Wednesday, October 12, 2011

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Army general flares: ‘where were the churches’ in fight against Don’t Ask repeal?

by Kathleen Gilbert Wed Oct 12 17:33 EST Comments (31)

 
Lieutenant General Jerry Boykin at the Values Voter Summit on Saturday.

WASHINGTON, D.C., October 12, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - One of America’s most seasoned war generals expressed frustration at the silence of Christian churches as the U.S. military’s ban on open homosexuality fell to a repeal effort earlier this year.

Lieutenant General Jerry Boykin described at the Values Voter Summit on Saturday the exasperation of pro-family leaders in Washington who found themselves abandoned by church leaders unwilling to make a stand for the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. Boykin, who spent the majority of his career in the Special Forces, was mission commander of the battle portrayed in the Hollywood movie “Black Hawk Down,” and accepted the surrender of Panama military dictator Manuel Noriega in 1989.

According to Boykin, “nobody in this country fought a greater fight” against normalizing homosexuality in the military than Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, himself a former Marine who joined forces with senator and fellow veteran John McCain.

“John McCain kept turning to Tony Perkins saying, ‘Where’s the church? Where are the spiritual leaders?” said Boykin.

“The answer was, they were silent. The church was silent.”

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Besides a large number of military chaplains, few church leaders in America spoke up publicly against the Obama administration’s campaign last year to pass the repeal in Congress.

Notably, while the Vatican had released a statement in 1992 supporting a ban on open homosexuality in the military, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops remained silent on the repeal effort, leaving military Archbishop Timothy Broglio to defend the ban alone. When questioned on the controversy in December 2010, Washington’s Cardinal Donald Wuerl demurred, saying “there isn’t a specific Catholic Church position” on the issue.

Boykin, a former Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence, told his conservative audience, “Christians have to rise up like a mighty army to be the salt and light.”

“Today, the church has lost its moral authority. The church has ceded its authority to the ACLU, and CODEPINK and MoveOn.org. They’re the ones with the real influence today,” he said. The veteran pointed to Europe as a good example of what will happen if America continues to lose sight of its identity as “founded on Judaeo-Christian principles.”

“Europe is hopelessly lost,” he said. “Folks, this could happen in America if we continue to be asleep, if the church does not rise up. The church has to get back to the fundamentals ... of the gospel of Jesus Christ.”

“We have to stop compromising on the gospel of Christ because ... we’re afraid somebody’s gonna be offended. Let me tell you something: when the Gospel of Jesus Christ offends people, that’s exactly when they need to hear it.”

 

Tags: dadt, don't ask, homosexuality, jerry boykin

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National gathering of Argentinean attorneys rejects homosexual ‘marriage’ as unconstitutional

by Matthew Cullinan Hoffman Wed Oct 12 17:27 EST Comments (0)

 

October 12, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Law professors attending Argentina’s most important conference on civil law have voted to declare that the nation’s recently-passed homosexual “marriage” legislation is unconstitutional.

The legal scholars also recommended the prohibition of homosexual adoption, and condemned the legal concept of multiple mothers or fathers of the same child as incompatible with the nation’s civil code.

The resolutions were passed at the biannual National Symposium on Civil Law (Jornadas Nacionales de Derecho Civil), held this year at the prestigious National University of Tucumán from September 29 to October 1.

In a 32-24 vote, the commission assigned to the topic of homosexual “marriage” rejected Argentina’s Law 26.618 as unconstitutional.  The law, which creates the institution of homosexual “marriage,” was passed in July of 2010 by the National Congress and signed into law by President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner. The attorneys also voted 22-8 to recommend that the law be replaced with a civil unions measure.

Adoption of children by homosexual couples was also rejected in an overwhelming 26-11 committee vote. “We propose the derogation of the adoption of a child by the other member of a homosexual couple, and the establishment of an impediment to the possibility of adopting in such circumstances,” the committee resolved.

The attorneys also rejected the concept of two mothers or two fathers for a single child in a 34-8 vote, noting, “In the area of filiation by nature, the Civil Code consecrates the binary system (mother-father), so that in the case of marriage between two women or two women living together, the child gestated by one of them cannot have two mothers.  The woman who gestates the child is the only mother of the child.”

The resolution constitutes a serious blow to the homosexual political agenda in Argentina, which is seeking to establish the gay sex partner of a parent as the other “parent” of the other’s child.

The Symposium, which is the largest of its kind for civil attorneys in Argentina, reported its highest attendance to date this year, with over 2,200 participating, including professors of law, practicing attorneys, and law students. Only law professors have the right to vote.

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New far-left, pro-abortion, anti-religion party rockets to third place in Polish election

by Jeremy Kryn Wed Oct 12 17:17 EST Comments (6)

 
Leader of the pro-abortion, anti-family, anti-religion Palikot’s Movement (RP) party, Janusz Palikot

WARSAW, October 12, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A brand new far-left, pro-abortion political party led by vodka tycoon-provocateur Janusz Palikot soared to a third-place finish in Sunday’s Polish elections. Last month, Palikot told the Polish edition of Newsweek magazine that he wants to be the “new Messiah of the Left.”

“Life is beautiful. Everything is possible,” Palikot told a roaring crowd of supporters at his Warsaw campaign headquarters Sunday night. “It’s a great inspiration to know that in Poland there are millions of people who want a secular state, a civil and friendly state in which one’s faith is the private matter of each individual.”

In the country’s first parliamentary elections since the mysterious Smolensk plane crash took the life of President Lech Kaczynski, his wife, military leaders, and numerous high level government officials in April 2010, Palikot’s Movement (RP) received 10% of the vote and won 40 seats in the lower house of Poland’s parliament, the Sejm.

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RP political goals include the end of religious education in state schools, the end of state subsidy of churches, the reversal of the restitution of church properties nationalized under communism, a ban on clergy at official state ceremonies, and the legalization of abortion on demand.  They are also demanding free access to contraceptives, the recognition of homosexual “marriage” and the legalization of drugs.

