Thursday, March 15, 2012

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Writer: ‘I love abortion,’ women ‘should venerate it wholeheartedly’

by Ben Johnson Thu Mar 15 18:45 EST Comments (61)

FLEMINGTON, NEW JERSEY, March 15, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – A writer on a pro-abortion website, who seems to have a history selling sex toys, has written an article stating, “I love abortion.”

Jessica DelBalzo a New Jersey-based activist wrote the article “I Love Abortion: Implying Otherwise Accomplishes Nothing for Women’s Rights” for the website RH Reality Check.

The article begins, “I love abortion. I don’t accept it. I don’t view it as a necessary evil. I embrace it.” (Emphasis in original.)

“I bristle every time a fellow activist uses a trendy catch-phrase or rallying cry meant to placate pro-lifers,” such as making abortion “safe, legal, and rare,” she wrote.

Click “like” if you want to end abortion!

DelBalzo, who previously described her “happy abortion” on the same website, believes abortion should not be rare. “To say so implies a value judgment” that “abortion is somehow distasteful or immoral and should be avoided…We must avoid stigmatizing it in any way,” she wrote.

She warned darkly that America is “plagued by anti-feminist, religious conservatism known for shaming women’s sexuality” led by “misogynistic, forced-birth advocates.”

“Rather than trying to cozy up to the forced-birth camp, women who value their freedom should be proud to say that they like abortion. In fact, they should venerate it whole-heartedly,” [sic] she writes. “What’s not to love?”

She claims she is not alone, that “a great many women like abortion itself.”

The ubiquitous availability of contraception is no reason to shun abortion, she writes, because it would overlook contraception failures and “moments of spontaneity.”

Her article follows blogger Amanda Chatel’s online article last Friday calling her abortion “the best decision of my life.”

Patrick Reilly, president of the Cardinal Newman Society warns their “love” for “abortion as backup plan for failed contraception finds sympathy among many college-age students, even at Catholic colleges.”

“In a 2008 study, The Cardinal Newman Society found that a majority of current and recent Catholic college students disagree with Church prohibitions against condom usage, premarital sex, and legal abortion,” Reilly wrote in a statement e-mailed to LifeSiteNews.com. “Planned Parenthood often places abortion clinics near college campuses.”

However, DelBalzo would not restrict abortion to unwanted pregnancies, writing “even wanted pregnancies sometimes need to be terminated for the woman’s well-being or to avoid birthing a child with painful or unmanageable disabilities.”

Dave Andrusko of the National Right to Life News Today commented, “her justifications bare an eerie resemblance to the reasoning undergirding the ‘after-birth abortion’ [infanticide] argument. Anything in a woman’s life that might be affected by an unexpected baby is reason enough to off the kid.”

DelBalzo’s support for abortion conflicts with her role as a harsh critic of adoption. She has operated an e-mail list for those opposed to adoption since 1998, runs the website AntiAdoption.org, and has since authored a book opposing adoption.

Outside of her pro-abortion, anti-adoption writing,several observers recounted that an older version of her Live Journal profile directed readers to a voluminous number of instructional articles she wrote for a website that sells sex toys. They note the list included titles such as “How to Choose and Use Personal Lubricant,” “De-Stigmatizing Male Sex Toys,” “Enter from the Rear: Anal Sex Tips for Beginners,” and “All you need to Know about Dildos.” A 2006 article under her byline, “Top 5 Tips for Throwing a Bachelorette Party,” suggested brides-to-be “may get a kick out of sexy shaped ice cubes in her drinks, or a penis shaped cake,” or “slutty fortune cookies.” She interviewed the proprietor of the website, AshleySexToys.com, in 2006.

Reilly warns, despite the unvarnished support some pro-abortion writers have expressed, the pro-life movement faces a more pervasive, and sometimes hidden, challenge.
 
“The contraceptive mentality reflects the normal logic in healthcare,” he wrote. “Pregnancy is treated as a disease, and the child a virus or parasite. That’s what is especially dangerous about the Obama administration’s contraceptive mandate and the Planned Parenthood agenda – they devalue human life and label children as obstacles to a happy, healthy life.”

 

Tags: amanda chatel, jessica delbalzo, rh reality check

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Chris Smith slams “mass deception” in Obama abortion funding plan

by Steve Jalsevac Thu Mar 15 18:08 EST Comments (13)

 
Congressman Chris Smith

WASHINGTON, D.C., March 15, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) - In a release today, New Jersey Congressman Chris Smith condemned the Obama Administration’s confirmation this week of “its insidious plan for public funding for abortion coverage in Obamacare (PL 111-148) when it issued rules for Obamacare exchanges, complete with an abortion surcharge and a secrecy clause.”

“The mass deception of the Obama 2010 Executive Order has finally been exposed,” said Smith, Co-chair of the Congressional Pro-life Caucus. “The Executive Order implemented the same accounting gimmick, abortion surcharge and secrecy clause that was in the original text of the bill.

“We knew it at the time, and the final exchange rule confirms once again that the President was suggesting one thing while doing precisely the opposite,” said Smith.

This week’s Obama abortion funding rule confirms that publicly funded insurance plans will include abortion on demand. Using an accounting gimmick, the premium payers will pay the President’s abortion surcharge of at least one dollar per month. This separate charge will go directly into an abortion fund.

“Requiring the segregation of funds into allocation accounts-a mere bookkeeping exercise is a cheap political trick designed to circumvent longstanding prohibitions on taxpayer funding of abortion,” said Smith. “This is an unprecedented break with longstanding federal policy on funding for abortion.

The rule also contains a secrecy clause specifying that the abortion surcharge cannot be itemized in marketing materials, and may “only” be disclosed “as a part of the summary of benefits and coverage explanation, at the time of enrollment.”

“This secrecy clause requires insurance companies to bury the abortion surcharge in the summary of benefits so Americans shopping for an insurance plan on the exchange won’t know about the abortion surcharge until they sign up for coverage-and even then they could easily miss the fine print,” said Smith. “Undoubtedly many enrollees will be shocked when they get a bill for the Obama abortion surcharge. Once enrolled, even pro-life Americans will be forced to pay for other people’s abortions.”

“There is NO abortion surcharge and there is NO secrecy clause in the Hyde amendment or in legislation I authored in 1983 (the Smith amendment) to prohibit abortion funding in the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program,” said Smith. “Both of these longstanding policies explicitly prohibit coverage for abortion in the federal programs they cover, but President Obama refused to apply the same policy to Obamacare.

“That’s why the House has passed THREE bills to overturn this attack on longstanding policies,” Smith said. The three bills are as follows:

  • On January 19, 2011, the House passed H.R. 2, to repeal Obamacare by a bipartisan vote of 245-189. The President threatened a veto and the Senate defeated a similar provision by a partisan vote of 47-53.
  • On May 4, 2011, the House passed Smith’s bill, H.R. 3, the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act” by a bipartisan vote of 251-175. The President threatened a veto and the Senate has taken no action.
  • On October 13, 2011, the House passed H.R. 358, the “Protect Life Act” by a bipartisan vote of 251-172. The President threatened a veto and the Senate has taken no action.

