Thursday, May 17, 2012

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Socialist political parties seek removal of Spanish bishop for ‘homophobia’

by Matthew Cullinan Hoffman Thu May 17 18:27 EST Comments (8)

May 17, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A trio of socialist political parties in the government of Alcalá de Henares, Spain, has passed a resolution demanding the exclusion of the local bishop from all local government functions for preaching the Catholic Church’s doctrines on homosexual behavior, which it characterizes as “homophobic.”

The resolution also asks that the Spanish Episcopal Conference remove the bishop from his position as head of the diocese.

Bishop Juan Antonio Reig Plà incurred the ire of socialists and homosexual groups in Spain when he gave a sermon on Good Friday in early April that included homosexual behavior in a list of destructive vices.

With regard to homosexual behavior, Reig Plà said: “One must not corrupt people, not even with false messages. I would like to say a word to those people carried away by so many ideologies that end up failing to properly guide human sexuality. They think that since their childhood they have had an attraction to people of their same sex and, sometimes, to prove it they become corrupt and prostitute themselves or go to homosexual nightclubs. I assure you that (there) they find hell.”

After expressions of outrage regarding the bishop’s statement, which reflects the perennial teaching of the Catholic Church and all traditional Christianity on sexual deviance, Reig Plà gave an interview to the Internet news service Religion en Libertad (Religion in Liberty). In the interview he explained his statement in more detail, and added that homosexual tendencies can be cured through therapy, further angering opponents of Catholic teaching on sexual morality.

Reig Plà‘s opponents have responded by filing at least one criminal complaint at the national level, and a local judge has ordered an investigation into the bishop’s statements, requesting a copy of the video from the television network that broadcast it.  Reig Plà has countered by posting testimonies by homosexuals and former homosexuals supporting his stance.

Now the Spanish Socialist Worker’s Party (PSOE), with the United Left (IU) and the Union, Progress, and Democracy Party (UPyD), claim that the bishop’s words “have put Alcalá on the homophobic map,” in the words of one PSOE representative, and want Reig Plá removed from his position.  However, the mayor of Alcalá de Henares, Bartolomé González, who is a member of the more conservative People’s Party, has been silent on the matter, according to the El Plural newspaper.

The same publication reports that a People’s Party spokesman has called the motion by the other parties “the new inquisition to which the socialist group has appointed itself,” and characterized the spokesman for the POSE “the new Torquemada.”

The Diocese of Alcalá de Henares has responded with a public statement noting that Bishop Reig Plà‘s affirmations are simply a repetition of Catholic teaching, and that he has no intention of retracting them.

While expressing “respect for all people,” the diocese adds that “it is not legitimate for any human institution to judge, and much less, impede the teaching of the contents of Catholic Doctrine,” calling it a “sad and intolerable violation of human rights and the principle of Church-State separation.”

“Our father and pastor, the Bishop of Alcalá de Henaraes, Mons. Juan Antonio Reig Plà , has always taught, with charity and truth, Catholic doctrine, and he will continue to do so, by the grace of God,” the statement continues, and concludes: “We invite all Catholics to pray for religious liberty and other human rights in Spain, for our pastor Mons. Juan Antonio Reig, and for all those who—without judging their intention—are persecuting him for defending justice.”

Bishop Reig Plà has received support from many Catholic organizations, including the International Federation of Catholic Medical Associations (FIAMC), pro-life and pro-family groups such as Spain’s influential Hazte Oir (Make Yourself Heard), and the Catholic blogosphere.

A special Internet website has been established by Bishop Reig Plá supporters to facilitate many communications of support to the bishop:

The website, requests entry of “Nombre” :first name, “Apellidos”: last name, “Provincia”: EEUU for United States, Irlandia for Ireland, Reino Unido for United Kingdom (Canada and Australia are spelled virtually the same way).  Instructions are to type comments in the “Mensaje personal” box, and click on “Firmar” to send the signed message to Bishop Reig Plá.

The letter states: Monseñor Reig Plà: I wish to express to you my support and to thank you for the brilliant homily that you gave last Good Friday. The lies and insults cannot erase the truth that enclose words such as yours, which help me to understand the sense of the Passion of the Lord, and the real meaning of sin.

Previous LifeSiteNews coverage:

* Spanish bishop publishes ex-gay testimonies on diocesan website after attacks from homosexual groups
* Liberal outrage in Spain: Homosexual groups seek prosecution of bishop over sermon on homosexuality

Tags: catholic church, homosexuality, spain

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Iowa bishop reverses decision, allows LGBT scholarship award at Catholic high school

by Kathleen Gilbert Thu May 17 16:14 EST Comments (43)

 
Keaton Fuller is the recipient of the Eychaner Foundation's Gold Matthew Shephard Scholarship

CLINTON, Iowa, May 17, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The Catholic Diocese of Davenport, Iowa has reversed its decision disallowing the public presentation of an LGBT scholarship at a local Catholic high school, and has directed a school official to read the award’s description at the school’s commencement.

The Eychaner Foundation’s Gold Matthew Shephard Scholarship, which carries a $40,000 reward for students who excel academically while promoting “tolerance and diversity,” is to be awarded to Keaton Fuller, a senior at Prince of Peace College Prep in Clinton, Iowa.

Bishop Martin J. Amos caused a national media uproar on Monday after he stated that, while the award’s monetary value should still be given to Fuller, the award should not be a public part of Fuller’s graduation ceremony as the Foundation had planned. The decision overruled school officials, who had helped Fuller, who is openly homosexual, apply for the award.

Following the severe backlash, the diocese days later released a statement declaring it had reached an agreement with the Eychaner Foundation that involved having the Superintendent of Schools, instead of a Foundation representative, read the prepared script describing the award.

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

The script includes an acknowledgement that selection for the award is based in part on “community service, especially that which promotes tolerance and diversity,” and describes Fuller’s achievement in having “shared his story” after being initially “introverted and depressed when contemplating coming out.”