Palikot, who has suggested that the late President Kaczynski was himself to blame for the catastrophic Smolensk plane crash, is known for courting controversy. During an April 2007 press conference, he wore a T-shirt saying “I am from the Democratic Left Alliance,” a pro-abortion political party, on the front, and “I am gay” on the back. At another press conference that same month, he produced a gun and a dildo. In January 2009, Palikot questioned in his blog whether former center-right prime minister and identical twin brother of the late president, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, was gay.

RP, which was only registered as a political party June 1, 2011, enabled the election of Wanda Nowicka, the head of Poland’s 4,000-member Federation for Women and Family Planning. Nowicka’s organization includes the Polish branch of the world’s largest abortion provider International Planned Parenthood Federation.

Nowicka had launched a criminal lawsuit against Polish pro-life leader Joanna Najfeld after Najfeld claimed she was on the “payroll” of the abortion and contraception industry in a February 2009 television debate. A judge ruled last month that Najfeld was “not guilty.”

RP also enabled the election of Poland’s first “transsexual” member of parliament (MP). Krzysztof Grodzki, who completed a male-to-female “sex change” in 2010 and calls himself “Anna.”

RP’s parliamentary representation will include the country’s first homosexual MP, Robert Biedron. Biedron, who was accused of assaulting a police officer in Warsaw last year, was an unsuccessful parliamentary candidate from the Democratic Left Alliance (SLD) in 2005.

“This will be a modern, European-style left,” Biedron told the Gazeta Wyborcza newspaper Monday. “Welcome: Come with us!”

The ranks of RP will include former priest and founder of the left-wing weekly Fakty i Mity, Roman Kotlinski, and assistant editor of the anti-clerical weekly NIE, Andrzej Rozenek. Between 2002-2003, Kotlinski led the anti-clerical Reason of the Polish Left party. Andrzej Rozenek was an unsuccessful SLD candidate in 1993.

Platforma Obywatelska (PO), described as “centre-right,” which Palikot left last year, obtained approximately 39% of the vote and won a plurality of seats, 209 out of 460, a loss of two seats.  The former left-wing Polish People’s Party (PSL), which had previously been the junior partner in the governing coalition and won 8% and 28 seats Sunday, has said that it wishes to continue with the coalition agreement. Prior to Sunday’s vote, Tusk had ruled out cooperating with Palikot.

The conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party, led by Jaroslaw Kaczynski, took around 29% of the vote and 157 seats.

In addition to PO, PiS, RP, and PSL parliamentary representation, Poland’s new Sejm will include 27 SLD members and 1 member from the German Minority party.

Poland’s new parliament appears to include at least 130 members who recently voted for an unsuccessful ban on all abortions or who were identified as pro-life by the PRO Foundation. Pro-life members include many from the main opposition PiS, as well as some from the PO-PSL coalition.

The unsuccessful ban received 186 votes in August.

Returning parliamentarians who voted against the ban on all abortions include many from the prime minister’s PO party and some SLD members. Polish media report that PO leader Donald Tusk will appoint an opponent of the ban on all abortions, Health Minister Ewa Kopacz, as parliamentary speaker.

 

Tags: abortion, homosexuality, poland

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U.S. Supreme Court allows ruling denying two dads on birth certificate to stand

by John Jalsevac Wed Oct 12 16:58 EST Comments (7)

 

WASHINGTON, DC, October 12, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The U.S. Supreme Court refused to review a case involving unmarried same-sex partners who unsuccessfully sued to change an adopted boy’s birth certificate to state that the child had two fathers. The Supreme Court’s decision means that the federal court of appeals decision against the couple will stand.

Mickey Smith and Oren Adar, an unmarried same-sex male couple, adopted a Louisiana-born infant in New York in 2006. They sought to have the child’s birth certificate reissued in Louisiana, replacing the names of his biological parents with their own. The registrar refused the request, taking the position that “adoptive parents” means married parents, because in Louisiana only married couples may jointly adopt a child. Adar and Smith sued the registrar, claiming that her decision denies full faith and credit to the New York adoption decree and violates their equal protection guarantees.

However, the ruling by the en banc (16 judges) Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals stated the couple could not force Louisiana to change the birth certificate to state that the child had two “dads.”

The ruling affirmed the distinction between “recognizing” the existence of an out-of-state order versus “enforcing” the out-of-state order on a state in which it conflicts with the state’s law. In other words, one state that allows same-sex marriage or same-sex adoption cannot force another state to enforce such an out-of-state law or order against its own law.

“This decision is a big victory against the relentless efforts of activists to export same-sex unions to states that affirm the mother-father paradigm for family,” said Mathew Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel and Dean of Liberty University School of Law.

Tags: adoption, homosexuality, new york

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Romney says he supports ‘partnership agreements’ for same-sex couples

by Jeremy Kryn Wed Oct 12 16:13 EST Comments (1)

 
Mitt Romney

HOPKINTON, New Hampshire, October 12, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney was pressed on abortion and homosexual “marriage” at a town-hall style meeting Monday. At the campaign event in Hopkinton, New Hampshire, Romney reaffirmed that he is “firmly pro-life” and that he views marriage as a “relationship between one man and one woman,” but said that he is in favor of same-sex “partnership agreements” that would afford certain rights.

“We’re going to call marriage what it’s been called for 6,000 years or longer: A relationship between one man and one woman,” Romney said according to CNSNews. “That’s my own view and there are alternative views.”

When a young woman told Romney that she was raised by her mother and grandmother, Romney said that while some people are raised by one parent, through divorce, through death, or through a parent out of wedlock, “in my view, a society recognizes that the ideal setting for raising a child is when you have the benefit of two people working together and where one is male and one is female.”

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When a follow-up question confronted Romney on homosexual civil unions, Romney suggest that he is in favor of some form of a “partnership agreement” for same-sex couples.

“What I would support is letting people who are of the same gender form – if you will – partnership agreements if they want to have a partnership with someone else and have as a result of that such things as hospital visitation rights and similar benefits of that nature,” he said.

