Thursday, March 1, 2012

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Two Texas abortionists ordered to pay thousands in fines for violating standards of care

by John Jalsevac Thu Mar 01 18:23 EST Comments (2)

 
Two abortionists that work for Whole Women's Health were fined.

Austin, TX, March 1, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The Texas Medical Board has levied fines of $3,000 each against abortionists Alan H. Molson and Robert E. Hanson after investigations found they have violated standards of patient care. The orders are based on complaints filed by Operation Rescue after a 3-month undercover investigation into Texas abortion clinics. The disciplinary orders were officially entered on February 10, 2012.

Troy Newman, president of Operation Rescue and Pro-Life Nation, said he is “very happy” that the disciplinary orders were handed down. “The Board actions prove that these two abortionists were providing substandard services and cutting corners on women’s health,” he said.

Molson, 60, admitted during an Informal Settlement Conference (ISC) last October that he did not routinely see patients at the time of the post-abortion follow-up visit and that most follow-up visits were done by medical assistants, who are unqualified for such tasks. He also admitted that the medical assistants would evaluate the patients and provide prescriptions for birth control pills that were pre-signed by Molson, if the patients met certain parameters. These admissions all constituted violations, according to the Board order.

Hanson, 72, admitted during an ISC that he sees patients for the first time on the day of the abortion and fails do a complete history and physical. Only limited vital signs of the patient are checked.

Both Molson and Hanson were ordered to take eight hours of continuing medical education in risk management.

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Newman was present at the ISC hearings and gave a witness statement against Molson and Hanson to the Board.

Molson and Hanson were also accused of HIPAA violations for the illegal dumping of private medical records and for illegal dumping of aborted baby remains. However, the Board found that since both abortionists were “Independent Contractors” for the Whole Women’s Health abortion chain, they had no authority or control over the clinic’s dumping practices.

“Molson and Hanson slipped out of the illegal dumping allegations on a technicality,” said Newman. “In fact, two Whole Women’s Health abortion clinics that we investigated were fined tens of thousands of dollars for the improper disposal of recognizable aborted baby remains by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, so those allegations were proven to be true.”

A third abortionist, William Watkins West, was accused but not disciplined by the Board.

Open cases remain against seven other abortionists, including Margaret Kini, Brook Randal, Douglas Karpen, Franz Theard, Pedro J. Kowalyszyn, Sherwood C. Lynn, and Robert L. Prince. Karpen and Theard have been scheduled for hearings on May 16, 2012. The rest have not yet been scheduled.

Read Molson’s profile on AbortionDocs.org
Read Hanson’s profile on AbortionDocs.org
Read: Special Report: Widespread Abortion Abuses In Texas Exposed

Tags: abortion, operation rescue

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Leading pro-life Virginia Delegate concerned about amended ultrasound bill

by Ben Johnson Thu Mar 01 18:10 EST Comments (3)

 
Virginia Delegate Bob Marshall

RICHMOND, VIRGINIA, March 1, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – On Tuesday, the Virginia state senate passed a bill requiring a mother to have an ultrasound before aborting her baby – but an amendment requested by Governor Bob McDonnell has left one of the most prominent pro-life politicians in the Old Dominion uncertain how he will vote.

The bill became a national issue as feminists claimed the bill required a transvaginal ultrasound, which they said was tantamount to “rape.” Following a media firestorm, McDonnell asked the General Assembly to amend the bill “to explicitly state that no woman in Virginia will have to undergo a transvaginal ultrasound involuntarily.” The amended version of the bill passed the state senate in Richmond earlier this week by a 21-19 vote, with two Democrats supporting the bill and one Republican opposing it.

Pro-life organizations around the country applauded its passage. Olivia Gans, president of the Virginia Society for Human Life, wrote in a statement her organization is “grateful that the Senate supported the right of women to have access to this critical and relevant medical information about their own bodies and their unborn children before they make the irreversible decision for an abortion.”

However, the bill’s proponents also say McDonnell’s amendment was tactically unwise, as well as unnecessary. Last week Kristi Hamrick of Americans United for Life told LifeSiteNews.com the bill never required a transvaginal ultrasound, and that abortion supporters “completely made up” the requirement. Instead, the bill mandated Virginia’s standard of care, leaving the type of ultrasound to be used up to the physician and the patient. Pro-life activists also pointed out to a study showing that, for all their claims of “rape,” 83 percent of Planned Parenthood abortion facilities performing early surgical abortions said they “always” performed the more accurate vaginal ultrasound prior to performing the abortions.

“The awful truth is that, in fact, the abortion procedure itself, which employs curette knifes, vacuum suction machines, and deadly drug cocktails designed solely to end her child’s life – and may also harm the mother – is far more invasive then any type of ultrasound technique to be used before an abortion,” Gans said.

Because of the bill was amended from its original form, it will be sent back to the House of Delegates, where it is expected to pass.

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However, Virginia State Delegate Bob Marshall, a Republican from Manassas, told LifeSiteNews.com he has not yet determined whether he will support the new language.

“What I’m gonna, do, I can’t say at this point,” Delegate Marshall said.

“The way it’s written, it leaves open an opportunity for [an abortionist] to evade malpractice,” he said. “Because if you can’ t determine the gestational age in one way” – such as with a poorly performed external ultrasound – “he’s under no obligation to determine it another way.”

Marshall’s concerns were echoed by the Family Foundation, a conservative organization in Virginia, which had expressed concerns last week that proposed amendments might give abortionists a loophole to avoid doing vaginal ultrasounds in circumstances where they are clearly called for from a medical standpoint.

“If an abortionist is required to do a transabdominal ultrasound and, upon seeing no fetus, is then legally permitted to perform an abortion without any further proof of life, we have done a tremendous disservice to the health and safety of women of Virginia,” said the Foundation in a statement. 

Marshall said he supported the original ultrasound bill, because it held out “the possibility some woman may see an ultrasound and reverse on abortion.”

