Monday, February 13, 2012

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Six things everyone should know about the revised HHS mandate

by Sr. Mary Ann Walsh Mon Feb 13 18:23 EST Comments (5)

 
Sr. Mary Ann Walsh

1. The rule that created the uproar has not changed at all, but was finalized as is. Friday evening, after a day of touting meaningful changes in the mandate, HHS issued a regulation finalizing the rule first issued in August 2011, “without change.” So religious employers dedicated to serving people of other faiths are still not exempt as “religious employers.” Indeed, the rule describes them as “non-exempt.”

2. The rule leaves open the possibility that even exempt “religious employers” will be forced to cover sterilization. In its August 2011 comments, USCCB warned that the narrow “religious employer” exemption appeared to provide no relief from the sterilization mandate—only the contraception mandate—and specifically sought clarification. (We also noted that a sterilization mandate exists in only one state, Vermont.) HHS provided no clarification, so the risk remains under the unchanged final rule.

3. The new “accommodation” is not a current rule, but a promise that comes due beyond the point of public accountability. Also on Friday evening, HHS issued regulations describing the intention to develop more regulations that would apply the same mandate differently to “non-exempt, non-profit religious organizations”—the charities, schools, and hospitals that are still left out of the “religious employer” exemption. These policies will be developed over a one-year delay in enforcement, so if they turn out badly, their impact will not be felt until August 2013, well after the election.

4. Even if the promises of “accommodation” are fulfilled entirely, religious charities, schools, and hospitals will still be forced to violate their beliefs. If an employee of these second-class-citizen religious institutions wants coverage of contraception or sterilization, the objecting employer is still forced to pay for it as a part of the employer’s insurance plan. There can be no additional cost to that employee, and the coverage is not a separate policy. By process of elimination, the funds to pay for that coverage must come from the premiums of the employer and fellow employees, even those who object in conscience.

5. The “accommodation” does not even purport to help objecting insurers, for-profit religious employers, secular employers, or individuals.
In its August 2011 comments, and many times since, USCCB identified all the stakeholders in the process whose religious freedom is threatened—all employers, insurers, and individuals, not just religious employers. Friday’s actions emphasize that all insurers, including self-insurers, must provide the coverage to any employee who wants it. In turn, all individuals who pay premiums have no escape from subsidizing that coverage. And only employers that are both non-profit and religious may qualify for the “accommodation.”

6. Beware of claims, especially by partisans, that the bishops are partisan. The bishops and their staff read regulations before evaluating them. The bishops did not pick this fight in an election year—others did. Bishops form their positions based on principles—here, religious liberty for all, and the life and dignity of every human person—not polls, personalities, or political parties. Bishops are duty bound to proclaim these principles, in and out of season.

This article first appeared on the USCCB blog here.

Tags: contraception

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U.S. Bishops vow to fight Obama mandate after ‘accommodation’: White House says it’s final

by Patrick B. Craine Mon Feb 13 18:12 EST Comments (21)

 
White House Chief of Staff Jacob Lew with President Obama

WASHINGTON, D.C., February 13, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) on Friday renewed their call on the Obama administration to rescind a controversial health care mandate requiring religious institutions to cover sterilizations, contraceptives, and abortion-inducing drugs.

President Obama revealed a so-called “accommodation” on Friday after he faced heated pressure from Catholic and Christian leaders, but the U.S. bishops say the revised rule remains an attack on religious liberty and vowed to continue fighting it “with no less vigor, no less sense of urgency.”

While the original wording would have required religious employers to pay for the objectionable coverage, the new wording requires the organization’s insurance companies to offer the coverage for free to all women no matter where they work.

Catholic and pro-life leaders immediately slammed the “accommodation,” saying it was merely repackaging the original mandate because insurance companies will simply up the employers’ fees to cover the “free” contraceptive coverage.

“The White House Fact Sheet is riddled with doublespeak and contradiction,” pro-life Rep. Chris Smith said shortly after the accomodation was announced. “It states, for example, that religious employers ‘will not’ have to pay for abortion pills, sterilization and contraception, but their ‘insurance companies’ will. Who pays for the insurance policy? The religious employer.”

The USCCB initially issued a tentative statement expressing “concern” over Obama’s new wording on Friday, but followed up with a strong denunciation later in the day.

In the second statement, they observe that President Obama’s new wording “retain[s] HHS’s nationwide mandate of insurance coverage of sterilization and contraception, including some abortifacients,” which they say “is both unsupported in the law and remains a grave moral concern.”

“We cannot fail to reiterate this, even as so many would focus exclusively on the question of religious liberty,” they add.

While the bishops indicated on Friday that Obama’s proposed new mandate “appear[s] subject to some measure of change,” Obama’s chief of staff later confirmed that it was final.

“We have set out our policy,” Jacob Lew told Fox News on Sunday. “We are going to finalize it in the final rules, but I think what the president announced on Friday is a balanced approach that meets the concerns raised both in terms of access to health care and in terms of protecting religious liberties, and we think that’s the right approach.”

Though the bishops admit the mandate is still “unclear in its details,” they say it nevertheless raises profound moral concerns.

“It would still mandate that all insurers must include coverage for the objectionable services in all the policies they would write,” they explain. “At this point, it would appear that self-insuring religious employers, and religious insurance companies, are not exempt from this mandate.”

They note also that while it would allow a religious employer to “declare that they do not offer such coverage,” the coverage offered by the insurance company would still come as part of the employer’s policy rather than as a separate rider.

“That coverage is still provided as a part of the objecting employer’s plan, financed in the same way as the rest of the coverage offered by the objecting employer,” they write.

They criticize it further for lacking “clear protection for key stakeholders” such as self-insured religious employers, religious and secular for-profit employers, secular non-profit employers, religious insurers, and individuals.

According to the bishops, the mandate “continues to involve needless government intrusion in the internal governance of religious institutions, and to threaten government coercion of religious people and groups to violate their most deeply held convictions.”

“In a nation dedicated to religious liberty as its first and founding principle, we should not be limited to negotiating within these parameters,” they continue. “The only complete solution to this religious liberty problem is for HHS to rescind the mandate of these objectionable services.”

The bishops say they will continue to push for a solution through the other two branches of government – Congress and the courts.

“We renew our call on Congress to pass, and the Administration to sign, the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act,” the bishops write.  “And we renew our call to the Catholic faithful, and to all our fellow Americans, to join together in this effort to protect religious liberty and freedom of conscience for all.”

Tags: birth control mandate, obama, usccb

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Victory: Texas ultrasound law goes into effect after heated court battle

by Christine Dhanagom Mon Feb 13 17:45 EST Comments (12)

 

AUSTIN, February 13, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A Texas law requiring women seeking an abortion to undergo an ultrasound went into effect Tuesday, despite a court challenge from pro-abortion opponents.

Under the new law, abortion doctors are required to perform an ultrasound and give women the option to see the ultrasound image and hear the child’s heartbeat. The mother may decline; however, the abortionist must describe her unborn child. Exceptions are made when the unborn child was conceived in rape or incest, or suffers from a severe disability.

Mothers must then observe a 24 hour waiting period before choosing to continue with the abortion, although the waiting period can be reduced to two hours if they live over 100 miles from an abortion clinic.

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A temporary injunction issued by District judge Sam Sparks had prevented the law from going into effect when it was passed last year. Sparks’ decision was overturned by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, but ended up back in his courtroom on an appeal by the Center for Reproductive Rights.