CNSNews reports that Romney did not explain what other rights might be included in such partnership agreements, or whether they were the same or different than civil unions.

Romney had publicly denounced a Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court decision in November 2003 recognizing homosexual “marriage.” However, he was criticized by pro-family advocates because his administration subsequently ordered the state’s Justices of the Peace to perform the “marriages” before the legislature acted.

Romney has signed a National Organization for Marriage pledge to defend traditional marriage.

Romeny, a frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination, also told the town hall attendees that he would like to “return to the states the authority to decide whether they want to have abortion or not.” Romney, who supported abortion as recently as his 2002 campaign for Massachusetts governor, said during his 2008 presidential run that he had a pro-life conversion in 2004 during the legislative debate over embryonic stem cell research.

Earlier this year Romney refused to sign a pro-life pledge by the Susan B. Anthony List.

Tags: abortion, election 2012, homosexuality, mitt romney

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General Boykin’s comments reflect the experiences of many life and family warriors

by Steve Jalsevac Wed Oct 12 16:05 EST Comments (4)

 

October 12, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The comments of Lieutenant General Jerry Boykin at the Value Voters Summit accurately reflect what very many pro-family leaders have experienced for years as they have valiantly struggled to defend traditional family life and sexual morality. This has especially been the case regarding abortion, but even more so on the issue of homosexuality.

Religious leaders have mostly (with some notable exceptions) been strangely, even ominously, silent or ineffective, if not even hostile, while heroic faithful lay men and women have endured persecution for standing up for what the religious leaders should have been leading. This is no small problem. It is proving to be near catastrophic to our social, moral and even political order as traditional freedoms of religion and conscience and even democracy itself are being gradually swept away.

One thing is very much needed: the faithful have got to pray more for their religious leaders. They need to thank and affirm those leaders who do boldly preach and act as they should. But also - which far too many resist - there is a great need for Christians to firmly, persistently, but always respectfully urge their negligent pastors, bishops, etc. to stop being politicians and money men or just plain cowards - and lead the flock. If they refuse, they should get out of the way, retire, let other ordained men take on the really tough, messy tasks that they have been unable or unwilling to address.

We are running out of time. The religious leaders and the silent, lukewarm believers need to be shaken awake. The time for timidity is long gone. If you indeed love your children and grandchildren and your nation and God, NOW is the time to act.

Tags: dadt, homosexuality

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Legal Australian brothels linked to human trafficking, sex slavery and organized crime

by Thaddeus Baklinski Wed Oct 12 15:59 EST Comments (0)

 

MELBOURNE, Australia, October 12, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Prostitution may be legal in the Australian provinces of Victoria and New South Wales, but this hasn’t stopped legal brothels from having ties to human trafficking, sex slavery and organized crime, according to recent police investigations.

The results of the investigations have led critics to denounce the decriminalization of prostitution in these states. The Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) said the government attempt to regulate the sex trade has failed, and has exacerbated rather than solved the dangers to the women involved.

A report in The Age states that state authorities have not taken action against legal brothels in Victoria and New South Wales - at least three in Melbourne and two in Sydney - that have been linked to an international sex slavery ring run by Asian organized crime.

“A trade that encourages workers to undertake regular health checks for STIs and requires the provision of panic alarms clearly is one that cannot claim to provide anything remotely approaching a safe workplace,” said ACL’s spokeswoman on human trafficking Michelle Pearse.

“But more than that, government legalization of prostitution sends a message that it is OK for men to purchase a woman’s body for sex.

“This increases the demand for sexual services – a demand that can never be met by the legal industry and the few women who freely choose to participate in this largely exploitative trade.”

Pearse pointed out that “the shortfall in demand can only ever be made up through illicit means, such as coercion and human trafficking, as the evidence from Victoria and New South Wales so clearly demonstrates.

“Illegal brothels in Victoria are believed to at least equal the number of legal ones,” Pearse said.

Pearse called on the governments of the Australian Capital Territory, Western Australia, South Australia and Tasmania, which are in the process of reviewing their prostitution laws, to not follow the failed approaches of the large eastern states in decriminalizing or legalizing prostitution.

“The last thing vulnerable and desperate women need in a society that claims to value gender equality is to be told that selling their bodies for sex is a legitimate career option,” she said.

Pearse pointed to Sweden, where purchasing sex has been criminalized “in order to limit the demand and the associated harms of the trade.”

“Many other countries are now following Sweden’s lead,” Pearse said.

In many countries where prostitution has been legalized, such as the Netherlands, Bulgaria, Finland and Norway, governments already have or are currently reconsidering their decision after rates of child prostitution, sex trafficking and organized crime increased dramatically.

Sweden’s strategy in dealing with prostitution is an example of legislation that experts agree actually works and which has nearly eradicated prostitution in that country.

Sweden in 1999 passed legislation that criminalized the buying of sex, while decriminalizing the selling of sex.

“In Sweden prostitution is regarded as an aspect of male violence against women and children. It is officially acknowledged as a form of exploitation of women and children and constitutes a significant social problem ... gender equality will remain unattainable so long as men buy, sell and exploit women and children by prostituting them,” says Swedish literature explaining the law.

Tags: prostitution

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D&P ex-directors slam bishops over pro-life reforms

by Patrick B. Craine Wed Oct 12 15:11 EST Comments (10)

 

MONTREAL, Quebec, October 12, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Three former executive directors of the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development & Peace have accused Canada’s bishops of adopting “draconian measures” in an effort to stage a “total takeover” of the beleaguered group.  They warn that the bishops’ approach risks “over emphasizing” the moral norms of Humanae Vitae.

In three separate documents, dated September 9th, the directors say some bishops have used LifeSiteNews’ reports as a “pretext” to question D&P, and they accuse the CCCB of adopting “unjustified control measures in the hope of quieting critics.”