“That’s been lost in all this,” he said.

Delegate Marshall – who recently announced his candidacy for Virginia’s open U.S. Senate seat, being vacated by Democrat Jim Webb – told LifeSiteNews.com the amendment needlessly placed the pro-life movement on the defensive.

“Why would you write that?” he asked. “You are confirming the critics’ hysterical comment that you’re forcing women into this in the first place. Why you do something to place yourself in such a bad public relations posture, I don’t know.” 

The pro-life cause has suffered setbacks in the state capital, as well. After it passed the House of Delegates, the state senate shelved the “personhood” bill Marshall introduced until 2013.

Marshall told LifeSiteNews the state Republican leadership killed his “personhood” bill “so (Gov.) Bob McDonnell doesn’t have to answer questions about this.” McDonnell is widely rumored to be on the short list for the Republican vice presidential nomination.

Marshall added Republicans in a state senate committee killed a fetal pain bill to limit abortions to the first 20 weeks of a child’s life.

“That’s not what all these conservatives worked and fought and spent time in precincts making phone calls for,” Delegate Marshall told LifeSiteNews.com

Former Governor George Allen, who is also running for the Republican Senate nomination, has taken no position on the ultrasound bill. However, he supported Marshall’s “personhood” bill.

Tags: bob marshall, bob mcdonnell

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Widespread media focus on abortion opens door for pro-life gains in UK

by Hilary White, Rome Correspondent Thu Mar 01 18:07 EST Comments (3)

 
Anthony Ozimic

LONDON, March 1, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A spate of high-profile media flurries on abortion may create room for pro-life advocates to push for more meaningful restrictions on abortion, the UK’s most prominent pro-life organization said today. But at the same time pro-lifers should beware rejoicing in government calls for a “public consultation” on abortion practices, according to Anthony Ozimic, communications manager for the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children.

“Sex-selective abortion is a symptom of government support for the abortion industry. If the government was genuinely interested in stopping abortion on demand, it would not be bankrolling the abortion industry through government contracts and in other ways,” Ozimic told LifeSiteNews.com.

Late last month, a sting operation by the Daily Telegraph found that several abortion facilities were performing illegal abortions for sex-selection. The Telegraph articles on the sting made a splash, with pro-abortion pundits warning fellow abortion advocates not to allow the news to be used against the status quo of nearly unlimited abortion access.

However, Health Secretary Andrew Lansley responded to the reports saying that sex-selective abortion is “morally repugnant.” He vowed to launch an inquiry and sent the evidence to police.

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Despite the Secretary’s protestations of shock, the revelations that sex-selective abortion in Britain is probably common came as no surprise to pro-life advocates who pointed out that it was merely the logical result of legalized abortion. Even pro-abortion voices said that the current law is wide open to abuse and that the legal restrictions are almost meaningless, with a situation of effective abortion on demand already existing.

LSN asked SPUC whether this spate of public interest in abortion could create a window of opportunity for the pro-life movement in Britain.

“The British public, like Britain’s public figures, is deeply confused about abortion. One often reads comments which simultaneously oppose and approve abortion,” Ozimic responded.

“Thankfully these recent high-profile news-stories provide a opportunity for pro-life spokespeople to rescue some people from that confusion. Politicians will sit up and take notice to the public reaction, transmitted both directly to politicians and indirectly via the mainstream media.”

Ozimic pointed out, “The extensive coverage by the mainstream media of the pro-life reaction to those news items is already complementing the public reaction.”

Nonetheless, the pro-life leader warned against too much enthusiasm, saying it is “often foolish for pro-lifers to describe a new event as a ‘turning point.’”

“In Britain there was much foolish talk of a ‘turning point’ and a ‘sea-change’ prior to moves in 2008 in Parliament to reduce the upper time-limit for most social abortions from 24 weeks. The moves were strongly defeated. It was a warning to pro-lifers to be beware of ethically-defective moves propelled by hype.”

Predicting the outcome of the most recent media flap over abortion, Ozimic affirmed that despite the public ambiguity on abortion, the situation is likely to continue to deteriorate before it improves.

“I think the rhetorical battle will intensify but the public policy situation will probably continue to worsen gradually.

“Despite some misleading indications, the Cameron government is strongly committed to abortion at home and abroad.”

“In England there will always be some restrictions, however ineffectual, as those restrictions help to salve uneasy consciences and provide a cover of respectability for abortion.”

Following the Daily Telegraph’s revelations, Health Secretary Lansley said that women needed to have “counseling” available to provide information on all possible options and said the government would be opening a “public consultation.”

Such suggestions have been made before, notably by MP Nadine Dorries, who said that the abortion industry itself could not be trusted to give disinterested counseling to women. Abortion lobbyists quashed all attempts to legislate in favor of such counselling on the grounds that “women must be trusted to make their own decisions.”

Ozimic said that he held little hope that any public consultation: “One should not be misled into believing that the government will forward proposals which will hamper the abortion industry.”

“Mr. Lansley – who is on record as supporting wider access to abortion – and the Department of Health are united with the abortion industry in denying that abortion is available virtually on demand in Britain.”

Tags: abortion, anthony ozimic, spuc, uk

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Vatican prelate blasts UN demand to abolish all laws against homosexual activity

by Hilary White, Rome Correspondent Thu Mar 01 17:37 EST Comments (8)

 
Cardinal Robert Sarah

ROME, March 1, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The demand by the United Nations Secretary General that African countries abolish all legal prohibitions against homosexual activity has met with anger from one African Vatican prelate who said that it was “not our culture; it’s against our faith” to endorse homosexuality.

At a Vatican meeting on Africa earlier this month, Cardinal Robert Sarah, the President of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum for Human and Christian Development, told the National Catholic Register, (NCR) “African bishops must react” to the demand.

