Tuesday, April 24, 2012

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Pro-abort bill rejected in Irish Parliament, but pro-lifers say more trouble is coming

by Hilary White, Rome Correspondent Tue Apr 24 18:44 EST Comments (7)

Co-authored with John Jalsevac

DUBLIN, April 20, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Pro-life leaders in Ireland are celebrating after the defeat of a private member’s bill last week that proposed to legalise abortion and impose criminal penalties on pro-life counseling.

The Medical Treatment Bill, sponsored by Socialist Party TD Clare Daly, would have legalized abortion in cases where the woman’s life was in danger – including if she threatened suicide - and imposed a year in prison and £2000 in fines for those who spoke to abortion-minded women to offer alternatives to abortion. Further, it proposed to allow doctors to perform abortions without a woman’s consent and for underage girls without parental consent.

The bill was defeated by 111 votes to 20 in the Dail.

Pro-life advocates said the bill was based on a false premise that women in Ireland are being denied life-saving medical treatments in pregnancy because of the abortion ban.

Dr Ruth Cullen of Pro-Life Campaign said that the bill “dishonestly creates the impression that women in Ireland are currently being denied necessary medical treatments in pregnancy because of the absence of abortion here.”

“The fact, however, is that women receive outstanding care when pregnant in this country and Ireland, without abortion, is internationally recognized as one of the safest countries in the world for pregnant women, safer than places like England where abortion is available up to birth.”

In 1992 a Supreme Court ruling, the X-case, found that abortion should be available when there is a “substantial risk to the life of the mother” including from a threat of suicide. The ruling, however, was not sufficient grounds to overturn the 1983 constitutional amendment guaranteeing the unborn legal protection.

Minister for Health Dr. James Reilly rejected the recent bill, but suggested that the current legal situation would not endure, saying that the Dail should wait for a report by a government-appointed expert group on implementing the 2010 European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruling in the ABC case. Pro-life advocates have warned that several experts on the government’s panel are on record as supporting abortion or the use of living human embryos in research. 

The Minister of State for Health, Roisín Shortall, thanked Daly for bringing the bill forward, saying the government is committed to the “expeditious implementation” of the ECHR judgment, which demanded that Ireland change its laws to accommodate the X-case.

“Many years have been lost in respect of the commitment to legislate for the X-case,” Shortall said.

“As soon as the expert group reports at the end of June, the Government is absolutely committed to taking action in this area,” she said.

Niamh Ui Bhriain, the head of the Dublin-based Life Institute, told LifeSiteNews.com that while only the Labour Party has openly advocated legalisation of abortion, within government there is a strong, though quiet, faction that is working towards abolishing legal protections for the unborn.

She said that the defeat of the bill had more to do with politics than principles, with politicians realising that public opinion is strongly against legalisation. She warned, however, that the Labour Party will keep up pressure on the government for legalisation and that pro-life people must remain vigilant.

“We’ll be working with Youth Defence, Precious Life and other pro-life groups on a series of high-profile nationwide campaigns to make sure that the pro-life majority is alerted and that abortion is not legalised in Ireland,” Ui Bhriain said.

Rebecca Roughneen of Youth Defence said that lead coalition partner Fine Gael had given a public commitment during the last election campaign that it would not legalise abortion in Ireland.

“The party has been given a mandate to oppose the introduction of abortion, and attempts to break that pro-life promise would cause justifiable anger amongst the public,” she said.

Tags: abortion, ireland

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Change of heart: Eminient Chicago IVF doctor quits practice of creating babies in Petri dishes

by Anthony J. Caruso Tue Apr 24 18:41 EST Comments (9)

 

April 24, 2012 (MercatorNet.com) - Dr Anthony J. Caruso is a Chicago doctor who worked in the field of in vitro fertilisation for 15 years before he quit in 2010. We interviewed him by email about the reasons for his change of heart.

MercatorNet: You ran a successful IVF practice in Chicago for ten years. Why did you leave?

Anthony Caruso: I was a member of several infertility practices since joining the field in 1995. In 2008 I was increasingly concerned about the kind of procedures we were doing. Initially it was the demands of same-sex couples. Then it was the way in which everybody looked at the embryos that had undergone pre-implantation genetic diagnosis.

Finally, it was the realization that the embryos that we were producing were just as important as the embryos that were transferred. I could not change my practice to accommodate the way I was looking at the process. I wish I could say that I had an “Aha!” moment, but I left my last position largely due to financial realities. They needed to pare salaries and I was next to go.

How did your colleagues react?

The reaction came at an officers’ meeting of the Chicago Association of Reproductive Endocrinologists. I was the President-Elect and I resigned at the officers’ meeting because of my religious and ethical positions. To say that my colleagues were disappointed or angry would probably be too strong, but they probably really think that I am insane. I fear that I have lost many friendships that I had over the years.

Is there one event that crystallised your decision to stop?

The reading of a 2008 document from the Vatican, Dignitas Personae, was the first blow. That instruction is written beautifully, and uses all of the current statistics in its analysis.

Bioethically speaking, what distressed you most about the process of IVF?

One of the basic purposes of marriage is blurred with IVF. Children as gifts from God have become desires and pawns in the life process. IVF breaks the very tenet of the principle of double effect. The nature of the act is not good. The good effect is a wanted child. However, that desire does not outweigh the negative nature of the act. One need look no further than the way in which embryos are treated to see this.

Do most people understand the stress that IVF brings with it?

Absolutely NOT. People who are going through IVF largely refuse to seek emotional or psychological support. And people who have not gone through the process do not understand what it entails. Perhaps the most interesting response that I have gotten to the presentations I am giving is from those who did not know exactly what happened during this process. Once they learn, the spectrum goes from rationalization to horror.

“Every child is a wanted child” is a slogan for IVF clinics. But does that mean that children become commodities?

What you see in this statement is the problem. One of the reasons for the delay in my response to your questions was a challenge that I was involved with to an IVF clinic being proposed within one block of a Catholic Church. The first meeting with the city council went well. We were able to make both ethical and practical arguments against the clinic. Once the city council tabled the bill for another meeting, though, you should have seen the number of couples and single people who showed up and showed off their IVF kids!

This is not the issue when it comes to IVF. Every child is a gift from God. However, the process that brought them into existence has led to an attitude towards the embryo that is no different than any other commodity.

If you add pre-implantation diagnosis into the equation, then you really have a situation that is no different than an auto dealership or a department store. “I will take two of these and then freeze these and toss these.” The very people who are showing off their beautiful children will not answer questions about how many frozen embryos are still present or how many they asked to be destroyed.

Also, I doubt that anyone has ever thought how they might describe these things to their children—the fate of their siblings—because they are not seen as such. They are seen as simply a means to an end.

Is selective reduction a common feature of IVF?

Selective reduction [editor’s note: aborting some foetuses in a multiple pregnancy to allow others to grow] is a feature of every IVF consent. Fortunately, it was the rarest discussion I ever had with a couple. However, it is an issue that is slowly growing in popularity. The New York Times recently reported that couples are reducing twins and triplets to singletons. Since the Octomom fiasco, the number of high order pregnancies has dropped as they try to stay more faithfully with the guidelines published by the American Society of Reproductive Medicine.

What happens if a couple learns that a child will not be “perfect”?

There is a spectrum here as well. While many will continue to love their child no matter what, there is a true desire to quickly determine the health of the child, so that, if somehow defective, the option of termination is still viable. What we know now about the possibilities of pre-implantation diagnosis may further change that, with the focus being on the “perfect” genetic child.

Will having an IVF child bring happiness to a couple who have been longing for children?