Sparks ruled that he could not stop the law from going into effect because he was bound by the Circuit Court’s decision, but reiterated his own stance that the law was a violation of a doctor’s free speech rights.

According to Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, Sparks’ position is in conflict with precedent set by the U.S. Supreme Court, which, he said, “plainly authorizes the state to regulate abortion procedures.”

State Sen. Dan Patrick, who authored the Texas bill, says its potential impact is enormous, partly because of the sheer number of abortions that occur in the state, about 75,000 a year.  Patrick estimated that the law could stop up to one in five abortions, saving about 15,000 lives a year.

“There’s no other piece of legislation anywhere else in the country that has that kind of impact,” he told the Houston Chronicle. “I don’t take credit for it. It’s God’s hands.”

Texas Right to Life director Elizabeth Graham says that Patrick’s estimate may even be conservative. According to Graham, pro-lifers who work with abortion-minded women report that 70 to 80% of such women choose life for their children after viewing ultrasound images.

“If the clinics are following the law according to its legislative intent, then we think the law could reduce the number of abortions in Texas by at least 30 percent,” she told MSNBC.

Opponents of the law are contending that women are not swayed by the sonogram images, some even claiming that they have been implementing it since October and have not noticed a decrease in the number of abortions.

Center for Reproductive Rights attorney Julie Rikelman does agree with the bill’s sponsor, however, that it is a unique piece of legislation. It is “the most extreme ultrasound-related law that is being enforced in the United States,” she said.

Tags: abortion, sonogram, texas

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CORRECTED: Washington governor signs gay ‘marriage’ bill

by Kathleen Gilbert Mon Feb 13 17:22 EST Comments (52)

 
Washington State Governor Christine Gregoire

Note: This article has been edited to correct an earlier version that indicated the bill’s language against marriage “discrimination” by religious organizations was in the final bill. However, that language was dropped prior to final passage. We regret the error.

February 13, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Gov. Christine Gregoire of Washington State has signed into law a gay “marriage” bill.

Gregoire, a lame-duck Democrat governor who proposed the bill earlier this year, celebrated the end of defining marriage as between a man and a woman as she signed the bill on Monday.

“I’m proud our same-sex couples will no longer be treated as separate but equal,” she said.

The bill makes Washington the sixth U.S. state to redefine marriage, in addition to the District of Columbia.

Local religious leaders have been particularly alarmed about the bill because it will force facilities owned by churches that are regularly used for marriages to be offered to homosexual couples.

The bill text originally stated that religious organizations that provide “accommodations, facilities, advantages, privileges, services, or goods related to the solemnization or celebration of a marriage” to the public must offer all those goods for use to homosexual couples seeking marriage or else face a penalty for discrimination. The version of the bill that passed dropped the qualification, allowing religious groups to retain marriage facilities for heterosexual unions.

Prior to the change, evangelical Pastor Joseph Fuiten last month said that the bill’s “discrimination” language puts “virtually every church in Washington” under legal threat should they abide by the teachings of their faith on the nature of marriage.

The bill is expected to take effect no earlier than June.

The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) has vowed to initiate a referendum effort to bring the new law before voters to decide on the ballot.

“NOM will not stand by and let activist politicians redefine marriage, the bedrock of civilization, without voters having a say,” said NOM president Brian Brown on Jan 23. “Just as we mounted a People’s Veto in Maine and were responsible for qualifying Proposition 8 to the ballot in California, we will make sure that voters in Washington have the ability to decide the definition of marriage for themselves.”

 

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Christian guesthouse owners lose appeal of conviction on ‘gay discrimination’

by Thaddeus Baklinski Mon Feb 13 17:13 EST Comments (17)

 
Peter and Hazelmary Bull

CORNWALL, UK, February 13, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A Christian couple who were fined £3,600 for refusing to allow two homosexual men to share a bed in their guesthouse, lost their appeal of the conviction in a ruling handed down by the Court of Appeal of England and Wales on February 10.

In upholding the conviction, Judges Sir Andrew Morritt, Chancellor of the High Court, Lord Justice Hooper and Lady Justice Rafferty, stated, “in a pluralist society it is inevitable that from time to time, as here, views, beliefs and rights of some are not compatible with those of others.”

The judges reiterated that not allowing homosexuals to rent a room amounted to direct discrimination in violation of the Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations-2007, and said they “do not consider that the Appellants face any difficulty in manifesting their religious beliefs, they are merely prohibited from so doing in the commercial context they have chosen.”

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Peter and Hazelmary Bull, who run the Chymorvah Private Hotel from their home, were taken to court in 2010 by Martyn Hall and his civil partner Steven Preddy. The men had booked a room with the guesthouse as ‘Mr. and Mrs. Preddy’ but were turned away when they arrived and revealed they were a homosexual couple.

In her defense before the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) hearing two years ago, Mrs. Bull explained that because of her and her husband’s deeply held faith, they do not approve of any type of sex outside of marriage, and do not allow sharing of beds in their guesthouse by any unmarried couples, no matter what their “sexual orientation.”

Evidence presented at the EHRC hearing suggested that the Bulls may have been set up as a test case by the homosexual activist group Stonewall. The two men who attempted to book a room with them called only a month after the Bulls received a threatening letter from Stonewall demanding that they change their policy or risk being sued.

After the conviction the Bulls revealed in a January, 2011 interview with The Telegraph that they had been subjected to a deluge of offensive phone calls and blasphemous, obscene emails.

At the same time, extremely negative reviews of the Bull’s guesthouse had begun to surface on travel websites – reviews that Mrs. Bull said were clearly false, because the reviewers claimed to have stayed at the guesthouse during the winter, when it is closed.

Simon Calvert, spokesman for the Christian Institute, which funded Mr. and Mrs. Bull’s appeal, commented that under Britain’s equality laws, homosexuals are favored over people who believe in the Christian definition of marriage and sexual morality.

“Not everyone will agree with Peter and Hazelmary’s beliefs, but a lot of people will think it is shame that the law doesn’t let them live and work according to their own values under their own roof,” Calvert said, adding that, “Something has gone badly wrong with our equality laws when good, decent people like Peter and Hazelmary are penalized, but extremist hate preachers are protected.”

“Peter and Hazelmary have been penalized for their beliefs about marriage,” Calvert concluded.

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The ‘other side’ of the Obama healthcare debate: new video plugs NFP

by Peter Baklinski Mon Feb 13 16:58 EST Comments (0)

 

BOWLING GREEN, Kentucky, February 13, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A film company has released a short video that they say gives the “other side of the debate” surrounding President Obama’s contraceptive mandate that would require faith-based organizations to sign onto health plans that cover sterilization, abortifacients, and contraception.

“Due to the news and everything going on, we felt it imperative to release this video in order to show the other side of the debate,” said Fr. Joshua McCarty, producer at Lolek Productions, a small film company that strives to show the beauty of the Catholic Church through the stories of every day people.

Fiat: A Catholic Response to the Healthcare Debate”, tells the story of Suzanne and Pat Padgett who jettisoned the pill from their marriage after coming to treasure the gift of their fertility.

“I’m not scared to tell people that I’ve been there and done that,” Suzanne states at the beginning of her testimony. The seven-minute film makes a positive plug for spacing children through Natural Family Planning, a 99.5% effective method for regulating offspring that is consistent with Catholic teaching on contraception

Fr. McCarty told LifeSiteNews that people need to see the “beautiful side of the Church’s teaching” instead of focusing exclusively on the moral authority of the Church as she instructs what “we should do and shouldn’t do.”