The documents, published by the ‘Soutenons DetP’ blog in advance of the bishops’ October 17-21 plenary meeting, were authored by Fabien Leboeuf, who served as executive director from 1996-2001; Gabrielle Lachance, who served from 1988-1996; and Jacques Champagne, who served in the 1970s.

In one of the documents, Leboeuf outlines the “history of tensions” between D&P and the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB), pointing out that the current “crisis” at D&P is only the latest of numerous crises dating to D&P’s beginning years in the 1970s.

In another, Lachance argues that recent and impending changes to D&P’s governance and practices signal a “total takeover of the organization by the bishops,” which he says “seriously undermines the importance given to the role of laypeople over the history of the organization.”

The directors are particularly upset over D&P’s decision to involve the local bishop in decisions about partnering with groups in their dioceses, as well as the CCCB’s creation of a standing committee to oversee D&P’s work.

Lachance likens the bishops’ standing committee to a “trusteeship,” and says that involving the local bishop “leaves the selection of projects to the discretion of the individual bishop’s opinion, rather than basing it on known, tried, professional, and consistent criteria.”

Leboeuf criticizes the CCCB for aligning itself with the Vatican’s effort to “rein [Catholic charitable groups] into a pre-Vatican II model of Church.”

And Lachance suggests that by focusing D&P’s renewal on Pope Benedict XVI’s Caritas in Veritate there is a risk of “over emphasizing the moral issues raised in Humanae Vitae,” which he says could result in “the questioning of projects to assist abused women and rape victims.”

In Caritas in Veritate, Pope Benedict highlighted the prime importance of respecting human life in the Church’s development activities. “Humanae vitae indicates the strong links between life ethics and social ethics,” the pope wrote.

The directors tout the CCCB’s 2009 report from their investigation in Mexico that cleared D&P and said LifeSiteNews acted as “a counter-witness to that Gospel spirit that should guide all Christians.”  For example, they criticize the CCCB for “the instigation of tighter controls over Development and Peace despite the fact that the [2009] report cleared Development and Peace of all suspicions.”

According to Leboeuf, LifeSiteNews has been “relentless in its campaign to discredit Development and Peace,” and “to turn up anything that could be misconstrued to create the impression that the organization supports the right to abortion in any way.”

“It is abundantly clear that nothing short of its dismemberment, or the abandonment of the social justice principles incorporated into Development and Peace’s mandate, will satisfy LifeSiteNews,” he writes.

The D&P crisis today, as well as those going back to the 1970s, has shown “the timidity of most of the bishops in face of accusations by extreme rightwing groups” and “the bishops’ tendency to allow the position of a few bishops that basically distrusted Development and Peace to prevail,” writes Leboeuf.

LifeSiteNews did not hear back from Development & Peace by press time.

See all the documents here:
* DP email to staff
* History of tensions
* Impact of recent decisions

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Canada’s ‘hate speech’ provision faces the chopping block

by Peter Baklinski Wed Oct 12 14:39 EST Comments (8)

 
Conservative MP Brian Storseth

OTTAWA, Ontario, October 12, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A private members bill introduced into the Canadian House of Commons is seeking to delete the controversial “hate speech” provision in the Human Rights Act that has been used to silence Christians and conservatives who express politically incorrect opinions.

“I’ve been working with colleagues to try to make sure that we make some changes to a piece of legislation that is flawed and — quite frankly — has been abused over the last several of years,” said Conservative MP Brian Storseth (Westlock-St. Paul, AB) who introduced the bill, to Sun News.

Bill C-304 proposes to delete Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act (CHRA) to ensure that there is no “infringement on freedom of expression” as guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. It received its first reading on September 30th, 2011.

Critics of section 13 have long argued that the clause creates the precise equivalent to a ‘thought crime.’ The provision defines a discriminatory practice as “any matter that is likely to expose a person or persons to hatred or contempt” if the person or persons affected are “identifiable on the basis of a prohibited ground of discrimination.”

In 2008, the Canadian Human Rights Commission (CHRC) hired constitutional law expert Professor Richard Moon to examine Section 13 of the act. In his report, Moon’s principle recommendation was that section 13 be repealed.

Bill C-304’s successful passage would also strike out section 54 of the act, the penalty clause for those convicted of transgressing section 13.

“This is really about freedom of speech in our country and pushing back on the tyrannical bureaucracy need to censor speech in our country,” said Storseth calling “free speech” a “fundamental bedrock of our society.”

“If we don’t have freedom of speech, what good are the other freedoms that go along with it? What good is the freedom to assemble or religious freedoms if you don’t have the freedom of speech in the first place?”

Bishop Fred Henry of Calgary is supporting Storseth’s bill. The bishop faced complaints in 2005, based upon a similar clause in the Alberta Human Rights Act, for defending traditional marriage in a pastoral letter.

“In Canada, we do not arrest people who are ‘likely’ to break the law. The law must actually be broken,” said Bishop Henry to the Catholic Register, referring to the ambiguous wording of section 13.

“I believe that the complaints that were lodged against me were an attempt to intimidate and silence me, and in point of fact, the lodging of these complaints constituted a violation of my right of freedom of expression and freedom of religion guaranteed by the Charter of Rights and Freedom,” said Bishop Henry.

In the last 15 years, decisions by various Human Rights Commissions have penalized those who adhere to traditional Judaeo-Christian values.

Mayors have been fined for refusing to proclaim ‘gay pride’ days. A teacher was suspended for writing against homosexuality outside the classroom. A printer was fined for refusing to print materials for a homosexual activist group. A pastor was hauled before the courts for publishing a letter in a local paper calling pro-homosexual literature “psychologically and physiologically damaging” to young children. And even a political party was chastised for promoting Christian teaching on homosexuality.

“We really need to engage Canadians on this,” said Storseth.

“Canadians have an opportunity to have a voice. They need to make sure they are heard. They need to make sure that they e-mail or call their local member of parliament and let them know how important it is to them.”

Storseth hopes that the bill will be debated at the beginning of November and that the first vote will take place at the end of that month.

“I’m going to be working very hard on both sides of the aisle as freedom of speech is something that really should be a non partisan issue.”

