Friday, February 3, 2012

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Komen board member: new statement doesn’t mean Planned Parenthood funding will resume

by Ben Johnson Fri Feb 03 16:22 EST Comments (6)

 
Komen Board Member John Raffaeli

WASHINGTON, D.C., February 3, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – A board member of the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation gave some hope to pro-life advocates today, suggesting that despite media coverage to the contrary, the organization has not reversed course on tough new grant criteria that would likely exclude most or all funding of Planned Parenthood.

The Komen foundation’s CEO, Ambassador Nancy Brinker, issued a press release on Friday morning stating that it would “preserve” Planned Parenthood’s “eligibility to apply for future grants” and clarifying that it would fund organizations being investigated as long as the probe was not “criminal and conclusive in nature,” instead of political. Planned Parenthood is currently being investigated by a U.S. congressional committee.

Many interpreted this as opening the door to renewed funding for the nation’s largest provider of abortion. But The Washington Post reports that Komen board member John Raffaelli suggested Friday this is not the case.

Raffaelli told the Post the foundation did not know whether Planned Parenthood would receive any future grant for which it applied. “It would be highly unfair to ask us to commit to any organization that doesn’t go through a grant process that shows that the money we raise is used to carry out our mission,” he said. “We’re a humanitarian organization. We have a mission. Tell me you can help carry out our mission and we will sit down at the table.”

In addition to excluding organizations that were being investigated, Komen’s new grant guidelines made public this week are focused on funding cancer treatment providers more efficiently. Komen founder Nancy Brinker had pointed out Thursday that Planned Parenthood was excluded from funding because their clinics do not perform mammograms, but refer to other clinics for the cancer screenings.

“Our issue is grant excellence. [Planned Parenthood clinics] do pass-through grants with their screening grants: they send people to other facilities. We want to do more direct service grants,” Brinker said in an interview with MSNBC.

Raffaelli added that founder Nancy Brinker’s role as leader is “safe” and the board “unequivocally” stands behind her.

Paul Randeau, executive director of the American Life League, told LifeSiteNews.com, his organization was “parsing the statement” and awaiting future developments.

Aside from clarifying the kinds of investigations that disqualify applicants, Komen’s message has not changed since it announced its new grant-making process. Nonetheless, many in the media have reported Friday’s statement as though Komen definitively changed its mind.

Planned Parenthood President Cecil Richards added to the perception in a press release Friday morning. “In recent weeks, the treasured relationship between the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation and Planned Parenthood has been challenged, and we are now heartened that we can continue to work in partnership toward our shared commitment to breast health for the most underserved women,” it said. “We are enormously grateful that the Komen Foundation has clarified its grantmaking criteria, and we look forward to continuing our partnership with Komen partners, leaders and volunteers.”

She boasted much of Planned Parenthood’s work targeted “vulnerable populations — low-income women, African-American women, and Latinas.”

Following Komen’s new guidelines to restrict funding, the abortion organization sent out a fundraiser e-mail addressed to “anti-choice, anti-women people,” warning, “When you go after Planned Parenthood and the people they serve, you go after ME. I stand with Planned Parenthood. I stand with them against anyone who wants to stop women from receiving the health care they need. I stand with them today, tomorrow, and for as long as I need to.”

Richards called the national anti-Komen backlash “a testament to our nation’s compassion” that “will surely be recognized as one of our nation’s better moments…we honor those who are at the helm of this battle.”

Randeau told LifeSiteNews, “Nancy Brinker used to be on the board of directors of Planned Parenthood of Dallas, so she’s not exactly an enemy” to the organization. Randeau hoped she “has woken up to the kind of people she was in bed with all along.”

Many pro-life leaders and pro-abortion organizations urged the public not to jump to conclusions about Friday’s developments. The Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada posted on its FaceBook page: “Beware the news that Susan G. Komen has reversed their stance on funding Planned Parenthood. If you read between the lines of their official statement, it gives them complete leeway to deny funding on other grounds.” The Coalition linked to a news article saying it gives a clue “to what the tactic will be: give funding to a few PP’s here and there, but deny funding to most because they don’t provide mammograms.”

Prominent pro-life doctor and writer Dr. Gerard Nadal also commented on FaceBook: “Komen has not reversed itself. Their statement today reaffirms that some PP centers will continue receiving money, which is what they have said all week. As for preserving eligibility in the future, that is not a guarantee of getting the grants. Pray for Nancy Brinker as she is under demonic assault.”

Abby Johnson told her followers, “Do not be discouraged. Nothing has changed with regard to Komen.”

“It makes sense that Komen put out this statement. They have a pack of hounds on their back,” Johnson wrote. “The abortion industry is stating, ‘Give us money or we will destroy you.’ This is Komen’s attempt to save their organization, which we should know is in peril. The pro-life movement has not really been diligent in sending letters of support.”

Not all who picked up on the Komen statement’s nuances support the unborn. Laura Bassett of The Huffington Post observed,  “At no point in the press release does Brinker promise that Komen will renew grants to Planned Parenthood.”

Komen donated an estimated $600,000 a year to Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood claims that it has already far exceeded that figure in fundraising this week in response to the Komen controversy.

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Pro-life leaders call for prayer, vigilance in wake of confusion over Komen statement

by Kathleen Gilbert Fri Feb 03 16:16 EST Comments (7)

 
Austin Ruse of C-Fam

WASHINGTON, February 3, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - After confusion spread Friday in the wake of further statements from the Susan G. Komen Foundation on its decision to defund Planned Parenthood, pro-life leaders are calling upon the pro-life community to respond with prayer and vigilance in the days and months ahead.

The Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) ignited a media firestorm against Komen and founder Nancy Brinker after news broke this week that the breast cancer organization would no longer be funding Planned Parenthood with grants. Brinker on Thursday said the decision was based mainly on the fact that Komen had decided to focus funding more efficiently, pointing out that Planned Parenthood clinics do not perform mammograms, but refer to other clinics for the cancer screenings.

On Friday, Komen apologized for “recent decisions that cast doubt upon our commitment to our mission of saving women’s lives,” and reiterated that “we will continue to fund existing grants, including those of Planned Parenthood, and preserve their eligibility to apply for future grants.”

Although several mainstream media outlets portrayed the Friday statement as a reversal, and even Planned Parenthood celebrated the news, a Komen board member emphasized that the statement does not guarantee Planned Parenthood any new grants in the future.

Instead the statement was simply a reiteration of what Brinker had already acknowledged this week: that five existing grants to Planned Parenthood would continue through next year, and that the group would not be barred from applying for grants. The latest statement didn’t revisit the issue of whether Planned Parenthood would be eligible to receive grants under the new guidelines.

