Wednesday, March 21, 2012

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Catholic hospital obeys Church teaching on sterilizations

by Ben Johnson Wed Mar 21 17:19 EST Comments (6)

 

NAPA, CALIFORNIA, March 21, 2012,  (LifeSiteNews.com)—As the debate over religious freedom in health care continues to rage, a California hospital has voluntarily taken steps to bring itself into conformity with the teachings of the Catholic Church.

Queen of the Valley Medical Center of Napa, California, has changed its sterilization policy and stopped offering tubal ligations. Although the hospital never offered the procedure as a mere elective form of contraception, officials revised their policy when they realized they were still violating the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic hospitals issued by the U.S. Council of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). 

The “Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services” issued by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) in 2009, states, “Direct sterilization of either men or women, whether permanent or temporary, is not permitted in a Catholic health care institution.”

Its physicians will continue to perform actions the Church’s moral teachings allow that might result in indirect sterilization – such as hysterectomies or removal of an ovary to stop the spread of cancer.

Sister Marian Schubert, vice president of Mission Integration, said the decision reflects the hospital’s deep commitment to women’s health and its Catholic faith.

Medical center spokeswoman Vanessa deGier chose not to reveal how many tubal ligations had been conducted in the hospital but said all members of its parent company, St. Joseph Health System, now follow “one universal policy.”

The bishop who oversees Napa, Bp. Robert Vasa of Santa Rosa, had no involvement nor notice of the change, according to local media reports, but said he supported the administration’s voluntary decision.

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According to recent statistical research, the problem of violating this teaching is not confined to one medical center. To earn a Ph.D. in Church-State Studies at Baylor University, Sandra Hapenney analyzed data from more than 1,100 medical providers before determining that Catholic hospitals in seven states conducted 20,073 sterilizations in three years. The research is posted on her website, CatholicHospitals.org.

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

Bishop Vasa has a history of doing just that. In 2010 as bishop of Baker, Oregon, he severed ties between his diocese and St. Charles Medical Center in Bend, Oregon, over its practice of tubal ligations. “It would be misleading for me to allow St. Charles Bend to be acknowledged as Catholic in name while I am certain that some important tenets of the Ethical and Religious Directives are no longer being observed,” he stated. “It is my responsibility to ensure the hospital is following Catholic principles both in name and in fact.”

In 2011, Bp. Vasa told a gathering of medical professionals, “As physicians who embrace the Catholic faith you must know that you cannot minimize or neglect reason or science in your pursuit of good for your patients. For you, however, as believers in Jesus, that reason will and must always be tempered by, and subject to, faith.”

He began serving as the Episcopal Advisor for the Catholic Medical Association in 2002.

Bp. Vasa is not the only bishop to have been concerned with enforcing Catholic medical ethics. In 2008, Bishop Alvara Corrada, then serving the diocese of Tyler, Texas, forced two Catholic hospitals to stop performing tubal ligations.

This fulfilled the reason Hapenney began her research, which she told LifeSiteNews.com was undertaken in the hopes that “by demonstrating the magnitude of the problem, [the bishops] can develop mechanisms which will help them oversee the issues better and act on them.”

Tags: robert vasa

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Whoville vs. Sparta: the return of infanticide

by Chuck Colson Wed Mar 21 17:01 EST Comments (8)

 
Whoville vs. Sparta? I'll take Whoville, please and thank you.

March 21, 2012 (Breakpoint.org) - “A person’s a person, no matter how small,” was the refrain from Dr. Seuss’ famous children’s story, “Horton Hears a Who!” Horton the elephant has to convince his fellow jungle-dwellers that there really are tiny people on a speck of dust. When they find out Horton is right, they’re ashamed of their efforts to destroy the microscopic town of Whoville.

Well, if only modern ethicists were so ethical.

Two professors from the universities of Milan and Melbourne recently published an article in the online Journal of Medical Ethics entitled, “After-birth abortion: why should the baby live?”

“We claim that killing a newborn could be ethically permissible in all the circumstances where abortion would be,” write Drs. Alberto Giubilini and Francesca Minerva.

How do they justify this conclusion? By agreeing with what Christians have been saying all along: that a newborn is no different from a baby in the womb. But instead of accepting that both have a God-given right to life because they’re human, these ethicists argue that it ought to be legal for parents to kill either at their discretion.

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If reasons like cost, stress, and inconvenience are good enough to justify an abortion, say Giubilini and Minerva, then they’re good enough to justify infanticide, or as these ethicists call it with a straight face, “the killing of [a] potential person.”

Folks, this kind of logic isn’t new. It goes back to pre-Christian Greece and Rome, where leaving babies out to die of exposure was commonplace. In the Greek city state of Sparta, in fact, it was mandatory to kill weak or imperfect infants. And in Rome, unwanted, healthy babies were routinely thrown into the river to drown.

But as Alvin J. Schmidt describes in his book, How Christianity Changed the World, it was the Church which first challenged this practice. The old images of Christians with nets fishing Roman infants out of the Tiber are as moving today as the reality was almost two-thousand years ago.

Happily, Giubilini and Minerva’s article is getting a lot of attention: and exposing their deadly logic. This is a chance for the world to see abortion for what it really is: the killing of innocent human beings, whether in the womb or just born.

Many of our laws in this country are built upon the fantasy that birth, not existence, bestows a fetus with personhood. If you kill a newborn in the United States, as infamous Philadelphia abortionist Kermitt Gosnell did for decades, you go to jail. But just minutes prior, that same act of killing can be legal.

This is nonsense. I’m praying that articles from ethicists like Giubilini and Minerva will wake people up to the reality of what they’re justifying.

If enough people start to get it, then it won’t matter what a few academic elites think. Legal abortion will crumble before the outcry of decent, moral people, just as it did when early Christians dared to speak out against infanticide and abortion in their time.

Tell your friends about this. Press people on it. If they’re not willing to condone infanticide, how can they favor abortion? Maybe they’ll be willing to admit that a person really is a person — no matter how small.

