Friday, May 11, 2012

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Chen Guangcheng’s nephew charged with manslaughter

by Kathleen Gilbert Fri May 11 18:50 EST Comments (13)

 
Chen Guangcheng

BEIJING, May 11, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The nephew of embattled Chinese forced-abortion opponent Chen Guangcheng has been charged with “voluntary manslaughter” after he defended himself when government officials broke into his home, a charge that could carry the death sentence, the Guardian reported on Friday.

The U.K. newspaper cited lawyers who said Chen’s nephew Chen Kegui was charged for brandishing a meat cleaver at intruders who broke into his house in Linyi, Shandong province, as they searched for Chen. Lawyers defending the nephew said they have come under pressure from the government to drop the case, even though the younger Chen said he was only acting in self-defense and did not kill anyone, but only inflicted non-fatal wounds.

“Obviously it was justifiable self-defence. What else can you call it when 10 armed, unknown men crawl over the wall, break into his house and beat him? Instead of punishing the culprits, the authorities are reversing the meaning of ‘good’ and ‘evil’,” said lawyer Jiang Tianyong, who told the newspaper he lost some of his hearing from a perforated eardrum after the head of state security beat him for trying to visit Chen in the hospital last week.

The Guardian noted that several other lawyers connected to the events are either under house, under close surveillance, or forbidden from talking to the media.

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Chen Guangcheng remains under police lockdown at a Beijing hospital, recuperating and awaiting an opportunity to flee government persecution by accepting a fellowship at a U.S. university. Chen said that he has not even been allowed to leave the hospital to take some fresh air, and that friends, lawyers, and U.S. officials have been blocked from seeing him. He is at the hospital with his wife and two small children.

Chen has regularly expressed extreme concern for his extended family in interviews with media, and told Voice of America on Monday that officials had already beaten his nephew “ruthlessly.”

Chen left his sanctuary at the U.S. embassy last week after the Chinese government threatened to disallow reunion with his wife, who they said would be sent back to the village of their extra-judicial home imprisonment if he did not leave the American embassy.

The Chinese government has said that Chen is allowed to apply to a fellowship overseas “like any other citizen,” but has so far not moved to process Chen’s passport request.

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Supermodel: Ignore your kids on ‘No Mother’s Day’ to support global abortion access

by Ben Johnson Fri May 11 17:45 EST Comments (283)

 
Supermodel Christy Turlington

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA, May 11, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – This Sunday, children of all ages will celebrate the role mothers play in their lives. But Vogue model Christy Turlington Burns and a host of female celebrities are encouraging mothers across the nation to ignore their children as part of “No Mother’s Day,” a sign of their support for reducing maternal mortality by supporting family planning and global access to abortion.

The campaign asks women to “disappear” on Mother’s Day to raise awareness of maternal mortality rates and underscore “just how much a mother is missed when she’s gone.” But amidst positive initiatives such as improved health care for complications such as hemorrhage and sepsis, the campaign promotes “safe” abortion, and the legalization of abortion in nations where the practice is currently illegal, as a means of lowering maternal deaths.

A press release for Every Mother Counts, the nonprofit Turlington launched in 2010, notes a new PSA “features moms encouraging other moms to join in solidarity by disappearing on May 13th, Mother’s Day. No phone calls. No emails. No social media. No gifts.”

Turlington told Time magazine, “It’s a day to stop going through the motions…It’s about taking that [day] back.”

The spot, which was posted online last Wednesday and is directed by Ed Burns, features Turlington, former “Will and Grace” star Debra Messing, NBC’s Ann Curry, Jennifer Connelly, Kelly Rutherford,  Blythe Danner, Dayle Haddon, and other high-profile women.

Amongst the project’s partners are the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the extreme pro-abortion group Women Deliver, and the United Nations Population Fund. The UNPFA is well known in pro-life circles for the fact that the U.S. State Department confirmed over a number of years that the organization provides “financial and technical assistance” for China’s vicious one-child policy.

“Over 200 million women who would like to choose when they get pregnant don’t have access to family planning,” Turlington’s website states.

As part of the Every Mother Counts campaign, Turlington is promoting the film No Woman, No Cry, her two-year-old directorial debut, which features vignettes from four countries. The segment on Guatemala highlights “the legal barriers” to “basic human reproductive rights” and hails the work of Linda Valencia, MD, a program officer with the Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

Planned Parenthood announced on its website it “is proud to partner with Christy Turlington Burns in the release of her documentary film, No Woman, No Cry. Together, and with your help, we seek to increase dialogue and action on issues of maternal and child health, including access to safe abortion.”
 
In Guatemala, the abortion provider is collaborating with “the pioneering feminist organization, Tierra Viva,” which is pressuring “key political and legal players, such as attorneys and judges, in the battle to gain access to safe reproductive health services.”

Turlington called “my friend Linda” of Planned Parenthood a “champion for the women of this country.” She also saluted “Marta Julia Ruiz from the Population Council (who I met when we were both honored at UNFPA), Mirna Montenegro who runs the maternal health observatory in Guatemala OSAR, and Zury Rios, the dynamic congresswoman who has championed this issue” of legalized abortion.

The doctumentary has been screened before the UNPFA, the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), the World Bank, in a private screening with the president of Tanzania, at Princeton University, the Lantos Foundation for Human Rights and Justice, and Planned Parenthood of Utah. It has been shown on NBC,  the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN), and Israeli television

The film’s assertion that legal abortion is safe is belied by worldwide data on the matter. A recent study out of Chile shows maternal mortality declined after the nation outlawed therapeutic abortion in 1989. The percentage of women dying during childbirth is lower in that South American nation than the United States. Ireland, another country where abortion is illegal, also boasts one of the lowest maternal mortality rates in the world.

Although the No Mother’s Day project’s support for abortion around the world – paid for by U.S. taxpayers and supported by the United Nations – has raised few eyebrows, controversy has surrounded its suggestion to separate mothers from children who have already been born.

According to the supermodel, some mothers have voiced their support. “I had a few people that said, `Good. I hate this holiday and I can say I’m not participating,’” she said.

However, Turlington says she plans to have a Mother’s Day meal with her own children and female relatives.

While “CBS Sunday Morning” ran a segment “honoring” her efforts, Turlington has suffered a backlash from commentators and mothers who say the proposal is callous and ineffective.