“Recognizing the gravity of the accounting gimmicks, abortion surcharge and secrecy clause, 15 states have already passed laws to prohibit elective abortion coverage on their exchange,” said Smith. The 15 states are: Arizona, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah and Virginia.

“Abortion isn’t health care,” said Smith. “We live in an age of ultrasound imaging-the ultimate window to the womb. We are in the midst of a fetal health care revolution, an explosion of benign innovative interventions designed to diagnose, treat and cure disease or illness any unborn child may be suffering. Obamacare should do them no harm. Tragically, it does the worst harm of all. It kills children and makes others complicit in abortion.”

Tags: abortion, chris smith, obama, obamacare

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Vatican official condemns UN report urging laws protecting homosexuals from ‘discrimination’

by Matthew Cullinan Hoffman Thu Mar 15 17:33 EST Comments (11)

 
Archbishop Tomasi

March 15, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The Vatican’s principal representative before the United Nations, Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, is objecting to demands to outlaw “discrimination” against homosexuals in a report commissioned by the United Nations Human Rights Council, on “Discriminatory Laws and Practices and Acts of Violence against Individuals based on their Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity”.

Tomasi is concerned that the document’s language gives special treatment to homosexuals and threatens the institution of marriage. It also threatens to give rights to people based on their “gender identity,” which is the gender a person claims to have, as opposed to his actual, physical gender.

In response to the claim advanced by the UN High Commissioner of Human Rights that governments are obligated to “ensure that unmarried same-sex couples are treated in the same way and entitled to the same benefits as unmarried opposite-sex couples,” Tomasi responds that the language threatens the institution of marriage.

“In this regard, the Holy See expresses grave concern that, under the guise of ‘protecting’ people from discrimination and violence on the basis of perceived sexual differences, this Council may be running the risk of demeaning the sacred and time-honoured legal institution of marriage between man and woman, between husband and wife, which enjoyed special protection from time immemorial within legal, cultural, and religious traditions and within the modern human rights instruments, starting with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and extending to numerous other covenants, treaties, and laws,” writes Tomasi.

“If marriage were to be re-defined in a way that makes other relationships equivalent to it, as has occurred in some countries and as the High Commissioner seems to be encouraging in her Report, the institution of marriage, and consequently the natural family itself, will be both devalued and weakened,” he adds.

While the Holy See’s delegation condemns violence against those with “perceived sexual differences,” it notes that “Such situations cannot be resolved by defining new categories, laws or policies that posit rights and privileges to special groups in society” and “finds both confusing and misleading the High Commissioner’s decision to further develop her argumentation with an exclusive focus on those persons subjected to discrimination and violence on the basis of their perceived sexual differences.”

“The rights cited by the High Commissioner are rights that should and must be universally respected and enjoyed; thus efforts to particularize or to develop special rights for special groups of people could easily put at risk the universality of these rights,” writes Tomasi.

Tomasi’s delegation also raises “serious concern with the insertion of terms such as ‘sexual orientation’ and ‘gender identity’ which do not enjoy mention in binding documents of the United Nations..”

As LifeSiteNews has reported, the report was commissioned by the UN’s Human Rights Council in June of last year, in a move that appears calculated to advance the homosexual political agenda and create special legal rights and privileges for those involved in the practice of sodomy.

While the Holy See teaches that homosexuals should not be victims of “unjust discrimination,” it also acknowledges that forms of discrimination can be justified or are even “obligatory,” especially in cases in which homosexuals are openly involved in homosexual conduct, or pose a threat to children and other vulnerable groups. These teachings, which are often unknown to Catholic politicians, were expressed by then Cardinal Josef Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, in a declaration issued under his authority in 1992.

“‘Sexual orientation’ does not constitute a quality comparable to race, ethnic background, etc. in respect to non-discrimination. Unlike these, homosexual orientation is an objective disorder (cf. Letter, no. 3) and evokes moral concern,” wrote Ratzinger as the head of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

“There are areas in which it is not unjust discrimination to take sexual orientation into account, for example, in the placement of children for adoption or foster care, in employment of teachers or athletic coaches, and in military recruitment,” he added.

Tags: gender, homosexuality, natural law, united nations

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Eric Holder appeals ‘unconstitutional, groundless’ case against Florida pro-life leader

by Ben Johnson Thu Mar 15 16:58 EST Comments (7)

 
Mary Susan Pine, target of the DOJ lawsuit.

WEST PALM BEACH, FLORIDA, March 15, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – Although a federal judge dismissed the case and hinted the Justice Department had engaged in a conspiracy to harass pro-life leaders, the Justice Department has appealed a lawsuit against Mary Susan Pine.

Attorney General Eric Holder submitted a one-sentence notice of appeal to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday.

Pine is head of Faith, Action, Counseling, and Education (FACE), which offers pregnancy tests and post-pregnancy assistance to expectant mothers, among other services. Since 2001, she has counseled outside the Presidential Women’s Center (PWC) in West Palm Beach, Florida.

On November 19, 2009 – the anniversary of her own abortion – Pine offered a driver entering the abortion clinic pro-life literature, which was accepted. The Justice Department claimed that action, which the judge called “innocuous,” was a violation of the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act.

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

Last month, U.S. District Judge Kenneth Ryskamp dismissed the case, ruling the Justice Department had “not provided any evidence” to indicate Pine had violated the law.

“We are certain that they do not have any new evidence,” Harry Mihet, senior litigation counsel for Liberty Counsel, told LifeSiteNews.com. “In fact even if they had new evidence, they would be prohibited from introducing it on appeal.”

Ryskamp said the Obama administration had another motive in prolonging Pine’s courtroom drama: “that is to intimidate and to silence pro-life Americans who would rather not have to defend themselves against their own government, the most powerful government on earth.”

“His thinking is by filing these suits and committing the unlimited resources of the United States government against these good people, that somehow they would back down and give up their right to free speech voluntarily,” Mihet told LifeSiteNews.

He dismissed the charges as “unconstitutional, groundless claims manufactured by abortion clinics to intimidate and silence pro-life Americans” in a general press release earlier on Thursday.

If granted, Eric Holder’s case would “violate Ms. Pine’s right to free speech,” Ryskamp ruled. “The Court is at a loss as to why the Government chose to prosecute this particular case in the first place.”

His decision questioned whether the Obama administration’s Justice Department colluded with abortion providers to prosecute pro-life activists.

The judge found it odd the government met with officials at PWC the very next day and that it “failed to make any efforts to obtain the identities of the passengers who are the alleged victims in this case.” Because of DOJ inaction, the clinic destroyed its surveillance video of the incident.

“The Court can only wonder whether this action was the product of a concerted effort between the Government and the PWC, which began well before the date of the incident at issue, to quell Ms. Pine’s activities rather than to vindicate the rights of those allegedly aggrieved by Ms. Pine’s conduct. If this is the case, the Court would be inclined to sanction the Government with, at a minimum, an adverse inference. Given the absence of further evidence substantiating the Court’s suspicions, the Court is not authorized to do so.”