Reprinted with permission from Breakpoint.org

 

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Anti-life ‘Reproductive Health’ Bill pushed back again in Philippines

by Adam Cassandra Wed Mar 21 16:53 EST Comments (4)

 

March 21, 2012 (HLIWorldWatch.org) - Pro-lifers in the Philippines are claiming another victory today as a vote on the Reproductive Health (RH) Bill threatening to force taxpayers to fund contraceptive and abortifacient services was again delayed before the House of Representatives went into recess.

“With a joyful heart, we would like to thank the Lord God, the Author of Life, as this morning the House of the Representatives adjourned for a long recess. No voting was held on the RH Bill. Hallelujah!” said Dr. Rene Bullecer, Human Life International (HLI) country director in the Philippines.

Dr. Bullecer has helped to organize thousands of pro-life Filipinos at rallies across the country against the bill since its latest reintroduction to Congress. To keep pressure on congressional representatives before the end of session, around 100 people gathered in Cebu City on Saturday to counter plans to pass the bill this week.

In an interview with local press on Saturday, Dr. Bullecer said that pro-life advocates cannot become complacent in the fight against the RH Bill, and must continue to be active and pray for the bill’s defeat.

A version of the RH Bill has been filed and re-filed in Congress since 1998, but pro-lifers have rallied the public to defeat the bill every year.

Among other objectionable provisions, the RH Bill would force medical professionals and businesses to promote and perform a full range of “reproductive health services,” regardless of conscientious objection. The bill promises to fine and jail opponents who spread as-yet-undefined “malicious” falsehoods about the bill, and requires couples to undergo government-mandated RH training and certification before they can obtain a marriage license.

Dr. Bullecer contends that the RH Bill directly contradicts the protections of life and family guaranteed in the Philippine constitution which states:

The State recognizes the sanctity of family life and shall protect and strengthen the family as a basic autonomous social institution. It shall equally protect the life of the mother and the life of the unborn from conception.

“Even as we celebrate this victory, we continue with our massive public information activities, and working with our legislators,” said Dr. Ligaya Acosta, HLI’s regional coordinator for Asia and Oceania, who lives in the Philippines. “Our deep faith in God and reverence for our most Beloved Blessed Virgin Mary, whom Filipinos fondly call ‘Mama Mary,’ as well as St. Joseph and all the angels and saints in heaven, is I think our secret why we have persevered and continue to persevere in this long drawn battle for life and family.

The Philippine Congress will be back in session on May 6 until June 7, 2012.

“For us, these days will be crucial again. We will double our efforts in terms of prayers and mass demonstrations,” said Dr. Bullecer. “After June 7, 2012, the chances of the RH Bill being passed are remote because come July 2012, all congressmen will be busy in preparation for the May 2013 mid-year elections. In fact, the majority of congressmen will be campaigning already by that time, and the RH Bill is a very hot issue to talk about.”

Reprinted with permission from HLIWorldWatch.org

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Tags: philippines, reproductive health bill

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5 abortion workers quit during 40 Days campaign

by Shawn Carney, 40 Days for Life Campaign Director Wed Mar 21 16:30 EST Comments (5)

 

March 21, 2012 (40DaysforLife.com) - A few days ago I mentioned that this is the time during the 40 Days for Life campaign where we see abortion workers’ hearts begin to change … and now we know of employees who are leaving the abortion industry.

In fact, there have been five of them!

I can’t disclose the campaigns — I’m told there are others who are also considering leaving, and any publicity could only add to the pressure these people are currently facing.

One abortion worker met prayer volunteers at the 40 Days for Life vigil outside and said with a smile: “This is my last day in this hell hole!”

It is not a cliche to say that ending abortion is about hearts and minds — it’s a reality. Praise God for these victories … and keep praying for all abortion center workers.

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BABIES SAVED!

Here’s another story where for privacy reasons, I can’t give you the location. But we know of a woman who visited an abortion center to set up an appointment. 40 Days for Life volunteers in the public right-of-way outside prayed for her as she walked into the building.

Inside the abortion facility, she was given an ultrasound exam. When a staff member saw the image, she suggested that the woman not have an abortion.

Yes, that’s right. The person who performed the exam recommended against an abortion … because the ultrasound clearly showed twins.

The mother’s next stop was a pro-life pregnancy center. She still needs prayer — the twins’ father remains set on abortion. And of course, please pray for that employee as well.

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND

The 40 Days for Life team in Birmingham marked the middle of the campaign with a Walk for Life through the streets of the city.

“It was the first time such an event had ever been organised in this city and we were overjoyed by the response we received,” said Aline in Birmingham. “There was a crowd of about a hundred people, some of whom came from a distance to witness to life in a town which hosts two abortion centres, one of which is one of the biggest in Europe.”

The day started with rain, a temperature around freezing — and heavier rain in the forecast. “As we always do when things are beyond our control, we left it all in God’s hands and once again, the sun broke out just a couple of minutes before we set off,” she said.

Shoppers were amazed at the sight of people walking, praying, singing hymns. Many people took pictures. And, Aline said, “there was no sign of hostility.”

The event ended with two minutes of silence in memory of the 7 million children aborted since Britain legalized abortion in 1967.

“Finally, as if to show us that the sunshine was all of God’s making, the rain poured down on us afterwards and there were even hailstones.” All in all, Aline said, “what we saw was very encouraging.”

Here’s the link to today’s devotional.

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Notre Dame criticized for listing pro-abort, gay rights ‘internship opportunities’, school responds

by Kathleen Gilbert Wed Mar 21 16:23 EST Comments (10)

 
The famous gold dome of the University of Notre Dame.

NOTRE DAME, Indiana, March 21, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - After a conservative student action group launched a petition against the University of Notre Dame for linking to pro-abortion and gay rights groups as “internship opportunities” on its website, the school claimed the situation was mischaracterized.

TFP Student Action on Monday called supporters to oppose a page hosted under Notre Dame’s Department of Political Science.

The page for “Summer Internship Opportunities” lists pro-abortion groups such as Emily’s List, Feminist Majority Foundation, institute for Women’s Policy Research, and National Women’s Law Center, Human Rights Watch, and the leftist groups Center for American Progress and Think Progress. It also lists the United Nations Population Fund, the international organization’s population control arm that investigations have found complicit with China’s coercive one-child policy.