Hard to answer. Children can salve much unhappiness. Remember, though, couples that go through IVF are approaching the procedure with a mindset of “I want this baby, I need this baby.” One can only surmise what possibilities exist down the road. But, at least on discharge, they seem happy.

What effect does the process of IVF have on women?

The data is slowly coming in. Certainly, it is well-known that there are dangers in over-stimulating a woman’s ovaries. Ovarian hyper-stimulation syndrome can be severe, especially in the environment of a pregnancy. Though the other immediate risks are very small, there is a risk of bleeding, injury to the intestines and infection.

There is also a risk of blood clots and their sequelae. The long-term effects are now slowly coming into focus. Remember, the first IVF pregnancy was in 1978, but the first IVF pregnancy from a stimulated ovary was in 1981. That was only 30 years ago and the women going through that procedure are largely just entering the age of chronic disease. One study from the Netherlands suggests that 15 years after an IVF pregnancy, there is an increased risk of ovarian cancer. While there are no controlled trials, many reproductive endocrinologists anecdotally describe women who present with breast tumours after IVF stimulation.

The websites of IVF clinics feature joyful stories about couples who are finally cuddling their bundle of joy. But are there features of IVF practice which are kept from the public?

Of course, that is the focus that keeps the public happy. Babies are happy things! But most people only know that part of it. They don’t know anything about the drugs and the process that leads to the babies. And we don’t discuss it openly because if we did, I think more of us would be against it.

Doing IVF is certainly an accomplished technical feat. But is it really medicine if it doesn’t cure infertility? Has it become more a business than medicine?

IVF does not cure infertility. It bypasses the barriers to natural fertility. As such, it is really a business. Just think about the number of clinics that offer cash-back programs. They guarantee that if the couple does not conceive within a certain number of cycles, they will get some or all of their money back. Where is the “medicine” in that?

What do you advise infertile couples to do now?

I encourage people who are having challenges to conception to have faith and ask God for help. There are several clinics in the United States that do offer more natural options. Of course, my own dream is to open a clinic in Chicago that provides care for these couples in line with the ethical and religious directives for Catholic health care. But that is in God’s time and in the hands of the people we are asking to support it.

You participated in an amicus curiae brief recently to the US Supreme Court which warned that “IVF poses an array of serious dangers to women, children, medicine,and society at large”. How is IVF a threat to society? What about the future?

I think I have answered that above. But let me use the words of Dr Robert Edwards, Nobel laureate and laboratory director of the laboratory which “created” the first IVF baby, Louise Brown, in 1978. He stated in a 2003 interview with the London Times marking the 25th anniversary of that birth:

“I wanted to find out exactly who was in charge, whether it was God Himself or whether it was scientists in the laboratory - it was us! The Pope looked totally stupid. You can never ban anything. You can say, ‘hang on a minute’. But never say ‘never’, and never say that this is the worst decision for humankind, otherwise you can look a fool. Now there as many Roman Catholics coming for treatment as Protestants.”

He also said in this very enlightening interview that the IVF process was not designed to make couples happy. “It was a fantastic achievement”, he conceded modestly, “but it was about more than infertility. It was also about issues like stem cells and the ethics of human conception.”

In other words, it was the next step to be taken, the next obstacle to be overcome on the road ahead to the Brave New World which technology will bring us. Now, as this ageing scientist looks to the future, he is all in favour of cloning. With regard to pre-natal sex selection (whereby parents would be allowed to abort babies of unwanted gender) he says, “go ahead and use it. Those parents have to raise those children. Why should a politician tell me what I can and can’t do?”

And Dr Peter Brinsden, Edwards’ successor at the Cambridgeshire clinic he founded, predicts that “in 50 years assisted conception will have almost become the norm. This is because screening techniques will have improved to such an extent that parents can make their children free of even minor defects.”

I doubt if many in the field have seen these quotes, and the article itself is difficult to get (I have it through a secondary source). But after meeting Dr Edwards, which I did a few years ago when the University of Chicago conferred on him one of its highest honours, I can believe all of it.

This is a good summary of the problem with IVF and its potential impact on the society at large.

And we haven’t even scratched the surface. We haven’t talked about the donor gametes and the possibilities of progeny to meet somewhere, or more immediately, the effects on the donors themselves, particularly the oocyte donors.

This article by Anthony J. Caruso was originally published on MercatorNet.com under a Creative Commons Licence. If you enjoyed this article, visit MercatorNet.com for more
.

Tags: abortion, in vitro fertilization, ivf

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Spin: NARAL dubs parental consent abortion bill the ‘Arrest Grandma’ act

by Kathleen Gilbert Tue Apr 24 17:04 EST Comments (19)

 

WASHINGTON, April 24, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The nation’s top abortion lobby has attacked a federal bill that would ban secret abortions on minors whisked across state lines to avoid parental consent or notification laws, nicknaming it the “arrest grandma” act.

The abortion group slammed the measure for preventing “loving” relatives other than a girl’s parents, or a “member of the clergy,” from helping girls get interstate abortions.

The Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act (CIANA), H.R. 2299, would make it illegal to transport a minor across a state line in circumvention of a state law requiring parental involvement. It mandates that abortionists comply with parental consent laws in the minor’s home state, by giving notice or obtaining consent for the abortion from the minor’s parents.

CIANA passed the House Judiciary Committee last month. 

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In an email Tuesday, NARAL leader Nancy Keenan urged supporters to urge House leaders to vote against the “arrest grandma” act, and questioned, “Shouldn’t a teen in this situation get all the family and community support that she needs – especially if she chooses abortion?”

“Isn’t this what ‘family values’ is all about?” she asked.

Parental notification laws for minors obtaining abortions are among the most popular pro-life laws in America, with national opinion polls finding 70% in favor. Over 30 U.S. states have enacted such laws. By way of comparison, in states where minors can obtain an abortion without parental consent, almost all require the consent of a parent or legal guardian for the same minor to receive a tattoo.

Parental consent laws are typically billed as a way to protect underage girls from being taken advantage of by sexual predators, who otherwise would be able to bring their underage victim in for a secret abortion to hide their crime in the case of pregnancy.

In opening remarks at CIANA’s markup last month, Rep. Trent Franks (R-TX) said the widespread enactment of such laws has “made it clear through legislation that parents have a right to know whether their daughters are trying to undergo abortions.”

“Parents play a critical role in the well being of their daughter, particularly in the abortion context,” he said.

Teresa Collett, a Professor of Law at University of St. Thomas School of Law, recently observed, “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.”

Tags: abortion, naral, parental consent

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Kansas law would force churches to host same-sex ‘weddings,’ receptions

by Ben Johnson Tue Apr 24 16:59 EST Comments (44)

HUTCHINSON, KANSAS, April 24, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – A proposed ordinance in one of the nation’s most conservative states would force churches to rent their property out for same-sex “weddings” and receptions. It would also force any public venue to allow people to use showers, restrooms, and locker-rooms based on their “gender identity,” rather than their “sex at birth.”

The city council of Hutchinson, Kansas, is considering enacting a new statute adding sexual orientation and sexual identity to the city’s non-discrimination policy in all public accommodations. The measure would specifically include churches that rent their property to the public.

“If a church has a parish hall that they rent out to the general public, they could not discriminate against a gay couple who want to rent the building for a party,” such as a same-sex ceremony or reception, according to a city FAQ about the ordinance. If the church only rents the building to their parishioners, they can continue to do so.”

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Religious facilities, including churches, “would not be able to discriminate against gay and lesbian or transgender individuals,” Meryl Dye, a spokeswoman for the Hutchinson Human Relations Commission, confirmed. “Unless the city council includes an exemption for churches, it would generate a discrimination complaint for the gay couple and it would be investigated” – and possibly lead to a fine.

