Friday, March 16, 2012

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Obama admin widens abortifacient birth control mandate to college students

by Ben Johnson Fri Mar 16 18:15 EST Comments (154)

 

Co-authored with John Jalsevac

WASHINGTON, D.C., March 16, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – In a move that is likely to reignite the ire of religious leaders, late Friday afternoon the Obama administration announced a proposal that would require universities, including religious universities, to provide contraception, sterilization, and abortion-inducing drugs to their students, as well as their employees, without a co-pay. This appears to significantly widen the originally-announced HHS mandate, which had only applied to employees.

The White House released the 32-page proposal late Friday afternoon. It outlines three different options to ensure that the health plans for employees and students of religious organizations cover birth control, including abortifacient drugs, and sterilizations, without co-pay.

The proposal, particularly the widening of the mandate to cover students, was met with simultaneous statements of support from members of the abortion lobby.

“Women who buy health insurance from their college or university will have access to affordable birth control, just like women who receive health insurance from their employer,” Planned Parenthood Federation of America President Cecile Richards said in an online press release.

“Covering birth control with no co-pays means college students will not have to choose between paying for tuition and books, or paying for basic health care like birth control.”

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“Today the Obama administration took the next step in making sure women get insurance coverage of contraception,” agreed Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America.

“Unfortunately, some politicians and their allies want to take away contraceptive coverage from nurses, janitors, administrative staff, and college instructors,” Keenan said. “They risk losing even more public support if they continue to politicize women’s health through legislative attacks or mean-spirited and disparaging rhetoric on talk radio or in other channels.”

As has happened in the case of announcements from the Obama administration about its birth control mandate in the past, supporters of the mandate issued laudatory statements immediately following the release of the proposal, while opponents were left scrambling trying to make sense of it.

LifeSiteNews.com spoke to a media spokesperson at Alliance Defense Fund, a legal organization that has been leading the charge against the Obama admin’s mandate. The spokesperson explained that ADF attorneys were still sifting through today’s document and weren’t yet prepared to comment.

Sister Mary Ann Walsh, spokeswoman for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, said she found it unusual the announcement came as part of a Friday news dump on the eve of St. Patrick’s Day.

“I am surprised that such important information would be announced late Friday of St. Patrick’s Day Weekend and as we prepare for the fourth Sunday of Lent,” she said.

“The bishops will begin analyzing it immediately but now is too soon to know what it actually says. The bishops will consider how the proposal gels with the principles outlined in United for Religious Liberty, the statement that the USCCB Administrative Committee issued March 14.”

Both she and Sister Carol Keehan, president of the Catholic Health Association, declined to offer any further statement to media Friday afternoon, saying they needed more time to study the proposal.

Sr. Keehan’s silence stands in sharp contrast to her prior knowledge and endorsement of the president’s February 10 “accommodation.”

The public may comment on this proposal for the next 90 days.

Comments may be sent via snail mail to:

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
Department of Health and Human Services
Attention: CMS-9968-ANPRM
P.O. Box 8016
Baltimore, MD 21244-1850.

 

 

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No abortions at Missouri Planned Parenthood for two weeks during 40 Days campaign

 

March 16, 2012 (40DaysforLife.com) - A few days ago, I shared the great news about two 40 Days for Life locations in Iowa where Planned Parenthood facilities closed.

That makes 22 locations where 40 Days for Life vigils have been held on the public right-of-way outside — and the abortion centers shut down. Praise God!

Sometimes … the abortionist just stops showing up!

COLUMBIA, MISSOURI

The 40 Days for Life vigil in Columbia takes place outside a Planned Parenthood office that has had a hard time keeping an abortionist on the payroll.

For months at a time over the past few years, this center has been unable to offer surgical abortions because no one would perform them.

Earlier this week, the local team in Columbia learned that for at least two weeks, there will be no abortions at Planned Parenthood.

“We’re not sure what the reason is,” said Kathy in Columbia, noting that Planned Parenthood is being very tight lipped. They are just “not scheduling appointments in Columbia until March 27.”

“Please continue to join us on the sidewalk as we thank God for His gifts to us,” said Kathy.

RICHMOND, VIRGINIA

Volunteers in Richmond marked the midpoint of the 40 Days for Life campaign with a candlelight vigil. They also shared stories that they pray will have happy endings.

They watched as a car with an out-of-state license pulled into the abortion center’s parking lot. But the two people inside never got out. They sat there for half an hour, drove away — and did not return.

A short while later, prayer continued as another couple walked toward the building. One of the volunteers asked if they wanted to talk, but they entered without stopping. Within about 20 minutes, however, they left the abortion center, turned up the street and walked away.

Ann in Richmond said they prayed that both couples “have a change of heart … and chose life for their child. Praise God for faithful witnesses who stand and pray and who offer the love of Christ.”

ORANGE COUNTY, CALIFORNIA

Here’s an update on an item from earlier in the campaign. The Orange County team shared the story of Fernando, a man who rides his bicycle 10 miles to pray at the 40 Days for Life vigil for several hours every day. Getting to the vigil site was a challenge because he had to stop often to fix the bicycle.

After the story got out, Fernando got some unexpected assistance — a repair job for the bicycle, complete with new tires and tubes, thanks to anonymous donors. It was a kind gesture that he really appreciated.

The Orange County prayer volunteers were also joined by an unexpected guest — a woman who was on her way into Planned Parenthood.

“She shared that she had an abortion in the past, but that this time she wanted to continue with her pregnancy,” said Alejandra. “She joined the vigil to help other women avoid getting an abortion.”

The volunteers offered the woman post-abortion healing referrals. “Please pray for her as we try to reach out to her and help her,” Alejandra said.

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Lesbian with kids in Catholic school demands removal of Catechism quote on homosexuality

by Patrick B. Craine Fri Mar 16 17:04 EST Comments (298)

 
The heading for the equity pamphlet's section on "homophobia".

BOWMANVILLE, Ontario, March 16, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A self-proclaimed ‘lesbian’ whose two children attend a Catholic school near Peterborough is demanding that the Peterborough Catholic school board remove a Catechism quote dealing with homosexuality from a school pamphlet. Ann Michelle Tesluk has started an online petition to pressure the board to action and describes her activities as gearing to make the Catholic Church into an “openly gay friendly church.”

The pamphlet in question, however, is controversial from more than one perspective.  While quoting the Catechism that the homosexual inclination is “objectively disordered”, the pamphlet also misrepresents Catholic teaching in numerous ways. The pamphlet calls on schools to highlight homosexual role models and familiarize students with terms like “LGBTQQ” and “two-spirited.” It indicates that Canada legalized same-sex “marriage” in 2005 without mentioning that the Church opposes such unions.

Greg Reeves, director of education for the Peterborough Victoria Northumberland Clarington Catholic District School Board (PVNCCDSB), told LifeSiteNews that they have had enough complaints about the pamphlet, called The Colour of Equity, to give the wording a “relook” to see if they can explain the Church’s teaching better.

The trustees voted 6 to 8 last Tuesday against a request to remove the passage, but Nancy Sharpe, the board’s head of communications, said that the pamphlet has been sent for review to the Equity and Inclusive Education committee.

Reeves says the school board felt they needed to include the Catechism passage because they are “under the Magisterium of the Church, the teaching and the authority of the Church.”