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The university’s public relations office didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment from LifeSiteNews.com on Wednesday. However, an email from university spokesman Dennis Brown to one TFP supporter stated that the group had misrepresented the issue by claiming that Notre Dame was actually offering internships with the listed groups.

“Notre Dame does not ‘offer’ internships to the organizations that have been cited. Rather, it is the organizations that offer the internships and some of our students have chosen to accept them in the past,” wrote Brown. “Again, to be clear, Notre Dame isn’t offering anything here.”

John Ritchie of TFP Student Action told LifeSiteNews.com that “Notre Dame officials are not addressing the core issue here:  the pro-abortion links.”

“If you truly cherish and follow the Catholic faith, you don’t point students to pro-abortion groups and call them ‘internship opportunities.’  It’s a no-brainer,” he said. “Even though it would take the university’s webmaster about five minutes to remove them, I wouldn’t be too surprised if the links remain up.”

When LifeSiteNews.com asked the president of the Sycamore Trust, a Notre Dame alumni watchdog group, his opinion of the matter, he said that it wasn’t yet clear whether the links amounted to a clerical faux pas or something worse.

“The question here is whether Notre Dame intended by this listing of prior internships to encourage students to apply to these organizations and to indicate that service with them would qualify for credit,” said Sycamore president William Dempsey. “That seems the natural inference from the materials on the website. But it is possible it was a badly vetted listing by some clerk of all prior internships whether or not they had been approved for credit.”

Dempsey said that his group is awaiting a response from the school as to whether Notre Dame would strike the groups and “make clear that their internships will not qualify for credit. “

Tags: abortion, notre dame

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French mayor-teacher sparks national scandal after reading violent rape scene to 4th graders

by Jeanne Smits, Paris correspondent Wed Mar 21 16:08 EST Comments (6)

 

March 21, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A French primary school teacher has received a reprimand for having read a violent rape scene to a class of 4 and 5th graders (9 to 11 year-olds) in a state primary school in Morsang-sur-Orge, a small suburban town of some 20,000 inhabitants 12 miles south of Paris. The reprimand will appear in the teacher’s file for two years. Pascal Noury, 54, will continue to teach at the “école Cachin” and no sanctions have been taken against him.

When the story went public after the February vacation, the French national media spoke widely about the scandal and Nicolas Sarkozy, who is campaigning for a second presidential mandate in the upcoming elections, approved the parents’ campaign against the teacher: “If this is true, the parents are right,” he said on a nationwide television program.

At the same time, French Education minister Luc Chatel published an official communiqué asking the “Academic inspection” – the administrative body which controls the army of state-funded teachers – to take “all necessary disciplinary measures.” He “totally shared the sense of shock and indignation of several families,” he added.

But no one in the mainstream media – apart from one French newspaper, Le Parisien, which focuses on the news of Paris and its region – underlined the fact that the teacher in question is the mayor of Morangis, only a few miles away from Morsang. Pascal Noury, 54, was until recently a member of the powerful French socialist party, from which he was excluded over disagreement on the choice of the local socialist candidate for the elections to the French senate last year.

Pascal Noury taught in state schools and directed several of them for 25 years before going on to jobs in several ministerial cabinets; after a brief time in the private sector, he accepted a post as technical counselor for urbanization and the environment in 2006 at the Essonne regional council. He recently took up teaching again as a part-time activity – a handful of hours a week – apparently in order to preserve his pension and other rights as a civil servant in public education.

Contacted by telephone, the director of Pascal Noury’s cabinet refused to comment on the affair, but refused – upon insistent questioning – to deny that the mayor of Morangis was the teacher involved.

It was at the end of January that many parents of the Cachin school at Morsang were shocked to find their children traumatized by the story read to them by Pascal Noury. Some refused to return to school, others had nightmares or started bedwetting. When their parents read the book chosen by Pascal Noury they were appalled. After several meetings with school authorities they took the affair to the press at the beginning of March. The “reprimand” issued on Tuesday has apparently put a full stop to the scandal.

Betty Coton, by Corinne Albaut, published in 2005 (it has since been republished in an expurgated version), tells the story of a Black African girl who is sold into slavery by her brother and taken to America in harrowing and inhuman conditions. On the cotton plant she is noticed by the young, pervert owner who forces her into sexual contact, then rapes her and mutilates her with a paperknife. She goes on to become his sexual slave.

The scene read by Pascal Noury is extremely graphic and sexually explicit which LifeSiteNews considers too explicit to be transcribed here.

He justified his choice as a desire to make schoolchildren aware of the horrors of slavery and the exploitation of the Black people. Noury later apologized.

The author of Betty Coton, Corinne Albaut, has been interviewed over the affair: in her opinion, she says the book is not appropriate for children under 13 or 14, although the book’s cover recommends the story for ages 12 and up.

French Education ministry:

Ministère de l’Éducation nationale, de la Jeunesse et de la Vie associative
110 rue de Grenelle
75357 Paris SP 07
France

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From ‘adult’ bookstore to pregnancy resource center: Melbourne welcomes pro-life oasis

by Jason Rushton, Australia correspondent Wed Mar 21 14:46 EST Comments (3)

 

March 21, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The city of Melbourne - usually the source of Australia’s most depressing anti-life news - was recently the happy scene of the crowded launch of a new centre to support pregnant women.

On Valentines Day, more than 80 people turned out for the opening of The Babe’s Project Pregnancy Support Centre, in a shop front that was previously, of all things, an adult bookshop.

Within days of the opening, a young teenager and her boyfriend entered seeking help - and just two weeks later, the centre ran out of its pregnancy support packs, turning to pro-life advocates for support to keep the critical pro-life facility running.

Helen Parker is the visionary woman behind the project. In between her hectic schedule, she took some time to speak to LifeSiteNews.com. 

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LifeSiteNews.com: Congratulations on the opening! How did you feel to see a long-held dream become a reality?

Helen Parker:
Thank you! It was overwhelming to see a community come together and say, “it is not okay for women to be unsupported, so let’s do this together.” I knew there was a need. I knew we had support, but to see it eventuate into something tangible is amazing.

LSN: Tell us the story of how you first got the inspiration to create The Babes Project.