The ordinance would also force employers to allow transgender people to dress according to their gender identity, rather than “the person’s assigned sex at birth,” in the workplace.

“A transgender person must be allowed to use restrooms appropriate to their gender identity rather than their assigned gender at birth without being harassed or questioned,” the FAQ states. They must also be allowed to use the “gender-segregated locker and shower facilities” of their choice. Asking for identification to verify sex before admitting that person to the the locker room or shower is classified as “discriminatory conduct.”

Landlords who rent three or more units may not refuse to rent their facilities to homosexual or transgender tenants.

Mat Staver of Liberty Counsel called the law “a collision course between religious freedom and the LGBT agenda.”

“What we are ultimately going to see is churches forced to confront this law, forced to do things and allow their facilities to be used by people and for events that diametrically undercut the mission of the church,” he said.

The prospect is more than theoretical. In 2005, the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal fined a Knights of Columbus hall for refusing to allow lesbians to use the premises for a “wedding” reception.

Neil Addison, the director of the Thomas More Legal Centre and an expert on religious discrimination law, recently warned that Prime Minister David Cameron’s proposed bill will go one step further in the United Kingdom. “The Government will be obliged to permit same-sex marriage on religious premises on exactly the same basis as it permits heterosexual marriage,” he said.

The Court of Appeal in the UK ruled a Christian marriage registrar, Lillian Ladele, had no right to ask someone else to validate a same-sex “marriage,” because her religious objection “was not a core part of her religion.” This precedent will compel homosexual ceremonies to be performed on church grounds, Addison said.

 

Tags: kansas, same-sex 'marriage', transgender

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The ugly American - sex trafficking and our national humiliation

by Albert Mohler Tue Apr 24 16:10 EST Comments (30)

April 24, 2012 (AlbertMohler.com) - The sexual revolution of the last several decades has transformed any public conversation about sex and sexuality. The revolutionaries directed their attention to the dismantling of an entire edifice of sexual morality that had been basically intact for well over 2,000 years.

At one point in the sexual revolution, efforts were made to legalize prostitution as a “victimless crime,” a term that anyone could recognize as an oxymoron. Most of these efforts went nowhere in the United States and most of Europe, though “progressive” law enforcement officials often looked the other way and did little to curb the market for illicit sex.

Then something truly interesting started to happen. Influential forces in society began to notice the scale and magnitude of the market for sex. Law enforcement officials started to acknowledge the fact that women, along with under-age girls and boys, were being “trafficked” through international networks of gangsters. By the end of the last decade, American officials were aware that sex trafficking was taking place in cities large and small. Women, along with boys and girls, were being kidnapped in far parts of the world and on the streets of American cities, to be sold into what could only be considered as sexual slavery.

Over time, the shadow of international sex trafficking became evident in criminal networks that span the globe. Women and girls answering advertisements for models, maids, and child minders found themselves sold into slavery and transported around the world.

Wealthy Americans booked vacations to destinations where their sexual appetite of choice, including children, could be easily purchased. As recently as the 2012 Super Bowl, American officials warned that several hundred under-age sex workers might be brought into the host city. These developments make the international sex trafficking networks impossible to deny.

Then came the news that at least eleven Secret Service agents had been involved in a prostitution scandal in Cartagena, Colombia in advance of a visit there by President Barack Obama. It is believed that several members of the United States military were also involved. Even as that scandal began to break, the international media reported that cities like Cartagena have become magnets for the sex trade, with much of their business provided by lustful Americans.

Critics of the Secret Service suggested that a good many of its agents adopted a motto of “wheels up, rings off,” indicating plans to visit prostitutes in their destination city. They planned their involvement with prostitutes well in advance of their arrival to “advance” the President’s trip, it is alleged.

As if Americans were not sufficiently shocked, USA Today reported that the Secret Service scandal was “no aberration.” Kirsten Powers reported: “Men working abroad on behalf of our government engage in this kind of behavior so frequently that the Pentagon was forced in 2004 to draft an anti-prostitution rule aimed at preventing the U.S. military from being complicit in fueling sex trafficking.”

It appears that the rule did not restrain those involved in the Cartagena scandal, nor many others. Powers also reported that the American government has been aware for some time that much of the energy in the international sex trafficking underworld comes from American government personnel, both in uniform and out.

Powers cited Rep. Christopher Smith (R-NJ), who declared that “women and girls are being forced into prostitution for a clientele consisting largely of military services members, government contractors and international peacekeepers.”

One report indicates that young girls have been kidnapped in Eastern Europe “specifically to be sold to the American contractors to use for sex.” Those contractors were there under the auspices of our government to establish peace and security in the aftermath of the Bosnian crisis.

As Kirsten Powers observed, “Representatives of the U.S. government should be setting the standard for the world, not feeding the problem of sex trafficking. The chances that the women or girls the Secret Service agents procured for their pleasure were there by free will is very low. Most likely, they were sex slaves.”

Thankfully, there is much less talk these days about prostitution and sex trafficking as a “victimless crime.” Few crimes offer such a dismal view of the human moral reality. There is a ready market for every form of lust, and criminal syndicates stand ready to sell anyone and anything for a price.

Bringing the story even closer to home, Nicholas Kristof of The New York Times reported the story of a sex worker in New York City. “If you think sex trafficking only happens in faraway places like Nepal or Thailand, then you should listen to an expert on American sex trafficking I interviewed the other day,” he wrote. “But, first, wish her happy birthday. She turns 16 years old on Thursday.”

Kristof told of “Brianna,” who had been effectively kidnapped and sold into the sex trade after she ran away from home for only one night at age 12. He also described the prominence of major Internet sex trafficking sites, one of which “accounts for about 70 percent of America’s prostitution ads.” Brianna reported that she had been offered on such a site, estimating that half of the business into which she was sold came through the site. Chillingly, Kristof also reported that major Wall Street financial firms were profiting by the business.

Kirsten Powers got it just right when she wrote, “We have a global epidemic of sex trafficking.” I can only wonder how many Americans understand that the “we” in that statement means us — the American people. When a congressman can admit for us all that women and girls are being forced into the sex trade for a clientele “consisting largely” of American government officials and contractors along with the U.S. military, that problem becomes the responsibility of every American.

American Christians, who understand the incomprehensible scandal and moral horror of sex trafficking must recognize that this is an issue of high moral priority.

We must demand the enforcement of laws meant to protect human beings from being sold into sexual slavery and the vigorous prosecution of those who are engaged in sex trafficking. We must demand that any American involved in such activities be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, and that every effort be made to release women and young people from sexual slavery.

No American can rest with an easy conscience while this nation is known around the world for sending out officials, business associates, government contractors, and military personnel whose motto is “wheels up, rings off.”

This scandal has revealed that the concept of the Ugly American has taken on a humiliating new dimension.

Reprinted with permission from AlbertMohler.com

Tags: prostitution, sex slavery

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University says condom vandalism of pro-life display has been ‘properly, decisively’ dealt with

by Ben Johnson Tue Apr 24 16:00 EST Comments (30)

 

BOWLING GREEN, KENTUCKY, April 24, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – The president of Western Kentucky University said the desecration of an approved pro-life display has been “properly, decisively” dealt with – although a pro-life student group has pointed out that there has been no apology to the pro-life students, and the student responsible has apparently not been disciplined. In fact, according to Students for Life, the woman who placed condoms over each cross in the pro-life display may still receive college credit for her act of vandalism.

The student group Hilltoppers for Life got university permission to erect 3,700 crosses in a Cemetery of the Innocents, commemorating the number of babies aborted each day. Early last Friday morning the group’s president, John Sohl, confronted the woman, Elaina Smith, and her non-student boyfriend as they placed condoms over thousands of crosses that made up the pro-life display. Smith said she had her professor’s permission for the project, according to Sohl.

