Tuesday, May 22, 2012

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Vermont ordinance could ban pro-lifers from protesting at Planned Parenthood clinic

by Ben Johnson Tue May 22 17:46 EST Comments (9)

BURLINGTON, VERMONT, May 22, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – The city council of Burlington, Vermont, has passed a new ordinance that could have the effect of banning pro-life protesters from exercising their right to protest in front of the town’s Planned Parenthood facility.

On Monday, council members voted to establish a 35-foot “safety zone” about the town’s abortion clinic by a vote of 13-1. Republican Paul Decelles cast the lone dissenting vote. The measure now goes to a three-member Ordinance Committee for final wording.   

Ten council members supported the measure going in, although the Burlington Free Press reports pro-life and pro-choice citizens who attended the more than hour-long meeting at Contois Auditorium were “roughly equal.” 

Jill Krowinski, public affairs director for Planned Parenthood of Northern New England (PPNNE) told the meeting sidewalk protesters had been loud and threatening, and “we need help with this.”

However, Burlington police Deputy Chief Andi Higbee said the department has dispatched officers to the clinic only twice to respond to reports of “aggressive protesting,” and no one has been arrested, ticketed, or cited with any violation.

“There’s no need for the ordinance,” Mary Hahn Beerworth, executive director of Vermont Right to Life Committee, told LifeSiteNews.com. She said the last arrest occurred sometime in the 1980s at the facility’s old location on Mansfield Avenue.

Vermont Right to Life conducts informational protests on Saturdays, instead of Wednesdays, the day the Burlington clinic performs abortions. The group, composed largely of nuns and post-abortive women, are counseled not to respond to hecklers who shout at them while they are praying the rosary.

“The whole thing is just a concocted story,” Beerworth said. “All that said, that hasn’t stopped the city of Burlington from passing the ordinance.”

The new policy could have the effect of ending all protests in front of the abortion facility. “This 35-foot bubble zone may take the protesters out completely,” Beerworth told LifeSiteNews, adding that the parking lot across the street from the clinic – the nearest site outside the 35-foot radius – was being leased.

“We’re not going to sit around and have our First Amendment rights trampled,” she said. “We will see what the final product is. We’re not going to take it. ”

That raises issues of the ordinance’s constitutionality. Cheryl Hanna, a professor at Vermont Law School, warned that the measure could be struck down if the U.S. Supreme Court took a “First Amendment absolutist position.” However, council members Bram Kranichfeld warned that protesters’ free speech would have “a chilling effect” on women seeking an abortion.

“This is a publicity stunt I think,” Beerworth told LifeSiteNews. “They’ve been defunded by Maine and New Hampshire, so Vermont is their hope.”

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Planned Parenthood – which performed the vast majority of abortions in the state – has seen a dip in business. She noted the group is moving a West Lebanon, New Hampshire, clinic to greener pastures in Vermont.

Vermont allows nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and nurse midwives to perform abortions.

The Alan Guttmacher Institutes notes, “Vermont does not have any of the major types of abortion restrictions—such as waiting periods, mandated parental involvement or limitations on publicly funded abortions—often found in other states.”

Beerworth says the group will continue to protest at the clinic as it awaits the ordinance’s final wording – but she is not hopeful her group’s constitutional rights will be upheld.

“In Vermont, Planned Parenthood is the fourth branch of government,” she said.

Tags: vermont

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Ontario transgender ‘bathroom bill’ passes 2nd reading

by Peter Baklinski Tue May 22 17:35 EST Comments (39)

 
St. Joan of Arc

OTTAWA, Ontario, May 22, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A bill to amend the Ontario Human Rights Code to include “gender identity” and “gender expression” in the list of prohibited grounds of discrimination passed its second reading on May 10 in the provincial legislature. Bill 33 is sponsored by NDP Cheri DiNovo, MPP (Parkdale-High Park). It is the fourth time the bill has been introduced, but the first time it has reached its second reading.

During her presentation of the Bill prior to the vote, DiNovo referred to Joan of Arc as an historical transgendered person and compared Toby Dancer, a deceased transgender person whom Bill 33 is named after, to the highly revered Catholic saint.

“At Toby’s funeral, I said, ‘We may be the first church … to put a stained glass window in the sanctuary depicting a trans person,’ because we had one made of Toby playing the piano. … somebody called out, ‘What about Joan of Arc?’ … What about those trans people in history that already have stained glass windows of them? So Toby may not be the first, but we’re very, very proud of that window in that church.”

Joan of Arc was a French peasant who, in her late teens, responded to visions urging her to take charge of the French army during the Hundred Years War, ultimately leading her country to victory against the English. In the process she was captured and executed. While it was practically unheard of at the time for a woman to play an active role in the military, there is no evidence to suggest the Catholic saint viewed herself as anything other than a woman.

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Attending the reading of the bill in the members’ gallery were Canada’s most influential homosexual lobby group Egale, the Trans Lobby Group, and executive director of Pride Toronto Kevin Beaulieu.

The bill was co-sponsored by Liberal MP Yasir Naqvi and Progressive Conservative MP Christine Elliott. Both took to the floor along with fellow partisans in support of DiNovo’s bill.

Bill 33 has now been referred to the Standing Committee on Social Policy.

Jack Fonseca, Project Manager with Campaign Life Coalition, called the bill “lunacy,” pointing out that it would most likely create a legal right for a man who calls himself transgendered to use a public bathroom intended for women. 

“This legal right will arise because the right to ‘gender expression’ will be interpreted by the courts as giving men the right to ‘express their gender’ by using a girl’s washroom, change room or shower,” warned Fonseca in an interview with LifeSiteNews.

“It threatens the lives of girls and women by putting them at greater risk from male sexual predators. It will give men a legal alibi for getting caught in the girls bathroom or change room, thereby freeing them to offend another day. Men who plan to assault women in the bathroom, or even a common ‘peeping tom’ hoping to watch girls undress or videotape them, could escape prosecution by pretending to be a cross-dresser.”

Concerned Women of America have reported that bathroom attacks on women are already very common. Donna Miller, an issues specialist with Concerned Women for America North Carolina, told LifeSiteNews in a 2010 interview that transgendered legislation will actually further endanger women.

“The gender identity bills will put more men in bathrooms,” she explained.  “We’re having tremendous problems with bathroom attacks already. Why would you allow more boys in girl’s bathrooms?”

Fonseca pointed out that Gender Identity Disorder (GID) is still listed in American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

“As a compassionate Christian, my heart breaks for those who suffer with gender dysphoria. However, this bill actually causes them harm by encouraging them to embrace and celebrate the disorder rather than seek professional treatment. This legislation, if passed, will actually inflict untold damage upon young people who, because treatment was discouraged, will pursue sex-change surgery and other destructive lifestyles.”

A federal version of the “bathroom bill” is expected to return to the House for a second debate and vote sometime this month. Bill C-279 is a private members bill that aims at giving what its sponsor NDP MP Randall Garrison (Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC) calls “specific protections” to “transsexual and transgendered Canadians.” The bill proposes to amend the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code to include “gender identity” and “gender expression” as prohibited grounds of discrimination.

Tags: joan of arc, transgender

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Vatican expects 1 million to attend World Meeting of Families Papal Mass

by Hilary White, Rome Correspondent Tue May 22 17:14 EST Comments (1)

VATICAN CITY, May 22, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – As the Vatican gears up for the World Meeting of Families in Milan, Cardinal Angelo Scola, the archbishop of Milan, told media at a Vatican press conference today that the family, based upon the marriage of a man and a women, is still “the best way to generate and raise children.”