The Diocese on its website thanked the Eychaner Foundation for dialoguing on the issue and praised the nonprofit group’s mission. http://davenportdiocese.org/comm/commpr.htm

“Regardless of the different views held by Mr. Eychaner and the Diocese on same sex marriage, the work of the Foundation for tolerance and respect for all people is commendable, especially regarding the anti-bullying programs they advocate,” it stated. The Foundation, which had joined the media push to present the award, also thanked Bishop Amos. http://www.eychanerfoundation.org/news/item/agreement-reached-between-the-eychaner-foundation-and-the-diocese-of-davenport.html

The Eychaner Foundation was founded by Rich Eychaner, Iowa’s first openly homosexual candidate for federal office and a longtime gay rights advocate. Multimillionaire Chicago mogul Fred Eychaner, Rich Eychaner’s brother who is also openly homosexual, ranks alongside George Soros as one of America’s top financiers of the Democrat party.

Deacon David Montgomery, Davenport’s Director of Communication, responded to one individual’s query on the issue by saying that “Bishop Amos and the Diocese of Davenport are not promoting the homosexual agenda at a Catholic high school.”

“We are recognizing the academic achievements of a student who has worked hard to earn his graduation,” said Montgomery. “The statement from the Eychaner Foundation that will be read by the diocesan superintendant of schools at the presentation of the award is attached.  The statement opposes anti-gay rhetoric and hate crimes.  It does not contain any position that is contrary to Catholic teaching.”

Montgomery did not immediately return a request for comment from LifeSiteNews.com.

Tags: iowa, keaton fuller, martin amos

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Poll: 77% of Americans support ban on sex-selective abortion

by John-Henry Westen Thu May 17 15:45 EST Comments (6)

 

WASHINGTON, DC, May 17, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A new public opinion poll released today by the Charlotte Lozier Institute (CLI) finds that strong majorities of American adults of both sexes, in every region of the country, and irrespective of age or race, favor enactment of legislation to make sex-selection abortions illegal.
 
The CLI poll of 1,016 U.S. adults found that, overall, 77 percent of respondents answered “yes” when asked, “When the fact that the developing baby is a girl is the sole reason for seeking an abortion, do you believe that abortion should be illegal?”  Only 16 percent of all respondents said that abortion should be legal in this circumstance.
 
Among women, support for a law making sex-selection abortion illegal is higher (80-13 percent) than it is among men, who favor such a law by a margin of 74-18 percent.  Support for a protective law is found among all age groups, but is highest among those age 45-54 where a ban is supported 87-11 percent.  By region, support for a ban ranges from a high of 81 percent in the Midwest and South to 68 percent in the West.
 
A fact sheet on sex-selective abortion including the poll results is available online here.
 
“The issue has received renewed attention because of accounts of the life of Chen Guangcheng, who has highlighted forced abortion and sterilization under the one-child policy of the People’s Republic of China,” said Chuck Donovan, president of the Charlotte Lozier Institute. “Americans seem comfortable with the idea that the deliberate abortion of girls is a form of unacceptable sex discrimination.”
 
The poll was conducted as part of an omnibus survey by the polling company, inc./Womantrend.  The survey was conducted from May 10-13, 2013 and has a margin of error of ±3.1 percent.
 
Sex-selection abortions are procedures that some parents procure when they find that the child they are expecting is not of the particular sex they desire.  The practice of sex selection abortion, almost always carried out against females, has been a growing concern to a spectrum of human rights bodies worldwide.  Estimates of the number of “missing girls” as a result of sex selection procedures, including abortion, range as high as 163,000,000.

Tags: politics, poll, sex-selection abortion

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Obama puts gay ‘marriage’ stance front and center on the campaign trail

by Christine Dhanagom Thu May 17 15:41 EST Comments (55)

 

May 17, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - After announcing his support for gay “marriage” earlier this month, President Obama appears to be putting the issue front and center in his campaign, reiterating his stance in a recently released campaign video, and in comments to the media and potential donors.

In an interview filmed Monday for ABC’s the View, Obama said that his current stance was influenced by gay family friends in “wonderful relationships” who told him he should support gay “marriage” and not just civil unions because “words matter.”

Obama added that the issue is “going to be a big contrast in the campaign,” since his opponent, Mitt Romney, is in favor of a constitutional amendment that would ban gay “marriage.”  His remarks echoed criticisms directed at the presumptive Republican nominee in a campaign video released last week which accused Romney of wanting to “take us back” rather than “move us forward.”

The president was elusive about his own stance on federal involvement in the issue, however,  dodging a direct question from co-host Barbara Walters on whether he would “fight for a federal bill” that would legally enshrine gay “marriage.”

In response, Obama merely noted his opposition to the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and claimed that the issue had “historically been determined at the state level.” He also accused Romney of “federalizing the whole issue” by favoring DOMA.

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While the president’s federalist slant on the issue has dissatisfied some prominent gay rights supporters, his position has prompted praise, and in some cases, massive financial donations, from other corners of the movement.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, two up-coming fundraising events, one hosted by a prominent homosexual couple and the other by gay rights groups, are expected to bring in millions for the re-election campaign. The first was scheduled in the wake of the president’s announcement, and the second saw a dramatic increase in ticket sales because of it.

In widely reported comments, the president also called for the repeal of DOMA at a New York fundraiser co-hosted this week by the LGBT Leadership Council, gay singer Ricky Martin, and The Futuro Fund.

“We have never gone wrong when we expanded rights and responsibilities to everybody,” he told an audience of gay and lesbian supporters. “That doesn’t weaken families, that strengthens families.”

Romney has taken a restrained tone in response to the president’s championing of the issue, disappointing some conservatives.

“States are able to make decisions with regard to domestic partnership benefits, such as hospital visitation rights. Benefits and so forth of various kinds can be determined state by state. My view is that marriage itself is a relationship between a man and a woman, and that’s my own preference,” he said at a recent press conference in Oklahoma. “I know other people have differing views, this is a very tender and sensitive topic as are many social issues but I have the same view that I’ve had since running for office.”