“When we were going into the section on orientation, we felt it important that people understand what the Catholic Catechism would say,” he explained.

In her online petition, which has garnered 86 signatures thus far, Tesluk says the Catholic Church’s teachings on homosexuality are “outdated and harmful” and suggests the teachings have exacerbated the problem of teen suicides.

“As it is right now, it is derogatory, patronizing and discriminatory, not to mention lacking in scientific evidence,” she says. “Any child who reads this will be faced, at minimum, with a negative attitude towards homosexuality,” she continues. “Isn’t this what we are trying to prevent? How can we allow any school in Ontario to teach this to our children?”

Reeves said the complaints are largely a result of confusion over the Church’s teaching, saying that the Catechism’s “phraseology is old.”

According to Reeves, by calling the homosexual inclination “objectively disordered,” the Church means that homosexual relationships are disordered.  According to Church teaching, he explained, authentic sexual relationships must be both unitive and procreative.

“It’s not the person who’s disordered,” he said. “It’s the concept that the relationship, in the eyes of the Catholic Church in this definition, is disordered.”

But Prof. Scott Nicholson, chair of theology at Our Lady Seat of Wisdom Academy in Barry’s Bay, Ontario, said the Catechism teaching is not about the homosexual relationship per se, but a disorder in the person’s sexual drive.

“It is true that acting on it is disordered,” he explained, “but above and beyond that the inclination itself isn’t something that you’d find in human beings except for original sin.”

“In a fallen world, individuals have various disorders in them that may not be any fault of their own but they remain disordered,” he continued. “Someone born blind, that’s an objective disorder because we’re meant to see, that’s what eyes are for. The sexual drive is meant to be inclined and lead people toward reproduction.”

“If it’s ordered in a particular individual in a way that isn’t inclined towards reproduction then it’s disordered. It’s out of the order for which it’s meant,” he added.

Sharpe said the Equity and Inclusive Education committee will decide whether to remove the language or perhaps explain it, and then make a recommendation to the trustees.

“I know that the language of that passage will have to be explained at the committee meeting because many of us don’t understand it because it was written by theologians,” she said.

Prof. Nicholson noted that the Catechism is not a work of high theology but intended for a “wide audience.” “It’s really intended for every educated, and I’d even go so far as to say semi-educated, Catholic,” he said.

The Church needs to use precise language, he added, to say exactly what it means on issues of importance.

As the province’s Catholic school boards adopted McGuinty’s equity and inclusive education strategy in the last two years, pro-family advocates warned that it would give homosexual activists a foothold to further undermine the effort to impart Catholic sexual teaching.

According to Tesluk, during the six years her children have attended school in the board, she has held various positions on the local school council.


Contact info:

Greg Reeves, Director of Education
Peterborough Victoria Northumberland Clarington Catholic District School Board
1355 Lansdowne St. W.
Peterborough, ON   K9J 7M3
Tel: (705) 748-4861, Ext. 224
Fax: (705) 748-9734
greeves@pvnccdsb.on.ca

Contact info for trustees.

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Star Wars video game to allow characters to have homosexual romances

by Ben Johnson Fri Mar 16 16:55 EST Comments (44)

 
Star Wars: The Old Republic
Coming soon to a computer near you.

MIAMI, FLORIDA, March 16, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – Soon, a child’s online exposure to homosexual romance will not just exist in a galaxy far, far away.

BioWare, the company that created the online video game “Star Wars: The Old Republic,” has relented after two years of lobbying and announced it will create an upgrade that allows players to have same-sex relationships as part of the gaming experience.

“Same gender romances with companion characters in Star Wars: The Old Republic will be a post-launch feature,” BioWare declared in an online statement. The new functions will be developed as the company releases “content and features that could not be included at launch, including the addition of more companion characters who will have additional romance options.”

Following the bulletin PC Magazine reported, “The ability to have a same-sex relationship within the Old Republic…is on the horizon.”

When LGBT activists began pressuring BioWare, which is a daughter company of Electronic Arts, to let players simulate homosexual scenarios, the company declined. During an internet discussion in April 2009, a BioWare monitor wrote terms like gay or lesbian “do not exist in Star Wars” and closed the thread. 

But homosexual and transgender activists kept up the pressure through the game’s bulletin board. An online poll used to express support for inclusion of LGBT characters in the game consisted of just 35 people. The Florida Family Association estimates 1.7 million copies of the game have been sold, the vast majority to young children.

“The worst part about this is we have children who are 9, 10, 11, 12 years old children playing these games,” David Caton, president of the Florida Family Association told LifeSiteNews.com.

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“Our main concern is the social engineering element,” he said, adding that he is concerned someone’s young child will see “this cool looking character who is a transgender male-to-female, and says, ‘Hey, that’s what I want to be.’ It’s something he would never think about apart from that game.”

The game is a massively popular multiplayer online (MMO) game, in which players from around the world play online. That raises the possibility a young child will be confronted with homosexual scenes unwittingly as part of simple game play. “Another player could choose to be a transgender and then thrust himself into the mix with other children who don’t want to see trangenders,” Caton said.

“If BioWare goes so far as to allow” characters to role play homosexual fantasies, Caton said, “I don’t think they are going to allow players to discriminate against LGBT players” – or characters.

BioWare has incorporated homosexual relationships into the video games Dragon Age and Mass Effect.

Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, noted in his Washington Watch Daily Commentary, “On the game’s website, there are more than 300 pages of comments – a lot of them expressing anger that their kids will be exposed to this Star Warped way of thinking.”

However, BioWare subsequently deleted many of those comments, according to the Florida Family Association.

Caton said the goal is to expose children early to an alternate sexual preference. “This is all focused on capturing that emotion that children have…the passion that goes with the game,” and transferring it into sympathy for the LGBT agenda.

His organization allows people to send an e-mail to 13 of the top officials in BioWare, Electronic Arts, and LucasFilm.

“Parents who have an interest in protecting our children from social engineering need to remain diligent,” Caton told LifeSiteNews.com. “Time is of the essence.”

Contact:
Click here to send an e-mail to Electronic Arts and LucasFilms respectfully making your opinion known.

 

Tags: bioware, david caton, electronic arts, star wars, star wars the old republic

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Gay ‘marriage’ not a right, prohibiting gay adoption not ‘discrimination’: European Court

by Matthew Cullinan Hoffman Fri Mar 16 16:26 EST Comments (23)

 
The European Court of Human Rights

March 16, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that the prohibition of adoption to non-married couples is not discriminatory, because it applies to both heterosexual and homosexual couples equally.

It has also ruled that homosexual “marriage” is not a right under the European Convention on Human Rights.

The decision effectively confirms the liceity under the same Convention of French law, which does not award the status of “marriage” to homosexual couples, and does not permit non-married couples to adopt children.

The ruling was announced yesterday in a suit by a French lesbian couple, Valérie Gas and Nathalie Dubois, who have been in a Pact of Civil Solidarity (PACS) since 2002.  A PACS is a loose contractual arrangement made available to both heterosexual and homosexual couples in France, in contrast with stronger “civil union” arrangements and homosexual “marriages” available in some other countries. 

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Dubois conceived a child by artificial insemination through an anonymous donor in 2000, and the couple have been raising the child together. Gas has sought to adopt the child by recourse to various courts, and was ultimately turned down by the country’s highest court of appeal, the Court of Cassation. The European Court of Human Rights has confirmed the French court’s decisions.

