Friday, April 20, 2012

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Parental consent laws protect underage girls, so why are abortionists opposed?

by Teresa Collett Fri Apr 20 17:31 EST Comments (5)

April 20, 2012 (thePublicDiscourse.com) - On March 8, the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on the Constitution heard testimony on the proposed Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act (CIANA). I was among those who testified in favor of the Act. CIANA would prohibit transporting a minor across state lines with the intent that she obtain an abortion without involving her parents as may be required by her home state. It also would require that abortion providers comply with the parental notification or consent laws of a minor’s home state when performing an abortion on a non-resident minor. More controversially, CIANA would require 24 hours’ notice to the girl’s parents if she was not a resident in the state where the abortion is being performed. All of these requirements would be waived in the event of a medical emergency threatening the girl’s life or if the girl certified that she was the victim of parental abuse.

The New York Times criticized the Act in an editorial titled “Yet Another Curb on Abortion.” The editors called CIANA “mean-spirited,” “constitutionally suspect,” and “callous.” It is none of these things. It is, in fact, a popular commonsense proposal that is fully constitutional.

There is a national consensus in favor of parental involvement laws, notwithstanding the controversial nature of abortion laws more generally. For more than three decades, polls have consistently reflected that over 70 percent of Americans support parental consent laws. Most recently a Gallup Poll released July 25, 2011, showed that 71 percent of Americans support a law requiring parental consent prior to performance of an abortion on a minor. According to a 2009 Pew Research Poll “Even among those who say abortion should be legal in most or all cases, 71% favor requiring parental consent.”

Forty-five states have passed laws requiring parental notice or consent, although only thirty-seven states’ laws are in effect at the moment due to constitutional challenges by abortion rights activists. And the weakest of these laws allow notice to or consent by other adult relatives of girls seeking abortion.

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Various reasons underlie the popular support of these laws. As Justices O’Connor, Kennedy, and Souter observed in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, parental involvement laws for abortions “are based on the quite reasonable assumption that minors will benefit from consultation with their parents and that children will often not realize that their parents have their best interests at heart.”

The New York Times editorial disputed this claim, criticizing CIANA on the basis that teens “have reason to fear a violent reaction” and will “resort to unsafe alternatives.”

These objections are repeatedly voiced by abortion activists. Yet they ignore published studies, many of them by the Guttmacher Institute, a research institute founded by Planned Parenthood, demonstrating that less than half of pregnant teens tell their parents of their pregnancy and very few experience ill effects from the disclosure.

According to a national study conducted by researchers associated with Guttmacher, disappointment is the most common response of parents who learn that their teen daughter is pregnant, and almost no parent responds with violence. Teens reported an increase in parental stress as the most common consequence of disclosing their pregnancy. Less than half of one percent of the teens reported that they were “beaten.”

The claim that minors will resort to unsafe alternatives is equally bogus. A 2007 study of self-induced medical abortions reported no cases involving children or adolescents. Similarly, notwithstanding the fact that parental involvement laws have been on the books in various states for over thirty years, there has been no case in which it has been established that a minor was injured as the result of obtaining an illegal or self-induced abortion in an attempt to avoid parental involvement.

What has been established, however, is that many teen pregnancies are the result of coercion and statutory rape. National studies reveal that almost two thirds of adolescent mothers have partners older than twenty years of age. In a study of over 46,000 pregnancies by school-age girls in California, researchers found that 71 percent, or over 33,000, were fathered by adult post-high-school men who were an average of five years older than the mothers. Perhaps even more shocking was the finding that men aged twenty-five years or older father more births among California school-age girls than do boys under age eighteen. Parental involvement laws are just one way the law can attempt to protect young girls from the predatory practices of some men.

Mandatory reporting of statutory rape and other sex crimes is another. Yet as evidenced by recent news stories, some abortion providers refuse to comply with reporting laws. Instead of reporting underage sex to state authorities who can then investigate and protect a girl from future abuse, clinics intentionally remain ignorant of the circumstances giving rise to the pregnancy. Clinics in Kansas have even gone so far as to argue in federal court that twelve-year-old children have a right to keep their sexual activities private and thus reporting laws are unconstitutional. Thankfully this absurd claim was rejected, but only on appeal from a district court ruling embracing the clinics’ argument.

In addition to providing some protection against sexual exploitation of minors, the Supreme Court has identified three ways in which teens may benefit medically from parental involvement. First, parents are more likely to have greater experience in selecting medical providers and thus be able “to distinguish the competent and ethical from those that are incompetent or unethical.” This benefit should not be lightly ignored, as evidenced by the horrific practices engaged in by Kermit Gosnell in Philadelphia, an abortion provider currently being prosecuted for multiple murders in connection with his abortion practice.

Second, parents can provide additional information about the minor’s medical history—information a minor may not know, remember, or be willing to share. This can be particularly important where there is a history of depression or other mental disorder that may impact the minor’s post-abortion psychological health. While claims of “post-abortion trauma” are hotly disputed, no one questions that women with a history of depression may be more susceptible to post-abortion mental health problems.

Finally, parents who know their daughter has undergone an abortion can more readily identify any post-procedure problems such as infection or hemorrhaging—two of the most common post-abortion complications. If caught early, both infection and hemorrhaging can be dealt with easily, but if ignored, either can lead to other complications or even death.

Opponents of CIANA argue that the Act would endanger teen health, and they criticize the emergency exception to parental involvement, which is limited to the life of the minor. This objection, like the other objections, ignores reality and constitutional precedents. In the five years between 2005 and 2010, the Wisconsin Department of Health reported almost 3,200 abortions performed on minors. Not a single one involved a medical emergency. During the same five years in Alabama, where over 4,500 abortions were performed on minors, only two involved a medical emergency. In Nebraska, of the 13,596 abortions performed on all women from 2005 to 2010, only three involved a medical emergency.