Click “like” if you want to end abortion!

Like several other leaders, Austin Ruse of C-FAM stated Friday that, although the situation was as yet unclear, the real narrative had become clear enough.

“What the week has shown is that Planned Parenthood, an organization that is under criminal investigation all over this country, will stop at nothing to maintain their stranglehold on organizations like the Susan G. Komen Foundation,” said Ruse. “What happened this week was nothing short of a Mafia shakedown campaign by Planned Parenthood against the Susan G. Komen Foundation.”

Planned Parenthood’s rallying call this week to its broad network of support was answered by 22 leading pro-abortion U.S. Senators, as well as House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the latter of whom pledged a quarter million dollars to the abortion-providing organization in response.

“We should continue to pray for Nancy Brinker and all of her colleagues at the Susan G. Komen Foundation,” said Ruse.

As for whether Komen has “caved” to the pro-Planned Parenthood outcry, many say that the real outcome can’t be known for some time. National Right to Life President Carol Tobias urged Komen to stay on track and approve no future funding to Planned Parenthood. “Right-to-life supporters do not want their donations for fighting cancer to go to organizations that perform abortions,” wrote Tobias in a Friday statement.

Charmaine Yoest of Americans United for Life said it was “unfortunate” that the relationship between Komen and the abortion industry had been confused, but praised the newfound media exposure of Planned Parenthood’s irrelevance - despite their talking points to the contrary - in the breast cancer battle.

“The American public has learned this week that Planned Parenthood does not actually provide front-line breast health services:  Planned Parenthood does not provide mammograms – a service that saved my life,” said Yoest.

“Komen’s long-standing partnership with the nation’s largest abortion provider has allowed Planned Parenthood to whitewash the central fact that their core mission involves providing abortion.”

Tags: abortion, komen for the cure, planned parenthood

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North Dakota law banning medication abortions challenged in court

by Christine Dhanagom Fri Feb 03 16:00 EST Comments (1)

 

BISMARCK, February 3, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A North Dakota law that prohibits abortion doctors from using a drug that was not designed for abortion procedures is being challenged in court, and has been temporarily blocked by a state judge.

The law specifically targets misoprostol, also known as cytotec, a drug which was created to treat gastric ulcers. The drug is useful to abortion doctors because it has the effect of softening the cervix and inducing contractions.

This “off-label” use of the drug was disavowed by the drug’s manufacturer, G.D. Searle Corp., in a letter sent to health care professionals across the country.

“Cytotec is not approved for the induction of labor or abortion,” the company wrote.  “Searle has not conducted research concerning the use of Cytotec for cervical ripening prior to termination of pregnancy or for induction of labor, nor does Searle intend to study or support these uses. Therefore, Searle is unable to provide complete risk information for Cytotec when it is used for such purposes.”

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The letter listed some of the “adverse events” that had been reported as a result of using the drug for these purposes, including uterine hyperstimulation, rupture or perforation of the uterus that required surgical repair, amniotic fluid embolism, severe vaginal bleeding, retained placenta, shock, pelvic pain, and maternal death.

The warning has not stopped abortion doctors across the country from continuing to use the drug, usually in conjunction with mifepristone, a drug which, unlike its counter-part, was specifically developed for use as an abortifacient. 

Some abortion advocates have even promoted the use of misoprostol alone to induce abortions, such as Dr. Rebecca Gomperts, founder of Woman on Waves. Gomperts stirred controversy when she posted instructions for a self-induced abortion using misoprostol as her profile picture on Facebook.

The North Dakota law bans this use of the drug, mandating that any drug employed in an abortion procedure must be used only according to the protocol authorized by the FDA.

The Red River Women’s Clinic in Fargo, North Dakota’s only abortion clinic, has succeeded in stalling enforcement of the law in a court challenge, however.

East Central District Judge Wickham Corwin issued a restraining order in July to block implantation of the law, and heard over two hours of arguments from both sides during a hearing this past Friday.

Corwin delayed in issuing a ruling, requesting more information on the drug’s safety, but said that the law “seems to put an undue burden on any woman who wants a medication abortion,” according to the Huffington Post.

Opponents argue that the law singles out abortion clinics because it does not ban the off-label use of any other drug.

“It is unimaginable that any other medical procedures would be targeted for restrictions aimed at reducing their effectiveness and increasing their expense and inconvenience,” Nancy Northop, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights, told the news service.

State Sen. David Hogue (R), a co-sponsor of the bill, argued that the distinction was a fair one because of the unique nature of misoprostol, which “trigger[s] the equivalent of a surgical procedure.”

According to the pro-life watchdog group Operation Rescue, if the law stands, it will effectively prohibit medication abortions, which comprise about 20% of Red River’s abortion business each year.

“It is ludicrous to say that requiring steps to ensure patient safety creates an ‘undue burden’ on them. I’d rather be inconvenienced than dead,” said Operation Rescue’s Senior Policy Advisor, Cheryl Sullenger. “This is really about keeping that abortion clinic open no matter who suffers.”

Tags: abortion, north dakota, operation rescue

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Breaking: Pro-life heroine Mary Wagner released from jail

by Thaddeus Baklinski Fri Feb 03 15:33 EST Comments (13)

 
Linda Gibbons and Mary Wagner at 40 Days for Life event in London, Ontario.

TORONTO, February 3, 2012 (LifeSIteNews.com) - Mary Wagner was released from jail on her own recognizance February 2 following a bail hearing.

Crown prosecutors stated yesterday that since Mary had already served 87 of the 90 day sentence they were demanding for breach of probation that resulted in her arrest in November 2011, she could be released without bail.

Mary’s friend and supporter Leeda Crawford told LifeSiteNews that although Mary has in the past represented herself before the court, she was accompanied yesterday by lawyer Russell Browne who has been negotiating on Mary’s behalf.

Mary has never agreed to the terms of bail that required her to stay away from abortion facilities. However, her probation order does require this, so Mary faces arrest if she continues her pro-life counselling at Toronto’s abortuaries.

Mary was re-arrested on November 8th at the Bloor West Women’s Clinic, where she had been previously arrested on December 23, 2010 and August 12th, 2011.

On that occasion, Mary was accompanied by Linda Gibbons and friends Leeda Crawford and John Bulsza who videotaped her arrest. In her gentle plea for life Mary actually enters the abortuaries where she speaks with women in the waiting rooms and oftentimes gives them a rose. Following this arrest, Mary’s roses were found on the floor in the hallway to the facility.

The court hearing for Mary’s November arrest is scheduled to take place February 28th and 29th in Room 506 at Toronto’s College Park courthouse.