Contact your member of parliament here.

Tags: freedom, homosexuality, human rights commission, section 13

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Obama vows to veto Protect Life Act - vote set for Thursday

by Kathleen Gilbert Wed Oct 12 14:11 EST Comments (16)

 
President Obama has vowed to veto the Protect Life Act

WASHINGTON, D.C., October 12, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – President Barack Obama has promised to veto a bill strongly backed by pro-life leaders as a last-ditch effort to dodge the potentially massive expansion of abortion under the new federal healthcare reform law.

Majority Leader Eric Cantor announced last week that the Protect Life Act, H.R. 358, will be considered in the House of Representatives on Thursday. The measure would amend President Obama’s Affordable Care Act to reflect the Hyde amendment by prohibiting taxpayer dollars from funding any health plan that includes coverage of elective abortions. The measure retains Hyde’s exception for abortions performed due to the child’s conception in rape or incest or to save the mother’s life.

The bill also makes clear that no health insurance carrier may be forced to provide coverage of abortion in any of its health plans, and strengthens the conscience rights of health care workers and institutions to reject abortion training, procedures, or referrals.

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President Obama, whose administration fought vigorously last year to keep Hyde amendment language out of the health care bill, announced that he “strongly opposes” the bill because it “intrudes on women’s reproductive freedom and access to health care,” claiming the health care bill already preserves federal policy against tax funding for abortion.

“H.R. 358 goes well beyond the safeguards found in current law and reinforced in the President’s Executive Order by restricting women’s private insurance choices,” said the White House in a statement Wednesday. “If the President is presented with H.R. 358, his senior advisors would recommend that he veto the bill.”

Pro-life leaders, including the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, contend that the bill is critical for preserving the status quo on abortion and conscience rights in the face of a health reform that promises to drastically alter the landscape of the abortion battle in America.

The health bill has already led to a major expansion of the abortion industry: health officials announced this summer that virtually every private insurer, including sectarian institutions, would soon be forced to offer free contraception, abortifacient birth control, and sterilization in its health plans as part of an essential “preventive care” package.

Click here to contact members of the House via the National Right to Life Committee.

 

Tags: abortion, health care, obama

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Swedish authorities threaten to completely revoke parental rights of homeschooling couple

by Thaddeus Baklinski Wed Oct 12 13:06 EST Comments (5)

 
Domenic Johannson with his parents.

STOCKHOLM, October 12, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Swedish authorities that seized a seven-year-old boy from his family because the parents chose to homeschool him are threatening the parents with permanent loss of their child and a complete termination of their parental rights.

Swedish police snatched Domenic Johansson, son of Christer and Annie Johansson, in June 2009 from an airplane bound for India, Annie’s homeland. The main reason for the seizure was that Domenic was homeschooled. Since then Domenic’s entire family has been denied virtually any contact with their son.

Domenic, now 9 years old, has been held in state foster care for more than 24 months.

In June 2010, the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) and the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) filed a joint application on behalf of the Johansson family at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) and have been working to support the family since shortly after Domenic’s seizure.

“The United States Supreme Court has called the termination of parental rights the family court equivalent of the death penalty,” stated Michael Donnelly, Director of International Relations at the Home School Legal Defense Association.

“The government shouldn’t abduct and imprison children simply because it doesn’t like homeschooling.  That’s bad enough. But now the state is going even further by attempting to get the parents out of the way altogether,” said ADF Legal Counsel Roger Kiska. “This simply cannot stand.  We will do everything in our power to help reunite this family.”

Both ADF and HSLDA are currently asking for letters to be written to Swedish officials and embassies in an attempt to renew attention to the family’s case and to encourage Swedish officials to release Domenic back to his family.

Prime Minister of Sweden Fredrik Reinfeldt
Mailing Address: Rosenbad 4, SE-103 33 Stockholm
Phone: +46 8 405 10 00
Email via website here.

Swedish Embassy in Ottawa
Ambassador to Canada Ingrid Iremark
377 Dalhousie St.
Ottawa, Ontario
Phone: 613-244-8200
Fax: 613-241-2277
Email: sweden.ottawa@foreign.ministry.se

Swedish Embassy in Washington DC
Ambassador Jonas Hafström
2900 K Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20007
Phone: (202) 467-2600
Fax: (202) 467-2699
Email: ambassaden.washington@foreign.ministry.se

Tags: domenic johansson, homeschooling

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Killing babies is ‘sacred work’? That’s what one Planned Parenthood clinic thinks

 

October 12, 2011 (40DaysforLife.com) - Yesterday I prayed at the 40 Days for Life campaign at a Planned Parenthood facility in Dover, Delaware.

You will see frequent references to Planned Parenthood in these daily updates — after all, of the 301 vigil locations for this 40 Days for Life campaign, 133 of them are outside Planned Parenthood facilities.

That’s because Planned Parenthood is America’s leading abortion chain — 332,278 abortions in one year alone!

Now Planned Parenthood is trying to spruce up its image. It has to; its financial stability is at stake.

According to their own annual report, this organization took in $1.1 BILLION during that year. Of that total, $363 MILLION came directly from YOU through federal, state and local taxes.

The bible warns of those who would call good “evil” and evil “good.” As you will see, that’s exactly what Planned Parenthood does.

VIRGINIA BEACH, VIRGINIA

Today’s title refers to a banner hanging from Planned Parenthood’s Virginia Beach building. It reads: “Planning for parenthood is sacred work.”

If “planning for parenthood” means a husband and wife prayerfully cooperating with God’s will within holy matrimony, then that can be sacred.

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But that isn’t what they’re talking about — not at an abortion center.

40 Days for Life volunteers in Virginia Beach gathered last Friday, as Deacon Robert Durel of Holy Spirit Catholic Church led about 75 people in prayer.

Some of the participants brought a banner of their own: “Planning to kill babies is NOT sacred work.” And they prayed — diligently — that God will overcome this darkness.