HP: I found out I was pregnant when I was 20 and studying at university. With very little support, I was confused and didn’t know where to turn and subsequently the doctor booked me in for a termination.

This was not at all what I wanted to do and I was alarmed at how easy this had been made available.

I proceeded with my pregnancy and soon after Ariel was born I started volunteering in the maternity ward of the local hospital. It was here that I heard recurring themes of how simply abortion was promoted, together with much experience of grief and loss.

When the abortion legislation changed here in Victoria in 2008, I knew it was time to go further, doing something practical addressing the needs of women terminating pregnancies because the felt they had no other option.

It was time to actively promote parenting and adoption as positive alternatives to abortion and to do whatever it took to see that reflected in the choices made by women in our communities.

LSN: Have you been able to help many women in your Pregnancy Support Centre since it opened on Valentines Day? What kind of things do the women who come through your doors say?

HP: We have already had women and families engage with The Pregnancy Support Centre looking for a variety of support. Most are looking for a safe place to chat and to begin talking through their circumstances. Some are still in shock after a positive pregnancy test, some are able to articulate further their own thoughts about possible options, but what we see from all women is a need for hope and reassurance about how their life might look in the future.

They want to see women doing life well who may have faced similar circumstances. They want to see that they still have value and that they can make great choices not only for their child, but also for themselves long term.

LSN: How much support is there for pregnant women in Australia? Are there many other centres like yours?

HP: We have been surprised to find very little support for women which works toward positive outcomes long term.

There certainly are a handful of pregnancy centres throughout Australia, some working effectively at reaching their community whilst others just aren’t being fully utilized. 

Whilst we are aware of some centres which seem to be reaching a number of women, most are battling a nation where pregnancy centres outside abortion clinics or family planning aren’t common, and as a result they don’t seem to be accessed as we would hope.

LSN: What needs to change in Australia’s culture, government policy and law regarding adoption?

HP: Australia is a country with deep wounds from past adoption practices. 

At a government level we need to engage in discussion about what adoption can look like and be committed to lobbying for reasonable change.

Once we see adoption working well, it is our hope that it can be embraced by women who might have alternatively chosen abortion. 

There is an uphill battle ahead to bring change to Australian attitudes and legislation regarding abortion.

One thing we cannot underestimate is the value of connecting with local MPs and asking them to put positive adoption legislation on their agenda.

LSN: You produced a very moving video for the launch of the new centre. At the end of it you said that the pro-life movement in Australia needs to change. In what ways would you like to see it change?

HP: The Babes Project highly values the work and perseverance of the pro-life movement; we have met some wonderful people who have taught us much.

I do, however, think we could all go further in ensuring there are excellent services available for women and their families toward long-term positive outcomes. 

She must have access to high quality assistance as she proceeds with her pregnancy in a loving, compassionate and non-judgmental environment.

It is up to us to see this become a reality.

LSN: What are the best ways to provide practical help for women in our own personal lives?

HP: Be engaged. Listen to her, encourage her and show compassion. Be willing to hear what you don’t like and learn from her. I think we could all challenge ourselves to take down the “us and them” walls. 

The best way I learned about adoption was to spend time with a friend who once claimed “I hate adoption.” It was the best way for me to learn what needs to be addressed.

Then you do whatever it takes to ensure she has great support long term.

LSN: What kind of support have you received from people around the country as the word has spread about your project?

HP: We have received a wonderful outpouring of generosity and encouragement from many.

To open a centre and to make sure it is sustainable takes much time, finances, and a great team of people willing to get their hands dirty.

The most significant, however, has been from locals who are passionate about seeing positive alternatives to abortion promoted in their community.

We simply created a space for them to express their passion, which has seen many take part and build walls, install the kitchen, donate funds, lay carpet, and see this Centre transform into a safe, lovely space.

LSN: Finally, would it be okay to ask your daughter a question? Ariel, what do you think about your mum?

Ariel: My mum is cool, sweet, kind and funny. She can always make you laugh no matter how grumpy you are. She cares about others a lot, and is very understanding. I love what she is doing with The Babes Project and I hope our story will benefit lots of people.

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Has Ireland ‘rejected’ UN calls to legalize abortion? That remains to be seen

by Niamh Ui Bhriain Wed Mar 21 13:16 EST Comments (7)

 
Niamh Ui Bhriain

March 21, 2012 (Life Institute) - Like most Irish people, I welcomed the Irish government’s rejection of calls made at a major UN hearing for Ireland to legalize abortion.

However, it is important to understand that the government has also committed Ireland to acting on the recent ruling of the European Court of Human Rights in a case which was designed to smash Ireland’s abortion laws.

The European Court ruling in the ABC case was raised by several of the six countries using the UN’s review of Ireland’s human rights laws to attack Ireland’s ban on abortion. The countries were Spain, Denmark, the UK, the Netherlands, Norway and Slovenia.

But while the Irish government rejected those demands, its spokesman was quick to reiterate that it has set up an ‘expert group’ to look at the European Court ruling and to make recommendations on its implementation.

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The make-up of that ‘expert group’ has caused serious concern, in particular given that the public, unhappy with a series of imposed austerity measures, is in no mood to be dictated to by the European Court.

Amongst those appointed to the 14-person group are Dr Deirdre Madden, a UCC law lecturer, who has been at the fore in advocating embryonic stem cell research. Madden previously wrote that “there are very strong reasons for believing the embryo is not yet a person.”

The government also appointed general practitioner Ailish Ní Riain to the group. The GP has written guidelines describing unborn children as ‘contents of the uterus’ and insisting that doctors should assist in referring mothers for abortion. Another appointment causing controversy is that of Mary O’Toole, a lawyer who was involved in the X-case in 1992. The X case was used in an attempt to overturn Ireland’s pro-life constitutional provisions and legalise abortion.

These appointments - and remarks made by the Justice Minister Alan Shatter - have caused serious concern amongst the pro-life majority. Rejecting demands for abortion at a UN hearing while stacking an expert group with abortion-friendly appointees would be a low political trick, and one we hope the government would have the decency to avoid.
The Life Institute has written to Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Enda Kenny pointing out that the largest party in the coalition government, Fine Gael, had made an election promise not to legalize abortion, and that they could not now rely on a quango to overturn that promise.