The Court also ruled that that there is no “indirect discrimination founded (...) on the impossibility of marriage,” because article 12 of the European Convention on Human Rights “does not impose on the governments of the state parties the obligation to open marriage to a homosexual couple,” adding that governments “enjoy a certain leeway in determining the exact nature” of legal recognitions of homosexual unions.

The ruling continues the mixed record of the Court on social issues. It has previously ruled that abortion is not a “human right,” and has accepted Italy’s practice of displaying crucifixes in public buildings. However, it has also ruled that suicide is a “human right,” and has attempted to force homosexual inheritance rights on Poland and homosexual parades on Moscow. It has also ruled that Ireland’s constitution permits abortion, an idea rejected by the Irish government.

The European Court of Human Rights exists to rule on cases that fall under the European Convention on Human Rights, to which 47 European states are party.

Tags: adoption, european court of human rights, gay marriage, homosexuality

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Ohio Catholic priests to pray exorcism prayers at abortion clinic

by Kathleen Gilbert Fri Mar 16 15:53 EST Comments (8)

 
Anthony Hopkins, playing an exorcist priest, says prayers of exorcism in the movie 'The Rite'.

DAYTON, Ohio, March 16, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - For many segments of the population, the realm of demonic activity and exorcisms stays in the movie theater. But for many believers in the pro-life movement, the problem of dealing with evil is a practical question – and one that is taken very seriously.

In Dayton, Ohio, it has led one local 40 Days for Life leader to obtain permission from the Archdiocese of Cincinnati to have priests join their prayers outside the Women’s Med Center on Sunday with specific prayers to drive away evil presences from the area.

“Hopefully, the spiritual battle will be won,” Ruth Deddens, an organizer with 40 Days for Life in Dayton, told the Dayton Daily News.

Deddens had asked Rev. Steve J. Angi, chancellor of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Cincinnati, for permission to have priests come and pray an “exorcism of locality.” In the Catholic Church, although lay persons may pray unofficial prayers of deliverance, official rites of exorcism requires an ordained priest acting under the permission of his bishop.

Although workers at the clinic did not offer comment, Rick Pender, spokesman for Planned Parenthood of Southwest Ohio, told the Daily News that the pro-life group “has a right to free speech.”

“We don’t agree that we’re doing something evil. We’re providing a service that is needed and appreciated by a lot of people,” he said.

Calls to Deddens were not returned by press time.

Dedden’s idea was not her own - it was modeled off the successful exorcism campaign in Rockford, Illinois, where a bizarre anti-Christian abortion clinic finally closed its doors this year.

Rockford pro-life leader Kevin Rilott told LifeSiteNews.com that when a local group of priests was granted permission by the Rockford diocese to regularly pray exorcism prayers outside the Northern Illinois Women’s Center (NIWC), the change was unmistakable.

“We saw a huge change at this clinic. The number of abortions went down, the number of saves went up,” said Rilott. “The moment they began saying these prayers was the beginning of the end of this clinic.”

By the time the Rockford clinic closed following the revelation of serious health violations, NIWC had become notorious for its anti-Christian signage, including a nun in a coffin, a crucified rubber chicken, and personalized slogans insulting pro-life witnesses outside. One sign suggested that NIWC had killed 50,000 children while “JC,” or Jesus Christ, had only saved 50.

Often priests would pray by themselves, said Rilott, but at times all four would surround the building on its four sides and say the exorcism prayers together, at which time Rilott said the clinic owner, known to pro-lifers for his habit of taunting the opposition, always responded predictably - immediately leaving the building until the prayers wrapped up.

“Everyone could just sense what was happening,” he said.

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Canadian Observer: A new ‘pro-faith, pro-family & pro-life’ magazine

by Peter Baklinski Fri Mar 16 15:29 EST Comments (1)

 
Editor-in-chief Richard Bastien

OTTAWA, Ontario, March 16, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Lovers of traditional values in Canada now have a new platform on which to develop and disseminate their ideas. Canadian Observer is a new quarterly magazine that, since making its debut last summer, has already helped Canadians who hold traditional values dear to join forces for a common cause.

Richard Bastien, editor-in-chief of Canadian Observer, told LifeSiteNews that the magazine’s goal is to “help create a cultural conservative movement of opinion in Canada.”

“What distinguishes us from ‘fiscal conservatives’ and ‘libertarians’ is that we believe in an objective moral order rooted in human nature. We oppose statism, i.e. the Nanny State but, more importantly, we oppose moral relativism, which we view as the hidden face of modern liberalism,” he said.

In an editorial from the first issue, publisher Joseph Ben-Ami compared the magazine to what Cité Libre became for Quebec: namely the principal source of “intellectual capital” for left-wing ideas that were not in vogue in the 1950s, but which became the cornerstone of the federal Liberal Party and of the “quasi-socialist policies” of Trudeau and his successors.

“Our goal in creating Canadian Observer magazine is to provide a similar platform for the development and dissemination of conservative ideas in the areas of culture, politics and public affairs,” wrote Ben-Ami.

Bastien told LifeSiteNews that readers will find conservative content in Canadian Observer that they will not find anywhere else in Canada.

“Readers will find … a defense and illustration of cultural conservatism which is grounded in reason rather than in a particular religious faith. We accept that modern society is religiously plural, but we think that moral issues can be debated rationally, without invoking any religious authority.”

Ben-Ami told CanadianCatholicNews that the magazine is “pro-faith, pro-family and pro-life.”

At a soiree last month in Barry’s Bay, Ontario hosted by Canadian Observer for faculty, staff and supporters of Our Lady Seat of Wisdom Academy, Bastien said, “in a world of unabashed moral relativism, we seek to defend the natural law tradition, i.e. the objective nature of morality. We uphold the Judeo-Christian tradition by showing that it is fully consonant with reason. We don’t appeal to the authority of Scriptures or Church, but to that of reason. That’s why we are a secular, albeit religion-friendly, magazine.”

A casual reader flipping though the pages of the magazine might find scathing critiques of radical feminism by Barbara Kay, a regular columnist with the National Post. Or they might find the latest thoughts from author, painter, and culture-of-death critic Michael O’Brien. And they will be sure to laugh at the satirical political comics of David Beresford, teacher, writer, and part-time doodler.

“As a conservative magazine, we seek to be thoughtful but not academic, topical but not trendy, forthright but not crude, humorous but not frivolous,” said Bastien at Our Lady Seat of Wisdom.

“In the eyes of the modern media and academia, anyone who supports the concept of an objective moral law is a conservative, i.e. someone who is either mentally retarded, or economically super-selfish or culturally fixated on the past,” he joked.

“This may explain why the whole idea of battling for conservative principles is not all that popular. Many people hold to conservative ideas in the privacy of their own minds, but they seldom want to defend them in the public square. They enjoy fights in the sporting world, but refrain from fighting over matters that involve them personally.”

The team at Canadian Observer knows that their project “appears as a project where only fools dare to tread.” Not only do they describe themselves as “unrepentantly conservative,” but they operate on a shoestring with no government subsidy. They even do their own printing.

“You might say that we are not unlike the French underground during World War II. I hope that will convince you to participate in our endeavor,” said Bastien.