Meanwhile, other pro-abortion organizations have also attempted to stake a claim on Mother’s Day.

Planned Parenthood used the natal holiday to launch a fundraising campaign asking donors to “join us in celebrating women everywhere this Mother’s Day by making a special gift to Planned Parenthood Global.”

Lezlie Lowe, in a column for The (Halifax) Chronicle Herald entitled, “A Day to be Thankful for Abortion Access,” wrote: “Let’s talk about Mother’s Day, why don’t we? Because if there’s any day to be thankful for abortion access, that’s the one. That’s what I’ll think about when I’m woken way too early by wiggling weasels crawling on the bed to wish me a Happy Mother’s Day.”


Tags: christy turlington burns, every mother counts, guatemala, no mother's day

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Catholic Pelosi: ‘my religion compels me’ to support same-sex ‘marriage’

by Kathleen Gilbert Fri May 11 17:20 EST Comments (90)

 
Nancy Pelosi

WASHINGTON, May 11, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has again placed her Catholic religion in the midst of her politics, this time saying that her faith is the reason for her support for redefining marriage.

A reporter asked the former Speaker on Thursday to explain her support for gay “marriage” while still professing the Catholic faith.

“My religion has, compels me - and I love it for it - to be against discrimination of any kind in our country, and I consider this a form of discrimination. I think it’s unconstitutional on top of that,” she answered. Pelosi went on to praise President Obama for declaring support for the new marriage definition on Wednesday.

“So I think that yesterday was a great day for America because the president in a very personal, as well as presidential way, made history, and hopefully this will bring people together on the issue,” Pelosi said.

In announcing his support for same-sex “marriage,” President Obama had also invoked his Christian faith, saying that his support is based upon Jesus and the “Golden Rule.”

In 2004 Obama had cited his Christian faith as the reason he opposed redefining marriage. I’m a Christian. I do believe that tradition and my religious beliefs say that marriage is something sanctified between a man and a woman,” Obama had said at that time.

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Pelosi has previously used her Catholic faith to justify strongly supporting legalized abortion, and even for the HHS mandate forcing religious groups to pay for birth control, which is being vigorously opposed by Catholic bishops and faithful across the country.

Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, had called Obama’s “evolution” on the marriage question this week “deeply saddening” and reaffirmed Catholic Church teaching that such social engineering is bound to harm both society and especially its most vulnerable members: children.

“The Catholic Bishops stand ready to affirm every positive measure taken by the President and the Administration to strengthen marriage and the family. However, we cannot be silent in the face of words or actions that would undermine the institution of marriage, the very cornerstone of our society. The people of this country, especially our children, deserve better,” said Dolan in a statement.

Tags: gay marriage, nancy pelosi

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USCCB statements on other political topics are harming the campaign for religious freedom

by Phil Lawler Fri May 11 17:12 EST Comments (16)

In March the US bishops’ conference (USCCB) announced that “we will not rest” until Congress ensures that religious freedom is protected in the federal health-care reform program. The USCCB followed up that clear and forceful message a few week later with a new statement announcing a major offensive in defense of religious liberty. These powerful statements seemed to indicate clearly that religious freedom would be the focus—the focus—of the bishops’ political efforts this year.

The USCCB issued a clarion call to the Catholic laity, asking for help with this campaign. Cardinal Dolan called out President Obama; Bishop Lori challenged Congress. The bishops signaled that they would not retreat. The battle lines were drawn. The troops were summoned.

Unfortunately, since that time the bishops have lost their focus, and thus complicated things for the active Catholic laity. The USCCB has done what the USCCB always does: muddied the water, by issuing statements on a host of different political issues—including many of which good Catholics have differing opinions, and on which Catholic bishops have no special expertise.

In the past 10 week, the USCCB and its spokesmen have:

The USCCB has released a full listing of the legislative issues the bishops are tracking during this congressional session. The list includes not only the clearly germane moral questions that Catholics expect to discuss (such are religious freedom, immigration, and the defense of life and family) but also such far-flung questions as farm policy, health care, climate change, mining, copyrights, and digital television.

It is unlikely that any Catholic in the US fully understands (let alone agrees with) the USCCB position on all of these issues. When the USCCB stakes out a position on federal policy regarding digital television, that position obviously does not represent a consensus of Catholic opinion. Most Catholics—including most bishops—are unaware of the political issues involved. The USCCB stance is obviously crafted by a handful of prelates, guided by the conference staff.

However, the USCCB statements on these issues do not come with disclaimers, saying that Issue A is not a high priority or Issue B does not involve a clear-cut moral imperative. On all these matters—some clear, some not at all clear; some matters of unbending principle, some of prudential judgment—the USCCB makes the same claim that the bishops are speaking as moral leaders. Regrettably, this approach squanders the very authority that the USCCB so frequently invokes.

A good general knows that to win a crucial battle he must concentrate his forces. If the US bishops are serious in their desire to preserve religious liberty, and serious about a campaign to stave off the threats posed by the Obamacare mandate, the USCCB must stop issuing statements that distract attention from that cause.

Reprinted with permission from CatholicCulture.org

Tags: birth control mandate, usccb

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Fill out a form and change your gender: new law passed by Argentinean congress

by Matthew Cullinan Hoffman Fri May 11 16:35 EST Comments (13)

May 11, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A bill has been approved by the Argentinean National Congress permitting individuals to change their “gender identity” at will, defining themselves as male or female at their own discretion, regardless of their physiological sex, without the necessity of “sex-reassignment” surgery or hormonal treatment, and without the approval of a judge.

In addition, if the bill is signed into law, all Argentineans will have to right to “sex reassignment” surgery in all public hospitals at taxpayer expense.

Although adolescents under the age of 18 will need their parents’ consent to change their “gender identity,” if they fail to receive such consent, they will have the right to a publicly-funded “child attorney” who will seek to override their parents’ will through a judicial order.

Gender identity is defined under the law as “the experience of gender as each person feels it, whether or not it corresponds with the sex assigned at birth.”

The bill, which passed the nation’s Chamber of Deputies last year, was approved by the Senate on Wednesday in a 55-0 vote, with one abstention.