He described the secretary general’s comments as “stupid” and added that the “Catholic bishops of America must help us in Africa, by reacting themselves.”

“It’s not possible to impose on the poor this kind of European mentality,” he added.

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UN General Secretary Ban Ki-Moon had told an assembly in Addis Ababa that what he called discrimination against homosexuals “has been ignored or even sanctioned by many states for far too long.”

Cardinal Sarah has been one of the Vatican’s most outspoken critics of the internationalist agenda in Africa. In his address last month on the Pope’s Lenten message for 2012, Cardinal Sarah said that the Church, as “part of its prophetic mission,” is motivated by “fraternal correction in truth and charity” when it opposes “certain fashionable ideas.”

“Charity teaches us that we are responsible not only for the material well being of others, but also for their moral and spiritual good,” he said.

“We cannot overlook the fact that a certain ideology which exalts the rights of the individual can have the consequence of creating isolation and solitude… Therefore we can help one another by discovering our reciprocal responsibility the one for the other.”

“Sometimes it is thought that the Church’s concerns, her tenacious resistance to certain fashionable ideas, are moved by thirst or nostalgia for power. This is not the case.”

The cardinal said that the Church is “moved by a sincere concern for mankind and for the world” and not “by a desire to condemn or recriminate.”

“Justice and mercy” he said, require “the courage to call things by their name.”

The cardinal’s remarks to NCR echo one of the most prominent themes running through the discourse of 2009’s African Synod in Rome, where 300 bishops of the continent repeatedly warned against the imposition of an alien, anti-human creed on an unwilling African people. In dozens of interventions, voice after voice at the Synod used the strongest terms to denounce this “hidden agenda” by UN-based international aid organisations.

The bishops described it as the “ferocious onslaught” of an “insidious ideology” opposed to traditional African values, a “malevolent and shortsighted” form of “cultural imperialism” being pushed by UN groups like the UNICEF, the World Health Organisation and the UNFPA, as well as the World Bank, the IMF, and even by the European Union.

Presenting the Synod’s final document, John Olorunfemi Onaiyekan, archbishop of Abuja, Nigeria, said, “We urge the countries of Africa to carefully scrutinise the services being offered to our people, to ensure they are good for us.” The Synod “denounces all surreptitious attempts to destroy and undermine the precious African values of family and human life.”

Concluding his address, Cardinal Sarah said, “Our secularized society lives and organizes itself without reference to God because it is affected by a poverty more tragic even than material want; a poverty represented by the rejection and complete exclusion of God from social and economic life, by the revolt against divine and natural laws.”

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Maryland governor signs same-sex ‘marriage’ bill as referendum clears first hurdle

by Kathleen Gilbert Thu Mar 01 17:16 EST Comments (4)

 
Gov. Martin O'Malley

ANNAPOLIS, Maryland, March 1, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The governor of Maryland has signed a new law extending the definition of marriage to include homosexual couples one day after opponents were given the green light to collect signatures for an initiative to put the marriage question to state voters.

The bill was approved in a 25-22 Senate vote after only 48 hours of deliberation on Feb. 23, six days after it passed the House of Delegates. Gov. Martin O’Malley’s signature makes Maryland the seventh state to redefine marriage, in addition to the District of Columbia.

Meanwhile, traditional marriage supporters have already made headway bringing the issue to voters: Mary Cramer Wagner, director of the board’s Voter Registration Division, told the Baltimore Sun on Wednesday that petition drafts filed by the Maryland Marriage Alliance and a Maryland delegate have been deemed compliant with state petition regulations.

Traditional marriage supporters said they would wait until official clearance from the board to begin collecting signatures, of which they need nearly 56,000 before the referendum can be cleared for the ballot.

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Derek McCoy, director for the Maryland Marriage Alliance, said the Senate vote crammed the bill through on a tight schedule, and “rushed through multiple potential amendments to the bill, and disregarded the voices of thousand of voting citizens weighing in to express their disapproval of redefining marriage.” But, he said, the battle is “not over.”

“Despite the impetuous decision made by the Senate, the people of Maryland will have the last say,” said McCoy in a press release this week.

McCoy told the Sun that he couldn’t offer an estimate on the amount of funding the group planned to spend on pushing the initiative, while local gay rights supporters told the same paper they were preparing to spend more than half a million dollars.

Cardinal Edwin F. O’Brien, Baltimore’s apostolic administrator, said that the bill’s success, while not surprising, “places Maryland one step closer to the dismantling of the most fundamental social institution in all of society.”

“Now, Maryland’s politicians unconscionably have chosen political expediency over the good of society - the fundamental charge of their office - by daring to redefine this sacred union between one man and one woman,” said O’Brien following the Senate vote. “Their action poses a grave threat to the future stability of the nuclear family and the society it anchors.”

In a recent interview with the Christian Post, local pro-family leader Bishop Harry Jackson emphasized that changing the definition of marriage in Maryland will reverberate and will inevitably reach schools and children.

“The reality is, if you change the definition of marriage, you change the definition of the family, then you change what is taught in schools – that it’s okay for Heather to have two mommies – and exploring your ‘sexual awareness’ as a young child is acceptable; and it’s not,” he said. Jackson pointed to public school programs in Washington, D.C. that already encourage “young children” to explore homosexuality and transgenderism.

The religious leader was optimistic about the ballot initiative, noting that traditional marriage supporters are “31 for 31 on gay marriage when it’s been put before the voters of different states.”

Tags: gay marriage, homosexuality, martin o'malley, maryland

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Slate writer: I would have aborted my son if I had known of his disability

by Kathleen Gilbert Thu Mar 01 16:50 EST Comments (129)

 
Rick Santorum with his daughter Bella.

February 29, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A writer and mother has challenged Rick Santorum’s stance against abortion by explaining that she would have certainly aborted her son if she had known of his disability and attendant suffering before he was born.