A one year subscription which includes four issues costs $35. The latest issue can be downloaded to be viewed on a Kindle or e-reading device for just $5.99.

“At last an intelligent, informed, and well-written magazine centred on conservative ideas and ideals. Highly qualified journalists, refreshing subjects, compelling reading,” said Michael Coren, host of The Arena on Sun News Network, in a review.

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White House says it won’t budge on HHS mandate

by Kathleen Gilbert Fri Mar 16 14:27 EST Comments (21)

 
White House spokesman Jay Carney

WASHINGTON, March 16, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The Obama administration has reiterated that it will not revisit its plan to force religious employers to cover abortifacient drugs, birth control and sterilizations, even as U.S. bishops say the rule will directly cause hundreds of Catholic hospitals to shut their doors.

“The solution that was reached here … has been reached, and we firmly believe that it achieves the goals that the president set,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said at Thursday’s White House press conference, reports the Daily Caller.

Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, president of the U.S. bishops conference, has said that in previous talks with the administration, Obama officials not only defended the mandate but encouraged the clerics to heed the “enlightened voices of accommodation” of left-leaning Catholics, such as the editors of the notoriously leftist Jesuit-run America magazine.

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In a statement Wednesday the bishops said that they are “strongly unified and intensely focused” against the mandate, the effects of which were decried in strongest terms. “This is not a fight we want or asked for, but one forced upon us by government on its own timing,” they wrote.

The administration had feinted towards an “accommodation” in early February by claiming that no one would pay for the insured birth control under religious employers’ plans, because insurance companies would offer the drugs for free. After bishops and others criticized Obama for leaving the rule materially unchanged and presenting a meaningless “accommodation”, the administration dug in its heels, saying that the “accommodation” marked the farthest the president was willing to go to assuaging Church concerns.

Cardinal Francis George of Chicago last week warned Catholics that they should save a copy of the Archdiocesan directory, which lists several Catholic hospitals under its purview, as a “souvenir,” unless the mandate is stopped. “Two Lents from now, unless something changes, that page will be blank,” he wrote.

 

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Report: Michigan’s abortion industry guilty of ‘deeply entrenched illegal, unethical practices’

by Ben Johnson Fri Mar 16 14:15 EST Comments (5)

LANSING, MICHIGAN, March 16, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – Lax regulation and scant oversight have turned Michigan’s abortion clinics into a haven for unsanitary, illegal and sometimes deadly practices, according to a report submitted to a state senate subcommittee on Thursday.

Right to Life of Michigan compiled the report from documents acquired through Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests.

The violations researchers found include unsanitary conditions, refusing to allow emergency health providers to help victims of botched abortions, illegal disposal of aborted babies, falsifying medical records to make aborted babies seem to be pre-viability, and many others. Twice in 10 years, state abortion clinics refused to notify the state about patients who died during an abortion.

“Our report reveals that women’s health and welfare are needlessly being put at risk,” said Right to Life of Michigan President Barbara Listing. “We have heard numerous stories about the deplorable conditions that persist in Michigan abortion clinics. This blatant disregard for women’s safety due to a lack of proper government oversight must stop.”

Prominent in the document is Abraham Alberto Hodari, whose multiple abortion clinics were tied to four deaths statewide.

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Mike Pemble, director of the state Bureau of Health Systems, said since only four of the state’s 32 abortion clinics are licensed, he cannot oversee the vast majority of such facilities.

Listing said with the new Republican governor, Rick Snyder, “we expect the worst of the abortion clinics to face closure.”

Michigan RTL presented the report to a state senate subcommittee on Thursday.

State Sen. Mark Jansen, R-Grand Rapids, said he may push for more funding to increase state inspections of abortion clinics.

You can read the full 51-page report here.

 

Tags: abraham alberto hodari, alberto hodari, michigan

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Hollywood piles on Kirk Cameron for gay comments; Roseanne calls ‘accomplice to murder’

by Kathleen Gilbert Fri Mar 16 13:55 EST Comments (54)

 

HOLLYWOOD, California, March 16, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - After actor Kirk Cameron refused to back down on statements criticizing the societal effects of homosexuality, a deluge of angry retorts poured in from others in the entertainment industry, with some calling Cameron “a complete tool,” a “douchebag,” and “an accomplice to murder,” among other slurs.

Cameron, formerly the child star of the sitcom “Growing Pains,” was steered into a discussion on homosexuality by CNN’s Piers Morgan during an interview on Cameron’s new movie “Monumental.” In response to a question about his beliefs, Cameron called the practice of homosexuality “unnatural.” “I think that it is detrimental, and ultimately destructive to so many of the foundations of civilization,” he said.

In response to an initial blowback accusing him of “hatred,” Cameron said in a statement that that was “not true. I can assuredly say that it’s my life’s mission to love all people.”

“I should be able to express moral views on social issues, especially those that have been the underpinning of Western civilization for 2,000 years — without being slandered, accused of hate speech, and told from those who preach ‘tolerance’ that I need to either bend my beliefs to their moral standards or be silent when I’m in the public square,” he said.

He concluded, “I believe we need to learn how to debate these things with greater love and respect.”

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Nonetheless, a host of entertainers, particularly those identifying as homosexuals, responded on Twitter and in Youtube videos criticizing Cameron. Many joked or insinuated that Cameron is a closet homosexual, and still more criticized his remarks as “un-Christlike.”

“I know that’s not what your Jesus wants ... he would never spread that kind of hate,” actor and comedian Michael Cornacchia said in a video message. Gay comedian Randy Rainbow issued a mock video portraying Cameron, whom he identified as “a complete tool,” as his homosexual lover.

In a discussion with comedian Lewis Black, Piers Morgan reflected on being stunned by what he saw as the total incongruity of being Christian and “so calmly” expressing Biblical beliefs about homosexuality. “I just don’t think you can sit there with a straight face and say I’m a Christian, God fearing, all around good person, but by the way I hate these people who were born the way they were,” said Morgan, who called Cameron’s comments “transparently offensive.”

Comedienne Roseanne Barr branded Cameron an accomplice to murder for opposing homosexuality. “Kirk or kurt or whatever Cameron is an accomplice to murder with his hate speech. So is rick warren. Their peers r killing gays in Uganda,” she tweeted.

Talk show host Rosie O’Donnell, who identifies as a lesbian, also issued a monologue against Cameron’s “hatred.” “It’s very un-Christlike Kirk. Really. If you want to follow the Jesus model, man, don’t go shamin’ people like that for who they are!” she exclaimed.

In a subsequent segment, however, O’Donnell toned down her criticism, saying that after she had invited Cameron onto her show, he politely declined and asked the host to come to dinner.

O’Donnell said that Morgan had “kinda baited” Cameron with the question and, although she shied away from the prospect of “Biblical ping-pong” over dinner, thanked Kirk for the show of charity. “This is how fences get mended,” she said.

 

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FDA permits use of fetal brain tissue in lab experiments

by John-Henry Westen Fri Mar 16 12:56 EST Comments (31)

WASHINGTON, March 16, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The Food and Drug Administration has approved experiments using brain tissue from aborted unborn babies to treat macular degeneration.  StemCells Inc. will inject fetal brain stem cells into the eyes of up to 16 patients to study the cells’ effect on vision.