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The Argentinean government has proven itself to be the most sexually libertine in Latin America in recent years, also approving the creation of homosexual “marriage” and adoption in 2010, and engaging in a massive, UN-funded propaganda campaign to convince citizens that homosexual sex acts are a “right,” that homosexual couples are a type of “family,” and “there’s nothing wrong with it.”

“From now on anyone will be able to request the rectification of his sex, the changing of his first name and photograph in any public document,” said Pedro Paradiso Sottile, a legal advisor to the Homosexual Community of Argentina in an interview with the Argentinean publication Clarin, adding that the bill means “the abandonment of the understanding of gender identity as an illness.”

The World Health Organization and the American Psychiatric Association continue to classify “trans-gender” people as sufferers of Gender Identity Disorder.

Tags: argentina, transgender

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Whistleblower claims Texas abortionist violating ultrasound law, doing illegal late-term abortions

by LifeSiteNews.com Fri May 11 16:25 EST Comments (9)

 
Aaron Women's Clinic

Houston, TX, May 11, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – An abortion whistleblower has come forward with allegations that Douglas A. Karpen, who operates two abortion clinics in the Houston area, is violating the new state law requiring abortionists to conduct ultrasounds on women 24 hours prior to an abortion, reports the pro-life organization Operation Rescue.

Karpen has a long and disreputable history as an abortionist, including two patient deaths and numerous abortion-related injuries. In 1989, a pro-life activist photographed the remains of a baby aborted at one of Karpen’s clinics at 28 weeks gestation. Images of that baby, now known as “Baby David,” are in use today by pro-life activists to expose the horrific brutality of abortion. (Click here to see Baby David - *warning* graphic)

“We are asking the Texas Medical Board to get involved and enforce the law,” said Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue and Pro-Life Nation. “Karpen is an unsafe abortionist who has endangered women for years. But now he has crossed the line by refusing to comply with this new law. It is time to bring him to justice by revoking his license.”

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The informant, whose identity Operation Rescue says it is keeping confidential out of fear of retribution, also alleges that Karpen is guilty of a myriad of other violations ranging from sexual harassment to not washing or changing gloves to prevent contamination between abortion patients.

The complaint is asking for a full investigation into Karpen’s questionable abortion practices at Aaron Women’s Clinic and the Texas Ambulatory Surgical Center, also known as the Aaron Women’s Surgical Center.

The complaint further alleges that Karpen is engaged in the following:

• Fraudulent billing practices.
• Surgical equipment not properly sterilized.
• Falsification of ultrasound results.
• Late-term abortions done as late as 28 weeks. (Texas law permits only to 24 weeks.)
• Lack of adequate nursing staff.
• Concealing logs from inspectors to prevent deficiency citations.
• Hiring nurses through a temp agency to work only on days when inspections are scheduled.
• Mistreating heavy women and inappropriately touching attractive women while under sedation.

Karpen is already in hot water with the Texas Medical Board (TMB). Operation Rescue filed a complaint against him after abortion abuses were discovered during an undercover investigation of Texas abortion clinics last year. He is scheduled to appear before the TMB on May 16, 2012. He stands accused of violating the state’s informed consent laws.

Operation Rescue’s Abortion Whistleblower’s Program offers a $25,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of abortionists who are violating the law.

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Archbishop Prendergast dissects ‘my body, my choice’ slogan at March for Life Mass

by Thaddeus Baklinski Fri May 11 14:07 EST Comments (18)

 
Archbishop Terrence Prendergast speaking at the March for Life Mass in 2011

OTTAWA, May 11, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - At the March for Life 2012 Mass celebrated in Ottawa’s Notre Dame Cathedral yesterday, Archbishop Terrence Prendergast welcomed the enthusiastic and standing-room-only crowd before launching into a homily dissecting the “my body, my choice” slogan, arguing that it espouses “a false sense of personhood.”

“Today as a culture here in Canada we tend to prize our individuality as a false sense of autonomy over relationships, community engagement and duty. In the abortion debate, individual autonomy is often at the core of discussion,” the archbishop pointed out.

“You’ve heard the slogan ‘my body, my choice’ offered as a discussion ending argument. But this is a false sense of personhood.

“God made us for relationships within and with one another. Our choices affect not only our lives, but also those of our family, our friends and the larger community. Our decisions have an impact beyond the limits of our own bodies, our own selves.”

Archbishop Prendergast quoted the great Catholic social activist Dorothy Day who said, “We have all known the long loneliness and we have learned that the only solution is love, and that love comes with community.”

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Archbishop Prendergast expanded on this theme, explaining, “The true measure of personhood is not the degree of our autonomy; the true measure is our service, in love to God, found in the needs of our neighbour.”

“Who is our neighbour?” the archbishop asked: “the poor, the marginalized, the suffering, the defenceless, and yes, even those invisible in the womb.”

“To be a fully actualized human being is not to be autonomous. Rather, to be fully human is to be in communion with God and our sisters and brothers in the mystical body of Christ. We are not made to be solitary individuals. We are made to be individuals in solidarity with God and with each other.”

Echoing the theme of this year’s March for Life, Abortion Hurts Everyone, the archbishop stated that pro-lifers must stand against the false idea that killing one’s child is a private matter.

“And so today,” Archbishop Prendergast concluded, “we understand that we need to challenge the false idea that abortion is merely a private and personal decision. The truth is that abortion hurts everyone, the developing child in the womb, the mother, the father, the extended family, and even our culture here in Canada.”

Tags: march for life, terrence prendergast

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Catholic schools must give ‘balanced perspective’ on gay ‘marriage’: Welsh education minister

by Hilary White, Rome Correspondent Fri May 11 13:48 EST Comments (11)

 
Education Minister Leighton Andrews

CARDIFF, May 11, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – An anti-Christian lobby group is cheering the Welsh government this week, after the education minister threatened Catholic Schools for having asked students to oppose the government’s gay “marriage” plans.

Catholic schools in Wales have been instructed in a letter from Welsh education minister Leighton Andrews to ensure that on the subject of same-sex “marriage,” students are “made aware of the converse view in order to give them a balanced perspective.”

At issue is a letter sent by the Catholic Education Society (CES) to 385 secondary schools in England and Wales alerting students to a letter from bishops opposing the redefinition of marriage to include homosexual partnerings. Students and staff were asked to consider signing a petition being circulated by the Coalition for Marriage, to maintain the traditional definition in the law.

