Tuesday, April 10, 2012

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Wyoming Supreme Court rules says city violated pro-lifers First Amendment rights

by Ben Johnson Tue Apr 10 18:43 EST Comments (4)

 

CHEYENNE, WYOMING, April 10, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) - The Wyoming Supreme Court ruled today that the city of Jackson had violated pro-life activists’ First Amendment rights when it prohibited them from holding a protest on the city square last year.

Rev. Chet Gallegher and Pastor Mark Holick of Operation Save America were arrested last May 20, when they attempted to hold a three-day vigil to oppose the state’s only abortion clinic, owned by Dr. Brent Blue. That’s when they found out city attorney Audrey Cohen-Davis had sought a temporary restraining order against them without notifying them. The group had no opportunity to defend itself before District Judge Tom Day granted the motion, to prevent the protesters from being in the same location as a group of Boy Scouts.

“We gave them our word that we would not bring our graphic signs to that venue,” Rev. Rusty Lee Thomas of Operation Save America told LifeSiteNews.com. “But we told them we would come, we would preach, and we would hand out Christian pro-life literature. Well, they didn’t believe us. Behind our back, they sought this order. When we arrived, that’s when we find out they had brought this injunction against us.”

Justice Michael Golden wrote the 43-page opinion for the court’s 3-2 majority.

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

“They ruled that graphic signs in the public square are free speech under the First Amendment, and anywhere we go on the public square that is to be protected,” Thomas said. “These local governments do not have the authority to remove or abridge or violate our First Amendment rights.”

“This is a major ruling,” he told LifeSiteNews. “It’s a great blow against tyranny and a great defense of liberty.”

The ruling made the second pro-life victory for free speech in Wyoming in April. Last week, U.S. District Judge Nancy Freudenthal awarded $30,000 in attorney’s fees to WyWatch Family Action, which sought to set up a pro-life display in the state Capitol Building in Cheyenne.

The group plans to return to the city next month to renew their protests.

Thomas said he hopes Jackson police will better enforce public safety laws this year. “There were six separate incidents where the public used their vehicles to try to run us over,” he said.

“The problem was, because the police did not defend our constitutional rights and did not stop the violence toward us, it escalated. I understand they’re under pressure from the public, but they still have a job to do.”

At a separate protest the group held in Jackson Mississippi, a man with two hunting knives slashed a banner held by senior citizens.

Tags: abortion

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‘Do you want to have this baby?’ - The ‘YES’ that changed everything!

by Christina Martin Tue Apr 10 18:20 EST Comments (40)

 

April 10, 2012 (Liveaction.org) - Yes is a simple word. It’s a word we use to address a plethora of questions. Who can remember every “yes” told to a friend’s request, a child’s plea, an employer’s direction? We often forget the common answers given in the busyness of our daily lives. While some responses are deemed insignificant and easily forgotten, others can be seared in our memory forever. This is a story of the latter. It’s the true tale of a woman who vividly recalls the “yes” that changed her life.

It was 1980. The pregnancy test read positive. Andrea now faced the sobering reality of being unmarried and with child. Her boyfriend wasn’t thrilled to hear the news. Abortion was highly recommended – pressured, in fact. She sought advice from her spiritual mentor, hoping to find solace in this mentor’s often compassionate words. Comfort quickly eluded her, as her mentor shockingly said, “If you ever come back to this church, I will be the first person to put my foot in the door and not let you in.”

Uncertain of her future and devoid of support, she made the appointment. Andrea drove to the hospital, alone. When she arrived, the staff gave her a cotton gown to change into. A “counselor” was assigned to meet with her before the procedure. After spilling out the circumstances, she was assured by the woman that “you are making the best choice.” The soothing words in Andrea’s ears wrestled against the unpleasant knot growing in her stomach.

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She left the “counselor’s” office and sat in a hallway filled with ladies near the waiting room. Andrea covered her face with her hands; the tears trickled down her cheeks. As she wept, a woman – an elderly African-American janitor – walked toward her, dragging a mop and pail. She came close, lifted Andrea’s chin, and looked straight into her eyes. “Do you want to have this baby?” she calmly asked. At peace in the presence of this kind stranger, Andrea released a “YES.” “Then God will give you the strength,” the woman said. “Put on your clothes and leave.”

Moments later, the doctor called her name, and Andrea walked into the operating room. A gruesome sight awaited her on the floor. Upon entering, she saw a puddle of blood left over from the last abortion. Gasping with disgust, she confessed that her decision had changed. “No,” the doctor strongly said. “You’re just nervous. You already paid for this. You should stay.” The look in the doctor’s eyes made Andrea suspect that he feared losing business – both hers and that of the ladies in the waiting room who would see her leave. He revealed his anger as he argued with her to stay. In spite of his emotions, Andrea confidently declared, “I am leaving. I am having this child.” She walked out and followed through with her words.

That was thirty years ago. My mother’s brave “YES” saved my life. I had an appointment to die, but God canceled it. I received the priceless gift of life instead – a gift I am forever grateful for.

I left the hospital safely nestled in my mother’s womb. The other babies suffered a fate I dare not wish on anyone. They met the coldness and impatience of that abortion doctor.

At times I’ve wondered why I made it out and they didn’t. There are no answers to satisfy such a question. I simply know this: I survived.

The voices of babies are silenced every day. Mine almost was, but now will never be. I owe it to them to speak on their behalf. That is my passion and my privilege.