In its press release announcing the clinical trial, StemCells Inc. was careful to refer to the fetal brain material as “purified human neural stem cell product” or HuCNS-SC cells, rather than “fresh human fetal brain tissue,” a description which can be found elsewhere on its website.

“StemCells Inc. is not using embryonic stem cells.  A five-day-old human being at the embryonic stage does not have a brain, but a fetus at 10 or 20 weeks of development with visible fingers, toes and ears has a functioning brain,” said MCCL Executive Director Scott Fischbach.  “Developing human beings in the womb are treated simply as raw material for laboratory experimentation by StemCells Inc. and other companies seeking to monetize aborted unborn children.”

The misleadingly-named Birth Defects Research Laboratory at the University of Washington in Seattle is known within the research community as a top government distributor of fetal tissue.  The lab has been sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for over four decades, according to a report in WORLD Magazine.  The Puget Sound Business Journal stated that the lab “in 2009 filled more than 4,400 requests for fetal tissue and cell lines.” 

WORLD reports that the Seattle facility has retrieved the products of 22,000 pregnancies to date; the lab collects aborted fetuses from abortion centers across the country.

Experimental fetal stem cell treatments have yielded horrific results.  Dr. David Prentice, an internationally recognized expert on stem cells and cloning, cites trials in which fetal stem cells have been used unsuccessfully to treat Parkinson’s disease.  The New York Times called the outcome of a 2001 study “devastating” after “the patients writhed and jerked uncontrollably.”  Another large clinical trial published in 2003 showed similar results

“The use of morally illicit material in the biomedical industry violates the ‘do no harm’ principle that has governed the practice of medicine for millennia,” Fischbach said.  “Adult stem cells offer the ethical and efficacious alternative.  Unborn babies deserve dignity, not dissection and destruction.”

It is not known whether the University of Minnesota is experimenting with material from aborted fetuses, but it does use stem cells extracted from human embryos, which are killed in the process.  Minnesota’s Human Conceptus Statute 145.422 prohibits the use of a living human conceptus for any type of research or experimentation.

“MCCL calls upon the U of M to pledge not to purchase or use fetal material in its research,” Fischbach added.  “Such gruesome work violates human dignity and has no place in our state-funded institutions.”

Tags: experiments, fda, fetal tissue, obama

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The numbers Planned Parenthood doesn’t want you to know

by Jennie Stone Fri Mar 16 12:31 EST Comments (9)

 

March 16, 2012 (LiveActionNews.org) - We’ve all heard Planned Parenthood’s trite mantra that “only 3%” of their services are abortion procedures in order to downplay the pivotal role that “service” has to their financial stability.  Their supporters (and sadly, many pro-lifers) have succumbed to believing that abortion is merely a small part of what Planned Parenthood is all about.

Here are the facts, straight from their most recent annual report and the Alan Guttmacher Institute, Planned Parenthood’s research arm.

Planned Parenthood provided a total of 11,003,336 services (breast exams, birth control, STD and pregnancy tests, abortions, etc) to three million clients in 2010.  329,445 of those services were actual abortion procedures.  That’s where the “3%” claim comes from. If we use Planned Parenthood’s logic, we can equate an invasive surgical abortion procedure to handing someone a condom.

Planned Parenthood never delves any deeper into their abortion numbers, though.  What are they hiding?…

Nearly 11% of Planned Parenthood’s overall clients obtain abortions.  This is far from the deceptive “3%” notion they advocate.

Those abortion services garner Planned Parenthood millions upon of millions of dollars every single year.  According to the Alan Guttmacher Institute, the average cost of a surgical abortion is $451.  (Chemical abortions, which are becoming more commonplace, are more expensive than surgical abortions, so the following calculation is a very conservative estimate.)  Abortion is Planned Parenthood’s cash cow.

Abortion makes up almost 14% of Planned Parenthood’s overall billion-dollar income.  Planned Parenthood is acquiring a hefty chunk of their overall income from the one procedure they “want to reduce.”  Keep in mind this percentage is actually higher considering the increased usage of more-expensive chemical abortions.

Planned Parenthood is the nation’s largest abortion organization.  They claim to be “the nation’s leading sexual and reproductive health care provider and advocate.”  In reality, it’s the nation’s leading abortion committing organization, performing over 27% of all abortions annually in America.

Over nine out of ten of Planned Parenthood’s pregnant patients get abortions.  But hey, they’re all about “choice,” right?

Don’t let the “3%” claim fool you.

Reprinted with permission from LiveActionNews.org

Tags: abortion, planned parenthood

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The Abortioneers: Men should be especially pro-abortion, because they don’t like babies

by Nancy Flanders Fri Mar 16 12:04 EST Comments (21)

 

March 16, 2012 (LiveActionNews.org) - The notion that men should have a say in abortion or “reproductive rights” seems preposterous to pro-choice groups. So much so that Planned Parenthood has challenged state laws requiring spousal consent for abortion (Planned Parenthood vs. Danforth, Planned Parenthood vs. Casey). They say that men, even husbands, should have absolutely no right to protect their child from abortion. The same goes for birth control. The latest buzz in the “reproductive rights” circle was that men should have no opinion in the matter. So-called feminists like Sandra Fluke would like us to believe that her uterus is her business yet she wants the rest of us to foot the bill for her birth control. Since when is feminism about asking for handouts? Basically, when it comes to birth control and abortion, men should just shut up. Their voices silenced. Their opinions irrelevant. Unless of course those men want to give women the money for either of those things.

Anti-Anti of The Abortioneers recently referred to men as a silent suffering group, but not for the reasons you would think, such as watching their child die at the hands of their partner and an abortionist. No, the Abortioneers want men to stand up for birth control and abortion because, “aren’t men really more pro-no-babies than women anyway?”

Click “like” if you want to end abortion!

Men are more against babies than women are? Are we suddenly a society that is all against babies? Children aren’t the punishment pro-aborts want the world to believe they are. Babies are pretty darn cute, not to mention fun and the affirmation that life is a gift. And while they do take work and dedication, so does everything else in life that is worth having.

The writer, Anti-Anti also claims that deadbeat dads would make great advocates for the birth control debate, “even if just to keep their pregnant partners off their backs?” Basically, women can choose to use birth control, to abort or to be a mother (or give their child to a loving couple, but pro-aborts always seem to forget that option). But a man can only sit back and wait for his partner to make all of the decisions from birth control to whether their baby will die, or to whether he will be a father. If that birth control fails or she forgets to take it and she decides to keep the baby, but he (who had no say) decides not to be a father, he is labeled a deadbeat who forces his strong, feminist partner to morph into a nagging, dependent, wounded victim. If he is against an abortion, but the woman wants one, she is considered brave and he is considered anti-woman. Either way, women get to make the decisions and men are expected to live with it. It reeks with sexism.

Anti-Anti goes on to ask, “How do we get the men as angry as we are? How can we get them to practice what they secretly preach?  We cannot continue to fight this fight on our own!” After years of pushing men away and telling them to keep out of women’s matters, apparently it’s time to pull them back in. The abortionists, who have literally spent decades trying to silence men and devoted hours of their time to devaluing the male opinion, are now begging men to speak up.  I guess that means they’re desperate for support.  And that is a good sign for the cause of life.