For Lolek Productions, the beautiful side of the Church’s teaching appears in families like the Padgetts who are living what Fr. McCarty calls “the life of fullness and the life of grace.” It is here in the story of Suzanne and Pat, he says, that one sees the beauty of “happiness, fruitfulness, and faithfulness.”

Fr. McCarty is excited about what people will discover if they decide to take a chance on the Catholic Church’s approach to sex and marriage. “There is a beauty to living the Church’s teaching, a joy and a thrill.”

Watch Fiat: A Catholic Response to the Healthcare Debate

Tags: birth control mandate, catholic, contraception

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Radical pro-abort bill being pushed on Tanzania by international organizations

by Hilary White, Rome Correspondent Mon Feb 13 16:48 EST Comments (4)

ROME, February 13, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A new “reproductive health” bill being proposed in Tanzania’s National Assembly is “pure western imperialism,” according to a local pro-life leader. Emil Hagamu, Human Life International’s Regional Coordinator for English-Speaking Africa, called the bill “foreign ideology that is being imposed on our African culture whose objective is depopulation.”

“Western countries want to exploit our natural resources and they know they can only do so if they suppress the growing population of young people and next generations,” he told LifeSiteNews.com.

The purpose of the bill, called the “Safe Motherhood” bill, is to change the way Tanzanians think about family life, children and marriage, Hagamu said.

The bill, being sponsored by Care International and brought before a legislative committee this month, will usher in the total abortion and contraceptive “reproductive health” program pushed by such groups as Planned Parenthood International.

In a detailed analysis made available to LSN, Hagamu says the bill will create effective abortion on demand, for any reason or none, and place a legal penalty on health care providers who refuse to participate. Currently abortion is legal in Tanzania in cases where the mother’s “life,” is at risk, and legal precedent exists for abortion in cases where the woman’s “mental” or “physical health” are at risk.

The bill proposes to expand the current abortion law to allow the killing of children who are suspected of “a severe physical or mental abnormality,” who resulted from rape or incest, and in cases where the pregnant woman is “a mentally disordered person,” and “is not capable of appreciating pregnancy.” Health ministers will be required to designate abortion facilities from among existing health centers.

The bill, Hagamu said, “undermines and bypasses African cultural and moral values” about the raising of children; “disregards the religious laws and practice on marriage”; and “will criminalize” pro-life and Christian teachings on contraception. Tanzania is 30 percent Christian, 30-35 percent Muslim and 35 percent followers of “indigenous beliefs.”

“The whole document puts emphasis on reproductive health - with emphasis on contraception to minors and young people,” he said.

Care International sponsored the bill under a cloak of secrecy, Hagamu told LSN. “Care International have done it with secrecy and speed that if not for God’s intervention we might have seen the law passing without any of us knowing what transpired in the process.”

The bill proposes to make contraception, including hormonal drugs, “universally accessible and mandatory to minors without parental knowledge or consent.” It says that all forms of contraception will be made available based on “individual rights to control fertility.” “It shall be the duty of government to provide access to contraception and family planning services including commodities, counseling, information and education.”

The need for the bill was discussed at “safe motherhood stakeholders” meetings over the last year organized by the sponsors, “which underscored the need to formulate a law that would protect pregnant women from maternal mortality and infant mortality,” the Tanzania Daily News reports.

International pressure is coming on strong in support of the bill, with media organs like the New York Times asserting that Tanzania’s current laws are creating “a deadly toll of abortion by amateurs,” and international pressure groups like the European Pro-Choice Network claiming that Tanzania is suffering a “silent pandemic of unsafe abortion.”

At the same time, the UNFPA, UNICEF and UNWomen are claiming that Tanzania is experiencing unusually high population growth that must be curbed. Speaker of the country’s National Parliament, the Hon. Anne Makinda, told a meeting of the UNFPA that population growth is a “critical issue” for Tanzania.

“Our country has one of the highest rates of population growth in the world; on average every Tanzania woman gives birth to five or six children,” Makinda said. 

According to the latest government statistics, however, this was an exaggerated estimate at best. Tanzania is at or slightly below the average overall fertility rate of most developing countries in Africa, with 4.16 children born per woman.

The country has a total population of about 42.7 million and a population growth rate of 2.002 percent. This is compared to neighbouring Kenya with a population just over 41 million, an overall fertility rate of 4.19 children born per woman and a population growth rate of 2.462 percent. Another Tanzania neighbour, Zambia, has a population of 14 million, an overall fertility rate of 5.98 children born per woman and a population growth rate of 3.062 percent.

What does stand out in Tanzania’s statistics is the high rate of maternal mortality, with 790 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2008. This is compared to Zambia with 470 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births and Kenya with 530 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births in the same year.

The abortion lobby continues to insist that legalized abortion, always equated with “safe abortion,” is the premier solution to maternal morality and morbidity (birth-related injuries and illness). But organizations that do maternal health care work while rejecting abortion, confirm that lowering maternal mortality rates depends on getting women proper obstetric health care before and after their children are born.

Matercare International, a group that has worked in maternal health care in Africa since 1981, says that maternal deaths and injury and abortions are “readily preventable” but that there is little interest on the international stage.

Most of the maternal deaths in Africa, the group says, occur among “very young mothers, in small villages, and a few at a time.” One of the most common causes of maternal death and illness is obstetric fistula that can be reversed with a simple surgical procedure. Matercare International founder, obstetrician Dr. Robert Walley, says, “Most die in terror from haemorrhage or in agony from obstructed labour.”

All of these conditions are treatable by competent, professionally trained obstetric physicians and nurses, and it is the lack of this training that is the real cause of the problem, not the lack of “safe” legal abortion. Dr. Walley maintains that the staggering rates of maternal death and abortion in Africa can be put down to “neglect” by international health organizations obsessed with abortion.

“Mothers in the developing world do not have access to safe, clean, dignified places to have their babies or access to expert medical services to look after them and while obstetric fistulae can be treated surgically.”

Tags: abortion, tanzania

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Opponents launch new White House petition rejecting Obama rewrite of birth control mandate

by Christine Dhanagom Mon Feb 13 16:16 EST Comments (3)

 

February 13, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Opponents of the Obama Administration’s birth control mandate are rallying behind another White House petition that rejects the President’s recent revision and calls for a complete rescinding of the rule.

A previous petition to abolish the rule, created in late January, had accused the Administration of attempting “to represent ‘transcendental truth’ on matters of conscience,” by forcing all employers, including Catholics and members of other pro-life denominations, to cover birth control and abortion-inducing drugs on their employee’s health plans.

“That in itself is unprecedented, which is also why it is unconstitutional,” the petition charged.

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The statement garnered 29,127 signatures, prompting an official response authored by Cecilia Munoz, Assistant to the President and Director of the Domestic Policy Council. According to the current rules of the White House’s “We the People” petition site, if a petition garners 25,000 signatures within a set period of time, the Administration must submit an official response.

In the official response Munoz appealed to the Administration’s recent “accommodation” which, she said, would have insurance companies, rather than actual employers “reach out and provide” contraception to the employees. She also cited statements from the liberal Catholic groups Catholics United and the Catholic Health Association, as well as Planned Parenthood and NARAL, praising the President’s revision of the mandate.

The new petition, posted Saturday, responded to Munoz’s claims by pointing out that the revision still requires Catholic employers to pay for services that violate Church teaching, even if they do not have to directly communicate with the employee about it.