Tags: election 2012, gay marriage, mitt romney, obama

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Boxing superstar Manny Pacquio banned from shopping mall over gay ‘marriage’ remarks

by Thaddeus Baklinski Thu May 17 14:57 EST Comments (41)

 

MANILA, Philippines, May 17, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - World boxing superstar and Philippines congressman Manny Pacquiao has stated his opposition to Barack Obama’s endorsement of same-sex “marriage” and received a black eye for his trouble.

During a May 12 interview with the National Conservative Examiner Pacquiao said the Bible is clear on homosexual activity and that with regard to marriage we must follow “God’s words first ... obey God’s law first before considering the laws of man.”

“God only expects man and woman to be together and to be legally married, only if they so are in love with each other,” he said.

In the written account of the interview, however, Granville Ampong of the Examiner quoted a passage from Leviticus in the Old Testament that condemns homosexual sex acts.

“Pacquiao’s directive for Obama calls societies to fear God and not to promote sin, inclusive of same-sex marriage and cohabitation, notwithstanding what Leviticus 20:13 has been pointing all along: ‘If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads’,” Ampong wrote.

In an ensuing firestorm Pacquiao was dis-invited from a scheduled appearance on the U.S. entertainment news show “Extra” on May 17 to be taped at The Grove shopping center in Los Angeles, according to the Manila Bulletin.

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

Grove VP of corporate affairs Bill Reich issued a statement to LA Weekly on May 15, saying that Pacquiao “is not welcome at The Grove” and will not be interviewed there, because The Grove “is a gathering place for all Angelenos and not a place for intolerance.”

While Pacquiao is standing by his statements to the Examiner, he has objected that his remarks were taken out of context and that he never cited Leviticus or stated that anyone in the homosexual community deserved death.

“I didn’t say that, that’s a lie… I didn’t know that quote from Leviticus because I haven’t read the Book of Leviticus yet,” he said.

A statement on Pacquiao’s website says, “Manny Pacquiao has never stated that anyone in the Gay Community deserved death. His statements were taken out of context, and were not his opinion. Pacquiao is simply against the marriage of anyone that is not Man and Woman as he believes is stated in the Bible. Pacquiao does not now and has never believed that people deserve death because of their sexual orientation.”

Other mainstream media jumped onto the bandwagon to chastise Pacquiao for his stand for true marriage, with articles such as Dennis Romero’s “Manny Pacquiao Says Gay Men Should Be ‘Put to Death” in LA Weekly, and Tom Weir’s “Manny Pacquiao challenges Obama on same-sex marriage” in USA Today. Both publications have since retracted or corrected their articles.

Meanwhile, Granville Ampong, the writer of the original article in the Examiner, is in damage-control mode, publishing an article titled “Biased writers grossly twisted Pacquiao’s view on same-sex marriage” where he states, “nowhere in my supposition and integration of my interview with Pacquiao did I mention that Pacquiao recited this Leviticus 20:13 nor did I imply that Pacquiao had quoted such.” He concludes with an apology “for the confusion my column has caused. I certainly do not represent Pacquiao nor his team. It’s just Pacquiao’s view and my column will always be unacceptable to a liberal world …”

Manny Pacquiao is well-known not only as a world boxing icon, being an eight-division world champion and the first boxer in history to win 10 world titles, but, as a Philippines congressman, for his fight against the controversial Reproductive Health (RH) bill, and legislation proposing legalization of divorce in the Philippines.

Pacquiao has said corruption is a bigger problem than overpopulation in the Philippines, and that lawmakers should concentrate on creating laws that will fight poverty instead of promoting the use of contraceptives.

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Tory MP calls for end to ‘bullying’ against unborn children

by Patrick B. Craine Thu May 17 14:28 EST Comments (9)

 

OTTAWA, Ontario, May 17, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - We have seen a great deal of political support across Canada for anti-bullying initiatives in recent months. Governments and community groups across the country are discussing the serious harm experienced by the victims of bullying, including self-harm and suicide in some cases.

“It’s a good thing that people are openly discussing the harm caused by bullying, and considering strategies to address the problem,” says Conservative MP Maurice Vellacott (Saskatoon-Wanuskewin). “In light of this new awareness of bullying, consistency and credibility demands that we tackle the most cruel and most common bullying of all - the bullying, and ultimately killing, of babies in the womb.”

For decades now, technology has shown that babies in the womb pull away from foreign objects that penetrate the amniotic sac that is their home. They sense danger. Scientific research is revealing an ever-younger age at which children in the womb feel pain. Dr. Steven Zielinski, an internal medicine physician from Oregon, is one of the leading researchers into fetal pain. He has testified that a child in the womb could feel pain at “eight-and-a-half weeks and possibly earlier.”

“Despite what we know about the child in the womb and despite what we know about fetal pain, Canada still does not ban the most gruesome abortion procedures in which the limbs and heads of babies are torn and cut from their bodies,” said Vellacott. “Canada’s abortionists are free to bully these unborn babies to death because Canada has no law protecting these helpless victims of this kind of bullying.”

“These procedures are far worse than any case of school-yard and neighbourhood bullying, and they always result in a dead victim,” added Vellacott.

“The womb is the place where the child should be the safest of all. Just because we’re bigger and stronger than these vulnerable babies in the womb, doesn’t make it right. Might doesn’t make it right,” he emphasized.

“At a time when Canadians are demanding community and political action to bring an end to the bullying of our children, it is vital in these anti-bullying strategies to address the lethal bullying of the child in the womb,” he concluded.

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Toronto Catholic school hosts ‘transgendered’ Miss Universe contestant

by Patrick B. Craine Thu May 17 13:50 EST Comments (60)

 
Miss Universe contestant "Jenna" Talackova poses for a shot with a young girl outside of St. John Vianney Catholic School on Tuesday.

TORONTO, Ontario, May 17, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A Toronto Catholic elementary school is under fire after hosting a “transgendered” Miss Universe Canada contestant on Tuesday in the run-up to the annual spectacle this weekend.

The event, owned by Donald Trump, has often been criticized for its hyper-emphasis on women’s sexual values and displays of women in skimpy bikinis.

