever been “cyberbullied.” Out of 150 students, 68 raised their hands. She then asked, “How many of your parents know how to help you?” Only three or four hands went up.

As the article reveals, many parents do not even seem to know that the “smart” phones they have given their children are actually mobile computers. Other parents seem oblivious to the fact that these devices both send and receive messages. Still others cling to a dangerous and irresponsible notion of adolescent privacy.

Parents must take control. Arming themselves with knowledge is the first step but summoning the courage to establish clear boundaries, rules, and consequences is of equal importance.

Just two weeks before the cyberbullying story, the paper ran another front-page article on the distracted nature of digital adolescents. Reporter Matt Richtel told of teenagers who were seemingly unable to do their homework and reading assignments, simply because they could not put away their digital devices.

For 17-year-old Vishal Singh, the book always seems to lose out to the computer. Representative of millions of his peers, Vishal feels much more at home in the virtual world of his digital life than in the real world, where books must be read, tests must be taken, and grades will be assigned.

Consider these paragraphs:

[Vishal] also plays video games 10 hours a week. He regularly sends Facebook status updates at 2 a.m., even on school nights, and has such a reputation for distributing links to videos that his best friend calls him a “YouTube bully.”

Several teachers call Vishal one of their brightest students, and they wonder why things are not adding up. Last semester, his grade point average was 2.3 after a D-plus in English and an F in Algebra II. He got an A in film critique.

“He’s a kid caught between two worlds,” said Mr. Reilly [his school principal] — one that is virtual and one with real-life demands.

Both Vishal and his mother agree that he lacks the self-control to turn off the computer and open the book. He is not alone. Richtel tells of Allison Miller, 14, who “sends and receives 27,000 texts in a month, her fingers clicking at a blistering pace as she carries on as many as seven text conversations at a time.” Sean McMullen, a 12th-grader, plays video games for four hours a day on school days and doubles that on weekends. These teenagers are not isolated cases — they represent what constitutes a new normal among American adolescents.

This sentence from the article is particularly haunting: “He [Sean] says he sometimes wishes that his parents would force him to quit playing and study, because he finds it hard to quit when given the choice.” Are they listening?

Both articles are worth a closer look, but the imperative to parents is clear enough. Parents of adolescents and young people cannot afford to be stuck in an analog world with outdated expertise, even as their offspring are digital natives living in an increasingly distracted and dangerous world.

Parents cannot be spectators in the lives of their children, but they should set rules, establish expectations, enforce limitations, and constantly monitor their teenagers’ digital lives. Anything less is a form of parental negligence.

When a teenage boy tells a newspaper reporter that he wishes his parents would force him to turn off his digital devices and do his homework, we can only wonder if his clueless parents will ever get the message.

The New York Times deserves credit for two truly important reports on the digital lives of America’s teenagers. These two reporters have been doing the work every parent of teenagers should have been doing all along.

The last word belongs to 16-year-old Katherine Nevitt, who wrote a letter to the editor in response to the Richtel article. She had decided on her own to limit her digital exposure and decrease her distractions. “I can only urge my fellow teenagers to do the same,” she wrote. “That is, the three of you reading this.”

This article reprinted with permission from www.albertmohler.com

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Prime Minister Stephen Harper votes against bill banning coerced abortion

by Patrick B. Craine Wed Dec 15 15:32 EST Comments (23)

 
Prime Minister Stephen Harper (Photo: World Economic Forum)

OTTAWA, Ontario, December 15, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Prime Minister Stephen Harper today voted against Bill C-510, a private members bill seeking to ban abortion coercion.  The bill failed 97-178 in a second reading vote this afternoon.

Harper had opposed the bill since it was first introduced by Conservative MP Rod Bruinooge in April.  The PM had said he would “oppose any attempt to create a new abortion law.”

Jim Hughes, national president of Campaign Life Coalition, said Harper was “crazy” to show up and vote against the bill and called it a “political miscalculation.”  “Whoever advised him didn’t do him any service,” he said.

Bruinooge told the House in the debate on Monday that “mothers should never have to make a choice between protecting themselves or the child they love.”

A vote against the bill, he said, “will be seen as a choice to turn a blind eye to a horrible injustice.”

Abortion proponents labeled it “a front to attack a woman’s right to choose” and argued that it aimed to bring in restrictions on abortion through the back door

Known as Roxanne’s Law, it was named after Roxanne Fernando, a Manitoba woman whose boyfriend attempted to coerce her into having an abortion after she became pregnant in 2007.  After refusing to have the unborn child killed, Roxanne was beaten and left to die in a snow bank.