The petition called the Administration’s compromise simply a reiteration of the mandate, adding: “This requirement continues to assault the rights of religious freedom and conscience that are the founding principles of this nation and our highest values.”

The signature count on the petition broke 500 by Monday afternoon, but another 24,500 are still needed before the White House will officially respond again.

To add your name to the petition, click here.

Tags: abortion, birth control mandate, planned parenthood

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UNESCO official calls for national registry of doctors who object to abortion: Spain

by Jeanne Smits, Paris correspondent Mon Feb 13 15:53 EST Comments (14)

 

February 13, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Experts working for the UNESCO Chair in Bioethics at the University of Barcelona, Spain, are calling for a national registry of doctors who will not perform abortions, in order to “improve” women’s access to “pregnancy termination.”

Speaking to the press, the Chair’s director, Maria Casado, also expressed opposition to restrictions to abortion in Spanish law proposed by the new government headed by Mariano Rajoy, and called for a more stringent definition of conscientious objection for doctors.

The statements were made during a university seminar on “Abortion and conscientious objection” held by the UNESCO Chair in Barcelona last week, attended by university members, lawyers and doctors specialized in “contraception and sexuality.”

Spanish pro-life doctors have vigorously opposed plans to establish regional registries of conscientious objectors, let alone a national and public registry as called for during the Barcelona seminar. Doctors and the pro-life movement in Spain fear that such a measure would lead to black-listing and could ultimately provoke ideological persecution.

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Casado said that while she upholds doctors’ rights to conscientious objection, the main idea is to “respect rights in a democratic society” – women’s rights as well as doctors’ rights. This means conscientious objection should have a clear framework: doctors should make their position known before entering an operating theater, she said, and should not be allowed to exert their right when “the woman’s health is in danger.”

“When conscientious objection is transformed into a collective stance for ideological reasons, it turns into civil disobedience,” she argued, naming the “Catholic Church” as responsible insofar as it promotes conscientious objection to abortion.

The UNESCO Chair Seminar was sponsored by the Catalan autonomous government (“Generalitat”), the Observatory of Bioethics and Law (also presided by Maria Casado), and several feminist and pro-contraception organizations.

The UNESCO Chair of Bioethics at the University of Barcelona aims to promote “Human Rights” and a “multidisciplinary, secular and flexible” conception of bioethics in Spain and in developing countries, specially in Latin America, as claimed on its website. It also aims to form men and women who will be called to sit on bioethics committees in these countries.

Tags: abortion, spain

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How Planned Parenthood hooks kids on sex (WARNING: graphic material)

by Kathleen Gilbert Mon Feb 13 14:45 EST Comments (234)

 

Warning: The video below contains graphic illustrations that are not suitable for children or teens. While the information the video contains is critical for parents and educators to know, viewers are strongly cautioned that some of the material is disturbing.

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STAFFORD, VA, February 13, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - As Planned Parenthood kicks off National Condom Week tomorrow, it will also be actively engaged in selling sex to children as young as those in grade school with graphic videos and books. 

The American Life League has compiled a video exposing some of Planned Parenthood’s disturbing materials that are presented to school-age children across the country.

“Any parent that sees the video of Planned Parenthood’s material for school children will be horrified,” said Jim Sedlak, vice president of the American Life League. “Planned Parenthood’s business model is aimed at making money from people who are engaged in sexual activity. Those are the women who will have abortions, which made up 51% of Planned Parenthood’s clinic revenue in 2010.”

In one section the video, “Hooking Kids on Sex,” talks about a book for 10-year-olds with graphic images about how to masturbate, put on a condom and have sexual intercourse.

“If a dirty old man showed this book to kids in a park, he’d be arrested,” said Sedlak. “Why does Planned Parenthood, a taxpayer-funded organization, get to distribute these books to our children and get more government money?’

The video also discusses Planned Parenthood of the Upper Hudson’s S.T.A.R.S (Seriously Talking About Responsible Sex), which required applicants to the program to be high school students and go to the sexually explicit Capital Pride.

“Planned Parenthood wants kids to choose it for their sexual education over their own parents,” said Sedlak. “It wants to be the trusted friend and advocate of kids of all ages. It knows that a conversation about sex with a stranger or browsing a Planned Parenthood website about teen sex is easier than talking with their parents. The abortion giant has no problem using tax dollars to exploit that fear and make money off those kids.”

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2011 Census data reveals bleak demographic future for Canada

by Peter Baklinski Mon Feb 13 14:24 EST Comments (11)

 

OTTAWA, Ontario, February 13, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – While data released last week from the 2011 Canadian census shows a “small increase” in the country’s overall fertility rate, demographers from Statistics Canada are warning that without a “substantial increase in fertility,” Canada’s population growth in 20 years will be “close to zero.”

“According to all scenarios used in Statistics Canada’s most recent population projections, natural increase is expected to continue to decline in the future decades, due to a projected increase in the number of deaths,” the demographers pointed out. Natural increase, defined as the difference between the number of births and deaths during a given period, is how a population is replenished in the absence of migration.

“That’s bureaucratic speak for ‘BE ALARMED, BE VERY ALARMED,’” wrote Licia Corbella in a column that appeared Thursday in Calgary Herald, adding that “our population growth is speeding towards a brick wall.”

Despite Canada’s Total Fertility Rate (TFR) seeing an upward trend since 2003, rising from 1.53 to the current rate of about 1.7, it nonetheless falls well below the 2.1 children-per-woman replacement level that demographers say is necessary for a stable population and economy.

“Anyway you slice it, a healthy society that has enough people to support its elders needs to have the replacement rate of 2.1,” said Andrea Mrozek, manager of research and communications at the Institute for Marriage and Family Canada (IMFC).

Mrozek recently told LifeSiteNews that Canada’s social welfare state, with all its benefits and services provided by the government, is paid for by taxes. She called the current situation where women are not having enough children “troubling” because it means that there will be less people to contribute to the benefits, support, and services that older retired citizens are counting on receiving.

“[Canada’s] demographics are troubling if we consider that it’s not sustainable, that we don’t have people to support our parents and grandparents,” she said.

Data from Statistics Canada has indicated that within a decade there will be more Canadians over the age of 65 than under the age of 15.

Scenarios envisioned by Statistics Canada project that migratory increase could account for more than 80% of Canada’s population growth by 2031.

But critics have argued that migratory increase does not provide a workable solution to Canada’s demographic problem.

The Centre for Immigration Policy Reform (CIPR) based in Ottawa has argued that it is a myth that Canada can solve its problem of an aging population and low fertility rates by opening its doors to large numbers of immigrants who would then provide the workers and the tax base necessary to support the country’s social services.

“While it is true Canadians are living longer and having fewer babies, research shows that immigration has almost no impact on offsetting the costs of an aging population. Immigrants themselves grow old and draw on social support services while on average they have families as small as those of other Canadians,” says the CIPR.

“For immigrants to make a net contribution to the support of social services, they would have to pay more in taxes than they receive in benefits. In recent years this has not been the case as newcomers have usually earned substantially less than native-born Canadians and have drawn significantly more in social services than they have paid in taxes.”

The Institute for Marriage and Family Canada has argued that the government creating policies that encourage and strengthen the family as a unit is a necessary part of the solution to lessen the effects of an impending demographic winter.

Tags: demographic crisis, statistics canada

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Sexual revolution costing Britain billions of dollars annually: study

by Matthew Cullinan Hoffman Mon Feb 13 14:01 EST Comments (2)

February 13, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Great Britain’s culture of sexual promiscuity is not only destructive to the country on a moral level—it also comes with a hefty price tag, according to a recent “Cambridge Paper” published by England’s Jubilee Centre, a Protestant public policy institute.