Crawford said Mary appears well and is presently staying with friends in the Toronto area.

Anyone wishing to send Mary letters or cards of support may do so in care of the Campaign Life Coalition office in Toronto:
300‐104 Bond Street
Toronto, Ontario M5B 1X9

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‘Making smoky what should be a clear light’: marriage under threat in Maryland

by Melanie Baker Fri Feb 03 15:29 EST Comments (11)

 
State House in Annapolis, MD.

February 3, 2012 (HLIAmerica.org) - Shouts of “kill this bill” and “one man, one woman” thundered throughout Lawyer’s Mall in Annapolis on Monday night. Also known as the State House Square, it is situated between the Maryland State House and the Governor’s residence, and it was to both that the crowd, estimated at more than 2,000 people, was directing its cries. Once again, marriage is under threat in the state of Maryland.

The Civil Marriage Protection Act, which would redefine marriage as including unions by two people of the same sex, was defeated last year but has been resurrected, this time with the endorsement of Maryland’s Governor, Martin O’Malley. And the pressure is on. First Lady Catherine Curran O’Malley, referring to the defeat of last year’s failed attempt, blamed it on “some cowards,” a statement she quickly regretted, as it fueled the determination of the current bill’s opponents and cast a shadow over the noble sheen of “understanding, compassion and justice” that “same-sex marriage” advocates are invoking.

Knowing that they do not have the necessary support to push this bill through the usual approval process, advocates are attempting to manipulate the process. It is being rushed, in the hopes that the bill can be pushed through the Senate and a combination of House committees, since the House of Delegates Judiciary Committee does not have enough votes on its own for success.

Click “like” if you want to defend true marriage.


I was proud Monday night listening to the array of speakers defend marriage. I won’t even consent to calling it “traditional” marriage because there is only one possible type of marriage, and that is the permanent union of a man and a woman who are open to life. Two men or two women living together in a sexual relationship never can be married – even if the state wants to play semantic games.

Why not? Because marriage is a covenant of love, and such love is not a private good. It is by its nature open to life. Any relationship that attempts to reduce love to personal satisfaction, emotional or physical gratification, or merely “my” happiness is not love.

There are other words for what this really is, but is it not marital love. And since marriage is a covenant of love, by definition no homosexual relationship can be marriage. Homosexual unions do not, and cannot, lead to life. And this point was stressed wonderfully in almost every address there in Lawyer’s Mall. The speakers rightly warned that this bill is not just about couples who want to marry. It is, more fundamentally, about the good of our children. As a Catholic priest pointed out in his speech, families are already so broken in our nation. Legally depriving children of the stable relationship that only a mother and father can provide, and celebrating this through word-games, is only going to harm children more, and destabilize our society further.

A further point that bears repeating is that those who oppose the legal redefinition of marriage are not bigots and are not motivated by hate. The emotionally charged nature of these accusations further contributes to the “smokiness” clouding the issue. As I stated in a previous column, “far from being an act of ‘hate,’ the refusal to endorse [a] homosexual lifestyle should be and often is motivated by love and a sincere care for the true well-being of the person with the homosexual inclination.”

It was brought up by an African-American preacher at the rally that this is not a civil rights issue, but rather an issue that has everything to do with love! For love of our brothers and sisters who have a homosexual tendency we must share the truth that there is the possibility of real love – a love for which we were made and which truly makes us flourish. For love of our children, we must protect marriage and family. For love of our culture, our society and our nation we must proclaim the truth that love is self-giving, that we flourish only in a sincere gift of self.

Your prayers and action are critical at this time. If you are a Maryland resident, please contact your state representatives and make your voice heard! The Maryland Marriage Alliance has a wonderful website with helpful resources. If you are not a Maryland resident, your prayers and sacrifices are not inconsequential! Many representatives want to do the right thing but are under extreme pressure. You can strengthen them through your words of support for marriage and your prayer. Finally, whether you are a Maryland resident or not, this alarming initiative coming from a body of persons who claim to be guardians of the public good is an invitation to all of us to start sharing the beauty of the truth in the public square.

The human heart was made for love. We were each made by Love Himself, for love. If we witness to the love of God in our daily lives, it will speak on its own merits. Truth and beauty do not need to be marketed; but they do need to be witnessed in our personal lives to become real and tangible for others to see. Let’s each do our part to be true witnesses, then, lest, in words from Robert Bolt’s play Man for All Seasons, legally sanctioned word games “make smoky what should be a clear light” for all to see.

Melanie Baker is a Contributing Writer of HLI America, an educational initiative of Human Life International. She writes for the Truth and Charity Forum, where this column first appeared.

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Supporters of Linda Gibbons encourage Valentine’s Day letter-writing campaign

by Thaddeus Baklinski Fri Feb 03 15:03 EST Comments (4)

 
Linda Gibbons just prior to her arrest on August 4, 2011.

TORONTO, February 3, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Friends and supporters of Linda Gibbons are asking pro-lifers to inundate the jailed pro-life heroine with letters to hearten and encourage her while she continues to witness to life behind bars at the Vanier Center for Women prison.

Kathie Hogan, who has been writing letters of support to Linda for over 15 years, ever since it was suggested by Campaign Life Coalition, told LifeSiteNews that although on a regular day, Linda receives more mail at the jail than all the other prisoners combined, a special effort to send Linda “some long distance love for Valentine’s Day” would give her much appreciated support.

“No matter how committed she is to the pro-life cause, it must be a terrible burden to bear,” Hogan said. “I just think that it is the least we can do for her - it takes five minutes to write a letter. Not all of us are called to jail for the sake of our pro-life consciences, but everyone of faith is called to be actively pro-life.”

Linda was re-arrested on December 16 in Toronto outside the Morgentaler abortion facility on Hillsdale Avenue while walking back and forth on a public sidewalk with her trademark placard, “Why mom? When I have so much love to give.” (Watch a video of Linda’s December 16 arrest.)

Two days before this most recent arrest, the Supreme Court of Canada heard submissions by Linda’s lawyers, Daniel Santoro and Nicholas Rouleau, who argued that Gibbon’s odyssey through the criminal courts for violations of injunctions laid down in civil courts was an improper use of the criminal justice system.

Linda has spent about nine of the past 17 years behind bars for peacefully protesting abortion. (See Linda Gibbons’ arrest history compiled by LifeSiteNews.)

In a previous appeal for letters on behalf of Linda, friend and supporter Gordon Truscott remarked that he personally has mailed over 2500 letters to Linda, and encouraged family and friends to do so as well.

“I can’t begin to tell you how much of a comfort it is to Linda to know that she’s part of an ongoing struggle involving many other people,” Mr. Truscott told LifeSiteNews when Linda was faced with another Christmas in jail in 2010.

