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Cardinal Raymond Burke receives prestigious pro-life award with Dan Zeidler, others

by Matthew Cullinan Hoffman Wed Feb 29 18:48 EST Comments (3)

 
Cardinal Burke at Legatus conference
Dan Zeidler

February 29, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke, one of the Vatian’s highest-ranking officials, received the Cardinal John J. O’Connor Pro-Life Award earlier this month from Catholic businessman’s organization Legatus, along with pro-life activists Dan Zeidler, and Steve and Vivian Koob.

Cardinal Burke, who served as Archbishop of St. Louis before taking his current position as Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, has been a consistent defender of the right to life, as well as the Catholic Church’s official policy of not giving Holy Communion to politicians who support abortionist legislation.

The cardinal, who also won the Legatus Defender of the Faith award in 2006, gave a talk on “The Universal Vocation to Holiness and the New Evangelization.” Also in attendance at the February 2 event were former President of the United States George W. Bush, Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal, and a large number of high-ranking businessmen and politicians.

Burke used the opportunity to comment on the failure of Catholics to uphold the Church’s teachings in public life.

“How many Catholics, instead of giving a strong witness to the truth, which God has written on every human heart, daily scandalize their fellow citizens that is, daily lead their fellow citizens into confusion and error by acting publicly and obstinately against the law of God?” he asked, according to the National Catholic Register.

Award recipient Dan Zeidler, who has labored in the pro-life movement for four decades, is the president of the Family Life Council and the U.S. representative for the Latin American Alliance for the Family (ALAFA). He emphasized the importance of the pro-life struggle in Latin American countries.

“Do you know how Blessed Pope John Paul II referred to Latin America? He called it the Continent of Hope - the Continent of Hope,” said Zeidler in his acceptance speech.

“Do you know that most Latin American countries protect life before birth through their constitutions and other laws - sometimes specifically from the moment of conception? Pro-life people in the United States long for the day when we would have a legal situation like that in our own country!” Zeidler said.

However, Zeidler warned, “these pro-life policies in Latin America are in great danger. In fact, in some areas these pro-life laws are hanging on by a thread.” He urged Americans to “show solidarity with our courageous brothers and sisters of Latin America who are engaged in a battle for life, family and Faith” and to “unite to save the Continent of Hope.”

Steve and Vivian Koob were also recognized for their many decades of partnership in the pro-life movement, as well as having raised eight natural children and five adoptive children, including three special needs African-American children. Their last child died at birth due to birth defects, after Vivian Koob refused an abortion advised by her doctors. As a consequence, she was hospitalized for over 90 days.

The Koobs are the founder of Elizabeth’s New Life Center, which provides health services to pregnant women in the Dayton, Ohio area, and One More Soul, which encourages parents to have more children, and warns them against the evils of contraception. 

“Steve and I feel very blessed that God called us to lead this effort,” Vivian Koob said regarding the award, “but I can honestly say that we share any honor with the volunteers, employees, board and donors who have supported our ministry along the way.”

Related LSN coverage:

* Vatican Official: Bishops Have no Choice But to Refuse Communion to Pro-Abort Politicians
* Vatican Cardinal Burke: In today’s society ‘morality has ceased to exist’
* Dan Zeidler presents president of Chile with award in nationally publicized event
* Cardinal Burke: Attacks on unborn are rooted in ‘contraceptive mentality’
* Catholics Can’t Vote for Pro-Abort Politicians: Cardinal-Designate Burke

Tags: abortion, cardinal raymond burke, legatus, pro-life

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Mitt Romney sweeps Arizona, Michigan primaries

by Ben Johnson Wed Feb 29 18:06 EST Comments (13)

DETROIT, MICHIGAN, February 29, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney swept both the Arizona and Michigan primaries on Tuesday, edging out former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum in a tough fight in the state where Romney was born and his father served as a three-term governor.

“Thank you, Michigan, and thank you, Arizona,” Romney said in his acceptance speech. He referred to the night’s results as “a great victory.”

This morning on Fox News, Santorum also referred to the Michigan primary as a “victory.” Santorum adviser John Brabender said, “I don’t know how you look at that as anything besides this being a strong showing for Rick Santorum and anything short of a disaster for Mitt Romney.”

Romney won handily in Arizona, besting Santorum by 20 percentage points. But Michigan was much narrower in the popular vote—and may have resulted in a tie in the delegates race.

“We didn’t win by a lot, but we won by enough. And that’s all that counts,” Romney told supporters in the Detroit suburb of Novi Tuesday night.

With 99 percent of precincts reporting, Romney won Michigan by 41.1 percent to 37.9 percent for Santorum. Due to Michigan’s proportional representation system, two delegates are awarded to the winner in each of the state’s 14 congressional district.

As of this writing, both Romney and Santorum earned 13 delegates.  “It’s highly likely this is is going to end up being a tie, based on the data that we have,” Brabender said. “Splitting the Michigan vote in the face of being outspent by millions of dollars was certainly a moral victory for Santorum,” wrote George Rasley on ConservativeHQ.com, run by longtime conservative activist Richard Viguerie.

Exit polls from Michigan show Santorum and Romney essentially split working women. Santorum won voters who described themselves as “very conservative” by 14 points. Santorum won heavily among pro-life voters, evangelical Christians, and values voters.

Catholic voters preferred Mitt Romney by seven points.

Despite Tuesday’s victories, the GOP party base may still be uncomfortable with Romney as the nominee. “According to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll, only 38 percent of ‘very conservative’ Americans now express favorable views of Mitt Romney. That’s his lowest mark of the campaign among staunch conservatives, and is down 16 percentage points over the past two weeks,” Rasley wrote. “Consolidating the conservative vote, staying on message and rejecting the establishment media’s advice to run to the middle will pay even greater dividends for Santorum on Super Tuesday.”

The Susan B. Anthony List, Campaign for Working Families, CatholicVote.org, the Culture War Victory Fund, and Let Freedom Ring launched a five-day statewide bus tour throughout Michigan and purchased $150,000 in radio ads. Their bus will travel through Ohio, Tennessee, and Georgia leading up to Super Tuesday. They will also run $250,000 in radio ads.

“After tonight’s encouraging results, we move ahead to Super Tuesday with even more energy,” said Susan B. Anthony List Vice President for Government Affairs Marilyn Musgrave.

“We just gave Mitt Romney the fight of his life in his home state and now we are in for a long, important battle to the convention,” Santorum wrote in a fundraising e-mail. Brabender agreed,  “If we can do this well in Romney’s home state, this bodes well for Super Tuesday.”

Romney told his supporters Tuesday night his “unwavering conviction” led him to a message that “has rallied millions of Americans to our cause. And it’s the message we will take to every corner of this country – from Ohio and Idaho to Georgia and Tennessee.”

“We are going to continue to work to earn every vote, taking nothing for granted,” Romney campaign spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg told LifeSiteNews.com. “But we are confident that the more voters continue to learn about Mitt Romney, the more they will realize that he is exactly what our country needs right now to get spending under control, create jobs, and get our nation back on the right track.”

The Associated Press reports that Romney leads the delegate count with 165 to Santorum’s 85 delegates. Newt Gingrich has 32. Ron Paul has 19. A candidate will not secure the nomination until he has the votes of 1,144 delegates.

Ten states participate in the Super Tuesday primaries on March 6.

Tags: mitt romney, rick santorum

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Archdiocese of Washington reprimands priest for denying communion to a lesbian

by Ben Johnson Wed Feb 29 17:57 EST Comments (365)

GAITHERSBURG, MARYLAND, February 29, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – A parish priest in Maryland, who denied communion to a woman who identified herself as a lesbian, has been publicly rebuked by the Archdiocese of Washington.

Barbara Johnson attended her mother’s funeral last Saturday and introduced her lesbian partner to the priest before Mass.

Fr. Marcel Guarnizo of St. John Neumann Catholic Church in Gaithersburg, Maryland, covered the Host as she approached and told her, “I can’t give you Communion because you live with a woman, and in the eyes of the Church, that is a sin.” 

Afterwards, she wrote him a letter telling him, “I will do everything in my power to see that you are removed from parish life so that you will not be permitted to harm any more families.”

Auxiliary Bishop Barry Knestout wrote a formal letter of apology telling Johnson, “I am sorry that what should have been a celebration of your mother’s life, in light of her faith in Jesus Christ, was overshadowed by a lack of pastoral sensitivity.”

The Archdiocese of Washington issued a brief press release saying Fr. Guarnizo’s actions were inappropriate. “When questions arise about whether or not an individual should present themselves for communion, it is not the policy of the Archdiocese of Washington to publicly reprimand the person. Any issues regarding the suitability of an individual to receive communion should be addressed by the priest with that person in a private, pastoral setting.”

After receiving the letter of apology, Johnson said “I will not be satisfied” until Fr. Guarnizo is removed from the parish.

Monsignor Charles Pope, who blogs for the Archdiocese of Washington’s website, told LifeSiteNews.com, “One would presume a priest would have had more ongoing conversations with somebody of a private nature before one would publicly deny somebody communion.”

“There may be a time when a pastor has concerns about a parishioner and then speaks to them privately and advises them privately not to receive communion,” he said. “But we don’t have these confrontations at the altar rail.”

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

Canon 915 of the Roman Catholic Church’s Code of Canon Law admonishes priests to deny Holy Communion to those who are “obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to holy communion.”

The New Commentary on Canon Law states: “Eucharistic Ministers are also to refuse holy communion when they are certain (1) that a person has committed a sin that is objectively grave, (2) that the sinner is obstinately persevering in this sinful state, and (3) that this sin is manifest,” or widely known to those present at the Mass. 

The U.S. Council of Catholic Bishops established “engaging in sexual activity outside the bonds of a valid marriage” as such a sin in its 2006 publication “‘Happy Are Those Who Are Called to His Supper’: On Preparing to Receive Christ Worthily in the Eucharist.”

“Catholics who are conscious of committing any mortal sin must receive the Sacrament of Penance before receiving Holy Communion,” they wrote.

Public denial of communion must also be preceded by a private warning not to come forward to communion.

The commentary on the 1983 Code of Canon Law, prepared by the Canon Law Society of Great Britain and Ireland, states, “before a minister can lawfully refuse the Eucharist, he must be certain that the person obstinately persists in a sinful situation or in sinful behavior that is manifest (i.e. public) and objectively grave.”

“Most canonists, including pastors and priests, interpret that not just as not just a quick conversation but something of a more substantial nature,” Monsignor Pope told LifeSiteNews.

Dr. Ed Peters, a canon lawyer at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit, wrote “a few minutes conversation…would not suffice, in the face of numerous canons protecting the right of the faithful to receive the sacraments, to verify either the notoriety of the (objectively) sinful situation, or to verify the obstinacy of the would-be recipient.” However, Dr. Peters noted after a sufficient period of warning and instruction, a priest would be well within his rights to invoke Canon 915 and deny communion to an obstinate, sexually active homosexual.

“I don’t know that that can be determined by a brief interaction in a sacristy,” Msgr. Pope told LifeSiteNews.

Fr. Guarnizo may have been forcibly denied the opportunity to expand on his conversation. A commenter on Deacon Greg Kandra’s blog, who claimed to have been “in a meeting with Fr Marcel and heard the whole story,” wrote: “The woman in question brought her lesbian partner into the vesting sacristy just before the funeral Mass and made sure to introduce her partner to Fr. Marcel, introducing her as her ‘lover’. He told her then that she should not present herself for Communion.” A commenter claimed Barbara’s partner “blocked his way out of the sacristy when he attempted to speak with her further.”

The Catholic Church believes a faithful Christian has such an interest in receiving Holy Communion that it must only be denied only in extreme cases. “When in doubt, give it out,” Msgr. Pope said.

The popular blogger Fr. John Zuhlsdorf wrote no one should be surprised that questions persist about when to publicly deny someone communion.

Fr. Zuhlsdorf writes that “Many priests have received inadequate training in these matters of law and have been given even worse example by bishops who ought to be applying can. 915 is genuine cases of applicability,” he wrote.

Archbishop Donald Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington, waded into a similar controversy in 2009 when he said he would not deny House Speaker Nancy Pelosi communion, claiming to do so would amount to “Communion wielded as a weapon.” When asked, he said, “there’s a question about whether this canon [915] was ever intended to be used.”

Fr. Zuhlsdorf described Fr. Guarnizo’s actions as “well-meaning” but “premature,” adding he could not find fault with his motivation.

“He should be thanked for taking his role seriously and for wanting to uphold the Church’s teaching,” he wrote.

Fr. Guarnizo did not return messages left by LifeSiteNews.

Contact:
Archdiocese of Washington
chancery@adw.org

Tags: barry knestout, canon 915, donald wuerl, marcel guarnizo

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What’s at stake in the ‘same-sex marriage’ debate?

by Melanie Baker Wed Feb 29 17:31 EST Comments (38)

 
Melanie Baker

The law cannot be divorced from reality, from nature. The moment this happens, law becomes arbitrary, the whim of the ruling power: it becomes tyranny.

Last week, the Maryland Senate passed the Civil Marriage Protection Act by a 25–22 vote. The Maryland House of Delegates had passed the bill on Friday, February 17, by a 71–67 vote, and Governor Martin O’Malley has vowed to sign it. This bill will grant the legal status of marriage to any two non-related consenting adults, irrespective of their sex.

Why is this important, and how does it affect even those who do not live in Maryland? Isn’t it best just to let people do what they want with their lives and leave well enough alone, as long as we are left in peace to do what we want with our lives? That’s a pipedream. This law is a misnomer, and its passage signals the destruction of, not greater protection for, marriage. Let me explain why.

Nature Matters

First, let’s step back from the rhetoric and define our terms. Fundamentally, what defines a marriage? What makes it unique and distinct from all other human relationships? It is the only relationship that naturally leads to the procreation of a child, and, through its stability and mutual commitment, provides the optimal conditions to nurture and educate that child. Same-sex unions cannot achieve this biologically. Two women cannot conceive a child, nor can two men. Therefore, they simply cannot, naturally speaking, be “married,” for their relationship lacks the essential component of fertility. Sexual difference is an essential component of marriage.