The Institute pointed out that there are three key facts that the expert group on abortion could not ignore:

- Abortion is never medically necessary. Expert testimony has already been given to a government committee on this issue, where leading Irish experts confirmed that interventions for conditions such as ectopic pregnancy and cancer were not considered abortion by medical professionals since the intention was never to harm the child.

- The European Court ruling places Ireland under no obligation to legalize abortion since the Irish Constitution confirms that it is the people, being sovereign, who will decide such matters. Successive opinion polls show that Ireland’s ban on abortion enjoys the support of the majority of the people.

- According to the United Nations, Ireland, without recourse to abortion, is the safest place in the world for a mother to have a baby. The expert group should also recognize the undeniable scientific evidence which shows abortion produces negative mental outcomes for women.

The expert group is due to make its recommendations within months. At the UN hearing, Patrick Buckley of the European Life Network pointed out that “the right to life of all members of the human family” was recognized and protected by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Irish Constitution. We now need to repeatedly remind the government of that fact.

Tags: abortion, ireland

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When Christians are bullied by the government

by Patrick B. Craine Wed Mar 21 13:03 EST Comments (11)

 

“We have made a covenant with death, and with hell are we in agreement; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, it shall not come unto us: for we have made lies our refuge, and under falsehood have we hid ourselves.”
—Isaiah 28:15, KJV

March 21, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Recently, the Toronto Star—that purported clarion of journalistic objectivity that is in reality little more than a running endorsement of secular humanist causes—focused on the alleged plight of a woman described as “a Catholic, a mom and a lesbian,” a combination of terms that would have been not only socially unacceptable in any previous age but both a biological and theological impossibility.  One may have been a lesbian but not in convergence with motherhood or faithful membership in the Roman Catholic Church.

But that really was another age.  In this progressive era, this mother of two was shocked to discover that, despite the dictates of the Royal Dalton government, St. Joseph’s Catholic Elementary School in Bowmanville, Ont. had gravely erred in not sufficiently accommodating the gay agenda.  The dreaded offense?  A Catholic school had actually dared to espouse Catholic doctrine and, in the midst of a languid tract on equity and inclusion in the classroom, actually cited the Catholic catechism and suggested that homosexuals are “objectively disordered.”  Can you imagine the temerity of a Catholic school teaching Catholic dogma in the classroom?

It must all be too much for Premier Dalton McGuinty, a smorgasbord Catholic who carefully picks and chooses his doctrinal preferences with a supreme fastidiousness that embraces the brotherhood of man but rejects the church’s courageous insistence that abortion is not a choice but an act of murder.  Last December he briskly ordered all Ontario schools to get with the Gay-Straight Alliance Club program, allegedly with a view to ending forever the scourge of bullying in our schools and preparing the way for a happy humanist future.

If it has disturbed the premier’s sleep or interrupted his chronic political sleepwalking, the St. Joseph incident is surely only a bonafide crisis within the pages of the Star.  But the story does highlight the idiocy and yes, tyranny, of an Ontario government that insists upon forcing Roman Catholic, Evangelical, and Jewish schools to adopt policies that are in direct contravention of their religious mandate.  But is this alleged attempt at inclusion really designed to prevent bullying or is it about promoting something else?  Does this policy actually address bullying or is it actually a “refuge of lies,” as Isaiah wrote?

Clearly, there is a profound need to address the issue of bullying in schools – in Ontario and across Canada.  But forcing Christian schools to sanction, endorse or otherwise bless homosexual behaviour is not part of that solution; it only serves to deny freedom of religion in Canada and to affirm a gay agenda that seeks to redefine bullying as anything critical of homosexuality to the exclusion of all other forms of physical and verbal abuse.  If you think this view extreme or insufficiently accommodating to a persecuted minority, just try to be a Christian student in the Canadian school system who, because of the convictions of one’s faith, quietly refuses to become a cheerleader for the proliferation of the gay-straight alliance network.  You will be swiftly marginalized, censured, and yes, bullied.

So who is being bullied in this process?  Who is being forced to amend their convictions, suspend their beliefs and discard their truths because the provincial government says so?  The Toronto Star might rejoice that “Queen’s Park told school boards to create policies that foster ‘equity and inclusion,’” but there is little joy for those being forced to reconstitute 2000 years of faith history in order to appease the moral whims of our increasingly sybaritic society and the legislative quick-fix schemes of the nanny state.

When the government bullies the Church it violates our fundamental freedom of religion, something that many of us thought was protected by the Canadian Charter of Rights.  If that liberty is not safe, then nothing else ultimately will be secure either.

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

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Democratic Party ignores primary vote, denies Randall Terry delegates

by Ben Johnson Wed Mar 21 12:57 EST Comments (12)

 

OKLAHOMA CITY, OKLAHOMA, March 21, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – Under Democratic Party rules, pro-life activist Randall Terry won enough of the vote in this month’s Oklahoma presidential primary to receive delegates to the Democratic National Convention, but state party officials say they will not be awarded.

The founder of Operation Rescue racked up 18 percent of that state’s Democratic primary vote earlier this month, defeating Barack Obama in 14 counties. Party rules award delegates to anyone who wins at least 15 percent of the electorate. But the interim executive director of the Oklahoma Democratic Party, Trav Robertson, has said Terry is not “a bona fide Democrat,” and thus not eligible for any delegates.

Jim Rogers, the state Democratic Party’s U.S. Senate candidate in 2010, who won three counties, will also be denied.

State Party Chairman Wallace Collins said since neither Terry nor Rogers filed paperwork listing a slate of delegates, all their delegates would be awarded to Barack Obama. 

Political scientist Larry Sabato of the University of Virginia, told LifeSiteNews.com that, although state officials have kept candidates from appearing on their party’s ballot in the past, he was not sure if a party had ever refused to award delegates to a candidate after an election.

“To me, the stunning thing was that Obama opponents got such a large percentage of the [Oklahoma] Democratic primary vote,” Dr. Sabato said in a statement e-mailed to LifeSiteNews. “That was under-reported. After all, the president is considered by most people to be unopposed for re-nomination.”