People argue over when a fetus is viable. They assume the murder of a child at six months is more repulsive or morally incomprehensible than the killing of a child at eight weeks. I don’t play the numbers game. If my mother had aborted me at eight weeks, I wouldn’t be here. If she had aborted me at six months, the result would be the same. The bottom line is that they are gone. They should be with us, and they are not. Unto this end, we give our time, money, talents, and strength – in hopes that others, like myself, can escape the impending sentence of death and experience the glorious gift of life.

Thank you, Mom, for saying yes to me.

Tags: abortion

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The end of women: The subversive legacy of the sexual revolution

by Carolyn Moynihan Tue Apr 10 16:46 EST Comments (13)

 
Adrienne Rich
Hanna Rosin

April 10, 2012 (Mercatornet.com) - The death of the American feminist poet Adrienne Rich (pictured) this week has brought many accolades on account of her literary gifts and contribution to the feminist movement over the past 50 years. In her transformation from conventionally married mother of three sons in the 1950s, to lesbian partner and apologist in the 1970s, she became not only the voice but a living example of the revolutionary character of second wave feminism.

The chief legacy of that movement has been brought into sharp focus in recent months by the battle royal between Catholic authorities (mainly) and the Obama administration over the latter’s mandate forcing employers to pay for birth control, including abortifacients and sterilisation.

Old-guard feminists—including Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sibelius—are nervous and casting the conflict as a “war on women”, an attempt to wind back the “reproductive rights” won in the 1960s and 1970s with the arrival of the contraceptive pill and the Supreme Court decision decriminalising abortion.

On the other hand, those who regard such methods of birth control as objectionable or morally wrong—including those who hold that view as a matter of religious faith—are outraged that the principle of freedom of conscience could be trashed for the sake of a symbolic enshrining of contraception in the pantheon of free health services.

Yes, the mandate is both an overblown tribute to the value of contraception in women’s lives—in particular for their “health”—and an act of intolerance towards those who do not value it at all. But at least we can be grateful that it has stirred up a debate that really needs to happen - a debate about whether the sexual revolution that contraception and abortion let loose on society has been a good thing or a bad thing.

As Mary Eberstadt wrote in her contribution to a forum on the issue in the Wall Street Journal last weekend, the legacy of the sexual revolution has yet to be “settled in the Western mind”—despite claims that “women” (minus, at the very least, the 25,000+ who have signed a letter objecting to it) are solidly behind the HHS mandate, and the sexual revolution to boot.

In her recently published collection of essays, Adam and Eve after the Pill, Eberstadt covers all kinds of fallout from the “sex without consequences” culture that has grown up over the past four decades, including the growing chorus of unhappiness from women writing on such mournful themes as “The Case for Settling” and “The End of Men”, complaining about men who won’t grow up and lamenting the general state of relations between the sexes. If the sexual revolution was such a boon, how come women are not happier? She asks.

Hanna Rosin, who also contributed to the WSJ’s sexual revolution forum, has an answer to that. She says happiness doesn’t matter. Rosin argues that young women (those in their 20s and early 30s) are generally better off than young men. “They are better educated and earn more money on average,” she points out. In other words, they don’t need men—except for “temporary, intimate relationships that don’t derail a career.” She is working on a book called—guess what?—“The End of Men”, due out in September.

Rosin does make some frank admissions. She concedes that there is a rumble of complaint from young women about men who won’t commit; that this is because the post-pill market has made sex “very cheap” and turned men into “free agents” who sleep with as many women as possible; which in turn causes women “a lot of frustrating little dating battles” and “heartache”. But that is a small price to pay, Rosin argues, for a woman’s future success in a career.

(Funny how arguments in favour of post-pill sexual culture always seem to hang on college educated women with careers, who generally do find a mate, rather than working class women who increasingly “settle” for the insecurity of serial cohabitation, and bringing up children, much of the time, on their own. But that is another story.)

The odd thing about Rosin’s theory is that it really describes “the end of women” rather than the end of men. The great gift of the sexual revolution to women is not that it has taken them out of men’s power but that it has made them over as the new men. They can pursue their careers just like men. They can have sex without getting pregnant and having to get married, just like men. They can ignore the emotional consequences of uncommitted sex (“And how bad are heartaches, anyway?” asks Rosin) as men tend to do.

When the ache for a baby gets too strong, today’s macho woman can go get herself impregnated with donor sperm at a fertility clinic. And since there’s really no difference between men and women any more she could just settle down with a lesbian partner and save herself any further trouble from the officially male of the species.

The truth is that, if men have become redundant, so have women. One makes no sense without the other. What we have instead is humanoids who come in a range of genders and can make use of their sexual endowment (or someone else’s) in a variety of ways. They can generate or acquire children as the case may be; they can saddle the kids with two “moms” or two “dads” or with other combinations of “parents” if it suits them. What that means for the children simply doesn’t matter. Nothing that comes from the sexual revolution can really be bad for anyone. Get used to it.

Isn’t this the insane world we see taking shape before our eyes? There may have been a lot wrong with marriage and the status of women in the America of young Mrs Adrienne Conrad (Rich’s married name), but cutting sex adrift from babies and marriage was patently not the solution. It has made nonsense of the body and made men and women strangers to themselves.

To refuse to become an active party to such madness is a right no just society should deny to any member.

Carolyn Moynihan is deputy editor of MercatorNet.

Re-published from MercatorNet.com under a Creative Commons license.

Tags: feminism, sexual revolution

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The Mainstream Media and religious illiteracy: why be ignorant, when you can be misinformed?

by Hilary White, Rome Correspondent Tue Apr 10 15:45 EST Comments (17)

 
Hilary White

ROME, April 10, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The very first phrase in a recent news article from the BBC relating to the Catholic Church in Ireland brought to mind something that has been rolling around in my head lately: the trouble with the Mainstream Media on Catholicism, Christianity and the life and family issues, (ie: sexual morality) is not actually their vicious mendaciousness and ignorance.