The bishops’ letter was read publicly from the pulpits of Catholic churches throughout England and Wales in March, but Andrews said that asking the students and staff of schools to consider signing a petition supporting traditional marriage could be a violation of the Education Act that forbids direct political campaigning in schools.

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Andrews said he took legal advice and was told “the Archbishops’ letter merely expressed support for preserving the current legal situation and did not contain homophobic statements.”

“I am advised that the correspondence and related actions of the CES do not breach the Act. Whilst schools are free to employ the materials provided as suggested, it is incumbent on them to do so in a balanced way.”

“Whilst the on-line petition is not directly related to a party political matter it could be seen as relating to political matters generally as the petition seeks to lobby the current Westminster Government to prevent a change in the law.” 

Andrews also said it was “unfortunate” that the CES had failed to make clear that only students over 16 were eligible to sign the Coalition for Marriage petition. The CES has since re-written its material to clarify the point.

Andrews’ statement comes in response to a complaint made by the anti-Christian campaign group the National Secular Society who wrote to Andrews and to national education secretary Michael Gove. The NSS said they received an immediate response from Nick Gibb, the Minister of State for Schools at Westminster, who said that the education department is “taking the matter seriously.”

Andrews wrote to the NSS, saying, “Opposing a proposed change in the law could itself be considered to be a political act. I have therefore written to all the Roman Catholic secondary schools in Wales reminding headteachers and governing bodies of their duty and responsibilities.”

Under the Education Act 1996, schools must “take whatever reasonably practical steps are necessary to ensure that where political issues are brought to the attention of pupils they are offered a balanced presentation of opposing views.”

Tags: gay marriage, uk

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Abortion goes against everything being a woman is about

by Mary Anne Fri May 11 13:12 EST Comments (12)

 

May 11, 2012 (YouthDefence) - I am a young, independent woman. I can vote, go to college, drive a car, even run for President if I want (once I’m over 35)! I can do anything that my male colleagues can do. But there is one thing that I can become that’s denied to my male friends…a mother. Motherhood is the most amazing thing that a woman can do in this world. Just think about it: we can nurture and protect another human life. Every single person in the world had a mother; we all spent nine months in the comfort and safety of our mothers’ womb.

So you can see why I am disgusted when I hear of abortion being propagated as a ‘woman’s right’. Abortion is an unnatural act; it goes against every protective instinct a mother has towards her child. Abortion is also the most horrendous violence that can ever be perpetrated on a woman. If you described the methods to a person who had never heard of abortion before - who hadn’t been fooled by all the pro-abortion propaganda and brainwashing - they would think that abortion was some kind of primeval torture.

Imagine, having your own child violently torn apart and sucked out of your womb, or feeling your child struggling and kicking as he or she is poisoned and burned and then delivering the dead, scalded little body. Imagine having your own child, while still alive, dismembered limb by limb inside your womb, your child’s spine cracked and skull crushed in order to remove them, and then a nurse putting each piece of the body back together on a counter to make sure no part of your child is left inside of you. It’s hardly surprising that all the evidence shows abortion is hurting women so badly, as well as killing their babies.

Think about it: if newborn infants were being tortured with brutal punishments such as these, there would be uproar!

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But the abortion industry is a multi-million dollar one, and, right from the beginning, they had a pretty good marketing idea: to sell abortion by convincing women that they were simply making a choice, and that abortion gives them freedom. It was a good tactic…but they haven’t fooled me or millions of other women around the world.

Women will never truly have equal rights to men in a world where abortion exists. Abortion is often used to cover up cases of abuse and under-age prostitution. Live Action in the US has uncovered cases of abortion clinic workers in Planned Parenthood helping pimps to cover up the abuse of underage sex slaves. Girls as young as thirteen and fourteen years old are being exploited, and abortion clinic workers are only too happy to “rearrange” the paperwork to make it all look “legit” and help the pimp to run his business.

And let’s not forget that half of all aborted children are female. In fact, in countries such as China and India, where male children are preferred to females, this figure is much higher. This practice of sex-selection abortion is now so pervasive that it has been described as gendercide by the The Economist (which is a self proclaimed supporter of abortion), while the research of one award-winning author, Mara Hvistendahl, showed that 163 million girls are missing from the world. So much for women’s rights.

A few weeks ago Bryan Kemper, an American pro-life leader, said, “Abortion enslaves women to a world where men can dominate and control them so the men can be free.” I couldn’t agree more. Countless women have been made to think that they have no other option but abortion; that they are not capable of being good mothers. They have been coerced by cowardly, weak men, who want to avoid stepping up to their responsibilities and make women think that this “is the best choice”. Abortion is never a “choice”. It is an invasive, destructive, violent and agonising act against womanhood.

Women are designed to become mothers, the womb is meant to be a safe haven for us in the earliest stages of our life, but it is sadly becoming one of the most dangerous places in the world to live. I am a twenty-first century woman who enjoys all the rights and responsibilities that men enjoy. I am happy to say that I am equal to any man in this country, because, according to the UN, Ireland without abortion is the safest country in the world to become a mother. A woman becomes a mother the moment she conceives a child.

We need to celebrate motherhood. Every child and every mother is a gift. Women who are frightened and anxious need our love and support. Every woman needs know that she is a life giver, that she can nurture and love her child, that she is doing the most important job in the world. I will continue to stand for every woman, every mother and every child. We must unite against this barbaric and archaic practice. We can eliminate the crisis, not the child.

So…

Let’s go girls!

Reprinted with permission from Youth Defence.

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Since when is murder a solution to illness?: babies with a fatal diagnosis have a right to life

by Niamh Ui Bhriain Fri May 11 12:38 EST Comments (17)

 

“She was the most amazing little person I could ever put my eyes on. I kissed her and cried .... but most of all I just loved her and held her. I had the 3 greatest days of my life with this little girl and I could not imagine life without knowing her.”
                  - Dawn, whose baby girl Amanda, was born with anencephaly and lived for three days.

These days, ultrasound scans give an unprecedented window to the womb. It’s pretty amazing for parents to see their baby moving and growing as she or he comes to birth.