Dr. Sabato added, “I know from my own trips to [Oklahoma] that Barack Obama has rock-bottom popularity in the state.” In 2008, Obama did not carry a single county in the state against Republican John McCain.

Randall Terry, who told the media he is eligible for six delegates, has not yet determined whether he will file a legal challenge.

This kind of “political insider trading,” Terry said, “shows the power and the corruption of the party.”

“Of course, I am a little disappointed, but it does not come as a shock to me,” he said. “In fact, at the beginning of the week, I spoke with the chair of the Oklahoma Democratic Party – in a very pleasant conversation – and I told him: ‘We both know the DNC is not going to let my delegates be seated.’ He laughed, and said, ‘Yes, that is true.’”

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The pro-life activist, who has run for office twice before in New York and Florida, is heading a slate of candidates who are running to exploit an election law loophole that guarantees candidates television stations will accept their political ads in most circumstances. Terry and a half-dozen candidates across the country have used that law to air graphic ads exposing the horrors of abortion.

Terry is now concentrating on the state of New Jersey, where he can run more such commercials in the nation’s largest media market.

He is also campaigning in Kansas, as well as Alaska and Wyoming

Terry said in a press release that Democratic officials were embarrassed by Obama’s weak showing and hope to prevent a repeat by keeping his name off the ballot, if necessary.

“We can only hope that the state party officials resist the pressure to betray their state party rules,” Terry said. “I have met all the legal and party requirements to be a candidate, and I am entitled to exercise my rights as an American, and as a Democratic candidate for president. The conservative Catholic and Evangelical wings of the Democratic Party deserve a voice in this election cycle.”

His campaign website is TerryForPresident.com.

Tags: randall terry

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Pro-life leaders praise ‘October Baby’: Movie opens in U.S. theatres Friday

by Thaddeus Baklinski Wed Mar 21 12:19 EST Comments (3)

 

NASHVILLE, March 21, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The widely praised, life-affirming movie ‘October Baby’ premiers in select theatres across the U.S. on Friday, March 23.

The producers explain that October Baby shines a light on a real but little-known topic: survivors of attempted abortions.

Survivors themselves say that there are thousands of individuals who have survived attempted abortions, although their fate is a seldom-tracked statistic. Many of these survivors have grown up to speak out on life-related issues.

“There are more of us than what most people realize,” said Gianna Jessen, an abortion survivor who speaks nationally on the subject. “I am contacted regularly by survivors who heard or saw me on a show or when I speak, and they discover that they are not alone.”

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October Baby follows the dramatic, humorous, and romantic story of 19-year-old Hannah, who goes on a road trip to find answers, locate her birth mother and, ultimately, discovers how powerful forgiveness can be, after learning she is adopted and the survivor of an attempted abortion.

Co-director and co-writer Jon Erwin said October Baby offers viewers an enjoyable film about friends hitting the road together and finding more than they bargained for: adventure, romance, truth, and the power to forgive.

Bryan Kemper, director of youth outreach at Priests for Life, says he often “cringes” when he receives a “CD or movie in the mail that is supposed to be a great pro-life tool; I am kind of a snob for quality. 

“Knowing this movie what not shot with a huge budget I was waiting for disaster when I put it into the DVD player,” he said. “The last time I was surprised like this was when I saw a pre-release of the movie Bella, one of my favorite movies of all time.

“October Baby is a great movie with a a great message. So many times you only get one of those two qualities in a movie but October Baby delivered both.”

Judie Brown, the president of American Life League, describes the movie as “powerful, emotionally charged, and worthy of every accolade the film industry has to offer. October Baby will change you ... just open your heart.”

Charmaine Yoest, the president of Americans United for Life, calls October Baby “A remarkable movie. This is a significant story, beautifully told.”

“October Baby manages to take a story that begins with loss and grief and weaves together an uplifting and inspiring look at redemption and the true meaning of love. It’s even funny, too. It’s really a wonderful movie,” Yoest adds.

“Not only does it allow for healing and hope for those affected by abortion, it also sheds a positive and reaffirming light on adoption and portrays the adoption process as a positive alternative,” said Kristan Hawkins, Executive Director of Students for Life of America. “This movie is a must-see for anyone in need of post-abortion healing, curious about adoption or searching for another well-done pro-life film.”

The producers of October Baby have stated that they have assigned 10% of the profits of the movie to the Every Life is Beautiful Fund, which will distribute funds to frontline organizations helping women facing crisis pregnancies, life-affirming adoption agencies, and those caring for orphans.

The film was produced by the Erwin Brothers and American Family Studios and distributed by Provident Films, known for its association with such hit faith movies as Courageous and Fireproof, and by Samuel Goldwyn Films, distributor of films such as Fireproof, Amazing Grace and Facing the Giants, among others.

Information on the movie, and theatre and ticket information, is available here.

 

Tags: abortion, october baby

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New Montreal Archbishop is sign of Pope’s reform of Canada’s Bishops: Fr. Raymond de Souza

by Patrick B. Craine Wed Mar 21 11:40 EST Comments (16)

 
Cardinal Marc Ouellet, prefect of the Vatican's Congregation for Bishops

MONTREAL, Quebec, March 21, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Yesterday’s appointment of a religiously orthodox, pro-life bishop to head the Montreal Archdiocese is a perfect example of how Pope Benedict XVI, with the advice of Cardinal Marc Ouellet, is using Quebec as a model for how to “reform an episcopate” and “provide new leadership for the Church,” writes Fr. Raymond de Souza in a new column for Canada’s Catholic Register.

Archbishop Lepine, 60, was working as a parish priest only eight months ago when he was first tapped as an auxiliary bishop for Montreal. He was only a bishop for six months before his appointment to head up Canada’s second largest diocese yesterday.

According to Fr. de Souza, this “dramatic” elevation “has drawn attention to Canada as the exemplar of how an episcopate can be reconfigured for the challenges of the new evangelization.”

Catholic observers have frequently noted that Catholic leaders in la belle province have been a leading force in the spread of liberalism in the Church in Canada, beginning four or five decades ago as the former Catholic stronghold rapidly secularized in the wake of the Quiet Revolution.