Some will claim that homosexual partners raise children just as heterosexual ones do. But again, let’s step aside from the rhetoric and look at facts. Two lesbians who bring a child into the world through artificial insemination still require the male gamete necessary for fertilization to take place. Whether aware of him or not, the child of that lesbian couple actually does have a father. Though same-sex couples may be able to afford the process of artificial insemination or even adoption, their relationship can never naturally produce a child. And this infertility is not due to a defect or flaw in the reproductive system, but is due to nature. This is a primary reason why it is impossible to refer to the union of a same-sex couple as a “marriage,” and to afford it the same rights and privileges. Not only is it impossible, but it is also unjust and arbitrary.

It is because of the unique nature of the marriage relationship that the term “family” cannot be lightly defined. A marriage can only be between a man and a woman; and thus a natural family can only consist of a mother, a father, and the children they conceive. All other families—adoptive families and foster families—are based upon this one. Even the very attempt to give same-sex unions the status of “marriage” and to refer to them as “families” assumes the prior natural institution of the family as its model. Gender is as crucial for marriage as it is for the family that it engenders. Further, children need the complementary love of both a mother and a father. To deny this to children would be far from granting them rights equal to those of children who do have a mother and a father.

A Civil Rights Issue?

Further clouding matters, this has been framed as a civil rights issue. The state, so the argument goes, cannot discriminate against people because of how they choose to have sex; this discrimination is a grave injustice, relegating homosexuals to a second-class citizenship. But if the argument rests solely on personal preference, an appeal cannot be made to a civil right. In other words, the choice of sexual partner does not provide sufficient grounds for the state to formally recognize such a union as a “marriage”; the state’s refusal to recognize a sexual relationship is not tantamount to denying a “civil right.”

A person is more than his sexuality. Sexuality is an essential part of the person, but not the sole defining element of the person. While rightly insisting that their humanity be regarded first and foremost (hence the concern about civil rights), it is actually contradictory for gays and lesbians to follow this up with the accusation that it is discriminatory to deny them the legal status of marriage based on their sexual preference. Their accusation implicitly equates their sexual inclination with their personhood, and takes the denial of legal status to their sexual lifestyle to be a personal judgment against them. It is not a denial of the personhood of gay and lesbian persons to deny their homosexual relationships the legal status of marriage. They are unequivocally persons in fact and under the law, and have all the rights of persons; but their homosexual relationship is denied the legal status of marriage because it lacks the intrinsic element necessary for a marriage: the natural ability to procreate children.

The law cannot be divorced from reality, from nature. The moment this happens, law becomes arbitrary, the whim of the ruling power: it becomes tyranny. The foundations of our very democracy are at stake with this debate, and this affects each and every one of us.

Reason, not Emotion, the Basis of Public Discourse and Law

If Maryland’s Civil Marriage Protection Act becomes law, Pandora’s box will be opened. Once the law redefines marriage as the sexual union of any two consenting adults, further modifications will no longer appear alarming: two consenting adults might become two consenting persons (age therefore being eliminated and opening the door to disguised child abuse), or “two” might be deemed an arbitrary number (already there are lawsuits making their way through the courts), thus opening the door for polygamy and polyamory. When the law can be changed so flippantly, it does not inspire confidence in its ability to “protect.” What sort of “freedom” and “protection” will your children, and their children, enjoy in fifty or sixty years at this rate?

Finally, we need to take a good, hard look at the type of discourse surrounding this issue. Rational discourse seeks truth: it employs premises that flow together to yield a sound conclusion. The pathos-laden language that is being employed in this issue is simply not a valid response to rational discourse. Reason must be answered with reason, not emotion. There is an objective truth that continues to shine in the debate, and it is the simple fact of nature: the essential component that sexual difference brings to marriage. This is a fact of nature that can be clearly seen by reason, and it is here, on the plane of reason, that this Act needs to be assessed by law.

That said, the fact that a good number of persons define themselves by their sexual behavior and interpret as a personal judgment the objective and rational refusal to equate their sexual relationship to that of heterosexuals, points to a very real and objective emotional reality. At some level of their personhood, they are asking to be heard, acknowledged, and accepted, and this is a valid human need.

But this emotional need to be heard, understood, and affirmed is separate from the requisite reasons to justify such a momentous legal redefinition of a primordial institution that precedes the state, and the devastating social ramifications that would result from such a redefinition. As a society, we seem to be losing our ability to distinguish these two planes; we are trying to think with our emotions, and the result is to forfeit thinking altogether. How can we have a dialogue with one another if we lose our ability to reason?

If we want to preserve the democracy that stands on self-evident truths as its foundation; if we want to provide our children and grandchildren with the same protection we currently enjoy; and if we want to salvage the remaining bits of rationality essential to a truly diverse and integrated society, we will stand against bills like the Civil Marriage Protection Act. There is too much at stake in these battles, and there is too much to lose by forfeiting common sense in favor of pathos. The elected officials of Maryland have acted against the will of the citizens. If you are a Maryland resident, you can sign a petition to put the issue of marriage up for a referendum, allowing the citizens of Maryland to decide for ourselves.

This article originally appeared on The Public Discourse. Melanie Baker is a Contributing Writer of HLI America, an educational initiative of Human Life International. She writes for the Truth and Charity Forum.

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Pledges to help unborn children not counted by organizers of Atlantic Canada leadership contest

by Peter Baklinski Wed Feb 29 16:32 EST Comments (6)

 
Tara Brinston

HALIFAX, Nova Scotia, February 29, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Pro-lifers voting for Tara Brinston in the ACTIVE-8 Atlantic Canada leadership competition that closes tonight at midnight may be wondering why their votes and pledges to help the young woman with her goal of improving the rights of persons with an intellectual disability have been rejected. It is because organizers behind the event have decided not to count pledges that bear any mark of being pro-life.

Last week, Matthew Falman of Saskatchewan Youth LifeGroup voted for Brinston with the following pledge:

“I pledge to support my own brother and others with Down Syndrome. I pledge to spread awareness that all Down Syndrome children have the right to live out their beautiful lives. I pledge to end the statistic that 9 out of 10 Down Syndrome children are aborted because of the myth that their’s is a lesser quality of life!”

But Falman’s pledge was rejected. He contacted the organizers of the competition, The Atlantic Council for International Cooperation (ACIC) and asked them why is pledge was not approved.

Rena Kulczycki, Member & Public Engagement Coordinator for ACIC responded as follows:

“Last week Tara was put in the middle of the pro/anti-choice debate without her consent. Once this was brough (sic) to her attention, she indicated to us that she would not welcome any reference to abortion in the list of pledges made on her behalf, which is why your pledge was not accepted. We would welcome your resubmission of a pledge that does not in any way refer to the abortion debate.”

The ACIC, a coalition in the Atlantic region working to achieve what they call “global sustainability encompassing social justice, human dignity, a healthy environment and participation for all” states on the website of the competition that they will review each pledge to ensure that they are “actual commitments to make a positive change in the world”.

“We retain the right to reject pledges that are offensive, harmful or irrelevant to the spirit of the campaign,” they say.

Falman responded to Kulczycki that he was “truly sad” that his pledge would not be honored.

“Like Tara, I have been inspired to support the intellectually disabled with the best gift we can give them, the gift of life where they know that they are valued, beautiful, and worth every breath they breathe! I stand firm with my pledge.”

Falman pointed out the incongruity of ACIC’s “abortion debate” criteria for acknowledging pledges. Front runner Kandace Hagen and her ambition to bring abortion to Prince Edward Island has more than one hundred pledges where the word “abortion” appears. “To support and promote the work and views of a candidate like Kandace is really asking for a debate to happen,” he said.

“Please understand,” continued Falman “that from my perspective, and that of others whose pledges were not approved due to references to abortion, the current results are not only innaccurate (sic), but unfair, as the free voices of young Canadians have been shut out.”

“While Kandace’s voice is loud and strong, my voice is silenced.”

Kulczycki told LifeSiteNews that it is against the spirit of the campaign to “pledge for one of the other ambassadors in an attempt to sabotage what Kandace is doing. Undermining the campaign of another person … is not something we support”.

Alissa Golob, Youth Coordinator for Campaign Life Coalition, told LifeSiteNews however that as a Youth Activist in Canada, she finds it “disgraceful that the Atlantic Council for International Cooperation, along with the candidate herself, have chosen to ignore the voice of the people who have pledged to make a difference in the lives of all people, including people with disabilities in and out of the womb.”

Golob believes that pledges such as Falman’s should appear in the final tally.

“The contest description says this campaign is for young Canadians who are an ‘inspiration for all of us who dream of a better world’. To deny pledges that promise to defend human life, all the while counting votes that pledge to destroy it, goes against the ACIC’s very motto for the contest.”


Contact the Atlantic Council for International Cooperation
E-mail: admin@acic-caci.org
Phone: (902) 431-2311

Tags: abortion, canada, discrimination, youth

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British court rules Catholic midwives can be forced to participate in abortions

by John-Henry Westen Wed Feb 29 16:04 EST Comments (39)

 

EDINBURGH, U.K., February 29, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Judgment was handed down today in the case of two senior midwives from Glasgow who have a conscientious objection to abortion. The midwives have been told that they must accept the decision of their hospital management that they must oversee other midwives performing abortions on the labour ward.

Lady Smith, judge in the Court of Session in Edinburgh, ruled that the senior midwives’ role is not covered by the conscience clause in the Abortion Act. 

Both the midwives have served for over 20 years at the Southern General Hospital, caring for many thousands of mothers and babies. The case arose when the hospital demanded that all senior midwives must take responsibility for overseeing mid-term and late term abortions. Since 2008 the hospital has insisted that these abortions, mostly for suspected disability in the foetus, must be conducted on the labour ward, rather than the gynaecology ward where most early abortions are performed.

The midwives in the case, Miss Mary Doogan and Mrs Connie Wood, argued that they had never been required to supervise abortion procedures in the past, and that the hospital was asking them to be morally, medically and legally responsible for abortions. They argued that this conflicted with their profound objection to abortions and with the right to opt-out that is protected in the 1967 Abortion Act.

Commenting on the judgment, Paul Tully, general secretary of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) said: “We are very disappointed by the judgment. SPUC has supported the midwives in bringing their case, and will now be considering their further legal options with them.”

Neil Addison, the director of the Thomas More Legal Centre, noted, “The case is yet another example of the way in which the UK Courts are interpreting s9 of the European Convention on Human Rights (Freedom of Religion) in the most limited and restrictive way possible.”  Addison continued, “The courts have not hesitated to use the convention to protect murderous terrorists but have refused to use it protect two midwives who do not want to kill unborn children.”

Speaking on behalf of both herself and the other midwife in the case, Doogan said, “Connie and I are both very disappointed and greatly saddened by today’s verdict. For most of our 20-plus years of employment as midwifery sisters at the Southern General Hospital we have been proud to be associated with a maternity unit in which the right of all midwifery staff to freedom of conscience has been acknowledged, protected and upheld with no detrimental outcome to any mother whatsoever.”

Lady Smith ruled that the 1967 abortion act only granted qualified conscience protections in relation to abortion. “The nature of their duties does not in fact require them to provide treatment to terminate pregnancies directly,” she said. “They are sufficiently removed from direct involvement as, it seems to me, to afford appropriate respect for and accommodation of their beliefs.”

Addison criticized “the extremely restrictive interpretation the judge has put on the Conscientious Objection clause in s4 of the Abortion Act.”  The interpretation, he said, is such that “believing Catholics, Muslims and others will never be able to take any form of supervisory or management role as midwives or nurses unless they are prepared to be complicit in the provision of abortions.”

Tags: abortion coercion, catholic, conscience rights, midwives

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Trouble in Vatican: Pontifical Academy members upset with ethics deficit at infertility conference

by Kathleen Gilbert Wed Feb 29 15:54 EST Comments (15)

 
PAV Assembly in a conference center next to St. Peter's Basilica
Dr. Thomas Hilgers (left) and Prof. Eberhard Nieschlag

VATICAN CITY, February 27, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A gathering of the Vatican’s own academy for promoting respect for life was met with palpable discontent from its own members and other registrants after presenters on the topic of infertility alluded to in-vitro fertilization (IVF) and other artificial reproduction technologies as “natural” and legitimate for treating patients, despite their conflict with Catholic moral teaching.

In addition, one prominent Catholic doctor who noted the link between the birth control pill and breast cancer was told by the moderator that his claim was false.

The Pontifical Academy for Life (PAV) on Friday took up the topic of managing infertility at its 18th General Assembly

A press packet included an interview with PAV President Bishop Ignacio Carrasco de Paula emphasizing the Assembly would not be “dealing with ethical considerations of artificial fertilization” because “that’s a different subject”. The bishop, who in 2010 publicly criticized the awarding of a Nobel prize to a pioneer of in vitro fertilization, said that the February 24 Vatican workshop’s concern was to utilize a “rigorously medical and scientific” approach to divulge insufficiently known methods of fertility treatment to couples.

While some attendees said much of the conference offered helpful insights into the causes of infertility, such as delaying pregnancy and environmental factors, and presented some excellent new research on treating infertility causes,  the majority of speakers also discussed such procedures as IVF and intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) as viable alternatives for couples having difficulty conceiving. The speakers were selected by the PAV leadership.

At least three of the four morning speakers, according to witnesses, referred to IVF as an appropriate option for some female sufferers of infertility. And although witnesses say moderators distanced the PAV’s views from the presenters’, the assurance fell short for audience members who gave vent to frustration during the day.

During the lunch break, one prominent member told LifeSiteNews that the morning sessions were “the best case you get for amoral science.” Another called the conference “a disaster” and another “a tragedy”.

In the afternoon session, Eberhard Nieschlag of the Center for Reproductive Medicine and Andrology at the University of Münster noted that artificial insemination “can be tried if there are not enough sperm” and, after showing a video of a needle forcing a sperm into a human egg, described the process as “not really artificial.”

Pressed on the point by an audience member during a later Q&A (see audio file below), Nieschlag defended the remark by saying that “the actual fertilization process is completely natural.” “The way to bring the sperm and the egg together [is artificial] but the fertilization is not artificial,” he said. “That’s what I mean. But I think it’s mainly a semantic problem.”

Listen to brief audio of notable excerpts from Q & A session at the end of the conference:

The audience responded to the last remark with a growing clamor, including some rapping on their chairs in protest.

“I think from the audience’s reaction it’s clearly not,” chairperson Prof. Angelique Goverde interjected, adding that she would not enter “a theoretical or philosophical or religious debate” but the audience response indicated “we have a different point of view in this concern.”