“It’ not everyday that a federal judge accuses the Justice Department of a full-blown conspiracy,” Mihet told LifeSiteNews.com, and yet “it did not make the six o’clock news. This type of aggression against pro-life people needs to be brought to light.”

The Pine appeal is part of a larger Justice Department crackdown on pro-life activists, represented by a dramatic increase in FACE cases.

Mihet told LifeSiteNews the government’s egregious behavior led him to petition that the Justice Department award Pines $140,000 in attorney’s fees.

“It remains to be seen how much of a deterrent that is against Mr. Holder, because ultimately it’s not him personally who is on the hook for the attorney’s fees that he causes with his unconstitutional actions,” Mihet told LifeSiteNews.com.

“It could be some other mechanism or means of means redress may be necessary to stop him from bringing his lawsuits just because he can.”

Tags: department of justice, eric holder, face act, mary susan pines

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Sudbury Catholic girl school apologizes for oral sex flyer given to 12-year-olds

by Patrick B. Craine Thu Mar 15 15:16 EST Comments (38)

 

SUDBURY, Ontario, March 15, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A Sudbury Catholic girls school is under fire this week after grade 7 students brought home handouts showing them how to perform oral sex.

The flyer was given out last Thursday at Marymount Academy, a Catholic all-girls school for grades 7-12, at an event to mark International Women’s Day.

Carmen James-Poulin, 62, says her granddaughter, who is in grade 7, “could not believe” it was handed out. “It’s not educational. It’s vulgar. It belongs on a porn site,” James-Poulin told QMI Agency.

The flyer, produced by the Toronto-based Canadian AIDS Treatment Information Exchange (CATIE), includes pictures and detailed advice on how to perform oral sex on boys and girls, including mention of “rimming,” which it describes as “contact between a person’s mouth and another person’s anus (bum).”

It suggests the teens try flavored lubes and condoms because “no one likes the taste of latex,” and urges them to “watch the teeth” because it “may detract from the fun.”

It also advises youth to visit the local Planned Parenthood office for information on “healthy sexuality.”

The Sudbury Catholic District School Board says the flyer was inappropriate for the “intended audience” and has pledged to use “stricter guidelines” in the future.

“[We] will certainly be screening all organizations’ distributed material on a go-forward basis,” director of education Catherine McCullough told QMI Agency.

But LifeSiteNews did not hear back by press time after questioning the board on how the flyer ended up at the school.

“They had a booth in the gymnasium, so they had to have permission to get in there. They wouldn’t have just been able to set up without somebody’s permission,” said James-Poulin.

CATIE has denied involvement, saying that they have not conducted a session in Sudbury for over a year and did not send the pamphlets to the school.

“This young woman might have received the pamphlet from any number of sources,” Jim Pollock, CATIE’s director of communications, told QMI Agency.

“These flyers are available at public health units and various frontline service providing agencies that are involved with health care. And the hospital as well, I believe, has ordered the pamphlet before.”

The flyer sparked controversy in 2010 when a Montreal-area science teacher distributed it to his grade 8 class. A CATIE spokesperson told QMI Agency at the time that it is intended for 18-year-olds.

Contact info:

Catherine McCullough
Director of Education
Phone: (705)673-5620 Ext. 242
Fax: (705) 688-1781
E-mail: Catherine.McCullough@sudburycatholicschools.ca

Tags: catholic schools, oral sex, sex ed

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U.S. aid for contraception created world’s highest abortion, high maternal mortality rate in Romania

by Thaddeus Baklinski Thu Mar 15 14:47 EST Comments (7)

 

BUCHAREST, March 15, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com)—Recent data published by the World Health Organization (WHO) show that Romania has the highest abortion rate in Europe - 480 abortions for every 1,000 live births, or is more than twice the EU average. The nation also has one of the highest maternal death rate at 27 deaths per 100,000 live births. Only Albania and Moldova have a higher maternal death rate, at 31 and 32 respectively. Romanian experts tell LifeSiteNews.com both these lamentable statistics are a result of U.S. foreign aid that subsidizes contraception and promotes a skewed idea of “women’s rights.”

The statistics were verified to LifeSiteNews by Bogdan Stanciu, head of the Romanian pro-life, pro-family organization Pro-Vita. Stanciu said the figure corresponds to data from the National Statistics Institute of Romania.

However Stanciu pointed out that that actual abortion numbers may be vastly higher “because of the private medical system, which is of increasing importance in Romania, that does not report almost at all its data [on abortions] to the NSI.” A study by Dr. Mihai Horga, a former Ministry of Health official, showed that in 2000 private clinics carried out 80,000 abortions that were not reported to the government.

NSI data also omit “hormonal abortions,” which Professor Virgil Ancar, head of the Obstetrics-Gynecology Clinics of St. Pantelimon Hospital, estimated make up 30 percent of all abortions.

Larisa Iftime, of the media branch of Pro-Vita, told LifeSiteNews that while part of the devastatingly high abortion rate in the country of 22 million is attributable to the legalization of abortion after the fall of Nicolae Ceaușescu’s Communist regime, an abortion mentality has been established by foreign aid financing of abortion, contraception, and sterilization, and promoting its definition of the “idea of women’s rights.”

“This distorted idea of freedom was promoted by different international pro-abortion organizations, like International Planned Parenthood Federation and [international abortion provider] Marie Stopes, which established their offices in Romania right after 1989. They began to aggressively promote abortion and contraception in our country. Of course, the view of ‘woman’s rights’ was embraced by the secular media and by the liberal intellectual elite.”

Iftime referred to an article she wrote, published by the Population Research Institute, that points squarely at the U.S. government’s foreign aid agency, USAID, as one of the main contributors to the abortion rate in her country.

“What does a dying country like Romania need? More contraceptives and sex ed, according to USAID, which is furiously building up its programs there,” Iftime wrote.

She noted that in 1992, the Societatea de Educatie Contraceptiva si Sexuala (SECS) was established to represent the IPPF in Romania, receiving 70 percent of its budget from USAID.

“The head of SECS, Borbala Koo,” Iftime said, “has been quoted as saying that USAID has spent more money on reproductive health programs in Romania than the [Romanian] government.”

Iftime observed that, “The stated USAID policy in Romania is to ‘increase access to contraception and improve the quality of life,’ obviously because it believes that unrestrained sex is the key to happiness.”

According to the Mediafax Press Agency, USAID has spent $35 million dollars on reproductive health program between 1990 and 2004, a massive sum by Romanian standards.

Iftime explained that the Romanian Ministry of Health subsidizes abortions, but, “because USAID is providing most of the Health Ministry‘s budget for reproductive health programs, it is contributing indirectly, if not directly, to abortion.”

“In state-run clinics an abortion costs only $5. This is a fraction of the cost of an abortion in a private clinic. Moreover, women who receive abortions in state-run clinics are routinely contracepted [sterilized] following the procedure.”

Iftime said that while “both USAID and the Ministry of Health claim wonderful benefits from promoting sex education and contraceptives - a lower abortion rate, lower maternal mortality, a lower rate of sexually transmitted disease,” the unfortunate reality is that, “none of these claims is true.”

“We believe, with Father Paul Marx and others, that contraception leads to abortion,” she stated.