Reprinted with permission from LiveActionNews.org

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Thoughts from watching hilarious babies

by Justin Miller Fri Mar 16 11:46 EST Comments (3)

 

March 16, 2012 (LiveActionNews.org) - I received a forward from a friend at work the other day that contained a link. No description, just a blank email with a link. Here and there I get forwards from this friend and thought it’s probably another puppy playing or a funny home video clip. You know, something that stirs up a “thought giggle” – when you think, “ha, that’s funny” without really changing facial expression and then you close it out and continue on checking email. So, in order to avoid the awkwardness of not knowing what my friend is talking about when she cracks a joke referring to something that happened in the video, I click on the link to watch it.

A video starts to load and a baby is seen sitting in a bouncy seat conveying a serious, somewhat fearful look. Then, someone behind the camera makes a noise and the baby rolls over in uncontrolled hysterical laughter. I don’t usually laugh out loud at many forwards, but I exploded when watching it. The video had millions of views. After my co-workers asked me if I was alright after hearing my uncontrolled chuckles, I started to calm down and my smile started to fade as I started to think how it’s legal to kill babies if the procedure is done a mere months before the age of the babies in the video.

I thought about how very few people would argue that the lives of such adorable babies starring in these video clips should be left up to the choice of another person, so why does that logic change such a short period of time before these hilarious clips are recorded and adored by millions of people? The difference between life and death can be determined just months prior to one of these giggling babies? I started to wonder what some people might argue is the difference between a fetus – that can be killed if chosen to do so – and one of the hilarious babies I watched in the video. The only answer that came to my mind is “time.”

Click “like” if you want to end abortion!

It seems that a lot of people and organizations are placing “time” as to why a fetus and a baby are different and that seems unrealistic because the passing of time is inevitable – no one can stop it, it is happening. Without the procedure of an abortion that fetus that can be aborted in so many places legally will in a short period of time be one of such babies adored in a video. I thought to myself, “I would like to hear someone argue that something as inevitable as the passing of time is not the only difference between a fetus and a baby in the video.” What are other differences?

Ultimately, after watching the video, I realized that a lot of the people who will laugh and think that such babies in a video are the most adorable, precious people of this earth are also the same people who believe in abortion. How do they respond when they are asked, “would an aborted baby have been one of the babies in such a video had they not been aborted?”

Stating that a fetus is different from one of the hilarious babies makes as much sense as stating that time will not pass; tomorrow we will not be one day older than today. I don’t understand how anyone argues that an aborted baby would not have grown into one of the babies starring in such a hilarious video and I think that such logic is the same as stating that the passing of time does not exist.

I finally rested upon the disturbing realization – human beings ability to justify. People can throw some kind of “less than human” words together to represent a fetus so that the option for termination can occur. Throughout history there have been other attempts when human beings take it upon themselves to determine what a human life is by conjuring up their own definition of life and the results are the most shamed periods of our existence. Overall, when watching the video of them adorable babies, it bothered me that there is this man-made separation between a baby and a fetus. I would like people to acknowledge the fact that killing a fetus is the same as filling a baby unless they can argue that the passing of time does not exist.

Reprinted with permission from LiveActionNews.org

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Study: Planned Parenthood shrinks as its reliance on gvmt subsidies grows

by Patrick B. Craine Fri Mar 16 11:21 EST Comments (3)

STAFFORD, Virginia, March 16, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A new report shows that for the sixth straight year Planned Parenthood has closed more clinics than it has opened while its reliance on tax dollars continues to grow.

“Our 2011 survey shows Planned Parenthood is moving out of communities at an ever-increasing rate,” said Jim Sedlak, vice president of American Life League and head of STOPP International, which has tracked Planned Parenthood Federation of America for 25 years. “It closed 47 clinics last year and opened just 11 new ones, leaving a total of 749 clinics - a net reduction of 36 facilities.”

Sedlak noted that most data ALL analyzes and reports regarding Planned Parenthood come from Planned Parenthood itself. But this latest facilities survey, called “2011 Report on Planned Parenthood Facilities in the United States,” is an independent compilation of the name and address of every Planned Parenthood medical facility in the country, including the types of abortions done at each location.

“President Obama, HHS Secretary Sebelius, and Planned Parenthood contend that PP services enjoy widespread support by the general public. Many PP executive salaries fall into Obama’s so-called top one percent,” said Rob Gasper, the senior researcher at American Life League who conducted the study. “Yet, our research clearly shows an organization in decline with ever-growing dependence on taxpayer dollars.”

“PP’s greatest clinic losses took place in Texas as a direct result of that state moving PP funds to healthcare organizations not involved with abortions. This is not an indicator of strength or private support for a supposed hugely popular nonprofit organization,” Gaspar added.

The full survey is available here

Additional research on PP can be found at http://www.stopp.org/.

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‘At eight months, my doctor said he would ‘absolutely’ abort my disabled son’

by Kristi Burton Brown Fri Mar 16 10:59 EST Comments (90)

 
Smily Titus in his Rabbit

March 16, 2012 (LiveActionNews.org) - When you walk into Nicole and Steven’s house, you get the sense that they are parents who thoroughly enjoy their three kids.  You’ll find Steven running down the narrow hallway while all the kids scream in delight, chasing each other and him.  Nicole patiently fixes healthy meals for them while explaining to the youngest that she can’t climb up on the counter to help because the crockpot is just too hot for little hands.  You’ll see Titus, their only son proudly popping wheelies in his special wheelchair while the family cheers.  They are a family who seems to enjoy the little moments; the precious memories that the years have brought.

Entering their house, you’d never guess the ordeal they went through almost four years ago.  Four years ago, Nicole was eight months pregnant with Titus, their second child.  Since she was planning for a home birth, Nicole doesn’t remember exactly why she went in for an ultrasound that fateful—and miraculous—day.

As the routine ultrasound was being performed, Nicole could tell that something was definitely up.  The doctor said nothing, but quickly called in another doctor.  They consulted together while watching the screen and leaving Nicole clueless and helpless.  For some reason, spina bifida popped into Nicole’s mind.  “Is it spina bifida?” she asked.  But the doctor couldn’t tell her anything; he just showed her what he saw on the screen.  And it wasn’t good.  Nicole and Steven were sent to a specialist, immediately.

The specialist had a huge ultrasound screen for Nicole and Steven to stare at.  While they watched their eight-month-old son move his arms and head; while they saw his little heart beat quickly, the specialist diagnosed spina bifida and hydrocephalus, and put it all out there:

He said it was the biggest lesion he had ever seen; that our son would probably never go to the bathroom on his own.  He’d never walk, never talk.  He said this based on a 30 second ultrasound.  He said, ‘I will absolutely perform the abortion for you.’  I could see Titus’ arms and head moving and his heart beating at the time the doctor said this.  He was emphatic that Titus would be basically a vegetable and mentally retarded.  And that it would be unfair to him for me to give birth.

At that moment, Nicole and Steven realized that their role in Titus’ life would be so much more than “parent.”  Their role was now “advocate”, too.  Without a word shared between them, both Nicole and Steven knew they would never accept abortion as an answer—no matter what the truth about Titus was.

Click “like” if you want to end abortion!

Nicole explains:  “From our faith, we believe that every life is precious—a gift from God—whether ‘normal’ or ‘perfect’ or not.”  She also realized that it was divine intervention that the ultrasound had even taken place at all.  A medical professional assured Nicole that, had she gone ahead with the planned home birth, either her or Titus would have certainly died from infection.  “Nothing was left to chance,” Nicole says.  “It was all orchestrated.”