But this technology also allows us to see when something is wrong with baby, and, on rare occasions, disorders such as anencephaly or Trisomy 18 show up on the ultrasound. This can mean that baby won’t live for long after birth - though there are some truly astonishing and wonderful exceptions - or that he or she might not make it to birth at all.

Naturally, these are hugely traumatic and distressing situations, and everyone would feel enormous sympathy for parents faced with a fatal diagnosis for their baby. In the past month, the Irish media has been saturated with the testimonies of Irish women who, having received such diagnoses, went to Britain to have their babies aborted. They are now calling for a change in Irish law, and want the practises available in Britain to be made legal here. Those practises include what is known as feticide, where the baby, alive and kicking in the womb, receives a lethal injection into the heart.

Whether by feticide then, or by some other method, the lives of babies with fatal disabilities would be ended, not by allowing nature to take her course, but by the intervention of an abortionist or other medical practitioner. Can this really be the best answer for parents and for baby in these very upsetting circumstances?

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It’s important to look at the reality of what’s currently happening in Ireland and at the outcomes for children diagnosed with a fatal abnormality.

These fatal diagnoses are rare, but they happen, and one of the things that has not been acknowledged is that most Irish mothers in these situations carry their babies to term. The Irish Times reported that up to 90% of mothers do not elect to abort their children in these circumstances. You could be forgiven for thinking that the opposite was the case because of recent media reporting, but what’s crystal clear is that all parents in this situation deserve much more than our sympathy - they need us to put professional support systems in place.

That’s why the Life Institute has written to the Minister for Health urging him to establish perinatal hospice services as expeditiously as possible. Many parents facing a fatal diagnosis believe that their children would suffer unbearably following birth - and are not made aware that perinatal hospice care would work to eliminate that suffering.

The good news is that, according to leading experts in the field, centres offering this essential care are not difficult to establish or maintain. In a recent article in the Washington Times, Dr Byron Calhoun of West Virginia University, explained that “all the typical hospital needs is a few extra rooms for these families.” Dr Calhoun explained that the perinatal hospice movement supports parents of children expected to die soon after birth. It offers nurses, chaplains, neonatologists, social workers, bereavement counselors and even a photographer to capture brief moments. “Time with the baby is extremely important to these moms,” he said. “Families want a live birth, a baptism, a chance to hold the baby; to give as much love a child can have in their brief life.”

As Dr Calhoun pointed out, “the only alternative parents are given is termination of pregnancy or they’re told they are on their own.” This should not be acceptable for a society which cares for its most vulnerable citizens.

Where abortion has become readily available, up to 95% of babies diagnosed with anencephaly are aborted, according to the Kennedy Institute of Ethics at Georgetown University. And, tragically, this rate then becomes the norm for babies diagnosed with other conditions, such as Downs Syndrome or Cystic Fibrosis. The facts seem to support the contention that, once we remove the right to life from children with severe disabilities, the definition of being ‘incompatible with life’ stretches further and further.

That’s because we cannot get away from the core ethical principle which must underpin all these discussions: unborn children - whatever their disability, and however short their life may be - have a right to life.

It’s to be regretted then, that recent reporting has sometimes been badly misinformed. For example, the ability of these special children to spend precious time with their parents has been - deliberately or otherwise - vastly understated. It’s been repeated again and again that children with fatal diagnoses are ‘incompatible with life’ - a statement that has correctly been described as a judgment rather than a diagnosis. The impression is given that they will never live, even briefly, after birth, but that’s certainly not always the case. Children with Trisomy 18 or Edwards syndrome for example often live between 5 and 15 days after they are born, and 8% live longer than a year, according to the Trisomy 18 Foundation.

Anencephalic babies similarly often live beyond birth, however briefly. Their parents, broken-hearted and devastated though they may be, have spoken most movingly and courageously of the great joy and tremendous love they experienced in having the opportunity to share that time with their children.

The voices of those parents have been completely shut out of the discussion in the past month in Ireland. I spoke to one mother of a baby with anencephaly who treasured the time she spent feeling her baby moving and kicking before birth, and who then had several hours to say goodbye to her child. She told me that the way the current debate was being played out made her feel as if her little girl’s life was judged as being worthless; a judgment she passionately rejected.

Another mother pointed out that if demands to change the current law succeeded, the right to life of all babies with fatal diagnoses would be taken away. Her baby boy would have had no inherent right to life: whether he lived or died wouldn’t have been about the tragedy of his disorder any longer - it would have been solely down to the decision made by his parents.

She also said she was very concerned for parents who feel that abortion is an answer, and warned that, in time, abortion may be seen as the only option by a health service reluctant to spend resources on babies who they feel are ‘better off dead’. Research in this area is pretty thin, but one 2005 Dutch study suggested that women who aborted for reasons of foetal abnormality showed severe post-traumatic stress up to seven years later.

It comes down to this: whatever the crisis, we can find a better answer than abortion. It was disturbing to see abortion campaigners like the Irish Family Planning Association [a Planned Parenthood affiliate]  attempt to use these sad situations to further their own agenda - which is to see abortion on demand legalised in Ireland. Their only answer to the trauma facing parents is to offer the medieval solution of abortion. We reject that solution - and are resolved instead to work towards a answer that loves and protects both mother and baby.

  • To see testimonies from parents who’ve carried their children to term see www.benotafraid.net
  • Also read the amazing story of Baby Faith Hope who lived with anencephaly for 93 days on this beautiful blog written by her mother Myah.
  • The Dutch study can be read here: Korenromp, Christiaens, van den Bout, et al, ‘Longterm psychological consequences of pregnancy termination for fetal abnormality: a cross-sectional study,’ Prenatal Diagnosis, 2005 March 25(3), 253-60,

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Obama devolves

by Robert R. Reilly Fri May 11 12:08 EST Comments (6)

 

May 11, 2012 (Mercatornet.com) - Both Vice-President Joseph Biden and President Barack Obama have said that their positions regarding same-sex marriage have evolved. When you are “evolving,” you should really watch your grammar. Otherwise, people might suspect you are devolving instead.

Take for instance, the hapless Joe Biden’s pronouncement of why he supports same-sex marriage. It’s all a matter of “who do you love.” His statement is both substantively and grammatically incorrect. It should, of course, be “whom do you love”. “You” is the subject and “whom” is the object of the verb “love.” Biden’s grammatical error reveals the problem with same-sex marriage. It has two subjects without an object.