Malice against the Church is nothing new or exciting, but there is also an awareness starting to dawn that these media people don’t know much about it. We are starting to hear more admissions that there is a bias in the media.

But I’ve been thinking lately, that even this doesn’t adequately cover it. It isn’t their total ignorance of anything about the Church whatsoever, but the total impenetrability of that ignorance.

There is in the mainstream media, which the BBC more or less embodies, not even enough of a clue to cause them to pause for a moment and wonder whether they should look something up. The real trouble is their ignorance of their ignorance.

Today’s example is a story from the BBC, with the totally-and-completely-unbiased-we-swear headline, “Concern at Vatican ‘silencing’ of Irish priest,” the first sentence of which tells us that “The body that represents priests in Ireland has said it is disturbed over the Vatican’s silencing of one of its members for his liberal views.”

“The body that represents priests in Ireland” eh? Do tell. Which body would this be, exactly? It certainly sounds official and important. Gosh, I mean, could this be yet another example of the wicked old arch-conservatives in Rome trying to squash another progressive, forward-thinking movement to usher in a new era of reform, openness and wonderfulness in the Church?

It’s the first sentence in the story, so it must be important. And it’s the BBC, so naturally, we would never dream of wondering whether it is true.

The story goes on to say that the group has “warned that forcing Father Tony Flannery …to stop writing for a Redemptorist Order magazine would fuel belief of a disconnect between Irish Catholics and Rome.”

Sounds terrible, doesn’t it? I mean, here is this nice group of priests, just trying to keep things together in Ireland’s difficult times, and these horrible old guys in Rome are just tearing things down, for no better reason than to maintain their medieval power structures.

But wait, here’s something funny. The group the story is talking about is the Association of Catholic Priests, that the BBC hastens to tell us is “800-strong”. What association is this, you might now be wondering. No? You weren’t wondering that? Could it have been the BBC’s use of the term, “body” in a way that might have allowed you to assume that this is some kind of officially recognised organisation of the Catholic Church?

Could it possibly have been that the BBC writer was hoping no one would cut that name out of his story and paste it into the LifeSiteNews search engine? And what do we come up with there?

Woah-nellie! That’s not any official body of the Catholic Church, either in Ireland or anywhere else! In fact, this is a group of priests who have set themselves up in deliberate opposition to the Catholic Church, specifically to tear it down. Precisely what the BBC writer is implying the Vatican is doing… what gives here?

And, why, look at this, they’re trying especially to convince the Church that the old sexual morality was wrong. That wouldn’t be at all in line with the BBC’s unofficial position on the matter, would it?

Nor, it seems, did anyone think we might take Fr. Flannery’s name and put it into Google. Let’s see, what can we learn about Fr. Flannery CSSR?

It turns out that he is the author of no fewer than six books, a multitude of articles, and, one little online bio notes, is well-known for his criticisms of the Catholic Church: “…he is widely regarded as a spokesman for liberal reform of the Catholic Church”. He is, in short, a campaigner, a full-time professional anti-Catholic lobbyist, ironically, being paid a salary by the Catholic Church to undermine its own teaching, and discredit its leaders and institutions, (a job, I might add, that the Irish bishops have made much easier). This movement seeks to knock down the institutions, moral teaching and structures of Catholicism, a project that is obviously dear to the heart of the BBC.

So, in fact, three or four clicks will reveal that this “article” by the BBC is, in fact, a piece of political propaganda, carefully fashioned to point a totally-unbiased-we-swear finger at the Pope for trying to hold his priests accountable for being… well… Catholic.

A lot of this is malice, of course. The deliberate pushing, lobbying essentially, of a particular set of political ideas, without the courage to come out and admit that is what they are doing. The fact that everyone who reads an article online is also capable of uncovering this naked partisanship with a few clicks of the trackpad doesn’t seem to have dawned on them yet. Nevertheless, we still try to give the benefit of the doubt where we can.

We still say that much of this is based on “religious illiteracy” in the media, and among the public who believes what they read there. And obviously this is true, but I have noticed that this is only the first layer of the problem.

The term “religiously illiterate” simply doesn’t cover it; people, particularly the media, are religiously ignorant. There isn’t much about the Catholic Church that the media, and the wider public informed by it, doesn’t not know.

To complicate matters, on top of that ignorance and malice there is a large inventory of ideas, completely absurd nonsense, that “everyone knows” about the Catholic Church, that are total rubbish. (Here, Robert Spencer does an amusing job of shredding a sample of the problem from the New York Times.)

Put these four problems together, malice, blank ignorance, the total lack of awareness of that ignorance and wild misinformation, and it creates a perfect disaster for the public. How can we expect ordinary people, many of whom have never heard the term “media bias” to know where or when to click? How many out there would have read that story by the BBC and have known what questions to ask?

I’m afraid I laughed when I read recently about some Vatican occasion when a bishop or cardinal or someone was ever so delicately tiptoeing around the notion that many people in the western countries are a little in the dark as to what Catholicism actually teaches.

I could not help thinking of the occasion, many years ago, when I went to Catholic school in Ontario to give a talk. I have noted before that the lower grades, 8s and 9s, were quite receptive and interested, though ignorant as 10th century Inuit. The later grades, however, the 16-17 year-olds, had at some point heard the vague rumour that the Catholic Church taught two things they didn’t like and they were having none of it, or me. They had heard that they weren’t allowed, as Catholics, to sleep with whomever they pleased, and that they also weren’t allowed either to contracept away or simply to kill the products of their amusements afterwards. The shocking cheek of those old guys in Rome, trampling all over their rights like that!