The teaching authority of the Catholic Church has stated that artificial reproduction is morally objectionable, not only because techniques such as IVF regularly dispose of human embryos and “reduce” multiple pregnancies with abortions, but because children have a right to be conceived naturally in the marital act and not as a consumer product.

On its website, the PAV describes itself as existing “for the promotion and defense of human life, especially regarding bioethics as it regards Christian morality.”

Another conflict arose after several audience members challenged the morning speakers for emphasizing beneficial effects of the hormonal birth control pill on women’s health, to the exclusion of its detriments. Thomas Hilgers, Director of the National Center for Women’s Health at the Pope Paul VI Institute for the Study of Human Reproduction, took to the microphone to point out that this tack fell in line with “a major marketing component of the oral contraceptive for the last ten years.”

“They’ll raise things like, once raised this morning, that you can cut the ovarian cancer rate in half [by taking oral contraceptives]. Well that’s good, but what if you increase the breast cancer rate in the process, or the cervical cancer rate?” he said. “It’s given as a health benefit without looking at the health implications, and that’s an unbalanced view, but it’s being sold that way, and it’s on purpose.”

Chairperson Goverde interjected asserting to the contrary that oral contraceptives did not increase the breast cancer risk but did agree that it increased the cervical cancer risk. Hilgers interjected to refer Goverde to a 2006 meta-analysis by the Mayo clinic showing the pill’s clear link to breast cancer. Hilgers later pointed to Ortho Tri-Cyclen’s own documentation showing the breast cancer link.


IVF industry eclipses real science: expert

Hilgers’ half-hour talk outlined the significant success of NaPro technology, a cost-effective method for discovering and treating underlying causes of infertility, and one that is not “built on a foundation of destroying life.” However, he said, these gains have been largely eclipsed by the IVF industry, particularly in the United States: had it not been for the race to create children artificially, said Hilgers, “we probably would have had a cure for infertility by now.”

The NaPro expert’s presentation that was fully in line with Catholic moral ethics was met with sustained applause far exceeding that given for any of the other speakers of the day.

In later remarks to LSN, the doctor expressed concern that the crowding-out of real infertility treatment by the IVF mindset was reflected at the conference itself.

Hilgers, a member of the PAV since 1994 and an international leader in his field, said the science of the day’s speakers “wasn’t good at all” and named several experts who could have offered insights into authentic fertility treatment, but said the conference didn’t approach him for suggested names. According to the PAV website, topics and speakers are chosen from a pool of submitted professional papers by a Governing Council currently composed of four lay experts and four clerics who include the President and Chancellor or the PAV.

Not all PAV conferences have been so controversial: Hilgers pointed out that last year’s conference on the psychological effects of abortion featured “really good” experts and information. However, he said, like a similar fertility conference by the academy over a decade ago, Friday’s was problematic for featuring “one IVF person after another.”

“[This year’s conference was] a huge disservice to Catholics everywhere for the Pontifical Academy for Life, which is the major Catholic pro-life organization you could say, to come into formal cooperation with a group of people who are diametrically opposed to the Church’s teaching,” he said.

Others told LifeSiteNews.com (LSN) that at a follow-up meeting Saturday morning for official members, several members expressed their discontent regarding the selection of speakers and the lack of ethical context throughout most of the day. One PAV member called it a “pile-on”. It was said that more wanted to express similar comments but were not recognized by the PAV leadership.


‘The arrogance of taking the place of the Creator’

The following morning, the speakers, PAV members, and others at the conference attended a special PAV audience with Pope Benedict XVI in the Apostolic Palace.

In contrast to the conference’s avoidance of Catholic ethical concerns, a notably subdued pontiff emphasized the moral roots of reproduction in the conjugal act and warned against the fertility industry’s lure of “easy income, or even worse, the arrogance of taking the place of the Creator,” quoting his own words from 2008. “The human and Christian dignity of procreation, in fact, doesn’t consist in a ‘product’, but in its link to the conjugal act, an expression of the love of the spouses of their union, not only biological but also spiritual,” said Benedict.

The pope also warned that the “indifference of conscience to what is true and good represents a dangerous threat to genuine scientific progress,” as “scientism and the logic of profit” now dominate the field “to the point of limiting many other areas of research.”

“The humility and precision with which you study these issues, considered obsolete by some of your colleagues before the allure of the technology of artificial insemination, deserves encouragement and support,” he said.

One member said the pope’s remarks were a saving grace for the troubled conference.

“If it weren’t for the pope’s speech, the conference would have been a devastating blow to truth,” the member said.


Contact information:

pav@acdlife.va

See list of staff and members of PAV

 

Tags: contraception, infertility, ivf, vatican

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‘Freedom from hatred’ is not in my Charter of Rights

by Patrick B. Craine Wed Feb 29 15:37 EST Comments (0)

 

February 29, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Canada has a Charter of Rights that speaks about freedom of speech but nowhere does it mention something called “freedom from hatred.”  That concept has become part of the Canadian Human Rights Act, specifically Section 13 of that act which defines hate speech as communication “likely to expose a person or persons to hatred or contempt by reason of the fact that that person or those persons are identifiable on the basis of a prohibited ground of discrimination.” 

The parameters of this seeming protection are so broad as to allow swimming space for a blue whale.  This injunction against hatred is, in effect, an assault on free speech and essentially overrides a fundamental democratic freedom, replacing it with a nebulous and misplaced guarantee that Canadians need never be exposed to anything unpleasant, or even the very chance that they might be exposed to some form of contempt or perceived contempt.  This provision has in fact been successfully used to silence all forms of legitimate criticism in this country, since any form of criticism can naturally be construed or distorted to be a form of hatred and therefore inadmissible in Canada.  Critics of Sharia Law have been accused of fomenting hatred against Moslems.  Section 13 has also undermined basic religious freedom as well.  Any criticism of homosexuality, on the basis of it being a lifestyle incompatible with Biblical precepts, is also subject to the question of whether this belief and consequent analysis could possibly cause anyone discomfort.

Thankfully it has fallen on one backbench Conservative Member of Parliament to take back free speech in Canada.  Never heard of Alberta MP Brian Storseth (Westlock-St. Paul)?  You should have.  Storseth has quietly moved a private member’s bill (PMB) past second reading that would repeal sections 13 and 54 (related to 13) of the Canadian Human Rights Act.  Bill C-304 just passed second reading in the House of Commons and should be up for third reading by mid-April.  That means the bill could receive royal assent by the time Parliament recesses for the summer.  The legislation has the support of Justice Minister Rob Nicholson so there is little chance of the government deciding the PMB is too controversial to carry forward.

Ensuring the ascendancy of free speech should never be a subject of controversy in a democracy.  We do not and should not enjoy anything approaching freedom from hatred.  In the first place, just how does one define hatred?  Do Marxists hate capitalists?  It may well be argued that yes, they do.  Should we be banning the works of Karl Marx because these tomes “are likely to expose” the monied class to “hatred and contempt?”  Was hatred, to some degree, not a force that fuelled most political revolutions in history?  Moreover, is the hatred that promulgates the murder of one person by another not just as real and toxic as the hatred of one person towards a race or religion?  Yet with the same logic as we suppress free speech to stifle offense, we have uber-criminalized crimes that have achieved a special status on the hate index while pretending that every crime is not somehow motivated by that same emotion.

Secondly, if we are so supine in debate that we are reluctant to condemn or criticize behaviour, thought or practice because that speech may be judged to be hateful, then we might just as well refrain from any form of philosophical, moral or political debate in this country because someone will be offended in the process.  Democratic debate necessitates offence.  I shall be offended at some point.  My opponents will be equally offended.  We shall never have – and in a temporal world, we should never desire – a marketplace of ideas bereft of controversy and objection.  Any law that seeks to create such a sea of homogeneity has no place in a democracy and needs to be repealed.

David Krayden is the executive director of the Canadian Centre for Policy Studies, an independent, not-for-profit institution dedicated to the advancement of freedom and prosperity through the development and promotion of good public policy.

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B.C. school children pulled into gay agenda with school-sponsored Lady Gaga YouTube video

by Peter Baklinski Wed Feb 29 15:21 EST Comments (22)

 
School children congregate in pink shirts to celebrate the homosexualist 'Day of Pink'.

BURNABY, British Columbia, February 29, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A group of parents in British Columbia were dismayed Wednesday after teachers posted a video on YouTube of students dancing to a Lady Gaga song in support of the “Day of Pink,” a pro-homosexual initiative that organizers say “rais[es] awareness to stop homophobic, transphobic & all forms of bullying.”

Burnaby Parents’ Voice had argued in a letter to Premier Christy Clark and Education Minister George Abbott that Lady Gaga and her song ‘Born This Way’ are not appropriate “learning resource[s] in public schools.”

The parents pointed out in their letter that the music video that accompanies Gaga’s hit pop song contains scenes of simulated group sex, masturbation, semi-nudity, a birth scene, and many crotch grabbing shots. They also pointed out that the song’s lyrics contain a “worldview which [is] offensive to most religions as well as atheism.”

In one verse Gaga sings about the need to stand firm against the “religion of the insecure.” She also sings in another verse: “rejoice and love yourself today ‘cause baby you were born this way. No matter gay, straight, or bi, lesbian, transgendered life.”

Despite the concerns raised by the parents, Premier Clark was filmed yesterday on the steps of the legislature dancing along to Gaga’s song with a number of students wearing pink shirts.

In response to a question about the controversy that had brewed over the use of the song in support of the Day of Pink, Clark told reporters that she was “sure there must be people who listen to the words more closely than I do. I just like the beat.”

The Day of Pink video showing 1,500 B.C. elementary and secondary school students dancing to Gaga’s song was posted yesterday on YouTube. All the children were wearing pink shirts with the message “Acceptance” written in black across the front.

The B.C. Parents and Teachers for Life organization has criticized the B.C. Teachers’ Federation for using the “Day of Pink” as a day to “indoctrinate” children into the homosexual worldview.

In a memo the B.C. Teachers’ Federation and the Vancouver School Board urged teachers and schools to “focus on gender-role stereotyping and gender-based teasing and homophobia, as this was the origin of the movement.”

They suggest a list of lesson ideas that include “draw[ing] analogies between racism, sexism, ableism, homophobia, and other forms of oppression in discussions with students,” “discuss[ing] the difference between ‘sex’ (biological) and ‘gender’ (societal) in which “nature is diverse and includes many variations — it may be helpful to see gender as a spectrum,” and “read[ing] books which positively portray lesbian, gay, and transgender characters in your classroom.”

“Will this project reduce bullying? Not likely,” said Gordon World, a spokesman for the concerned parents’ group in a news release. “They claim this sends a positive social message of acceptance of self and others. Not for overweight kids, anorexic kids or those who don’t dance well. Not for those who resist their school’s promotion of Lady Gaga’s ‘sex sells’ world view.”


Contact:

British Columbia Teachers’ Federation
E-mail president Susan Lambert: susan@bctf.ca
Phone: (800) 663-9163

Vancouver School Board
E-mail: info@vsb.bc.ca
Online E-mail contact form
Phone: (604) 713-5000

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Verdict to be rendered on March 21 in Mary Wagner case

by Tony Gosgnach Wed Feb 29 11:17 EST Comments (2)

 

TORONTO, February 29, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Pro-life heroine Mary Wagner will have to wait until March 21 to find out whether she will be found guilty or not guilty on a charge of mischief and two counts of failing to comply with probation orders concerning her arrest at the site of the Bloor West Village “Women’s Clinic” - an abortion mill - last November 8. She was remanded to that date by Mr. Justice S. Ford Clements of the Ontario Court of Justice after a day-long trial in downtown Toronto Tuesday.

Clements heard from three witnesses and listened to submissions from Crown attorney Derek Ishak and defence counsel Russell Browne after Wagner – who is out of custody following her release on bail – entered a plea of not guilty. The hearing began with a contested issue, as Ishak attempted to amend the information on the mischief charge to reference a different subsection of the Criminal Code than was originally cited. This was strenuously objected to by Browne, who said the move was a last-minute “shifting of gears” that hampered a defence he had prepared using the original information. However, Clements upheld Ishak’s application and allowed the amendment.

First on the witness stand was Patricia Hasen, who described herself as a nurse and 50 per cent owner of the abortion centre Bloor West Village Women’s Clinic Inc., which was established in 2005. She said her site leases the property from Paramed Properties and her name is on the lease. Hasen said her business operates from Tuesday to Saturday beginning at 8:30 a.m. “until the last patient goes home,” which could be anywhere from noon to 3 p.m.

On November 8, she said there were 10-12 patients and their escorts at the site when she was alerted by a co-worker that “Mary is in the clinic” and called the police, as she usually does in such circumstances. She said she then asked Wagner, whom she saw carrying roses and pamphlets, to leave several times, but Wagner refused to do so.

Hasen claimed, “People were getting upset, crying, asking why we weren’t doing something” about Wagner’s presence. She then asked the patients’ escorts to leave the site and brought the patients themselves into a secure area behind bulletproof glass, where “counselling” takes place and abortions are committed. She said Wagner moved to enter the secure area and tried to “push” her way through by holding the door open, but the door was eventually closed and police arrived in 15-20 minutes.

Toronto police officer Douglas Eaton was the second Crown witness and testified that he arrived at the abortion site to find “a lone female standing in the lobby” and arrested her under the Trespass to Property Act after asking her to leave and she refused. He noted she was holding a bag and flowers at the time. Under cross-examination by Browne, Eaton acknowledged no attempt had been made to interview any of the patients who were allegedly so upset at Wagner’s presence.

Browne called as his witness Dr. Philip Ney, a child and family psychiatrist and child psychologist, under whom Wagner has studied in the past. His testimony was immediately objected to by Ishak, who charged that Ney was not qualified before the court as an expert witness and had no direct knowledge of the events of November 8. His concerns were shared by Clements, who asked Browne of what relevance Ney’s appearance was at the hearing. After extensive discussions between Browne and Clements, Ney was dismissed from the witness stand.

In his closing submissions, Browne said Hasen had little direct knowledge of Wagner’s conduct on November 8, seeing her only for a few minutes in an incident that lasted some two hours. He suggested the degree of disruption suffered by the abortion site was minimal at best and not enough to constitute a criminal offence. There was no disruption to the “business” and no physical contact involved. In addition, the police were remiss in not interviewing any of the patients who were alleged to be upset at Wagner’s presence, he said.