Kathie Hogan noted that the 2010 Christmas letter writing appeal was a resounding success. “Linda received over 1,000 pieces of cheery Christmas mail. It took her until almost May to personally answer all the letters one by one.”

Kathie remarked that many people are incredulous when they hear that Linda has spent so many years in prison for peaceful pro-life witness that is banned under a “temporary” bubble zone injunction.

“It is amazing to see the reaction that you get when you tell people about Linda and Mary (Wagner),” Hogan observed. “Average everyday Canadians just have absolutely no idea that this is going on in our country. They don’t understand how Linda can be jailed under a 18 year old ‘temporary’ injunction. They just don’t understand.”

Kathie added that a letter to Linda sent in a pink envelope would be appropriate for Valentine’s Day, and asks everyone to encourage family, friends and their church communities to “jump on board” this initiative.

“This Valentine’s Day campaign is an effort to educate,” Kathie said, “but it is mostly just to send some love to Linda Gibbons.”

To send a letter or card to Linda:

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

Here are some mailing guidelines because the prison mailing department reads everything sent to the inmates:

1. Don’t use stickers (address, return address, pro-life) on the envelope or card.

2. Don’t send any laminated cards, bookmarks, prayer cards, pro-life pamphlets. Non-laminated items will get to her.

3. Don’t ask direct questions about daily activity of the detention centre.

4. Put your address directly in the card or letter. (Sometimes the mail sorter keeps the envelope.)

5. If you would like to send a little monetary gift, it must be a money order made out to “Linda Gibbons”. The detention centre will deposit the money directly to her account.

6. Many people add a variety of Christian reading material in their mailings, but a maximum of one or two pages of reading material or pamphlets may be sent. Pro-life material that shows the development of the baby but not post-abortion photos is permissible and often shared with other women in the prison. Books should not be sent as they will not be delivered to Linda.

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Plan B, rape, and abortion: Err on the side of life

by Patrick B. Craine Fri Feb 03 14:22 EST Comments (6)

 

February 3, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Elise Hilton took a strong stand rooted in her pro-life convictions last week when she refused the drug Plan B after her mentally disabled daughter was brutally and repeatedly raped.

After we reported her story yesterday, words of sympathy came flooding in, but many also questioned Hilton’s concern that the drug could cause an abortion. Others outright attacked her and accused her of trumpeting an “anti-choice” myth at the expense of her daughter.

The use of Plan B for rape victims has become the standard practice in health facilities throughout North America – to the point where state legislatures have even forced it on Catholic hospitals. But it’s a hot-button topic within the pro-life movement, and is more complex than it may seem.

There are essentially two key issues: First, is Plan B in fact an abortifacient? And second, if it is an abortifacient, is it possible to administer the drug without the risk of deliberately causing an abortion?

Is Plan B an abortifacient?

The drug’s purported aim is to prevent pregnancy within the first few days after intercourse.  It acts firstly by preventing the fertilization of the women’s ovum by either (1) delaying or suppressing ovulation, or (2) inhibiting the transport of the sperm or the ova.

But studies have found that if fertilization has already occurred, the drug can also act by thinning the uterine lining to prevent the newly conceived zygote from implanting, and thus cause an early abortion.

The Food and Drug Administration and even Plan B’s manufacturer, Barr Pharmaceuticals, both recognize the possibility of this “anti-implantation” or “post-fertilization” effect. One 1994 study found that this effect could account for most cases where the drug “prevents” pregnancy.

Recent studies have called this abortifacient function into question, however, leading some pro-life organizations like the Catholic Health Association to dismiss it.

But even the CHA, which supports the use of Plan B for rape victims at Catholic hospitals, still admits the possibility of the abortifacient function. Dr. Ronald P. Hamel, the CHA’s Senior Director of Ethics, wrote in 2002 that “the destruction of a conceptus cannot be absolutely ruled out.” In 2010, when CHA was attempting to justify their stance in favor of the use of Plan B, Hamel still could not rule out an abortifacient effect. He wrote that “virtually all of the evidence in the scientific literature indicates Plan B has little or no post-fertilization effect.”

Furthermore, some studies continue to find evidence suggesting an anti-implantation effect, so the more recent studies are not unanimous.

Of course the wider scientific and bioethical community reject the whole debate about the drug causing an abortion, because they long ago redefined pregnancy to begin at implantation. But obviously that won’t fly for pro-lifers who believe, as the embryologists do, that life begins at conception.

The overwhelming view among those who have not bought into this redefinition is that Plan B carries at least a minimal risk of causing a chemical abortion.  Some, including the Pontifical Academy for Life, believe the risk to be far more than minimal.

Can Plan B be taken without the risk of deliberately causing an abortion?

Acknowledging this risk, some Catholic moral theologians have argued that you can avoid the abortifacient effect by simply ensuring the woman is not pregnant when she takes it. They oppose its use in general as a contraceptive, but support the drug in cases of rape, arguing that it’s morally just for the woman to repel the attacker’s semen.

So Catholic doctors have proposed two approaches to testing the victim for pregnancy.

The first involves a simple pregnancy test. But even advocates of this approach admit that all this will do is establish a pregnancy existing prior to the rape. The test only actually shows up positive a week or so after intercourse, so it wouldn’t detect a baby conceived from the rape.

The second approach seeks to determine whether the woman has ovulated or not based on an assessment of her menstrual history, or in the case of the more rigorous Peoria Protocol, also based on a urine test and blood test. If she has not ovulated then she is clearly not pregnant, the theory goes. But even with all of these tests, advocates of this approach admit the possibility of “break-through ovulation” even if the results are negative, meaning the victim could still become pregnant.

The fact that these tests can still fail to circumvent the abortifacient function would be enough for many to rule the drug out. It goes back to the classic hunter in the woods scenario. If a hunter sees something moving behind a bush he can’t shoot until he knows for sure it’s not another person.

But some Catholic theologians argue that the improbability that the drug would cause an abortion raises enough doubt to offer “moral certainty” that an abortion will not occur. They argue that the child’s death would be an unintended consequence outweighed by the broader concern for the rape victim’s psychological state.

But this argument reduces moral certainty to a weighing of probabilities. If we acknowledge even the remote possibility that the drug will “prevent pregnancy” by destroying a human life, then we are directly responsible if it does. We cannot say that we are morally certain a child will not die as a result of Plan B when we admit there is a chance one could die, no matter how improbable we believe that chance to be.

The hunter in the woods can’t settle for probabilities. If we accept that Plan B carries a risk of abortion, there is a reasonable fear that an abortion could take place, and we cannot be morally certain that one will not.  Any risk of directly committing an abortion is unacceptable, however remote.