Evidence shows that of all teens obtaining abortions, only a tiny fraction of one percent occur in emergency circumstances. In Gonzales v. Carhart, the United States Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the federal partial-birth abortion ban that contained a similarly narrow emergency exception, in part because of evidence that no broader exception was necessary.

Independent of the fact that such emergencies are so rare, it is precisely in these circumstances, when a teen’s life or health is threatened by a pregnancy, that parental involvement is most needed and most helpful.

It is beyond dispute that young girls are being taken to out-of-state clinics in order to procure secret abortions. Abortion clinic operators in states without parental involvement laws routinely advertise in neighboring states where clinics must obtain parental consent or provide parental notice. For example, abortion providers in Granite City, Illinois have advertised Illinois’s absence of any parental involvement requirement to Missouri minors, which has a parental consent law, for decades.

Missouri legislators attempted to stop this practice by passing a law creating civil remedies for parents and their daughters against individuals who would “intentionally cause, aid, or assist a minor” in obtaining an abortion without parental consent or a judicial bypass. Abortion providers immediately attacked the law as unconstitutional, but it was upheld by the Missouri Supreme Court. The Court limited its opinion, however, by the observation that “Missouri simply does not have the authority to make lawful out-of-state conduct actionable here, for its laws do not have extraterritorial effect.”

The proposed Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act is an appropriate and measured response to the limitations on state powers in our federalist system. It is grounded by the reality that parents are nearly always the first to help a teen in trouble, and that fact does not change when the “trouble” is an unplanned pregnancy. There is no other elective surgery that minors can obtain while keeping their parents in the dark, and the controversy surrounding this Act shows just how severely the judicial creation of abortion rights has distorted American law.

Teresa Collett is Professor of Law at University of St. Thomas School of Law. Reprinted with permission from thePublicDiscourse.com.

Tags: abortion, parental consent

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Organization representing 1 million Pennsylvania Christians supports Catholics on HHS mandate

by Ben Johnson Fri Apr 20 16:57 EST Comments (9)

 
Rev. Donald Green, surrounded by Abp. Robert Duncan (Anglican) and Bp. David Zubik (Catholic).

PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA, April 20, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – An organization representing one million Christians in southwestern Pennsylvania has pledged its support for the Roman Catholic bishop and asked the Obama administration to change the law requiring religious institutions to provide contraception and abortion-inducing drugs in their health care plans.

The Christian Associates of Southwest Pennsylvania, a group representing 2,000 congregations and 26 denominations in ten counties in the region, released a statement last Friday expressing anxiety about the HHS mandate.

The diverse body said its opposition did not spring from theological opposition to birth control but out of respect for American traditions enshrined in her founding document.

“Our deep concern overt his mandate does not arise from the varying convictions we have about the moral content of the mandate, but from our common commitment to the right of religious freedom that all people of faith expect to enjoy in this country,” the statement reads. “The Constitution of the United States guarantees every religious institution and its affiliated bodies the inalienable right to define its own identity and ministries and to practice its own beliefs, not just freedom of worship.” (Emphasis in original.)

The ObamaCare regulation puts faithful employers “in the untenable position of a) violating their consciences, b) ceasing health insurance and paying ruinous fines, or c) withdrawing entirely from providing social services to the wider community that have long been a hallmark of their social justice ministry.”

“Creating gaping holes in the public welfare safety net is in and of itself an immense injustice,” it says.

It concludes by asking the Obama administration “to alter the ‘Preventative Services Mandate’ to broaden the religious exemption within it so that both the constitution right to the free exercise of religion…may not be impaired.”

The two-page document was signed by 18 prominent clergy, including Roman Catholic Bishop Lawrence Brandt of Greenburg, Bishop Kenneth Price of The Episcopal Church, and Archbishop Melchizedek of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA).

Other signatories represented the African Methodist Episcopal (AME), American Baptist, Disciples of Christ, Lutheran (ELCA), Presbyterian Church-USA, United Church of Christ (UCC), Byzantine Catholic, and Orthodox Church.

At a press conference last week Anglican Archbishop Robert Duncan of Pittsburgh, Roman Catholic Bishop David A. Zubik of Pittsburgh, and CASP executive director Rev. Donald Green explained that some churches declined to sign the statement because their church requires unanimous consent. The local United Methodist bishop refused to sign the statement because he believed it violated his denomination’s social teachings.

They also clarified that, while their statement affirms “the moral imperative of providing healthcare for all,” it does not endorse a national health care system – especially one that threatens to put Catholic Charities out of business. They said providing health care is a command God gave the Church.

The joint press conference signals growing ecumenical opposition to the HHS mandate.

On Tuesday, nearly 1,400 members of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod sent letters to the Roman Catholic bishop of the diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend saying they stand with him on his fight against the mandate.

The full CASP press conference may be viewed here.

Tags: david zubik, hhs mandate, robert duncan

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Ron Paul puts name to letter opposing HHS mandate

by Ben Johnson Fri Apr 20 16:52 EST Comments (0)

 
Ron Paul.
Ron Paul.

WASHINGTON, D.C., April 20, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – A prominent politician with a large youth following has added his name to the list of those who oppose the Obama administration mandate that religious institutions provide contraception, abortifacient drugs, and sterilization as part of their health care coverage.

Ron Paul, the libertarian Texas Congressman and Republican presidential candidate, has signed the letter to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius which states, “this mandate constitutes an unprecedented effort by the federal government to dictate the terms of private health insurance coverage and infringes upon individual liberty and conscience rights.”

“Employers should remain free from government coercion when deciding whether or not to offer” health insurance benefits, much less deciding the content of that coverage, it says.

“It’s not the role of government,” Doris Gordon, founder of Libertarians for Life (L4L), told LifeSiteNews.com - especially when it comes to forcing employers to pay for abortion-inducing drugs like Plan B and Ella.

“I happen to be an atheist, and I agree that they should not force any institution, religious or otherwise, to enable women to kill their children,” Gordon told LifeSiteNews. “I don’t have any religious view on that. I just think it’s unjust.”