“I’m so grateful that Ronan is my child,” Emily Rapp wrote in her column appearing in Slate magazine. “I also wish he’d never been born; no person should suffer in this way.”

Santorum, who has used his GOP presidential campaign to question abortion, contraception and the fallout from the sexual revolution, has pointed to his daughter Bella as a testament to his family’s dedication to the sanctity of life. Bella Santorum was born with Trisomy 18, a genetic disorder that is likely to end in death either before or shortly after birth. However, thanks to the Santorums’ perseverance, Bella has already celebrated her third birthday.

Rapp opens her column, which is headed by an image of herself and her son smiling at each other, by declaring that had she known of her son’s maladies before birth, “I would have saved him from suffering.”

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Rapp’s son, who is almost two, suffers from Tay-Sachs disease, a degenerative condition that has left him blind and paralyzed and that will likely lead to his death before long.

“I believe it would have been an act of love to abort him, knowing that his life would be primarily one of intense suffering,” writes Rapp.

The creative writing professor says that she loves her son “more than any person in the world and his life is of utmost value to me,” but adds that she would have aborted him “without question and without regret.”

The fact that she can hold both “truths,” she says, “points to the reductive and narrow-minded nature of Rick Santorum’s assertions” that prenatal testing for irreversible conditions is morally questionable due to its role in increasing abortions.

Rapp, who herself suffers from a congenital condition that caused her to lose one leg at an early age, said that her mother “probably wished she’d had the choice” to abort her, and that it would have been her prerogative to do so, even though doctors gave her incorrect information in predicting Rapp would become mentally disabled or never walk.

“Regardless of the fact that none of the doctor’s warnings had any truth to them, it would have been her choice to make,” she wrote.

Rapp concluded that Santorum’s stance against abortion advocates “a return to that oppressive historical situation where women were punished for having sex, for making any kind of reproductive choice whatsoever, for being women, for being human beings.” “Neither choice is bad or good; neither is this one thing or the other,” she wrote.”

Last October, the New York Times published Rapp’s paean to nurturing a terminally ill child. She described parents in similar circumstances as “dragon parents: fierce and loyal and loving as hell.”

“I would walk through a tunnel of fire if it would save my son. ... But it won’t,” she wrote. “What I can do is protect my son from as much pain as possible, and then finally do the hardest thing of all, a thing most parents will thankfully never have to do: I will love him to the end of his life, and then I will let him go.”

For his part, Rick Santorum has described Bella, the youngest of seven living children, as the “joyful center of our universe” and has criticized doctors for encouraging the couple not to give her medical treatment following her diagnosis because she was not likely to see her first birthday.

In an October campaign video celebrating his daughter’s life, Santorum explains how he and his wife responded when a doctor one day advised the couple on how to care for Bella as she died. “Karen and I looked at each other and said, we’re not going to focus on her dying, we’re going to focus on her living,” he said.

“I look at her and I look at the joy and the simplicity and the love that she emits, and it’s clear to me that we’re the disabled ones, not her.”

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‘Cookies for Life’: 10-year-old ex-Girl Scout raises thousands for pro-life with home-baked cookies

by Peter Baklinski Thu Mar 01 16:09 EST Comments (69)

 
Grace Swanke
Grace displays a pro-life award she received from Right to Life of Idaho.

BOISE, Idaho, March 1, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – When Grace Swanke, 10, found out that Girl Scouts is entangled with Planned Parenthood, not only did she decide to quit her troop, but as someone who loved to sell cookies, she decided to make and sell her own brand of cookie, but with a pro-life twist.

“The thing I enjoyed most about the girl scouts was selling cookies, and then I realized I could still sell cookies, I just had to bake them myself,” Grace told LifeSiteNews.

Several years ago, a significant number of Girl Scout councils nationwide admitted to partnering with Planned Parenthood (PP). When questioned about the affiliation on NBC’s “Today Show,” former Girl Scout CEO Kathy Cloninger admitted that Girl Scout Troops and Councils partnered with Planned Parenthood to provide “good” and “information-based” sex education. She never retracted this statement.

As recently as 2010, Girl Scouts was caught distributing an explicit PP sex guide at a Girl Scouts UN meeting. They also recently welcomed into their ranks boys who identify themselves as girls.

At first young Grace was going to call her project “Grace’s Cookies,” but when she decided that all money raised would go to fund an ultrasound machine for the local pro-life clinic, she knew she had to change the name. That’s when Cookies for Life was born.

“I find that what is so great about being pro-life is donating money to pro-life charities so women can see life. When women see life, women choose life,” said Grace.

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The young entrepreneur started her project last year with a number of baking sessions and raised almost $600 to benefit a Knights of Columbus ultrasound machine project in her area. Now on her second year of baking, Grace plans to aid the Stanton Healthcare Center, a medical pro-life women’s centre in Boise, by helping them to pay for their new location, right next door to Planned Parenthood. Her goal of raising $700 has already been surpassed by $900, for a total of $1600.

Cindy Anderson, youth minister at Our Lady of the Rosary and friend of Grace, told LifeSiteNews that she is “so proud of Grace” and that the young girl is “so totally an inspiration.” With Anderson’s help this year, Grace was able to make use of the Church’s facilities to make even more cookies.

“Grace is thrilled that she is able to sell cookies again and even more thrilled that this money is going to help save babies. Her face just lights up when you talk with her about it. You can’t help but to get involved because she is so excited about it,” said Anderson.

Word of Grace’s tasty cookies and pro-life convictions have begun to spread far and wide. Organizers for the upcoming Idaho Catholic Youth Convention have asked her to bake 2,800 cookies for the 1400 young people that are expected to attend the event and to share her convictions as a speaker at the conference. The money raised from this will also benefit the pro-life clinic.

Grace’s parents, Mary and John Swanke, believe that the Cookies for Life project has taken off because family, friends, and the local community have come together for a cause that everyone believes in and can get excited about.