For his part, Ishak said the charges were proven beyond a reasonable doubt on all counts. He suggested the evidence of corroborating witnesses was not necessary and that interference with the business was constituted just by Wagner’s presence and her refusing to leave when asked to do so. In addition, he referred to Hasen’s testimony that Wagner had held a door open while it was being shut and the fact that patient escorts were asked to leave the premises.

Ishak continued there was no evidence that Wagner was there simply for the purpose of communicating with patients. Holding the door, he added, went beyond simple communication. Finally, he said, there was no justification for Wagner’s presence in the first place, as she was forbidden to be there by a probation order.

The Wednesday March 21 hearing, which may include both a verdict and sentencing if Wagner is found guilty, will begin at 10 a.m. in Room 504 of the College Park courthouse at Yonge and College Streets in downtown Toronto. However, the hearing may be traversed to another room depending on where the Crown and judge are assigned that day.

Tags: abortion, mary wagner, rescue, toronto

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Controversy over the obvious? New Cardinal says it’s best for women to stay home with their children

by Matthew Cullinan Hoffman Wed Feb 29 09:05 EST Comments (31)

 
Cardinal Manuel Monteiro de Castro

PORTUGAL, February 29, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A newly-minted Portuguese cardinal has sparked controversy at home and abroad by repeating the Catholic Church’s longstanding teaching encouraging women to be at home with their children.

Cardinal Manuel Monteiro de Castro, who was given the red hat last Saturday, told Portugal’s Correio de Manha newspaper that Portugal’s greatest problem is “the lack of support given by the government to families.”

“A woman should be able to remain at home, or, if she works outside, to do so on a reduced schedule, so that she can apply herself to that for which her function is essential, which is the education of the children,” said Monteiro.

Following media-generated controversy over his comments, Monteiro said that “I never said that women must stay at home, what I meant to say was that the presence of the woman in the family has a very, very important value for the whole nation.”

In a separate interview with the Jornal de Noticias before the controversy, Monteiro had said that “We should give much more value to family and to the value of women at home.”

“Women working full time, I think is not useful for the country,” he said. “Working at home, yes, but having to work from morning to night, I think is a negative for the country. The best educator is the mother, and if the mother doesn’t have time to breathe how is she going to have time to educate?”

“A country depends much, much, on mothers, because it is they who educate the children. There is no better educator than the mother,” said Monteiro, who opined that as a result of women working outside the home, they have “much value in one sense” but have “lost much of the value that they had” as mothers.

Monteiro’s words should not be unexpected from a cardinal of the Catholic Church, which has long promoted the woman’s domestic role in the family. His statements are similar to those of Pope John Paul II, who wrote in his Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris Consortio in 1981 that “the true advancement of women requires that clear recognition be given to the value of their maternal and family role, by comparison with all other public roles and all other professions.”

“The mentality which honors women more for their work outside the home than for their work within the family must be overcome. This requires that men should truly esteem and love women with total respect for their personal dignity, and that society should create and develop conditions favoring work in the home,” the pontiff wrote.

The Roman Catechism, which John Paul II reaffirmed as an authoritative summary of the Catholic faith, states that “To train their children in the practice of virtue and to pay particular attention to their domestic concerns should also be especial objects of [wives’] attention. The wife should love to remain at home, unless compelled by necessity to go out; and she should never presume to leave home without her husband’s consent.”

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Obama cares more about Planned Parenthood than women’s health

by Joe Pojman, Ph.D. Tue Feb 28 18:42 EST Comments (4)

 
Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards with President Barack Obama

February 28, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The Obama Administration is showing its loyalties. And it is not to women. It is to Planned Parenthood.

The Texas Legislature and Governor Rick Perry have authorized the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) to continue the Medicaid Women’s Health Program (WHP). The program, which the HHSC points out provides preventative health services to more than 100,000 low-income women annually, is set to expire in March 2012. Those services include contraceptives, STD testing, and screening for hypertension, diabetes, and breast and cervical cancers.

The HHSC has applied to the Obama Administration for an extension of the program through 2013, with the condition that no funding go to organizations that perform or promote elective abortions or are affiliated with such organizations. Of the more than 1,000 certified WHP providers across the state, this rule excludes fewer than 100 Planned Parenthood providers. The State has an interest in not promoting abortion when it promotes birth control. The fact that Planned Parenthood performs many thousands of elective abortions every year in its 14 abortion facilities in Texas was not lost on the Legislature.

Unfortunately, the Obama Administration has threatened to deny renewal of the WHP if Texas does not fund Planned Parenthood as a provider. President Obama seems to care more about Planned Parenthood than about women’s health.

Click “like” if you want to end abortion!

Last June the Texas Legislature overwhelmingly passed Senate Bill 7, which allows for the renewal of the WHP, on a Senate vote of 21-9 and a House vote of 96-48. The bill prohibits the state from contracting with entities that “perform or promote elective abortions or affiliate with entities that perform or promote elective abortions.”

Federal law allows Texas to exclude Planned Parenthood. Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott issued an opinion declaring that federal law allows states to exclude abortion providers and their affiliated organizations from Medicaid.

There are ample alternate WHP providers in Texas who are not involved in abortion. These physicians and clinics typically offer comprehensive primary and preventative care in addition to family planning. These providers could become the medical home for low-income women. The Obama Administration is about to deny WHP funds to these quality providers, and to the women they serve, just because Texas wants to fund these without funding Planned Parenthood.

Planned Parenthood is a poor investment of public funds. Planned Parenthood offers only a narrow range of services and is unwilling or incapable of offering comprehensive primary and preventative care. Planned Parenthood cannot treat breast cancer. They do not even have one mammogram machine anywhere in Texas. The only time a woman will see a doctor at Planned Parenthood is if she is there for an abortion. Women deserve better.

Planned Parenthood should not be trusted with our tax dollars. For example, Planned Parenthood of San Antonio operated four abortion facilities illegally without a license for as long as four years until they were discovered by the State in 2009 and fined more than $100,000. They were required to return thousands of dollars billed to the WHP.

The Obama Administration, not the Legislature or the Governor, will be to blame for killing the Women’s Health Program, if the Obama Administration does not renew the program just because Planned Parenthood is excluded.

Joe Pojman, Ph.D., is the executive director of Texas Alliance for Life

Tags: abortion, obama, planned parenthood, texas

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Planned Parenthood asks college students to ‘check in’ where they had sex with free ‘GPS condoms’

by Ben Johnson Tue Feb 28 17:56 EST Comments (43)

 

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON, February 28, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) - In a marketing campaign that combines condom use with social media, Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest (PPGNW) distributed 55,000 condoms at colleges across western Washington state - and asked their recipients to go to a website and described how and where they were used.

Each prophylactic has a QR code, a bar code which connects its owner to the website WhereDidYouWearIt.com. There the young man can register the location where his condom was put to use during intercourse.

The website, PPGNW states, “targets college students and millennials, already comfortable with social media to promote healthy sexuality and to be ‘proud to wear protection.’”

“In the past week the response has been incredible,” Planned Parenthood notes in a press release. “Check-ins have come in from 48 out of 50 states and from six continents!”

“Planned Parenthood has hit a new low,” James Bascom, a campus activist with TFP Student Action, which promotes traditional morality on campus, wrote in a statement e-mailed to LifeSiteNews.com. “Not content with promoting abortion and contraception behind closed doors, they seek to glorify, glamorize, and destigmatize sin in the public square.”

The interactive map at the WhereDidYouWearIt website logs each sexual encounter. One entry reads: “A 20 something guy and a girl whose relationship is just for fun and have already talked about safer sex and STDs used a condom in the bedroom to prevent an unplanned pregnancy. It was ah-maz-ing – rainbows exploded and mountains trembled.”

“Shame on them,” Bascom told LifeSiteNews.com. “Our college students need purity, not promiscuity.”

Tags: contraception

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Catholic group launches video, web campaign to protect religious liberty from HHS mandate

by Ben Johnson Tue Feb 28 17:39 EST Comments (28)

WASHINGTON, D.C., February 28, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com)—A leading Catholic political organization has launched a new video and website aimed at protecting religious conscience rights from the HHS contraception and abortifacient mandate.

Catholic Advocate released the video “Consultation” to point out that the Obama administration had not conferred with the nation’s Roman Catholic leadership to determine whether his accommodation would be acceptable to them. However, he discussed the plan with Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards.

Part of the video’s purpose is to bring the national discussion back to the salient issue of the First Amendment. “Some are trying hard to make this about a different issue,” said Matt Smith, president of Catholic Advocate.

Richards, NARAL Pro-Choice America President Nancy Keenan, and others claimed that a recent Congressional hearing on religious freedom that featured two pro-life women was really a hearing on the future of contraception attended only by men.

Bishop William E. Lori of Bridgeport, Connecticut, testified before the committee that the president’s accommodation policy “came upon the bishops’ conference of a sudden. There was no consultation. It was not given to us in writing, and it was told to us not long before it was announced.”

(Click “like” if you want to end abortion! )

The administration also consulted with Catholic Health Association President Sr. Carol Keehan, who wrote a controversial endorsement of the “accommodation” before President Obama publicly announced its terms on February 10

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, a Catholic, confirmed, “I did not speak with the Catholic bishops.”

Catholic Advocate has simultaneously launched www.ProtectOurConscience.org to encourage faithful Americans to contact their representatives to overturn the mandate. Smith said at least one parish in each congressional district in every state has used the site to make their voices heard in Congress.

“Make no mistake, when those in power try to rip through the fabric of what America stands for, the voices of the people unite,” Smith stated in a comment e-mailed to LifeSiteNews.com.  “People of faith across the country are joining together in support of our religious liberties.”

Readers may respectfully contact their elected officials through the Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121.

“Consultation” followed an earlier Catholic Advocate video, “Common Ground,” which contrasted President Obama’s speech at Notre Dame with his actions on crafting a religious conscience exemption.

 

 

Tags: catholic action

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Activists to bring pro-life message to American Atheists convention featuring Richard Dawkins

by Ben Johnson Tue Feb 28 17:27 EST Comments (51)

 
Secular Pro-Life at the West Coast March for Life this year.

BETHESDA, MARYLAND, February 28, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Young activists are planning on sharing “the pro-life, pro-woman, and pro-science message” at the American Atheists National Convention taking place March 25-26 in Bethesda, Maryland. 

Secular Pro-Life, an organization of atheists and agnostics who defend the rights of the unborn, will set up a booth, distribute literature, and speak one-on-one with the convention’s attendees next month.  This year’s keynote speaker is Dr. Richard Dawkins.

“The pro-choice view has become a default for atheists, because nobody is reaching out to them,” the group’s president, Kelsey Hazzard, told LifeSiteNews.com. “We allow the pro-life movement to be seen as a religious thing and [say], ‘Oh well, let the pro-abortion movement have the atheists. We can succeed without them.’”

“I just don’t think that’s wise,” she said. “If we’re going to make abortion unthinkable, we have to make it unthinkable for everybody.”

(Click “like” if you want to end abortion! )

She and Canadian pro-life activist Kristine Kruszelnicki will man the booth, displaying first-trimester fetal models for convention attendees to examine, and “secular literature debunking the argument that legalized abortion is necessary to save women’s lives.”

Hazzard, who is a senior at the University of Virginia School of Law, said the group is in its fourth year. Its FaceBook group now has more than 700 followers.

Since its founding, it has produced online publications exposing the myths of the pro-abortion movement and highlighting the importance of adoption, and created a booklet for sidewalk counselors entitled “Abortion is Forever. Get the Facts First.” Other titles, such as “Is Abortion a Religious Issue?”, a companion booklet “Who Are Pro-Lifers?”, and “Pro-Life for Everyone,” challenge the notion that all pro-lifers are motivated by religions.

Speaking with atheists or agnostics requires a different set of arguments and references than speaking to people of faith. “First of all, we talk about prenatal development, because that is an area where there is a lot of misinformation,” Hazzard told LifeSiteNews.com. “Then we talk about the secular ideas of human rights.”

“Historically, whenever we have decided as a society that a certain group of human beings are not persons, that’s never turned out well,” she said. “We really think that we have the power to decide whether or not someone’s life is worth living before they’ve taken their first breath. Isn’t that a bit presumptuous?”

Atheists and agnostics are more likely than any other group to favor abortion on demand. A 2010 Pew Research survey found 85 percent of atheists and agnostics believe abortion should be legal in all or most cases. Secular Pro-Life notes more than half (51 percent) of unplanned pregnancies that occur to an atheist or agnostic woman end in abortion – a higher rate than any other religious identification. “Atheists are at risk of abortion, actually slightly more than average,” Hazzard said.

Despite being a minority, Hazzard said the American Atheists’ convention’s organizers “have been very cordial and welcoming.” She noted similar presentations before campus atheists groups have been well-received.

“We look forward to a lively debate with pro-abortion convention attendees,” Hazzard told LifeSiteNews.com. “We also look forward to providing a support network for those atheists who are already pro-life, but who are uncomfortable with the religious tone taken by many major pro-life organizations.”

Tags: american atheists, secular pro-life

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Journal editor defends pro-infanticide piece: Killing newborns is already legal in Holland

by John Jalsevac Tue Feb 28 16:50 EST Comments (141)

 
Julian Savulescu

February 28, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The editor of an ethics journal that recently published an article advocating infanticide (what the authors call “post-birth abortion”), has responded to widespread criticism by pointing out that promoting the killing of newborns is nothing new: in fact, in the Netherlands infant euthanasia is already legal and practiced.

Editor Julian Savulescu also criticizes what he calls the “hate speech” directed at the authors of the article, arguing that the public’s response to the piece shows that “proper academic discussion and freedom are under threat from fanatics opposed to the very values of a liberal society.”

In the journal article Alberto Giubilin, a philosopher from the University of Milan, and Francesca Minerva, an ethicist from the University of Melbourne, made the case that “after-birth abortion” should be permissible in all the cases where abortion is, including cases where the newborn is perfectly healthy. They base their argument on the premise that the unborn baby and the newborn do not have the moral status of actual persons and are consequently “morally irrelevant.”

Click “like” if you want to end abortion!

In response to the backlash, Savulescu wrote that the arguments in the article “are largely not new and have been presented repeatedly in the academic literature and public fora by the most eminent philosophers and bioethicists in the world, including Peter Singer, Michael Tooley and John Harris.”

He also observes that the paper “draws attention to the fact that infanticide is practised in the Netherlands.”