I went into the class and it was immediately obvious that they were ready to tear me apart. I asked a few questions and quickly found out what I already knew.

“So you guys have been in Catholic schools all your lives and by this time, you figure you know everything the Church teaches, right?”

Nod nod nod.

“And based on that knowledge, you have examined these teachings in the light of your consciences and have come to the rational and well-informed decision that you don’t agree, right?”

(General murmurings, foot-shuffling.) “Yeah…I guess so…”

“OK, so you won’t mind a little pop quiz then. I teach catechism to some kids at my parish who are about 13 or 14 and are getting ready for their Confirmations, and I’ve just finished writing their exams, so it’s still fresh in my mind.”

(Worried looks, but still defiant.)

“Ready? ...What is the Hypostatic Union?”

A room full of more impenetrably blank looks you could not find at a convention of Italian medical secretaries.

“No? OK, maybe that was a little obscure. Then what about the difference between venial and mortal sin?”

...We all listen to the crickets chirping for a few seconds…

“Uh huh. Well, what about the difference between the Virgin Birth and the Immaculate Conception?”

...chirp… chirp…

“OK, well this one is the easiest, a give-away… Ready? Who is the Second Person of the Holy Trinity?”

I had to stop here because I thought one of us was going to cry and it wasn’t going to be me.

“So, you have come to the considered opinion that you reject the Church’s moral teaching on sexuality, but you don’t have a third-grader’s knowledge of what that teaching is, or the reasons behind it. Have I got it about right?”

This situation feeds itself, particularly in the media, who also don’t know enough about religion to know what they don’t know, and are equally sure they are fully possessed of What Everyone Knows About Catholicism, thus creating an almost impenetrable wall that admits no possibility of communication.

What can be done? Read LifeSiteNews, for one thing. And fight back, for another. First equip yourself for the discussion (I won’t say “fight”). Learn everything you can about how to answer the arguments against traditional Christian morality (This is not proposed as an exercise only for Catholic Christians).

This is something for which LifeSiteNews is the ideal tool. We write in these pages about both sides, what the other side is doing, thinking and saying, and why, and what is being done about it on the other side.

The peddlers of anti-Catholic, anti-Christian hatred, are counting on your ignorance. The author of this piece I have focused on here was depending on his audience not wondering whether this were a legitimate organisation of the Catholic Church in Ireland.

He was selling you a paradigm that liberals base all their hate-mongering on: that there is a “good” Christianity that is all for abortion, homosexuality and sexual libertinism, in the name of “freedom” and “conscience” and on the other side, the dark forces of “conservatism” whose only interest is in squashing your fun for their own nefarious purposes. It sounds silly when you write it out like this, but that really is it in a nutshell. Whether they are paid by the BBC or whether the Redemptorist order in Ireland is signing the cheques, the desired outcome is precisely the same.

They can only sell it to you if you are buying. And you will only be in the market for these ideas if you are not already in full possession of the Truth.

Tags: bbc, christophobia, media, media bias

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“The shed blood of innocent children now demands a day of reckoning” : Lou Engle

by Denise Mountenay Tue Apr 10 15:16 EST Comments (13)

 

DALLAS, TX, April 10, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) -  Some 4000 women gathered for The Esther Call last week in front of the Federal Courthouse where Roe v. Wade was first argued before it went to the Supreme Court and opened the floodgates to abortion on demand.

Christian leader Lou Engle who organized the event exhorted the assembled: “Almost 40 years ago a judicial decree was initiated here at the Dallas courthouse that has led to the abortion of 54 million babies and the wounding of millions of women and men.  This Haman-like death decree has entrenched itself deep within the fibre of American culture, just as slavery became institutionalized within our national soul.  No preaching, no protest has been able to dislodge this Roe v. Wade edict.  The shed blood of innocent children now demands a day of reckoning.”

Engle’s passion is to call young adults into a lifestyle of radical prayer, fasting, holiness and acts of justice. He helped start Bound4LIFE, and helped raise up the first Justice House of Prayer (JHOP) in Washington DC to pray for the Supreme Court and for righteous leaders in America.

About four thousand Christian women and pro-lifers were at the courthouse on Good Friday to pray, fast and welcome and honour the 39 women who had begun their walk three weeks earlier in Houston, at the largest abortion clinic in the USA.  Several of the walkers were post-abortive, some were survivors of abortion, some were adopted, one young woman was in a stretcher. 

They walked over 270 miles, survived 12 tornados along with many blisters, sore feet and aching muscles. “Who would have guessed that when they crossed over the county line of Dallas, 12 tornadoes exploded,” Lou Engle proclaimed. “And no deaths!” The tornadoes, the hail, the grounded planes at the airport ... all of this, was a sign that God would hear their prayers, and use them to influence worldly affairs, he added.

The women were representing 39 years of abortion, standing for the millions of children slaughtered and for the countless women wounded and devastated as a result of the historic Roe V. Wade case.  They walked, said Engle, “a trail of tears.”

As the women took to the stage to cheers they began to testify to the pain of abortion.
Laura Allred a former abortion patient, one of the walkers and founder of the Back to Life Movement began with confession, repentance and intercessory prayer to end abortion in the land.
Prayer in small groups followed, praying and crying out to God for His mercy, grace and justice.  Praise and Worship teams followed energizing the crowd. 