“Words cannot say enough to thank everyone for all of their hard work! God is good, ALL THE TIME!” wrote Mrs. Swanke on the Cookies for Life Facebook page after a recent successful baking campaign.

As people have often heard Grace exclaim as she bakes and sells her cookies: “All it takes is a little ‘yes’ to God and amazing things can happen.”

Tags: abortion, girl scouts, planned parenthood

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Alberta Pro-Life rolls out Defund Abortion campaign

by Thaddeus Baklinski Thu Mar 01 15:50 EST Comments (5)

EDMONTON, March 1, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - In anticipation of the upcoming spring election, Alberta Pro-Life has reinvigorated a campaign demanding that the government defund abortion in the province.

Working with a grassroots initiative begun by pro-life university and college students, Alberta Pro-Life took on the campaign in mid-January to more effectively lobby the Alberta government to change its current policy of paying for abortion-on-demand with taxpayers’ money. Taxpayers pay for an average of 12,000 abortions per year at a minimum cost of $14,500 each through the Alberta health care insurance plan.

Stephanie Fennelly, Executive Director of Alberta Pro-Life, told LifeSiteNews that previous campaigns to defund abortion in the province have been directed at politicians. However, this campaign will focus on educating voters.

“The strategy of the new campaign is that in a democracy power does not lie with politicians in particular, or with the people in general. Rather it resides in voters,” Fennelly said. “Our campaign is designed to engage potential voters who agree with us on the issue” in order to make abortion funding an election issue.

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Alberta Pro-Life has set up a blog to chronicle the campaign, with postings that explore the different avenues the defunding campaign will take, and to alert pro-lifers to the events planned.

Fennelly also said the campaign will engage voters through social media such as Facebook and Twitter.

“We are not targeting the campaign towards traditional media however, but rather towards Albertans on the ground,” she said. “We will be open to the media covering us, but not relying on it. Rather we will use traditional campaign tactics like door knocking and lawn signs to engage the population by going directly to them with our message.”

Another strategy will be to contact and promote the defunding campaign in the different churches in Alberta.

Cameron Wilson, a member of Alberta Pro-Life and one of the university students who started the defund abortion campaign, commented to LifeSiteNews, “If we want people to be upset by abortion funding then what better method is there than talking directly to people about abortion funding?”

“Most Albertans don’t know that their taxes fund over 12,000 abortions each year, costing well over $6 million dollars annually in our province,” Fennelly stated. “Albertans have a right to know this. It is this information that has motivated people to join the campaign, and this is the information that we will deliver.”

“Our goal is to inform voters about the injustice they are funding. Voters have significant power and we must engage them in this issue.”

“I call upon the youth of Alberta to take up the banner of justice,” Wilson urged. “We are the leaders of the future, it is ours to shape. Let us not allow it to be a future with abortion.”

More information is available of the Alberta Pro-Life Defund Abortion blog here.

The Defund Abortion in Alberta Facebook page is here.

The Twitter account is DefundAbortionAB

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UN security guards confiscate pro-life literature from students

by Wendy Wright Thu Mar 01 15:18 EST Comments (8)

 
The United Nations buildings

NEW YORK, March 2, 2012 (C-FAM) - Youth attending a UN conference on women’s issues this week say UN security officers confiscated their backpacks after discovering pro-life literature.

The confiscated materials were petitions to “Stop Sexualizing Children,” and were connected to a UN approved workshop led this week by Dr. Miriam Grossman, a child psychiatrist and author of “You’re Teaching My Child What? A Physician Exposes the Lies of Sex Education and How They Harm Your Child.”

The offending flyer announced a project called the “Girls Coalition to Protect the Health and Innocence of Children,” which is an ad hoc group that sponsored the Grossman event. At the panel, girls from China, Spain and Mexico launched a petition calling on UN agencies to “Stop Sexualizing Children.” They charge the UN’s promotion of “comprehensive sexuality education” is harmful to children.

The young people insist they were not leafleting, which is forbidden on UN property, though the rule is routinely ignored. The young students left UN grounds to make more copies. Upon their return they were stopped by UN security.

One of the students, Kalli Lawrence, said that the guards noticed the group’s distinctive green backpacks and then ordered the students to hand them over. “The guards had this confused, angry look on their faces,” she reported, “and they started telling all the security guards, ‘don’t let any of these yellow papers go through, just take them all and keep them.’”

The green backpacks and literature were stored in lockers at a security checkpoint. Students and their teachers were allowed to retrieve some of the backpacks as they left UN property. According to teacher Jody Dunn, some of the backpacks were not returned, those that contained a pro-life documentary called “180”. Dunn then insisted and those backpacks were returned also.

Pro-lifers have long felt the sting of selective enforcement of UN rules. Kali Lawrence said, “They didn’t stop anyone else that we could see passing out flyers.”

Upon questioning by C-Fam’s Friday Fax, the security officer in charge at the time said guards don’t “target” items. He went on to say they were not allowed to discuss policies or procedures.

Observers speculate that someone connected to Commission organizers complained to UN security. At the Cairo conference on Population and Development in 1994, without any evidence, former US Senator Timothy Wirth told UN security that a certain pro-lifer was a violent threat. The person was detained and deported.

Alliance Defense Fund attorney Piero Tozzi told the Friday Fax, “The UN cannot censor speech it does not agree with.  Both the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression and the Human Rights Committee have recently emphasized the need to protect this fundamental freedom.  Why then is speech by respectful, clean cut kids on a topic vital to keeping young people healthy being censored at the UN?”

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states, “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom ... to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”

Reprinted with permission from C-Fam.org

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The 13 Catholic Senators who voted against allowing Catholic organizations conscience rights

by John Jalsevac Thu Mar 01 14:24 EST Comments (152)

 

WASHINGTON, March 1, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Today, the U.S. Senate, by a vote of 51 - 48, defeated the effort led by Senator Roy Blunt (Missouri) to pass the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act as an amendment to pending legislation. Thirteen Catholic Senators joined the majority.