After adding together the direct costs of promiscuity as well as the indirect costs resulting from family breakdown, the paper concludes that “£100 billion (157 billion USD) annually is probably a reasonable starting point,” which is “about twice as much as alcohol abuse, smoking and obesity combined.” The number would be equivalent to almost £1,400 per year per taxpayer, according to Peter Saunders of Britain’s Christian Medical Fellowship.

The paper’s author, Guy Brandon, notes, “legally, sex is a private matter between individuals” and that “under the Sexual Offences Act 2003, adults are essentially free to act as they choose, regardless of marital or relationship status.”

However, “There is some recognition of the flaws to this approach. Few people genuinely doubt that sexual freedom has consequences for third parties.”

The consequences of Britain’s libertine attitude toward human sexuality include family breakdown and unhealthy outcomes due to greater promiscuity, Brandon argues.

While a recent study by the British government, Breakdown Britain, found that family breakdown costs the taxpayer £24 billion ($37.8 billion), the author arrives at a much higher result by taking other effects of promiscuity into account.

The direct effects of promiscuity alone cost each taxpayer about 60 ($94) per year, and include the cost of abortions, treatment for STDs and the infertility they cause, and maternal care for pregnant teens.  However, on top of these consequences are more indirect effects that also entail serious expenses, including work absenteeism, domestic violence, and educational underachievement, which Breakdown Britain and other studies have identified as consequences of domestic breakdown.

“The moral hazard that arises from our society’s uncritical endorsement of sexual freedom results in massive public costs,” concludes Brandon, who offers three possible responses: the “Big State” approach, which aggravates the problem by shifting the costs of sexual irresponsibility to the society as a whole, the approach of harsh legislation represented by such traditions as Sharia Law, or the “Biblical model” of “greater accountability for sexual choices, strengthening extended families by increasing rootedness and giving them joint financial interests. “

“In this the Christian sexual ethic of faithfulness and stability has not only spiritual justification but offers a pragmatic answer to a failing culture that generally views Christian standards as hopelessly out of date,” Brandon writes.

Tags: sexual revolution, uk

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EU roundup: gay activist says orientation not fixed; Russian city to outlaw promoting homosexuality

by Hilary White, Rome Correspondent Mon Feb 13 13:33 EST Comments (6)


St. Petersburg legislature set to outlaw promotion of homosexuality

The municipal government of St. Petersburg, Russia’s second largest city and cultural centre, is set to pass a bill prohibiting promotion of homosexuality.

The bill, which prohibits “public activities promoting homosexuality,” is being denounced by homosexualist activist groups as “anti-gay” and it is being vocally opposed by the U.S. State Department.

The bill proposes to outlaw the dissemination of information “which could cause damage to the health or moral and spiritual development of minors, including by inducing them to form warped perceptions that traditional and non-traditional married relations are equally socially acceptable.”

If passed it would impose fines on individuals or groups promoting homosexuality, pedophilia, or “transgenderism” to minors.

The U.S. State Department deplored the plans, saying, “As Secretary Clinton has said gay rights are human rights and human rights are gay rights. We have called on Russian officials to safeguard … freedoms [of speech and assembly], and to foster an environment which promotes respect for the rights of all citizens.

“We have also consulted with our EU partners on this issue. They share our concerns and are also engaging Russian officials on this. The United States places great importance on combating discrimination against the LGBT community and all minority groups.”

But the bill’s author, United Russia deputy Vitaly Milonov, has denied it will infringe on civil rights and freedoms. “We are only talking about propaganda as this information about sexual deviations affects our children,”  he said.

~

Leading UK homosexualist admits the condition neither genetic nor fixed

Peter Tatchell, one of Britain’s most vocal advocates of the homosexualist political movement, has admitted that sufferers of same-sex attraction are neither “born with” nor stuck with the condition.

Much of the argument upon which the promotion of homosexuality as a “legitimate lifestyle choice” is founded is the paradoxical assertion that it is not a choice at all, but a fixed state of being, probably determined by genes. This is the basis of the claim that opposition to homosexual activity is “homophobia” and tantamount to racism.

But Tatchell, writing last month in an article in the Huffington Post, titled, “Future Sex: Beyond Gay and Straight,” cited the notorious Alfred Kinsey, the researcher often called the grandfather of the sexual revolution, denying that “gay and straight” are distinct categories.

Kinsey’s research, Tatchell said, “was the first major statistical evidence that gay and straight are not watertight, irreconcilable and mutually exclusive sexual orientations.”

“He found that human sexuality is, in fact, a continuum of desires and behaviours, ranging from exclusive heterosexuality to exclusive homosexuality. A substantial proportion of the population shares an amalgam of same-sex and opposite-sex feelings - even if they do not act on them.”

He claimed that homophobia in the developed world is waning and wonders what the world will look like “as future societies eventually embrace a post-homophobic culture.”

“If human civilisation evolves into a state of sexual enlightenment, where the differences between hetero and homo no longer matter, what would this mean for the future of same-sex desire and same-sex identity?” Tatchell mused.

~

Hungarian Prime Minister says “If the Church were stronger, the nation would be stronger.”

While his country withstands a conflagration of international outrage at its proposed new constitution, the Hungarian prime minister has stood fast and openly described Hungary as a Christian nation.

Speaking in German to a Polish journalist, Viktor Orban said that the lack of respect for human life is a relic of the Communist regime, which hold people and life in contempt.

“If we had a strong Church, then the nation would be much stronger.” Orban said that with the Constitution and other legislative changes, he is “in the process of attempting an alliance with politicians, for whom Christendom and traditional values are important,” the German language Catholic news site Kreuz.net reports.

The new Constitution, strongly supported by voters, declares that human life must be protected from conception and says that marriage can only be contracted between a man and a woman. This has infuriated European Union secularists who are issuing threats to try to force a change back to the EU’s standards.

Orban said that factions in the EU and elsewhere are angered that the Hungarian government is distributing the EU funding to the promotion of adoption instead of abortion.

On the long tradition of prayer in Central European culture, he said, “For me this tradition has great significance.” Orban, a Protestant, said that people praying for him has been “a great power and help for me” in his political life.

“I would like to thank you for this talk and wish God’s blessing on every single citizen of the Polish nation.”

~

Vladimir Putin pledges to protect persecuted Christians abroad; Egyptian Copts hounded out of their homes by Muslim extremists

The Russian Prime Minister and Presidential candidate, Vladimir Putin, has told media that he wants to protect persecuted Christians abroad. While reports of anti-Christian violence continue to pour out of Africa, the Middle East and Asia, Putin made the promise on Wednesday in Moscow at a meeting of members of various Christian denominations.

Putin was quoted by he Russian news agency, RIA Novosti, saying it is important that the “various confessions” continue to cooperate internationally.

Putin was responding to a statement by Russian Orthodox Metropolitan Illarion, that “every five minutes a Christian must die for his faith”. A recent study has shown that around the world, even in first world countries, the great majority of religiously-motivated violence is aimed at Christians, mostly by Muslims and by governments of Communist nations like China, North Korea and Viet Nam.

The Director of the Foreign Office of the Moscow Patriarchate, said persecutions are “especially noteworthy” in Muslim-dominated countries like Iraq, Egypt, Pakistan and India. The Christmas day bombing of Catholic and other Christian churches in Nigeria by Islamic group Boko Haram has become almost an annual ritual.