“Statistics show that the increased use of contraceptives has not decreased the number of abortions, but in fact has created more abortions. In 1990, in the turmoil surrounding the collapse of Communism, the number of abortions peaked at 992,880 (three abortions for each birth). Since 1993, the number of abortions has been constant, with official statistics tabulating about 250,000 per year. This is not much lower than Great Britain, which has three times the population of Romania.”

“Contraceptive programs in Romania perpetuate an abortion mentality,” Iftime concluded. “Among the consequences of the relentless promotion of contraceptives and the resulting high abortion rate are the highest maternal mortality rate in Europe.”

According to the CIA World Factbook, Romania’s population has been shrinking since abortion became legal by between 0.15 and 2.74 percent per year. The 2012 population growth rate is -0.26 percent.

“Regarding abortions, Romania is a special case, as it banned abortions in the Communist era,” Iftime told LifeSiteNews. “But let us not forget that Ceausescu was a dictator and his purpose was to have as many people as possible, more work force, a larger maneuvering mass.”

“Ceausescu restricted abortions not because he cared about unborn children or about women,” she explained. Otherwise, we would not have had orphanages full of handicapped and malnourished children, immediately after the revolution in 1989.”

“Also, after the fall of Communism, the idea of freedom went hand in hand with the ‘woman’s rights’ idea,” Iftime said.

The result, the statistics Pro-Vita states, has been a bitter harvest.

Information on the work of pro-life organizations in Romania is available from the Pro-Vita website.

Tags: foreign aid, pro-vita, romania, usaid

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Residents outraged as massive ‘Porno Palace’ opens next to convent

by John-Henry Westen Thu Mar 15 13:47 EST Comments (39)

CHICAGO, IL March 15, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – On behalf of local residents and the Missionary Sisters of St. Charles Borromeo, Thomas More Society attorneys demanded that the Village of Stone Park, Illinois, put a halt to construction of a three-million dollar strip club, “Get It,” located several feet from the property line of the Sisters’ convent.

“For over 60 years, the Sisters of St. Charles have devoted their lives to teaching the children of Stone Park – service for which they’re now being repaid with a ‘porno palace’ towering over their convent,” said Peter Breen, executive director of the Thomas More Society. “This facility was located in clear violation of state law, and zoning permissions were given without notice to the Sisters, whose convent is located immediately next to this facility.”

In his address to the Village Board last night, Breen identified a state law imposing a one-mile “buffer zone” between adult entertainment facilities and “places of worship,” which he contends prohibits the placement of “Get It” next to the convent and its several chapels.

In April of 2010, the developer of “Get It” sued the Village of Stone Park, accusing its officials of shaking him down for cash and part ownership of the Club in exchange for permission to build the facility. The village settled the lawsuit in August of 2010. Even though the village’s ordinances were largely unchallenged by the lawsuit, the village agreed to repeal or amend numerous ordinances as part of the settlement agreement, ending that lawsuit. In particular, the village agreed to repeal a local ordinance – similar to the state statute – that imposed a 1,000-foot buffer zone between adult entertainment facilities and schools, parks, churches, and residential areas.

Stone Park Community Protests Strip Club Opening Next to Convent : MyFoxCHICAGO.com

“The local buffer zone ordinances were never challenged in the lawsuit brought by the developer, nor could those ordinances be challenged, because they were valid and constitutional,” said Peter Breen, who spoke at the town hall meeting. “There was no reason to agree to the repeal of the ordinances protecting the people of Stone Park from strip clubs coming into their residential and other child-heavy areas.”

According to the Mayor of Stone Park, the village chose not to defend the developer’s lawsuit because doing so would cost the village half a million dollars. Village officials have discouraged residents and the Sisters from protesting “Get It.” However, last night, the Thomas More Society offered free legal services to the village of Stone Park should it choose to join residents in taking action against “Get It.”

“Get It” personnel have claimed that the facility is set to have its first “dry run” on April 1, and will officially open its doors during Holy Week, the most hallowed week on the Christian calendar, leading up to Easter Sunday.

Tags: pornography, religious persecution

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Rick Santorum signs Oklahoma Personhood Amendment petition

by John-Henry Westen Thu Mar 15 13:30 EST Comments (0)

 

TULSA, OK, March 15, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - While campaigning in the state of Oklahoma recently, former Pennsylvania Senator and current presidential candidate Rick Santorum signed a draft version of the Oklahoma Personhood Amendment petition. Santorum took time to meet with the Personhood Oklahoma petition circulation volunteers at the Tulsa campaign stop. At the volunteer’s request, Santorum signed the form and demonstrated his strong support for the inherent right to life of every human being.

The Oklahoma Personhood Amendment petition is well under way, with over 13,000 volunteers collecting signatures across the state. Organizers must submit just over 155,000 signatures by the end of May to reach the November ballot where voters can decide to end abortion and recognize the equal right to life of preborn children.

The Oklahoma Personhood Amendment ballot title describes the amendment as defining “a human being for the purpose of equal protection under the law.” The word “person,” as used in the Oklahoma Constitution, would include every human being, from the beginning of our lives, at fertilization “regardless of place of residence, race, gender, age, disability, health, level of function, condition of dependency, or method of reproduction.” No innocent human being could be killed without the legal protection of due process.

Santorum participated in the National Presidential Pro-life Forum, a tele-town hall event sponsored by Personhood USA in December leading up to the Iowa caucus, and the South Carolina Presidential Pro-life Forum, a live event also sponsored by Personhood USA.

At the Iowa event, Santorum explained, “When politicians say ‘I believe life begins at conception,’ that is conceding ground, and the ground that we concede is by using the term ‘believe.’ Life beginning at conception is not a ‘belief.’ It’s not an article of faith. It’s an article of fact. It’s biological fact that, in fact, that life begins at conception.”

When asked what similar personhood legislation at the federal level would look like at the Iowa event, Santorum said, “The act would be a very simple one that would recognize life from conception to natural death as what it is, a human life. We do not differentiate stages of development, or mental capacity, or capacity at the end of life, as being any less of a person. Personhood is defined as an entity that is genetically human and alive—it is a person as contemplated under our Constitution. The legislation would be one that is simple, and brief, and to the point.” When asked what his response would be if the Supreme Court were to strike down the law he commented, “You do what you always do in every case when the Court strikes it down, you fight.”

Santorum joined four other Presidential candidates, including Speaker Newt Gingrich, Congressman Ron Paul, Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, and Governor Rick Perry, in signing the Personhood USA Presidential Pledge.

“While symbolic, naturally, due to Oklahoma’s petition residency requirement, Santorum’s signature on the Oklahoma Personhood Amendment is welcomed emphatically,” said Personhood Oklahoma Director Dan Skerbitz. “Oklahomans value God’s precious gift that is the lives of our children, and we appreciate Rick Santorum’s uncompromising position on this issue.”

Tags: oklahoma, personhood usa, rick santorum

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English Catholic congregation shocked as gay activist disrupts Mass with video cam

by Hilary White, Rome Correspondent Thu Mar 15 13:28 EST Comments (42)

 

ROME, March 15, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A homosexualist activist disrupted a Mass held in a parish in Teignmouth, Devon, with a video camera last week as a priest prepared to read a letter from the country’s bishops conference opposing government efforts to legalize same-sex “marriage.” The incident has prompted concerns that anti-Christian activists are becoming more bold and aggressive as the Church continues to oppose same-sex “marriage.”