The amendment, offered by Sen. Roy Blunt, R-MO, rolled back Barack Obama’s invasive Health and Human Services mandate that employers insure contraceptives, sterilization, and abortion-inducing drugs with no co-pay. While the health care reform law exempts churches, it would force religious institutions such as hospitals and universities to underwrite products that violate their deeply held religious beliefs.

“By consenting to the disastrous HHS mandate, the U.S. Senate has taken the unprecedented step to deny our religious liberties instead of defending the Constitution,” said Matt Smith, president of Catholic Advocate. “It is disappointing to witness a group of senators misled on this issue at the expense of one of our key founding principles.”

The following is a list of how the 24 Catholic Senators voted on the Blunt amendment:

Senator Mark Begich (Alaska, D) - Opposed
Senator Lisa Murkowski (Alaska, R) - Supported
Senator Marco Rubio (Florida, R) - Supported
Senator Tom Harkin (Iowa, D) - Opposed
Senator James Risch (Idaho, R) - Supported
Senator Richard Durbin (Illinois, D) - Opposed
Senator Mary Landrieu (Louisiana, D) - Opposed
Senator David Vitter (Louisiana, R) - Supported
Senator John Kerry (Massachusetts, D) - Opposed
Senator Barbara Mikulski (Maryland, D) - Opposed
Senator Susan Collins (Maine, R) - Supported
Senator Claire McCaskill (Missouri, D) - Opposed
Senator John Hoeven (North Dakota, R) - Supported
Senator Mike Johanns (Nebraska, R) - Supported
Senator Kelly Ayotte (New Hampshire, R) - Supported
Senator Robert Menendez (New Jersey, D) - Opposed
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (New York, D) - Opposed
Senator Bob Casey Jr. (Pennsylvania, D) - Supported
Senator Pat Toomey (Pennsylvania, R) - Supported
Senator Jack Reed (Rhode Island, D) - Opposed
Senator Pat Leahy (Vermont, D) - Opposed
Senator Maria Cantwell (Washington, D) - Opposed
Senator Patty Murray (Washington, D) - Opposed
Senator Joe Manchin III (West Virginia, D) - Supported

“Faithful Catholics should take the opportunity to thank those Senators supporting our religious liberties,” added Smith. “It is our duty as laity to hold those who did not support our values accountable and vote our conscience when the time comes.”

The full Catholic Advocate Congressional Scorecard is available at scorecard.catholicadvocate.com.

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UN sponsors first World Down Syndrome Day: greatest threat is abortion

by Thaddeus Baklinski Thu Mar 01 14:03 EST Comments (2)

 

NEW YORK, February 27, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Pro-life activists say they are thrilled that the UN is sponsoring its first World Down Syndrome Day (WDSD), which will be celebrated at the UN Headquarters in New York on March 21 2012, with the focal point of the day being a conference titled “Building Our Future.”

Monica Rafie, the co-founder of Be Not Afraid, an online pro-life ministry that supports parents who are grappling with a poor prenatal diagnosis, including Down syndrome, told LifeSiteNews that the event “presents a beautiful opportunity to showcase the genuine solidarity shared among organizations and families everywhere.”

Diane Grover, co-founder of the International Down Syndrome Coalition for Life, pointed out that the greatest challenge facing people with Down syndrome “is actually being born.” She said that she hopes the international celebration will draw attention to the extremely high abortion rate for Down’s children.

World Down Syndrome Day was established by Down Syndrome International and has been celebrated without UN-sponsorship since 2006. Over 60 countries in the world observe the day, which is held on March 21st (21/3) to signify the three copies of chromosome 21, which is unique to people with Down syndrome.

A resolution to designate 21/3 as “World Down Syndrome Day,” to be observed every year beginning in 2012, was adopted by consensus by the United Nations General Assembly in December 2011. The resolution was proposed and promoted by Brazil, and co-sponsored by 78 UN Member States. The resolution states that from 2012 onwards, the date will be celebrated by all 192 UN countries.

“When families learn that they are carrying a baby with Down syndrome (or any other prenatally diagnosable condition), they need to know that they and their child will be supported and accepted within their own community,” Rafie of Be Not Afraid told LifeSiteNews.com. “WDSD is meant to foster that sense of community on a macro scale.”

Rafie pointed out in an article previously published by LifeSiteNews that the primary threat to persons with Down syndrome is abortion.

Click “like” if you want to end abortion!

Diane Grover agreed. “We believe that taking a life because the child has an extra chromosome is a form of eugenics. By far, this is the most discriminating act that is happening to individuals with Down syndrome today! We believe that dignity for a person begins at conception.”

Grover’s organization not only advocates for the dignity and respect for all individuals with Down syndrome, from conception and throughout life, but also extends compassion and hope for healing to the families who lost their children when they had an abortion.

“The IDSC for Life was formed when a small group of mothers learned of the pressure put on women to terminate their pregnancy,” Grover said, “and the unfortunate numbers that followed through and did end their pregnancies. This broke our hearts. So we came together to advocate for our children, telling the world that ALL life is precious, including the lives of our children.”

“It has been reported that up to 90% of women with a confirmed prenatal diagnosis will terminate their pregnancy. Often times it is reported that women are given the gloomiest prognosis for their child, instead of up to date information and support.”

“However,” Grover remarked, “today, more than ever, people with Down syndrome are breaking barriers.”

The Down syndrome activist pointed to a research paper released by Dr. Brian Skotko which found that 99% of people with Down syndrome said that they are happy. The paper also found that “their parents and siblings say that their family member with Ds has made them better people.”

“We hope that World Down syndrome Day will bring attention to these incredible statistics.”

When asked what support parents with Down syndrome children need most, Grover responded enthusiastically, “The very first thing the parents need is to be told congratulations! They are expecting a child, and to say you are sorry, or to infer that they should end the pregnancy, lowers the dignity of the life of their child.”