Gwen Landolt, national vice-president of REAL Women Canada, says the Catholic school event sent the message to young girls that they need to be “sexy and glamorous.”

“How many girls watching that will now want to be a Miss Universe?” she asked.

This year’s contest has gotten unprecedented media coverage after controversy over the involvement of “Jenna” Talackova, a naturally male contestant who underwent “gender reassignment” surgery at the age of 19.

Talackova, a 23-year-old Vancouver native, was originally barred because of rules requiring that contestants be a “naturally born woman.” But after a media firestorm, Trump stepped in to overrule the decision.

On Tuesday morning, the 62 contestants in Saturday’s pageant visited children at St. John Vianney Catholic Elementary School in Rexdale as one of numerous publicity events.

According to a Canadian Press report on the Catholic school appearance, Talackova “says she’s proud to be opening the door for other pageant hopefuls who may want to follow in her footsteps.”

In a brief interview with LifeSiteNews, principal Vincent Moretti said the school has “no concern” that Miss Universe might conflict with Catholic values. He directed questions to the Toronto Catholic District School Board and hung up.

John Yan, spokesman for the school board, explained that at the Tuesday event, the 62 contestants “gave presentations on a number of values and virtues that are consistent with learning and living in the love of Christ.”

Asked if the board had concerns that giving a platform to the pageant promotes an attitude towards women that offends Catholic values, Yan emphasized that, in his view, the presentations were consistent with the Catholic faith and that the pageant itself did not take place at the school.

Landolt disagreed. She said that giving Talackova an opportunity for a photo op at the school “indicates an acceptance” of “gender reassignment” surgery, which she noted is against Catholic teaching.

Beyond that she questioned the whole notion of promoting beauty contests to girls. “There’s much more to women than what they look like. I think it’s so superficial to set up this criteria of glamour and beauty,” she continued. “Their spiritual, their emotional, their intellectual development – that’s far more important than what you look like.”


Contact Information:

Principal Vincent Moretti
St. John Vianney Catholic School
105 Thistle Down Boulevard Toronto, ON
(416) 393-5392

Most Rev. Thomas Collins, Archbishop of Toronto
1155 Yonge Street
Toronto (ON) M4T 1W2
Tel: (416) 934-3400 #609
Fax: (416) 934-3452
E-mail: archbishop@archtoronto.org

Find contact information for all trustees at the Toronto Catholic District School Board.

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New Obama biography, ‘The Amateur,’ gets it all wrong about Obama and the Born Alive bill

by Jill Stanek Thu May 17 13:48 EST Comments (6)

 

Edward Klein’s unauthorized biography of Barack Obama, The Amateur, was released this week.

While I appreciate that Klein devoted a chapter of his book, albeit only three pages, to Obama’s opposition as state senator to the Illinois Born Alive Infant Protection Act, he got it pretty much all wrong. You can read the chapter at the link above, but here is the relevant section:

Obama did, however, have an interest in opposing a law that would have banned late-term partial birth abortions, a gruesome procedure that was once condemned by the late New York Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan as “too close to infanticide.” All across the state of Illinois, people were riveted by the controversial debate. The Chicago Sun-Times ran a cartoon showing God reaching down from heaven to a baby in front of Obama, who is holding a sign that reads “Live Birth Abortions” and yelling at God, “You keep out of this!”

An Illinois nurse named Jill Stanek testified before the Health and Human Services Committee that she had discovered that babies were being aborted alive and allowed to die in soiled utility rooms. One baby was accidentally thrown into the trash. Though Obama never showed up at the committee hearings, he voted against the bill – not once, but twice.

When, after a decade in the political wilderness, Illinois Democrats gained a majority in the legislature, Obama became chairman of the Health and Human Services Committee. As chairman, he prevented the “Live Baby Bill” from getting a committee hearing, guaranteeing that the legislation would die, much as the late-term babies were dying in the state’s hospitals.

People often get details about this chain of events wrong. For many years I, myself, thought Obama voted against the Born Alive Act three times, when it was actually four.  It doesn’t help that the Obama campaign and liberals persistently try to muddy the waters.

But Klein’s portrayal of events was wrong on just about every point. I expected better from the former editor-in-chief of The New York Times Magazine, who has also had many books on the NYT bestseller’s list.

First and foremost, at issue was the Born Alive Infant Protection Act, not the Partial Birth Abortion Ban, which Obama also opposed as state senator but had to do with a different abortion procedure.

And, as previously stated, Obama voted against the Born Alive bill a total of four times, not two.

But my biggest issue is Klein’s conjecture that Obama did not attend the committee hearings on Born Alive. I’ve never heard that before. I have previously written about an exchange between Obama and me at one of those hearings, so to say Obama wasn’t even in the room inadvertently calls my portrayal of events into question.

The quickest refutation to that claim is Obama’s committee votes on Born Alive (here, here, and here). Substitutes are noted in Illinois, and Obama had no substitutes. He was there to vote.

In addition, State Net, a branch of LexisNexis that has reporters memorialize state legislative committee hearings, published notes about our March 5, 2002, debate, which was quite an odd one.

I should note this conversation was about a companion bill to Born Alive, which would have mandated that a second doctor be present in the event any baby was anticipated to be born alive in the State of Illinois.

As I testified, current Illinois law allowed (and still allows) the abortionist to determine before a baby is born whether s/he thinks the baby will be viable. It is easy to see why the person being paid to deliver a dead baby would do all s/he could to ensure that outcome, even if slightly delayed. Obama didn’t believe an abortionist would stoop that low. Pro-lifers do. It makes total sense. Kermit Gosnell proved our point.

But what made the conversation odd was Obama’s statement, “I agreed with you last year and we suggested that there be a Comfort Room or something of that nature be done.”

In fact, Obama hadn’t said anything the year before (see StateNet’s notes here and here), and now he wanted to take partial credit for devising the Comfort Room?

The concept of such a room was so twisted. Rather than take abortion survivors to the Soiled Utility Room, nurses now took them to a room where they could have photos and footprints taken as keepsakes. And Obama was all in. (See more photos of the Christ Hospital’s Comfort Room here.)