As bioethics expert Bishop Elio Sgreccia, then-president of the Pontifical Academy for Life, told LifeSiteNews in 2008, Plan B “is not able to prevent the rape. But it is able to eliminate the embryo.  It is thus the second negative intervention on the woman (the first being the rape itself).”

We must always err on the side of life

I know that this is a heart-wrenching and deeply personal issue, especially of course for women who have suffered rape and taken Plan B on doctors’ advice. I want to emphasize that I am no way intending to make accusations. This is a complex issue, and I am in no position (and have no desire) to judge a decision made in such horribly difficult circumstances.

I’ve made my case against Plan B from the perspective of those suggesting the abortifacient risk is minimal. But many researchers, theologians, and pro-life advocates are gravely concerned that it’s more than a remote possibility, and it’s not my intention to suggest otherwise. My point is that even if we accept the premise that it is simply a remote possibility, that’s still enough to rule it out on moral grounds.

Commenters accused Elise Hilton of jumping into a serious life-or-death decision based on faulty science. But the science is far from settled, and where there is doubt we must always err on the side of life.

I stand with her.

Patrick Craine is Canadian Bureau Chief for LifeSiteNews.com and the president of Campaign Life Coalition NS.  He lives with his wife and two children in a rural town in Nova Scotia.

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Deja Vu: Planned Parenthood also demonized At&T when it decided to cut funding

by Patricia Pitkus Bainbridge Fri Feb 03 14:12 EST Comments (5)

 

February 3, 2012 (Witnessworks.org) - It was April 1990. Faye Wattleton, then-president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) was fuming. AT&T*, who had funded PPFA for 25 years, had just announced the month before that the abortion giant would no longer be eligible for financial support.

Rightly believing that AT&T’s decision to cease funding PPFA was the result of efforts led by the Christian Action Council, PPFA embarked on a public condemnation of AT&T and the pro-life movement.

PPFA purchased full page ads costing an average of $40,000 each in The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Investor’s Daily and USA Today headlined with: “Caving in to extremists, AT&T hangs up on Planned Parenthood.” The ads also had two coupons: one for contributions and one to send to AT&T.

PPFA officials kept up the pressure on AT&T to reverse their decision. Even some pro-abortion members of Congress led by Senator Barbara Boxer D-California joined the fray.

What these individuals either failed to understand or simply ignored was that once you have publicly spewed vitriol against an individual or group, you have pretty much ended any incentive to support you.

Twenty-two years later, Susan G. Komen (SGK) has decided Planned Parenthood is ineligible for future funding. And what does PPFA do? Just what they did when AT&T ceased its funding.

It’s deja vu.

Click “like” if you want to end abortion!

The only differences: Cecile Richards (not Wattleton) is fuming; mass emails are being sent by PPFA and its friends expressing how “hurt” they are; PPFA is encouraging social media to go after SGK; and the mainstream media - firmly entrenched in its support of “abortion central” - is treating Komen founder and Chief Executive Nancy G. Brinker as an enemy of women. Oh, and Senator Patty Murray D-Washington has joined Barbara Boxer D-California in falsely claiming that SGK’s lack of support for Planned Parenthood will hurt women’s health.

If Planned Parenthood and its ilk really hope for future support from SGK, they are certainly going about it in the wrong way. Why would SGK ever even consider future support when Planned Parenthood and its “friends” are on the attack?

Yesterday evening, PPFA announced the creation of a “Planned Parenthood Breast Health Fund” to solicit donations. And just what will Planned Parenthood do with these funds? They do not provide mammograms, breast MRIs, stereotactic breast biopsies, ultrasound-guided breast biopsies, radiation, or chemotherapy. So, what do they do? Some centers offer clinical breast exams (CBE) and distribute American Cancer Society brochures - that’s it.

These services are done free of charge at any one of the 1,048 of Federally Qualified Health Centers or the 3,755 Rural Health Clinics in the US as well as at local health departments and hospitals.

In addition, with Planned Parenthood being the largest single provider of abortions in this country, they are contributing to - not reducing - breast cancer. The Breast Cancer Prevention Institute says that “52 of 68 epidemiological studies” demonstrate that abortion raises breast cancer risk.

I applaud SGK in taking their first step in doing what is right for women by making Planned Parenthood ineligible for funding. I wish I could convey to them that the flack they are receiving is deja vu - that Planned Parenthood and its ilk always go after anyone who dares to disagree with them.

And, it is NOT about the money. It’s about PPFA’s credibility. As then-president of PPFA, Faye Wattleton wrote in her book, Life on the Line, about the AT&T issue, “Corporate support was only about 5 percent of our budget, but it meant a great deal to us. The credibility that such endorsements bestowed was at least as valuable as the actual dollars given.”

This is why PPFA and its followers are fuming. SGK’s decision has dealt a blow to Planned Parenthood’s credibility and they don’t like it!

*AT&T was the first well known Planned Parenthood supporting corporation to be removed from the boycott list managed by the then-Christian Action Council (now managed by Life Decisions International). Since 1990, at least 282 corporations have followed in AT&T’s footsteps.

Reprinted with permission from Witnessworks.org

Tags: abortion, komen for the cure, planned parenthood

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Evangelical leader Chuck Colson: Obama birth control mandate must be stopped

by Chuck Colson Fri Feb 03 13:32 EST Comments (7)

 

February 3, 2012 (Breakpoint.org) - I’ve told you that the Obama Administration is intentionally restricting religious freedom. I’ve told you we are in danger of losing the right to exercise our faith in public.

Well, maybe I’ve been too understated. The attack is relentless.

Just recently, the Obama Administration announced that the Affordable Healthcare Act, otherwise known as ObamaCare, requires that employers pay for contraception, including abortifacients, and that Catholic institutions are not exempt from this requirement.

Well, Catholic Bishop David Zubik of Pittsburgh and other bishops are blowing the trumpets on the ramparts. And my hat’s off to them. They see the Administration’s actions for what they truly are.

In an open letter released last week, Zubik said that, “Kathleen Sebelius and through her, the Obama administration, have said ‘To [H-] with You’ to the Catholic faithful of the United States. To [H-] with your religious beliefs, to [H-] with your religious liberty, to [H-] with your freedom of conscience.” I’ll leave it to your imagination what the H- stands for.

In the administration’s twisted way of thinking, contraception is “preventive care” that helps prevent illness in the same way that cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes screening do — even though pregnancy is the means by which life is perpetuated and the species’ existence continued.

Even worse is the willful refusal to accommodate the beliefs of the nation’s largest religious body.