The fact that The Netherlands already permits the killing of disabled newborns is not widely known, even by many in the pro-life movement. The practice is permitted under the so-called Groningen Protocol, which outlines the circumstances under which a physician may deliver a lethal injection to a newborn who suffers from a disability, at the request of the child’s parents.

An article published in 2008 in the prestigious Hastings Center Report about the Protocol similarly provoked outrage after the authors argued that disabled babies might be “better off dead.”

The authors of that article also linked infanticide to legalized abortion, arguing that infanticide may in fact be the morally superior alternative to abortion.

“The supposedly morally superior alternative [of abortion]…does not strike us as superior at all,” they wrote. Instead, they said, parents of a child with a poor prenatal diagnosis should wait until the child is born, when they can make a more informed decision about the chance that their child has of living a “satisfactory” life.

“We join disability activists who condemn the routine recommendation of abortions performed for no other reason than to prevent the birth of an affected baby,” they said.

In his response today, editor Savulescu observed that the authors of the recent paper simply took for granted the premises that undergird legal abortion, and followed them to their logical conclusion.

“The goal of the Journal of Medical Ethics is not to present the Truth or promote some one moral view,” he writes. “It is to present well reasoned argument based on widely accepted premises.

“The authors provocatively argue that there is no moral difference between a fetus and a newborn,” he continues. “Their capacities are relevantly similar. If abortion is permissible, infanticide should be permissible. The authors proceed logically from premises which many people accept to a conclusion that many of those people would reject.”

The pro-infanticide article and the defense from Savulescu come only months after a Canadian judge employed similar arguments in the process of handing out a lenient sentence to a mother who strangled her newborn and threw him over a fence. 

According to Justice Joanne Veit, Canada’s lack of an abortion law indicated that “while many Canadians undoubtedly view abortion as a less than ideal solution to unprotected sex and unwanted pregnancy, they generally understand, accept and sympathize with the onerous demands pregnancy and childbirth exact from mothers, especially mothers without support.”

“Naturally, Canadians are grieved by an infant’s death, especially at the hands of the infant’s mother, but Canadians also grieve for the mother,” she added.

Savluescu, the director of the Center for Practical Ethics at Oxford University, has made the news in the past for arguing that the requirement for organ donors to be dead at the time of organ harvesting should be removed, and that “mandatory” organ donation should be instituted. He has also argued that humanity has a “moral obligation” to use in vitro fertilization (IVF) to select the most intelligent embryos for the good of society.

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Young woman poised to win leadership award with pledge to bring abortion to Prince Edward Island

by Peter Baklinski Tue Feb 28 15:53 EST Comments (27)

 
Kandace Hagen
Tara Brinston

PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND, February 28, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A young pro-abortion woman is poised to win a $1000 youth leadership award after garnering the largest number of people in support of her ambition - to bring abortion to Prince Edward Island, the only province in Canada that remains abortion-free.

“I feel that we are on a new brink of a feminist age as we see women laying claim to their bodies in such a plethora of ways,” said Kandace Hagen, the current front-runner of the ACTIVE-8 initiative run by the Atlantic Council for International Cooperation. The online contest requires that each ambassador – two from each Atlantic province – make a pledge to improve their community.

“The declaration of female reproduction justice has been ringing so clearly these past few years as we continue to take strides to claim control of every aspect of ourselves,” says the Charlottetown native, who shared in her video testimony the trials she faced at the age of 14 as she had to travel off the island to have her baby aborted.

The woman has vowed that if she wins, she will donate the prize money towards providing travel bursaries to island mothers seeking to abort their babies on the mainland.

Click “like” if you want to end abortion!

Hagen’s pro-abortion platform received international attention and support after a private email from Ann Marie Tomlin, a spokesperson for P.E.I. Right to Life Association, was leaked to the media. In the email, Tomlin encouraged her pro-life friends and acquaintances to vote for an alternative candidate so that Hagen would not win the youth leadership contest.

“The vote is close so please send this to all the youth and youth groups you know,” Tomlin had written in the email.

When the email was leaked, Tomlin’s efforts backfired as national and international left-leaning media defended Hagen’s cause and became her champion.

Michelle Lovegrove-Thomson of The Paltry Sapien hailed Hagen last week as a “courageous women” for making her abortion public and for devoting her energies to secure abortion access for island women. “This issue deserves attention, and you should vote for it,” wrote Lovegrove-Thomson.

Anna North of Jezebel called Hagen’s platform “pretty awesome” and criticized those she called “anti-choicers” for “start[ing] a campaign to sabotage her candidacy.” North also encouraged her readers to vote for Hagen.

Tomlin said that since her e-mail was leaked Hagen has not only gained more support, but P.E.I.’s pro-life movement has been maligned and raked through the mud by a frenzied pro-choice media.

But Tomlin says she remains convinced that she did not do anything wrong. She believes that unborn P.E.I. children need someone to stand up for their right to life.

“I’ve spent the last 30 years of my life trying to protect women and children from abortion. When I hear there is someone up for an award for promoting death for children and harm for women, of course I will do whatever I can to oppose them.”

Tomlin made it clear that she in no way personally opposes front-runner Hagen, only the position that she is representing. Tomlin surmised, however, that Hagen has not yet processed the extent of the harm caused to her by her abortion.

“I know that women first go through a period of denial. Part of the denial is trying to convince yourself that you did the right thing. Often women don’t just try to convince themselves but they try to convince others by promoting abortion. I don’t see that as leadership, but rather as a desperate cry for help.”

Tomlin and her pro-life companions have endorsed Tara Brinston from Fredericton for the leadership award on account of her pledge to improve the rights of persons with an intellectual disability.

“She wants to improve things for the disabled and part of the pro-life mandate is to protect the disabled,” said Tomlin.

The ACTIVE-8 youth leadership campaign closes tomorrow at midnight. Whichever ambassador garners the most public support for their work wins the recognition and the prize.

Rena Kulczycki, an ACTIVE-8 spokesperson told LifeSiteNews that while the whole focus of the campaign is about “highlighting young people from Atlantic Canada who are engaged in global issues and social justice,” votes from people around the world are counted in the final tally.

Abortion activist Hagen currently leads with 1471 votes while disability advocate Tara Brinston sits at 1024 votes, a difference of 447. Paul Manning sits at third place with 303 votes.

Brinston told CBCNews that she would welcome pledges from people who are “inspired by the work I do within the disability movement.”

View the list of Global Youth Ambassadors here.

Find more information about disability advocate Tara Brinston here.

Tags: abortion, prince edward island

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Syphilis infections rising dramatically among New Brunswick homosexuals

by Thaddeus Baklinski Tue Feb 28 15:32 EST Comments (7)

FREDERICTON, February 28, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The New Brunswick Health Department has issued a warning that syphilis is spreading at an increasing rate among the province’s homosexuals and that strategies to prevent infection and reduce risk of transmission by infected individuals seem to be ineffective.

According to the January issue of the New Brunswick Disease Watch Bulletin, infection numbers have gone from fewer than five cases per year before 2008, to 9 in 2009, 37 in 2010 and 57 last year, with 10 cases already reported in the first two months of this year.

The New Brunswick Health Department is particularly concerned that most of the syphilis infections are occurring in the homosexual community.

“Since late 2009, 92 per cent of cases have been male. Most male cases have reported only male sex partners (MSM),” the Disease Watch Bulletin states, highlighting that the disease does not seem to involve traditional high-risk groups such as prostitutes or injection drug users.

“This outbreak does not appear to involve traditional high-risk groups such as sex trade workers, patrons of sex trade workers and injection drug users,” the bulletin states.

“We seem to unfortunately have a trend,” Dr. Denis Allard, New Brunswick’s deputy chief medical officer of health, told the Canadian Press. “We hope we can have an effect on it, but for the time being it seems to be as high or higher than last year.”

Allard pointed out that most of those infected are between 20 and 25, and although the health department has posted information on syphilis on it website and produced flyers and posters directed to the homosexual community, the spread of the disease is linked to an increase in promiscuous sexual behaviour.

“People these days tend to go on the Internet to find partners there and don’t seem to inform themselves very much, they just want to have sex, and they get infected. These are people who have multiple sex partners, especially if these sex partners are anonymous,” Allard said.

The Disease Watch Bulletin notes that success in reducing the incidence of sexually transmitted infections is affected by the ability of the Health Department to trace and contact the sexual partners of infected individuals, but this is hindered by the anonymous nature of homosexual sex encounters.

“In New Brunswick, contact tracing is often challenging because one in three syphilis cases have reported having anonymous sex partner(s) in the last year. These challenges are compounded by multiple anonymous contacts associated with the Internet and bathhouses as well as by the apparent transient nature of some cases into and out of the province,” the Health Department explained.

Dr. Allard concluded that the increase in the number of sexual partners is likely contributing to the increase in syphilis infections.

“It could be that people are a little more promiscuous in their sexual behaviour,” he said.

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Tags: homosexual, new brunswick, syphilis

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Lesbian judge refuses to marry heterosexual couples

by Christine Dhanagom Tue Feb 28 14:12 EST Comments (57)

 
Judge Tonya Parker

DALLAS, February 28, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A lesbian judge in Texas says she will not perform wedding ceremonies for heterosexuals until the state allows homosexuals to “marry” as well.

Dallas County Judge Tonya Parker told the Stonewall Democrats of Dallas at a meeting last Tuesday that it would be “oxymoronic” for her to perform wedding ceremonies that can’t be performed for her.

She said that when couples appear in her courtroom, she directs them to another judge, but not before using the opportunity to “give them a lesson about marriage equality.”

“I usually will offer them something along the lines of, ‘I’m sorry. I don’t perform marriage ceremonies because we are in a state that does not have marriage equality, and until it does, I am not going to partially apply the law to one group of people that doesn’t apply to another group of people,’” she said.

After her speech received national attention, she elaborated on the legal ramifications of her unusual policy for the gay news service Dallas Voice.

“Performing marriage ceremonies is not a duty that I have as the Presiding Judge of a civil district court,” she said. “It is a right and privilege invested in me under the Family Code.  I choose not to exercise it, as many other Judges do not exercise it.  Because it is not part of our duties, some Judges even charge a fee to perform the ceremonies.”

Her speech has been uploaded onto Youtube, where it has received almost 25,000 hits.

Stonewall Democrats of Dallas issued a statement last Thursday in support of Parker, whose campaign they had endorsed during her 2010 election.

The organization claimed that the Texas was denying “1,138 rights” to same-sex couples by not allowing them to marry, and applauded Parker for treating every person “equally without bias.”

Tags: marriage, texas

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Big Abortion follows Big Tobacco’s business model: target kids

by Carol Maxwell Tue Feb 28 13:17 EST Comments (14)

 

February 28, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The tobacco industry does it. And even though ads targeting minors are outlawed, it hasn’t stopped. Tobacco products are still heavily marketed to kids in other ways, such as being placed at a child’s eye level in convenience stores. Why? Tobacco companies know if they can make smoking attractive to youngsters, they have a better chance of gaining customers for life.

Planned Parenthood understands this theory. While abortions aren’t addictive in the same way as tobacco, exposing a young impressionable child to the ease of terminating a pregnancy before her conscience is formed is a good way to achieve one of the most profitable types of sales—repeat business.

Pro-life leaders in California are attempting to place a parental notification initiative on the ballot again this year. It requires doctors to notify parents 48 hours before their minor child has an abortion. In 2008, it lost by a small margin (52 to 48 percent). The pro-abortion community, fueled by Planned Parenthood, stopped at nothing to defeat it. Regardless of the legislation proposed, the standard mantra is “reproductive rights” should not be limited to women in any way. More than likely, the underlying agenda is to retain a valuable asset to abortion’s customer base—young children with many years of fertility ahead.

Click “like” if you want to end abortion!

The latest numbers released in 2011 by Planned Parenthood’s research arm, the Guttmacher Institute, show there were 1.21 million abortions in the U.S. in 2008. Out of this total, 6 percent, or 72,600, were performed on girls ages 15 to 17.  In the general category of “under 14,” there was a 0.4 percent abortion rate. While this percentage may seem low, it represents 4,840 abortions performed annually on any girl old enough to become pregnant. An abortion for even one 10-year-old should cause an outcry, but almost 5,000 children—children—are violated this way each year.

I don’t know about your kids, but at that age, my own can’t make up their minds about what to have for breakfast much less whether or not to consent to intercourse and then destroy the life it creates. Planned Parenthood is notorious for not reporting suspected abuse and rape of these young girls.

A state parental notification requirement is one step toward protecting our youth from the PP mafia, which has its designs on these mega money-making customers. A study by the Guttmacher Institute states that “multiple abortions may indicate mainly prolonged exposure to the risk of unintended pregnancy.” The younger the child, the more years she has to become pregnant and have an abortion—over and over again. An appalling 22 percent of girls under 20 who undergo an abortion have had at least one before.

California abortion rates are higher than the national average, representing almost 18 percent of U.S. abortions, according to the latest numbers. When a young girl under the age of 18 is brought to a facility in California, her parents or guardians may never know she’s undergone a serious medical procedure, much less consented to it.

No doubt, after the abortion, the child is given birth control to “safely” continue the behavior that brought her to the clinic in the first place. Guttmacher’s own claims regarding the effectiveness of birth control are contradictory. On one hand, the institute states that “providing post-abortion contraceptive services is key to preventing unintended pregnancies and abortions.” But, on the other hand, it admits “the majority of women having their second or even their third abortion were using contraceptives during the time.”

The message by abortion providers is clear: engage in pleasurable risky behavior and take care of the consequences by having another abortion. A young victim is defenseless to a provider’s insistence on using birth control and returning for more “services.”

If you live in California, fight to join over 30 other states that have instituted parental consent or notification laws. Sign the petition to have the act placed on the ballot and vote for it in November. Let’s stop feeding our girls to the abortion monster to be victimized repeatedly then discarded like yesterday’s trash.

If our children must be protected against tobacco addictions that can kill their bodies, how much more important is it to save them from abortions that can kill their bodies and souls?

Carol Maxwell and her husband Scott have been married for 27 years and have seven children. Scott is the Executive Director of Culture of Life Family Services, a San Diego-based full-service medical office that provides free care to women in need with unplanned pregnancies.