“After the birth of their child, they need support and encouragement. In time, they will see that their child with Down syndrome is just that, a child. They need and deserve up-to-date information to help give their child the best they can. And they need respect. When a mother says she does not want to end her pregnancy, in light of a Ds diagnosis, that decision needs to be respected, by professionals, family members and anyone surrounding her.”

Grover said that her organization is producing a video that will be shared at the WDSD, and that they need the support of families with children with Down’s.

“We hope that anyone who has a child with Ds will write us to find out how they can participate in this. For this video, we are asking parents to write on a poster board advice they would give to themselves, prior to experiencing having a child with Down syndrome, and take a picture with that advice to your self, and send it to us at idscforlife@gmail.com.”

Organizers of World Down Syndrome Day say that participants from all around the world are welcome, especially those with Down Syndrome, and that there is no cost for registration. Space is limited so those interested in attending should register early as only participants with their names on the list and proper ID will be allowed in the building.

The event is sponsored by the Missions of Brazil and Poland to the UN and co-organized by Down Syndrome International, the UN Secretariat for the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and UNICEF, with the collaboration of the Brazilian Federation of Associations of Down Syndrome (FBASD), Down España, the Down Syndrome Research and Treatment Foundation (DSRTF), the National Down Syndrome Center (NDSC),  the National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS), and the Special Olympics.

The aim of the day is to raise awareness and understanding about Down syndrome, and to promote the inherent rights of persons with Down syndrome to enjoy full and dignified lives and be active and valuable participants in their communities

More information is available from the Down Syndrome International website.

For more information on Be Not Afraid Ministry visit their website here.

For information on the International Down Syndrome Coalition for Life and their WDSD video project visit their website here.

 

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Amendment to protect religious liberty under Obama mandate fails in U.S. Senate 51-48

by Ben Johnson Thu Mar 01 11:51 EST Comments (42)

 
Sen. Roy Blunt

WASHINGTON, D.C., March 1, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – The U.S. Senate this morning voted down an amendment that would allow employers to opt out of paying for health care coverage of procedures that violate their religious beliefs.

The amendment, offered by Sen. Roy Blunt, R-MO, rolled back Barack Obama’s invasive Health and Human Services mandate that employers insure contraceptives, sterilization, and abortion-inducing drugs with no co-pay. While the health care reform law exempts churches, it would force religious institutions such as hospitals and universities to underwrite products that violate their deeply held religious beliefs.

The Blunt Amendment would not compel an employer to fund any procedure to which it had a “moral objection.” It failed 51-48.

“Today, 51 senators, led by Sen. Harry Reid, sacrificed the Constitutional right of religious liberty on the altar of the Obama administration’s radical big-government agenda,” Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, said in a statement e-mailed to LifeSiteNews.com. “They turned a deaf ear to the very real religious and moral objections of millions of Americans and the First Amendment rights of all.”

Dr. Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, told LifeSiteNews.com he was “outraged” by the vote. “Make no mistake, the Senate vote was not about contraception but about the right of people of faith to be able to live out the values of their faith free from government coercion.”

Three Democrats – Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, and retiring Senator Ben Nelson of Nebraska – voted for the measure.  Casey and Manchin face tough re-election battles in 2012.

Olympia Snowe, a retiring Republican from Maine, voted against it. “With respect to the Blunt amendment, I think it’s much broader than I could support,” Snowe told MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell on Wednesday.

Blunt’s motion offered broader protections than Sen. Marco Rubio’s “Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 2012,” extending conscience rights to private employers. Sen. Rubio’s legislation would protect only religious institutions. Snowe said she supports Rubio’s bill.

Blunt’s motion was heavily supported by the National Right to Life Committee, the Susan B. Anthony List, Americans United for Life, and other pro-life organizations.

“Support from Republican Senators ranging from pro-life Senator Kelly Ayotte to pro-abortion Senator Susan Collins showed that this is not about women’s health but about whether the government can violate religious liberties,” Perkins told LifeSiteNews.

Senate Democrats savaged the bill and its supporters.

Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-NJ, said,  “The Republicans want to take us forward to the dark ages again…when women were property that you could easily control, even trade if you wanted to. It’s appalling we are having this debate in the 21st century.”

Blunt wrote in a press release in February that the measure, which was offered as an amendment to a federal highway bill, simply said “health care providers don’t have to follow that mandate if it violates their faith principles. This is about the First Amendment.”

But Barbara Boxer of California – one of the most outspoken advocates of the HHS mandate, told MSNBC’s viewers, “They’re just radical and they’re going after women’s health, and that’s the truth.” Boxer called this measure “a radical amendment” that ”would not only take away the ability of women to get contraception through their insurance but it would threaten every single essential healthcare service, every single preventive healthcare service, if your employer or your insurance company had a moral objection.”

This narrow defeat is no time to back down on religious freedom, Perkins told LifeSiteNews.com. “The president and Congress need to wake up and realize that they have run into an immovable wall of principle that religious liberties are still in fact fundamental rights in this country,” he said. “No political machinations they attempt will surmount the unshakeable religious and moral convictions of those of us opposing this government mandate.”

Dr. Land also promised to fight on. “We will continue to press this battle for freedom to the very end. We call on all people who love liberty to join us in this must-win struggle against government tyranny.”

You can view the final roll call vote here.

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California man rides 10 miles to attend 40 Days vigil…every day

by Shawn Carney, 40 Days for Life Campaign Director Thu Mar 01 11:43 EST Comments (1)

 

March 1, 2012 (40DaysforLife.com) - Today our national director, David Bereit, and I leave home at 4 a.m. to fly to Iowa, where not one but two Planned Parenthood sites are closing after one or more 40 Days for Life campaigns!

Their last day of business is today and — all of the 40 Days for Life locations invited us to speak at the celebration events.