A video, posted to YouTube, shows the priest hesitating after announcing that the letter would be read out on the request of the bishops conference. The priest, dressed in Mass vestments and standing in the pulpit, faces the camera and asks, “What’s that for?” The activist replies, “Do go on. It’s a record of what you’re about to say.”

The priest asks the activist to sit down, but when he hears that the video is to be posted on the internet, declines to read the letter for fear of further disruption. After the priest offers to have the letter available after the Mass instead of reading it publicly, the activist pans the camera over the congregation and says, “OK, we’re all happy with that? Yeah? You don’t want to hear it? Good.”

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

One parishioner is heard to day, “Sit down,” and the activist assures the surprised congregants that he will be “leaving in a moment” but wants to know if any of them “feels as uncomfortable as I feel” about the Church’s opposition to “gay marriage.” He says he feels “really, really uncomfortable with you making judgments about my lifestyle of which I have no choice.”

One parishioner’s voice is heard saying, “You’re making judgments about us.” He replies, “Yeah, I am making judgments about you, because you’re making judgments about me…by supporting the Catholic Church and its attitude towards me.”

He suggests that parishioners “examine your conscience” and “if you feel uncomfortable with this statement that your preacher is too scared to read out about me then maybe you’d like to join me in walking out of the church.” The video was altered so that parishioners are not identifiable.

Calling himself a “gentle, courteous, caring person” the activists claims on the YouTube page that he decided to disrupt the service “less than an hour” before its being held, and had never before conducted any similar activism on behalf of the homosexualist movement. He writes that he had not intended to “upset or offend anyone.”

“By the time I was sat in the pew, my intention was simply to video the priest reading out the letter, then post the video on YouTube to stimulate discussion,” he wrote.

With the decision not to read the letter, “the preacher” he said, “rather cleverly took the wind out of my sails.”

The video has received hundreds of comments on YouTube, some by commenters whom appear to know the activist personally. One wrote, “Sorry David, whilst I fully support same-sex civil marriage, and strongly disagree with my Archbishops; I think you have only hurt your reputation and your cause.”

The commenter, identified as “rerum2novarum” continued, “The priest was not going to read out the letter anyway. Many members of the congregation (including someone who is gay) were very upset, and you caused grave offence. I know you are kind, caring man and may have acted in the heat of the moment.”

The video was featured last week on the popular blog of US priest Fr. John Zuhlsdorf. The priest consulted well-known barrister and religious discrimination expert Neil Addison who pointed out that the priest had recourse to the law. It is an offense in England and Scotland to disrupt a religious service or intimidate or harass ministers of religion. Although Addison said that such laws were mainly drafted in the 19th century, and are widely “regarded as obsolete today” they can still be prosecuted as “religiously aggravated” public order or violence offences.

The Places of Worship Registration Act 1855, states that a person commits an offense if he “shall molest, let, disturb, vex, or trouble, or by any other unlawful means disquiet or misuse any preacher duly authorised to preach [in a church], or any clergyman in Holy Orders ministering or celebrating any sacrament or any Divine service, rite, or office in any cathedral church or chapel, churchyard, or burial ground.”

The letter opposing the imposition of “gay marriage” in Britain has become a magnet not only for homosexualist activists but also for increased anti-Catholic activity on the part of secularists. It was prompted by the announcement that the coalition government, led by the Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron, has opened its 12-week public consultation into how to go about legalizing same-sex “marriage” this week.

Legal experts have pointed out that existing civil partnership rules allow the same rights and privileges to homosexual partnerings as marriage, only without the name. But even before the last election, Prime Minister Cameron, and a number of his Tory ministers made it clear that their plan has been to introduce total legal equivalence to same-sex partnerings as to natural marriage.

The government has made it clear that some form of legalized “gay marriage” will be inevitable; the public is only being asked how exactly the change will be made. The list of proposed topics for the consultation includes questions on whether to allow same-sex couples to marry in a register office or other civil ceremony; whether to retain civil partnerships for same-sex couples and allow couples already in a civil partnership to convert it into a marriage; whether to allow people to stay married and legally change their gender and whether to maintain the legal ban on same-sex couples marrying in a religious service.

Under the current law, churches are not required to conduct homosexual partnering ceremonies, but some senior churchmen have warned that with officially sanctioned “gay marriage” the churches could face legal harassment if they continue to refuse.

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Bishops promise to continue ‘vigorous efforts’ against HHS mandate

by John-Henry Westen Thu Mar 15 13:25 EST Comments (5)

WASHINGTON, March 15, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The U.S. bishops are strongly united in their ongoing and determined efforts to protect religious freedom, the Administrative Committee of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) said in a March 14 statement.

The Administrative Committee, chaired by Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York, president of the USCCB, is the highest authority of the bishops’ conference outside the semi-annual sessions of the full body of bishops. The Committee’s membership consists of the elected chairmen of all the USCCB permanent committees and an elected bishop representative from each of the geographic regions of the USCCB.

The Administrative Committee said it was “strongly unified and intensely focused in its opposition to the various threats to religious freedom in our day.” The bishops will continue their vigorous work of education on religious freedom, dialogue with the executive branch, legislative initiatives and efforts in the courts to defend religious freedom. They promised a longer statement on the principles at the heart of religious freedom, which will come later from the bishops’ Ad Hoc Committee on Religious Liberty.

The bishops noted that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) mandate that forces all private health plans to provide coverage of sterilization and contraceptives – including abortion-inducing drugs – called for an immediate response. Of particular concern, they said, are a religious exemption from the mandate that the bishops deem “arbitrarily narrow” and an “unspecified and dubious future ‘accommodation’’’ offered to other religious organizations that are denied the exemption.

The bishops thanked supporters from the Catholic community and beyond “who have stood firmly with us in our vigorous opposition to this unjust and illegal mandate.”

“It is your enthusiastic unity in defense of religious freedom that has made such a dramatic and positive impact in this historic public debate.”

The bishops said this dispute is not about access to contraceptives but about the government’s forcing the Church to provide them. Their concerns are not just for the Catholic Church but also for “those who recognize that their cherished beliefs may be next on the block.”

“Indeed, this is not about the Church wanting to force anybody to do anything; it is instead about the federal government forcing the Church – consisting of its faithful and all but a few of its institutions – to act against Church teachings,” they said.

The Church has worked for universal healthcare in the United States since 1919, they added, and said the current issue “is not a Republican or Democratic, a conservative or liberal issue; it is an American issue.”

The bishops called the HHS mandate “an unwarranted government definition of religion,” with government deciding who is a religious employer deserving exemption from the law.

“The introduction of this unprecedented defining of faith communities and their ministries has precipitated this struggle for religious freedom,” the bishops said.

“Government has no place defining religion and religious ministry,” they said.

“If this definition is allowed to stand, it will spread throughout federal law, weakening its healthy tradition of generous respect for religious freedom and diversity,” they said.