What is the object of marriage? It is for two to become one flesh. Anatomically and morally, only a man and a woman can do this. Only spousal love is properly sexual for only it provides for the protection of that at which the marital act aims both in its unitive and procreative senses.

But what about “love”? Isn’t it a bit mean-spirited not to allow people who love each other to get married, even if they are of the same gender? Love always seeks the well-being of the loved one. This is true in all sorts of love, whether between parents and children, between children themselves, or between friends. Sexualizing the love in these relationships would be profoundly mistaken since none of these loving relationships is or could be spousal in character.

Therefore, sex between parents and children, between siblings, or between unmarried friends, or between friends of the same gender is objectively disordered and will inflict harm on the parties involved no matter how they “feel.” This is the opposite of seeking the loved one’s well-being.

Click “like” if you want to defend true marriage.

Biden is now telling the country that this is not so - that if one man loves another man, sexualizing that love in the form of an act of sodomy is not only not harmful, but provides a sound moral basis for marriage. That is why Biden is in favour of sanctifying sodomy.

How does one evolve into this curious position? One undertakes what Nietzsche called the transvaluation of values. In other words, you take Christianity and dump it on its head and turn it into its opposite, while calling it the same thing. Let’s consider how President Obama “evolved” in this way. On September 25, 2004, Obama said:

“I’m a Christian. And so, although I try not to have my religious beliefs dominate or determine my political views on this issue, I do believe that tradition, and my religious beliefs say that marriage is something sanctified between a man and a woman.”

Indeed, that is what Christianity teaches. One wonders what in Christianity is inconsistent with his political views. How are his political views formed? Are they consistent with moral philosophy? Is the judgment of moral philosophy, as in a work like Aristotle’s The Ethics or in Socrates’ condemnation of sodomy, inconsistent with Christian teaching on same-sex marriage? Why doesn’t Obama’s moral reasoning lead him in the same direction as his Christian faith?

In his book The Audacity of Hope, Obama gives us a clue. He writes that:

“Implicit in [the Constitution’s] structure, in the very idea of ordered liberty, was a rejection of absolute truth, the infallibility of any idea or ideology or theology or ‘ism,’ and any tyrannical consistency that might block future generations into a single, unalterable course…”

In other words, truth leads to tyranny. Truth does not set you free; it imprisons. Moral relativism sets you free. Then you can do what you want.

But it is absurd for him to say that the Founders of the United States did not believe in absolute truths. Had this been so, there would have been no Declaration of Independence (“we hold these truths…”) and no Constitution. Obama is reading his own moral relativism back into the document and then trying to use it to legitimize the very opposite of what it proclaims.

Here is another example. On January 28, 2010, during a town hall meeting at the University of Tampa, Obama said:

“My belief is that a basic principle in our Constitution is that if you’re obeying the law, if you’re following the rules, that you should be treated the same, regardless of who you are. I think that principle applies to gay and lesbian couples.”

Only a moral relativist would or could read same-sex marriage back into the Constitution. What Obama is really proposing to do is change the rules so that those who are not following them can have their own special set of rules. So, in the name of equality before the law - a sound constitutional principle - he denies equality before the law.

This all leads to Obama’s striking statement on Wednesday, May 9. Here it is with the personal pronouns italicized:

I have to tell you that over the course of several years as I have talked to friends and family and neighbours when I think about members of my own staff who are in incredibly committed monogamous relationships, same-sex relationships, who are raising kids together, when I think about those soldiers or airmen or marines or sailors who are out there fighting on my behalf and yet feel constrained, even now that “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” is gone, because they are not able to commit themselves in a marriage, at a certain point I‘ve just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married.”

Ten personal pronouns or the word “my” in one sentence. That is an impressive feat of solipsism that undergirds the moral relativism that authorizes what “is important for me” as the standard by which to judge what is right and wrong. Abraham Lincoln said that there is no right to do what is wrong. Obama and Biden are complicit in making a wrong a “right.”

The transvaluation of values requires more than the denial of objective morality. It requires that the negation - the transvaluation - becomes the new religion. It is the sanctification of nihilism, the Church of Nada. It needs to be sacramentalized, as in same-sex marriage. That is why Obama and Biden insist upon it.

Listen to this final, breathtaking part of Obama’s rationalization. Just as he used the Constitution to justify its opposite, he now employs Christianity in the same way. Christianity, which has unambiguously condemned sodomy for more than 2000 years, is enlisted to endorse it:

“The thing at root that we think about is, not only Christ sacrificing himself on our behalf, but it’s also the golden rule - you know, treat others the way you would want to be treated. And I think that’s what we try to impart to our kids, and that’s what motivates me as president.”

After all, Christ died to make the world safe for sodomy…

In other words, if you would like your moral misbehaviour to be rationalized, you should be willing to rationalize the moral misbehaviour of others. That way, we are all equal. That’s equal opportunity. This is Obama’s new golden rule. The transvaluation of values is complete.

Fear for the Republic. For the truths for which it stands have been taken away by this president.

Robert Reilly has worked in foreign policy, the military, and the arts. His most recent book is The Closing of the Muslim Mind: How Intellectual Suicide Created the Modern Islamist Crisis. This article first appeared on Mercatornet.com and is reprinted under a Creative Commons License.

Tags: marriage, obama

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Self-professed pro-choice ‘terrorist’ pleads guilty to issuing death threats: cyanide found in home

by John Jalsevac Fri May 11 11:33 EST Comments (17)

 
Fr. Frank Pavone and Robert George

New York, NY, May 11, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) — A pro-abortion activist from New York pled guilty yesterday to making death threats against two high-profile pro-life leaders. He could face up to 51 months in federal custody. Sentencing is scheduled September 12.

Ted Shulman reached an agreement that allowed him to plead guilty to making the death threats against Fr. Frank Pavone of Priests for Life and Prof. Robert George of Princeton University.

Shulman has also repeatedly threatened the lives of Operation Rescue’s Troy Newman and Cheryl Sullenger and other pro-life leaders across the country, including Jill Stanek.

In one audio recording made available by Operation Rescue, Shulman told Sullenger to “convert” to pro-choice “during the few months you have left on this earth,” or else “you will go to hell and burn.”