Campus police allowed Smith to finish placing condoms over the crosses and take a picture for class before asking her to remove them.

WKU President Gary A. Ransdell issued a statement today saying the controversy is over.

“The offending student has apologized,” according to Ransdell. But Students for Life Executive Director Kristan Hawkins says the student has made no public apology. “We have still not be able to determine from the university whether or not the art student will receive class credit for putting her condoms on the pro-life group’s crosses,” said Hawkins.

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On Monday, Smith told local media, “I had worried that my idea might offend some. However, after giving it a lot of thought, I came to believe that it is no more or less offensive than the original installation.”

Ransdell wrote, “The faculty member’s intent of the art assignment was not to target this particular display. That decision was made by the student.”

While he wrote that WKU administrators met with the student and her professor, he did not indicate any further action would be taken against either.

“This matter has been dealt with properly, decisively, and brought to a conclusion,” Ransdell wrote.

“It’s a form of vandalism when you mark up somebody’s displays without permission, and it should generally be treated as such,” Robert Shibley, senior vice president of the academic watchdog group Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) told LifeSiteNews.com. “I would think that most faculty members would understand that when somebody puts up a display, whether it be for art or for political purposes, that’s not to be converted by somebody else, whether by the faculty or by their own initiative.”

“When you’re dealing with a contentious issue like abortion, sometimes people sacrifice their good judgment for political considerations,” he said. 

Students for life has asked President Ransdell and Western Kentucky University to do three things immediately “to remedy this situation and put it to rest”: have Smith publicly apologize, ask the campus police to apologize for their inaction, and to confirm in writing Smith will receive no credit for the vandalism.

Shibley said the college wants to move on as quickly as possible. “Universities are averse to controversy,” Shibley told LifeSiteNews.com. “Just because the university may not want it out there doesn’t mean you don’t have a legitimate problem with how the university is treating you.”

“I think it’s a sad fact that many faculty members across the county don’t have a good understanding of what free speech means in a free society like ours.”

Students whose rights have been violated should not be afraid to contact organizations such as FIRE, which represents students in court, or to go to the local media. “Tell your story and get the story out there,” he said. “FIRE is the leading organization doing that.”

Contact
WKU Police Captain of Professional Standards, Joe Harbaugh
joe.harbaugh@wku.edu
(270) 745-2543


The president’s response in full is below:

Thank you for your recent email regarding the unfortunate and distasteful act which occurred at the Hilltoppers for Life pro-life display on the WKU campus last Thursday night.  My colleagues on the faculty and staff at WKU take this matter very seriously.  Unfortunately, Dean Dennis George was incorrectly identified as a responsible party.  He is a Dean of one of six undergraduate colleges and in no way relates to our campus Police or student disciplinary procedures.

In response to your message, we offer the following insights.  The pro-life display was created by a sanctioned official WKU student organization called Hilltoppers for Life.  They requested and received permission to create their display which consisted of red and black paper covering the bleacher seats of our campus amphitheater with several small crosses made from popsicle sticks glued to the paper.  It was on display during the week of April 16 and was taken down, as scheduled on Friday morning, April 20.
On the morning of April 20 at around 2:30 a.m., one student and her non-student boyfriend chose to place condoms over some of the crosses as a gesture of birth control.  They said it was an assignment from an Art Installation course that involves placing art exhibits across campus.  The faculty member’s intent of the art assignment was not to target this particular display. That decision was made by the student who chose to make her own statement for birth control at the expense of the Hilltoppers for Life endeavor.

The Hilltoppers for Life students keeping watch over the exhibit, after allowing a few hundred condoms to be placed on the crosses, eventually called the police who arrived promptly.  It was a calm scene and the police chose to keep it that way.  They allowed the student to remove the condoms and leave peacefully—which is what occurred.  There was no aggressive behavior or incident.  The display was not damaged other than the disrespectful symbolism that this incident unfortunately created.

When I and the appropriate administrators learned of the situation, we promptly issued a statement in support of free speech and that the University does not condone any attempts by individuals or groups to inhibit anyone’s or any group’s right to free speech or creative activity.  The proper administrators have also met with the student and faculty member.  Our message was direct and firm.

No member of our University family should impede another member of our family’s freedom of speech or creative effort, especially when it comes to exercising religious freedoms.  The offending student has apologized.  This matter has been dealt with properly, decisively, and brought to a conclusion.  Your interest in and support of WKU and its priorities for First Amendment rights is appreciated.

Gary A. Ransdell
President

Tags: elaina smith, foundation for individual rights in education fire, gary ransdell, western kentucky university

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No stone throwing: speaking about human sexuality

by Eric Metaxas Tue Apr 24 15:46 EST Comments (26)

 
Eric Metaxas

April 24, 2012 (Breakpoint.org) - Yesterday, I spoke to you about how we should and should not talk about abortion and the sanctity of human life. I noted that sometimes we Christians demonize our opponents instead of loving them. We often forget that, apart from the grace of God, we might well be on the other side of the issue.

This is especially true when it comes to the issue of human sexuality. To understand why, we must first remember that, for the Christian, truth is a person: Jesus Christ. We see the world and our place in it in light of the person and work of Jesus.

So we should never forget that just as Jesus was the incarnation of God’s love, mercy, and compassion for us, we are called to model these for our neighbor.

Now this doesn’t mean that we should shy from calling sin by its name — on the contrary, sometimes this is exactly what loving our neighbor requires. But we should do this in sorrow rather than in anger and never out of a sense of condemnation — because we know that since none of us is without sin, none of us gets to cast the first stone.

So, when we address a hot-button issue like same-sex attraction or same-sex marriage, we should always keep in mind our own struggles and brokenness when it comes to sexuality.

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If you are blessed not to have struggled in this area, then recall your struggles in other areas. If you can’t think of any, well, you might want to think about the sin of pride. I’m just saying.

We also need to avoid the mistake that some of our opponents make: treating sex as merely physical. As Christians know, sex is intended to serve a unitive purpose — it’s supposed to be the physical expression of the spiritual union between husband and wife. As the Bible puts it, “the two become one flesh.”

It may come as a surprise to many of us, but many people in same-sex relationships are seeking the same thing. The problem is that they can’t achieve what they are seeking, because they are seeking it in what Catholic moral theology calls a “disordered” manner. Likewise, many advocates of same-sex marriage aren’t out to subvert marriage, at least not consciously. They’re pursuing the goods of marriage, albeit, in a disordered fashion.

Thus when we rightly say that the Christian response to same-sex attraction is chastity, we must remember that chastity is difficult enough for heterosexual Christians — who at least have the hope of expressing their sexuality in marriage.

The same is true with same-sex marriage. As God said in Genesis 2, “it is not good for man to be alone.” We were designed for the deep kind of physical and spiritual connection that comes through marriage. So even while we insist that that kind of connection is only available between a man and a woman, we must empathize with and grieve for those who cannot achieve it.

If we can’t, then we should consider keeping our mouths shut. Because if we forget to offer love and support along with the truth, we aren’t much better than the scribes and Pharisees, whom Jesus rebuked for placing heavy loads on people’s shoulders while not lifting a finger to move them.

The world doesn’t need more Pharisees, it needs people who speak the truth in love — love that never forgets Who is the Truth.

Reprinted with permission from Breakpoint.org

Tags: marriage

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Planned Parenthood in red alert over undercover sex-selection abortion exposé

by Kathleen Gilbert Tue Apr 24 15:01 EST Comments (99)

 
Lila Rose is the President of Live Action, which Planned Parenthood suspects may be behind a string of "suspicious incidents" at its clinics.