 

Tags: abortion, california, parental notification, planned parenthood

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Jacksonville sees decrease in abortions every year since 40 Days for Life began

by Shawn Carney, 40 Days for Life Campaign Director Tue Feb 28 11:58 EST Comments (4)

 

February 28, 2012 (40DaysforLife.com) - One abortion is one too many, of course. So it’s always encouraging during a 40 Days for Life campaign when we see local abortion numbers decrease dramatically.

After we did the first 40 Days for Life campaign in Texas back in 2004, abortions dropped 28 percent in our community that year.

As 40 Days for Life has spread to other cities, we’ve seen similar results. Today, we start with an amazing example where abortion numbers keep falling!

JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA

Trudy sent me a graph showing Jacksonville’s abortion numbers over the past ten years. Abortions increased from 2002 through 2006. Starting in 2007, however, abortions have decreased every year.

What happened in 2007? Well, in the fall of that year, Jacksonville held its first 40 Days for Life campaign. Then in 2009, volunteers started Family for Life — daily prayer at the abortion centers Monday through Saturday. That’s more than 300 days of prayer every year!

In 2011, Jacksonville abortions reached a ten-year low. The Jacksonville team has already sponsored several events this campaign, including a Jericho march, in which prayer volunteers marched back and forth between two abortion facilities seven times.

ASHEVILLE, NORTH CAROLINA

The sound of the shofar kicked off the second 40 Days for Life in Asheville. Mary Ann in Asheville said 100 people took part in the opening prayer vigil and procession, led by representatives of Catholic, Methodist, Presbyterian and home churches.

People sang hymns and heard inspirational messages from a local pastor and a former abortion industry employee. “Hearts were deeply touched,” Mary Ann said.

From a very small start last fall, the Asheville effort has now expanded. Many churches now have members of their congregations signing up for prayer at the vigil, the leaders have gotten information about the campaign in a number of publications and team members have been able to speak about 40 Days for Life at meetings of various local organizations.

DOWNEY, CALIFORNIA

“God is moving big-time in Downey, California,” Tim wrote in the 40 Days for Life blog.

“He is stirring the saints to come out of the pews and onto the street to make a difference at the Family Planning Associates abortion facility in Downey,” he said.

Tim described how 40 college-age young adults stood in prayer and worship from 9 pm to midnight recently, and some of them were right back at the vigil outside the abortion center at 7:30 the following morning.

In just the first few days, eight babies were spared from abortion in Downey. “God is pouring out His Spirit,” Tim wrote, “just as He said He would.”

Here’s the link to today’s devotional.

Click “like” if you want to end abortion!

Tags: 40 days for life, abortion

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Dear physician: The $30 I spent on getting sterilized was the worst money I ever spent

by Jenn Giroux Tue Feb 28 11:37 EST Comments (7)

 

The Obama Administration is mandating that all insurance providers provide free FDA approved birth control methods to women as well as permanent sterilization procedures. Besides the documented physical harm that hormonal birth control and sterilization does to a woman’s body, there is also another effect that it has which often carries a much high cost: emotional pain and regret. The department of Health and Human Services ignores the post contraceptive regrets of women who later mourn the children they willingly prevented. Below is one woman’s powerful story of the profound regret that came after being offered permanent sterilization by her physician. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), by age 45, at least one partner in every two marriages in the U.S has been sterilized.

Dear Medical Provider:

I am writing this personal story and presenting it to you in an effort to heal some deep emotional wounds. I pray it helps you also. You see, when I was 29 I was pregnant with my third child. This was a blessed and wonderful time in my life. During an appointment you brought up the option of permanent sterilization after delivery. I honestly had never even considered it. But, there it was. I brought the pamphlet home and presented it to my husband. He responded “well, if the doctor thinks it’s best.” Obviously, we are easily influenced. Nothing was mentioned again until a few hours after the delivery of my beautiful baby girl. You missed the delivery but flew into the room exclaiming “so, we are doing a tubal, right?”

I was shocked. I had not given it much thought. I was not in a state of mind to understand the full depth of what that meant. I was thinking the whole time of another child. I know you sensed that. You reassured me it was permanent. At that time I could not fully comprehend what that meant. Then, you said something as you left the room that has painfully echoed and haunted my thoughts for years. I heard you mumble “I’ll do the most reversible type.” I still do not know what that meant. How could something be permanent and reversible at the same time? I did not fully understand what was happening.

Before I knew it, the procedure was done. I realized the next day that I did not want this procedure to be permanent. I always wanted more children. I had hopes and dreams of a larger family. I found it difficult to articulate that. Large families are not “popular” in today’s world. I acted in fear of being judged. Who was I to go against the social norms? It seems there is an unwritten social standard that says family sizes of 2 or 3 is “normal.” This misconception set up by media and a popular social agenda is standard, but not necessarily right or even remotely good for us. I was guilty of buying into this agenda.

Now it has been 7 years since the tubal. I have wanted it reversed since the day that it was done. I realize more than ever that you did me no favors. The tubal cost us $30. It was the worst money I ever spent. The mental and emotional turmoil of self-induced infertility has been beyond difficult. I have cried and grieved the loss of that part of myself for years. I realized that my fertility was a very special gift. Fertility was very much a part of who I was. It defined me as a woman. On a very deep level, fertility was essential to my mental and emotional health. It influenced my relationships with my husband, children, co-workers and friends. Without it I suffered and my marriage suffered the greatest of all to the point where my husband and I sought counseling. The counselor looked at me and recognized that I was grieving. It was then that I realized that he was right. I was grieving! I was grieving the loss of my fertility. Seven years later at age 35 I was able to have a reversal. The procedure cost $11,200.That was the best money ever spent. The procedure was healing beyond explanation…I was wholeagain. I truly felt the mercy and love of God!

Through this entire experience valuable lessons have been learned. We live in a society where we have separated love from life. However, I have learned that this misguided compassion is not in the best health interest of any person.

My challenge for you as a medical provider is to go back to treating the whole person. To treat their fertility as a part of who they are. Not something to be controlled or practiced. Fertility is a central part of being male or female and is a sacred part of the marriage union. When fertility is taken away you deny something very sacred to a person and to that marriage union. Do not be so quick to take that gift away.

My second challenge to you is to learn more about the whole truth of human sexuality through Pope John Paul’s Theology of the Body. This is a very truthful study of who we are as persons. God always has our best health interests in mind. God knows us in a more truthful, meaningful, and healing way than we know ourselves. God truly has you and your patient’s best interests in mind. If you are willing to take that a step farther learn more about NFP (natural family planning) and help those who use this method. Many couples are choosing natural alternatives to family planning and they need your support.

Through all this I have come to realize that when I am fearful of being judged I am missing the point. There is no fear in love. We are called to love ourselves and one another; for God is love. When I am fearful I realize that I am more afraid of what others might think than doing what God desires. I have to remind myself that God is love. Fear does not come from God. Fear comes from popular, often harmful worldviews and my hesitancy to soar beyond them to find the truth. For there is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear because fear has to do with punishment, so one who fears is not yet perfect in love 1John 4:18. I have found that if I look to the love of God and seek his truth instead of trying what is popular or what my colleagues are doing I am more satisfied, more fulfilled, more content and more loved. Then I have nothing to fear.

I pray this helps as you consider the challenge to change your practice.

I also want you to know that I have forgiven you. I hope you can learn something from this personal testimony. I pray it encourages you to consider how you care for your patients.

Through the love of Christ we welcomed one more soul into our family.

Our blessed baby boy arrived May 29th 2009. He brings true joy to all who meet him.

May the Love of Christ touch the hearts of all who have shared this story with me. May it help you to understand and embrace the truth found in the love of God.

Michele Brown and her husband are now expecting their second child after her successful tubal ligation reversal in 2008. Michele hopes her story will provide a helpful insight for other women who are considering sterilization. (Re-printed with permission.)

Tags: sterilization

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Russia defunds late-term ‘social abortions’ as country moves to curtail high abortion rate

by Matthew Cullinan Hoffman Tue Feb 28 11:03 EST Comments (7)

 
Russian President Dmitri Medvedev with Prime Minister Vladimir Putin

February 28, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The Russian government has cut off funding for most late-term abortions that are done for “social” reasons, in a move that may signal more restrictions to come.

Previously, Russians could receive government-funded abortions after the first twelve weeks of pregnancy in cases of rape, when a woman had been deprived of parental rights by a court, imprisonment of the woman, or death or disability of her husband.

The only “social” condition that now remains is rape, according to Russian media sources.  Women may also still obtain late-term abortions if they suffer from a life-threatening illness during the pregnancy.

Although the rule applies only to government-provided abortions, it represents another step towards restrictions on abortion that have long been sought by the current government.

Click “like” if you want to end abortion!

In July of last year, Russian President Dmitri Medvedev signed a law requiring all abortion providers to commit 10% of their advertising to increasing awareness about the adverse health risks of abortion, which include cancer, deadly hemorrhages, and sterility.  The same law prohibits abortionists from making the claim that abortion is a safe medical procedure.

Since that time, pro-life forces in Russia have pushed for greater restrictions.  Legislation has been in process since mid-2011 to prohibit almost all abortions after the first trimester, require a waiting period of one week, and require women over six weeks pregnant to see an ultrasound of their unborn child before aborting.

The proposed law was approved in October of last year by the Duma, Russia’s lower legislative house, but has not passed the Federation Council, which is the upper chamber. The legislation may have been stalled be protests by Russian citizens, many of whom rely on abortion rather than contraception to escape the responsibility of parenthood.

The current government, led by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, strongly favors tighter restrictions on abortion to counteract Russia’s demographic crisis, in which the total population has fallen substantially since its peak in 1991.  The nation’s high abortion rate is a major variable in that equation.

Tags: abortion, late-term abortion, russia

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Ethicists justify infanticide in major medical journal

by Peter Baklinski Tue Feb 28 09:50 EST Comments (77)

 

MELBOURNE, Australia, February 28, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Taking the logic of abortion to its ultimate consequence, two ethicists have argued that “killing a newborn could be ethically permissible in all the circumstances where abortion would be.”

Alberto Giubilin, a philosopher from the University of Milan, and Francesca Minerva, an ethicist from the University of Melbourne, have made the case that since both the unborn baby and the newborn do not have the moral status of actual persons and are consequently morally irrelevant,  what they call “after-birth abortion” should be permissible in all the cases where abortion is, including cases where the newborn is perfectly healthy.

“We claim that killing a newborn could be ethically permissible in all the circumstances where abortion would be. Such circumstances include cases where the newborn has the potential to have an (at least) acceptable life, but the well-being of the family is at risk.”

The article titled, “After-birth abortion: why should the baby live?” appeared online in the Journal Of Medical Ethics last Thursday.

The authors highlight that the justification for “after-birth abortion” is based on the interests of the people involved, not those of the baby.

“If criteria such as the costs (social, psychological, economic) for the potential parents are good enough reasons for having an abortion even when the fetus is healthy, if the moral status of the newborn is the same as that of the infant and if neither has any moral value by virtue of being a potential person, then the same reasons which justify abortion should also justify the killing of the potential person when it is at the stage of a newborn.”

The authors do not say at what stage of development it become morally repugnant to kill a newborn baby but leave the question of when a baby moves from being a potential person to being an actual person to be settled by neurologists and psychologists.

Click “like” if you want to end abortion!

Tags: abortion, bioethics, infanticide

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Evidence shows notorious late-term abortionist George Tiller did iIlegal abortions for years

by Cheryl Sullenger Mon Feb 27 18:25 EST Comments (0)

 
George Tiller and Ann Kristin Neuhaus

Topeka, KS, Feburary 27, 2012 (OperationRescue.org) – An Initial Order released by the Kansas State Board of Healing Arts on February 21, 2012, revoking the medical license of abortionist Ann Kristin Neuhaus includes evidence showing that late-term abortionist George Tiller was doing illegal late-term abortions for at least seven years.

“If the evidence presented in Neuhaus’ case had been presented during Tiller’s criminal trial, there is no doubt that he would have been convicted of illegal late-term abortions,” said Troy Newman, president of Operation Rescue and Pro-Life Nation. “This shows that Tiller was doing illegal abortions based on phony mental health excuses for at least seven years.”

The revocation order is expected to be finalized by the full Board in April and is the result of a complaint filed in 2006 by this author.

Neuhaus provided the second referral that Tiller needed in order to legally justify the expensive post-viability abortions that were his specialty — and his bread and butter. Each referral issued by Neuhaus was based on a mental health diagnosis that she claimed justified the late-term abortions. She certified that each woman met the narrow legal exception to the Kansas law banning post-viability abortions, which allowed such abortions to be done only if there was the risk that the woman would suffer a “substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function” if the pregnancy continued.

However, the records show that Neuhaus was incompetent. She failed to conduct proper mental health evaluations on eleven patients that she referred to Tiller for post-viability abortions. Her diagnoses were a sham.

(Click “like” if you want to end abortion! )

In fact, Administrative Judge Edward J. Gaschler indicated that there is no evidence that Neuhaus ever personally evaluated the women beyond having them answer yes or no questions that were plugged into a computer program called PsychManager Lite, which automatically generated a diagnosis. For Patient #8, there was no evidence that Neuhaus ever saw her at all. The only information about the individual circumstances of each woman in Neuhaus’ patient records came not from her own observations, but from intake forms generated by unlicensed workers at Tiller’s clinic.

“Based upon the evidence, the Licensee [Neuhaus] simply completed yes/no questions and answers and whatever diagnosis the computer gave, she assigned that diagnosis. This method of practicing medicine does not meet the applicable standard of care,” wrote Judge Gaschler.

He concluded, “The care and treatment of the 11 patients in question was seriously jeopardized by the Licensee’s care.”

Suspicious dates reveal illegal abortions

In addition, the dates on some of Neuhaus’ computer-generated reports were indicators that late-term abortions were being done illegally.

For example, Neuhaus’s reports for Patients #2, #6, #9, #10, and #11 were all generated and time-stamped after the dates that these women’s abortions already began. Tiller’s records showed that Patient #10 had her initial appointment on October 4, 2003, yet Neuhaus’ diagnosis report is dated November 13, 2003, nearly six weeks after the abortion would have taken place.

For one file, that of Patient #5, the computer diagnosis reports were generated on August 7, 2003, but that date was crossed out and changed on the forms to August 12 and 13, 2003. The date that Tiller’s office indicated that Neuhaus had an appointment with Patient #5 was August 12, 2003. No explanation for the discrepancies was ever given.