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Paul has waged a tireless war against expanding the government’s role in health care. He previously called the health care reform bill an “unconstitutional monstrosity” and said “the founders would be horrified” by it.

Libertarians believe that demanding employers provide health care coverage violates the non-aggression principle, a basic tenet of libertarian philosophy. “No group has the right to initiate force against innocent people unless somebody is violating another person’s rights, especially to serve your own interest,” Gordon told LifeSiteNews.com.

“The right to one’s own life, liberty, and property is not the right of somebody else to do with as he pleases.”

Paul, a three-time presidential candidate and obstetrician, has a considerable pedigree in the pro-life movement. He has recently promised, “I will veto any spending bill that contains funding for Planned Parenthood, facilities that perform abortion and all government family planning schemes.”

As a strict constitutionalist, he does not believe the federal government has the power to regulate abortion, but supports state restrictions on abortion.


The full text of the letter is as follows:

Dear Secretary Sebelius,

We are writing again to express our opposition to guidelines first issued by the Department of Health and Human Services on August 3, 2011, which remain effective. We maintain that this mandate constitutes an unprecedented effort by the federal government to dictate the terms of private health insurance coverage and infringes upon individual liberty and conscience rights.

Insurers, plan sponsors, and any as yet undefined third parties referenced in the March 16, 2012 Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, should remain free from government coercion when deciding whether or not to offer, purchase, or fund particular types of health insurance coverage. Moreover, we fully support faith-based universities and health care providers in their struggle to retain their inalienable right to avoid complicity in facilitating the violation of their core values.

We maintain that this mandate, which contradicts longstanding federal precedent and a historic bipartisan consensus on the rights of conscience in health care, will force many employers—particularly religious institutions—to choose between their convictions and livelihood, to either violate their deeply held beliefs, drop health care coverage, or cease providing health care services to the general public, disproportionately affecting vulnerable populations. We therefore respectfully request that the Department take these concerns into consideration and rescind the mandate.

 

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The costs of contraception

by Carson Holloway Fri Apr 20 16:40 EST Comments (6)

 
Contraception may be the sacred cow of the sexual revolution, but is it safe?

Coauthored with John Safranek

April 20, 2012 (thePublicDiscourse.com) - A great deal of public discussion has been sparked by the recent determination of the Department of Health and Human Services that it would, under the legal authority of the new health care law, require health insurance plans to cover the costs of hormonal contraception. Much of that discussion has focused on the nature and importance of religious freedom, since the directives would require some institutions, such as Catholic hospitals and universities, to provide health insurance coverage for things that are contrary to Catholic moral teaching. To a lesser extent, the HHS regulations have provoked some renewed discussion—at least among Catholics, but perhaps more generally among religious conservatives—about the morality of contraception itself, a topic that had seemed closed as a topic of genuine inquiry for the last generation.

The HHS directives should also give rise to another discussion, one that so far has not been undertaken: a discussion not of the legality of the mandates, nor of the morality of contraception, but of the physical costs of contraception, of the negative consequences it may have for the health and well-being of the women who use it. This aspect of the question has been all but totally ignored. For their part, the liberal partisans of the HHS mandates speak as if hormonal contraception is simply an unmitigated good, a clean gain, for women. Indeed, their argument suggests that such contraception is so unequivocally good that there can be no reasonable argument about the propriety of mandating its coverage as a health care benefit.

This assumption deserves to be challenged because it is untrue. That is, hormonal contraception carries certain physical costs in addition to the benefits touted by its proponents. Unless these costs are frankly acknowledged, American women will be in no position to make an informed choice about whether or not to use contraception. Yet presumably Americans of all ideological persuasions could agree that women should be in a position to choose or reject contraception based upon full knowledge of its potential physical consequences.

The popular view of contraception as an unmitigated good is based upon a naïve understanding of science’s ability to intervene in natural processes. Modern people are understandably impressed by science’s ability to manipulate nature, to divert it to courses more acceptable (or apparently more acceptable) to human well-being than it would take if left to itself. We are often more impressed, however, than would be justified on closer examination. It is, after all, impossible to interject technological control into any natural system without incurring some undesirable consequences. Liberals understand this very well when the issue is non-human natural systems—the “environment.” They can easily tell you the problems that are caused by cutting down trees, mining coal, or burning oil.

But a woman’s body is a natural system like any other. It is devised by nature—for a portion of the woman’s lifespan—to be capable of becoming pregnant, to be fertile. Medical science cannot simply turn that fertility on and off like a light switch. It is rather to be expected that suppression of fertility through the use of birth control pills will carry certain physical costs for the woman who does it. The evidence bears out this expectation. In discussing these consequences we divide them into two categories: health risks and costs to physical well-being.

The existing scientific literature suggests that the long-term use of birth control pills is associated with increased risk for certain serious, and potentially deadly, health problems. A 2009 Mayo Clinic study noted a doubling of the risk of breast cancer in women who had used birth control pills for more than eleven years. Similarly, another recent study, funded by the National Institutes of Health, found that longer duration of use of hormonal contraception, as well as earlier first age of use, increased risk of breast cancer. Specifically, the study found that women who started using birth control pills before age 18 were at 1.9 times the normal risk level for all forms of breast cancer, and that women 40 and younger were at a 4.2-fold increased risk of triple negative breast cancer, one of the worst forms, which accounts for between 10 and 17 percent of all breast cancer cases.

Some forms of hormonal birth control have also been associated with increased risk for blood clots. Yaz, which was for several years the top-selling birth control pill, was discovered to almost double the risk for blood clotting, which can be lethal. There were about ten deaths per year among Yaz users during the period from 2004 to 2008, although the actual number of fatalities may be higher. Finally, birth control pills are harmful for the cardiac health of women who suffer from atherosclerotic disease. Those who use birth control pills usually cannot know whether they are assuming this additional risk, since it is generally financially impractical to screen for atherosclerosis prior to the use of birth control.