For this reason, he said, and because of the ongoing attacks on that basic paradigm of the family, the Vatican has committed itself to holding as one of its highest priorities the World Meeting of Families, held every three years in different cities around the world.

The preparation for the meeting has been going on for three years since the 2009 meeting in Mexico City. Those preparations have included the conference in Rome in 2010 on the “Rights of Infancy” and an international private academic seminar with pro-life associations.

Cardinal Ennio Antonelli, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family, said that subjects to be covered in the catechesis at the event, already translated into 11 languages, will be “inter-religious marriage, regulation of fertility, demography, the ethic of life from conception to natural death, the ethics of health, the rights of minors.”

Officials expect at least a million to attend the Papal Mass launching the event, and at least 300,000 to attend the Feast of Testimonies.

Bishop John Hine, head of the Committee for Marriage and Family Life of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales and a delegate to the meeting, told Vatican Radio today that the trend to redefine marriage in many countries is one of the greatest threats to the family, calling it a move toward “destroying the home and the family.”

The World Meeting of Families is a major project of the Vatican and a favourite movement of Pope Benedict XVI who has mentioned it twice in public speeches in the last two weeks. From May 30th May to June 3rd, officials and family-promoting NGOs and groups will discuss the theme, “The Family: Work and Celebration”.

Calling the family a “major issue,” Bishop Hines noted that the British government’s current consultation on “gay marriage” excluded the possibility of discussing whether the definition of marriage should be changed, allowing only submissions on how it will be changed.

The Catholic bishops of England and Wales, he said, have raised with politicians the fact that “this was never in any party’s political manifestos; they didn’t get elected to do this and yet they’re suddenly foisting it upon us.”

Bishop Hine endeared himself to Catholic pro-life campaigners across Britain when he attended a highly publicized rally outside a busy London abortion facility at the end of March, catching some heavy public criticism from the abortion lobby and the media by doing so.

Tags: benedict xvi, milan, spain, world meeting of families

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I killed two of my children: fifteen years later and silent no more

by Katrina Fernandez Tue May 22 16:25 EST Comments (78)

 

May 22, 2012 (The Crescat) - The bumper sticker read, “Having an abortion does not make you un-pregnant, it makes you the mother of a dead baby”. The word “mother” struck me because “mother” is such a powerful word. It conjures many meanings, and when a woman becomes one she is fundamentally changed. “Mother” as a verb means to nurture, care for and protect. “Mother” as a noun means a female person who is pregnant with or gives birth to a child; or a female person whose egg unites with sperm, resulting in the conception of a child.

By this definition if you’ve ever been pregnant you are a Mother. Even if you’ve had an abortion you are still a Mother… a grieving Mother.

“A voice was heard in Ramah, sobbing and loud lamentation; Rachel weeping for her children, and she would not be consoled, since they were no more.” Matthew 2:18

There is no consolation to be had for the mother that loses a child. She will grieve in her heart for the rest of her life. Abortion, however, not only robs a child of its life and a mother of its child, it also robs the mother of her grieving. She is not allowed to grieve because she cannot publicly claim the title Mother.

Abortion advocates will never admit a post-abortive woman is a Mother because to admit that would acknowledge the fact that there was once a child. Not a clump of cells, but a very real living child. When girls begin menstruating they are not called mothers to a clump of cells, yet so many people really believe an abortion is just like having a heavy period or passing a large menstrual clot. This was how it was described to me when I found myself in their clinic fifteen years ago. Two years later when I returned to have a second abortion the lie had not changed.

For fifteen long years I’ve lived with the pain, shame and guilt associated with my past. In that time I’ve experienced denial, anger, and depression. It wasn’t until my conversion to Catholicism that I finally sought the reconciliation my soul needed. Once I received the grace of forgiveness I was charged with the next most important task of my life … to tell as many women as I can how horrible, evil and despicable abortion is.

However, it has taken me another six years to find my courage. In order to honestly talk about the truth I needed to admit to my past and in this one area my words failed me. Today I write this past so that I may finally own up to what it is I have done and make the necessary reparations for my crimes so that others will know just how fundamentally soul-destroying abortion is.

I am choosing this day to find my voice.

Here is the truth I spent so many years denying and keeping from the public – I killed two of my children, robbed my parents of grand-children, and murdered my son’s siblings. These abortions directly caused a medical condition known as incompetent cervix which resulted in the premature birth of another son who died after a week-long struggle in the NICU in 2001. The suffering I’ve endured and caused others is immeasurable and the guilt almost drove me suicidal. I am a coward in every way.

I was a coward in my youth, unable to take responsibility for my sexual actions and I am a coward today because I’ve failed to honestly speak out against abortion for so many years. I failed to shout from the highest building all the ugly truths for every ear to hear. I tried to help a friend once who was considering abortion, but there only so much I could say without giving away my own horrible, awful secret. In the end, withholding that information was not enough to convict her otherwise and she had an abortion. I failed her with my silence.

I refuse to be a coward anymore. In these times, no one can afford to be a coward. The price of our silence is paid in the blood of millions of innocent aborted babies. This is a deplorable evil and it must end now.

Women, post-abortive American women, will be the ones who will make the greatest strides against abortion and change the nation’s heart. Now, in this election year, is the time to stand up and honestly share, in heartrending and uncensored detail, what happens to women when they have an abortion and how they are forever changed, in hopes that no one will suffer the same pain. I’ve been silent for far too long.

Please forgive my silence and I apologize for the scandal these words may cause. Please know that what ever deplorable opinion you hold of me pales in comparison to the opinions I have had of myself.

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Katrina Fernandez is a writer and Catholic convert who runs the popular blog, The Crescat, where this article first appeared.

Tags: abortion

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Pelosi slams measure to protect military chaplains from being forced to hold gay weddings

by Kathleen Gilbert Tue May 22 16:12 EST Comments (33)

 
Nancy Pelosi

WASHINGTON, May 22, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Democrat House leaders including Nancy Pelosi have opposed a measure to ensure military chaplains are not forced to perform same-sex “marriages,” arguing that it is based on a “manufactured crisis” and therefore unnecessary - a response strongly criticized by chaplain advocates.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi on Thursday echoed sentiments issued by the Obama White House regarding the conscience language, part of a defense spending bill, saying that “there’s nothing that says that chaplains act against their faith.”

CNSNews.com, which had queried Pelosi about the language, then asked, “So why would you not support the provision that protects them?”

“Because it’s a fraud. It’s a - welcome to the world of manufactured crises. Here’s one,” Pelosi responded.

“So I think that this bill, it’s a very serious bill, the Defense Authorization bill. It’s about the protection of our country,” she said. “And to sprinkle it with almost scare tactics that somebody is proposing something that we have to prevent is really a frivolous exploitation of a very serious piece of legislation.”

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Section 536 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013 (H.R. 4310) reinforces conscience protection for servicemen regarding sexuality, and states that officers may not order military chaplains to perform same-sex “marriages,” or punish them for declining to do so.

The following section, 537, reverses a Pentagon rule issued immediately after the armed forces’ “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy was lifted last Fall, stating that marriage ceremonies for homosexual couples can be performed on military bases.

The amendments were approved on party-line votes in the House Armed Services committee May 10, the same day President Obama announced that he “personally” supported same-sex “marriage.”