Lepine’s appointment has been welcomed by pro-life leaders, who note that he has been a champion of Bl. Pope John Paul II’s teachings on authentic human sexuality, known as the ‘theology of the body’.

He replaces Cardinal Jean-Claude Turcotte, whose twenty-two years at the helm were marked, in part, by a strained relationship with the pro-life movement – most especially when he made the decision to preside at a state funeral in 2000 at Montreal’s Notre Dame Cathedral for Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, who was the architect of the 1969 legalization of abortion and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms that led to the meager abortion restrictions being tossed by the Supreme Court in 1988.

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Turcotte was praised in 2008, however, when he made national headlines after choosing to return his Order of Canada in protest of the Governor General’s decision to award the Order to leading Montreal abortionist Henry Morgentaler.

But the praise was quickly dampened when the Cardinal made ambiguous statements in Quebec media on the Church’s sexual teaching and abortion, including his refusal to be labeled “pro-life” and his suggestion that there could be “almost no other choice” than abortion in certain cases.

Fr. de Souza, a prominent priest-commentator who hails from the Kingston Archdiocese and recently launched Convivium, a magazine on religion and public life, says the spate of new episcopal appointments to Quebec since Ouellet took over as prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for Bishops in 2010 make it clear that he has put the renewal of Quebec’s episcopate at the top of his agenda.

The prelate has shunned the “safe option” in appointing bishops, Fr. de Souza writes, which is “to select archbishops from long-serving bishops, and bishops from long-serving auxiliaries, and auxiliaries from long-serving officials in chancery offices.”

The priest lists numerous examples, such as the appointment of Archbishop Gerald Lacroix in February 2011 as Ouellet’s successor in Quebec City, where Lacroix had served as auxiliary bishop for only two years; and that of Bishop Thomas Dowd in July 2011 as auxiliary bishop for Montreal at the “almost unprecedented age” of 40.

“Ouellet evidently decided that the norm in Quebec needed changing, and so has advised the Holy Father to change it — emphatically,” writes Fr. de Souza.

“Renewal in the Church does not depend exclusively, or even primarily, upon bishops,” Fr. de Souza acknowledges. “The Holy Spirit is not constrained to work only through holy orders. Reform and renewal in the Church more often arises from the religious orders and, increasingly, new movements and lay apostolates.”

“Yet,” he adds, “the pastor is critical for the health and vitality of the flock, thus the appointment of bishops remains essential in advancing the mission of the Church.”

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Pro-life, no exceptions: Chilean president pens powerful column defending pro-life convictions

by Matthew Cullinan Hoffman Wed Mar 21 11:30 EST Comments (15)

 
Chilean President Sebastián Piñera receives the International Protect Life Award from the International Committee for the Protection of Life, in March of last year.

March 21, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Chilean President Sebastián Piñera has written a column for a Chilean newspaper stating his unequivocal opposition to all direct abortions, including those in cases of rape, and also his opposition to euthanasia and the death penalty.

The article, entitled “My commitment to life,” (read an English translation here) outlines Piñera’s four principal reasons for opposing abortion, which include the personhood of the fetus, legal and practical considerations, and his religious convictions.

Noting that “the Constitution itself requires the legislator to adopt the necessary measures to ‘protect the life of the unborn,’” Piñera adds, “even if we didn’t have certainty regarding the juridical treatment that must be given to a human life in gestation, the correct and wise thing to do is to assume a humble position and opt for that which is most favorable to the protection and development of that life.”

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He also notes, “this is not a decision that belongs only to the mother or the parents of the unborn child. A new, unique, unrepeatable person, distinct from its parents, is also involved, whose life must be defended with greater force, precisely because of its state of complete innocence and defenselessness.”

His fourth argument, which he regards as having the least force in a political debate, is his own faith commitment to the sanctity of human life. “As a Christian I believe that life is a gift from God. Only he has the right to give life and the right to take it away,” he writes.

Arguments in favor of eugenic abortions, in cases of fetal deformity, or “social” abortions, in cases of rape, “are incorrect given that they presume to arrogate to ourselves the right to classify human beings as superior - those who deserve to live - and inferior - those who do not deserve to live - and furthermore, to condemn to death people who are absolutely defenseless and innocent of the circumstances of their conception,” writes Pïñera.

Finally, the president addresses the claim that Chile must conform to international fashion regarding the killing of the unborn in order to be more “modern.”

“Some argue that Chile will be a less modern and civilized country if it doesn’t imitate what other supposedly better developed nations have done, where abortion is not only legal but widely accepted. But they are wrong,” writes Piñera.

“They forget that Chile has a more than one hundred year tradition of protecting fundamental rights, that we were one of the first countries in the world to establish liberty for the children of slaves and prohibit slavery. And precisely the way that a society treats its weakest members - senior citizens, the sick, the most poor, those who suffer some sort of handicap, and unborn children - says much about the level of its civilization than its material wealth, the height of its buildings, the quality of its infrastructure, or its military might.”

President Piñera won the International Protect Life Award from the International Committee for the Protection of Life, in March of last year. He has consistently resisted all attempts to create exceptions to Chile’s absolute prohibition of direct abortion.

Read an English translation of Pinera’s article here.

Tags: abortion, chile, sebastian pinera

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Jimmy Carter supports same-sex ‘marriage’ as he launches his new Bible

by Ben Johnson Wed Mar 21 07:03 EST Comments (190)

 

ATLANTA, GEORGIA, March 20, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – Former president Jimmy Carter has been strongly identified as a “Born Again” Christian and as a liberal Democrat for nearly five decades. He is once more blending those roles as he promotes “his” latest book, his own study Bible.

The NIV Lessons from Life Bible: Personal Reflections with Jimmy Carter contains the full text of the New International Version of the Bible and the former president’s prayers, reflections, and asides.

During his book tour to promote a study of the Scriptures, Carter mentioned he supports same-sex “marriage.”

President Carter told Paul Brandeis Raushenbush, senior religion editor of The Huffington Post:

Homosexuality was well known in the ancient world, well before Christ was born and Jesus never said a word about homosexuality. In all of his teachings about multiple things – he never said that gay people should be condemned. I personally think it is very fine for gay people to be married in civil ceremonies. (Emphasis added.)