PLANNED PARENTHOOD FACTS

You may have been told that Planned Parenthood provides healthcare for poor women and prevents abortions — and that abortion accounts for only 3% of its services.

That is hardly the case.

Nearly every Planned Parenthood “service” may be obtained from a county health department, community clinic or private physician. All except one — abortion.

How can an organization that, by its own admission, carried out 332,278 abortions (the annual total increases EVERY YEAR), claim to prevent them?

Planned Parenthood says abortion comprises only 3% of its services. That’s true — IF you use a definition of “service” that treats abortions, birth control prescriptions and STD tests as equal.

However, when you look at clinic income, you get a much clearer picture regarding the importance of abortion to Planned Parenthood.

According to their own annual report, Planned Parenthood’s clinic income was $405 million. As noted, they performed 332,278 abortions. Assuming an average cost of $500 per abortion, that means abortion brought in $166 million.

That figure represents 41% of Planned Parenthood’s total clinic income. As always, follow the money.

I could say much more about Planned Parenthood. But for today, I would just ask you to please PRAY.

  1. PRAY that the light of truth shines on this organization and its activities.
  2. PRAY that the people who work there will see that light — and seek honorable work elsewhere.
  3. PRAY that the women seeking abortions there will understand — and choose life for their babies.
  4. PRAY!

Reprinted with permission from 40DaysforLife.org

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Undercover calls reveal Medicaid covering $9,000 late-term abortions

by Kathleen Gilbert Wed Oct 12 11:27 EST Comments (5)

 

ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico, October 12, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - An undercover audio investigation has been released in which a New Mexico abortion clinic worker tells a potential client that an $8-9,000 elective abortion at 27 weeks gestation would be fully covered by taxpayer Medicaid dollars.

As debate over tax funding of abortions in Obamacare is scheduled in Washington, D.C. for Thursday, Operation Rescue and Project Defending Life say their investigation shows that millions of state tax dollars are already paying for abortions each year. Operation Rescue released a short video containing excerpts from an undercover recording showing that Medicaid not only pays for abortions, but completely covers gruesome third-trimester abortions for no medical reason.

At least half of Medicaid, a joint government program funded completely by tax dollars, comes from federal taxes in any given state. State-collected tax funding makes up the difference, which depends on the state’s poverty level. According to the Hyde Amendment, federal Medicaid dollars are to be barred from funding abortions except in cases of rape, incest, and the life of the mother, but this does not apply to state funds.

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The caller in the investigation identified herself as having a healthy pregnancy in the 26th week of gestation to a Southwestern Women’s Options employee named Sue. She told Sue that the reason she wanted an abortion was because her husband had just lost his job.

Operation Rescue has identified 15 states where Medicaid funds pay for abortions. Those states are Alaska, California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Vermont, Washington, and West Virginia.

The undercover caller phoned abortion clinics in 12 of those states and in every case was told that Medicaid would pay for abortions.

“It’s shocking that our tax dollars would pay $9,000 for a third-trimester abortion simply because of a lost job. The vast majority of the American people strongly object to their tax money being used in this way,” said Operation Rescue President Troy Newman.

State tax money frequently funds abortions to the tune of millions of dollars annually. For example, according to Operation Rescue, California’s Medicaid program paid out over $23.6 million to cover abortions in 2007 alone.

Pro-life leaders also say that abortion clinics have been known to strategically target Medicaid funding as a way of increasing business: one abortion fund website coaches women how to obtain free abortions through Medicaid, Operation Rescue notes.

“If we are serious about stopping tax-funded abortions, then we need end it in every government program at the state and federal levels,” said Newman. “We encourage everyone to contact their U.S. Congressman this week and demand a complete end to publicly funded abortions.”

 

Tags: abortion, obama, operation rescue

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99% of people with Down syndrome say they are happy: so why are most Down’s babies aborted?

by Mark W. Leach Wed Oct 12 10:43 EST Comments (4)

 
99% of people with Down syndrome say that they are happy, but over 90% of Down's children in many Western countries are aborted.

October 12, 2011 (thePublicDisourse.com) - October is National Down Syndrome Awareness Month. Fittingly, the American Journal of Medical Genetics recently published groundbreaking research that challenges conventional wisdom about raising a child with Down syndrome (DS). Responding to these studies, noted bioethicist Art Caplan predicted that, nevertheless, they will not “make a bit of difference to parents deciding to end pregnancies once [DS] is discovered in the fetus.” Actual experience contradicts Caplan’s pessimism.

The new research reports the findings of three surveys in which thousands of parents and hundreds of siblings and individuals with DS themselves, were questioned about what it is like to be affected in one way or another by DS. Ninety-nine percent of parents said they loved their child with DS and 97 percent were proud of them; only 4 percent regretted having their child. While 4 percent of siblings would “trade their sibling” with DS, 96 percent indicated that they had affection toward their sibling with DS, with 94 percent of older siblings expressing feelings of pride. Finally, although 4 percent of individuals with DS expressed sadness about their lives, 99 percent said they were happy with their lives and 97 percent liked who they are.

Caplan believes that most mothers will still abort, even after this research has been released, simply because it is a fact that, currently, most mothers do abort following a prenatal diagnosis. This fact, however, does not support Caplan’s callous conclusion that “Down syndrome is almost universally seen as something to be avoided.”

The most recent studies find that there are more babies than ever being born with DS in the United States. Moreover, there are hundreds of families on waiting lists to adopt a child with DS. As for the high percentage of mothers who terminate, that does not support the conclusion that they are seeking to avoid DS.