The White House last Tuesday listed 536 and 537 specifically among several disagreeable portions of the bill, saying that the administration “strongly objects” to the two sections as “unnecessary and ill-advised policies that would inhibit” marriage for same-sex couples, a “potentially unconstitutional” infringement. The conscience rule was criticized specifically as “prohibit[ing] all personnel-related actions based on certain religious and moral beliefs.”

H.R. 4310 passed the Republican-led House on Friday.

Meanwhile, military chaplain advocates strongly questioned the idea that concern about chaplains’ conscience rights was “manufactured.”

“I’m a little bit perplexed, because if according to her, there’s no danger to ministers being forced to act against their conscience, what logical objection could there possibly be to putting that in a law?” Archbishop Timothy Broglio of the U.S. Archdiocese for the Military Services told CNSNews.com.

Broglio suggested that “perhaps she’s not very familiar with how the military works.”

“While no one might be constrained to act against his or her conscience, you can also have a situation where someone in command makes it very, very difficult for that person, if the command wants him or her to act in a certain way,” he saidl. “And I think that the law, the provision in the draft, the provision in the bill, would protect the chaplain from that kind of situation.”

Dr. Ron Crews, executive director of the Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty, offered several reasons to believe the crisis is quite real.

“We already have some examples of a chaplain being pulled from an assignment simply because he forwarded an e-mail that was critical of the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy. He was told that ‘You need to be closely supervised.’ He was threatened that he would have to retire early,” he said.

“We have another chaplain who asked, “Can I speak about this issue? And the commander told him, ‘If you can’t get in line (with the military policy in support of homosexuality), resign your commission.’ So we have those kind of real life cases that the American public doesn’t realize is going on.”

Chaplain Gordon Klingenschmitt, who was court-martialed and removed from the U.S. Navy for praying “in Jesus’ name” at a public event in 2007, agreed.

“Pelosi and Obama now violate every soldier’s right to a sacred worship space devoted to Catholic or Evangelical worship, and threaten to punish chaplains who refuse to turn over the chapel keys,” said Klingenschmitt in a statement Friday.

Tags: conscience rights, homosexuality, nancy pelosi

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Canadian bishops’ org. exhorts Catholics to get involved in pro-life

by Patrick B. Craine Tue May 22 15:30 EST Comments (5)

 

OTTAWA, Ontario, May 22, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The Catholic Organization for Life and Family (COLF) is calling on Canadians to get active in building a culture of life with the release of a new brochure on abortion.

The organization, which was co-founded by the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Knights of Columbus, begins by making the case that life begins at conception, then details the harm that abortion does to unborn children, women, and society.

They address the legal situation in Canada, tackle the myth that abortion is a “woman’s right and private choice,” and explain the Church’s teaching that abortion is “always a grave moral evil” even in “difficult cases” like rape or incest.

“When considering these ‘difficult cases’, many fail to remember that the child conceived is a victim along with his or her mother,” they write.

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In discussing what abortion is, COLF highlights the little known fact that the morning-after pill, also known as “emergency contraception,” can act as an abortifacient. “What is less well known is the fact that birth control pills and IUDs can work the same way,” they add.

They also go through the different methods of surgical abortion, including suction aspiration, dilation and evacuation (D&E), and partial-birth abortion.

Throughout the document, COLF is clear that abortion is the fruit of our culture’s general decline in sexual morality.

Abortion is the result of a culture where “sexual intercourse is regarded as little more than a recreational activity that has little or nothing to do with babies,” they explain. “In such a climate, an unplanned pregnancy tends to be treated by a woman and by couples like a ‘mistake’ or an illness.”

They quote Bl. John Paul II’s teaching in his encyclical Evangelium Vitae on the intrinsic connection between abortion and contraception. “Despite their differences of nature and moral gravity, contraception and abortion are often closely connected, as fruits of the same tree,” the late Pope wrote.

“When contraception fails, abortion is the logical antidote – an antidote promoted across the world by the very influential International Planned Parenthood Federation and its affiliate national members,” writes COLF.

In another section, they emphasize that legal abortion puts the responsibility of parenthood “disproportionately onto women” while at the same time doing grave damage to women’s emotional and physical health.

“When and where abortion is legally available, women alone can deliberately accept responsibility for the continuance of their pregnancies and, by logical extension, for the care and upbringing of their children,” they explain.

In concluding, COLF calls on Catholics to get active in building a culture of life in Canada. “The status quo is intolerable. As a civilized country, Canada is in need of legislative reform and of great cultural renewal,” they write.

“Many people of good will feel powerless before this huge challenge. But we can all contribute to the solution, first of all by praying and fasting,” they continue. “We can also ask ourselves if our own attitudes and way of life help to create a culture of life, remembering that permissive attitudes toward abortion are inevitable where and when human sexuality is trivialized.”

“Only when we grasp the truth that our bodies are more than mere instruments of pleasure – that they are instruments of God’s love – will the scourge of abortion end.”

Find the COLF document here:

The Unborn Child: A Gift, A Treasure, A Promise: A Reflection on Abortion

Tags: abortion, colf

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Evangelicals respond to Catholic lawsuits:  ‘We are all Catholic now’

by Ben Johnson Tue May 22 15:09 EST Comments (65)

 
President Obama with Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, who is behind the controversial birth control mandate.

WASHINGTON, D.C., May 22, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) –  The Obama administration’s HHS mandate has united Christians of all stripes – evangelical, historical Protestant, and Roman Catholic – as they close ranks behind a flurry of lawsuits filed yesterday morning to overturn the controversial measure and stall government interference in religion.

After 43 Catholic institutions – including the major archdioceses, dioceses, universities, and publishing houses affiliated with the Church in the United States – filed a dozen lawsuits to strike the measure down on First Amendment grounds, the Christian and conservative communities quickly applauded the move. 

“I have said ‘We are all Catholic now,’ and this is why,” said Concerned Women for America (CWA) President Penny Nance. “The religious community stands together in the belief that this contraception, chemical abortion, and sterilization mandate would force us to pay for something many of us believe is morally repugnant.” 

The fact that Catholic religious institutions filed the lawsuits provided “more evidence that the healthcare law is extremely flawed in its bias for abortion and abortion-inducing drugs,” said Americans United for Life President and CEO Dr. Charmaine Yoest. “This lawsuit is only beginning, as many Americans are deeply troubled by the largest expansion of abortion since Roe v. Wade.”

Those who had already filed such lawsuits welcomed the massive influx of fellow litigants.

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The Alliance Defense Fund is handling three lawsuits against the mandate on behalf of Louisiana College, Geneva College, and a private employer. ADF President and General Counsel Alan Sears said, “These new cases… join the growing list of evangelical, protestant, and Catholic religious organizations and employers who are taking a stand in objecting to the government when it forces any religious institution or individual to provide or fund morally repugnant services.”

Fr. Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life, which filed its own lawsuit in February, said he has urged other organizations and dioceses to follow suit. “When there are multiple federal lawsuits on the same issue in different parts of the country, this can create the potential kind of conflict that the Supreme Court may be more likely to resolve,” he said

The principle that motivates the lawsuits enjoys the support, not only of most traditional churches, but of most Americans. According to a new Knights of Columbus-Marist poll, 74 percent of respondents believe preserving the freedom of religion is more important than enforcing any other law.