“The Esther Call,” was named in honour of the Biblical Queen Esther, whom God used to save a nation. 
Speakers included Shari Rigby, the actress who played the birth mother on the newly released “October Baby” movie. She shared her testimony on being post abortive and how the movie was very much like her own story.  Other speakers included Dr. Alveda King, Tracy Eckert, Reggie Littlejohn, and former abortionist Carol Everett. 

This writer was able to join Allan Parker of the Texas Justice Foundation as well as other post abortive women from Operation Outcry as we carried thousands of testimony/declarations on the pain legal abortion causes for women both physically and psychologically. Parker himself confessed and repented publicly on an IUD his wife had, which resulted in the death of their preborn son.

Engle challenged the assembly to, “Confess the sin of abortion, the shedding of innocent blood, it cries out for justice, to repent of our apathy and then become actively involved.”  He read the book of Esther, relating how Queen Esther first prepared herself with prayer and fasting, then boldly came before the King, risking her life, exposed the plots of Haman who was planning to kill and annihilate the Jewish people and how the King heard her and responded.  He encouraged the Mordecai’s of today to stand behind the Esther’s who are out to expose the Haman’s for such a time as this.  Today Planned Parenthood plots and takes the lives of millions of children.

Christy Carlson, 26 of the International House of Prayer for Dallas, prayed out;  “We ask God to end abortion in our nation and send revival and healing to women who have experienced abortion.” 
“Innocent blood has been spilled,” she exclaimed.  “God demands justice. We’re here to cry out for God to extend mercy to our nation.” But if that didn’t happen, she said, “there could be a judgment.”

Engle encouraged righteous post abortive women to come forward and be heard in the public square.  “You have been raised up for such a time as this.  Millions of human lives hang in the balance today.  Your tears, your travail, your praise and your proclamation challenge powers in the heavens and on the Earth.  The grace period for abortion is running out, just as it did with slavery,” Engle lamented.

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‘God bless all three of you’: The day ‘me and my baby’ were saved from abortion

by Peter Baklinski Tue Apr 10 14:37 EST Comments (32)

 

MILWAUKEE, Wisconsin, April 10, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Mareza Landeros, 19, hadn’t been to church since she was seven.

That way of life had long since become unfamiliar to her, who lived with her boyfriend according to typical young adult standards. Yet Mareza held onto one habit that she had practiced every night since childhood — prayer. She says she remembers feeling during these times a “strong connection with God.”

Then one day Mareza’s life was thrown upside down: she discovered she was carrying her boyfriend’s baby.

She and her boyfriend made a trip to Affiliated Medical Services (AMS) in Milwaukee to determine the stage of the pregnancy and to schedule an abortion.

“We didn’t think anything of abortion. We were just getting rid of something that was a burden,” said Mareza in a video posted on YouTube by Pro-Life Wisconsin. “I’m not a bad person,” she continued, “but I went out there because I was scared and because I was not informed.”

CLICK ‘LIKE’ IF YOU’RE PRO-LIFE!

 


As the young pregnant mother and her boyfriend pulled into the abortion facility parking lot, they encountered someone they were not expecting.

“I saw this big tall six-foot guy standing in front of the abortion clinic. He didn’t really look like someone who would hand me a pamphlet that said ‘This is your baby growing,’” recalled Mareza.

Dan Miller and a small team of counselors from Pro-Life Wisconsin were at the facility praying that day and interceding for the unborn children who had come there in the wombs of their abortion-bound mothers.

Mareza and her boyfriend brushed past the pro-life witnesses and stood momentarily before the door of the abortion facility, ringing the doorbell and waiting to be admitted.

Suddenly, in a loud voice, the tall man called out to the couple: “God bless you two!”

The mention of God’s name briefly triggered something deep inside Mareza. She surprised herself by turning to face the speaker. In what Mareza now looks upon as an inspired moment of grace, the man gazed at her and shouted once more: “No, God bless all three of you!”

“Those words stayed with me throughout my whole visit with AMS,” Mareza recalled. She told LifeSiteNews that the tall man’s words were “kind of like a slap in the face, but in a good way.”

Mareza recalls entering the abortion facility, shaken to the core by the words of the man outside. For the first time, she says it dawned on her that there was a little person inside of her who had just received God’s blessing. She vividly remembers breaking down and weeping inside the clinic as so many strange but exciting thoughts crowded into her mind. She remembers, too, receiving no compassion from any of the staff.

The facility’s ultrasound technician told Mareza that she was 10 weeks pregnant and that they would remove the ‘pregnancy tissue’ by the suction and curettage method. Mareza was told that the procedure would be a simple, 15-minute, painless process.

At that moment, Mareza says she said something only a concerned mother would think of: “Is the procedure going to hurt the baby?”

“No”, replied the technician.

Mareza says she looked the technician in the face, emphatically repeating: “Is the procedure going to hurt MY BABY?” The technician, she recalls, only stared at her silently.

Mareza says she quietly left the abortion facility with a new feeling of hope. Her boyfriend did not support her decision and very shortly walked out of her life.

Two weeks later, Mareza visited the pro-life Women’s Care Centre, right next door to the same abortion facility. She met the tall man who had called out to her, whose name was Daniel.

“Look, you’ve saved my baby,” she recalls telling him. Baby Joseph was born last September.

Virginia Zignego, communications director for Pro-Life Wisconsin, told LifeSiteNews that she and the pro-life team of counselors “really try to emphasis the humanity of the child to an abortion-bound woman,” and that Dan’s words were inspired.

“‘God bless all three of you’ was definitely the work of the Holy Spirit,” she said.