The bill had gained wide support among religious and pro-life organizations, including the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, the Canadian Bishops’ Catholic Organization for Life and Family, and Priests for Life, among numerous others.

Campaign Life Coalition, the political arm of Canada’s pro-life movement, had called on MPs to pass the bill and send it to committee so that the language could be tightened up.  They expressed concern that certain clauses in the bill could be interpreted to frame abortion as a permissible option.

“For all the people that have argued all along that Mr. Harper is pro-life, perhaps this will show them once and for all that he isn’t, he doesn’t have a hidden agenda,” said Hughes.

He said they weren’t surprised the vote failed, and had only expected about 88 votes.  “Back to the drawing board.  Hopefully the next time we come up with something, we’ll have better results,” he said.

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Historic national pro-life youth rally to take place after March for Life

by Kathleen Gilbert Wed Dec 15 15:09 EST Comments (1)

 

December 15, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) - On Wednesday, top U.S. pro-life groups announced that they will host the first-ever National Pro-Life Youth Rally to complement the annual March in Washington, D.C.

The rally will be held on Monday, January 24, 2011, the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton Supreme Court decisions.

The event, co-sponsored by Students for Life of America, Rock for Life, 40 Days for Life, and the Human Life Alliance, is being advertised as an opportunity for pro-life youth to gather with other young people from across America, take a stand for life, and learn how to save lives in their schools and communities.

“As recent polls have shown, the youth of America are the most pro-life generation since Roe v. Wade and we are working with that generation to end abortion in our lifetime,” commented Kristan Hawkins, head of Students for Life and Executive Director and Founding Organizer of the National Pro-Life Youth Rally.

“A quarter of our generation – possibly our best friends, siblings, or spouses – have been aborted. It is time for this injustice to end, and we look forward to hosting the first National Pro-Life Youth Rally to bring awareness to the greatest human rights battle of this generation,” she added.

The rally will be held on the U.S. Capitol Lawn in Washington, D.C. and kick off with music from award-winning Christian recording artists Barlow Girl, followed by national pro-life speakers such as Dr. Alveda King, former Planned Parenthood Director, Abby Johnson, David Bereit of 40 Days for Life, Kristan Hawkins of Students for Life of America, Erik Whittington of Rock for Life, Lila Rose of Live Action, and Ryan Bomberger of TooManyAborted.com.

Those who pre-register for the rally will be mailed a free Abolish Abortion, National Pro-Life Youth Rally bracelet that will guarantee entrance to the event. Because space will be limited at the Rally, organizers say that pre-registration is highly recommended.

Free Action Kits with pro-life literature, music download cards, and action materials will be be provided at the Rally to the first 5,000 participants.


For more information and to register, go here.

Tags: abortion, march for life

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Carhart covers up abortion career in Maryland license application

by Kathleen Gilbert Wed Dec 15 14:56 EST Comments (0)

 
Leroy Carhart

BALTIMORE, Maryland., Dec. 15, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) - LeRoy Carhart is perhaps the best known abortionist in the nation, yet when he applied for a license to practice medicine in Maryland in September, he appears to have concealed the true nature of his risky late-term abortion practice.

Operation Rescue recently received a redacted copy of Carhart’s application for Maryland licensure, which was obtained through a Maryland Public Information Act request.

On page two of the application, Carhart lists his current position as Medical Director and Staff Physician of “Bellevue Health/Emergency Clinic, Inc.” located at 1002 West Mission Avenue in Bellevue, Nebraska. This is actually the address of his infamous abortion facility, better known as the Abortion and Contraception Clinic of Nebraska.

In addition, nowhere on Carhart’s application does he mention that he was an employee for over a decade of George Tiller’s now-closed Women’s Health Care Services. That omission, as well as the omission of other abortion clinics that Carhart has worked at in the past 20 years in eight states, helps to conceal the nature of Carhart’s late-term abortion business, says the pro-life group.

“Looking at his Maryland medical license application, there is no mention of abortion anywhere. One is lead to believe that Carhart is an emergency room physician and university professor,” said Operation Rescue President Troy Newman.

“When the most notorious abortionist in the world tries to cover up what he does for a living, you know he has something to hide.”

Operation Rescue has submitted to the Maryland Board of Physicians documentation on the death of Carhart patient Christin Gilbert during a 3rd-trimester abortion in 2005, and the numerous botched abortions with which Carhart was involved in Kansas. The complaint demands that the Board reconsider Carhart’s license.