While these problems are admittedly only risks and not certainties attending the use of birth control, it is also worth noting that they do not necessarily represent all of the risks involved. That is, birth control pills may in some cases be more perilous than we know. The aforementioned Yaz had been approved by the FDA and was in use for several years before its connection to blood clotting came to light. Similarly, the author of the aforementioned NIH study on birth control and breast cancer noted the “scarcity” of studies of this link, and hence the need for “further research” on it.

Birth control pills also tend to carry costs to physical well-being. Use of birth control pills is associated with an increased incidence of unpleasant things such as depression, mood swings, weight gain, impeded weight loss, headache, upper respiratory infection, sinusitis, nausea, menstrual cramps, acne, breast tenderness, vaginal candidiasis (commonly known as “yeast infection”), bacterial vaginitis, and urinary tract infection. Although normally not life-threatening, such physical ailments are certainly not insignificant to those who suffer them.

Moreover, they are especially noteworthy to the extent that they bear negatively upon the supposed benefit of contraception: sexual freedom. Sometimes the proponents of contraception present it as preventing pregnancy, but anyone with elementary knowledge of biology knows that pregnancy can be prevented even more reliably by refraining from sexual intercourse. Contraception’s real benefit, then, at least as its advocates see it, is sexual freedom, the ability to enjoy sex without unwanted consequences. The side effects mentioned above, however, put a serious dent in the argument for this benefit. Obviously, a woman suffering from some or even one of the physically unpleasant consequences of birth control will not be able to enjoy sexual activity as much as she otherwise might. This is especially evident in the case of several of the ailments noted above, the ones (such as vaginitis, urinary tract infection, and vaginal candidiasis) that involve vaginal discomfort.

Indeed, one commonly found side-effect of hormonal birth control is a decrease in libido or sexual desire. Whether this arises independently or is itself caused by some of the other disorders and discomforts noted above is immaterial to the basic fact that contraception, which is promoted as a means to sexual happiness, can in fact diminish a woman’s sexual happiness. The promise of contraception is that women will be able to have sex whenever they want to, but a closer look reveals that it might well make you not want to very much. Put another way, its claim to be a pure benefit is compromised to the extent that it diminishes the enjoyment of that which it puts within such easy reach. Access to more apples is not a pure gain if a larger percentage of the apples are spoiled and taste bad.

We do not claim that these risky and unpleasant side-effects render contraception immoral. The morality of contraception depends on philosophic arguments we are not making here. Nor do we claim that the bad side-effects are so severe as to justify a ban on contraception on public health grounds. We merely hold that these side-effects are often ignored in our public discourse, but that a truly free decision of women to use or not use them—as well as a truly free decision of voters whether to use government to promote them—depends on a frank acknowledgement of their costs along with their alleged benefits.

Carson Holloway is a political scientist and the author of The Way of Life: John Paul II and the Challenge of Liberal Modernity (Baylor University Press). John Safranek, MD, is a medical doctor practicing in Nebraska. He also holds a PhD in philosophy from the Catholic University of America, and his writings have appeared in the Hastings Center Report, the Texas Review of Law and Politics, and the University of Colorado Law Review. This article first appeared at thePublicDiscourse.com and is reprinted with permission.

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Brazilian doctors: disabled unborn babies will either be cut to pieces or torn apart with aspirator

by Matthew Cullinan Hoffman Fri Apr 20 16:15 EST Comments (76)

 

April 20, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - In the wake of a decision by the nation’s Supreme Federal Tribunal determining that babies suffering from the birth defect known as anencephaly aren’t “legally” alive, and therefore can be freely aborted, Brazilian doctors are explaining to the media how such babies will in fact be killed under the new legal regime.

In a recent interview with Brazil’s most popular news magazine, Veja, the Vice-President of the Federal Council on Medicine, Dr. Carlos Vital, explained that doctors will have two choices: either “curettage” or “aspiration.”

Abortions of ancephalic babies will be performed in the second or third trimester.

A curettage abortion uses a loop-shaped knife to cut the child to pieces, and then scrape his body and placenta from the uterine wall. An aspiration abortion uses powerful suction to tear the child apart, and likewise separate him from his mother.

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According to doctors, if these methods are inadequate in later term abortions, Dilation and Evacuation (D&E) would be required, involving a clamp that is used to tear apart the baby’s larger body.  Dr. Vital told Veja that abortions on anencephalic children could be performed up to the ninth month of pregnancy.

Dr. Vital added that such abortions will require a committee of doctors to determine the proper “criteria for diagnosis” of anencephaly, a condition whose exact definition is not agreed upon by physicians.

Anencephalic babies fail to develop the top parts of their heads, including the skull and upper brain. Most die in the womb or shortly after birth, although some have lived for days, months, and even years with the condition.

Although medical professionals often claim that such children are unaware of their surroundings and unable to suffer, parents of anencephalic babies report that their children show signs of awareness and seem to react in very specific ways to their environment.  Some doctors theorize that the brain stem of such infants is able to adapt to the needs of rudimentary awareness, a phenomenon known as “neuroplasticity.”

In the United States, an estimated 95 percent of anencephalic babies are killed inside their mother’s womb.

In a public statement on the Supreme Federal Tribual’s decision, Brazilian pro-life activist Fr. Luis Lodi da Cruz called the verdict “monstrous” and noted that, according to the Tribunal minister who oversaw the case, the abortion of an anencephalic child “is a procedure similar to removing a cadaver.”

“Paradoxically, [Minister] Marco Aurélio admits that the anencephalic dies in a short period of time. Tell me, how can he die if he’s already dead?” asked Lodi da Cruz.

Tags: abortion, anencephaly, brazil

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‘Bike for the Unborn’: California youth gear up for 260-mile pro-life ride

by Peter Baklinski Fri Apr 20 15:28 EST Comments (1)

 

SAN GABRIEL, California, April 20, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A group of young people have banded together to support the pro-life movement by embarking on the first ever pro-life pilgrimage along the California coast by bicycle. Bike For The Unborn (http://bikefortheunborn.com/) members will ride 260 miles in 5 days, praying every mile of the way for an end to abortion, and raising money for pro-life organizations. They say they are looking for young people to join them in their pro-life adventure this June.