Friday’s headlines from Egypt highlight the plight of the Christian Copts as the “Arab Spring” demonstrations have resulted in the ascendancy of a radical Islamist-led government. Sixty-two Coptic families have reportedly been driven out of their homes in a village, Kobry-el-Sharbat, outside Alexandria. 

Local Muslims burned homes and shops with the acquiescence of local police. The violence was said to have been triggered after a Coptic tradesman allegedly took photos of a Muslim woman with his cell phone.

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Will Cameron’s pro-abort, pro-gay, nanny state, pro-EU ‘conservatism’ cost him the government?

by Hilary White, Rome Correspondent Mon Feb 13 12:49 EST Comments (4)

 
David Cameron's "Conservative" government is anything but conservative says commentator Gerald Warner.

ROME, February 13, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – “Conservative Party backbenchers in revolt…” “Cabinet ministers rebel…” “Rebel alliance of Tory councils oppose PM’s plans…” “Prime Minister faces opposition from within…”

In the last few months, a distinct pattern has emerged among the UK’s newspaper headlines about David Cameron’s increasingly rocky coalition government. The issues are widely varying, but all seem to have a thread running through them: Britain’s naturally conservative population (outside London) and his own party, are rumbling against their leader’s determination to forward the same socialistic, sexually libertarian and anti-Britain programs that many had hoped were voted out with the last, hated government.

Most recently the program includes “gay marriage,” explicit “sex education,” unlimited abortion and free contraceptives for the kids, combined with ever-tighter government control of business that this week has featured possible mandated quotas for women in all British boardrooms. From Cameron’s adoption of the homosexualist agenda to kow-towing to the European Court of Human Rights, the prime minister’s image is that of a “hollow man,” who talks the conservative line but delivers the old Labour Party’s socialist agenda.

It is an adage of the British Parliamentary system that it abhors a coalition, and while the Liberal Democrats are pushing for more concessions to the left, Cameron’s own party is demanding a return to more traditional Tory priorities. The Financial Times this week reported that the “massed ranks” of Conservative MPs turned against and forced the government to take a “tougher line” on previous policies on Europe and subsidies for inefficient environmental projects like wind power turbines.

“Cameron’s mission to ‘detoxify’ the Conservative brand is in danger of going into reverse,” the FT reported, “with one-third of his parliamentary party actively lobbying the prime minister to revert to a more red-blooded strain of Conservatism.”

Senior Tory party commentator and former policy advisor Gerald Warner told LifeSiteNews.com that the observation is valid. There was, he said, “fury” in the House of Commons last week when it became clear that the government was going to obey a European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruling that Britain was not allowed to deport one of the world’s most wanted Islamist terrorists to face charges in Jordan.

The ECHR ruled that Abu Qatada, Osama Bin Laden’s closest collaborator in Europe, must be allowed to stay in Britain, where courts have declared him a “grave danger” to public security. But this latest ruling is only the highest profile case of a series in which the British government has wrung its collective hands instead of standing up to what is increasingly being seen as rule by a foreign, unelected and unaccountable power.

Gerald Warner said that social conservatives are “disgusted” by Cameron’s determination to promote civil partnerships to full homosexual “marriage” against the “furious resistance of almost all Christian denominations except the Quakers.”

“Everything I wrote about this hollow man is becoming more evident,” Warner said. The Coalition government on a broad array of issues, “does not look too healthy.”

Social conservatives, initially hopeful for a Tory government, have been disappointed. Last week, Cameron’s government defended implanting nine year-old girls with hormonal contraceptives without their parents’ knowledge. The Anglican archbishop of York said he received “racial” attacks in emails for having dared to oppose the government’s “gay marriage” plans. And while Cameron has done nothing to curtail “social” abortions, statistics are showing record numbers of women are now having “selective reductions” – that is, aborting one or more of the multiple children they are carrying during pregnancy.

Meanwhile, the Daily Mail reported that a “rebel alliance” of 18 “mainly Tory” local councils is banding together to launch a legal challenge against the government plans, in the midst of an economic crisis, to spend £34 billion on high-speed rail. In addition, Cameron is facing ever more vocal opposition to a proposed health care reform bill, with three unnamed Cabinet Ministers demanding that it be changed or dropped entirely, being quoted Friday on the influential Conservative Home website.

Across the Channel, as the European Union sinks deeper into the Euro’s financial quagmire, its demands for Britain – which never joined the Euro – for billions more in bailout cash are being greeted with ever more hostility in Westminster. Perhaps most telling is the continuing demand for a referendum on Britain’s relationship with the EU. Cameron’s promises of a referendum were quashed by pressure from his strongly pro-Europe Liberal Democrat coalition partners, but he may have underestimated how much the promise meant to voters and his party. 

This week, a cross-party citizens’ pro-democracy group is staging a series of mini-referendums in Essex. The People’s Pledge group says they are planning ten similar votes across Britain in 2012. At the end of January, one of the more prominent “rebellion” headlines came from MPs responding to the People’s Pledge announcing it had collected 100,000 signatures demanding a national vote on Europe.

On Wednesday, the government was blasted in the House of Lords for handing over billions to bail out the EU. Lord Pearson of Rannoch (UKIP) said the only solution is for Britain to leave the EU entirely. “Did we not send £10.2 billion in net cash to the European Union for it to waste last year? … Why do we need any of the 75,000 fat Eurocrats in Brussels, who have little to do but strangle our economy with their endless regulations and waste our money which could be better spent at home?”

In most countries conservatism is a philosophy opposed to greater government interference in private and family life, but Cameron’s new brand of Conservatism has not hesitated to impose itself, in the grandest leftist “nanny state” tradition, into the most intimate areas of life.

The government was recently criticized for launching a “happiness” project that Cameron said would boost public morale. The Office of National Statistics admitted this week to a total £8 million budget for the “Measuring National Well-being” survey – to be sent randomly to 200,000 households, asking Britons questions like “How happy did you feel yesterday? How anxious did you feel yesterday? How satisfied are you with your life nowadays?”

Following the infamous “English Riots” last summer, Cameron, again quoting the “Broken Britain” slogan, pledged to implement unnamed “programs” intended to “turn around the lives of the 120,000 most troubled families,” that his government had identified as the source of the problem. Perhaps as part of that task, last week, Anne Milton, undersecretary of state for health, revealed that the government plans to start watering down the country’s beer to combat “binge drinking.”

Warner, who served John Major’s Conservative government as a policy advisor on Scotland, told LSN: “There is now a demand for the UK to withdraw from the European Convention on Human Rights and renounce the jurisdiction of the Strasbourg court. There is also a major Tory rebellion brewing if Cameron/Osborne attempt to contribute to the IMF’s bailout fund for eurozone countries.”

“Cameron’s decision to force through the High Speed Rail link - a classic Blairite vanity project - at a cost of £32billion, means many Tory MPs in middle England face the loss of their seats. My guess is it will eventually be abandoned, but only after a prodigious amount of money has been wasted on it.”

“This government is a disaster - and certainly not Conservative. Slowly but surely, as each rebellion larger than its predecessor shows, Cameron is losing control of his Party. He cannot lose it soon enough, in the view of true Tories,” Warner concluded.