Newman said that he and his group “intend to press the issue with the medical board and other authorities until women are safe from Carhart’s deceptive and exploitive abortion practices.”

Tags: abortion, carhart

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Quebec parent furious over explicit oral sex info given to 8th graders

by Thaddeus Baklinski Wed Dec 15 14:47 EST Comments (3)

 

MONTREAL, December 15, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The father of a grade 8 student at Monseigneur Parent High School in the Montreal suburb of St-Hubert was so incensed by the sexually explicit school material given to his daughter that he went to the media to bring attention to the situation.

The teacher of the girl’s Grade 8 class gave the students a pamphlet produced by the Toronto-based Canadian AIDS Treatment Information Exchange (CATIE) as part of an HIV prevention campaign, reports Quebec Media Inc. (QMI). The pamphlet provided detailed explanations about how to perform “safe” oral sex and contained a list of vulgar sexual expressions.

Andrew Byette, director of the local school board, defended the teacher’s actions, saying the flyer was marked as appropriate for teens, according to QMI Agency.

However, CATIE official Veronique Destrube said the flyer was designed for 18-year-olds, not 13-year-olds.

“This document should not have been distributed to 13-year-olds,” she said. “I am astonished. It’s not something we would have done. ”

“If these weren’t to be distributed in classes, why did they make them available?” Byette retorted.

Byette added that the father of the girl had not complained to the school. However, QMI reports that the father has said he intends to lodge a formal complaint.

The same school board suspended a teacher at another of its schools last month for handing out a quiz to eighth-grade students that included explicit questions about genitals, anal sex, and lesbianism.

Contact info:

Monseigneur Parent High School
3875, boulevard Grande-Allée
Saint-Hubert, Québec J4T 2V8
Phone: 450 676-0261
Fax: 450 676-8036
Email: mgram_parent@csmv.qc.ca

Andrew Byette, Director
Marie-Victorin School Board
13, rue St-Laurent Est
Longueuil, Quebec J4H 4B7
Phone: 450 670-0730
Email: info@csmv.qc.ca

Tags: aids, quebec, school, sex

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Canada’s abortion numbers cut in half?

by Patrick B. Craine Wed Dec 15 13:40 EST Comments (0)

 

OTTAWA, Ontario, December 15, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Government statistics on abortion for 2007 and 2008 released on Tuesday appear to indicate there were only 44,416 abortions in 2008, down from the reported 91,377 abortions in 2006.  However, a closer look reveals that this total leaves out abortions committed at private facilities. These are left as “unknown” because facilities in six out of the 13 provinces/territories failed to report.

The quality of Canada’s abortion statistics have been questioned by pro-life advocates in recent years.  John Hof, executive director of Campaign Life Coalition B.C., called the latest statistics, and the way that they are gathered, a “scandal.”  If the abortion facilities do not have to report, he asked, “then what’s the purpose of keeping statistics?”

“How are we ever going to hold to account, from a fiscal perspective, those abortion clinics, if they won’t tell anybody how many abortions they’re doing?”

Once the figures from private facilities in the seven reporting provinces/territories are tallied up, the total for 2008 climbs to 94,010 abortions.

Even this figure is lower than the actual number, says the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) in the new release, due to the voluntary nature of reporting for private facilities.

The CIHI collects abortion statistics on behalf of the government every year through what is called the Therapeutic Abortion Survey.

Pro-life advocates highlighted the flawed nature of the survey last year when the 2006 total (91,377) appeared to show a major drop from the 105,535 reported in 2002. But the 2006 figure, they pointed out, did not include abortion numbers from British Columbia, New Brunswick, and Manitoba.

The 2008 numbers were down slightly from 2007, where the total is listed at 47,318-47,326 abortions.  After adding up the available numbers from private facilities, the number is 97,009-97,017.

In both years, abortion appears to have been most common for women aged 20-24, who procured 22% of reported abortions.  This figure does not include Quebec, however, because the province did not provide an age breakdown.

The most common gestational age to abort was 9 to 12 weeks in both years, with 8 weeks and under the second highest.  At 21 weeks or later, CIHI reports 556 abortions in 2008 and 552 in 2007.  About 40% of the hospital abortions did not specify gestational age.

“Canada does not do 47,000 abortions a year,” said Hof.  “Canadians need to know that we’re paying for way more than that, double and more, according to the abortion industry itself.”


The statistics are available at the Canadian Institute for Health Information’s website.