Opponents of the lawsuit have attempted to turn the legal battle into a debate over contraception itself. “It is unbelievable that in the year 2012 we have to fight for access to birth control,” Planned Parenthood Federation of America President Cecile Richards said, quoting an often-repeated line in a press release. “Yet this lawsuit would make it harder for millions of women to get birth control.”

The law’s conservative critics have tired of that talking point. Nance said, “President Obama claims this is a women’s health issue, when in fact, it’s a religious freedom issue…The concept of ‘choice’ for this administration means only making the choices that liberals support.” Sears added the cases “are about religious freedom and freedom of conscience, not about contraception.”

The legal complaints submitted Monday ask the courts to invalidate the regulation promulgated by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) last August mandating that all organizations cover abortifacient drugs, contraceptives, and sterilization to be in compliance with the president’s health care reform act.  That includes “all Food and Drug Administration approved contraceptives [and] sterilization procedure,” including Ella, an abortion-inducing drug sometimes called “the week-after pill.”

All of the lawsuits cite concerns about religious liberty and undue government interference. None seeks to prohibit the distribution of birth control.

Neither the broad public support nor the lawsuits themselves garnered much coverage from the mainstream media. Brent Bozell of the Media Research Center noted ABC and NBC news ignored the lawsuits altogether, while “CBS Evening News gave this historic news a mere 19 seconds of air time.”

Longtime conservative activist Richard Viguerie said he believes the church must create its own publicity through ongoing moral leadership from the national and diocesan level down. “Church leaders must identify, and publicly oppose the source of their persecution,” Viguerie wrote on his website, ConservativeHQ.com.

“Those church leaders who once thought Obama’s promise of change wouldn’t affect them must get on the side of Constitutional government now,” Viguerie added. “If they put their moral authority and leadership publicly out front, they will show Americans that they understand that the loss of freedom of conscience threatens all of our other freedoms, and they will find millions of Americans – believers and non-believers alike – on their side.”

Tags: concerned women for america cwa, dr. charlene yoest, hhs mandate, richard viguerie

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Alberta March for Life breaks attendance record

by Thaddeus Baklinski Tue May 22 15:06 EST Comments (2)

 
This year's crowd exceeded that of any other in the march's 5 year history.
Youth were conspicuously present at the march.

EDMONTON, Alberta, May 22, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – After a disappointing turnout at the 2011 March for Life, this year’s event welcomed a record-breaking crowd of 1400, organizers of the march, held on May 17th, told LifeSiteNews.

The organizers said this year’s turnout exceeds even the previous high point in 2010, which was the last year that the Alberta Bishops participated in the march.

In 2011, Alberta’s bishops decided not to participate in the march because the organizers of the event were unable to guarantee that participants would not bring graphic abortion images.

Terry Storms, a spokesperson for the Alberta March for Life Association said that, in keeping with the growing numbers of youth embracing the cause of life and showing their colors by participating in the national and regional marches for life across Canada, the number of young people attending the Alberta march exceeded all previous years.

“In spite of the midweek timing, the numbers of young people were higher than in previous years,” Storms told LifeSiteNews.

“Home schooled students, who are normally among the most enthusiastic supporters of the March, were well represented and, in addition, there were contingents from a number of rural Catholic School districts.”

However, Storms remarked, “Edmonton and area Catholic school divisions and Alberta politicians were not present this year.”

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An interdenominational prayer service held at Grace Lutheran Church at 10:00 a.m. kicked off the day’s events. Participants then gathered at the Alberta Legislature Grounds to the sounds of music provided by “Couples for Christ,” and listened to opening remarks by MCs Joanne Byfield, journalist and president of Alberta Life Issues Education Society (ALIES), and Denise Mountenay, founder and president of Canada Silent No More.

Following an opening prayer by Gary Johnson, State Deputy of the Knights of Columbus, and the singing of O Canada, the marchers were lead by the Knights of Columbus from the Legislature to Churchill Square in front of the Edmonton City Hall, and then back to the Legislature Grounds.

At each of the three stops the marchers were addressed by leading figures of the pro-life movement that included Leila McMann, the outgoing president of Go Life, the University of Alberta’s Pro-Life club; pro-life and anti-euthanasia speaker Mark Pickup; Melody Stefanson of Canada Silent No More; Dr. Gordon Self, vice-president of Covenant Health, and a number of Catholic and Protestant clergy.

This year’s Alberta March for Life had a very special focus - the commemoration of Baby Caleb Charbonneau in whose honor this march was held.

Caleb was diagnosed with anencephaly at 20 weeks gestation. His parents, Adam and Crystal Charbonneau of St. Paul, Alberta, were offered abortion, but they chose to have a natural birth for their baby.

At 34 weeks Crystal delivered their baby naturally at 4:37 pm on Thursday, May 12th 2011, the day of last year’s March for Life. Baby Caleb James died at 6:30 pm the same day.

The Alberta March for Life Association states, “In memory of their act of love and the gift of their first child, we wish to commemorate Baby Caleb on May 17th, 2012 and march in his honor. Congratulations to these parents who Chose Life!”

The day’s events were concluded with a closing prayer given by Greg Fraser, Senior Pastor of Morinville Christian Fellowship.

Tags: abortion, alberta, march for life

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A diet of popcorn: mindless entertainment at the movies

by Eric Metaxas Tue May 22 14:35 EST Comments (10)

 

May 22, 2012 (Breakpoint.org) - Over the first weekend in May, “The Avengers” grossed more than $200 million at the box office — a record. I was responsible for some of the take because my daughter wanted to see it, and I wanted to spend time with my daughter, so I went with her.

For over two hours I stared at the screen and saw, well, nothing. I left the theater not knowing what to make of what I had just watched. There was nothing particularly offensive about the film. Nor were there any ideas that I needed to discuss with my daughter afterward.

In fact, there were no ideas at all — the phrase that comes to mind is “mindless spectacle.” I am not saying that it wasn’t entertaining. It was, in a “popcorn movie” sort of way.

But just while there are times when munching on popcorn is okay, no one puts popcorn at the base of their food pyramid. Likewise, while the occasional “popcorn movie” is okay as an occasional diversion, a steady diet of nothing but mindless entertainment is not good for us.

Yet, when it comes to popular culture, “mindless” is increasingly the least-worst option. This summer, “The Avengers” will be followed by movies based on the 1970s camp classic, “Dark Shadows” and the film adaption of the board game “Battleship.”

If you are wondering how you can turn “Battleship” into a movie, you are not alone. Then there’s yet another take on “Spiderman” and “Men in Black III.” Then there’s what passes for “comedy” at the Cineplex.

It isn’t only the movies: While there are exceptions, the same thing can be said of almost all popular culture.

You might be thinking, “There’s nothing new here, after all, television was called ‘a vast wasteland’ fifty years ago!” But the two things are very different: First, the stuff is everywhere today. When FCC Chair Newton Minow called out the National Association of Broadcasters in 1961, there were three networks. Larger cities like New York had, at most, another handful of independent stations.

But today, there are hundreds of cable networks and countless internet outlets. What’s more, you can watch them at any time on your laptop, iPad, and smart phone. For most Americans, especially those living in cities and their suburbs, “ubiquitous” describes the presence of popular culture in their lives.

The other difference is that contemporary popular culture is largely self-referential. Any cultural reference in a television show or movie is most likely to another bit of contemporary popular culture.

Fifty years ago, the title character in “The Music Man” sang “I hope, I pray for Hester to just win one more ‘A.’” It was a reference to Hester Prynne, the protagonist of Hawthorne’s “The Scarlet Letter,” and the audience was expected to get that reference. Today, a movie making a similar literary reference would be relegated to art houses or PBS.