Updated at 5:23 p.m. EST by Ben Johnson to include a quotation from Abby Johnson.

NEW YORK, April 24, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Planned Parenthood has raised the alarm over a “secret hoax campaign” it fears is currently being conducted by pro-life undercover investigators regarding abortions obtained because the unborn child is not the desired gender.

The nation’s largest abortion chain told The Huffington Post Monday that a string of “suspicious incidents” at abortion facilities across the country have led officials to believe another exposé was in the works. Those incidents allegedly involved a woman entering the clinic, saying she was pregnant, and asking questions about determining the gender of the fetus and obtaining a sex-selective abortion.

Planned Parenthood spokesperson Chloe Cooney told The Huffington Post that it suspects the pro-life group Live Action is working on a new campaign.  “As with the prior instances, we anticipate that once again this group, likely in coordination with a broad range of anti-abortion leaders, will soon launch a propaganda campaign with the goal of discrediting Planned Parenthood, and, ultimately, restricting women’s health,” she said.

Live Action and its president, Lila Rose, shot to fame after they released a series of undercover videos that showed Planned Parenthood workers helping young girls cross state lines for secret abortions and covering up statutory rape. Later videos showed workers aiding investigators posing as sex traffickers seeking abortions for their underage foreign prostitutes.

Abby Johnson, a former Planned Parenthood employee, told LifeSiteNews.com concern over sex-selective abortion would be justified. “When sex selection abortions occur, we see more female babies aborted than males. This fact is ironic considering that Planned Parenthood claims to be ‘pro-woman,’” Johnson told LifeSiteNews. “Even though some abortion advocates might be against this type of abortion, they will never go against the Planned Parenthood abortion machine and speak out.”

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The investigations have had severe fallout for Planned Parenthood, which has fired several workers caught on tape violating the law, and has since been defunded in several U.S. states after nearly losing federal funding in 2011. A federal investigation into the abortion business was also launched, with legislators citing Live Action’s campaigns as one reason for requesting its own review of Planned Parenthood’s operations.

In a column appearing on RH Reality Check and Planned Parenthood’s website Monday, two leaders at the family planning group, Leslie Kantor and Carolyn Westhoff, complained that the “secret, nationwide hoax campaign” was simply an attempt to “undermine women’s access to services.”

The leaders also asserted that Planned Parenthood “finds the concept of sex selection [abortions] deeply unsettling,” and said that the group does not offer sex determination services on unborn children.

“Planned Parenthood condemns sex selection motivated by gender bias, and urges leaders to challenge the underlying conditions that lead to these beliefs and practices,” they wrote. Kantor and Westhoff did not say that the group, which has strongly opposed legislation to ban abortions based on sex selection, refused to perform such procedures.

Live Action President Lila Rose told LifeSiteNews.com that the group’s policy is not to comment on an investigation “until its conclusion and public release.”

Tags: abortion, lila rose, live action, planned parenthood

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Linda Gibbons to stand trial Thursday; friends ask supporters to ‘fill the courthouse’

by Thaddeus Baklinski Tue Apr 24 14:07 EST Comments (5)

 

TORONTO, April 24, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Linda Gibbons will be tried on a charge of disobeying a court order on Thursday, April 26 at 10 a.m. in room 504 of the College Park courthouse at Yonge and College Streets in downtown Toronto.

Linda’s friend and supporter John Bulsza has asked that as many people as possible show up for the trial, “to fill the court house,” to show their support for Linda and her heroic stand for protection for the lives of the unborn.

Linda was charged and imprisoned once again on December 16, 2011 in Toronto, following the same pattern of events that have seen her put behind bars for about nine of the past 17-plus years. See the video of her arrest here.

The charge of disobeying a court order was laid following her appearance outside the Morgentaler “Clinic” abortion site on Hillsdale Avenue on that cold Friday morning, walking back and forth on a public sidewalk with her trademark placard, “Why mom? When I have so much love to give.” She smiled at passersby, waved to children, and handed a pamphlet to those who would take it. She attempted to speak to those who appeared to be clients entering the site.

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The abortion facility is protected by a civil court-imposed “bubble zone” that prohibits pro-life activity of any kind within its boundaries.

The Crown had withdrawn an accompanying charge of obstructing a police officer with the explanation that “there was no reasonable probability of conviction” on it.

Linda remained imprisoned at the Vanier Centre for Women in Milton pending her trial as she has consistently refused to sign bail conditions that require her to stay away from abortion sites.

Linda was acquitted of a charge of disobeying a court order on November 4, 2011 when Justice Alphonse T. Lacavera ruled that the injunction under which she was arrested was outdated.

There is a slight chance that the trial will be precluded. The Supreme Court of Canada is considering submissions by Linda’s lawyers, given on December 14, 2011, that her odyssey through the criminal courts for violations of injunctions laid down in civil courts was an improper use of the criminal justice system.

The various injunctions under which Linda has been charged over the years have been enacted by civil courts; however, she has always been charged and convicted criminally. The Supreme Court will decide whether this is a proper procedure.

Details of Linda’s scheduled trial:
Date: Thursday, April 26th, 2012
Where: Room 504, College Park Court House, Yonge and College Streets, Toronto,
Time: 10:00am

Tags: abortion, linda gibbons

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Gaping holes in Canada’s new abortion data create abortion-decrease mirage

by Thaddeus Baklinski Tue Apr 24 13:14 EST Comments (16)

 
Pro-life Canadians participate in the Canadian March for Life.

OTTAWA, April 24, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - On April 17, the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) released data on induced abortions committed in Canada for 2010 that appear to show a significant drop in abortions from the 2009 report

According to the 2009 report, 93,755 children were aborted that year, with 30,268 abortions committed in Ontario and 27,139 in Quebec.

Meanwhile, the 2010 report indicates a total of only 64,641 abortions were carried out in Canada, with 28,765 committed in Ontario.

However, in keeping with past reports on the number of abortions committed, the 2010 report has gaping holes in the data, with no abortion data at all for the province of Quebec, making it impossible to draw any meaningful conclusions about abortion trends.

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“What a joke,” Campaign Life Coalition BC president, John Hof, told LifeSiteNews.com. “If CIHI kept stats on breast cancer like they keep on abortions, the country would be outraged.”

“Congratulations to the province of Quebec for being the first province in Canada to end abortion,” Hof quipped. The pro-life activist pointed out that closer scrutiny reveals Quebec is not mandated to report abortions to CIHI.

“The politicization of abortion stats has taken a deadly turn with these new numbers,” Hof argued. “Abortion supporters can now legitimately send out a press release saying the numbers of abortions in Canada have dropped by 30% 40% or even 50%. Meanwhile the truth is CIHI has stopped counting the corpses.”

Compounding the inaccuracy of the data made available by the government agency is the lack of legislation requiring private abortion clinics, in contrast to hospitals, to report data.

“Hospitals are mandated by their provincial/territorial ministry of health to report all hospital activity (not limited to abortions); therefore, coverage of abortions performed in Canadian hospitals can be considered complete (except for Quebec in 2010),” the CIHI states in its report. “However, there is no such legislative requirement for clinics to report their activity (reporting is voluntary). For 2010, clinic data for British Columbia is incomplete.”

The true number of abortions may also be skewed because Ontario clinic data includes only induced abortions covered by Ontario’s health insurance plan. Data from all other provinces/territories, including Ontario hospital data, includes all induced abortions, whether paid for by the patient or by a different health insurance plan.

As a result, while the CIHI reports 28,765 abortions for Ontario in 2010, statistics obtained by Patricia Maloney of the Run With Life blog through a freedom of information request with the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, indicated that there were 18,330 abortions committed in doctors’ offices, 16,055 in private facilities and 9,612 in hospitals, for a total of 43,997 abortions committed in Ontario during 2010.