We often talk about heroes. To be a hero, you don’t have to do a big thing, or a great thing, or even something that gets a lot of attention. You just have to do the right thing.

And today, we have examples of 40 Days for Life heroes.

ORANGE COUNTY, CALIFORNIA

Connie in Orange County shared the story of a man who lives about 10 miles from the 40 Days for Life vigil site outside of Planned Parenthood. He rides his bicycle to the vigil — every day — and remains in silent prayer for 4 to 5 hours.

“What impressed me the most was that he comes on his old bicycle that is giving him problems and sometimes he has to stop several times to check on it,” she said. “And he does this every day!”

SPRING VALLEY, NEW YORK

At the 40 Days for Life vigil in Spring Valley, volunteers are faithfully praying across from a Planned Parenthood facility in weather that has been cold and windy (”freezing for life,” said one of the vigil participants).

A man approached one of the prayer volunteers, wanting to know why they were there. She told him it was their calling to pray and be present for those in difficult situations — crisis pregnancies. The man thanked her for what she was doing.

Another passer-by then asked for directions to a medical office — and also wanted to know what they were doing. He was given the same answer — and invited to join the vigil for an hour.

“We are called to be a voice for the most innocent among us,” Eileen said. “For 40 days, we will be hope for those who feel they have no choice. For nothing is impossible with God!”

COLORADO SPRINGS, COLORADO

A man, perhaps in his 70s, came to the sidewalk to join the prayer vigil in Colorado Springs. One of the other volunteers watched as he walked slowly back and forth along the sidewalk, praying silently.

Finally, the volunteer asked how long he’s been doing this. He said he’s been coming for an hour every day so far — and will be back for an hour every day each of these 40 days.

“I told him he was a hero,” the volunteer said, “and the man started to cry.” He simply responded, “I believe in this,” as he turned and continued to walk and pray. “I prayed,” the volunteer said, “Lord, give us men like this!”

Here’s the link to today’s devotional.

Tags: 40 days for life, california, planned parenthood

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Media mogul Andrew Breitbart dies at 43, called pro-life cause ‘most important issue’

by Patrick B. Craine Thu Mar 01 09:30 EST Comments (18)

 

March 1, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Conservative media mogul Andrew Breitbart passed away early Thursday morning of natural causes at the early age of 43, his network of news agencies have reported.

The news comes only weeks after the father of four called the pro-life cause “the most important issue” in America during a stirring speech at CPAC to Students for Life of America.

“With a terrible feeling of pain and loss we announce the passing of Andrew Breitbart,” writes Larry Solov, president of Breitbart.com, LLC.

“Andrew passed away unexpectedly from natural causes shortly after midnight this morning in Los Angeles,” he continues. “Andrew lived boldly, so that we more timid souls would dare to live freely and fully, and fight for the fragile liberty he showed us how to love.”

In the speech at the Students for Life CPAC briefing last month, the conservative icon revealed that he was adopted and that this was a crucial factor in his conversion to the pro-life cause.

As a “cultural liberal” in Hollywood, he said, “I had never heard the pro-life point of view,” and so called himself “pro-choice” because everyone around him did. “It was a key card that got you in everywhere,” he said.

“As I started to have my political awakening, I was able to connect with my conscience literally and say wait one second,” he explained. “I cannot accept the premise of the post-Roe world in which it’s virtually impossible to adopt, and abortion is the option that is handed to people as the cultural default. It is unfathomable.”

He credited pro-life activists with the fact that it is now possible to be openly pro-life as an actor in Hollywood, noting that Feminists for Life spokeswoman Patricia Heaton, of Everybody Loves Raymond fame, still gets jobs.

“I don’t think I would have seen the light if there weren’t brave people like you that stood up to that, especially young people,” he said.

Breitbart, owner of Breitbart.com, and blogs such as Big Government, Big Hollywood, and Big Journalism, was a major leader in launching a revolution in conservative media in recent years, and a leading critic of the mainstream media’s liberal bias.

“The left, to me, in essence, is the media,” said Breitbart an interview with CBN’s Matt Brody in May 2010. “The media is a left-of-center ecosystem, it’s a left-of-center organism. So the media can change the dynamics of what we’re talking about.”

“I aim everything at attacking the media for its biases and holding them accountable for their biases, and the things that they report incorrectly, or the things they fail to report,” he said.

While not strongly religious himself, he was nevertheless a strong defender of religious freedom. The attack on Christians perpetrated by the mainstream media “angers me to no end.” “I consider myself to be a Judeo-Christian. ... I relate to the world view that America has,” he said. “It’s a distinctly Judeo-Christian one and I think that it works.”

Breitbart said he hoped his battle against the liberal media could become “an international movement,” and likened the battle to the previous century’s battle against Communism.

“This is the same battle that Ronald Reagan and many millions of other people fought in the 20th century, it just has a 21st century new media battleground,” he said. “The Cold War is now a new media war.”

See also CPAC video of Breitbart’s speech on Feb. 10 at CPAC convention.

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Controversy at Vatican PAV meeting was surprising

by Steve Jalsevac Wed Feb 29 21:06 EST Comments (0)

Kathleen Gilbert and I attended our first ever Pontifical Academy for Life Assembly in Rome last weekend. We did not expect all the controversy that occurred which you will read about in Kathleen’s Wednesday report. The conference held much promise regarding the growing problem of infertility in both the developing and developed world.

However, something went very wrong last weekend, as has happened a number of times in the past few years with the PAV due to decisions by its clergy leadership. Hopefully, our report will help Vatican authorities to finally end these recurring problems within this much needed Academy initiated by Pope John Paul II that deals with the all-important life issues.

Note that we have added an interesting brief audio recording (middle of story) of a few lively excerpts from the Q&A at the end of the conference.

Steve Jalsevac
LifeSiteNews.com

Why abortion is the opposite of love - Fr. Frank Pavone

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