So, what should conscientious Christians make of this? That’s what I would like to discuss over the next few days. As I said, the issue goes beyond objectionable content: We need to ask ourselves about things like pleasure, play and what media does to us.

In a world where the average American kid watched the equivalent of nearly 11 hours of media every day, these are questions we need to consider. With or without popcorn.

By the way, be sure to check out Chuck Colson’s list of recommended movies at BreakPoint.org. Chuck was big on movies that inspired him and caused him to think — and could spur a good conversation afterwards.

Reprinted with permission from Breakpoint.org

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Family of 10 loses custom-built vehicle at border: cries ‘discrimination’

by Peter Baklinski Tue May 22 13:54 EST Comments (58)

 

LAMPMAN, Saskatchewan, May 22, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A large family in Saskatchewan is crying foul after government officials at the Canadian border impounded their Canadian purchased vehicle after it had been modified in the U.S. so that it could safely accommodate their entire family of ten.

Owners Edwin and Alison Morris say that despite the legal entanglement they are facing with Customs and the Ministry of Transportation, the situation for them is very clear: “They are discriminating against large families, plain and simple.”

Last year, the Morris family grappled with the problem of how to travel safely with their three boys and five girls on the back roads in their rural area. They looked into all the options, from traveling in two cars to using a 12 or 15 passenger vehicle. Two cars meant that they could not travel together as a family, and they felt compelled to rule out a large passenger van because of safety issues.

“If you do your research on those vans, they are not safe,” said Mrs. Morris who spoke by phone from her home to LifeSiteNews.

After much research, the Morris family believed they had finally hit upon a promising solution to their transportation conundrum. They discovered Tim Huskey, owner of Custom Autos by Tim in Oklahoma, who custom-builds stretch SUVs for large families. Huskey converts two SUVs into a single vehicle by welding the frames together according to recognized industry standards.

“We went to the USA because the only qualified business we could find in Canada was not willing to invest the time into the process,” the parents said. “We could have done it ourselves but thought it was more prudent to have someone with many years of experience doing the work.”

Before Edwin and Alison took another step, however, they consulted an official with the Canada Border Services Agency, who they say told the parents that a Canadian purchased vehicle that had been modified in the U.S. would still be considered certified in Canada and that they would have no difficulties bringing their vehicle back home.

But six months later when the family arrived at the Canadian border to bring their custom-built stretch SUV home, they were horrified to learn that their vehicle would not be allowed to enter the country.

Transport Canada told LifeSiteNews in an emailed statement that “bringing back a Canadian certified vehicle after having it altered in another country constitutes importation.”

“If a vehicle is subsequently modified after the manufacturer has certified it, the secondary manufacturer or company that performed the modifications, must demonstrate, by way of re-certification, that the vehicle still complies with the Canada Motor Vehicle Safety Standards,” the department said.

“In general, in a case where an individual imports an inadmissible modified vehicle, Transport Canada will review the U.S. modifier’s certification documents (if such documents are made available to us) on the private importer’s behalf and will correspond with the U.S. modifier about certification questions if necessary.”

But the Morris family says that in Canada it is legal for individuals to modify their vehicles and that Transport Canada has no jurisdiction after a vehicle has been sold at the first point of retail sale. The Morris family pointed out that if they had paid a contractor in Canada to do their custom work, their vehicle would be licensable anywhere in Canada.

Edwin and Alison are now exasperated, arguing that the government policies that are working against them in this case have “nothing to do with safety.”

“Modified vehicles exist across the country,” Mrs. Morris pointed out, arguing that many of the “hotrods” displayed at car shows are licensed even though they have never met the Canada Motor Vehicle Safety Standards.

“We live in a country where standards can be avoided and ignored if it’s for pleasure and luxury but not if it’s for practical use for a family,” she said.

The Morris family is hoping that media attention will help the appropriate federal officials fight for the safety of their family by allowing them to take possession of their modified vehicle. CTVNews in Regina aired a video report about the family’s predicament last week, but Mrs. Morris said that the legal doors to their vehicle still remain tightly closed.

“I totally believe we are going to get our vehicle back, but its not going to come easily, and they are not going to bend easily unless they have public pressure on them,” said Mrs. Morris.

“Everyone has the right to security, but we don’t,” she continued. “We are being forced to endanger our kids’ lives because of governmental bureaucratic rules. They are compromising our right as parents to keep our own children safe.”


Contact information:

Hon. Denis Lebel, P.C., M.P., Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities
House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A6
Ph: (613) 996-6236, (418) 275-2768 (Constituency Office)
E-mail: denis.lebel@parl.gc.ca

Hon. Rob Nicholson, P.C., Q.C., M.P., Minister of Justice, Attorney General of Canada
House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A6
Ph: (613) 995-1547, (905) 353-9590 (Constituency Office)
E-mail: rob.nicholson@parl.gc.ca

Tags: canada, morris family

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Using time well in a networked world

by Kevin de Souza Tue May 22 12:29 EST Comments (2)

 

I must have opened a Facebook account some time in 2005. Then, I had little idea of what Facebook was. The concept of social networking was still in gestation. Little did I know that we were on the brink of a revolution of technology and communication.

It’s a whole new ball game today. When Steve Jobs of Apple Computers presented the iPhone in 2007 he said: “Today, we’re introducing three revolutionary products. The first is a widescreen iPod with touch controls. The second is a revolutionary mobile phone. And the third is a breakthrough Internet communications device. Are you getting it? These are not three separate devices, this is one device, and we are calling it the iPhone.”

It’s true that this Apple gadget was innovative. Not long after, other companies followed suit in producing smartphones. With a proliferation of all kinds of brands offering the open source Android operating system, a high percentage of people have come to own a smartphone. It is no big deal to own a smartphone. It’s affordable. Everyone is getting one.

Driving without a license

While everyone may be getting a smartphone, not all are getting smarter. Some people have convinced themselves that they have to listen to music all the time. Others content themselves with downloading a limitless number of applications (that they probably won’t use, but since there’s space, it’s okay to download all sorts of junk). “WhatsApp” offers free texting over the Internet: this gives way to endless text messages bouncing from one person to another. Families sometimes don’t remember what family life is because everyone is too busy on their own phone looking into “urgent” affairs.

And then there’s the camera. For better or for worse we can observe unbridled behaviour of so many people clicking pictures of anything that catches their fancy. It’s a little sickening to see people click pictures with their mobile phones at the scenes of accidents, or upload photos onto Facebook of aborted foetuses. Discretion is steadily depleting.

This tidal wave of cellphone technology has swept us off our feet. People of all ages are finding themselves driving on new technological highways without having a license to drive. If the Internet was already addictive when we were surfing on our desktop at home or on our laptop at work, today we have the addiction in our pockets. We can spend a lot of time looking at our phones.

579 “friends”

What is there to look at, that makes virtual life so much more interesting than real life? Well, if you’re on Facebook, you are connected to a network of people (whom you may know very well or not at all) who have been accepted by you as “friends”. You can read what they’re thinking, or doing, or saying. Sometimes they may refer to you or say something about you. Someone’s holiday to some faraway land can be narrated through all the pictures he uploads on Facebook. All of us are curious to see pictures. It’s very easy to spend hours just browsing through pictures on Facebook, commenting on them and “liking” them.