Click ‘like’ if you are PRO-LIFE!

Fr. Pavone issued a statement in a press release after learning of Shulman’s guilty plea, saying that he extends his “personal forgiveness,” and that the pro-abortion activist is in his prayers.

“I hope that his acceptance of personal responsibility for what he did, and his readiness to serve jail time for it, is for him the beginning of a road of conversion and repentance that will reach even to the point of renouncing his position in favor of legal abortion,” Pavone said. “Violence against me and other leaders is wrong for the same reason that violence against children in the womb is wrong. Both must be rejected.”

Shulman has been held without bail since his arrest on February 24, 2011, after federal agents raiding his apartment found cyanide and two other deadly substances in his possession. The plea agreement dropped charges related to the deadly substances in return for his guilty plea on the threats.

Schulman, who liked to style himself as the “first pro-choice terrorist” and hosted a blog called “Operation Counterstrike,” is the son of pro-abortion feminist Alix Kates Shulman.

His mother wrote the 1972 sex novel Memoirs of an Ex-Prom Queen and revealed she had four abortions - “not one” of which, she claimed, was “the result of carelessness.” Schulman was born in the middle - two siblings were aborted before his birth, and two after.

“One doesn’t have to be a psychiatrist to figure out why Shulman is messed up. He needs our prayers,” Jill Stanek wrote today, after referencing the abortions of Shulman’s siblings.

“We are thankful that Mr. Shulman will be locked up for some time where he cannot hurt anyone. We pray for him that he will find repentance and forgiveness through Jesus Christ,” said Troy Newman of Operation Rescue.

Tags: abortion, operation rescue, ted shulman

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Pope to U.S. bishops: reform of Catholic universities the ‘most urgent challenge’

by Hilary White, Rome Correspondent Fri May 11 10:38 EST Comments (16)

 
Pope Benedict XVI

ROME, May 11, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Against a backdrop of institutionalized opposition to Catholic teaching in much of American Catholic academia, Pope Benedict XVI has told visiting U.S. bishops that Catholic colleges need to return to being a bastion of orthodoxy against an increasingly hostile and aggressive secular world.

While improvements have been made, Pope Benedict said, “much remains to be done,” particularly in “such basic areas” as compliance with Canon 812 of the Code of Canon Law. That section mandates that theology professors at Catholic universities be faithful to the teaching of the Church.

Canon 218 says, “Those who are engaged in the sacred disciplines enjoy a lawful freedom of inquiry and of prudently expressing their opinions on matters in which they have expertise, while observing due respect for the magisterium of the Church.”

This lack of progress, the pope said, has created confusion by “instances of apparent dissidence” between academics and the bishops. “Such discord harms the Church’s witness and, as experience has shown, can easily be exploited to compromise her authority and her freedom.”

The issue of religious freedom is at the top of the American bishops’ agenda at the moment, in the midst of their fight against the Obama administration’s attempt to mandate coverage of artificial birth control by Catholic institutions. Even as the U.S. bishops have fought the Obama mandate, prominent Catholic organizations have expressed their support, undercutting the efforts of the bishops. Most recently Georgetown University, a Catholic Jesuit university, invited Kathleen Sebelius, who as secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services was the architect of the birth control mandate, as a commencement speaker.

The pope called the need to reform Catholic academia the “most urgent internal challenge facing the Catholic community” in the U.S.

“Catholic identity, not least at the university level, entails much more than the teaching of religion or the mere presence of a chaplaincy on campus.

“All too often, it seems, Catholic schools and colleges have failed to challenge students to reappropriate their faith,” Benedict continued.

In the decades since the 1960s, most Catholic universities and colleges in the U.S., and around the world, have shifted their focus from being bastions of Catholic orthodoxy against the outside world’s secularism, to playing along with the zeitgeist, especially in areas of sexual morality. Most critics agree that this shift in Catholic academia was the source and engine of the more general shift in the same direction throughout the Church’s institutions and among the laity.

In recent years, this shift toward a secularist orientation has shown itself prominently in Catholic academia’s quiet, or even open support first for contraception use, then legal abortion, homosexual behaviour and most recently euthanasia.

The scramble of American Catholic academia away from Church teaching on sexual matters began to be seen in public in 1967 when Fr. Charles Curran, a former theological advisor or “peritus” at the Second Vatican Council, was re-instated at his tenured professorship at Catholic University of America (CUA) after having been sacked for opposing Catholic teaching on artificial contraception.

Curran, who was barred by the Vatican from teaching Catholic theology and now teaches at a Methodist university, became a herald of the new, updated and heavily secularized version of Catholicism when in 1968, he, together with 600 other theologians, authored an open letter formally dissenting from Pope Paul VI’s encyclical on contraception, Humanae Vitae.

This new, and increasingly popular version of Catholicism became highly fashionable, first at CUA, the American Catholic Church’s flagship educational institution, then throughout most of the Church’s most prominent colleges, seminaries and convents. From there, the idea of the “loyal dissenter” in the Catholic intellectual establishment spread out into the political world, leading finally to the advent of the “pro-choice” Catholic politicians who now represent the majority of Catholics in public life.

In the current, highly politicized climate since the reaction of the U.S. bishops against the Obama administration’s contraception mandate, some Catholic colleges are starting to pull back from full support for the secularist agenda.

In an address to Catholic academic loyalists at Franciscan University of Steubenville, Cardinal Newman Society (CNS) President Patrick J. Reilly said that a return to Catholic orthodoxy, far from being a retreat to the “Catholic ghetto,” would create a strong line of defense for religious liberty in the U.S.

“There is little question that the apparent hypocrisy of some Catholic colleges, charities, schools and other entities—which may dissent from church teachings, or may have watered down their religious identity in search of state and federal funds—reduces public sympathy for groups whose rights are threatened,” Reilly said.
 
“There is no question that the threats to Catholics’ religious liberty are wrong. But it is the failure of the Church to respond adequately to dissent, to clearly distinguish Catholic from secular identity, that endangers even the most faithful Catholic apostolates by feeding suspicion in a culture already suspicious of the Church,” he continued.