“There is ‘somebody’ else who is at play here. When they say ‘it’s my body, my choice’, we tell them that once there is a new human life in the equation, then that person should have a choice as well.”

Mareza says she and her son Joseph are flourishing with the help of their new friends at the pro-life center, and now attend the same church as Daniel; baby Joseph was baptized in December. The young mother now attends college and works as a waitress to pay the bills, and has even joined those offering sidewalk counseling to abortion-minded women.

“I always let women know that there is help. I tell each woman that people do care for her and her baby and that she will not have to go through this alone,” says the mother. “At the end, I always remember to tell them ‘God bless you and your baby!’”

Tags: pro-life wisconsin, sidewalk counseling

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IT’S OFFICIAL: Santorum ends 2012 run after daughter falls ill

by Kathleen Gilbert Tue Apr 10 13:00 EST Comments (71)

 
Santorum with daughter Bella

WASHINGTON, April 10, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum on Tuesday announced his intention to suspend his presidential campaign, a move that essentially hands the GOP contest to top rival Mitt Romney.

Santorum, who had halted campaign events to tend to his ailing 3-year-old daughter Bella over the Easter weekend, made the announcement in a speech at Gettysburg Tuesday afternoon. Bella was discharged from a Virginia hospital Monday night after being admitted for pneumonia on Friday.

Bella’s condition, Trisomy 18, is a genetic disorder that renders children so fragile that they normally die before or shortly after birth. Bella also endured a serious spell of pneumonia, one of the condition’s common complications, in January.

“While this presidential race for us is over ... we are not done fighting. We are going to continue to fight for those voices, we are going to continue to fight for those Americans who stood up and gave us that air under our wings that allowed us to accomplish things that no political expert would have ever expected,” said Santorum.

Moments after the press conference, a statement from the Romney campaign called Santorum an “able and worthy competitor.”

The former Pennsylvania senator had cancelled some Tuesday morning events only hours before the latest development, but was expected to make up for them later. Hogan Gidley, national communications director for Santorum, on Tuesday morning had issued a statement celebrating Bella’s return from the hospital and thanking supporters for their prayers.

Santorum was heading for a heated delegates battle in five states’ primaries on April 24, including one in his home state of Pennsylvania. Although long in a four-way race with Romney, Newt Gingrich, and Ron Paul, the strongly pro-life and pro-family Santorum had emerged in recent weeks as the candidate behind which Romney critics within the party had coalesced.

A source within the Santorum campaign said the candidate called his staff at about 1:45 pm EST to say he was ending his presidential bid for personal reasons.

“He missed his scheduled engagements this morning and so we knew something was up,” the source told LifeSiteNews.com.

In an email to supporters, Santorum indicated that his daughter is still suffering from pneumonia, and said the decision to end the run was “one of the hardest decisions Karen and I have ever had to face together.”

“I know that my candidacy has offered you a way to fight for your convictions, and I do not want to let you down,” he told his supporters.

Santorum said he would “focus on helping defeat” Barack Obama in the November contest, but did not allude to whether he would endorse Mitt Romney, now the clear leader of the GOP primary race.

Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, told LifeSiteNews.com that Santorum’s decision “certainly gave the nation a ‘Family comes first’ lesson.”

“Family has always come first for him, and even in his political life, his motives are to build a better nation for his and others’ families,” said Pavone.

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Fertility Decline May Unhinge Asian Security, Expert Panel Says

by C-FAM Staff Tue Apr 10 12:06 EST Comments (4)

 

NEW YORK, April 10, 2012 (C-FAM) The global fertility freefall is about to cause geopolitical upheaval in Asia, a panel of experts said last week. The experts, all contributors to the new book Population Decline and the Remaking of Great Power Politics, spoke at the world’s largest gathering of international relations specialists meeting in San Diego, California.

“For years scholars have said that if fewer people were born, the world would be a safer place. It turns out the opposite is true,” Dr. Susan Yoshihara told conferees at the 53rd annual convention of the International Studies Association, which drew more than 5000 scholars from around the world. Yoshihara is director of the International Organizations Research Group at C-FAM and coeditor of the new book with C-FAM Senior Fellow Douglas Sylva.

India’s leaders used to see a burgeoning population as a liability. Now they view it as a boon, Lisa Curtis said. India will add eleven million workers every year for the next several years. To translate this into economic wealth, India needs to overcome high social hurdles, the Heritage Foundation expert noted, such as its 25 percent illiteracy rate, labor inflexibility, and high rates of sex selective abortion and infanticide of baby girls.

China’s sex ratios are even more skewed, compounding problems with a workforce that will soon start to contract. This raises doubts about China’s rise, Gordon Chang said, noting that “Beijing sees India through the lens of demography.” Chinese leaders are concerned about the imminent demographic eclipse by India which might fuel political tensions with its neighbor.

While the two countries have increased trade from $5 billion to $70 billion in the last decade, their relationship still suffers from bitter memories of a border war, unresolved territorial disputes, and mutual suspicion in their rivalry for regional influence. Chang, a noted author and Forbes.com columnist, concluded that despite Beijing’s hopes, the coming century would not be kind to the Chinese.

That is because in order for a nation to be a “going concern”—a country with momentum—it must have more than just a geographical advantage, Francis Sempa said. It needs political organization and an abundance of manpower with efficiency, skill, and health. The author of several books on geopolitics said that demographic decline is causing stresses on alliances, such as the fact that European decline may necessitate more unilateral action by the United States.