The bishops said the government’s foray into church governance “where government has no legal competence or authority” is beyond disturbing. Those deemed by HHS not to be “religious employers,” the bishops said, “will be forced by government to violate their own teachings within their very own institutions. This is not only an injustice in itself, but it also undermines the effective proclamation of those teachings to the faithful and to the world.”

The bishops also called the HHS mandate “a violation of personal civil rights.”The new mandate creates a class of people “with no conscience protection at all: individuals who, in their daily lives, strive constantly to live in accordance with their faith and values,” the bishops said. “They too face a government mandate to aid in providing ‘services’ contrary to those values – whether in their sponsoring of, and payment for, insurance as employers; their payment of insurance premiums as employees, or as insurers themselves – without even the semblance of exemptions.”

The bishops called for the Catholic faithful, and all people of good will throughout the nation to join them in prayer and penance “for our leaders and for the complete protection of our First Freedom – religious liberty.”

“Prayer is the ultimate source of our strength,” the bishops said, “for without God we can do nothing. But with God all things are possible.”

Tags: hhs mandate, obamacare, religious freedom, us bishops

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Studies showing benefits of contraception fall short

by Michael New Thu Mar 15 13:11 EST Comments (2)

March 15, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com)—In recent weeks, a number of media outlets have been touting studies which purportedly show that greater access to contraception lowers both abortion rates and the rate of unintended pregnancies. In fairness, some of these studies are a step up from the research that the Guttmacher Institute typically publishes. Some have appeared in peer-reviewed journals and analyze actual data. Unfortunately, the evidence they provide is far from conclusive.

For instance, Mother Jones and the blog Faith in Public Life both recently cited two separate studies which showed that women who obtained greater quantities of birth-control pills were more likely to continue using birth control. Both studies appeared in the journal Obstetrics and Gynecology. One analyzed women from El Paso, Texas, and the other looked at women from California.

The obvious problem with both studies is that the women who obtain a larger quantify of birth-control pills might be different from the other women in the study. That is, women who obtain a large quantity of birth control might be more committed to their decision not to have children. Conversely, women who obtain smaller quantities of contraception might be less certain of their short-term childbearing plans. There exist other problems with these studies as well. For instance, the study of El Paso women only analyzes discontinuation rates. It does not specifically analyze how the quantity of contraception provided affects either abortion rates or the rates of unintended pregnancies.

Now, the California study is more interesting. It did analyze both abortion rates and pregnancy rates. However, the results were inconsistent. Women who obtained three months’ supply of birth-control pills were actually more likely to get pregnant and obtain an abortion than women who obtained only one month of birth-control pills. Only among the cohort that received a year’s worth of birth-control pills were there reductions in both the pregnancy rate and abortion rate. However, again it is possible that the differences were due to the attitudes of those women who obtained a year’s supply of birth control rather than the actual availability of the contraception itself.

Last week, the New York Times got in on the act. On their Economix blog they touted an analysis by Adam Thomas of the Brookings Institution. He argues that a media campaign, improved sex-education classes, and expanded access to contraception would all significantly reduce the number of unplanned pregnancies. The research he cited on contraception was interesting. A Brookings study analyzed states that received waivers to expand their Medicaid family-planning services. They found these expansions led to small but statistically significant increases in contraceptive use and decreases in the birth rate for teens and non-teens.

However, these results should be interpreted with caution. First, the Brookings study did not appear in an academic journal and hence, has not made it through the peer-review process. Second, states that received waivers to expand their Medicaid family-planning programs might be different from other states. For instance, states with resources for a Medicaid expansion might be performing better economically. Greater contraceptive use could come from women having more disposable income or women making a greater effort to prevent pregnancy to take advantage of better employment opportunities. Also, the results might reflect the fact that states which are expanding Medicaid family-planning programs might be more politically liberal and have contraceptive usage rates that are rising faster than other states.

Taking the results of the Brookings study at face value, they still show that expansions in Medicaid family-planning programs caused only relatively small changes in both contraceptive usage rates and birth rates. These results are consistent with previous research by both Guttmacher and the CDC which shows that a small percentage of sexually active women forgo contraception due to either the cost or lack of availability. All in all, the ability of government programs to increase contraceptive use seems very limited.

Ever since the announcement of the HHS contraceptive mandate, the mainstream-media spin machine has gone into overdrive touting the purported public-health benefits that will flow from increased contraceptive use. However, they have provided little research indicating that the mandate would either increase the use of contraception or reduce the unplanned pregnancy rate. Additionally, the media invariably ignores research which shows that hormonal contraceptives increase the risk of breast cancer, cervical cancer, and liver cancer. All in all, it is safe to stay the main effect of the HHS mandate will be the erosion of the conscience rights of Catholics and others who oppose artificial contraception on moral and religious grounds.

— Michael J. New is an assistant professor of political science at the University of Michigan –Dearborn, a fellow at the Witherspoon Institute, and an adjunct scholar at the Charlotte Lozier Institute in Washington, D.C. Follow him on Twitter at @Michael_J_New. This article originally appeared on National Review Online and is reprinted with permission.

Tags: abortion, birth control mandate, contraception

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Local Planned Parenthood CEO booted after arrest for indecent exposure

by Kathleen Gilbert Thu Mar 15 12:55 EST Comments (3)

 
Tony Thornton

LUBBOCK, Texas, March 15, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A Texas Planned Parenthood leader has been removed from his post after his arrest for indecent exposure received national news coverage.

Tony Thorton, president and CEO of the Planned Parenthood Association of Lubbock, left his position with the abortion giant two days after he was arrested near the baseball fields in a local park for allegedly exposing his genitals in front of a 43-year-old man. Thorton was arrested and incarcerated Monday afternoon before posting $750 bail late Tuesday morning.

Mariah Sharpe, board chair of the Lubbock Planned Parenthood branch, announced Wednesday that Thorton had been “placed on leave and will no longer serve as the CEO of Planned Parenthood of Lubbock” effective immediately following the incident, and that an interim CEO had already been chosen, according to the Houston Chronicle.

In a statement to the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal late Wednesday, Thorton celebrated his nine years at Planned Parenthood and said that he “deeply regret[s] creating a situation in my personal life that potentially creates a distraction” from Planned Parenthood’s work.

He also apologized to the community of Lubbock and said he would work “to correct any misinformation and take responsibility for errors.”

Sgt. Jonathan Stewart, Lubbock Police Department spokesman, told the Avalanche-Journal he didn’t know whether children were in the area when Thornton was in the park or how many people were present.

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Principal threatens home schooling mother with youth protection services

by Peter Baklinski Thu Mar 15 12:28 EST Comments (14)

MONTREAL, Quebec, March 15, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A Montreal parent is continuing to home school her son, despite her son’s former school principal reportedly threatening to call youth protection services on the family if she did not return him to school.

Emilie Riel pulled her son Brett Klein, 15, out of John F. Kennedy High School in Montreal’s St-Michel district in February. Brett has the autism spectrum disorder Asperger syndrome which hinders him from keeping up with his classmates and interacting socially with his peers and teachers.