At any rate, Klein got the story all wrong. I’ve been reading his book and find it interesting but wonder how much of it is accurate, if this was any indication.

[HT: Fran Eaton at Illinois Review]

Reprinted with permission from JillStanek.com

Tags: abortion, born alive infant protection act, obama

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What the Pill is doing to our water supply

by Rebecca Oas, Ph.D. Thu May 17 13:10 EST Comments (36)

 

May 17, 2012 (Zenit.org) – In 1960, the combined oral contraceptive pill was first approved for use in the United States. Seven years later, “the Pill” was featured on the cover of Time Magazine, illustrating its enormous societal impact[1]. Roughly two generations later, statistics from the United Nations show that, within more developed nations worldwide, just under 16% of “partnered” women use contraceptive pills, a number which does not include usage among single women[2].

However, even as the popularity of oral contraceptives remains high, the drugs themselves have been evolving in response to further discoveries about the human reproductive system, as well as efforts to reduce the Pill’s negative side effects. As with any major technological or medical development, particularly one embraced very quickly by a large sector of the population, it can take years, and even decades, for the full range of effects to become evident. And as demonstrated by several recent studies, many questions remain unanswered regarding the long-term and environmental effects of the hormones used in oral contraceptives, as well as other medical treatments.

When a new synthetic substance is created, or a naturally occurring substance is generated at greatly increased levels, the effects can be far longer-lasting and wider-reaching than its manufacturers predict or intend. Some well-known examples of this include asbestos, a popular insulation and flame retardant in the late 19th century, which was later discovered to be carcinogenic; and polystyrene foams like Styrofoam, which is frequently used in disposable packaging, yet takes hundreds of years to break down once discarded. In the case of oral contraceptives, the key ingredients are synthetic hormones known as progestins, which mimic progesterone, either alone or combined with estrogen. When used therapeutically in contraceptive pills or in hormone replacement treatments for menopause, these synthetic hormones make their way into the water supply after being excreted in the patients’ urine. As environmental contaminants, these are referred to as endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs), due to the fact that they interfere with the endocrine systems of humans and animals alike following exposure.

While its impact is still being widely studied, there is no doubt that the exposure is occurring: multiple international studies have documented elevated levels of natural and synthetic hormones in drinking water, and one such study conducted in France noted that progestins in particular were more resistant to removal by water treatment methods, compared with other types of pharmaceuticals [3].

Due to the accumulation of synthetic steroids in water, much of the research conducted on its impact has been done using water-dwelling vertebrates such as fish and frogs. An ever-increasing collection of studies report harmful effects of these hormones on aquatic vertebrates, particularly with regard to their reproduction, as would be predicted given the nature of the contaminants [4]. One study focused on the effects of exposure to the progestin Levonorgestrel (LNG) on the frog Xenopus tropicalis. While the male reproductive system did not appear to be impaired, female tadpoles exhibited severe defects in the development of their ovaries and oviducts, rendering them sterile [5].

While studies such as these cannot be taken as a direct assessment of the impact of environmental EDCs on humans, they do have certain advantages: the capability of controlling for the duration and concentration of exposure, and the fact that these animals’ life cycles are much shorter than those of humans, thus enabling multigenerational studies in far less time. Like the proverbial “canary in the coal mine,” animal studies can serve as early indicators of environmental conditions that may prove harmful to humans and direct our attention toward seemingly innocuous substances we encounter in the air we breathe, the food we eat, and, as in this case, our water supply. However, the effects of EDCs are not limited to water-dwelling frogs: female sterility resulting from early exposure to progestins has been reported in studies involving rats and mice, whose mammalian reproductive systems more closely resemble those of humans [6]. The female reproductive system undergoes many key developmental changes in the early stages of life, and these changes are dependent on endocrine signaling events that are sensitive to contaminating environmental hormone exposure. A series of studies by a group at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have demonstrated that mice exposed to phytoestrogens – plant estrogens such as those found in soy products – at key developmental time points exhibited impaired fertility [7]. In contrast to mice, in which the critical period of time is during the neonatal period, the human female reproductive tract is undergoing development from prior to birth through adolescence. Therefore, it is necessary to evaluate the risk of exposure to EDCs across a broader window of time, beginning in the womb.

The use of hormonal contraceptives by pregnant women is discouraged for the obvious reason that they are not ovulating, in addition to the potential for harm to the unborn child. However, postpartum contraception guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control in 2011 state that the use of progestin-only contraceptives “can be initiated immediately postpartum,” and discourage the use of estrogen-containing combined contraceptives in breastfeeding women primarily because the estrogen can reduce the mother’s milk supply [8]. The presence of progestins in the breast milk of women taking oral contraceptives has not been demonstrated to adversely affect their babies’ health, although such assessments tend to focus on the short-term outcomes rather than those that might not manifest until adulthood. Nevertheless, the most recent report from the NIH group studying the effects of phytoestrogens highlights the notion that limiting early exposure to plant estrogens, such as those found in soy-based infant formulas, may prove to be beneficial to female reproductive health in the long term. Furthermore, the potential harms of prevalent EDC pollution in the environment are not restricted to women: in November of last year, the British Medical Journal published a report indicating that levels of prostate cancer in men are highest in geographic areas with the greatest use of oral contraceptives [9]. While the authors stress that their findings are correlative rather than causative, their work provides a sobering hypothesis for further important research.

Ultimately, the Catholic opposition to contraception is grounded in a fundamental understanding of the meaning of human life and the purpose of procreation as a part of God’s plan, not a pragmatic conclusion reached by painstaking scientific research. While it makes intuitive sense that humans both individually and as societies benefit by living in accordance with the wishes of their Creator, in a fallen world there are practical things that can be done to alleviate some of our suffering, including the use of medical technology and pharmacology. It should be noted that synthetic hormones are not exclusively used in contraceptives, nor are the chemical compounds marketed as contraceptives intrinsically immoral – for instance, an unmarried and abstinent woman using hormonal treatments to treat endometriosis in the hopes of safeguarding her future fertility is doing nothing sinful, regardless of the efficacy or side effects of her decision. However, in a world in which influential groups and individuals are increasingly advocating for population control, often in a manner that recalls the eugenics movement of decades past, it is necessary to insist that research be done to uncover truths regarding the long-term and unintended side effects of widespread contraceptive pill usage.