Sibelius defended the decision as “striking the appropriate balance between respecting religious freedom and increasing access to important preventive services.” This is the same Kathleen Sibelius who told the crowd of abortion supporters at a NARAL fund-raiser, “we are at war” over the “pregnancy prevention” issue.

This the same Kathleen Sibelius whose department has issued hundreds of waivers for plans that fail to meet other Health and Human Service standards, including those offered by McDonalds. “Appropriate balance,” my foot!

Every Christian, not just Catholics, should be outraged by the Obama Administration’s decision. The regulations represent a move to define religious liberty in the narrowest possible terms. As one wag put it, the exemptions in these regulations are so narrow Jesus would not have been able to get through them.

Given the Catholic presence in areas such as health care, education and other social services, this is folly. Think of the public services that won’t be delivered to people in need.  And, Catholics are being asked to make a choice no Christian should ever be forced to make: heeding your conscience or serving your neighbor.

Folks, we’ve got to stand with all Christians and protest the Administration’s outrageous assault on religious liberty. Our religious freedom is in grave peril. Today, now, I want you to go to BreakPoint.org. We will link you to Bishop Zubik’s letter. I want you to read it and then send it to everyone you know.

And then today, as well, go sign the Manhattan Declaration. Again, we’ll link you to it. In the coming months, you will be hearing much more from us on efforts to defend life, marriage, and religious liberty, for we have no time to lose.

This article was republished with permission from Breakpoint.org.

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Spanish government reveals plan to restrict abortion, help pregnant mothers

by Matthew Cullinan Hoffman Fri Feb 03 13:29 EST Comments (3)

 
Interior Minister Jorge Fernandez Diaz

February 2, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Spain’s new, more conservative government has announced the details of its plan to revise the country’s abortion laws.

Under pressure from both sides in the debate, the People’s Party has indicated that it will return the country to the law that existed before the Spanish Socialist Worker’s Party (PSOE) reform in 2010, which allows abortion on demand during the first fourteen weeks of pregnancy.

The previous law permitted women to obtain abortions if certain conditions existed, which included psychological “health” reasons, based on diagnoses by mental health professionals. However, the requirements for such a diagnosis were weak and easily abused, leading to a system that in which over one hundred thousand abortions were performed annually in the country.

The PSOE responded to the abuse of the old law by simply eliminating the need for any health condition or other prerequisite during the earliest stage of pregnancy. The PP wishes to return to the old system, using stricter enforcement that would reduce the number of abortions permitted in the country, perhaps dramatically.

On Tuesday, Interior Minister Jorge Fernandez Diaz told the press that the PP’s reform would be based on the Constitutional Tribunal’s 1985 decision affirming that women do not have “absolute primacy” over their unborn children, whose well-being was called “a good that is juridically protected”. 

Fernandez Diaz also stated that the reform would give “support and help” to women who feel pressured to have abortions due to their personal circumstances.

Justice Minister Alberto Ruiz-Gallardon has also clarified that the PP’s reform will not seek to apply criminal penalties to women who have abortions, and that his cabinet is carefully studying ways to apply restrictions “without penal sanctions.”

Click “like” if you want to end abortion!

The nation’s abortion clinic owners, who receive hundreds of millions of dollars annually for the killing of unborn children, expressed their displeasure with the new approach.

The Association of Clinics Accredited for the Interruption of Pregnancy (ACAI) stated its “concern” over the prospect of returning to the previous law, claiming that it would limit “the right of the woman to decide regarding her gestation” and would represent “a clear retreat in relation to the basic rights of women.”

Although pro-lifers are welcoming the direction of the reform, they are making it clear that imposing stricter requirements is only a halfway measure for arriving at the ultimate goal: the prohibition of the killing of unborn children in all circumstances.

“How many abortions in Spain are acceptable to you? 120,000? 75,000? 20,000? Our response is clear: zero. We don’t want any children to be aborted,” said Dr. Gádor Joya, a physician who leads Right to Life, Spain’s largest pro-life organization.

The government’s proposal “gives us satisfaction, insofar as, for the first time in decades, abortion will retreat and the right to life will progress and the fallacious concept of abortion as a right is being done away with,” said Joya.  However “the government cannot stop there.”

Tags: abortion, spain

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Want to know what is actually happening with Komen vs. Planned Parenthood?

by Thomas Peters Fri Feb 03 12:54 EST Comments (77)

 
Thomas Peters

February 3, 2012 (CatholicVote.org) - First of all, everyone needs to take a deep breath.

About an hour ago my twitter feed exploded with headlines of “KOMEN CAVED!!!”, etc, etc.

No, they didn’t.

They released a very carefully scripted statement today which echoes what their President Nancy G. Brinker said yesterday on MSNBC. They didn’t cave, they are saying the exact same thing they’ve always been saying, just in a new way, in an effort to beg for space and a break from the incessant threat by liberal elites and attacks by the mainstream and left-wing media (which GetReligion covers).

Make no mistake, Susan G. Komen is in a fight for its life. WSJ columnist James Taranto describes what is happening to Komen as a mafia shakedown:

Planned Parenthood’s bitter campaign against Komen–aided by left-liberal activists and media–is analogous to a protection racket: Nice charity you’ve got there. It’d be a shame if anything happened to it. The message to other Planned Parenthood donors is that if they don’t play nice and keep coughing up the cash, they’ll get the Komen treatment.

There’s one crucial difference, however. In a real-life protection racket, the victim never pays voluntarily. The threat is present from the get-go. By contrast, Komen presumably was not under any duress when it made its grants–and it could have avoided all this nasty publicity by never dealing with Planned Parenthood in the first place.

Thus smart prospective donors–especially ones that are apolitical, like Komen–are getting the message that supporting Planned Parenthood is a trap. Give once, and you will give again–or else you will pay.

This is more than a pro-life, pro-abortion debate. It’s a culture war between the powerful liberal elite and grassroots pro-life conservatism. It’s also a battle of identity for the pro-life movement. Will we listen to our own, trust our instincts and remain focused? Or will we allow the pro-abortion forces to knock us off our game and play by their rules.

As I’ve been saying since this story broke, we need to be doing two essential things: 1) support Komen in their bid to cut Planned Parenthood out of their funding streams and 2) place the focus on Planned Parenthood‘s hypocrisy and lies.

If we do these two things, we win. If we get distracted and cease supporting Komen or focusing on Planned Parenthood, we lose. It’s as simple as that.

Click “like” if you want to end abortion!