From a social angle, this kind of facility makes Facebook very attractive. It’s been extremely easy to keep in touch with some friends from my college years. Likewise, they have many-a-time enjoyed seeing the pictures I post from India. The only hindrance here is that if I give free reign to my curiosity, I will immerse myself in a virtual world of 579 “friends” and escape from the real world and real friendship.

To click or not to click?

For a long time Facebook has been “clean”. Recently I’ve had my doubts about it. Last week a “friend” posted something on my wall that said: “Find out how sexy you are … click the button below”. To click or not to click? That is the question. If you click on one of these applications, there are two outcomes. One, the application tells you your sexiness as a percentage (so what?). The second consequence is viral, i.e. that application is posted to all your “friends”. Even if one or two of them click on the application, the same will be diffused to all their “friends”. In other words, it’s not only you who waste time; you end up wasting many other people’s time when you click.

Recently Facebook has incorporated a feature that allows you to “subscribe to” people you have never seen before. The right hand column of my profile currently displays small icons of three or four scantily clad women, each in provocative positions. I’ve tried to shut this window. It appears that there is no way of doing it. If I click to close any of these options, another voluptuous woman pops up!

For or against technology

There’s a notion that technology is at the root of some of the problems mentioned above. It’s tantamount to people saying that fast food joints are the cause of putting on weight. With this erroneous logic, the solution is to shut down all fast food restaurants. Burgers and fries don’t make us fat unless we lack the self-control that it takes to say, “Enough!”

The Internet, Facebook and mobile phone technology are all very good in themselves. How we use them is what makes the difference. Parents should be concerned about how their children adapt to this fast paced world. They don’t have to know everything about technology but they should try to talk to their kids about their “friends” on Facebook and how they use the Internet in general.

Setting the pace

There’s no point in banning children from surfing the net or using Facebook on their phones. They need guidance on how to be mature and responsible. What we need more than anything today is to establish some form of “phone etiquette”, some kind of understanding about how to use technology.

And who are the pacesetters? Parents, adults, educators. Here’s some food for thought.

  • We need to re-define some “sanctuaries of silence” i.e. moments when we turn off our phone (or put them on silent mode). Meal times with the family. Get-togethers with families and friends.
  • We should think before picking up a call while we are conversing with someone in front of us. Don’t get worried about “missed calls”. They can be returned, if necessary.
  • If we really need to pick up the phone, we should excuse ourselves and be brief on the call.
  • We need to practise “technological fasting”. We should not be afraid to keep our phone in a drawer for some hours or for the entire day or week. It’s very resting. Many “urgent” matters get solved without us.
  • We shouldn’t go to Facebook as if we were looking for a needle in a haystack. We should have a purpose and define the amount of time we want to spend … and leave when time’s up!

Silence, words, images and sounds

If we do adopt this kind of phone etiquette, we will come to recall the value of silence. In his message for the 46th World Communications Day, Pope Benedict XVI says: “When messages and information are plentiful, silence becomes essential if we are to distinguish what is important from what is insignificant or secondary. (…) it is necessary to develop an appropriate environment, a kind of ‘eco-system’ that maintains a just equilibrium between silence, words, images and sounds.”

Every person—young and old—must know how to be silent in his own company to adequately face up to a new technological culture. We don’t have to lock it out. But we do have to learn how to control technology and master its use.

Kevin de Souza is a freelance writer working in the educational field in Mumbai. This article is reprinted from Mercatornet.com under a Creative Commons license.

Tags: facebook

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Praising the play while ignoring the performance: Obama’s misguided support for gay ‘marriage’

by Donald DeMarco, Ph.D. Tue May 22 11:38 EST Comments (13)

 
Donald DeMarco

May 22, 2012 (HLIAmerica.org) - The May 11, 2012 editorial of the Toronto Star offers high praise for President Obama’s endorsement of same-sex marriage. The editor credits the U.S. president with showing “rare courage,” while at the same time advancing the cause for “civil rights.” In approving the legalization of marriage between a man and a man, and a woman and a woman, according to the editorial, Obama is affirming the “full humanity of gays and lesbians.” He is “weighing in on the side of compassion, inclusion and equal rights for all.” How could millennia of diverse cultures, until recently, have missed issues of such fundamental importance? Has society now undergone a quantum leap of moral courage and perspicacity?

The editorial serves as a text-book example of how a rhetorician can maintain his ground while blithely ignoring the issue, ignoring the facts, and ignoring the consequences of the position he is advocating. Plato’s Gorgias comes to mind in which sophists seek to persuade others without giving them a basis or justification for their being persuaded. For Socrates, these sophists are manipulators, not educators.

Ignoring the Issue

The issue in question is marriage, the nature of which places definable limits on its personal and social expressions. Marriage is not a political issue, like civil rights. The traditions of virtually every culture in history has recognized that marriage is an institution based on the union of a man and a woman who are not married to another and not blood-related to each other, ordered by the very nature of the spouses to the begetting and rearing of children.

Is Obama being “courageous” or iconoclastic? Is he widening the area of human rights or is he recklessly opposing one of human history’s most natural, most honored and most indispensable institutions? To treat marriage between a man and a woman as something purely political is to ignore the very nature of marriage and exemplifies one of the most common of all errors, the inability or unwillingness to deal directly with the question at hand. Identifying traditional marriage with something that it cannot be demeans marriage. If someone thinks that a goat is a human being, he is not thereby honoring the goat, but disparaging human beings.

Furthermore, the issue is most certainly not whether people with a homosexual orientation are full human beings. A two-year-old is a full human being even though, at that age, he is not eligible for marriage. The “right” to marry whomever one chooses is not what makes a person a human being. Nature precedes politics. Obama had to be born before he went into politics. Putting politics before nature is preposterous (prae + posterius = putting “before” that which should come “after”).

Appearing in the same newspaper is a brief description of a pro-life march in Ottawa:  “MARCH AGAINST ABORTION:  Thousands hit the streets to support the rights of fetus [sic].” After misidentifying the purpose of the pro-life movement, and depersonalizing unborn human beings as “fetus,” it is not surprising the Star is not praising pro-life advocates for showing rare courage in widening the frontiers of human rights. While this description may not ignore the facts, exactly, it does compromise both the truth of pro-life goals and the nature of the unborn human being.

Ignoring the Facts

Mr. Obama, the most pro-abortion president in American history, is adamantly opposed to the rights of the unborn. In addition, it is clear from his recent actions, that he is staunchly opposed to people’s constitutionally guaranteed freedom of religion when it is a barrier to pro-choice ideology. President Obama is an enemy of freedom. He deserves criticism, not praise. He is like a careless art critic who praises the play without bothering to witness its performance. Obama seems to think that the right to marry (which is conditional) is unconditional, whereas the right to life (which is unconditional) is conditional, as conditioned by the mother’s choice.

The Star editorial’s use of “compassion” and “inclusion” and “equal” is purely rhetorical. “Compassion” shares another’s pain, but by no means does it justify same-sex marriage. “Inclusion” is much too vague to have any moral significance. It does not denote what is included. A punch bowl that includes a frog is both inclusive and revolting at the same time. The union of male and female has a procreative potential that same-sex relations do not have at all. The former ensures the continuation of the species; the latter is a genetic dead end.  In this regard there is no equality.