When Titus was born by c-section, Nicole was only allowed to see his face.  She couldn’t touch her son for at least two days, as he was recovering from immediate surgery for the softball-sized lesion on his back.  Though she couldn’t touch him, Nicole refused to leave Titus’ side, even sleeping on the floor of the NICU to be beside him.

Nicole firmly believes that God has defied human knowledge and wisdom through Titus’s life.  Her strong Christian faith leads her to believe that God is not controlled by the predictions of men.  She will confidently tell you that the Lord has given their family everything they need to endure Titus’ difficulties.  Is it hard?  Yes.  Is there pain?  Yes.  But, Titus’ courage and preciousness overwhelms everything else.  He continues to prove the “specialist” wrong:

Every milestone, he has hit either before or right on.  He is very intelligent and able.  Titus doesn’t complain and fuss about why his legs don’t work or about anything else.  He loves to do what little boys do.  He knows his letters, numbers, and shapes—has known them since he was 2 ½.  We wouldn’t have it any other way.  Titus is definitely a huge addition to our family.  This is how God made him—I fully believe this.

Nicole credits two things for helping her get through the shock of Titus’ diagnosis and giving her the strength to give him life:  her strong faith in Christ and the year she spent working at a crisis pregnancy center in California.  There, she grew in her confidence that each baby was indeed a precious individual, deserving of an equal chance at life.  She believes parents often take the words of doctors too far and begin to question, “Can I really handle this?  Is it really fair to my child?”

When I asked Nicole what she would say to other parents facing a similar diagnosis, she said:

I would say that for me, immediately, it was always either the Lord knows me or he doesn’t.  And He either knows I need this or I don’t.  Whatever happens in my life is His will for me at this time.  This means I can move mountains.  If this baby having issues or conditions is His will for me, it means I can get through it.  If you think that someone tells you from a human perspective what you can or can’t handle, you don’t know God as the great Physician.  We shouldn’t try to alter things in our own humanness or do something without knowing all the facts.

Even Nicole’s doctor didn’t have all the facts right.  You can never know all the facts about your unborn child before they’re born.  As Nicole believes, there’s no way you should make a decision to abort a child at all, but certainly not based off an ultrasound or a test.

Off an ultrasound, you cannot know a baby or everything about them or what they’re really like.  There was no way the doctor knew all he said he knew about my son from that screen.  Lots of times, the ultrasounds or tests are wrong anyway:  when the mother says, ‘I don’t care,’ and the baby’s born, and nothing is wrong at all.  How would you feel if someone could show you what your five year old would look like and you could see them face to face—would you be happy you ended their life?

About Titus, Nicole shares,

Right away, his life was a testimony.  He’s so much fun—everyone that meets him loves him.  He’s a really special kid.  And almost everything the doctor said [besides the actual diagnosis of spina bifida and hydrocephalus] is completely wrong.

Nicole believes that more parents should educate themselves because knowledge is power.  Doctors are important, she says, and they have a purpose, but you are the parent.  The more you understand about anything you may have to go through, the more strength you’ll have for an arrow you’d otherwise not be prepared for.  Things have changed so drastically over the years for babies born with spina bifida and other conditions, and they can truly lead almost normal lives.

Of course, normality (whatever that is!) is not the measure of a person’s worth, but it’s true that people have a very wrong perception of what individuals with Down Syndrome, spina bifida, and other “disabilities” can achieve in their lives.

In the end, Nicole says, “I wouldn’t have it any other way….It doesn’t matter what the child is or isn’t—they’re a gift!”

Reprinted with permission from LiveActionNews.org

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A few more important items about the Gravel lawsuit

by Steve Jalsevac Thu Mar 15 20:13 EST Comments (11)

Our announcement today about the LifeSiteNews written defense against the Fr. Gravel lawsuit does not include some important additional, introductory information. We did not want to make it longer than it already is. However, there is more that should be said.

First off, the suit is against LifeSiteNews and five named staff. Also sued in the same Gravel legal action is the Quebec pro-life organization, Campaigne Quebec Vie. We are not in any formal way associated with that organization and infrequently communicate with them about happenings in their province.

It is obvious that by far the main target of the lawsuit is LifeSiteNews. Why this totally separate Quebec pro-life advocacy organization is being sued together with a news service that reports on developments around the world is a mystery. Why the Quebec court would actually accept such an arrangement is also a big question.

Fr. Gravel is from Quebec. We don’t have any staff in Quebec and very rarely travel there. Quebec is an overwhelmingly French speaking Canadian province and none of our staff speaks French fluently, if at all. We have to travel to Quebec to attend the court hearings. Quebec law is in many ways different than the laws in other Canadian provinces. We therefore had to find and hire a team of French speaking Quebec lawyers and experts to act on our behalf.

So far, the eventual trial is required to take place in Quebec only and in Fr. Gravel’s backyard in his Joliette diocese, where is he is well known and admired. Not exactly a fair or level playing field. LifeSiteNews is at a distinct disadvantage in many ways regarding this case.

One would think that there would be legally required accommodations to balance the disadvantages that are currently imposed on us because of the geographic, language, cultural and community benefits that are all overwhelmingly in Fr. Gravel’s favour.

Still, we have a great defense team. Really impressive folks. So, we will have to try to make lemonade out of a lemon and it certainly seems that we are succeeding at that.

In the end, we want this entire episode to end up advancing the cause of life, family and truth in an important region of the world (Quebec) that is hurting in many serious ways from a lack of exposure to truth, or at least balanced information, about very important issues.

It has been stressful, but also an adventure.

Please read the various articles that we will be publishing on our defense. I am sure you will find it quite enlightening. It tells a fascinating and disturbing story and concerns many fundamental issues and the freedom to disseminate truth.

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LSN defense against ‘pro-choice’ Catholic priest’s $500,000 lawsuit now public

by Steve Jalsevac Thu Mar 15 20:10 EST Comments (1)

 
Named staff from left: John-Henry Westen, Hilary White, Patrick Craine, Tim Waggoner (former staff member), and Steve Jalsevac

On February 15 of last year LifeSiteNews announced, much to the shock of our readers, that LifeSiteNews and five of its staff are the subject of a $500,000 lawsuit from a self-professed ‘pro-choice’ Quebec Catholic priest - Fr. Raymond Gravel.

Fr. Gravel, one of Canada’s most prominent priests and a former Member of federal Parliament, who was forced by the Vatican to leave politics, argued that LifeSiteNews’ coverage of some of his more controversial public statements amounted to “libel.” He was particularly incensed that we had referred to him as “pro-abortion,” whereas he says he is only “pro-choice” on abortion. Also, we have reported on Fr. Gravel’s severe public criticisms of the Church’s teaching on homosexuality.

We have not been able to speak about the case more than providing the scant details we did in February of 2011.  Now, however, our defense has been filed and we are finally able to reveal information on the case, information which many of you have been asking about for the last year of near-silence.

At long last, as of a few days ago, we are free to present many of the disturbing details about what we will argue is an abusive and politically-motivated lawsuit that amounts to an extreme attack on freedom of the press and freedom of speech.

We can also reveal the details about our countersuit, as well as ask for the financial support we desperately need to fight this case to its conclusion.