“This kind of shoddy statistic keeping would be unacceptable in any other industry,” Hof commented.

“If one adds in all of the mitigating factors in the CIHI statistics and totals up all of the under and unreported estimates, Canada’s abortion rate could be well over an astounding 150,000. Even when records were kept more diligently by Statistics Canada, we never went over 120,000. For them to now say Canada only had 64,641 abortions in 2010 is laughable to the extreme.”

The 2010 abortion statistics report is available at the Canadian Institute for Health Information’s website here.

Tags: abortion, canada

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Two clinics with ties to notorious abortionist shut down by state

by LifeSiteNews.com Tue Apr 24 12:23 EST Comments (4)

 
Steven Chase Brigham

Allentown, Pennsylvania, April 23, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) — Two abortion clinics with connections to the notorious abortionist Steven Chase Brigham have been ordered closed by the Pennsylvania Department of Health.

The first, Allentown Women’s Services, was forced to close when it lost its lease at 2200 Hamilton St. in Allentown.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health revoked the clinic’s license on April 10, 2012, citing “infrastructure failure” after the building’s landlord terminated the lease, changed the door locks, and stripped the clinic name off all the building’s signage. Local pro-life activists report that Brigham’s medical equipment is still inside the locked office and no known effort has been made to remove it.

In the closure order, Anna Marie Sossong, the PDH’s deputy secretary for quality assurance wrote:

“In addition, I would note that the Department of Health long has witnessed a chronic inability by AMS to comply with the most fundamental statutory and regulatory requirements. These recent events have shown that AMS is unwilling or unable to comply even with the most basic requirements of the law established and designed to assure the health and safety of the patients.”

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American Women’s Services in Pittsburgh, also connected to Brigham, was ordered closed by the Department of Health after it failed to report the resignation of its Medical Director. Local activists indicate that there has been no replacement. The clinic was ordered to cease abortion services as of April 17, 2012.

According to Pittsburghlive.com, the clinic denies that its medical director has quit and they will appeal the closure.

The Medical Director at Allentown Women’s Services also resigned earlier this year, but was replaced by long-time Brigham employee Vikram Kaji, an abortionist who has been disciplined for sexually abusing at least three of his patients and indiscriminately prescribing controlled dangerous substances.

Both clinics were ordered by the state to update the American Women’s Services web site to reflect the fact that they are banned from doing abortions. However, as of this writing, the web site still listed the two offices as supplying abortions through 24 weeks of pregnancy.

Both Pennsylvania abortion clinics have ties to Brigham, who made recent headlines when he was arrested and charged with murder for operating an illegal late-term abortion business in Maryland where police discovered the frozen remains of 35 late-term aborted babies. Those charges were later dropped after an expert witness withdrew from the case under pressure from abortion groups.

Brigham’s Pennsylvania medical license is inactive and cannot be renewed. In July, 2010, Brigham was banned by the State of Pennsylvania from operating or controlling any abortion clinics in that state, citing violations that endangered the public. Brigham circumvented the order by transferring ownership of his clinics to Rose Health Services, a company said to be owned by Brigham’s mother, and continued advertizing the clinics as part of his chain of 16 Abortion mills that operate in four states.

“Brigham has openly shown disregard for nearly every law on the books. He is a dangerous man who is not above deceiving authorities about the true nature of his disreputable abortion businesses,” said Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue and Pro-Life Nation.

“His deception in Pennsylvania is finally exposed and his clinics there are closed, but he continues to operate clinics in New Jersey, Maryland, and Virginia. This poses an intolerable risk to women. Authorities in all these states are well aware of Brigham and while he is not allowed to practice medicine in any of them legally, they continue to allow him to operate his sleazy abortion mills. This is wrong and we will continue to work through the system to correct this problem until Brigham and his ilk are out of business for good.”

Tags: abortion, operation rescue, steven brigham

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My daughter, Cystic Fibrosis, and stem cell research

by Nancy Flanders Tue Apr 24 11:33 EST Comments (12)

 

April 24, 2012 (LiveActionNews.org) - My daughter has cystic fibrosis, and I fundraise for research to find a cure because I want my daughter to live a long life. But through the last three years of fundraising I have been a bit nervous about one thing – stem cell research. I know the CF Foundation is focused on medications, and since that’s where all of my money goes, I feel confident knowing that none of my hard-earned cash is being poured into using stem cells from aborted babies to try to cure my daughter. But what I have been really nervous about is whether or not a cure would come from any other researchers who are using stem cells from aborted babies to cure CF. Would I allow that cure to be used on my daughter?

Some would argue that the babies are already dead, and I would be giving purpose to their short lives by allowing them to save my daughter. But what if that cure meant that my daughter would have to continually receive stem cells from aborted babies? It was a question I didn’t want to even consider – that her survival might depend on the slaughtering of innocent children. What person could carry that through her life and be okay?

And then I read the recent headline from HarvardScience: Big advance against cystic fibrosis – Stem cell researchers create lung surface tissue in a dish. I felt nauseous, but I clicked on the link and began to read. And then I rejoiced. Thank God that once again, science has proven that adult cells – in this case, skin cells of CF patients – are the stem cells that are truly helping people who battle health issues, and now they may help my daughter. My fears have been squashed and my hope renewed. From the article:

Beginning with the skin cells of patients with CF, Jayaraj Rajagopal and colleagues first created induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells, and then used those cells to create human disease-specific functioning lung epithelium, the tissue that lines the airways and is the site of the most lethal aspect of CF, where the genes cause irreversible lung disease and inexorable respiratory failure.

Scientists will now use those stem cells to test drugs that will possibly treat and hopefully cure CF. Imagine the possibilities this creates for all genetic conditions, and no babies had to sacrifice their lives in the process.

Perhaps one day my daughter will be blessed to receive the gift of new life from a person who chose to donate his lungs upon his death. That would be an amazing gift of love and life. Or perhaps one day her own cells will be the ones to save her. But for today, I am thrilled and confident that my daughter’s health and life will never depend on the murder of innocent children. And I hope that every unexpectedly expecting mother, as well as every parent of a child with a special health need, learns that even in the darkest hour, there is hope.

Reprinted with permission from LiveActionNews.org

Tags: cystic fibrosis, embryonic stem cell research, stem cells

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Catholic school board stands by decision to support MP’s pro-life motion in face of attacks

by Patrick B. Craine Tue Apr 24 11:02 EST Comments (17)

 
MP Stephen Woodworth's pro-life motion comes up for debate on April 26th.

MISSISSAUGA, Ontario, April 24, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Mississauga’s Catholic school board is facing criticism after some teachers urged students to sign a petition supporting Member of Parliament Stephen Woodworth’s pro-life motion.

But Catholic groups say promoting the right to life is simply part of the schools’ duty to advance Catholic values.

The homosexual news agency Xtra! reported Saturday that an e-mail had been sent to all teachers at St. Joseph Catholic Secondary School encouraging them to have students sign Life Canada’s petition in support of Motion 312.

The motion, which is scheduled for its first debate this week, seeks to establish a special committee to consider when human life begins. In particular, Woodworth is calling for a re-examination of section 223 of the Criminal Code, which states that a child only becomes a “human being” once he or she has fully proceeded from the womb.

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Xtra! quotes an unnamed source saying that at least four teachers brought the Life Canada petition into classes at St. Joseph’s, which is in the Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board.

The news agency also complained that students have been encouraged to raise funds in support of the Archdiocese of Toronto’s Share Life campaign, which supports pro-life groups and other charitable initiatives as well as the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development & Peace.