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Linda Gibbons to remain in jail over Christmas

by Tony Gosgnach Wed Dec 15 12:51 EST Comments (1)

 

TORONTO, Ontario, December 15, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) – At the conclusion of a hearing into Linda Gibbons’ case on Tuesday, Judge Mara Beth Greene reserved a ruling on an abuse of process application until January 12. This ensures that Gibbons, who refuses to sign bail conditions requiring she stay away from abortion sites, will remain imprisoned over the Christmas season.

Arguments for and against a judge hearing the abuse of process application consumed the majority of time when Gibbons made her latest appearance in a downtown Toronto courtroom on a charge of disobeying a court order. At issue is a letter from Gibbons’s previous lawyer that should have been provided to her current defense team as part of normal Crown disclosures, but was not.

The letter made it clear that lawyer Peter Jervis was not acting as her counsel in 2001. That was when an adjournment was called in meetings on the status of a temporary court injunction that had been issued in 1994, prohibiting pro-life activity around certain Toronto abortion sites. Without representation, Gibbons – who remains silent in court proceedings out of solidarity with the unborn – could not have legally given her assent to the adjournment.

Crown attorney Mathew Asma, at a previous hearing on December 1, said his office was unable to find the letter in its files. But despite its apparent mismanagement of documents, the Crown has sought a summary dismissal of the abuse of process application. Asma claims issues such as missing documents are irrelevant and simply part of a “collateral attack” against the court injunction itself.

At the latest hearing, defense lawyer Daniel Santoro submitted that the Crown’s decision to enforce the injunction now, 16 years later, is abusive and a dereliction of duty. The Crown was aware, he said, that Jervis had ceased being Gibbons’s counsel shortly after 1994 and that she was unrepresented in 2001.

“Institutional negligence has carried on into the present case,” he said. “I have a big problem with the failure to recover that letter … I don’t see how you can lose correspondence of that nature … Their negligence has carried on into this proceeding.”

Asma again submitted that the defense arguments were part of a “collateral attack” against the injunction and that Gibbons was seeking “immunity” from its terms. “Miss Gibbons has an avenue of appeal through the Superior Court,” he said. “She has chosen not to take it ... That does not give her a holiday from justice.”

Asma also argued that Jervis had to formally remove himself from the record in representing Gibbons and that a letter was not sufficient to do so. “You can’t say the Crown was acting improperly in following the law … Mr. Jervis was on the record in 2001.” He added that Gibbons has a history of refusing to participate in court proceedings and there is “no reason” to think she would have participated in 2001.

Judge Mara Beth Greene observed there are a lot of issues surrounding what happened in 2001 and there is evidence that could be fleshed out. “There is an obligation upon the court that all parties agreed to the adjournment.”

Meanwhile, Santoro has sent a request to the Supreme Court of Canada for it to hear an appeal into a conviction of Gibbons on an earlier charge of disobeying a court order. The appeal is being made on the grounds that the case was improperly heard in a criminal, rather than civil, court. (The 1994 injunction under which she was convicted had been pronounced in a civil court.)

The Crown, supplying case law to back its position, is opposing the application on the grounds that it has no merit and the question of venue is not an important issue. Santoro differs, arguing that various courts in Canada have ruled divergently and it is incumbent on the Supreme Court to decide the matter once and for all.

It will likely be three to four months before it is decided whether the Supreme Court will hear the appeal.

Cards and letters to Linda Gibbons can be sent to:

Linda Gibbons
Vanier Center for Women
655 Martin Street, Box 1040
Milton, Ontario
L9T 5E6, Canada

Supporters can also send a donation to Friends of Linda, a formal trust fund established in Gibbons’ name to help with expenses such as medical, travel, financial, legal defense and family needs when she is eventually released from prison. Cheques can be written to “Friends Of Linda” and sent to:

Friends Of Linda
c/o John Bulsza
431 Boler Road
P.O. Box 20021
London, Ontario
N6K 2K0, Canada

Tags: abortion, canada, christmas, linda gibbons

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Ultimatum: Phoenix bishop set to revoke Catholic status of hospital that performed abortion

by Kathleen Gilbert Wed Dec 15 12:11 EST Comments (6)

 
Bishop Thomas Olmsted

PHOENIX, December 15, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The Catholic bishop of Phoenix has warned that a local hospital where doctors directly killed an unborn child late last year will lose its status as a Catholic institution unless it submits to a review to ensure it will comply with Catholic church teaching.

Bishop Thomas Olmsted issued the warning to Lloyd Dean, president of the San Francisco-based Catholic Healthcare West (CHW), in a November 22 letter obtained by The Arizona Republic. CHW is the parent company of St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center, where the abortion was performed.