Ignoring the Consequences

The editorial ignores the consequences of legalizing “same-sex marriages .” The quixotic attempt to show that traditional marriage and same sex marriage are equal has divisive consequences that are already apparent. It is a serious affront to decent people who married well and worked hard to raise their children properly to accuse them of being some kind of misanthropes who are opposed to human rights. It is also an affront to religious people who see the Bible as being the Word of God. According to the editorialist, either they or God himself are against human rights. To stigmatize people who have good reasons for upholding traditional marriage as being “homophobic,” and other misplaced and offensive terms, is to invite consequences that are inevitably divisive, painful and irresolvable.

The kindest thing one can say about a person who ignores the issue, ignores the facts and ignores the consequences is that he is a misguided ignoramus. It is probably more realistic to say that he is dishonest, unscrupulous and manipulative. If the best reason for legalizing same-sex marriages is no reason at all, then it is only through coercion and intimidation that it can be maintained. The Star editorial is clearly in the dark.

Donald DeMarco, Ph.D., is a Senior Fellow of HLI America, an educational initiative of Human Life International. He is Professor Emeritus at St. Jerome’s University in Waterloo, Ontario and adjunct professor at Holy Apostles College and Seminary. He writes for the Truth and Charity Forum, where this article first appeared..

Tags: abortion, gay marriage, marriage

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Video: I had an abortion in 1979 and I still remember my baby’s ‘birthday’

by Kathleen Gilbert Tue May 22 10:55 EST Comments (22)

 

Click ‘like’ if you want to END ABORTION!

PLEASANT HILL, Tennessee, May 22, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A Tennessee woman who had an abortion in 1979 says she still mourns each anniversary of the procedure - as well as the birthday that might have been - and notes how little information was given her about the biological facts of her baby’s development.

Debbie Hensley, 57, shared her story in a video as part of a series by The Tennessean on women who have faced abortion.

Hensley says she “felt like I had no choice” but abortion when, with a son only two years old, she found herself pregnant fresh out of a divorce.

“I was very uneducated. I thought there was no life before a certain time. I had no idea that at 12 weeks when I aborted my baby, the baby was developed and had feeling and had a heartbeat,” she said. “I just didn’t have any idea. We didn’t have any education back then. It was just like, ‘do it, get out and that’s it.’

“And I didn’t deal with it for a long time.”

Hensley said that she believes women often take “years to deal with the abortion” and the emotional fallout, which she says began to influence her life without her even knowing the cause.

After she was remarried and began raising a family with her new husband, said Hensley, “I began to be really depressed. I began to be really ugly to my children. I didn’t know what was wrong.” She says that she finally attended a post-abortion healing weekend at her local pregnancy center that “changed her life.”

“You’ll always remember the anniversary of the abortion. You’ll remember the anniversary of what their birthday would have been,” said Hensley. “I still cry. I still have emotions, but it’s okay.

“It still hurts, but it don’t hurt like it did then.”

Another video in the series tells the story of a Nashville woman, whose face is hidden from the camera, who says she does not regret the abortion she chose in 2007 after facing what seemed like insurmountable pressures, both from a high-risk pregnancy and her financial situation.

When she learned she was pregnant, said “Lisa,” “Tears just started flowing down my face [at] the thought of going through such a bad pregnancy and the thought of bringing a child into this world I could not afford.”

She said her husband wanted to keep the baby, but ultimately agreed to her decision. Today, she says she takes comfort in the idea that “God forgives.”

“God forgives. He forgives over and over again. I had to pray about it. And I had to move on,” she said. “I think God forgives and I will be fine.”

Tags: abortion

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David is advancing: young pro-lifers on the march in Europe

by Joannes Bucher Tue May 22 10:37 EST Comments (2)

 
Cardinal Raymond Burke with Monsignor Ignacio Barreiro of HLI at the Rome March for Life

May 22, 2012 (HLIWorldWatch.org) - Anyone who has ever participated in the annual March for Life in Washington, D.C., has marvelled not only at the always-surprisingly massive and joyful crowds, but also at the abundance of pro-life resources available: books, pamphlets, buttons, stickers, CDs, DVDs, and so on. And in light of the comparably modest amount of pro-life material available in German-speaking countries (Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Italy), one may even be a little envious of the influential presence of the American pro-life movement in the worldwide battle to defend life, especially their youth activism.

We should of course keep in mind that in many, if not most, cases, the tragedy of abortion is being exported by the United States to the rest of the world. It should come as no surprise, therefore, that the healing of the deep wounds that four decades of abortion have inflicted on the lives of countless post-abortive women and men should begin in America. It can no longer be denied that abortion is deadly, both for the child and for the mother, and it will take a concerted effort to end this holocaust.

In German-speaking countries, many people, especially young people, are finally beginning to realize the truth about abortion; a development which is the result of the tireless efforts of pro-life individuals and groups who have remained committed to raising awareness about its devastating consequences (despite constant ridicule by the media and the never-ending nature of the task at hand). Slowly, an appreciation for the beauty and dignity of every life is spreading, and the issue of abortion and the healing of its wounds is gaining more traction in the public conversation.

So what’s next? Without a doubt, the challenge of raising awareness remains at the forefront of pro-life activities. Our American counterparts have been exemplary in this respect, as well as in showing that the pro-life cause is very much a cause of the young generation. Contrary to the media’s portrayal of the pro-life movement as a collection of backwards extremists, the images from the U.S. March for Life and its European equivalents have put a new, young face on the cause for life.

Click ‘like’ if you want to END ABORTION!

This year in Brussels, young pro-life leaders organized thousands for the March for Life in the EU capital. During pro-life demonstrations in Slovakia, around 500 young people marched for the first time in Bratislava, and in the city of Kosice more than 1,500 people participated in the march. Young people filled the streets for the March for Life in Prague. And Romania had its biggest March for Life ever with 20 cities participating. Being pro-life is not simply a vestige of a generation gone by but rather the passion of today’s generation and, by any indication, of tomorrow’s generation, too.

Recently in Rome, Italy, as many as 15,000 people of different ages and regions came to this year’s March for Life to express their solidarity with the unborn, many of them young pro-life advocates. It was a complete success, as organizers were expecting 5,000 people at most to attend.

Monsignor Ignacio Barreiro, the director of the Rome office of Human Life International (HLI), who helped to organize the march, told LifeSiteNews that the march was a “demonstration of a new commitment to defend life” in Italy, particularly among the young

American Cardinal Raymond Burke also participated in Italy’s March for Life, telling the Catholic News Agency that it brought back memories for him of “so many marches” in America.

“[The marches] serve a very important function,” he said, “first to give a witness in our whole country to the inviolable dignity of human life but second, to awake consciences to what is happening.”

“I can only imagine that it will grow and increase every year and that it will be an important part in Italy, as it is in America, for the restoration of the respect for the dignity of human life,” he said.

So we have every reason to be optimistic in Europe that young pro-life leaders will finally turn the tide. Endurance, tenacity, knowledge and courage are vital to our success, and so is faithfulness. Our young pro-life leaders in Europe have all these qualities and more. The abortion lobby may be a Goliath, but young David is here, and David is advancing.

Joannes Bucher is the regional coordinator for Europe at Human Life International (HLI). This article reprinted with permission from HLIWorldWatch.org

Tags: abortion, europe, march for life

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Dad commits suicide after girlfriend threatens abortion

by Hilary White, Rome Correspondent Tue May 22 09:59 EST Comments (80)

 

SOUTHAMPTON, May 22, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Local media in southern England reported last week that a 39-year-old man committed suicide after his girlfriend told him she intended to abort their child.