After Xtra!’s piece, the Toronto Star followed up with an article Monday quoting secular groups complaining that the Catholic schools should be barred from using tax dollars to “indoctrinate” students.

But the school board insisted that they will continue to support efforts to promote the right to life among their numerous social justice initiatives.

“No one was forced to sign anything, it was presented as an option,” board spokesman Bruce Campbell told the Toronto Star.

“Pro-life, right-to-life, is part and parcel of the catechism of the faith, which affirms life from conception to natural death,” he said. “So, certainly we support students and staff in engaging in marching and awareness around that issue.”

According to the Canadian Secular Alliance, however, the right to life should not be promoted by a publicly-funded school system.

“Individual students have the right to hold whatever opinion they come to independently,” president Greg Oliver told the Toronto Star, “but this is a case of a publicly-funded school system essentially using these children, either indoctrinating them, or using them as a political tool, to advance certain opinions.”

Joanne McGarry, executive director of the Catholic Civil Rights League, said the pro-life petition is an “admirable and appropriate activity for a Catholic school.”

“For Catholics the respect for life is not a political activity – it’s a religious and moral activity,” she told LifeSiteNews. “I think [the petition] has to be seen in that context – that they’re not after the politics of it, they’re after the religious and moral teachings.”

“People should understand that Catholic schools exist to promote Catholic teaching, and the respect for life is a part of it,” she added.

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‘I wish he’d never been born’: The misguided view of abortion as ‘mercy-killing’

by Christina Martin Tue Apr 24 10:17 EST Comments (38)

 
Aimee Mullin
Emily Rapp

April 24, 2012 (LiveActionNews.org) - Emily Rapp is a writer, a devoted mother, and a left-leg amputee who was once a poster child for the March of Dimes. Her son Ronan is living with Tay-Sachs, a devastating rare genetic disease. I first heard of Emily in a disheartening Time magazine article titled “Why a Mother would have aborted her son.”

It sprang from a Slate article Emily wrote where she said, “I’m so grateful that Ronan is my child. I also wish he’d never been born; no person should suffer in this way—daily seizures, blindness, lack of movement, inability to swallow, a devastated brain—with no hope for a cure. Both of these statements are categorically true; neither one is mutually exclusive.” She continues later, “I love Ronan, and I believe it would have been an act of love to abort him, knowing that his life would be primarily one of intense suffering.”

I don’t question Emily’s love for her son. Her writings reveal a brave, caring mother who is deeply committed to her child. I sympathize with her family in their pain. At the same time, I wholeheartedly disagree with the notion that abortion can ever be an act of love. “Sparing” a child from suffering by taking his life is a popular but dangerous idea. Abortion is never a merciful or compassionate act. Although a parent may feel motivated to end her child’s pain, it doesn’t justify the violence and cruelty of abortion.

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This push toward abortion as a form of “mercy-killing” reminds me of African mothers who killed their children so they wouldn’t have to endure the torment of enslavement. Slavery was atrocious, but can you imagine the loss if Fredrick Douglas’s or Harriet Tubman’s mother had chosen to “spare” her child from the agony of life? Their endurance through suffering is what inspires us all.

Sara Carpenter was devastated when her doctor told her that the baby in her womb had spina bifida. She told Mail Online, “I tried to shake away the image I conjured in my head of a little boy, lonely and friendless, robbed of the most basic human functions.” After wrestling over her decision, Sara chose abortion stating, “I realized I couldn’t bring this child into the world, knowing the extent to which he would suffer. Andrew [my partner] and I talked long into the night, and finally agreed that ending the pregnancy was the kindest thing we could do for our son.”

Sara’s story caused me to think back to my college years. I was an assistant and friend to a young lady with spina bifida. We had interesting adventures together. I was just one of the people in her life who loved her. Though she faced physical difficulties, she was remarkably strong, determined, and personable. In some ways she had more experiences than I did. While I was single through most of college, she had more than one significant romantic relationship. She was not the picture of a “lonely and friendless” person. The kindest things her mother did were give birth to her and care for her with love.

Ninety percent of Down syndrome babies are murdered in the womb. Children are aborted for things as treatable as a cleft palate. Some doctors even argue that post-natal abortion and infanticide are merciful and morally acceptable. How far do we want to take this?

There are questions we must ask ourselves. What measure of suffering could ever warrant a babies death? What messages are we believing and communicating when we agree with aborting the weak? What is our definition of love, and how does that include suffering? How do disabled children bring beauty into our lives? What do we think of the children who were given a wrong prognosis or the ones who overcame negative ones?

Aimee Mullins‘ legs were amputated at birth. The doctor who delivered her told her parents that she would never walk. With the help of prosthetic legs, Aimee became an NCAA track star and a runway model. She travels the world speaking and is a spokesperson for L’Oréal makeup. She was named one of People Magazine‘s 50 most beautiful people.

Later in life, Amy ran into the doctor who gave her parents the tragic news. Over the years, he’d saved newspaper clips of all her accomplishments. He proudly told her, “You’ve made a liar outta me.”

Some babies will never accomplish what Aimee has, but they are still valuable simply because they are human. Tripp Roth was one of those little boys. His mother Courtney was a Reader’s Digest Hero of 2011. Tripp recently passed away from epidermolysis bullosa, or EB, a rare skin disease that caused him to be covered in blisters and sores. His disease wasn’t detected until after birth, but his case was so horrific that some encouraged her to “put him out of his misery.”

In an excerpt from her blog, Courtney wrote:

Tripp taught me love.  He taught me love like I’ve never known it before.  What I’ve learned most from him is unconditional love. A love so strong that nothing can break it, not even death.  A love that shines through pain, anger, and exhaustion, but also through times of complete joy and trust.  Tripp taught me that every day counts and every minute matters.  He loved me with his whole tired little heart every minute he was alive.  Never once while he was alive did I think that my job as a mom was hard.  I was doing what I was supposed to be doing- all I knew how to do, and all I wanted to do.  He led me through every day and every hour by showering me with love like I’ve never known before.

In a message to her son, she wrote, “I love you, my sweet little man and no one knows your heart like Mommy.  And NO ONE knows when you are ready to leave this Earth, except God.” Tripp’s life has ended, but Courtney is determined to keep fighting for a cure for EB.

The human experience is intermingled with pain. It’s necessary to show compassion towards those facing challenging and traumatic situations. We also must uphold our value for life, even in the face of grave suffering. The dignity of life should be protected at all costs. Accusing and judging parents as selfish is not the route we should take. Rather, we seek to call others to a truer understanding of mercy and a greater reality of loving kindness.

Reprinted with permission from LiveActionNews.org

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Next nationwide anti-HHS mandate rallies scheduled for June 8

by Kathleen Gilbert Tue Apr 24 10:05 EST Comments (11)

 
Last month's rally in New York

April 24, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The organizers of last month’s nationwide rallies against the HHS mandate forcing religious employers to cover all birth control, including abortifacient drugs, have announced that a new wave of opposition to the Obama administration’s rule is on its way.

Monica Miller of Citizens for a Pro-Life Society and Eric Scheidler of the Pro-Life Action League announced last week that the next Stand Up for Religious Freedom Rallies, which drew over 63,000 Americans in 146 cities on March 23, will take place on June 8.

The national team’s website directs those interested in leading rallies in new cities to contact the group for details.

The controversy surrounding the birth control coverage rule, due for implementation in 2013, has failed to abate since the finalized rule was announced earlier this year.

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Dialogue with the U.S. Catholic bishops fell apart soon after the rule was announced when USCCB President Cardinal Dolan complained that administration officials instructed him to listen to the “enlightened” opinion of left-wing Catholics supporting the mandate, such as the Jesuit-run magazine America.