“You know, the young people are changing the pro-life movement by simply being who they are,” said Father Dave Nix, bike enthusiast and spiritual advisor for the pro-life group.

“By living and breathing and going, they say: ‘We are alive.’ The youth recognize that abortion is not a political issue, but a human rights issue,” he said to LifeSiteNews.

“This is a generation without fear.”

The young people will begin their epic pro-life bike pilgrimage at the Catholic Mission in San Gabriel, California on June 12, 2012. They will travel along the Pacific Coast Highway through some of the most beautiful regions of the Golden State including Topanga State Park and Point Mugu State Park. The will pass though Carpinteria State Beach and reach Santa Barbara Mission before returning along a different route to San Gabriel.

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“The point of pilgrimage is to change hearts, beginning with ours,” the website for the event states. “This is what this ride is: Petition for a New Pentecost worldwide in the pro-life movement, through praise, joy, and thanksgiving upon the California coast for people of all denominations.”

The young people behind Bike For The Unborn believe that fighting to end the war on the unborn — with casualties approaching 55 million in the U.S. alone since Roe v. Wade in 1973 — must necessarily include a spiritual strategy. As they travel along their route, they will be stopping at Mission centers to storm heaven with pro-life prayers. “God could end abortion tomorrow,” they believe.

Kileen Willis, a Colorado State University Advocate for Life who is an organizer for the ride, told LifeSiteNews that while the event is meant to bring rejuvenation and renewal to the pro-life movement, it is also for the purpose of “raising money for different pro-life organizations”.

Anyone 18 years or older can join the bicycle pilgrimage. Each person is asked to secure donors to cover overhead costs such as transportation to California, bike rental, and food. Funds raised from subsequent donors go directly to a pro-life organization chosen by each rider.

“Any pro-life organizations can benefit from this event, which is the beauty of it,” said Willis. “Each rider will be able to ride to raise money for an organization of their choosing. Some examples of organizations include but are not limited to: 40 days for life, Project Rachel, and Students for Life to name a few.”

“For all donors, our suggested request is $1/mile. That’s about $250 per donor. Find 30 donors and you get the first $1000 for overhead, and the next $6,500 belongs to the pro-life group that you picked out!” the website states.

Father Nix told LifeSiteNews that while on the trip, he looks forward the most to “God’s surprises along the way.”

“Perhaps we won’t see the outcome of this trip for years to come, but I think God is putting this together to select a few pro-lifers to go deep,” he said.

Bike for the Unborn is asking for help in getting the word out about their pro-life bike ride and for young people to sign up who are committed to the unborn.

“It’s going to be super fun. We’re not going to lie: it will be challenging and totally worth it,” the organizers declare.


Contact Bike For The Unborn:
Kileen Willis
E-mail: bikefortheunborn@gmail.com

Website: www.bikefortheunborn.com

Bike For The Unborn Facebook page

Donors, learn how to support a rider here

Tags: abortion, bike for the unborn, california

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Anti ‘gay bullying’ leader calls Christian students ‘pansies’ for walking out on anti-Bible tirade

by Kathleen Gilbert Fri Apr 20 14:30 EST Comments (136)

 
Dan Savage

April 19, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - In an ironic twist, the nation’s top “gay bullying” opponent called Christian students “pansies” for walking out of his anti-bullying speech when he insulted the Bible, according to one report.

Karla Dial of CitizenLink reported Wednesday that controversial syndicated columnist Dan Savage of the “It Gets Better Project,” a popular Internet-based campaign encouraging respect for homosexuality among youths, made the remarks during a journalism conference for students in Seattle.

One source, a 17-year-old student from California, told CitizenLink that Savage called her and other Christian students “pansies” after they walked out of his anti-bullying speech when he referred to the Bible’s injunctions against homosexuality as “B.S.”

“He said there are people using the Bible as an excuse for gay bullying, because it says in Leviticus and Romans that being gay is wrong. Right after that, he said we can ignore all the ‘B.S.’ in the Bible,” she said.

“I was thinking, ‘This is not going a good direction at all,’ Then he started going off about the Bible. He said somehow the Bible was pro-slavery. I’m really shy. I’m not really someone to, like, stir up anything. But all of a sudden I just blurted out, ‘That’s bull!’”

The student’s father, a public school teacher, told CitizenLink that Savage’s own behavior was bullying to the students who were not yet college-age.

“If Dan Savage was a teacher, they’d suspend him without pay for this behavior,” he said. “He didn’t take account of who his audience was. If he was doing this with a bunch of college journalism kids, that would be a different story — that’s more rough and tumble. How many of the kids who didn’t walk out felt backed into a corner? To me, that’s bullying behavior. It has all the symptoms, as far as I’m concerned.”

Savage did not respond to LifeSiteNews.com’s request to verify the account.

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The gay rights activist has won notoriety for regularly attacking Christianity, the Bible, and Christian parenting. Last June, Savage shot back at Concerned Women for America’s Peggy Nance after she complained of her son’s exposure to a celebrity-studded “It Gets Better” ad encouraging youth to embrace homosexuality while watching FOX’s American Idol.

“Nance’s son was always our target demo,” said Savage, the founder of the campaign, adding: “Now I don’t know if Nance’s son is gay, bi, or trans, but if he is, he needs to know more than most that it can get better for him too, that there’s hope for his future, and that the adult world isn’t entirely populated by hateful s***s like his mother.”

Candi Cushman of Focus on the Family notes that the behavior of Savage, whose high-profile anti-bullying project was joined even by President Obama, who contributed a video, revealed the marginalizing of Christianity that often results from such “tolerance” campaigns.

“This illustrates perfectly what we’ve been saying all along:  Too many times in the name of “tolerance,” Christian students find their faith being openly mocked and belittled in educational environments.