Mark Horsted, a physical fitness trainer living in Hampshire, was found on March 15th by police after having hanged himself, reportedly following an argument with Victoria Lomas-Piddington. Miss Lomas-Piddington told the court that Horsted suffered from insecurities in their relationship and had threatened suicide in the past. 

An inquiry in Southampton Coroner’s Court was told that Mr. Horsted had confided to his family about his troubles. His sister, Lesley Lillis, said, “He confided about the troubles in their relationship, and the last thing being that she was aborting their child.” The court registered a ruling of suicide.

Colleagues have set up a memorial to him at the David Lloyd leisure centre where he worked, the Salisbury Journal reports. 

Click ‘like’ if you want to END ABORTION!

One of the least talked-about aspects of the abortion debate is its impact on men who lose the chance to be fathers by laws that place the “choice” to kill a child exclusively in the hands of the mother. Even now, with the pro-life community widely aware of the severe consequences of abortion on mothers, little research, and even less counseling is being done for the fathers of aborted children.

A number of studies have shown that men share many of the same emotions as women over abortion, including guilt, anger, grief, shame and depression, after the fact. Added to this is the problem for men, who naturally desire to protect their children, of being legally disenfranchised by a system that allows them no say.

Arthur Shostak, an emeritus professor of sociology at Drexel University, is the author of the 1984 book “Men and Abortion: Lessons, Losses, and Love,” which surveyed men while they were in the wait rooms of abortion facilities. In 2000, Shostak polled 766 men in eleven clinics and found that “The sense of [feeling] powerless is great, and is aggravated by the remarkable loneliness of the men.”

Shostak noted too that the abortion industry almost completely ignores men, saying, “Once inside the clinic (having often had to pass through a gauntlet of vitriolic or prayerful anti-abortion protestors), males discover there is nothing for them save for nervous silent time-passing.”

Tags: abortion

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Canadian pro-life group launches cross-country ‘Abortion Caravan’

by Patrick B. Craine Tue May 22 08:03 EST Comments (9)

 

CALGARY, Alberta, May 22, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Young adults with the anti-abortion group, Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform have released details today about their plan to take a project once used to advance abortion rights, the 1970 Abortion Caravan, and to instead abolish abortion with their own spin-off: The New Abortion Caravan.

In one week’s time, 20-plus young people ranging in ages from 19-36 will be driving box-bodied trucks with 7-foot tall and 22-foot wide posters of aborted children, demonstrating on street corners with similar graphics, and circulating postcards at peoples’ homes.  They are starting their campaign in Vancouver on May 29, travelling across the country and ending in Ottawa on Canada Day.

CCBR’s executive director Stephanie Gray explained the historical significance of her group’s tour: “We have taken the sacred cow of Canada’s abortion rights movement and are using it to advance the cause for pre-born children.”

The group’s announcement comes after the circulation of a mysterious teaser video two weeks ago, with a riddle that left groups on both sides of the debate confused: “It once signaled the coming of a great injustice.  Now it will make the invisible victims visible.”

The answer?  The (New) Abortion Caravan.

In 1970, a group of radical pro-abortion feminists gathered outside the Vancouver Art Gallery to start a cross-country trek to Ottawa.  They had two goals: 1) Repeal Canada’s abortion laws, and 2) Obtain free abortion on demand. Eighteen years later, they got what they wanted with the Supreme Court’s Morgentaler decision.

In a master’s thesis on the 1970 Abortion Caravan, Francis Wasserlein writes, “The Abortion Caravan brought into the homes of the vast majority of newspaper-reading, television-viewing Canadians the reality of abortion in a manner unprecedented in Canada.” The New Abortion Caravan will do the same, says Gray, but she pointed out that the focus will not be on choice in the abstract sense, but on what is being chosen.

Gray explained the historical significance of her group’s use of the opposition’s tactics: “Last year, we announced our new EndtheKilling plan to eradicate abortion from our country in our lifetime.  We have given ourselves an 18-year deadline to achieve justice for the pre-born.  Our journey will begin with how the opposition began: With a caravan.  They did graphic, bloody dramatizations of illegal abortions.  We will demonstrate with graphic, bloody images showing the reality of all abortions.”

Gray said her group believes women in crisis need help but that abortion isn’t the solution: “Abortion doesn’t make a poor woman rich,” she said. “Nor does it unrape the rape victim.  And it certainly doesn’t turn the frog of a boyfriend into a prince.  So if we truly want to help women, we need to eliminate a woman’s crisis, not exterminate a woman’s child.”

The project is sure to cause significant controversy.  One of their images shows a 24-week aborted fetus with the caption, “If sex-selection abortions are wrong, why not all abortions?”  Another shows a 9-week aborted fetus next to a pregnant woman lighting a cigarette, with the caption, “Cigarettes Hurt Babies.  Abortions Kill Them” (See signs here.).

Gray defended the group’s approach saying, “The pictures of abortion are shocking because abortion is shocking.  The images are disturbing because killing a child is a disturbing thing.”

Gray said that besides displaying bloody images and debating the public, they will do presentations in each community they go to (See schedule here.).

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Despite increased risk of ‘heavy bleeding,’ study promotes post-abortion phone follow-up

by Ben Johnson Mon May 21 19:52 EST Comments (7)

 
Diana Samberg

SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA, May 21, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – Two researchers have suggested women who have had an abortion could skip an in-person office follow-up and instead confer by phone, although their research shows those who do so are less likely to keep their appointment, more likely to make unscheduled contacts, and more than four-times as likely to suffer heavy bleeding.

“Phone follow-up is feasible for medical abortion and can assess the need for further in-person follow-up,” Diana W. Samberg, MS, a doctoral candidate at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, told the annual meeting of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

She and Dr. Beatrice A. Chen of the University of Pittsburgh conducted a survey of 118 post-abortive women at Magee-Women’s Hospital in Pittsburgh from January 2010 through June 2011.

Their research found 13.7 percent of those who called the office after an abortion rather than being examined by a doctor suffered from “heavy bleeding” – bleeding heavy enough to require an office visit. Only three percent of those who visited in person had the same experience.

One of the women who followed up by phone had to come in for Dilation and Curettage (D&C), a process to remove portions of the placenta or fetus left inside the mother’s womb after an abortion.

A news report of the conference states “session moderator Caela Miller, MD, of the faculty of the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences, suggested that infections might emerge when larger numbers of women undergoing medical abortions were surveyed.”

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

Women who chose to respond by phone were twice as likely not to keep the appointment as those who said they would report in person. Samberg reported 18 percent of the phone group did not receive any follow-up, versus nine percent of those who promised to return to a clinic. 

The phone group was also more likely to make unscheduled visits or calls and more than twice as likely to make two or more unscheduled phone calls or visits, possibly suggesting undetected problems or concerns.

The group opting for phone follow-up rather than an in-person visit were older, the majority had a previous abortion, most were employed, and were more likely to be white.
 
Despite the concerns, the presenters viewed this as a viable alternative for abortionists. The study followed a 2010 study finding 64 percent of women who chose a phone follow-up did not need to report to the office.

The phone visits would likely save the abortionists time via shorter visits, allowing them to perform more abortions.

Former abortionist Carol Everett explained why she chose her career. “I wanted to be a millionaire,” she said. “And the way for me to be a millionaire was to do 40,000 abortions a year.”

Tags: american college of obstetricians and gynecologists, beatrice chen, diana samberg

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