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This article originally appeared on Zenit.org and is reprinted with permission.

Rebecca Oas, Ph.D., is a Fellow of HLI America, an educational initiative of Human Life International. She writes for HLI America’s Truth and Charity Forum.

— — —

(1) Time Magazine, April 7, 1967. http://www.time.com/time/covers/0,16641,1101670407,00.html
(2) United Nations: World Contraceptive Use (2005) http://www.un.org/esa/population/publications/contraceptive2005/2005_World_Contraceptive_files/WallChart_WCU2005.pdf
(3) Vulliet E; Cren-Olive C, Grenier-Loustalot MF. Occurrence of pharmaceuticals and hormones in drinking water treated from surface waters. Environmental Chemistry Letters (2011) 9:103–114
(4) Whitacre DM. Reviews of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology, Volume 218. Spring, 2012
(5) Kvarnryda M, Grabic R, Brandt I, Berg C. Early life progestin exposure causes arrested oocyte development, oviductal agenesis and sterility in adult Xenopus tropicalis frogs. Aquatic Toxicology 103 (2011) 18–24
(6) Uzumcu M, Zachow R. Developmental Exposure to Environmental Endocrine Disruptors: Consequences within the Ovary and on Female Reproductive Function. Reproductive Toxicology. 2007; 23(3): 337–352.
(7) Jefferson WN, Patisaul HB, Williams CJ. Reproductive consequences of developmental phytoestrogen exposure. Reproduction (2012) 143 247–260
(8) Update to CDC’s U.S. Medical Eligibility Criteria for Contraceptive Use, 2010: Revised Recommendations for the Use of Contraceptive Methods During the Postpartum Period. CDC, July 8, 2011.
(9) Margel D, Fleshner NE. Oral contraceptive use is associated with prostate cancer: an ecological study. British Medical Journal Open. 2011 Nov 14;1(2)

Tags: contraception, population control

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‘Egg broker’ company targets Cambridge students for paid ova ‘donations’

by Hilary White, Rome Correspondent Thu May 17 12:30 EST Comments (4)

 

LONDON, May 17, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A pro-life group in the UK has condemned the practice of buying and selling the “ova” of university students, calling it exploitative of women, a “commodification of procreation,” and a violation of “international norms against the commercialisation of the human body, its tissues and organs.”

The Daily Mail recently broke the story that Cambridge students were being offered up to £750 for their oocytes by Altrui, described as an “egg broking company” based in Hawes, North Yorkshire.

The Mail reported that thousands of leaflets were left in student’s pigeonholes, but did not make clear that the message comes from a for-profit company.

Altrui told the Mail that there is a couple behind the campaign who had asked the company to help them distribute the leaflets at Cambridge.

The leaflets show a picture of the couple, and ask, “Would you help us start our family?”

“We long to be parents, but a rare genetic disorder that causes repeated miscarriages has prevented us. We are now looking for a real-life angel to be our egg donor.”

“We can imagine no greater gift than the chance to love a child.”

Altrui does not do IVF or related treatments directly, but acts as a middle-man for infertile couples seeking “donors,” and paying up to £1,300 for the service. British law allows for “compensation” to be made to people who “donate” their gametes - either oocytes or sperm - in a scheme that has been heavily criticized by pro-life advocates.

Anthony Ozimic, communications manager for the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, said the practice of soliciting at universities, “exploits cash-strapped students at a formative time (late teens/early 20s) in their adult development and in their values, hopes and feelings about parenthood.”

It “serves the vested interests of the IVF industry, which puts profits and kudos above the welfare of patients,” he said.

Altrui responded in a statement, saying that it “completely stands by its ethical standards,” pointing out that the leaflets themselves did not mention anything about financial compensation for the “donation.” “Altrui do not entice or induce someone to be a donor,” the company said.

Altrui is only one tiny part of a massive international industry that has sprung up around the artificial procreation business, selling human tissue, often using the internet. The practice of soliciting university students for their gametes has also come under criticism in the U.S., particularly given the dangerous procedures, involving ovulation-increasing drugs, women have to undertake.

The Mail quoted Josephine Quintavalle of the campaign group Comment on Reproductive Ethics (CORE) who warned that underlying it the campaign is not only the legitimate desire of couples for a child, but the larger spectre of eugenics.

“This is not donation, this is the buying and selling of human eggs,” she said. “It raises the issue of eugenics because, just like in the States, students are being targeted because they have higher IQs. More brains equals better value.”

Tags: cambridge, ivf, uk

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Gay ‘non-discrimination’ bill could lead to persecution of Chilean Christians: pro-family group

by Matthew Cullinan Hoffman Thu May 17 11:51 EST Comments (1)

May 16, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A bill to prohibit “discrimination” against homosexuals recently passed by the Chilean National Congress is likely to result in the approval of homosexual “marriage” and adoption, and may even lead to the persecution of Christians, according to HazteOir Chile (“Make Yourself Heard - Chile”).

The bill, which passed the Senate on May 9, prohibits “every distinction, exclusion, or restriction” against homosexuals and other groups, “that lacks a reasonable justification, carried out by agents of the government or individuals” and states that “any crime motivated by an ideological or discriminatory situation, whether for religion, race, ethnicity, condition, or sexual orientation, can be considered an aggravating factor by the judge at the time of evaluating, for the purposes of sentencing, an attitude that [the convicted] might have had for the purpose of discriminating against or diminishing another.”

HazteOir Chile issued a statement calling the law “very serious, because in the name of a right - that of non-discrimination - the right of every child to have a father and a mother is ignored.”

“How will an adoption agency be able to deny an adoption to a homosexual?” the organization asks.

“Furthermore, elements of human nature are attacked [by the bill], such as marriage, sexuality, freedom o expression and religion. How will a pastor freely preach from the Bible?”