“It appears that diagnoses were being generated after the abortions had already begun, which would have constituted a violation of the law,” said Newman. “One was generated ahead of time before Neuhaus had any opportunity to interview the patient. This only confirms the long-held belief that Neuhaus was rubber-stamping late-term abortions for Tiller without any sound medical basis so he could collect on the huge fees he charged for such abortions, which ranged in price from $5,000 to in excess of $18,000 depending on the circumstances.”

No basis for mental health diagnoses

In all patients, Neuhaus failed to perform mental health evaluations, review the patient’s medical and social history, or make any kind of proper examination. She made no notations that indicated she ever spoke to the patients beyond the yes/no questions asked by her PsychManager Lite program, which was essentially meant to be a teaching tool for students of psychiatry. The program contained cautionary statements that the program should only be used in conjunction with proper mental health evaluations by skilled professionals. Facts in the Neuhaus case showed she was neither skilled nor did she conduct proper evaluations.

Discussion at Neuhaus’ disciplinary hearing showed that one problem with the computer-generated diagnoses was that some of the questions were compound, which gave no indication to the patient’s true condition or state of mind. An example of this was one question that asked if the patient had experienced any weight gain or loss. If the answer was “yes” there was no way to know if the weight was gained or lost. Weight gain is normal and healthy in pregnancy, yet the computer would count that as an indicator of possible mental health issues.

“These diagnoses amounted to quackery,” said Newman. “The computer program could make normal and healthy conditions of late-term pregnancy such as weight gain, trouble sleeping, and lack of interest in participating in aggressive sporting activities, appear to be symptoms of mental illness. This was all to give the appearance that the abortions were medically justified, when in fact they were not.”

When Neuhaus’ computer programs conflicted in their conclusions, or when her conclusions differed from that on Tiller’s intake forms, she never attempted to determine which conclusion was the correct one. She simply ignored them.

Alleged suicidal ideation ignored

Neuhaus’ computer reports indicated that some patients were suicidal, yet there was not one bit of information in the reports on which to base such a diagnosis. Neuhaus never referred these women for counseling of any kind. The only referral they received was for a late-term abortion.

“If the Licensee sincerely believed that the patients were seriously mentally ill, it would seem likely that a treating physician would recommend treatment for these rather serious mental illnesses. Yet, the Licensee ignored these alleged mental illnesses,” stated Judge Gaschler.

Patient #10: Unintended pregnancies cause mental health disease?

Patient #10 was an 18-year old woman who was approximately 25 weeks pregnant. According to Tiller’s records, Neuhaus’ appointment with her was October 4, 2003. However, the computerized forms that indicated her diagnosis of Acute Stress Disorder, Severe, was not generated until November 13, 2003, nearly six weeks after the abortion took place.

In order to qualify for that particular diagnosis, a patient must have “experienced witnessed, or was confronted with an event or events that involved actual or threatened death or serious injury, or a threat to physical integrity.” Neuhaus recorded no such event that could have been the basis of the diagnosis for Patient #10.

Under questioning at Neuhaus’ disciplinary hearing, Neuhaus testified that the traumatic event in the patient’s life was the unintended pregnancy.

“This would lead to a conclusion that any unintended pregnancy causes the mental health condition of the pregnant woman to be Acute Distress Disorder,” wrote Judge Gaschler. “There is nothing in the patient file to support this. The Licensee did not document this in Patient #10’s file.”

Stipulation blocked this evidence in Tiller’s trial

On March 23, 2009, Neuhaus’ employer, George Tiller, faced opening arguments in his criminal trial on 19 counts of violating K.S.A 65-6703, a state law that at that time banned post-viability abortions unless the abortionist “has a documented referral from another physician not legally or financially affiliated with the physician performing or inducing the abortion and both physicians determine that: (1) The abortion is necessary to preserve the life of the pregnant woman; or (2) a continuation of the pregnancy will cause a substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function of the pregnant woman.”

On March 12, 2009, just 11 days before the trial, Asst. Attorney General Barry Disney entered into a stipulation agreement with Tiller’s lawyers that prevented the evidence from reaching the jury that was later presented in Neuhaus’ disciplinary case.

Disney stipulated that the medical necessity of the abortions was not in dispute because Neuhaus had given Tiller “documented referrals” after she determined that continuation of the pregnancy would cause “substantial and irreversible impairment” to the woman.

This effectively took Neuhaus’ incompetence and unsubstantiated, dubious diagnoses off the table, leaving only the matter of whether or not Neuhaus and Tiller enjoyed an improper financial or legal affiliation.

The jury never heard about the diagnoses made days or weeks after the abortions, or about the concerns that Neuhaus never reviewed patient histories or conducted proper mental health evaluations. They never knew about Patient #8, who was never seen by Neuhaus at all, yet was referred by her for an abortion without having made any recorded diagnosis. The term “PsychManager Lite” was never heard by the jury, nor the fact that the diagnoses used to justify otherwise illegal post-viability abortions were completely baseless and without proper documentation. They never heard Neuhaus’ outlandish theory that unintended pregnancies by default make women mentally ill.

In fact, Disney’s only witness for the prosecution was a very hostile and defiant Neuhaus who made sure everyone knew she resented being forced to testify against her friend Tiller.

It is no wonder that the jury found him “not guilty” in less than an hour. They were blocked from hearing the real evidence that crimes had been committed. Had the jury been allowed to hear the real facts in that case, which were heard by an Administrative Judge in the Neuhaus disciplinary hearings, there can be no doubt that guilty verdicts would have been reached, and history would have been altered.

“It is tragic to think that efforts to protect Tiller from legal accountability for his actions may have ultimately led to his demise,” said Newman.

Operation Rescue complaint placed Tiller’s license in jeopardy

Just moments after the jury read the “not guilty” verdicts in Tiller’s criminal trial, the Kansas State Board of Healing Arts announced that an 11-count petition against Tiller had been filed by them and would proceed despite the criminal verdicts. That petition was based on the same complaint filed by Operation Rescue that led to Neuhaus’ recent disciplinary action.

“If the Board was willing to revoke Neuhaus’ medical license on counts nearly identical to Tiller’s charges, it would also have revoked Tiller’s license as well,” said Newman. “Tiller’s murder just two months after his trial tragically prevented him from being brought to proper justice. His killer was frustrated by the erroneous belief that the system was broken and could not work. In fact, the system was working, despite efforts to subvert it.”

LeRoy Carhart, an abortionist who worked for Tiller, publicly stated that Tiller had announced his retirement to his staff just two weeks before his death. It appeared that Tiller may have been planning to retire his license rather than submit to Board discipline.

Truth leads to victory

There can be no doubt now that the bogus mental health diagnoses that were used to justify late-term abortions on paper were without basis and were concocted by Neuhaus in order to help Tiller circumvent the law. The post-viability abortions that Neuhaus referred to Tiller were done illegally. It has finally been proven through peaceful, legal means.

“Thankfully, Neuhaus’ quackery has been exposed and she will never do another abortion. Her medical license is currently restricted and her revocation order will soon be finalized, bringing to close the final chapter in the Tiller abortion crime spree that spanned four decades and victimized thousands of viable babies whose mothers came to Wichita for late-term abortions from every state,” said Newman. “This is a victory for every pro-life supporter in the country.”

Tags: abortion, ann kristin neuhaus, george tiller, operation rescue

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Indiana senator refuses to honor Girl Scouts because of Planned Parenthood connection

by Christine Dhanagom Mon Feb 27 17:47 EST Comments (13)

 
Sen. Bob Morris

INDIANAPOLIS, February 27, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A conservative Indiana legislator who was vilified for refusing to honor the Girl Scouts of America has been vindicated by recent evidence of more ties between the scouting organization and Planned Parenthood, says Indiana Right to Life.

State Sen. Bob Morris circulated a letter to colleagues earlier this month explaining that he would not sign a resolution honoring the Girl Scout’s 100th anniversary because of “disturbing” information he had found about the organization’s relationship with Planned Parenthood.

Morris cited a Planned Parenthood brochure which was made available to participants at a United Nations panel hosted by the Girl Scouts, adding that the problem was widespread in the organization, since many troop leaders indoctrinated girls “according to the principles of Planned Parenthood.”

He also expressed concern that the organization was promoting the homosexual lifestyle, and noted that some Girl Scout troops had allowed “transgender” boys to join their ranks.

“As members of the Indiana House of Representatives, we must be wise before we use the credibility and respect of the ‘Peoples’ House’ to extend legitimacy to a radicalized organization,” he wrote, in the February 18th email.

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Morris became the target of ridicule after his email was leaked to the press. His fellow Republican, House Speaker Brian Bosma, told the AP that he had purchased 278 cases of Girl Scout cookies and was handing them out to fellow members in response to Morris’ comments.

Press reports trumpeted statements from both Planned Parenthood and the Girl Scouts of Northern Indiana-Michigan denying that any relationship existed between the two organizations.

Morris later apologized for the tone of the letter which he said, was “emotional, reactionary, and inflammatory.” However, he defended his stance against the resolution, which he said was based not on local problems with Girl Scout troops in Indiana, but the organization’s national policies.

The Girl Scout’s connections to Planned Parenthood have been confirmed by Girl Scout CEO Kathy Cloninger, who stated in a 2004 interview on the NBC Today Show that the organization partners with Planned Parenthood in its sex education efforts, Morris said.

A subsequent survey conducted by STOPP International found that around 25% of councils who responded to the survey said they were partnering with Planned Parenthood in some way. Sixty-five out of the country’s 249 councils responded to the survey.

The Senator wrote: “To my knowledge, the Girl Scouts USA have not rescinded, corrected or denied that statement. If the Girl Scouts USA now denies the statement of its CEO, I challenge the organization to do so publicly so that individuals are not confused as to the organization’s ties to Planned Parenthood.”

However, Indiana Right to Life is arguing that the Morris’ concerns are relevant even on the local level, based on information uncovered on a government website which revealed that a “Family Life Education Program” used by the Girl Scouts in 12 counties had been created by a Planned Parenthood employee in Bloomington, Indiana.

The employee, Anne Reese, had been posthumously awarded Bloomington’s 2009 Lifetime Contribution Award. Her biography, which appeared on the city website, stated: “Anne’s career started with Planned Parenthood in Bloomington where she worked for many years as a health and sexuality educator, and helped initiate the Family Life Education program for Girl Scouts ages five to 18 throughout a twelve-county area.”

The pro-life organization re-ignited the controversy by drawing attention to the bio in a statement released last Thursday.

“We are deeply concerned by this new information,” said Mike Fichter, Indiana Right to Life president and chief executive officer. “The Girl Scouts and Planned Parenthood have both dismissed Rep. Morris’ concerns as baseless, yet the Bloomington website could not be any clearer.”

Responding to Fichter’s statement, Planned Parenthood of Indiana CEO and President Betty Cockrum claimed, in comments to the Hoosier Times, that Reese’s involvement with the Girl Scouts was volunteer work she performed on her own time, “completely separate” from her employment at Planned Parenthood.

Bloomington Mayor Mark Kruzan told the news service that the pro-life group had made a “giant leap” based on the fact that the names of two organizations “happen to fall in the same person’s biography.”

“Seldom do I speak this bluntly, but these people are zealots with too much free time on their hands and too little common sense in their heads,” he said.

But Fichter is standing by his statement, he told LifeSiteNews in an interview.

“We should be discussing the facts found on the city of Bloomington’s website, not engaging in ad hominem attacks against pro-lifers,” he said.

According to Planned Parenthood’s own admission, a sexuality educator from the organization was a key player in developing a curriculum for the Girl Scouts, said Fichter. “Whether that was in a volunteer or paid capacity is really not the point,” he added

He noted, however, that the way the information was phrased in the bio seemed to indicate a closer relationship between the Girl Scouts and the nation’s largest abortion provider than either organization was acknowledging.

“If that is not factual, and if that information is incorrect, the city of Bloomington needs to change the info it is providing on its own website instead of lashing out at us,” said Fichter.

 

Tags: abortion, girl scouts, indiana, planned parenthood

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Catholic hospitals in seven states conducted 20,073 sterilizations in three years: study

by Ben Johnson Mon Feb 27 17:42 EST Comments (17)

 

WACO, TEXAS, February 27, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – A multi-year review of 176 Catholic hospitals in seven states found that 48 percent have performed direct female sterilizations. The author of the study, Sandra Hapenney, warns this could undermine Catholic health institutions’ ability to invoke conscience clause protections to opt out of performing sterilizations.

To earn a Ph.D. in Church-State Studies at Baylor University, Hapenney requested data from 1,734 hospitals in California, Illinois, Indiana, New Jersey, New York, Texas, and Washington. Of these, 176 were Catholic hospitals that offered obstetric services.

By tracking medical codes in hospital records, she discovered nearly half of these institutions had performed female sterilizations.

That amounted to 20,073 sterilizations.

The “Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services” issued by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) in 2009, states, “Direct sterilization of either men or women, whether permanent or temporary, is not permitted in a Catholic health care institution.” Only indirect sterilizations, which result in infertility while treating another medical condition, are permitted.

In 2008, Bishop Alvara Corrada, then in the diocese of Tyler, Texas, forced two Catholic hospitals to stop performing tubal ligations. Hapenney found his efforts successfully ended the practice at those institutions.

After making her full dissertation available online at her website, CatholicHospitals.org, Hapenney found herself on the receiving end of criticism from the Catholic Health Association (CHA).

Fred Caesar of the CHA wrote, “We put no credence in the study” and told reporters that other health specialists said the report contains unspecified “gross errors.” Carl Middleton, vice president of theology and ethics for Catholic Health Initiatives, added that bill coding was subject to human error, although he did not point to any specific error.

Dr. Hapenney told LifeSiteNews.com her critics had not pointed out a single error in her dissertation.

Her critics charged “that the study contained ‘gross errors’ – without finding them or stating what these gross errors might be,” she said.

“There is no real doubt about the validity of the type of data used in this study since it is provided by the hospitals to the State in compliance with regulatory laws and is regularly used by researchers,” she wrote in a press release countering the objections.

“I’m asking for a retraction,” she told LifeSiteNews.com

(Click “like” if you want to end abortion! )

When she first posted the data, Hapenney says she over-counted the number of sterilizations in Indiana by five. “I immediately rechecked my data and corrected it before publishing the dissertation,” she told LifeSiteNews. “I had Baylor recheck everything, [to] assure all the data was correct.” They found she had under-counted the number of sterilizations in California by 14.