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Certainly some are, but study after study has found that up to half of all women accepting prenatal testing did so without making an informed decision, and that half did not expect they would have to decide whether to abort following a prenatal diagnosis. To his credit, Caplan recognizes that prenatal testing can result in uninformed and unexpected decisions to terminate, due to medical professionals and general society often having “nothing good at all to say” about DS. Indeed, one study has found that almost a quarter of physicians actively urge abortion, or emphasize the negatives about DS in order to encourage it. Even for those committed to non-directive counseling, a majority of physicians and genetic counselors have said that they would abort following a prenatal diagnosis for DS, which no doubt affects how a diagnosis is presented. Other recent studies also have found that a significant percentage of adults, youths, and physicians still hold outdated views about DS and would prefer that children with DS were segregated from, rather than included in, the community and typical classrooms. Therefore, those who choose to abort often are seeking to avoid an inaccurate, uninformed, and overly negative view of a life with DS, which is not supported by the current research.

Caplan laments that this “climate for having kids with Down syndrome, happy though they may be, is not good.” But Caplan’s own words contribute to maintaining this lamentable climate.

Caplan writes as though aborting a fetus somehow avoids Down syndrome. An abortion will prevent a child from being born, but it will not prevent that child from having DS; DS occurs at conception. Caplan ends his column by stating that “an abortion for medical reasons is a highly personal decision.” Yet, there is not a medical reason for aborting because of a prenatal diagnosis for DS. DS does not pose a risk to the health of the mother or the child. (Caplan refers to heart and stomach defects that some children with DS have, but these can now almost always be treated surgically.)

Nevertheless, the climate of ignorance about, and prejudice against, DS does exist, which is why this new research needs to be shared with the medical community and with expectant parents. While Caplan calls for this, he is simply wrong to assume that sharing this information will not make a difference. The most influential information an expectant mother receives is from her physician and from written resources. Physicians should be well-informed about DS and provide accurate written materials to their patients. Ignorance and prejudice persist, however: over 80 percent of medical students are not trained in working with individuals with intellectual disabilities, and almost 60 percent of medical school deans do not believe they should be. Further, while most physicians now offer prenatal testing to all expectant mothers, less than a third provide them with educational materials.

This pervasive, self-imposed ignorance in the administration of prenatal testing for DS is contrary to ethical medical practice because it denies expectant parents the information they need to make informed decisions. The same studies that identified the pervasiveness of outdated views about DS also found that those who knew someone with DS were more accepting of DS, and that was true as well of physicians who knew someone with DS, as compared to those physicians who had not known any. Despite their rising birth rate, those with DS remain an incredibly small minority population. This is precisely why providing information about these new studies is so important, for most expectant parents and their physicians will not otherwise have or understand the positive experience of getting to know a person with DS.

The further significance of the new research is that it addresses the concerns of mothers who have aborted following a prenatal diagnosis. These mothers were concerned that the condition would be an excessive burden on them and their other children, and that DS may be too much of a burden for the child him- or herself. The three new studies directly counter these concerns and more, as they reveal a truth not often considered: a child with DS will almost always be a positive force in the lives of his or her parents and siblings. The studies found that 79 percent of parents felt that their outlook on life was more positive because of their child with DS. For siblings, the response was even greater, with 88 percent feeling that they were better people because of their siblings with DS.

The most recent practice guidelines call for sharing positive stories about DS, and the new research provides physicians with those positive stories. These stories do indeed matter. Kathryn Lynard Soper is the author of Gifts: Mothers Reflect on How Children with Down Syndrome Enrich Their Lives, which is an approved resource by the National Society of Genetic Counselors’ practice guidelines. The introduction to the book’s sequel, Gifts 2, presents compelling evidence of how sharing positive stories can and will make a difference. Soper writes of co-hosting a new parents’ workshop at the National Down Syndrome Congress convention. A woman holding a baby started the Q&A time with the following comment: “This is Grace. I just wanted you to know that if I hadn’t read your book, my daughter wouldn’t have been born.”

Contrary to Caplan’s opinion, DS is not something almost universally sought to be avoided. Moreover, sharing accurate information about DS, the newest of which is overwhelmingly positive, can and will change expectant parents’ views following a prenatal diagnosis. This is in the best interest not only of those who are conceived with Down syndrome, but also of those who are blessed to know them.


This article originally appeared on Public Discourse: Ethics, Law, and the Common Good, the online journal of the Witherspoon Institute of Princeton, NJ. It is reprinted here with permission. Mark W. Leach, Esq., is an attorney in Louisville, Kentucky, where he is pursuing a Master of Arts in Bioethics. He is the founder and chair of the Informed Decision Making Task Force for Down Syndrome Affiliates in Action and was a contributor to Gifts 2. The views expressed are entirely his own.

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‘Mom, I’m pregnant’: a profile in pro-life courage

by Harriet Michael Wed Oct 12 10:17 EST Comments (16)

 
Kristin and her son.

October 12, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - “Mom, I’m pregnant.” With this announcement, my 20-year-old daughter, a junior at a Christian college, rocked my world and changed it forever. My daughter continued, “I’ve made one mistake and I don’t want to make more. I’m not going to marry the baby’s father—at least not now, and I’m not going to abort my child.”

September 2006: Earth-shattering news

The phone rang a little before midnight, waking me from a sound sleep. Kristin’s voice was calm as she gave me her news. She had spent most of the day contemplating her situation before she called me. She had resolved some questions. She knew that carrying her child to term would mean confessing the situation to the authorities at her Christian college and facing whatever consequences that confession might bring.

Kristin also knew that this life growing inside of her would alter hers forever. She might become a topic for the gossip grapevine and would almost certainly have to give up her starting position on the college’s volleyball team. Even so, she had decided that abortion was out of the question. Although I supported my daughter’s pro-life position, I needed some emotional support. I told her I needed to share the news with her father and we would call her right back.

My husband was working late in his home office. I broke our daughter’s news to him; then we called her back—each of us on a different extension. My husband’s response was wonderful. He told her that he loved her and was proud of her for choosing life. But after he hung up, we both cried.

October 2006: ‘It’s a real baby!’

“Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you” (Jeremiah 1:5).

Kristin was sick right away—plagued with chronic nausea almost from the start. The school handled the news well. The dean of students told her that the school was not pro-premarital sex, but it was pro-life—and being pro-life necessitated helping single moms, since they are the women who most often seek abortions. The school offered her an option for staying in school that included counseling and a change in housing.