As for what is happening at Komen: I’ve received a crash-course education in the foundation over the past couple days and I can say without doubt that one thing motivates their President: ending breast cancer. That’s why she decided to cease funding Planned Parenthood, because they are about the lousiest group to help if you are serious about ending breast cancer. Second, that’s why Nancy is worried about the damage to the Komen brand being done by Planned Parenthood and it’s pro-abortion allies. Nancy knows if Komen is weakened it will be less able to pursue it’s objective of ending breast cancer.

That’s why we need to make common cause with Komen and support them. That’s why we need to expose Planned Parenthood’s scurrilous move to destroy Komen.

I mean, just pause for a moment: if Planned Parenthood is so serious about protecting women’s health how does it justify leading a crusade to destroy the world’s leading breast cancer research foundation over these past days?? It’s simply incredible, and we need to make sure it’s never forgotten.

One last thing: we need to remember the big picture. Over the past 48 hours, not only did Planned Parenthood reveal itself as willing to seriously damage and attempt to destroy the pro-woman Komen foundation, but also, thousands and millions of people potentially learned for the first time that Komen doesn’t believe Planned Parenthood is an ideal provider of health care for women. So even if Planned Parenthood wins this battle (an outcome very much in doubt), I would argue they have seriously weakened themselves for the battles ahead. This will be a long fight, take the long view.

Here’s what you can do to continue to support Komen:

1) if you have not already, email news@komen.org and say “Thank You for Defunding Planned Parenthood” and promise to buy products bearing the pink ribbon.

2) sign the petition at www.IStandWithKomen.com (this is not an effort to harvest emails, only name and location are asked).

3) Blog/facebook/tweet/write op-eds about this. Get the word out any way you know how.

More from me later this afternoon. Please keep checking this post. Thank you!

UPDATE

UPDATE — This interview with a Komen Foundation board member may be helpful:

I asked Komen board member John Raffaelli to respond to those who are now saying that the announcement doesn’t necessarily constitute a reversal until Planned Parenthood actually sees more funding. He insisted it would be unfair to expect the group to commit to future grants.

“It would be highly unfair to ask us to commit to any organization that doesn’t go through a grant process that shows that the money we raise is used to carry out our mission,” Raffaelli told me. “We’re a humaniatrian organization. We have a mission. Tell me you can help carry out our mission and we will sit down at the table.”

Pushed on whether this means the new announcement wasn’t really a reversal, Raffaelli pushed back, arguing that Komen, in response to all the criticism, had removed politics from the grant-making process. “Is it really unclear that we’re changing the policy to address criticism?” he said.

Reprinted with permission from CatholicVote.org

Tags: komen, komen for the cure, planned parenthood

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Komen releases new statement

by John Jalsevac Fri Feb 03 11:18 EST Comments (73)

 
Nancy Brinker

February 3, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - In a new statement on the Susan G Komen Foundation website, the organization says it wants “to apologize to the American public for recent decisions that cast doubt upon our commitment to our mission of saving women’s lives.” The statement is from Susan G. Komen Board of Directors and Founder and CEO Nancy G. Brinker.

It says the foundation will amend its funding criteria to indicate “disqualifying investigations must be criminal and conclusive in nature and not political.” Congressman Cliff Stearns of Florida launched an investigation of Planned Parenthood to determine whether it misuses federal funds to promote abortion, which was one of the reasons originally cited by Komen for disqualifying Planned Parenthood from receiving funding grants.

It is not yet clear how this will affect the foundation’s new commitment to directly fund organizations that provide mammograms. This would exclude Planned Parenthood, which does not perform the procedure.

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While the statement says that Komen “will continue to fund existing grants,” this does not mark a change from earlier this week, where Komen said that it would honor a small handful of preexisting grants into next year. However, the statement continues to say that Komen will “preserve their eligibility to apply for future grants.”

The statement adds it will meet with local affiliates this afternoon. Many are reportedly in uproar over the decision to cut ties with Planned Parenthood.

The statement says, “We do not want our mission marred or affected by politics – anyone’s politics.” It concludes, “we sincerely hope that these changes will be welcomed by those who have expressed their concern.”

Pro-life leaders say that the exact import of the statement is not yet clear, and that Komen seems to be asking for breathing room, possibly with the intention of caving in definitively to pro-abortion pressure.

Austin Ruse of C-Fam told LifeSiteNews.com Friday morning that, “The mafia shakedown tactics may have worked, but we’re not sure.”

Ruse advised that pro-lifers should “take a wait and see attitude” to discern whether the pro-abortion pushback against Komen would succeed.

Developing…

Read the full statement here

We want to apologize to the American public for recent decisions that cast doubt upon our commitment to our mission of saving women’s lives.

The events of this week have been deeply unsettling for our supporters, partners and friends and all of us at Susan G. Komen.  We have been distressed at the presumption that the changes made to our funding criteria were done for political reasons or to specifically penalize Planned Parenthood.  They were not.

Our original desire was to fulfill our fiduciary duty to our donors by not funding grant applications made by organizations under investigation.  We will amend the criteria to make clear that disqualifying investigations must be criminal and conclusive in nature and not political. That is what is right and fair.

Our only goal for our granting process is to support women and families in the fight against breast cancer.  Amending our criteria will ensure that politics has no place in our grant process.  We will continue to fund existing grants, including those of Planned Parenthood, and preserve their eligibility to apply for future grants, while maintaining the ability of our affiliates to make funding decisions that meet the needs of their communities.

It is our hope and we believe it is time for everyone involved to pause, slow down and reflect on how grants can most effectively and directly be administered without controversies that hurt the cause of women.  We urge everyone who has participated in this conversation across the country over the last few days to help us move past this issue.  We do not want our mission marred or affected by politics – anyone’s politics.

Starting this afternoon, we will have calls with our network and key supporters to refocus our attention on our mission and get back to doing our work.  We ask for the public’s understanding and patience as we gather our Komen affiliates from around the country to determine how to move forward in the best interests of the women and people we serve.

We extend our deepest thanks for the outpouring of support we have received from so many in the past few days and we sincerely hope that these changes will be welcomed by those who have expressed their concern.

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‘Dead babies in jars’ found in basement of old illegal abortion facility

by Peter Baklinski Fri Feb 03 10:51 EST Comments (27)

 

HANNIBAL, Missouri, February 3, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Criminals say that the most difficult part of a murder is what to do with the body. This was apparently true for an abortionist who operated a clandestine abortion facility from his home more than 60 years ago in the small town of Hannibal, Missouri.

Contractors recently hired to renovate the old home discovered in the basement the remains of two tiny babies floating in a preservative solution inside two dusty jars with screw-on lids.

“I know they did medical procedures and stuff,” said the property’s owner William C. Neff to Connecttristates.com. “I was told that they helped a lot of ladies. That’s all I know.”