The conflict began in May of last year, when Olmsted announced that Sr. Margaret McBride, then the hospital’s vice president of mission integration, and any other staff member that directly facilitated the murder of the unborn baby had automatically excommunicated themselves from the Church by doing so.

Hospital officials claimed that killing the unborn child at 11 weeks gestation was necessary to save the life of its mother, who was suffering from pulmonary hypertension, a condition that can be aggravated by pregnancy.

Though the details of the case remain confidential, other experts deny that it would be necessary to perform an abortion even in the case of severe pulmonary hypertension, and say that the mother should have been able to remain stable at least until the baby could be prematurely delivered.

The Catholic Physicians Guild of Phoenix came out in support of Olmsted the same month, and the US Conference of Catholic Bishops supported Olmsted’s assertion that a direct abortion - unlike forms of therapy that may indirectly lead to the child’s death - is always a grave transgression of Catholic moral guidelines.

Olmsted’s letter, which copied San Francisco Archbishop George Niederauer, warned Dean that he expected allowance to oversee the Catholic identity at the hospital in his diocese, and that, “Until this point in time, you have not acknowledged my authority to settle this question.”

“There cannot be a tie in this debate,” the bishop wrote, according to The Republic. Olmsted said he “must act now” to prevent further abuses and “repair the grave scandal to the Christian faithful that has resulted from the procedure.”

Olmsted said that, in order to remain in good standing with the diocese, the hospital would have to backtrack on its endorsement of the abortion, submit to a diocesan review and certification for compliance with Catholic moral teaching, and agree to ongoing training for medical staff on the U.S. bishops’ Ethical and Religious Directives.

Both the hospital and CHW have yet to respond publicly to the letter.

Tags: abortion, catholic, olmsted

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Pitchfork politics: the feds are targeting conscientious doctors

by Kristan Hawkins Wed Dec 15 11:44 EST Comments (1)

Dec. 15, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Get the pitchforks out — America is hunting physicians.  Instead of calling off the dogs, President Obama is leading the charge.  In March of 2009, Obama called to rescind the conscience protection clause that was implemented by Health and Human Services on January 20, 2009.  Then he adamantly backed the passage of the healthcare reform law, which leaves physicians’ conscience rights open for attack from nearly all sides.

Why should you care about the conscience rights of doctors?  Because whether doctors have conscience rights may determine whether you have a doctor.

The sacred doctor-patient relationship is based on the assumption that patients and their doctors share similar moral beliefs.  Patients want doctors who can help them make informed decisions within our moral frame of reference because they share our values.  And physicians want to be able to follow their consciences when they practice medicine and have the power to say “no” to certain medical procedures without having to fear being reprimanded or losing their jobs.

That’s not a hypothetical situation.  The Washington Post noted that Obamacare does not protect medical professionals opposed to a procedure like abortion from discrimination by federal, state, and local governments, nor from hospitals and clinics.  This means that if a physician refuses to perform an abortion because it violates her conscience, she could lose her job and have no recourse.

Catherina Cenzon-DeCarlo knows this all too well.  This New York nurse was forced by her supervisors to help abort a 22-week-old preborn baby at Mount Sinai Hospital, despite her long-standing agreement with the hospital allowing her to opt out of abortion procedures.  She states, “It felt like a horror film unfolding … I felt violated and betrayed.”

Starting in 2009 and continuing until today, polls have shown that most Americans oppose abortion.  Amid the growing pro-life atmosphere in America, Obama supports a double standard that tells pro-life medical professionals that they cannot exercise their free will and conscience rights, while patients desiring abortions can.

But isn’t America just catching up to the times and is this not the situation across the world?  No.  For example, the Irish Medical Council’s 2004 Guide to Ethical Conduct and Behavior states: “Medical care must not be used as a tool of the State, to be granted or withheld or altered in character under political pressure.  Doctors require independence from such pressures in order to carry out their duties.”

The nation is already facing a shortage of doctors and nurses.  Because of Obamacare, millions more patients will be flooding the system in coming years.  In an online survey of nearly 3,000 faith-based physicians, 95% of them said they would stop practicing medicine rather than violate their conscience.  And the New England Journal of Medicine published a survey that said one-third of all physicians would stop practicing if Obamacare was passed.

Where will patients go when doctors are forced out of their profession?

We must tell President Obama to call off the dogs.  He preaches tolerance but does not tolerate medical professionals who decline procedures on religious or moral grounds.  As long as these physicians are portrayed as inhuman monsters, government agencies and organizations will hunt them down with the pitchforks of lawsuits.

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