At the eighth week of pregnancy, my daughter had her first sonogram. She called and told me all about it, with great excitement in her voice. She didn’t know if her baby was a boy or a girl yet, but he or she had a head, body, arms, legs, fingers, and toes! My daughter overflowed with joy as she told me how her baby had wiggled around on the screen in front of her, moving tiny arms and legs.

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Then she said, “And Mom, when I got back to my dorm room after the sonogram, I had an e-mail waiting for me … from a friend telling me it wasn’t too late to take the abortion pill. I still had one more week left before it would be too late!” Mifepristone (formerly known as RU-486) can be taken as late as nine weeks after the first day of a woman’s last menstrual period—in other words, until she is seven weeks pregnant.

Kristin continued, “Mom! My friend was telling me that I could take a pill and make my ‘problem’ go away. But it’s not a ‘problem’—it’s a baby! I’ve seen him! He has arms and legs, and even though I can’t feel him yet, he’s moving all around inside of me!”

April 13, 2007: A child is born

“Those who sow in tears will reap with cries of joy” (Psalm 126:5).

Once again, I was awakened from a sound sleep by my daughter. This time, it was at four in the morning. She stood over me, shaking me gently by the shoulders and saying, “Mom! Mom! Wake up! I think my water just broke.”

Kristin had moved back home after the fall semester ended and was living with us while attending night classes at a local college. Her baby was not due for another six weeks. I was surprised, as well as concerned, at the news that her water had broken so early. Just as the sun began to peek over the horizon, the two of us quickly made our way to the hospital.

Unfortunately, her labor and delivery weren’t without incident. There were late decelerations in my grandbaby’s heart rate—a potentially dangerous and even life-threatening condition. The doctor told the nurse, “If this baby’s heart doesn’t come back up in 30 seconds, we’re getting him out in three minutes.” Then he yelled, “THREE MINUTES!!” and the hospital staff flew into action. The baby’s heart rate soon returned to the normal range, but the doctor recommended proceeding with the C-section

I was allowed to stay in the operating room with Kristin and sat on a stool near her head. A drape separated her head and abdomen so that neither of us could see the surgery. After a while, the doctor told me I could peer over the drape and see my grandson.

As a nurse, I had seen a handful of normal deliveries and C-sections, but I had never seen this before. The doctor held my grandson in a sitting position on my daughter’s tummy—all five pounds and nine ounces of him—and he still had the amniotic sac around him! He looked like he had a stocking over his head, only this stocking looked more like a clear plastic bag. And behind that bag were his two big brown eyes. They were wide open and looking right at me! He was one of the most beautiful little creatures I’ve ever seen!

Though six weeks premature, little Grason seemed healthy. But unfortunately, within hours, it became apparent that he wasn’t. He was septic. Three days later, my daughter became septic too. She was receiving triple antibiotics intravenously, and he was receiving double antibiotics in his IV. By God’s grace, both lived and made full recoveries.

At her six-week postpartum checkup, Kristin’s doctor greeted her by exclaiming, “Well, I’m glad to see you up and about! I thought I was going to lose you there for a minute.” When she asked him if he was joking, his answer was carefully worded: “Well, we don’t lose moms very often these days, but when we do, it’s from what you had.”

December 2008: ‘Don’t talk to me about abortion!’

Sometime around Christmas of the following year, Kristin told me about a discussion she had with a friend of hers about late-term abortion. My daughter told her friend that her baby had been born at 34 weeks—a gestational stage at which some babies are still aborted (since abortion is permitted until birth). Grason had nearly died at birth, and both he and she had nearly died after his birth. He had spent the first two weeks of his life in the neonatal intensive care unit, which had cost her a fortune. She added, “Don’t talk to me about late-term abortions! When others are killing their babies, I did everything I could to save mine! My baby was treasured. His life was valued—and I went to great personal sacrifice, pain, and expense to keep him alive!”

I agree with my daughter. Don’t talk to me about abortions either! I know the value of life, even when a baby’s arrival isn’t planned. I’ve experienced this firsthand. My little unplanned, out-of-wedlock grandson is one of the greatest blessings God has ever given to me. This child has my heart wrapped around his little finger, and I can’t imagine my life without him!

Neither can my husband; he adores his grandson! He carries the little guy around on his shoulders. They’re buddies. As I see Grason’s dimpled smile lighting up the world around him, I remember the tears my husband and I shed when we first learned that our daughter was pregnant.

My daughter gave up dormitory life, volleyball, and her independence. She moved back home, took a part-time job, and continued in school—while also learning how to be a mother. I couldn’t be prouder of her courageous fight to give her child life!

Surely, God’s word is true: Those who sow in tears do reap with cries of joy!

Note: This article originally appeared in Celebrate Life magazine, and is reprinted here with permission of the author. Harriet Michael writes from Louisville, Kentucky. Married for 32 years, she and her husband, John, have four children and one grandchild. Her work has also appeared in ParentLife, The Lookout and Mature Living magazines; in the anthology titled Love Is a Flame; and in several devotional magazines, including The Upper Room and The Secret Place. You can find her blog here.

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‘Pieces of children’: former abortion worker describes life at Boston Planned Parenthood

by Kathleen Gilbert Wed Oct 12 08:35 EST Comments (5)

 

WASHINGTON, D.C., October 12, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Catherine Adair, a former Boston Planned Parenthood worker, shared her story at the Value Voters Summit on Saturday.

Now a Catholic stay-at-home mom and pro-life advocate, Adair described her reaction to footage showing Planned Parenthood’s complicity in child sex abuse, as well as gruesome details from her time working at a PP abortion center where business was “all abortions, all day, every day.”

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Adair’s comments were made as a panel member in the breakout session titled, “Exposing and Defunding Planned Parenthood, America’s Abortion Giant.” The other panel members were Marjorie Dannenfelser of Susan B. Anthony List, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and Live Actions’ Lila Rose, whose video Adair referred to.

Tags: lila rose, planned parenthood

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