Tags: dan savage, homosexuality

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After saying Obama on ‘similar path’ as Hitler/Stalin, Illinois bishop hit with IRS complaint

by Patrick B. Craine Fri Apr 20 14:05 EST Comments (565)

 
Bishop Daniel Jenky

PEORIA, Illinois, April 20, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – After a fiery homily last weekend urging the faithful to oppose President Obama’s “radical pro-abortion and extreme secularist agenda” at the ballot box in November, Bishop Daniel Jenky of Peoria has been hit with an IRS complaint from a national secularist lobby group.

At a gathering of Catholic men on Saturday, the Illinois prelate had slammed Obama’s mandate forcing religious employers to cover contraceptives, sterilizations, and abortion-inducing drugs. The unprecedented attack on religious freedom, he said, signaled that the president “seems intent on following a similar path” as past dictators such as Hitler, Stalin, and Otto von Bismarck.

“This fall, every practicing Catholic must vote, and must vote their Catholic consciences, or by the following fall our Catholic schools, our Catholic hospitals, our Catholic Newman Centers, all our public ministries - only excepting our church buildings – could easily be shut down,” he said.

On Thursday, the Washington-based Americans United for Separation of Church and State claimed the homily violated federal law by taking sides in a political campaign.

“No rational person could believe the bishop was doing anything but saying vote against Obama,” said Barry Lynn, the group’s executive director.

“Bishop Jenky’s intervention in the election wasn’t just extreme and mean-spirited, it also seems to be a clear violation of federal law,” said Lynn. “Churches are tax-exempt institutions, and they aren’t allowed to intervene in partisan politics.”

“To be sure, Jenky never utters the words ‘Do not vote for Obama,’” Lynn wrote in his complaint. “But the Internal Revenue Code makes it clear that statements need not be this explicit to run afoul of the law.”

Bishop Jenky’s remarks have also been denounced by the Anti-Defamation League, which demanded an apology. Lonnie Nasatir, regional director for the Chicago branch, told the Chicago Tribune that his statements were “outrageous, offensive and completely over the top.”

Click ‘like’ if you want to END ABORTION!

In response to the criticism, the Diocese of Peoria told local media that the bishops’ comments were misunderstood outside their context.

“Based upon the current government’s threatened infringement upon the Church’s religious exercise of its ministry, Bishop Jenky offered historical context and comparisons as a means to prevent a repetition of historical attacks upon the Catholic Church and other religions,” said diocesan chancellor Patricia Gibson.

“Bishop Jenky gave several examples of times in history in which religious groups were persecuted because of what they believed,” she added. “We certainly have not reached the same level of persecution. However, history teaches us to be cautious once we start down the path of limiting religious liberty.”

LifeSiteNews did not hear back from the diocese by press time.

In his remarks on Saturday, Bishop Jenky had insisted that Catholics must oppose Obama’s mandate because “no Catholic institution, under any circumstance, can ever cooperate with the intrinsic evil of killing innocent human life in the womb.”

The bishop acknowledged that Christians could lose the battle against the mandate, but said that “before the awesome judgement seat of Almighty God this is not a war where any believing Catholic may remain neutral.”

The faithful, he said, “can no longer be Catholics by accident, but instead be Catholics by conviction.”

“The days in which we live now require heroic Catholicism, not casual Catholicism,” he added.

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Brazilian Evangelical, Catholic congressmen seek impeachment of top pro-abortion judge

by Matthew Cullinan Hoffman Fri Apr 20 13:49 EST Comments (2)

 
Marco Aurélio Mello

April 20, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Members of the Evangelical and Catholic caucuses of the Brazilian National Congress have submitted a formal request for impeachment of a Supreme Tribunal minister who lead his colleagues to vote for the legalization of abortions of babies suffering from anencephaly.

The petition was submitted following last week’s 8-2 vote by the Supreme Tribunal, the nation’s highest court, withdrawing the protection of the law from unborn children suffering from anencephaly, a condition in which an infant fails to form all of the upper brain and skull.

Although children often die of the developmental defect before being born, some have been known to live for days, weeks, months, and even years with the condition, and parents say they are responsive to their environment.

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According to Brazilian media sources, the parliamentarians presented a request of prosecution by the Senate for a “crime of responsibility” against Minister Marco Aurélio Mello, for allegedly having pre-judged the case.

Aurélio was the “relater” of the case, who has the responsibility of reviewing the facts and presenting a detailed defense of a proposed verdict, which the full court has a right to accept or reject. Aurelio’s publicly stated position for many years before rendering his vote was in favor of permitting abortions in such cases.

“The relater of today’s case declared his position beforehand. That is a break of decorum,” said representative Eros Biondini, a Catholic delegate to the nation’s Chamber of Deputies from the state of Minas Gerais, on April 11.

Pastor Marco Feliciano, an Evangelical deputy from the state of Sao Paulo, noted that the case could lead to a massacre of infants in Brazil, by creating a precedent for legalizing abortions in general.

“Minister Marco Aurélio did something that he should not. He anticipated his vote before judgement, leading the other ministers of the STF to follow his vote,” said Feliciano.

“What is being established here is an opening so that the mass murder of children in our country may be supported,” he said, adding, “we want the impeachment of Minister Marco Aurélio.”

Minister Aurélio discarded the arguments of the representatives, claiming his position had already been revealed in 2004 vote of the Supreme Federal Tribunal on the same subject.

“To defend the position [taken in 2004], I had to reveal my opinion. I am not at fault if I didn’t change my opinion up to now, and if I only bow to my science and my conscience.”

Brazilian law prohibits judges from expressing their opinion on any case while it is still in process, whether their own or that of another judge.

Tags: abortion, anencephaly, brazil

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Urgent action needed today to ensure Alabama abortion mill closes as ordered

by Operation Rescue staff Fri Apr 20 13:19 EST Comments (2)

 
A woman is carried into an ambulance from the New Women All Women abortion clinic.