The contractors were examining the basement on Wednesday when they made the grisly discovery. The remains of the babies were found underneath an antiquated medical examining table in a ceramic container that was covered in rags.

Lisa Marks, curator for the Hannibal History Museum, confirmed to reporters that the century-old house was used as an illegal abortion clinic run by a doctor with the last name of Hopkins.

Neff told reporters that he remembers his parents telling him of many more jars that were similar to these that were down in the basement. He expressed surprise that there were still more jars that had not be discovered.

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Neff now knows why his parents rarely spoke about what was down in the basement.

“They didn’t want to talk about it too much, but they just found stuff down there that shouldn’t be there,” he said.

A local funeral home has donated a casket and a burial plot to honor the remains of the babies. The local police as well as the FBI have reportedly decided not to pursue the matter.

Watch YouTube clip of remains found in the basement. Caution: clip contains images of aborted babies.

Tags: abortion

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Irish Bishop investigated for ‘hate crime’ for upsetting humanist in homily

by Hilary White, Rome Correspondent Fri Feb 03 10:32 EST Comments (42)

 
Bishop Philip Boyce

LETTERKENNY, Ireland, February 2, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Arguing that the Catholic Church in Ireland is under attack from “aggressive secularism” constitutes a “hate crime,” according to a formal complaint made to Irish police.

John Colgan, called a “leading humanist” by the Irish Independent, told police this week that Bishop Philip Boyce of the Raphoe diocese in northwestern Ireland was guilty of “incitement to hatred” against secularists when the latter said in a sermon last August that the Church was being “attacked from the outside by the arrows of a secular and godless culture.”

The complaint is reportedly being taken seriously by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) who has opened an investigation.

After hearing nothing from local officials, Colgan complained in a letter to the Garda (Police) Commissioner, whose office forwarded the complaint to Galway-based Assistant Garda Commissioner. Last week, Colgan said he was informed that a file was being sent to the DPP. Should the DPP recommend legal action, the Prohibition of Incitement to Hatred Act of 1989 allows up to two years in prison if convicted.

Colgan said in his complaint that the statements made in Boyce’s homily to a congregation at Our Lady of Knock shrine “are an incitement to hatred of dissidents, outsiders, secularists, within the meaning of the (Incitement to Hatred) Act, who are perfectly good citizens within the meaning of the civil law.”

“The statements exemplify the chronic antipathy towards secularists, humanists etc, which has manifested itself in the ostracising of otherwise perfectly good Irish citizens, who do not share the aims of the Vatican’s Irish Mission Church.”

Colgan told the Leinster Leader that the words “attacked” and “arrows” heavily “suggest war-like behaviour.” The sermon, he alleged, implied that non-believers will “end their lives in emptiness;” Colgan argued this constitutes abuse of atheists, humanists and sceptics. The bishop, whose address was heard only by those present at the shrine, was “picking on” unbelievers, Colgan said.

Catholicism, to which over 87 per cent of the Irish population adheres, is “marked prejudice by Roman Catholics and other Christian denominations against agnostics and atheists,” the secularist continued. This prejudice, he said, is due to “hostile propaganda disseminated in school and chapel in the main by or for the institutional churches, for [which] there is no rational or temporal reason.”

In its full context, the passage of Bishop Boyce’s sermon cited in the complaint said that Christians have the “distinguishing mark” that they know they “have a future; it is not that they know all the details that await them, but they know in general terms that their life will not end in emptiness.”

“Attacked from the outside by the arrows of a secular and godless culture: rocked from the inside by the sins and crimes of priests and consecrated people, we all feel the temptation to lose confidence. Yet, our trust is displayed and deepened above all when we are in troubled and stormy waters.”

The Catholic Church in Ireland is going through an especially rough patch lately, with much of the public enraged by clerical abuse scandals that were detailed in a series of government-sponsored reports. Bishop Boyce went on to speculate that Christians may be suffering from the “spiritual Dark Night that now engulfs the Church in Ireland…because some of those anointed to preach the word of God and to sanctify, were found to have betrayed the trust placed in them by innocent souls.”

In the face of current difficulties, the bishop called upon his hearers to “act hopefully, with patience.”

Despite the police investigation, eagerly reported in the secular media, the diocese remains undaunted and the sermon, titled “To Trust in God,” remains prominently posted on the website. Apart from the extracts that spurred Colgan’s complaint, the 2350-word sermon focused mainly on the need for Catholics to have “confidence in God” in the face of all their troubles.

In a statement to the Sunday Independent, Martin Long of the Catholic Communications office said, “Bishop Boyce’s homily ‘To Trust in God’ is available for anyone to read at catholicbishops.ie.

“I advise any person to read it and judge it for themselves. It is clearly a reasonable, balanced, honest – and indeed self-critical from a church perspective – analysis of the value of the Catholic faith. Bishop Boyce is a good and holy man and much loved by those who know him.”

In a response to a letter from Colgan, Bishop Boyce said he did “not wish to disparage in any way the sincere efforts of those with no religious beliefs, atheists, humanists etc.

“I have too much respect for each human person, since I believe all are created in the image of God. At Knock I wished to encourage and confirm the hope of believers, even in the present challenging times, since trust in God was the theme I was given.”

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Sen. Rubio introduces bill to reverse Obama birth control mandate

by Kathleen Gilbert Fri Feb 03 09:38 EST Comments (14)

 
Sen. Marco Rubio is not happy about the Obama administration's birth control mandate.

WASHINGTON, February 3, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) introduced a bill on Monday to rebut the threat to religious organizations presented by the Obama administration mandate that virtually all health insurers must provide sterilizations and abortifacient birth control free of charge.

Rubio’s bill, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 2012, aims to expand the exemption from the mandate to cover all religious organizations, such as universities, hospitals, and charities, rather than merely houses of worship, as is the case under the current extremely narrow exemption.

The bill denounces the current exemption as “unprecedented in Federal law” and declares that “no guideline or regulation” under the federal health care law “shall require any individual or entity to offer, provide, or purchase coverage for a contraception or sterilization service, or related education or counseling, to which that individual or entity is opposed on the basis of religious belief.”

“This is a common sense bill that simply says the government can’t force religious organizations to abandon the fundamental tenets of their faith because the government says so,” said Rubio, as quoted in a Liberty Counsel press release this week.

In response to outrage over the mandate, Obama’s Department of Health and Human Services gave religious groups an extra year to comply with the mandate.

News that the administration wouldn’t budge on the mandate was met with widespread opposition in U.S. Catholic dioceses this weekend, with 142 bishops heading dioceses denouncing the rule. Leaders of other Christian denominations and religions have also expressed opposition to the mandate.

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Tags: birth control mandate, catholic, contraception, marco rubio

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