Population decline may soon be straining the U.S.-Japan alliance also, Yoshihara added. Tokyo announced in January that the nation will lose a million people a year – a 30 percent population collapse by 2060.  “As its closest ally in Asia turns inward, U.S. influence in the region hangs in the balance,” Yoshihara said, adding that the United States needs to look for new security partners to ensure regional stability and seize its own demographic advantage.

South Korea has also had to scale back its defense spending, Thomas Mahnken said. The Naval War college professor and former Pentagon official added that the U.S. needs to attract the “best and brightest” immigrants to preserve its demographic edge. America also needs to court new security partners such as India, the panel concluded, but they agreed that much more diplomacy was needed to forge a strategic partnership that could avert regional volatility.

Tags: asia, population control, population research institute, underpopulation

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New Zealand agency fails to report hundreds of post-abortion hospitalizations

by Patrick B. Craine Tue Apr 10 11:12 EST Comments (4)

CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand, April 10, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A total of 877 women were admitted to hospital in New Zealand between 2009 and 2011 for treatment of post-abortion complications, reveal government documents obtained by Right to Life New Zealand. The total number of bed-days for the women involved totalled 1047.

There were a total of 52,120 abortions reported to the Abortion Supervisory Committee in 2009 to 2011. The hospital admittance rate for women being treated for complications arising from abortions was 1.68 percent. But this important information is not included in the Committee’s annual report to Parliament.

Right to Life NZ recently obtained the information from the Ministry of Health under the Official Information Act. Information on the nature and severity of the complications is not available. According to the pro-life group, these important statistics reveal that abortions not only kill an unborn child but can result in damage to a woman’s health.

“Why was it necessary to utilise the Official Information Act to obtain important information concerning the health of women that should be freely available in the public domain?” asks the pro-life group.

Abortionists are required to report to the Committee any complications that result from abortions prior to the woman being discharged. It is noted that a number of the 877 women admitted for treatment for complications would have been admitted to hospital immediately following the abortion, however their hospitalisation is not required to be advised to the Committee. The remainder of the women would have been discharged from the abortion facility after their abortion and then subsequently readmitted to hospital.

In 2010, Right to Life obtained from the Committee under the Official Information Act, statistics of complications reported by abortionists to the Committee in 2010.The information revealed that there were a total of 73 complications reported in the performance of 17,550 abortions; a complication rate of 0.42 percent.  These statistics are collated by Statistics New Zealand on behalf of the Committee.  The Abortion Supervisory Committee does not include these statistics in its annual report to Parliament on the grounds that the incidence of complication is so small and not worthy of report.

Right to Life believes that there is considerable under reporting of complications by abortionists that give women a false impression that abortion is a safe procedure. The Committee also excludes from its annual report to Parliament any statistical information on the number of women who are admitted to hospital for the treatment of a complication arising from abortion. The Committee has for many years congratulated abortionists for their skill in providing the women of New Zealand with “safe” abortions.

There are many complications both physical and psychological that damage a woman’s health. Right to Life sought information under the Official information Act from the Ministry of Health on the number of women who were admitted to hospital for psychiatric treatment following an abortion. But they were advised that this information is not recorded.

A study of the medical records of 56,741 California Medicaid patients revealed that women who had abortions were 160 per cent more likely than women delivering a baby to be hospitalised for psychiatric treatment in the first 90 days following abortion or delivery. Rates of psychiatric treatment remained significantly higher for at least four years. A five year retrospective study in two Canadian provinces found that 25 per cent of women who had had abortions made visits to psychiatrists and were more likely than others to require admission to a psychiatric hospital. 

The Committee has a statutory duty under the Contraception Sterilisation and Abortion Act to provide an annual report to Parliament. Section 14 states that the Committee has a duty “to monitor, analyse, collate, and disseminate information relating to the performance of abortions in New Zealand.”

“Why is information about the number of women admitted to Hospital for the treatment of complications resulting from an abortion not included in the Committee’s annual report to Parliament?” asks Right to Life NZ. “How does the Committee reconcile a complication rate of 0.42 per cent with a hospital admittance rate of 1.68 per cent? (which is four times higher!)”

“What action is the Committee taking to ensure that all complications resulting from an abortion prior to the discharge of the woman are notified to the Committee? Why does the Ministry of Health not record the admittance of women to a psychiatric hospital for treatment as a result of having an abortion?”

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Mega-Planned Parenthood faces thousands in vigil on Good Friday

by Kathleen Gilbert Tue Apr 10 08:52 EST Comments (3)

 
About 3,200 gathered outside the Planned Parenthood in St. Paul on Good Friday, the day Christians commemorate the death of Jesus.

SAINT PAUL, Minnesota, April 10, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A lone life-size cross was the only sign carried by a massive crowd of pro-lifers who gathered on Good Friday as a powerful statement against the brand new mega-Planned Parenthood in St. Paul.

Just two weeks after having one of the largest crowds for the Rallies for Religious Freedom in the nation, organizers say the crowd came out in record numbers to attend Pro-Life Action Ministries annual Good Friday Prayer Vigil, which coincides with the commemoration of Jesus Christ’s suffering and death on the cross.

Throughout the nearly eight-hour prayer vigil, which has taken place annually for 27 years, about 3,200 people filled the street next to the new Mega-Planned Parenthood in St. Paul, Minn.  This year’s event is the first at the new 46,000 sq. ft. abortion facility.

Witnesses report that at least one child was saved from abortion through the intervention of sidewalk counselors during the event.

Fifteen area pastors of various Christian denominations led prayer, each taking a different half-hour time.  Included among the clergy were Catholic Archbishop John Niensted and Auxiliary Bishop Lee Pichè, Baptist Minister Leo Reck, African American Pentecostal Minister Larry Trawick, and Lutheran Minister Fred Thoni. 