Riel wrote on a blog that the main reason Brett was pulled out of school was because she was “getting phone calls all the time to come deal with the problem and at one meeting was told that if he didn’t start keeping up he would be transferred to another school.”

“He [would] melt down into where he sits down and starts crying,” Riel told CBCnews. “Or he gets frustrated. He was throwing things, and he gets violent.”

The mother pulled Britt out of school and enrolled him in an online high school program from the US. She supplements his online learning experience with other subjects and activities outside of the home.

“The current concern is not academics but teaching him how to manage his anxiety. While I do that I try to keep him on track academically at his pace,” she wrote on a blog.

Reil believes that teaching Brett what she calls “independent living skills” will help her son the most in the long run.

“I realize he won’t be holding down a job that requires any social interaction. Currently, he is excelling at 3D animation graphics and this requires little interfacing.”

Riel told LifeSiteNews that she couldn’t believe how her son’s former principal responded to her decision to school Brett at home using an online program. “He told me that the school my son is in is ‘off the table’, that they are not going to consider it [as a viable option], and that he would have to call youth protection [services] if I did not return my son to school the next day.”

LifeSiteNews contacted Principal Joseph Marra who declined to give comment.

Michael Cohen, spokesman for the English Montreal School Board, told CBCnews that Marra was “perfectly entitled to call youth protection services”.

“You just can’t pull your child out of school and unilaterally decide to have your own home-schooling program. It doesn’t work that way,” he said.

Cohen said that parents can only home school their children once they have received permission from the board and have demonstrated that their intended educational program reflects Quebec’s school curriculum.

But Carole Cardinal, Quebec’s rep of the Home School Legal Defense Association of Canada (HSLDA), disagrees with Cohen’s interpretation of Quebec’s education act.

Section 15.4 of the act states that a student is “exempt from compulsory school attendance” if he or she “receives home schooling and benefits from an educational experience which, according to an evaluation made by or for the school board, are equivalent to what is provided at school.”

She pointed out that the act does not actually require a parent to receive permission from the board to home school, but only that a parent shows that they are providing an “educational experience” which is equivalent to what is provided at school, based on an evaluation made “by or for” the school board.

“We [tell them to] say ‘no, we are notifying you. This is our right, it is not something we need to ask your permission for.’”

Cardinal said that schools then usually make one last attempt to control the situation by sending an educational contract for parents to sign.

“In reply to those contracts, which parents obviously can’t sign because it puts them right into the school’s mold, parents will provide a list of educational resources and detail a little bit how the educational experience will be taking place and offer some sort of evaluation at the end of the year to meet the requirements of the law.”

Cardinal told LifeSiteNews that the English Montreal School Board has been “coming down hard on families” who decide to home school their children. She pointed out how the Board has been “routinely reporting families” who will not submit their home schooled children to be evaluated by the school board’s standardized tests. She also pointed out how the Board is trying to push the government’s curriculum on home schooled children.

“A lot of us are home educating for that very reason. We want a different educational approach, we want different educational experiences for our children and there’s just a lack of understanding with regards to home education and a lack of flexibility,” she said.

“We’re just going to continue supporting parents and parental rights and choices for their children’s education. We’re just not going to bow down to that,” she said.

Riel told LifeSiteNews that Brett is doing well with his 10th grade online course, “holding A’s and B’s”, and that his anxiety and overall behavior has “really improved” since he began schooling at home. She expects him to graduate in 2014. Riel said that when she contacted youth protection services to determine where she stood, they told her that her case had been “dealt with”.

Tags: home schooling, parents rights, quebec, school

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VA ban on detention of U.S. citizens opens debate: can pro-lifers be indefinitely detained?

by Ben Johnson Thu Mar 15 07:27 EST Comments (14)

 

RICHMOND, VIRGINIA, March 14, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – A bill that passed both houses of the Virginia legislature by near-unanimous margins would prevent the state from participating in the unconstitutional detention of an American under the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Although Governor Bob McDonnell has not yet signed the bill, it has Americans across the country debating whether the federal law would allow the government to indefinitely detain unfavored groups, like pro-lifers, who are often branded as “terrorists,” without a trial.

Virginia Delegate Bob Marshall, R-Manassas, authored H.B. 1160, which received only one no vote in each house. It states no law enforcement in the state, “or any member of the Virginia National Guard or Virginia Defense Force…on official state duty, may engage in any activity that aids an agency of or the armed forces of the United States…as provided by the National Defense Authorization Act…in the investigation, prosecution, or detainment of any citizen of the United States in violation of Article I, Section 8 or 11 of the Constitution of Virginia.”

The NDAA, which President Barack Obama signed on December 31, allows the president to hold enemy combatants in military detention facilities and to determine which groups may be considered terrorists without judicial or congressional oversight. However, the Secretary of Defense is required to “regularly brief” Congress about “covered persons.”

Shortly after the act was passed, Constitutional attorney John Whitehead and founder of the Rutherford Institute told LifeSiteNews.com the “law can apply to pro-lifers.” The law’s sweeping new powers “would allow the military to show up at your door if you’re [deemed] a ‘potential terrorist,’ and put you in military detention where seeing a lawyer is difficult.”

In 2009, the Department of Homeland Security issued a nine-page document on “Rightwing Extremism,” which said those motivated by issues like immigration, abortion, or opposition to same-sex “marriage” are potential terrorists. An August 2010 training session for federal law enforcement further depicted the pro-life movement as a haven for violent extremists. Marshall told LifeSiteNews the reports criminalized differences in political views. “It’s Saul Alinsky on steroids, but that’s what this Obama administration does,” he said.

Local media have confirmed that Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell has “concerns” about the bill. According to Virginia political analyst Dr. Bob Holsworth, McDonnell worries it “could prevent the kind of collaboration and cooperation that you might need between the federal authorities and the state authorities if they’re pursuing a particular kind of terrorist plot or act that could occur in Virginia.”

Marshall and others say the real issue is politics. McDonnell is widely considered to be on the short-list for vice president. Mitt Romney was booed when he told a presidential debate audience he supported NDAA. “I recognize that when you’re in a setting where there are enemy combatants and some of them on our own soil, that could possibly be abused,” he said, but “I don’t think he’s [Obama’s] going to abuse this power.” 

Marshall, who is seeking the Republican nomination for Virginia’s open U.S. Senate seat, hand-delivered a letter to McDonnell asking him to sign the bill. The governor has not indicated whether he will do so, veto it, or exercise a prerogative of his state and amend legislation that comes to his desk.

Those in the pro-life movement are divided about whether the NDAA could apply to American citizens.

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

Although Section 1022 of the bill states, “The requirement to detain a person in military custody under this section does not extend to citizens of the United States,” some, like Whitehead, contend the law allows detention as an option for Americans captured abroad without a trial. Marshall said the right to habeas corpus is what “separates us from the likes of Nazis, Communists and other totalitarian governments…No one should be entrusted with the totalitarian powers encompassed in NDAA.”

Congressman Tim Griffin of Arkansas said the new law poses no risk to American liberties. “Section 1021 would NOT change the status quo regarding the authorities provided by the AUMF as they relate to U.S. citizens captured or arrested in the U.S,” he said. “This provision was never intended to address the law as it relates to U.S. citizens, one way or the other.”