Today we are releasing a brief executive summary (see below) of the 99-page defense document. That will be followed by the publication of a much more detailed presentation of the defense, which we believe is a fascinating story on its own, in stages in the coming weeks.

At this time we really need the help of our supporters.

Fighting this suit is requiring the involvement of a team of lawyers and professional expert witnesses, plus many disbursements: it is thus far estimated that the additional costs to be paid for the defense, including future trial days in court perhaps next year, would total about $130,000.

Our lawyers are devoted to winning this case, and for the amount of work involved these fees are extremely reasonable.

* See also, A few more important items about the Gravel lawsuit *

—————————————————————————————————————————————


Raymond Gravel vs. Life Site News – Chronological summary of the defence

March 2012 – Fr. Raymond Gravel’s motion against LifeSiteNews in the Superior Court of Québec has almost systematically ignored the declarations and triggering actions that he initiated, and to which the defendants simply responded in their articles, in an “action-reaction” manner that was illustrated in the numerous exhibits the plaintiff presented. This is an important aspect of the case that the defendants will present to the court.

Moreover defendants will submit to the court that plaintiff Raymond Gravel’s appeal is abusive; his use of the courts is excessive and unreasonable, and his goal is to settle the score with his political adversaries. His primary objective, it will be argued, is to limit the defendants’ freedom of expression within the context of highly public debates on abortion, same-sex marriage and euthanasia, seeking to deprive them the opportunity to fully exercise their constitutionally-protected rights – rights that are crucial to fulfilling their jobs as journalists.

Involvement by the Apostolic Nuncio in Canada, the Bishop of Joliette, Bishop Gilles Lussier - Rev. Raymond Gravel’s immediate superior – would seem to have mobilized the Catholic Church in Canada, and particularly in Québec, to deal with this unusual situation. On December 21, 2010, plaintiff Raymond Gravel brought legal action against LifeSiteNews in the Superior Court of Québec. 

On April 16, 2011 Fr. Gravel was quoted in Le Devoir stating, “Sometimes Rome can go over the head of the bishop; we saw this when I had to leave politics.” According to Raymond Gravel, wrote the reporter, “It is in the Church’s interest to accept his positions on homosexuality and abortion, because they represent Quebecois values. Otherwise, the Church here will die.”

We argue that since January 2011, Rev. Gravel has made himself the primary spinner of the defamation he claims to be a victim of by promoting an article, primarily on his website, entitled: “Why is Raymond Gravel suing LifeSiteNews.com?” [English Translation]

The defendants will argue that, in granting interviews where he has been repeating the statements that he alleges are defamatory to him, Rev. Gravel has been contributing to his own “damages”. He has been publicizing these statements, we will plead, even more broadly than they were initially published by the defendants, attempting to bring justice for himself by condemning the defendants in a public arena, without awaiting the Court’s decision.

Among the articles presented for the defence, we note especially the following:

•  “The Vatican errs – The Catholic Church has no credibility in the current debate about the redefinition of marriage,” by Raymond Gravel, La Presse, August 5, 2003.

•  “Communion and abortion,” by Léo Kalinda, Dimanche Magazine, Radio-Canada, June 20, 2004: “As for me, I am pro-choice, and I will receive Communion on Sunday. There isn’t a bishop on this earth who will prevent me from receiving Communion on Sunday. Not one. Not even the Pope.” – Raymond Gravel.

•  “A missed opportunity,” La Presse, December 19, 2004. “The leaders of the Catholic Church, in this case the Catholic Bishops of Canada, are missing out on a historic opportunity. They have locked themselves up in their archaic and obsolete doctrines that were defined in a completely different era, and which have become irrelevant for the majority of believers; they refuse any re-definition of marriage that would allow homosexual couples to legalize their union.” – Raymond Gravel.

•  “Raymond Gravel, the ‘pink’ priest,” Fugues, June 2005: “The positions I have taken regarding abortion and gay marriage were not well received at the Vatican. My bishop (Bishop Gilles Lussier, Bishop of Joliette) even received a letter from the Holy See, which stated that if I persisted in not conforming to the doctrine of the Catholic Church, I would have to endure the consequences.” – Raymond Gravel.

•  “Priests denouncing the Church’s attitude regarding the issue of homosexuality, ‘The Church is depressive, not evangelical’.” Raymond Gravel, co-signatory, February 26, 2006.

•  Regarding bill C-484, House of Commons (protection of the fetus), Raymond Gravel, Hansard, December 13, 2007: “Mr. President, I am a little uncomfortable with this bill. […] I am a Catholic priest, and I’m having a little bit of a problem determining where I stand with this bill, simply because the deputy who is presenting it is part of a group that is called ‘Pro-Life’, which, in my humble opinion, is a group that is rather extreme and fanatical about life.”

•  “Henry Morgentaler: A Hero or a Criminal?” Raymond Gravel, Le Devoir/La Presse, July 1, 2008: “Whether he wanted to or not, this doctor worked tirelessly to make abortion a legal medical act [...] That’s why I would ask the leaders of the Catholic Church to show a little more discretion with their comments.”

•  “Raymond Gravel’s Chronicle – Crisis of values or religion?” Raymond Gravel, Le Journal de Montréal, October 16, 2008: “If Bishop Ouellet claims to be a victim of contempt from the Quebecers, perhaps it’s due to the fact that he personifies this religious authoritarianism. […] It would seem to me that this isn’t a crisis of values, but rather a challenge for a religion that tramples on, imposes, rejects and excludes, all in the name of a doctrine they won’t modernize.”

•  “An organized witch hunt,” Raymond Gravel, Le Devoir, July 12, 2010.

The LifeSiteNews attorneys will submit to the court that the plaintiff did not prove any of the damages that he alleged in his action, where he most notably alleges that “they have robbed him of his great pride as a politician, a dream that came true in the form of a secondary career, and from which he gained great satisfaction.” In fact, our argument is that the plaintiff made the decision of his own volition to comply, albeit belatedly, to his Church’s internal rule of discipline, prohibiting priests from actively pursuing politics.

Regarding the plaintiff’s reputation, we will propose, an exhaustive examination of the press reviews produced for the defence’s case demonstrates that over the years, Rev. Gravel built his own reputation as a polemicist (a person who argues in opposition to another; controversialist)

The defence will also argue that Fr. Gravel meticulously fuels, maintains and cultivates this reputation himself, as he, most notably, resorts to provocation, as he explained to a journalist during an interview: “We must protest, make claims, provoke and even shock, so pockets of resistance may dwindle and disappear.” In short, LifesiteNews attorneys will claim, Mr. Gravel already was a controversial character, regardless of the defendants’ actions, sowing the very controversy of which he claimed to be victim.

As a result of the abusive nature of the present action, the defendants request that the Courts order the plaintiff to pay damages in compensation for the injuries incurred by the defendants, dismiss the action brought by Rev. Raymond Gravel, and accept the defence of LifeSiteNews.

Journalists or others who wish to obtain a copy of the complete 99-page LifeSiteNews defense document may obtain a copy of either the French or English versions from the Joliette court (Court document file is:  705-17-003784-103 titled Defence and counterclaim of Hilary White and Patrick B. Craine). As well, the full defense document is expected to be available via the Internet in the near future.

Note: because this is a matter still before the courts and LifeSiteNews is named in the lawsuit, comments have been disabled.

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