Between prayer times, the crowd intoned hymns and songs of worship.  The only sign brought to this event was a life-size cross.

“The logistical challenges of bringing in this many people were a bit daunting,” said Brian Gibson, Executive Director of Pro-Life Action Ministries, in statements to the press Friday.  “We had to use a remote parking lot and bus in the participants.” 

Gibson said his group’s efforts “worked better than our expectations” in getting people to the event, but that wasn’t the most rewarding part.

“The most exciting thing for me is a baby was saved,” he said.

Tags: good friday, minnesota, planned parenthood

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Vatican Cardinal: If Catholic employers provide contraceptive coverage they cooperate in sin

by Jenn Giroux Tue Apr 10 06:49 EST Comments (48)

 

WASHINGTON, April 10, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The upcoming episode of Catholic Action Insight hosted by Thomas McKenna to air on EWTN on Wednesday, April 11 at 2:30pm and April 13 at 9:00pm EST will surely ignite discussion among Catholics on the impending mandate which is an attack on religious liberty.  In this interview, Cardinal Raymond Burke speaks out for the first time in a public interview on matters of faith, religious liberty, and culpability in relation to this threatened mandate for employers.

“We are very blessed to be granted this interview with Cardinal Raymond Burke who explains the Catholic position on the right to religious liberty, the moral conflict for Catholic employers who provide contraceptive services to employees, and a comprehensive explanation and perspective on the role of the Church in this time of governmental interference with the constitutional right to ‘freedom of religion’”, said Thomas McKenna, President of Catholic Action for Faith and Family. Thomas and his film crew recently returned from the Vatican where the interview was conducted.

Click “like” if you want to end abortion!

There are many liberal Catholics and Obama supporters who are trying to divide and confuse the faithful on the issues surrounding this attack on religious liberty and the impending mandatory requirement for employers to provide insurance plans which provide free contraception, abortion-inducing drugs, and sterilization.  Still others that oppose the mandate are advocating that the issue of contraception should be separated from the discussion of religious liberty all together.  The reality is that these issues are quite inseparable as it relates to the practice of Catholicism and the moral burden that is placed upon the conscience of employers who provide contraceptive services.  Only those who understand the grave moral evil of contraception and abortion understand that the Catholic Church will never compromise on these issues because to do so would lead to eternal ramifications for those involved. 

Because Catholics have so many questions about all of this, President Obama’s first-of-its-kind Health and Human Services mandate has ushered in a period of catechesis and education for Catholics who now seek to truly understand what is at stake here.  They are ready to participate in resisting the mandate however in standing up with Church leaders they seek more definitive clarity to understand their own duties as Catholics.

Listen to three very brief audio excerpts from the interview:

Below are a few text excerpts from this ‘must see’ interview to air on EWTN Wednesday, April 11 at 2:30pm and Friday, April 13 at 9:00pm EST.  Cardinal Burke stands in solidarity with U. S. Bishops and the USCCB in his defense and advocacy for authentic, unchanging Church dogma as well as highlighting the critical role that the Bishops, Archbishops, and Cardinals must play as shepherds to their flock:

Thomas McKenna:  “It is beautiful to see how the faithful have rallied behind the Hierarchy….How does your Eminence comment on the union of solidarity of our bishops?”

Cardinal Burke:  “Yes, I have received emails and other communications from lay faithful who say that they are supporting their bishops 100% and they have communicated to their bishops their gratitude and assured them that they want them to continue to be courageous and not to be deceived by any kind of false accommodations which in fact continue this same kind of agenda which sadly we have witnessed for too long in our country which is totally secular and therefore is anti-life and anti-family. I admire very much the courage of the bishops.  At the same time I believe they would say it along with me that they are doing no more than their duty.  A bishop has to protect his flock and when any individual or government attempts to force the flock to act against conscience in one of its most fundamental precepts then the bishops have to come to defend those who are entrusted to their pastoral care. So I am deeply grateful to all of the bishops who have spoken about this and who are encouraging the members of their flock to also speak up because our government needs to understand that what is being done with this mandate is contrary first of all to the fundamental human right, the right to the free exercise of one’s conscience and at the same time contrary to the very foundation of our nation.”

Thomas McKenna:
“So a Catholic employer, really getting down to it, he does not, or she does not provide this because that way they would be, in a sense, cooperating with the sin…the sin of contraception or the sin of providing a contraceptive that would abort a child, is this correct?”

Cardinal Burke: “This is correct.  It is not only a matter of what we call “material cooperation” in the sense that the employer by giving this insurance benefit is materially providing for the contraception but it is also “formal cooperation” because he is knowingly and deliberately doing this, making this available to people. There is no way to justify it. It is simply wrong.”

Click “like” if you want to end abortion!

This comment by a high ranking Cardinal is the clearest explanation to date on the issue of an employer’s culpability when providing contraception, sterilization, and abortion inducing drug options in the insurance plans for employees.  Cardinal Burke has illuminated with piercing clarity the controversial issue which has seen dissent from Church teaching on this matter among Catholic institutions and universities here in the United States.

Cardinal Burke issued a public statement of support for Catholics to sign the Stop the Birth Control Mandate Petition.

For more information on the entire interview and the additional times it can be seen on EWTN or to watch the full interview after it airs on EWTN please visit Catholic Action

Jenn Giroux is a Registered Nurse, Prolife Activist, and Catholic Speaker.  She and her husband, Dan, have 9 children and live in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Tags: cardinal raymond burke, mandate, obama, vatican

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