More recently, the flames were fanned when Bishop Daniel Jenky of Peoria issued a strongly-worded homily last weekend urging the faithful to oppose President Obama’s “extreme secularist” agenda at the ballot box, especially in light of the HHS mandate. The bishop was subsequently hit with an IRS complaint from a national secularist lobby group.

Last month, ralliers promised that their opposition to the rule wouldn’t end with the day’s events, which in some areas saw thousands-strong crowds coming out despite pouring rain.

“The Obama administration failed utterly to care for the American people when it passed a piece of health legislation and chose as its partner Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards, instead of Christian healthcare networks and Cardinal Dolan,” Eric Scheidler told LifeSiteNews.com. “They should have been their partner, not Cecile Richards.”

Scheidler said that 86 cities so far have signed up again for the rally, and he urged leaders in new cities to join the movement.

“Most of the Rally Captains from the March 23 Rally have signed back on for June 8, but the door is now open for new Rally Captains to join the team,” he said. “If your city isn’t on the Rally map, put it on by volunteering to be a Rally Captain. My staff and I are ready to help every step of the way, from choosing a site and getting permits to enlisting guest speakers and working with the media.”

Tags: birth control mandate, planned parenthood, stand up for religious freedom rallies

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Comic strip to feature homosexual ‘prom’ date

by Ben Johnson Tue Apr 24 07:38 EST Comments (17)

 
A Christian Archie comic from the 1970s.
A Christian Archie comic from the 1970s.

MEDINA, OHIO, April 24, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – A long-running, nationally syndicated comic strip will feature a homosexual couple holding hands and attending the prom together.

“Funky Winkerbean” will depict two men holding hands as they buy tickets at the fictional Westview High School.

“So, who are you guys taking to the prom, anyway?” asks a young female ticket seller. “Uh, that would be each other,” they reply.

The comic is featured in 400 newspapers nationwide.

“Dealing with intolerance is something I’ve dealt with many times before. Adding the gay angle is just a twist to the topic,” said strip creator Tom Batiuk (pronounced “Battick”), 63.

However, in December 2009, Batiuk featured six comic strips about the “bullying” of homosexual character Cody.

“I’m not trying to shock anyone,” Batiuk stated. “I’m just telling a story.”

The strip, which celebrated its 40th anniversary last month, joins a growing number of homosexual characters in juvenile literature.

Archie comic book character Kevin Keller “married” his boyfriend in the January 2012 issue. 

Archie Comics CEO Jon Goldwater said the introduction of the first openly homosexual character into the world of Jughead, Betty, and Veronica in September 2010 was “just about keeping the world of Archie Comics current and inclusive. Archie’s hometown of Riverdale has always been a safe world for everyone.”

One Million Moms, a project of the American Family Association, asked for members to contact Toys ‘R’ Us stores to prevent the issue’s display in front of an impressionable young audience. “Unfortunately, children are now being exposed to same-sex marriage in a toy store,” the organization’s press release said. “This is the last place a parent would expect to be confronted with questions from their children” about sexual orientation.

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The homosexual teen storyline was opposed by co-CEO Nancy Silberkleit, a former third grade teacher. She and Goldwater are locked in a legal battle for control of the comic empire.

Jon Goldwater – who is distantly related to Barry Goldwater – wants to “update” the message to expand its earnings potential. He has discussed creating a Hollywood film about Archie with help from Rahm Emanuel’s brother, Ari, a Hollywood “super agent” who called for a Hollywood boycott of Mel Gibson in 2006.

The comic book’s new direction is a far cry from the example of Jon’s father and company founder John L. Goldwater, who reveled in the comic’s wholesome image. Although Jewish, he allowed the Archie characters to be used in Christian-themed comic books for a fee. Christian Spire Comics created 18 faith-themed Archie issues from 1973-1982. “That was a really nice piece of business for a long time,” said Michael Silberkleit, who ran the company from 1983 until his death in 2008.

Neither Archie nor “Funky Winkerbean” is the first comic strip to feature an LGBT character. In 1993, Lynn Johnston’s “For Better or Worse” revealed the character Lawrence was a homosexual.

Batiuk said “the younger generation’s attitudes toward gays,” though “not perfect,” are “more open and accepting than their predecessors.”

“It shows promise for an emerging generation that will bring this issue [of acceptance of open homosexuality in high schools] to an end.” 

“This [strip] is a pretty straight-forward expression of how I feel about the subject,” he said.

The comic strip featuring the couple will run on April 30.

Tags: archie comics, comic books, funky winkerbean, jon l. goldwater

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University police do nothing to stop desecration of crosses in pro-life display

by Ben Johnson Mon Apr 23 20:31 EST Comments (7)

 
The desecrated Cemetery of Innocents.
The desecrated Cemetery of Innocents.

BOWLING GREEN, KENTUCKY, April 24, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – Campus police stood by as students placed condoms over thousands of tiny crosses as part of an approved university “art project,” according to a pro-life student at Western Kentucky University. The campus group Hilltoppers for Life obtained university permission to erect 3,700 crosses, commemorating the number of babies aborted each day in America, as part of its Cemetery of the Innocents.

John Sohl, the organization’s president, said he confronted two vandals early Friday morning with his video camera. One of them “told me at the beginning of this that she did have her teacher’s permission to do this, this was her art project,” Sohl said.

When he told the pair their actions may constitute vandalism, the woman complained, “I think it’s kinda weird that you’re allowed to express yourself, and I’m not.” 

The female student, Elaina Smith, told local media, “I had worried that my idea might offend some. However, after giving it a lot of thought, I came to believe that it is no more or less offensive than the original installation.”

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

When Sohl told them he was videotaping their actions, Smith asked, “Is there any way I can get a copy of that?” Her partner explained, “She has to document it for class, anyway.” 

When campus police showed up, Sohl said, “they said they were not technically vandalizing our display, that all we would have to do is take the condoms off.” WKU officers let the woman take pictures of her desecration before allowing her to leave.

On Monday, the university issued a press release saying it would investigate the matter. “Free speech – all free speech – is valued by WKU administration,” the university’s official statement. “Interference with the expression of free speech is not condoned and is not supported by WKU.” 

That failed to satisfy pro-life advocates, who have seen their displays trashed in other locations. “I find it unbelievable that after the pro-life students contacted campus police they failed to do anything and allowed the desecration to continue, in direct violation of the rights of the pro-life student group,” said Kristan Hawkins, the executive director of Students for Life of America. “The desecration of the crosses at WKU is sacrilegious, offensive, and borders on a hate crime.”

University President Gary Randsdell said the pair “just weren’t thinking and exercised some really poor judgment.” He added, “I can’t imagine a faculty member condoning a student to doing [sic] this kind of activity.”

“How does the university have the right to approve assignments that vandalize and desecrate the property and displays of other people?” asked Sohl. “Things did get resolved, but the girl is still getting credit for her project, and the police still did nothing to stop it.”

The defacing stunt follows an eerily similar action at nearby Northern Kentucky University earlier this month. After vandals tore down pairs of baby clothes hung up by pro-life students, one of the suspects, Kyle Pickett, insisted, “Tearing it down was expressing our right to free speech.”

Pro-abortion advocates are increasingly using condoms in their protests, as well. In January, the Occupy Wall Street movement threw condoms on Catholic school girls at a pro-life rally in Rhode Island.

Students for Life of America has established an online petition to protest the campus police’s inaction.

Contact:

WKU Police Captain of Professional Standards, Joe Harbaugh
joe.harbaugh@wku.edu
(270) 745-2543

Tags: crime, gary ransdell, students for life of america, western kentucky university

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