Reilly’s remarks are in line with Pope Benedict’s previous messages to visiting American bishops this year. Speaking to the bishops of Baltimore and Washington in January, the pope said, “The legitimate separation of Church and State cannot be taken to mean that the Church must be silent on certain issues, nor that the State may choose not to engage, or be engaged by, the voices of committed believers in determining the values which will shape the future of the nation.”

He noted that the founding American political “consensus” of political, social and religious liberty, “has eroded significantly in the face of powerful new cultural currents” that are “directly opposed to core moral teachings of the Judeo-Christian tradition” and “increasingly hostile to Christianity as such”.

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Mayor, United Church minister: ‘Forces of darkness’ trying to defund Planned Parenthood

by Ben Johnson Fri May 11 10:29 EST Comments (16)

 
Grand Rapids Mayor George Heartwell.
Grand Rapids Mayor George Heartwell bashed conservative Christians.

GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN, May 11, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – The mayor of Grand Rapids told a Planned Parenthood fundraiser that “the forces of darkness” are behind the drive to cut off taxpayer funding of the nation’s largest abortion provider.

George Heartwell delivered the keynote address at the annual fundraiser for Planned Parenthood of West and Northern Michigan on Thursday.

The news website Mlive.com reports Heartwell, who is a former Planned Parenthood chairman, praised the organization for serving more than 10,000 “vulnerable” women last year.

“What’s not to love about that?” he asked a crowd of several hundred activists and donors.

“Yet every year the forces of darkness seek to deprive women of the health care and reproductive education they get through Planned Parenthood,” he intoned.

In an apparent reference to the Rush Limbaugh-Sandra Fluke controversy, he said the agency’s clients are often “demonized by legislators and talk show hosts.”

Heartwell, who is a former Planned Parenthood chairman, is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ, after leaving the Reformed Church in America. He has served as mayor since 2004.

Click “like” if you want to end abortion!

The city mayor’s office is nonpartisan, but Mlive.com states Heartwell has “supported many Democrats in the past.”

As a first-term city council member in 1991, Heartwell proposed adding “gender orientation” to the city’s non-discrimination ordinance. It passed in 1994 over the heated objection of the majority of the town’s residents. “Most troubling to me were the clergy who came forward and spoke in opposition,” he told the local LGBTQ history project. “Maybe most disappointing was the opposition of African-American clergy, who then and still today, many, refuse to accept this as the modern civil rights leading edge – that there is a civil rights issue at stake here.”

Before being elected mayor, Heartwell taught community leadership at Aquinas College, “an inclusive educational community rooted in the Catholic Dominican tradition” that “provides a liberal arts education with a global perspective.”

Planned Parenthood’s luncheon comes as the group is preparing for its Stop the War on Women Rally May 24 on Rosa Parks Circle. The event is held in conjunction with the local chapters of the ACLU, the National Organization for Women, and the Progressive Women’s Alliance. 

The press kit for Thursday’s fundraiser included a condom, according to Mlive.com. Last year’s fundraiser luncheon earned the group $85,000.

 

Tags: george heartwell, grand rapids, michigan, united church of christ

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Study: Pro-life parental involvement laws reduce teen-suicide rates

by Michael New Fri May 11 10:03 EST Comments (1)

May 11, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - This spring the journal Economic Inquiry published a study by Joseph Sabia and Daniel Reese which found very solid evidence that pro-life parental involvement laws reduce the suicide rate for teen females. This peer-reviewed study is both methodologically rigorous and well done. Analyzing state-level suicide data from 1987 to 2003 and holding constant both state-level trends and a range of economic and demographic factors, it finds that parental involvement laws reduce the suicide rate for teen females anywhere from 11 to 21 percent. The authors argue that this is because parental involvement laws reduce the incidence of stressful life events. These include unprotected sexual intercourse, STDs, pregnancies, and abortions.

The authors utilize an impressive range of statistical tests to document their findings. For instance, the regression results indicate that parental involvement laws have only a marginal impact on the suicide rate of older females who would not be directly affected by the law. Also, parental involvement laws have little impact on the suicide rate for teen males. However, this is consistent with the hypothesis that unprotected sex imposes a greater psychological burden on female adolescents than on their male counterparts. Finally, parental involvement laws have less of an effect on teen female suicide rates — if adjacent states are not enforcing parental involvement laws.

Overall, this study contributes to a growing body of peer-reviewed research which documents the positive public-health impact of pro-life parental-involvement laws. There exist at least 16 peer-reviewed studies which find that parental involvement laws result in statistically significant reductions in the in-state abortion rate for minors. Obviously some minors circumvent these laws by obtaining abortions in states without such laws. However, every study that tracks both in-state and out-of-state abortions finds that the in-state decline significantly exceeds the out-of-state increase.

Additionally, a 2003 study in the Journal of Health Economics by Phillip Levine found that parental-involvement laws reduce the pregnancy rate of 15- to 17-year-olds by 4 to 9 percent. A 2008 study in the Journal of Law Economics and Organization by Jonathan Klick and Thomas Stratmann shows that parental involvement laws reduce gonorrhea rates anywhere from 12 to 20 percent for females under 20. Pro-choice opponents of parental-involvement laws frequently argue that they will lead to a higher incidence of child abuse. However, there is no comparable body of peer-reviewed evidence demonstrating the negative public-health impact of these laws.

Earlier this month the House Judiciary Committee approved the Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act (CIANA). This act would strengthen the over 30 state-level pro-life parental-involvement laws currently in place by making it illegal for a non-parent to circumvent these laws by taking a minor girl across state lines for an abortion. The House Leadership should schedule a vote on this piece of legislation. Parental-involvement laws have always polled well with the general public. More important, there is plenty of good evidence that CIANA will not only prevent abortions, but also will protect the health of teen girls.

Michael J. New is an assistant professor of political science at the University of Michigan –Dearborn, a fellow at the Witherspoon Institute, and an adjunct scholar at the Charlotte Lozier Institute in Washington, D.C. Follow him on Twitter at @Michael_J_New. This article first appeared at National Review Online and is reprinted with permission.

Tags: parental notification

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VIDEO: In-depth report on the Canadian March for Life - Day 2

by John Jalsevac Fri May 11 09:52 EST Comments (1)

 

Dunn Media has produced a video report showing the nearly 20,000 pro-lifers who showed up for the March, as well as highlights from activities throughout the day. Click here to view the video.

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