However, he said he drew the line, “maybe arbitrarily, in requiring by law that churches must marry people.” 

“If a church decides not to, then government laws shouldn’t require them to,” he said, adding his own church accepts “gay members on an equal basis.”

When Raushenbush pressed him about whether he believed the Bible is God’s word, Carter answered, “the basic principles of the Bible are taught by God, but written down by human beings deprived of modern day knowledge. So there is some fallibility in the writings of the Bible. But the basic principles are applicable to my life and I don’t find any conflict among them.”

“There are many verses in the Bible that you could interpret very rigidly,” Carter said, “and that makes you ultimately into a fundamentalist.”

“Fundamentalists,” he wrote in his 2005 book Our Endangered Values, tend “to demagogue emotional issues” and “are often angry and sometimes resort to verbal or even physical abuse against those who interfere with the implementation of their agenda.” Carter applied this term to figures as divergent as the Ayatollah Khomeini and Pope John Paul II, to atheist neoconservatives and his fellow Baptists.

He contended the “mandated subservience of women by Christian fundamentalists” contributes to the Islamic practice of female genital mutilation.

Carter wrote that he exchanged harsh words with the late Pope John Paul II during a state visit over what Carter classified as the Pope’s “perpetuation of the subservience of women.” He added, “there was more harshness when we turned to the subject of ‘liberation theology’.”

The former president, who has released recordings of the Sunday School classes he teaches and written previous books about the Bible, disassociated himself from the Southern Baptist Convention in 2000. He and former President Bill Clinton attempted to realign the Baptist faith in a more liberal direction by calling for a new Baptist convention in 2008. The formation of this new Baptist body, he wrote, constituted an “historic event for the Baptists in this country and perhaps for Christianity.”

Carter, whose single term in office was marred by turbulence at home and abroad, has denounced those who disagree with his political views in strident terms.

Pro-lifers, Carter wrote, “do not extend their concern to the baby who is born.” He instead suggested the nation support contraceptive sex education, taxpayer funding of international “family planning,” and embryonic stem cell research.

In addition to nuptial vows, Carter encouraged the military to end the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy in 2007, and in 2010, he told the website Big Think it was time to elect “a gay person” as president.

The new study Bible, published by Zondervan, is available from bookstores nationwide.

Tags: jimmy carter, zondervan publishing

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Please help us write the hard stories

by John-Henry Westen Tue Mar 20 19:34 EST Comments (4)

 
Editor and co-founder, John-Henry Westen

Those of you who have been with us for many years now know that what we do is unique. However, let me explain further, especially for those who are new to LifeSiteNews.

Yes, LifeSiteNews has experienced explosive growth in popularity and readership in the last few years. But as our long-time readers well know, that growth comes in spite of, not because of, our reporting on the hard issues that in many cases would be easier simply to ignore.

We give our readers the essential “big picture” about the many related life, family and cultural issues.  Most people are not aware that these seemingly disparate issues are all part of the international culture war against Judeo-Christian civilization.

Doing so often involves difficult investigative journalism. Unfortunately, the challenging truths that such journalism uncovers aren’t always pretty, and we definitely are not popular in some powerful circles because of it. 

In fact, it likely costs us a lot in donations from those who prefer less controversy or more politically correct ventures. We rock the boat.

But as many of you, and many top leaders in the pro-life and pro-family movements, repeatedly tell us, the work of LifeSiteNews is a badly needed work of tough love. That’s why we do it.

It is difficult work, requiring a team of full-time, experienced journalists of exceptional character who have a passion for the truth and who are willing to dig and ask lots of questions.

We work unusually closely as a team; constantly exchanging information and thoughts back and forth; calling and emailing trusted contacts around the world; piecing together past information related to particular stories; putting especially important stories through multiple editors to ensure accuracy and thoroughness.

There are few news agencies willing to tackle the stories we take on, willing to stand up to call out revered institutions or personalities when things go amiss.  Not many news agencies are able and willing to shed light on the darkness, especially when the darkness holds many of the purse strings required to survive financially.

We take that risk time and again because, frankly, someone has to do it.

(Click Here to Donate)

At LifeSiteNews we’re completely independent and therefore able to do what needs to be done, thanks to you. We don’t have large donors who give with strings attached, limiting what or how we report.

We have you.

Oft-times we are unjustly maligned and marginalized, even the subject of lawsuits and threats. In fact, right now we are fighting a $500,000 lawsuit from a self-professed ‘pro-choice’ Catholic priest, who is unhappy that we dared to report on his controversial statements and actions.

However, that all comes with the territory of operating a genuine investigative journalism outfit, especially one that defends pro-life and pro-family values in our current culture.

Our efforts in this regard have been very effective in generating greatly needed change. 

Except from you, we don’t often get congratulations for a job well done. The changes usually come about after much struggle and opposition. Such changes result in large part from your follow-up efforts.

Your work of contacting and pressuring people and organizations to come clean, to straighten out, to reform, using evidence from our investigative reporting, is what makes things happen. 

For 15 years now we’ve been doing this work so that today many individuals, agencies, publications, groups and services are acting in line with the culture of life, which were not before.

In some cases there have been conversions, in some cases people had to be fired or speakers cancelled and in some cases there is ongoing reform.

But there is no way to continue this vital mission without your financial support.

We especially need that support now in a big way, since we are so very far from our goal and nearing the end of our current Spring Campaign. 

The impact of LifeSiteNews has exploded.  The work carried on behind the scenes has also expanded tremendously.  On many fronts there has been victory, and victory is near on many more.  There remain many areas where hard work is still needed.

Will you help us? When the going gets tough, the tough get going!  It is tough out there and we really need your help to keep us going. 

We need to receive at least $100,000 by the end of this campaign just to maintain our operations until the next fundraiser. It is a very conservative goal, but we still have over $65,000 to go!

To some people that goal may seem to be a lot, but in fact we have been told time and again by experts that what we have accomplished on our shoestring budget is nothing short of amazing.

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John-Henry Westen

Editor and Co-Founder
LifeSiteNews.com

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