Birmingham, AL, April 20, 2012 (OperationRescue.com) — “New Women All Women,” a dangerous abortion mill in Birmingham, Alabama, that was recently ordered closed by the state is attempting to pull a fast one in order keep their business open.

In fact, if this works, the abortion clinic would not miss one single day of business!

After viewing images of two women being carried out of that nasty abortion mill down stairs with a broken safety rail to gurneys waiting in a trash-strewn alley, and listening to the 911 tapes that proved the women suffered overdoses during abortions, we just cannot stand by and allow this travesty to happen.

But that’s not all!

After pro-life activists documented and exposed this horrific incident, they reported NWAW to the authorities. As a result, the Alabama Department of Public Health issued a scathing 76-page deficiency report that showed dozens of violations – and perhaps most shocking – that a third abortion patient landed in ICU the same day from abortion complications resulting from a lack of monitoring.

The Health Department issued NWAW an order to close by May 18 and to cease abortion operations by May 11. The entire pro-life movement celebrated the impending closure of this dangerous abortion mill.

But here’s the critical issue that faces us now.

The closure agreement gave NWAW’s owner Diane Derzis, dubbed by Alabama legislators as the “Abortion Queen”, the opportunity to transfer ownership of the abortion business to another person. Derzis has a reputation of being a tough and devious woman. We found out that arrangements had been made to transfer ownership even before Derzis signed the closure agreement with the Department of Public Health.

We have every reason to believe that this is a bogus “in-name-only” switch designed to deceive the authorities and the public.

An inspection is scheduled for today that could clear the way for approval of this dubious new ownership situation.

This is the same tactic that the notorious New Jersey abortionist Steven Chase Brigham used to keep his two Pennsylvania abortion clinics running in Allentown and Pittsburgh. After being ordered to cease and desist from operating his seedy abortion mills by the State of Pennsylvania, he transferred ownership to his mother and kept them running business as usual!

But the authorities in Pennsylvania saw through this scam and just yesterday ordered his Pittsburgh mill to close — Allentown was ordered closed last week – all because pro-life supporters kept the heat on the authorities and would not let the matter rest.

We need a victory like this in Alabama, but we cannot do this without your help!

The situation in Birmingham is urgent. If this dangerous clinic is allowed to continue operations, there can be no doubt that women will die along with their innocent babies.

Please take a quick moment to contact the Department of Public Health and the Governor’s office and ask them to step in and block this phony paper transfer in the interest of public safety.

We also need you to post this information on your social networking sites and forward it to everyone you know. Let’s light up the phone lines and e-mail in boxes of these authorities so they know people are watching them and will hold them accountable for their actions.

Your voice in defense of the babies is needed right now. Tomorrow might be too late.

Donald E. Williamson, State Health Officer
Voice: (334) 206-5200
Fax: (334) 206-2008
E-Mail: donwilliamson@adph.state.al.us

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley
Voice: (334) 242-7100
Fax: (334) 353-0004
E-Mail: http://governor.alabama.gov/contact/contact_form.aspx

Tags: abortion, operation rescue

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Troubled Virginia abortion clinic puts bleeding botched abortion patient in hospital

by Operation Rescue staff Fri Apr 20 12:59 EST Comments (55)

 
Abortion clinic owner Mi Yong Kim

Fairfax, Virginia (OperationRescue.org) – A 35-year old diabetic patient suffering from heavy bleeding after an abortion at Nova Women’s Healthcare was rushed to the hospital on March 3, 2012, according to recently obtained 911 records.

Pro-life activists were at the scene and videotaped the ambulance and fire units that responded to the 911 call and later sought the 911 records through an open records act request.

Nova Women’s Healthcare has a long history of abortion injuries and standard of care violations, including the death of a patient in 2002. Its owner, Mi Yong Kim, continues to operate the abortion clinic even though she was forced to surrender her medical license in 2007.

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In 1998, Kim was disciplined for failing to determine the gestational age of pregnancy for one of her abortion patients. Board documents reveal that she assumed one patient’s pregnancy was 8 weeks, but in reality her baby was 26 weeks gestation. The ensuing botched abortion landed the woman in the hospital with life-threatening injuries

In 2005, Kim was disciplined after a patient died from an air embolism during an abortion. Kim improperly sedated her patient, failing to realize that she had gone into cardiac arrest. Kim did not attempt to resuscitate her.

In 2007, the Board determined that Kim failed to provide follow-up care for her patients, kept inadequate records, and improperly dispensed and handled drugs. Under threat of revocation, Kim voluntary surrendered her medical license but continued to operate her abortion clinic.

In 2009, Kim and Nova Women’s Healthcare was sued for conducting an abortion on a woman with an ectopic pregnancy. The patient was told the abortion was successful and sent home. The ectopic pregnancy later ruptured and caused a painful, life-threatening emergency for the woman.

“There can be no doubt that Kim’s policies and procedures — for which she was forced to surrender her medical license — are in place at Nova and are endangering the lives and health of women every day. She has no business operating any kind of facility,” said Cheryl Sullenger, Senior Policy Advisor for Operation Rescue and Pro-Life Nation. “We are filing complaints and urging the medical board and the health department to step in and close the clinic on an emergency basis in the interest of public safety.”

Tags: abortion, operation rescue, virginia

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LifeSiteNews online art auction ends Thursday! Will continue at gala

by Steve Jalsevac Thu Apr 19 20:21 EST Comments (0)

 

Friends of life and family,

LifeSiteNews.com is proud to announce the start of the online portion of our 2012 Gala celebration silent art auction. We have been blessed with art donations from 3 strongly pro-life individuals who are exceptionally trained artists in the realist tradition of art.

We were thrilled to be able to offer these amazing works to you because we understand just how important truth AND beauty are to the pro-life and pro-family movement. Here at LifeSiteNews we, of course, focus on reporting the truth. But the medium of art conveys another vitally important component to our battle for culture: beauty.