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However, one homosexual leader expressed disappointment at changes made to the bill before passage that he said would allow freedom of expression and other rights to trump a discrimination complaint.

Sebastián Pino, sub-coordinator of the legislative commission of the Iguales Foundation complained to Radio UChile that “if a person feels discriminated against, the person at fault, the discriminator, only has to invoke another fundamental right, like freedom of expression, to avoid punishment.”

He also complained that the final version of the bill had no mandate to require the government to engage in “educational” campaigns to change people’s attitudes towards homosexuality.

“We hope that we will soon have an anti-discrimination law, but not only with the text that is currently approved, but that it be a truly operational law, which includes affirmative measures, public policies that permit education that reaffirms the value of diversity,” said Pino.

The bill, which had been under consideration for several years, was given new life following the brutal beating of a young homosexual man in a park, which ultimately led to his death in a hospital several weeks later.

Daniel Zamudio, 24, was allegedly beaten by four young men who cut a swastika into his flesh and chanted anti-gay slogans as he slept in a park. According to the account of one of the four, he was kicked in the head, beaten with a bottle, urinated on, burned with cigarettes, and his legs were broken with rocks. 

Homosexual groups have used Zamudio’s killing to promote the passage of the non-discrimination bill, while pro-family groups have expressed reservations that it will be used to promote the homosexual lifestyle and undermine family and religious rights.

Tags: adoption, chile, freedom, homosexuality

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Profs at Jesuit universities lash out at bishops for opposing HHS mandate, gay ‘marriage’

by Kathleen Gilbert Thu May 17 11:33 EST Comments (62)

 
Fordham professor Jeanne Flavin

May 17, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Professors at four Jesuit-run Catholic universities have recently stepped into the media to voice their disagreement with Catholic bishops on church teachings, including on contraception and the nature of marriage, and condemning the prelates for promoting an “idiosyncratic minority view” as Catholic dogma.

The professors’ statements come at the same time that Pope Benedict has emphasized to U.S. bishops that reform of Catholic universities in the United States is the “most urgent challenge” facing the Church in the country.

The pope told U.S. bishops who were visiting Rome recently that a lack of progress towards reform 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,” he said.

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, including abortifacients, by Catholic institutions.

In a column for the Huffington Post last week, Fordham University sociology professor Jeanne Flavin excoriated the Catholic hierarchy for showing “a staggering disregard for young women’s everyday lived reality” by fighting the federal mandate.

Flavin pointed out the difficulties parenting students face on campus, and said that not paying for contraception “contributes to a climate of shame and stigma surrounding sexuality that - as we learned from victims of the widespread priest sex abuse scandal - can be incredibly harmful.”

“The principle of cura personalis (or ‘care for the whole person’), central to the mission of Catholic schools, does not come with a qualifier that says ‘unless you are sexually active’ or ‘except if you are a woman,’” wrote the Fordham professor, who also criticized the Vatican’s recent censure of liberalized women religious groups in the Church, and dismissed the bishops’ pro-life position as “purported concern for the unborn.”

“This disrespect for the women who are here - in our midst, on our campuses—being shown by a powerful minority of conservative Catholics in favor of purported concern for the unborn must be called out for what it is: profoundly unchristian.”

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Matthew Archbold at the Cardinal Newman Society noted that Flavin is an extreme abortion supporter who has praised the work of Kansas late-term abortionist George Tiller.

Meanwhile, a Daily Beast article on Friday entitled “Do Most Catholic Theologians Support Same-Sex Marriage?” focused on three Catholic professors - from Marquette University, Fairfield University, and Santa Clara University - who downplayed recent remarks by Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York expressing disappointment in President Obama’s support for same-sex “marriage.”

Supporting traditional marriage, they argue, is only one opinion among many found in Catholic ranks, and therefore shouldn’t be taken as a firm teaching - and could even be considered “schismatic” for allegedly disagreeing with the majority of Catholics.

“[Cardinal Timothy] Dolan and the United States Catholic Conference are misrepresenting ‘Catholic teaching,’ and are trying to present their idiosyncratic minority view as the ‘Catholic position,’ and it is not,” said said Daniel Maguire, a Marquette University professor and former priest who supports legalized abortion, according to Catholic World News.

“The bishops will stand with Dolan and the US Catholic Conference, but on this issue, they are in moral schism since most in the Church have moved on [to] a more humane view on the rights of those whom God has made gay.”

Paul Lakeland, a professor of religion and director of the Center for Catholic Studies at Fairfield University characterized the bishops’ traditional marriage doctrine as “an argument that’s based more on fear or repugnance.” “There is a lot more to be said about these issues than one stream of words from the hierarchy,” he said.

Santa Clara theology professor Frederick Parrella agreed that there is “nothing in the Gospels” to support keeping the definition of marriage as between a man and a woman, and said there were good arguments that the Catholic Church should bless homosexual unions.

 

Fordham University
Joseph M. McShane, S.J., president
(718) 817-3000
President@fordham.edu

Marquette University
Scott R. Pilarz, S.J., president
(414) 288-7223
scott.pilarz@marquette.edu
Office of the president http://www.marquette.edu/president/team.php

Fairfield University
Jeffrey P. von Arx, S.J., president
Diane Mastrone, Administrative Assistant: (203) 254-4000, ext. 2217
dmastrone@fairfield.edu
Office of the president http://www.fairfield.edu/about/about_pres_office.html

Santa Clara University
Michael E. Engh, S.J., president
408-554-4000
president@scu.edu

Tags: abortion, birth control mandate, contraception, jesuits

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Rhode Island governor ‘acting as a dictator’ with same-sex ‘marriage’ executive order, foes say

by Ben Johnson Thu May 17 09:56 EST Comments (6)

 
Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee
Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee's father, John, was a U.S. Senator, too.

PROVIDENCE, RHODE ISLAND, May 17, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee’s critics are accusing him of “acting as a dictator” after signing an executive order forcing the state to recognize same-sex “marriages” conducted out-of-state.