“A U.S. citizen enemy combatant held on U.S. soil has full constitutional rights like any U.S. citizen, including the right to challenge the legality of his detention through a habeas corpus petition in a civilian federal court. Again, nothing in section 1022 addresses or seeks to change that,” the congressman said.

Yet Griffin acknowledged it “deserves mention that the U.S. Supreme Court has never addressed a case of a U.S. citizen in two specific circumstances: (1) a U.S. citizen enemy combatant picked up on U.S. soil as opposed to overseas; or (2) a U.S. citizen enemy combatant picked up overseas and held overseas.”

Bob Marshall found such reassurances hollow. President Obama added a signing statement to the bill promising not to use its provisions against U.S. citizens, he said. “Why would he make a signing statement like that if he didn’t get the power out of that stupid law? His statement is a complete non sequitur if it weren’t given,” Marshall told LifeSiteNews.com.

“These people in Congress don’t read the bills, and half the time they don’t even understand the ones they do read,” he said. “I don’t trust them. I don’t.”

The problem with this defense is that it highlights what the bill intends to do, rather than what its language allows, critics say. John Whitehead wrote in a statement e-mailed to LifeSiteNews.com, “When members of Congress are defending their support for the bill, they are interpreting the language in a way that best suits American citizens, rather than acknowledging that the language is so ambiguous that it calls into question very basic constitutional rights.”

“The fact that Tim Griffin needed to take the time to assure his constituents that he wasn’t voting for the indefinite detention of Americans shows that, at the very least, the bill is so poorly worded that one could argue effectively that it codifies indefinite detention,” he wrote.

Under NDAA, he believes, “it is unclear, but possible, that Americans captured outside the United States may be detained indefinitely.”

Some who do not immediately fear the bill’s language urge pro-lifers and Constitutionalists to exercise vigilance about the way it is implemented or used in the future.

Dana Cody of the Life Legal Foundation wrote in a statement e-mailed to LifeSiteNews.com that Rep. Griffin’s reassurances led her to “conclude that currently there need be no fear of the NDAA being misused to target and detain the politically disfavored, such as pro-life advocates.” The act applied only to those whom the president states are “part of or substantially supported al-Qaeda, the Taliban, or associated forces that are engaged in hostilities against the United States.”

However, the president must submit procedures to define “covered person,” she noted, definitions the executive branch can change at will. “We will be monitoring the implementation process, and will evaluate whether the above analysis needs to be revised as implementing procedures are adopted,” Cody told LifeSiteNews.

“The law is only as good as those who are sworn to uphold it,” she wrote, “and we will keep watching in the hope that what Justice Scalia calls the ‘abortion distortion’ will not affect the enforcement of the NDAA.”

 

Tags: bob marshall, bob mcdonnell, department of homeland security dhs, ndaa

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After being slapped with a lawsuit, university recognizes pro-life Christian student group

by Ben Johnson Thu Mar 15 07:27 EST Comments (5)

 
ADF attorney Jeremy Tedesco
ADF attorney Jeremy Tedesco

GREENSBORO, NORTH CAROLINA, March 14, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – It took Christian students at the University of North Carolina-Greensboro almost a year, but they appear to have finally achieved their goal: the same recognition available to any other religious student group.

UNC-Greensboro released a statement on Tuesday saying it will grant the pro-life group official recognition as a student religious organization after a bureaucratic tug-of-war that began last April.

Students petitioned to form a chapter of Make Up Your Own Mind, a campus affiliate of the Greensboro Pregnancy Care Center. The group’s constitution requires its members to be practicing Christians who want to spread its “Christian, life-affirming, and pro-abstinence beliefs and views on campus and to the Greensboro community.”

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

Under college rules, a religious or political organization may limit membership to those who share their views. Student groups such as Vox – Voices of Planned Parenthood, the homosexual lobbying group PRIDE!, a chapter of the NAACP, even Club Akido are allowed to exclude members based on ideology.

However, university officials refused to recognize the chapter as a religious group, requiring it to sign a non-discrimination policy opening its membership to every “race, color, religion, gender, age, national origin, disability, military, veteran status, or sexual orientation.”

“The First Amendment forbids the government from determining what is and what is not ‘religious,’ yet the university is doing exactly this by telling a Christian group that it is not religious,” said Jeremy Tedesco, an Alliance Defense Fund attorney who represented the students.

The university denied the students religious status on the grounds they were “not affiliated with a church but rather a local non-profit organization.” But Tedesco says being affiliated with a church is not a requirement to qualify as a religious organization, and UNC-Greensboro recognized other campus organizations as religious without being tied to a church.

University recognition brings with it campus funding through student activity fees, the free use of university offices and web space, and the design and display of banners displaying its message. The North Carolina campus is home to nearly 200 other student organizations.

According to a legal complaint filed on behalf of MUYOM and its leader, Bryn Carmichael, the students made several attempts to cooperate without compromising their faith.

Christian students associated with the crisis pregnancy center say they last heard from the administration on November 7, when they were told a decision should be made “in the next couple of weeks.”

The ADF filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Greensboro on February 29.

Tedesco greeted Tuesday’s announcement with guarded optimism, saying he wants to observe how it is implemented before saying pro-life Christians have finally been given equal status at the college.

Contact information:
Alliance Defense Fund
15100 N. 90th Street
Scottsdale, AZ 85260
1-800-TELL-ADF (835-5233)

Tags: alliance defense fund, greensboro pregnancy care center, university of north carolina-greensboro

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Catholic missionary: I’d rather risk my life than comply with HHS mandate

by Kathleen Gilbert Wed Mar 14 19:08 EST Comments (0)

 
Stacy Molai

March 14, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A Catholic woman who engages in missionary work on college campuses says that she would rather risk her life by going without health insurance, despite a chronic ailment, than comply with the Obama administration’s coverage mandate against her conscience.

Stacy Molai of the Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS) told the Catholic News Agency this month that she would be “putting her life on the line” for her faith rather than pay into a plan that will be forced by the federal government to cover abortifacient drugs, sterilizations, and birth control.

“It’s that big a deal,” said Molai.

Molai said she knew she would also be in violation of the health care law’s mandate that each individual purchase health insurance, a violation that could end in jail.

And as registered nurse, Molai says she knows her stance could mean serious financial and medical risk: the 31-year-old suffers from Crohn’s disease, an autoimmune disorder she told CNA that has previously required her to have four surgeries and numerous hospitalizations, and which can cost up to $400 per month in medical supplies. “Honestly, I could die,” she said.

Molai nonetheless says she is willing to face the consequences for the sake of “keeping a clear conscience,” and also with the hopes that her decision will “wake people up” to the seriousness of the mandate.

Jeremy Rivera, communications director of FOCUS, said in a March 6 statement that the group was “stand[ing] in solidarity” with Molai and her stance for religious liberty. “FOCUS is proud to have a woman like Stacy among our missionary staff,” said Rivera.

Read the full story on CNA here.

Tags: abortion, contraception, hhs mandate, obama

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