Oftentimes the truth and beauty communicated through art has a greater impact than 1,000 lectures on the same subject matter.  One of our contributing artists, Andrea Nutt Falce, has penned an article entitled “Why Classical Realism?” that specifically addresses this connection of art to cultural renewal.

We recently published culture of life stories on two of our contributing artists, Julia Holcomb and Andrea Nutt Falce. with links in the stories to larger photos of the items they have offered for our gala.

Henry Wingate, a former F-14 fighter pilot and our third artist on display, will be interviewed by LifeSiteNews and has written an excellent article on the importance of painting from life as opposed to copying photographs and until we have a news story published about his work, you can read more about him and view his portfolio here. Also, a larger photo of his “Peonies and Lilies” painting can be seen here, and more examples of his masterful portrait work can be found on our website here. Henry will be offering a head and shoulders portrait from life for the auction.

More details about each painting, as well as the artists themselves can be found on our registration site. Bidding instructions can be found on our bid registration page.

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1,400 Lutherans tell Catholic bishop: we’re standing with you for religious liberty

by Ben Johnson Thu Apr 19 19:09 EST Comments (14)

MP3 24

 
Dr. Charles Gieschen
Dr. Charles Gieschen.

FORT WAYNE, Indiana, April 19, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – In a sign of growing solidarity and Christian unity, leaders of the Lutheran Church presented a Roman Catholic bishop with letters from nearly 1,400 Lutherans supporting the Catholic Church’s fight against the HHS mandate.

Leaders of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (LCMS) presented 112 letters from congregations and church institutions to Bishop Kevin Rhoades of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend as part of a “Stand Together for Religious Liberty” event on Tuesday. Some 1,396 Protestants from as far as Iowa signed the letters to the Catholic prelate.

On Tuesday, participants marched the one block from St. Paul’s Lutheran Church to the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, where a crowd of 250 people gathered shortly after noon Mass.

Rev. Daniel P. May, Indiana LCMS district president, said the Lutherans undertook the gesture to assure religious freedom remained “unobstructed by government intrusion or coercion, as guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States of America.”

The Rev. Dr. Charles Gieschen, professor of exegetical theology at Concordia Theological Seminary-Fort Wayne – of the denomination’s two seminaries – told LifeSiteNews.com he spoke at the event, then took part in delivering “letters of encouragement and support in light of the challenges the compromising of religious freedom has brought the Roman Catholic community.”

“It was organized primarily by a Lutheran layman who just saw this as an opportunity for Lutheran Christians to support other Christians,” Dr. Gieschen said. “In terms of sacred things we gather together with people of our communion, but on things like moral issues, such as the sanctity of human life, we seek to stand together with those who are lending their voices to address these issues in our wider society.” 

Bishop Rhoades “just thought it was a beautiful ecumenical outreach,” Tim Johnson, editor of the local diocesan newspaper, Today’s Catholic News, told LifeSiteNews.com. “I walked back with him to the cathedral, and you could tell he was so pleased at how it came out.”

Rev. Peter Cage, senior pastor at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, told a local television station, “We want to make it clear that this mandate is a concern not only for Catholics. It is an attack on freedom of religion. This controversy is not about contraception, or women’s rights, or anything other than freedom of religion.”

The bishop, who is a consultant to the Catholic Bishops’ Ad Hoc Committee on Religious Liberty, spoke last, calling the contraceptive and abortifacient mandate “an unprecedented coercive action by the federal government to force religious institutions and individuals to facilitate and to fund products that are contrary to our moral teaching.”

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

“Religious liberty is more than freedom of worship,” he said. “It includes the freedom to practice our faith in society without coercion from the government to violate our consciences. We stand together as Lutherans and Catholics today in opposing the attack on our religious liberty by the federal government.”

He told the mixed Protestants and Catholics at the event, “You give me hope that, with the help of God’s grace, we will see a new birth of freedom in our beloved country.”

“My heart is filled with gratitude to you, my brothers and sisters of Lutheran congregations of the Missouri Synod here in Fort Wayne,” the bishop said.

The outpouring of unity was the latest joint action the two historically estranged churches have taken together against the Obama administration’s encroachments on the freedom of religion.

The denomination’s president, Dr. Matthew Harrison, testified alongside a Catholic bishop at an often hostile hearing on religious freedom before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform in February. He estimated the mandate could cost his denomination tens of millions in fines if it refuses to comply and expressed his willingness to go to jail over his beliefs.

In February, the Fort Wayne seminary faculty posted a statement on the HHS mandate that said, “While we do not share with the Catholic Church the same teaching on contraceptives, we do honor their right, according to the First Amendment, to practice their beliefs according to their conscience. Furthermore, we do stand with them entirely on the matter of abortifacients, which we hold to be the taking of human life.”

“Furthermore, this mandate from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is by no means an isolated incident,” the statement held, “but is part of a troubling trend in which governmental entities are demanding that religious institutions abandon their own biblical principles or else discontinue their works of charity.”

The Obama administration intervened in Hosanna v. Tabor, a Supreme Court case attempting to eliminate the ministerial exemption. The Christian school being sued is affiliated with the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.

Catholic adoption agencies have closed rather than violate their consciences. Chicago’s Francis Cardinal George has warned all Catholic hospitals will close in two years if the HHS mandate is not rescinded.

“Do we want to live in a world where social activities informed by religious conscience are systematically exterminated?” the seminary statement asked. “Do we want to live in a world where the social fabric is torn apart, and an overreaching government harasses the very people who knit together our society through acts of charity and mercy? Do we want the public landscape wiped clean of religious hospitals, schools and charitable organizations?”

Dr. Gieschen told LifeSiteNews, as theologically distinct as Lutherans and Catholics remain, they will always fight shoulder-to-shoulder to maintain religious liberty and to preserve the sanctity of human life.

 

 

Tags: charles gieschen, hhs mandate, kevin rhoades, lutheran church-missouri synod

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