Tags: david cameron, eu, uk

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Have we really come a long way, baby? Abortion and feminism don’t mix.

by Denise J. Hunnell, MD Mon Feb 13 12:11 EST Comments (20)

 

February 13, 2012 (HLIAmerica.org) - Those of us of who still remember when both the “Huntley-Brinkley Report” and Walter Cronkite were on television also remember the reports of the women’s liberation movement. Bras were burned in defiance of “male chauvinist pigs.” Virginia Slims cigarettes told us, “You’ve come a long way, Baby!”  Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs played out the “Battle of the Sexes” on the tennis court. And amidst all of this, the United States Supreme Court ruled that a woman had the right to destroy the child within her womb.

Those were some heady days for women. I would say that a big reason I went to medical school was the rhetoric I heard at that time: Men say I can’t be a doctor? I’ll show them! About one in five of my classmates in medical school were women. Many of my professors and, later many of my patients, disapproved of female physicians. I had a male classmate suggest that I was getting by on my pretty smile instead of actually putting in the hard work to become a doctor. Truthfully, I was probably working harder than most of my male classmates because I didn’t have the “good old boy” network looking out for me. Instead, I had male physicians hoping I would screw up so they could give a knowing look and make some comment about why women didn’t belong in medicine.

Yet I persevered and reaped the rewards of my labor. As years passed, a female physician was no longer an oddity and my abilities were no longer suspect.

Opening up careers in medicine, law, politics and business to women was a positive development for our culture. Unfortunately, this social progress came with the baggage of abortion. The birth of the professional woman was inextricably linked to the death of the child within the womb. The Roe v. Wade decision became the iconic victory of women’s equality. Even today, the hint of a decrease in the availability of abortion brings hysterical shrieks from women who claim they are being driven back to a state of subservience. Just look at the frenzied media circus that arose when Susan G. Komen for the Cure suggested that abortion industry giant Planned Parenthood would be ineligible for future grants. President Barack Obama issued a statement on the 2012 anniversary of the Roe v Wade suggesting that abortion was necessary for the next generation of women to have the same rights, freedoms and opportunities as men. This is interesting considering that at least a quarter of the next generation of women will die as victims of abortion.

The reality is we will not cultivate a culture of life until all women realize that we do not need abortion in order to be considered as smart, competent and professional as men. Not only do we not need abortion, we do not want it. Abortion does not elevate the dignity of women. It demeans us and forces us to reject our true nature. Rather than celebrating our femininity, abortion forces us to deny our womanhood. It treats our unique ability to bear and nurture a child as a liability.

Click “like” if you want to end abortion!

In addition to squelching true womanhood, abortion is literally killing women. Sex selective abortion is blamed for the dearth of women in countries like China and India, where boys are culturally preferred to women.

And there is now strong evidence that post-abortive women are more likely to suffer an increase in depression, substance abuse and suicide. Abortion is also linked to a highly aggressive form of breast cancer.

The generation before mine opened the doors for women to offer their talents in ways previously denied to them. My generation battled persistent bias to make women in demanding professions and in positions of authority the norm rather than the exception. The challenge I now offer my daughter and my granddaughter is to fearlessly embrace this freedom as complete women. Do not reject the strength of your femininity.

Ironically, perhaps the greatest expression of authentic dignified womanhood did not come from the words of the giants of the women’s rights movement like Gloria Steinem, Betty Friedan or Bella Abzug. Rather, it was Blessed Pope John Paul II who gave a voice to the strength of women. He recognized the power and potential of women as the heart and soul of our families, our communities, our culture and our Church. From Mulieris Dignitatem:

A woman is strong because of her awareness of this entrusting, strong because of the fact that God “entrusts the human being to her,” always and in every way, even in the situations of social discrimination in which she may find herself. This awareness and this fundamental vocation speak to women of the dignity which they receive from God himself, and this makes them “strong” and strengthens their vocation. …

In our own time, the successes of science and technology make it possible to attain material well-being to a degree hitherto unknown. While this favours some, it pushes others to the edges of society. In this way, unilateral progress can also lead to a gradual loss of sensitivity for man, that is, for what is essentially human. In this sense, our time in particular awaits the manifestation of that “genius” which belongs to women, and which can ensure sensitivity for human beings in every circumstance: because they are human! – and because “the greatest of these is love” (cf. 1 Cor 13:13).

My prayer is that all women of today and tomorrow will reject subjugation by those who wish to extinguish their true femininity. May they recognize that their strength comes from their total womanhood, including their life-giving nature. Contrary to the ideas of President Obama, the rights, freedoms and opportunities of the next generation of women depends on their expression of their feminine “genius” in a way that elevates our culture and holds sacrosanct the dignity of all human life.

Denise Hunnell, MD, is a Fellow of HLI America, an educational initiative of Human Life International. She writes for HLI America’s Truth and Charity Forum, where this article first appeared.

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Conceived in incestuous rape, but ‘not defined by my DNA’: Kristi Hofferber’s incredible story

by Peter Baklinski Mon Feb 13 09:41 EST Comments (8)

 
Kristi Hofferber

Co-authored with John Jalsevac

February 13, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – If you think of yourself as ‘pro-life’ except in the case of rape and incest, you will have to look Kristi Hofferber in the eye and tell her that her mother should have aborted her. And it almost happened. 

In an extraordinary and moving personal testimony published today by LifeSiteNews, Kristi explains that she grew up in a happy Christian home, her only complaint being a constant and growing sense of unease borne of the knowledge that she was adopted. This restlessness finally drove her to seek out the facts about her birth parents shortly before she turned 30.

She could not possibly have prepared herself for what she found out.

After telling her adopted parents that she wanted to know more about her biological parents, they sat her down and told her the horrifying facts of her conception: that her birth mother was repeatedly raped by her deranged incestuous father throughout her teenage years. Six pregnancies resulted; five of them ended in abortion. In the midst of these horrendous circumstances, Kristi alone was inexplicably spared, narrowly escaping the fate of her brothers and sisters.

“I was speechless!” Kristi relates. “It took all I had to keep my composure. I went from having about a dozen questions in my mind, to having hundreds.”

To Read Kristi’s full testimony, click here.

Even after learning the facts of her conception, Kristi says she felt driven to try to find out more, and perhaps even contact her birth mother. After making some inquiries on the internet she was able to make contact, and soon thereafter, to arrange an emotional reunion with her birth mother.

“My biological mother was very surprised that I had chosen to find her even after knowing the truth about my biological father,” writes Kristi. “This is when I let her know my faith and how I felt about who I was. He may share my DNA, but God created me. No matter the circumstance, it is of God’s will and purpose that I was conceived.  I do not want anything from my biological father, nor will I ever.”

Kristi says that at the end of the day, she is simply thankful that she is alive.

“I cringe when someone says they’re pro-life but they believe in exceptions for rape and incest,” Kristi told WND recently. “Then I step in and say, ‘Wait a minute. I was conceived in incest, and I’m just as human as you are.”

Kristi is saddened that most children conceived in circumstances similar to hers end up paying the ultimate price for the sins of their father.

“The option of abortion allowed him to punish my innocent brothers and sisters with death. This is wrong in so many ways. God has a plan for each and every child, including those of us conceived in incest and rape. To have abortion as a legal choice hurts everyone involved,” she said.

Kristi does not define herself by her biological DNA, but by the love of her birth mother and by the love that she knows God has for her.

“God is my father,” she says. “It doesn’t matter who my biological father is”.

“He may share my DNA, but God created me. No matter the circumstance, it is of God’s will and purpose that I was conceived.”

Kristi is a walking testimony that even in cases of rape and incest, each unborn child is created for a purpose. “As my story reveals, God can take something bad and make it an opportunity to do something miraculous.”