Chafee, a former Republican U.S. Senator who changed his party affiliation to independent, signed the order on Monday. 

The measure forces Rhode Island to legally recognize the same-sex “marriages” of couples who have a ceremony conducted in another state, where such unions are recognized. The decree entitles partners to full insurance coverage, the right to list both names as “parents” on birth certificates, and other benefits.

“This is another step that gets us further down the path toward same-sex marriage,” said House Speaker Gordon Fox, who is openly homosexual. Fox was present at Chafee’s announcement with Lt. Governor Elizabeth Roberts and Senate President M. Teresa Paiva Weed.

“As a result of Governor Chafee’s leadership, our state has come another step closer to acknowledging that two adults in a loving and committed relationship should have their commitment to one another recognized as marriage,” stated Congressman David Cicilline.

Since 2003, some members of the state’s homosexual community have traveled to Massachusetts after that state’s supreme court imposed same-sex “marriage” on the Bay State by a 4-3 vote. In 2007, then-Rhode Island Attorney General Patrick Lynch ruled the state could legally recognize same-sex unions.

However, the state’s voters never approved such a measure. A bill to redefine marriage died last August when it could not pass the House. At the time Bishop Thomas Tobin of Providence warned God “will pass judgment on our state” if the bill became law. When Fox announced the bill’s demise, a homosexual activist denounced him as “a self-loathing homophobe.”

A bill legalizing same-sex “marriage” in Rhode Island is not expected to pass this year, either.

Kara Russo, a traditional marriage supporter who ran for lieutenant governor in 2010, told LifeSiteNews.com that Chafee “brazenly and unconstitutionally circumvented the Rhode Island General Assembly by issuing an executive order that, among other things, grants health care, life insurance, and pension benefits to same-sex couples who were married out of state.”

Russo said, “This governor is acting as a dictator and infringing upon the religious freedom of all Rhode Island citizens by forcing” the institution on the state’s voters against their will.

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Chris Young, a pro-family Congressional candidate from Providence, told LifeSiteNews.com that Chafee was “forcing same sex ‘marriage’ without the approval of the people, and this is completely contrary to the principles of a democratic republic.”

Some of the governor’s political rivals, not all of whom oppose his stance on marriage, have criticized what they say is his reliance on executive orders and a perceived tendency to enact laws he cannot get passed because they lack popular support.

“This is the same governor who bypassed the will of the Rhode Island legislature last September by issuing an executive order to force Rhode Island taxpayer funding of abortion through a health care exchange, the same governor who refused to call the state Christmas tree a Christmas tree, and the same governor who was in support of the atheist plaintiff and the Rhode Island ACLU’s campaign to tear down the 50-year-old, historic prayer banner at Cranston West High School,” Russo told LifeSiteNews.

In March, the Alliance Defense Fund sued Chafee for issuing an executive order to create a health care exchange under ObamaCare that would fund elective abortion.

Russo and Young, who are Catholic songwriters, have marriage plans of their own. Young proposed to Russo during a televised 2010 Providence mayoral debate.

 

Tags: chris young, kara russo, lincoln chafee, rhode island

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Canadian gvmt calls for LifeSite readers to complain against tax-funded ‘tell-all’ sex exhibit

by Patrick B. Craine Thu May 17 08:47 EST Comments (48)

 
One of the sections of the sex exhibit displays dildos covered by condoms.

OTTAWA, Ontario, May 17, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Canada’s federal government says a tax-funded “tell-all” sex exhibit at Ottawa’s Museum of Science and Technology “cannot be defended” and they are calling on LifeSiteNews readers to complain to the museum.

The raunchy exhibit at Ottawa’s Museum of Science and Technology, which encourages youth to practice anal sex and advertises that 14-year-old children can obtain abortions without parents’ permission, sparked an uproar this week in the run-up to its Thursday opening.

The museum falls under the jurisdiction of the federal government’s Ministry of Canadian Heritage and receives about $30 million per year in funding from taxpayers.

Sébastien Gariépy, spokesman for Heritage Minister James Moore, told LifeSiteNews Thursday that the exhibit, entitled ‘Sex: A Tell-all Exhibition’, clearly falls outside the museum’s mandate to “foster scientific and technological literacy throughout Canada.”

“This content cannot be defended, and is insulting to taxpayers,” he said. “We have expressed our strong concerns to the president of the Museum, and we encourage Canadians who are concerned to do the same.”

“Denise Amyot is the President of the Museum of Science and Technology. Her phone number is (613) 991-3044, and I would encourage you to share that number with your readers,” he added.

Despite the government rebuke, the museum appears ready to go ahead with the exhibit’s opening, though the backlash has prompted them to up the entry age from 12 to 16. Younger children can still attend with an adult, however, which would include school field trips.

Created for teens by the Montreal Science Centre with the help of “sexologists,” it praises multiple partners and includes a “climax room” with depictions of aroused genitals as a recording describes the sensation of orgasm.

Another section includes a recording of sexologist Jamy Ryan discussing anal sex: “If you’re comfortable with trying that activity, go ahead and do it. It could be fun for you. But if you’re not, you don’t really have to do it. It’s not an obligation.”

The exhibit also included an animated video showing naked youth masturbating, but it was removed after complaints by horrified parents.

The entire exhibit has received a barrage of complaints, with many accusing it of promoting an explicit and immoral vision of sexuality.

On Wednesday, the Institute of Marriage and Family Canada called on Minister Moore to have the exhibit cancelled, saying that it is “erotic” and essentially “soft pornography.” Most families would prefer sexuality be discussed within families, they noted.

The Ottawa museum has said they were blindsided by the complaints because the exhibit had not sparked backlash when displayed previously in Montreal and Regina.

The Ottawa organizers hoped the exhibit would help “fill in gaps” left by Ontario’s sex education curriculum, according to QMI Agency.


Contact Information:

Denise Amyot
President, Canadian Museum of Science and Technology
Phone: (613) 991-3044
E-mail: damyot@technomuses.ca

James Moore, Canadian Heritage Minister
E-mail: min.moore@pch.gc.ca

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