Hapenney’s faculty adviser was Dr. Francis J. Beckwith. “She went through the data very carefully, discovering only one very minor mistake that was corrected before she submitted her final version to the graduate school dissertations holdings,” Dr. Beckwith said in a statement e-mailed to LifeSiteNews.com. 

Hepenney tracked the number of patient records that used the medical code V25.2, a code that always indicates a voluntary sterilization. If it were an indirect procedure allowed by Catholic theology, another code to indicate the emergency would have been used, she said.

“Some Catholic health insurance policies identify the V25.2 code as something they will not pay for,” he told LifeSiteNews.com. “Med-Cal of California also saw it as an elective surgery.”

“My whole goal was to try to get the truth out,” Dr. Hapenney said.

The fact that some Catholic hospitals perform voluntary sterilizations may threaten the ability of Catholic hospitals to refuse to do so if forced, Hapenney writes. Her dissertation notes, “such diversity may pose judicial and political problems for providing protection under the conscience clauses.”

The issue has roared to life since the Obama administration’s health care reform mandates that all health insurance plan cover sterilization.

CHA President Sr. Carol Keehan had advance knowledge of the administration’s “accommodation” and offered her organization’s early support.

“I’m hoping that the bishops will now know what’s going on and will be able to come up with better or more enforceable ERDs [Ethical and Religious Directives]” so they “can look at what’s actually going on in the hospital and hold them to higher standards.”

Presently, there is no mechanism to compel anyone who sees an ethical violation in a Catholic hospital to report it. “I’m hoping that by demonstrating the magnitude of the problem, [the bishops] can develop mechanisms which will help them oversee the issues better and act on them.”

Her good intentions have not spared her heated, if imprecise, scrutiny.

“I don’t understand the harsh criticism of Dr. Hapenney’s work, since you would think that Catholic health care professionals would welcome her research as an opportunity to remedy whatever problems they may have inadvertently missed over the years,” Dr. Beckwith told LifeSiteNews.com.

“Each of us, no matter where we find ourselves in the church’s ministries, should welcome correction with humility and grace. For without that mutual oversight, we lose touch with what it means to be one body, one spirit in Christ.”

Tags: carol keehan

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Pro-abort group blasts poll showing Canadians want abortion restrictions: pollster shoots back

by Peter Baklinski Mon Feb 27 17:33 EST Comments (17)

 
Joyce Arthur

VANCOUVER, British Columbia, February 27, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – When an Angus Reid poll last month showed that 51% of Canadians believe there should be laws dealing with the country’s unrestricted access to abortion, and 60% of Canadians believe Ottawa should enact a law outlining whether a woman can abort her child based solely on his or her gender, the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada (ARCC) denounced the poll’s questions as misleading and biased, saying that they “rendered the answers invalid.”

Joyce Arthur, executive director of ARCC, accused Angus Reid on The Mark a week and a half ago of “promot[ing] anti-abortion politics while pretending to be neutral and unbiased.”

But Mario Canseco, vice president of Angus Reid Public Opinion, responded on the same day in the Vancouver Sun that it is “common for people who represent lobby groups and associations with a solitary goal to express doubts when they realize that, to their astonishment, not all Canadians agree with the point of view they have chosen to defend.”

“The reaction from people who disagree with the findings because they find themselves in the minority is usually the same,” said Canseco. “’Everybody I know agrees with my point of view,’ they say. ‘So the questions have to be biased.’”

Arthur took exception to the wording of two questions which she argued were misleading to the respondents. She accused the authors of the poll of creating a false dilemma where “someone is asked to choose between only two options when other options are available.” She argued that since Canada has “successfully and responsibly” managed abortion practice since 1988 by “policies, codes of ethics, clinical protocols, and the medical discretion of health-care professionals,” then “no special laws are needed for abortion.”

“In Question 1, Angus Reid sets up this false choice between ‘a law or no law’ for abortion in general, even though both options are poor choices and framing them this way represents misinformed anti-choice propaganda,” she said.

Arthur critiqued answer 1b as “misleading” since she said that it is “simply not true” that Canadian women currently have the unrestricted right to have an abortion at any time up to the moment of birth. That answer, in response to the question of whether there should be laws on abortion, had said, “There should be no laws on this matter – a woman should have the unrestricted right to have an abortion at any time up to the moment of birth.”

“Almost all abortions occur before the end of the second trimester (24 weeks), and none at “the moment of birth,” she said.

Canseco rebutted Arthur’s arguments, saying that “the burden of a legislative issue [should not be placed] solely in the hands of medical professionals” who are not the competent authority to deal with “question[s] related to policy.”

Canseco further lambasted Arthur for taking to task the wording of the answer when ARCC’s own website defends what the organization calls a “constitutionally-based right to unrestricted, fully-funded abortion, without legal or other barriers or discrimination due to gender, class, ethnicity, race, age, location/region (or area of residence), or any other characteristic, including reasons for choosing an abortion.”

“This is not something we wrote—it is the second affirmation in the ‘Our Vision’ section of the ARCC website,” said Canseco. “Ms. Arthur now writes that this ‘unrestricted right’ does not exist, yet it certainly does in her own organization’s documentation.”

Canseco pointed out the absurdity of Arthur’s show of support for Canadian doctors who, as she had said, “adhere to medical policies and protocols that effectively restrict abortions after 20 weeks (except in critical cases)” while at the same time heading an organization that champions the “right to unrestricted… abortion.”

“It is remarkably easy for activists to render a survey as invalid when the findings show that the public disagrees with their desired outcome,” said Canseco, pointing out that “Canadians have consistently told us that they are not satisfied with the fact that there are no laws on abortion in this country.”

“We are used to this reaction. It is part of the job of figuring out what people think. Still, the only ‘false dilemma’ here occurs when Ms. Arthur, having failed to acknowledge that Canadians disagree with her point of view, endeavours to steer the conversation into the credibility of a polling company.”

Tags: abortion, canada, joyce arthur

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Confessions of a pro-life atheist – what gives me the passion to actively oppose abortion

by Bryan Kemper Mon Feb 27 16:34 EST Comments (67)

 
Patrick Ptomey

Feburary 27, 2012 (BryanKemper.com) - I recently ask my friend Patrick, a pro-life activist who is also an atheist to write a commentary about why he is pro-life. I think sometimes Christians might not understand that many non-religious people hold the pro-life position and hold it passionately. I thought this would be a great way for people who hold these views as part of their faith to understand why someone without a faith would hold the same views.

I have included a link to Patrick’s blog and I expect everyone who decides to comment or talk to him to do so with the upmost love and respect. The courage it takes for Patrick to be an active pro-lifer is way more than most Christians can understand.

Here is what Patrick wrote:

ORIGINS OF CONSENSUS

It can be said without argument that all who are against abortion have at least one thing in common. Be that as it may, the process in which we come to that conclusion is oftentimes a result of many different factors, thus our beliefs, while similar in principle, can be quite different in theory.

Dozens of people have asked me why I am pro-life.

In the past it didn’t seem like such a hard question to answer. After all, if I have the ability to form a belief then surely my answer to such a question should come without forethought. However, I have never been asked by a pro-life Christian to clarify my position as a pro-life Atheist. Admittedly, the question has become a bit more difficult to answer because of the unnecessary adaptation. It was my presumption that this was not a confusing concept, but once I began to compile my thoughts I soon realized where confusion could emerge. The purpose of this article is to clear up some of the misconceptions about pro-life non-believers by providing a general comparison between Theism and Atheism in relation to the abortion issue and contributing a personal account of my own journey to the pro-life movement. An argument from morality has been purposely omitted.

To state the obvious, the only difference between my label as a pro-life Atheist and your label as a pro-life Christian is our outlook on the existence of a deity. Similarly, the difference between a pro-life Jew and a pro-life Muslim is once again rooted in religious differences. That being said, we can easily deduct that an anti-abortion position is not dependent upon adhering to a specific religion; thankfully. For example, one can be religious without ever taking a position on the abortion issue. Likewise, one can be pro-life without being religious. Because the two labels are independent from one another, it is not hard to imagine the diversity of personal convictions within the pro-life community. This may become a confusing concept to those who base their pro-life position on the belief that they could not differentiate between right and wrong without guidance from their respective deity. This is where I believe some confusion and hesitation may occur.

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The Christian religion, for the most part, has adopted a position on the abortion issue. Churches which have chosen to take a position on the issue have subsequently suggested that its followers do the same. To the contrary, Atheism asserts one thing and one thing only. That assertion makes no mention to the the issue of abortion or any other social issue for that matter and therefore does not require that Atheists accept any more or any less. An Atheist’s position on any other topic is simply a personal opinion.

Personally, my pro-life beliefs belong to the discoveries in science. While I am sympathetic to women’s rights and would even consider myself a Feminist, as would any man who believes in gender equality, the right to life outweighs our personal discomforts. I will hesitantly concede that had I been born 10 years earlier I most likely would have considered myself pro-choice based upon the absence of scientific evidence within the pro-life movement at the time. More so, if science had proven that life began at birth I would have had no foundation for an anti-abortion belief. Thankfully for the pro-life movement, science has reemphasized the movement’s argument that abortion takes the life of an unborn child. Today, the movement has realized that science is much more likely to reach an audience which is increasingly looking for demonstrable evidence from which to base their position on social issues; not just the church’s suggestion.

It’s worth mentioning that the internet also had a substantial effect by allowing me to better research fetal development and share information and ideas with others.W hen I began exploring the issue as a seventeen year old back in 2006, the internet allowed me to see the larger picture, unlike the tri-fold pamphlet provided by my Catholic church. The pamphlet provided me with no context or arguments from the opposition. Heck, I didn’t even know there was an opposition.

I am not sure why the issue ever captured my attention, but it evolved beyond into a passion. After a couple years of researching the issue I decided that I would adopt an anti-abortion position based on the scientifically accepted conclusion that conception was the formation of a unique and living member of the human species. This was done absent of religious arguments and by 2008 I was beginning to question a different position – Theism. That year I wrote a pro-life blog which turned out to become the catalyst for my pro-life activism. The MySpace blog [insert joke here] titled The American Holocaust, was my first attempt at arguing against abortion from a secular perspective. The amateurishly written blog received hundreds of comments and at times was the third most active blog on MySpace. At that moment I was convinced that the incorporation of religion was unnecessary to make a point against abortion and instead allowed readers to view the issue as a scientific and moral obligation rather than just a Catholic issue. The internet had allowed me to understand the various ways the issue affected people, something I would have never understood within the walls of the Catholic church.

I am currently concluding the final chapters of God is Not Great by the late Atheist, Christopher Hitchens; a post-abortive father himself. Hitchens, a hero to many non-believers, also noticed the reality of the unborn human life. I would imagine it took a great deal of courage to advocate the value of the unborn human despite the overwhelming number of supporters whom he knew would quickly voice their disapproval. For unfortunate yet obvious reasons, theists were just as reluctant to commend him. Undoubtedly, Hitchens has taught many non-believers and believers to rethink their position on the issue for purely scientific reasons. Like myself and the thousands of other pro-life secularists, Hitchens recognized that science had demonstrably proven that life does exist before viability and therefore deserved proper acknowledgement from the pro-choice side.

“As a materialist, I think it has been demonstrated that an embryo is a separate body and entity, and not merely (as some really did used to argue) a growth on or in the female body.  There used to be feminists who would say that it was more like an appendix or even-this was seriously maintained-a tumor. That nonsense seems to have stopped.  Of the considerations that have stopped it, one is the fascinating and moving view provided by the sonogram, and another is the survival of ‘premature’ babies of feather-like weight, who have achieved ‘viability’ outside the womb. … The words ‘unborn child,’ even when used in a politicized manner, describe a material reality.”

-Christopher Hitchens, God is Not Great (pp. 220-21)

It seems to me that the confusion many people have when I tell them I am a pro-life Atheist happens to originate from their perception that Atheism and pro-life activism are incompatible. This is a half-century old product of religion’s disproportionate obsession with the issue and the subsequent and illogical ‘We want to be everything you’re not!’ attitude of Atheists. The middle ground, a pro-life Atheist (or a pro-choice theist), doesn’t seem to suit either side. I think it is fair to call us the step-child of the pro-life movement. Arguing against abortion goes beyond the policies or teachings of any religious text. It is not an issue restricted only to the religious but rather an issue concerning human rights and therefore defies the labels of religion, political affiliation, race, gender, sexual orientation, and so on. If we can agree that abortion wrongfully takes the life of a living human being, then all other labels which define our individuality should be irrelevant to the issue at hand.

- A pro-life[r] Atheist
  Patrick Ptomey

Click here for Patrick’s blog.

Reprinted with permission from BryanKemper.com

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Pope rejects ‘arrogant’ IVF: Marital love the only ‘worthy’ way to conceive

by John-Henry Westen Mon Feb 27 16:09 EST Comments (63)

 

VATICAN CITY, February 27, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – In meeting with officials and participants of the Pontifical Academy for Life general assembly Saturday, Pope Benedict XVI stressed that the only acceptable way of conceiving a child is through sexual intercourse between a husband and wife.

“Indeed, the union of a man and a woman, in that community of love and life which is marriage, represents the only worthy ‘place’ for a new human being to be called into existence,” he said.

He added that temptations leading scientists to offer unacceptable infertility treatments such as in vitro fertilization include “easy money or, even worse, the arrogance of replacing the Creator.”  He noted that such pride endangers humanity itself.

The pope told the 200 scientists and members of the Pontifical Academy for Life in attendance that the field of human procreation seems to be dominated “by scientism and the logic of profit,” which often “restrict many other areas of research.”

Benedict XVI also spoke with compassion in addressing married couples unable to conceive children. “The Church is attentive to the suffering of infertile couples”, he said, “and her concern for them is what leads her to encourage medical research.”

“Science, nonetheless, is not always capable of responding to the needs of many couples, and so I would like to remind those who are experiencing infertility that their matrimonial vocation is not thereby frustrated. By virtue of their baptismal and matrimonial vocation, spouses are always called to collaborate with God in the creation of a new humanity. The vocation to love, in fact, is a vocation of self-giving and this is something which no bodily condition can impede. Therefore, when science cannot provide an answer, the light-giving response comes from Christ.”

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See the complete text of he Pope’s talk here.

(with files from Vatican Information Service)

Tags: abortion, benedict xvi, ivf, marriage

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