“I was given the gift of life in a difficult circumstance and believe that every child conceived deserves the same, without exception.”

Kristi is married to a Christian pastor. They have become proud parents through adoption. Kristi’s biological father, who terrorized her mother for decades, died last year.

Click “like” if you want to end abortion!

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Did Mitt Romney force Catholic hospitals to provide Plan B? Mass. Catholic leader says ‘yes’

by Ben Johnson Mon Feb 13 09:15 EST Comments (7)

 

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS, February 13, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – As politicians in both political parties debate Mitt Romney’s role in implementing a 2005 statute requiring Catholic hospitals in Massachusetts to dispense Plan B - an “emergency contraceptive” that studies and the pill’s manufacturer have suggested can cause early abortions - a leader in the state’s pro-life movement puts the blame squarely on the former governor.

“The injury to the conscience rights of Catholic hospitals was not done so much so much by the church’s ideological enemies on the Left but by the Romney administration,” C.J. Doyle, executive director of the Catholic Action League, told LifeSiteNews.com. The real harm, he says, came from Romney’s private counsel’s interpretation of a 1975 law that would have respected their religious views.

“It wasn’t the liberals. It wasn’t some liberal court. It was not liberal legislators that caused this interpretation of law,” Doyle said. “It was the Romney administration” that “injured the conscience rights and religious freedom rights of Catholic hospitals here.”

In 2005, the then-governor ordered Catholic hospitals to offer the “morning-after” pill in the final act of a showdown between church and state that began 30 years earlier.

In 1975, the Massachusetts legislature passed a law exempting private hospitals from providing abortions or “contraceptive devices or information” if those practices run contrary to their “religious or moral principles.”

In 2005, a new state law required all hospitals to provide Plan B to rape victims.

At first Romney, who said throughout the legislative process that he had no opinion on the bill, vetoed it and wrote an op-ed in the Boston Globe explaining that he had pledged that he “would not change our abortion laws either to restrict abortion or to facilitate it.”

“I believe that abortion is the wrong choice except in cases of incest, rape, and to save the life of the mother,” he wrote. 

The heavily Democratic body voted to override his veto in September 2005.

A new religious exemption, supported by Romney, never passed. However, most Massachusetts politicians agreed with Public Health Commissioner Paul Cote Jr. that the 1975 and 2005 laws “don’t cancel each other out and basically work in harmony with each other,” meaning that the religious exemption still stood intact.

That consensus included the Massachusetts Catholic Conference and, according to family watchdog group MassResistance, and former governor Michael Dukakis.

The notable exception was Romney’s personal legal counsel, Mark D. Nielsen, who felt the new law invalidated its predecessor and provided no protection for Catholics.

“Romney, through his legal counsel, came up with this entirely novel, unprecedented, unheard of interpretation of the 1975 statute to indicate that it didn’t apply,” Doyle told LifeSiteNews. “This surprised, and astonished, and perplexed everyone.”

One week before the law was to take effect, Romney held a press conference saying, “I have instructed the Department of Public Health to follow the conclusion of my own legal counsel,” calling it a “sounder view.” The Boston Herald described Romney’s turnabout as “an Olympic-caliber double flip-flop with a gold medal-performance twist-and-a-half.”

Romney told the Herald the new legal analysis represented his private view on the issue, as well. “My personal view in my heart of hearts is that people who are subject to rape should have the option of having emergency contraceptives or emergency contraceptive information.”

The new position allowed the Romney administration to “have its cake and eat it, too,” Doyle told LifeSiteNews.com. His support for a new religious exemption, which could never pass the Democratic legislature, meant “Governor Romney could then run for president as a friend of religious freedom rights and traditional morality, while his lieutenant governor, to whom he was very close, Lt. Gov. Kerry Murphy Healey, could run for election as governor in 2006 in liberal Massachusetts without any downside from liberals and feminists on the emergency contraception issue.” Healey opposed Romney’s veto and supported the reversal.

The issue, which lay dormant for seven years, has found new life on both sides of the aisle during the contentious 2012 presidential race.

On the eve of sweeping three contests in Colorado, Minnesota, and Missouri, Rick Santorum wrote an op-ed stating President Obama’s HHS mandate was “not the first time that elected officials have trounced on the fundamental right to religious freedom. In December 2005, Governor Mitt Romney required all Massachusetts hospitals, including Catholic ones, to provide emergency contraception to rape victims.”

“Now, a few years later and running for president, his heart is strategically aligned with religious voters opposing this federal mandate,” he wrote. “It’s important to me that we don’t just talk a good game, but that we actually live it.”

The same day Newt Gingrich told voters in Cincinnati, “There’s been a lot of talk about the Obama administration’s attack on the Catholic Church. Well, the fact is, Governor Romney insisted that Catholic hospitals give out abortion pills, against their religious beliefs, when he was governor.” 

The Obama administration weighed in last Wednesday, when White House spokesman Jay Carney dubbed Romney “an odd messenger” and branded his criticism “ironic,” because Obama’s policy “is virtually identical to the one that was in place when he was governor of Massachusetts.”

Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul responded, “We expect these attacks from President Obama and his liberal friends. But from Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum, it’s a clear indication of desperation from their campaigns.” Romney told reporters in Atlanta Carney “needs to check his history.” He said “that provision was put in Massachusetts before I was governor, and then when I was governor I tried to have it removed in our health care plan.”

David French, who organized “Evangelicals for Mitt” in the last election cycle, wrote in National Review Online that Romney “did all he reasonably could.” The overwhelmingly Democratic legislature overrode his veto. He added, “Massachusetts regulations, the Church Amendment, and Directive 36 combine to create a number of potential loopholes and workarounds.” Had Romney been more confrontational, these may have been stripped away.

Doyle – who served as a Democratic ward secretary and worked with pro-life Democratic state representative Jim Craven – said the idea that “Romney was really trying to help us” by heeding his personal lawyer’s view is “something the evidence doesn’t really point to.”

“I think if there’s a choice between an obscure and arcane explanation and a simple and obvious one, I’m more inclined to take the simple and obvious one,” Doyle told LifeSiteNews.

He noted a similar situation took place when the Massachusetts legislature mandated that Catholic adoption agencies place children with homosexual couples. Romney again asked for a conscience measure, which did not pass. However, he cited a state regulation that compelled Catholic agencies to comply with the law, contrary to their beliefs. At the time, Michael Dukakis – who removed a child from the home of homosexual foster parents as governor – said, “there’s nothing in there to the best of my knowledge that mandates anything” of the sort. He said, “If it’s a regulation, governors can change regulations if they want to. That’s up to him.” Observers said legal action may have ensued if Romney changed the regulation. Enforcing that rule ended 100 years of adoption services by Catholic Charities in Boston. Dukakis observed at the time, “I just don’t know who we’re serving here.”

In his speech at CPAC Friday afternoon, Mitt Romney said, “I defended the Catholic Church’s right to serve their community in ways that were consistent with their conscience through adoption programs that placed children in a home with a mom and a dad.” The previous night he told Fox News’ Neil Cavuto, ”I fought on every basis I possibly could for life…and religious liberty,” against “exactly the same thing this president is trying to do.”

“People say that Mitt Romney is a flip-flopper,” Doyle said. “ I think that’s very unjust. I think he’s been a very consistent politician. He consistently works both sides of the street on the same issue. He is consistently cynical and expedient and self-serving.”

Doyle said, “While what Obama is doing certainly is an assault on our consciences, I’m not sure Governor Romney is the person to assert that, given his record.”

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