Wednesday, May 23, 2012

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X-Men superhero to have same-sex ‘marriage’

by Ben Johnson Wed May 23 18:10 EST Comments (33)

 

NEW YORK, NEW YORK, May 23, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – As part of its ongoing campaign to increase its characters’ diversity, Marvel Comics will feature X-Men superhero Northstar having a same-sex “marriage” ceremony with his partner, Kyle.

Northstar became the first openly homosexual comic character in 1992.

Marvel Comics editor-in-chief Axel Alonso said, “Marvel has a long and proud tradition of reflecting the world in all its diversity, and this is just one more example of that.”

Marjorie Liu, an X-Men writer, told Rolling Stone she wanted to inspire others to follow their footsteps. “Here are two people, trying to live their lives – mutant and gay, black and gay – empowered in their own ways, but also fringe-dwellers,” she said. “They’re living life on their own terms…The message is: You can do the same thing.”

The “marriage” will take place in next month’s Astonishing X-Men #51.

Alonso told Rolling Stone the editorial team was inspired to pursue the wedding storyline after same-sex “marriage” became legal in New York State, where the characters live.

However, not everyone in the Marvel universe supports redefining marriage. “Not everyone will accept the invitation or the validity of Northstar’s vows,” Alonso said, revealing even “one of Northstar’s team members will turn down the invitation.”

Alonso insisted the views of those who support traditional marriage “will be fairly represented.” Co-editor Jeanine Schaffer agreed, “There are also people who are struggling with it. We want to tell those stories, too.”

The move follows closely on the heels of another comic book outing. On Sunday, DC Comics co-publisher Dan DiDio told a London’s comic book convention that an existing DC character, who had been assumed to be straight, will become “one of our most prominent gay characters.”   

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Northstar will not be the first homosexual superhero to tie the knot. Stormwatch characters Apollo and Midnighter already “married” and adopted a child.

More recently, Archie comics book character Kevin Keller “married” his homosexual partner in the January 2012 issue. One Million Moms, a project of the American Family Association, asked for members to contact Toys ‘R’ Us stores to prevent the issue’s display in front of an impressionable young audience. Attempts to contact One Million Moms about the X-Men issue were not successful by press time.

The quest to diversify the superhero world has seen rivals Marvel and DC introducing homosexual characters for decades.

DC’s Teen Titans features Bunker, an Hispanic homosexual born in Mexico. In 2002, the DC character Terry Berg was nearly beaten to death in a homosexual hate crime in the Green Lantern comic series.

Wolverine’s son, Daken, has had homosexual escapades in Marvel’s pages, while DC’s Starman had a same-sex partner until his own fictional death.

The newspaper comic pages are not exempt. The long-running comic strip “Funky Winkerbean,” penned by Tom Batiuck, had a same-sex couple attend the prom last month.

At other times, the comic companies have added minority groups to the comic book world by changing the historical sexual orientation and ethnicity of existing superheroes.

DC reintroduced Batwoman, who was originally Batman’s love interest, as a lesbian who celebrates Hanukkah in 2006.

In 2002, Marvel relaunched the 1950s-era cowboy the Rawhide Kid as a homosexual gunfighter.

Marvel writer Peter David helped turn asexual mutant Shatterstar into a bisexual.

Marvel killed off Spider-Man’s alter ego Peter Parker last June, replacing him with Miles Morales, a teenager who is half-black, half-Hispanic, and may be revealed to be homosexual. At the time, Alonso said, “This was a conscious decision. Here at Marvel, we pride ourselves on reflecting the real world in all its diversity.”

The artist who helped create the new Spider-Man look, Sara Pichelli, said, “Maybe sooner or later a black or gay - or both - hero will be considered something absolutely normal.”

Superheroes such as Blue Beetle, Firestorm, and The Atom have also been changed from white to Hispanic, black, and Asian.

While some are tempted to laugh off gay comics, their impact on popular culture – and the children whose worldview they help shape – cannot be calculated. Before President Obama endorsed same-sex “marriage,” Vice President Joe Biden said “when things really begin to change is when the social culture changes.” He credited the TV program “Will and Grace” with doing “more to educate the American public than almost anything anybody’s ever done so far.”

Tags: comic books, same-sex 'marriage'

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Target flip-flops, funds same-sex ‘marriage’ organization

by Ben Johnson Wed May 23 16:38 EST Comments (33)

 
LGBT groups put Target in a bulls-eye after it donated money
LGBT groups put Target in a bulls-eye after it donated money to a pro-marriage candidate in 2010.

MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA, May 23, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – Two years after funding a pro-marriage politician, the Target Corporation has decided to fund an organization dedicated to same-sex “marriage.”

Target has announced it will make a donation worth up to $120,000 to the Family Equality Council (FEC), a homosexual political advocacy group.

In the month of June, the chain will donate the proceeds from online sales of a special collection of shirts, including one designed by singer Gwen Stefani, to the organization. 

The Minneapolis-based retailer faced backlash in 2010 after it gave $150,000 to MN Forward, a political group that supported Tom Emmer, the pro-life, pro-marriage Republican candidate for governor of Minnesota. He narrowly lost to pro-abortion Democrat Mark Dayton.

At the time, the corporation resisted calls to make an equal contribution to a homosexual advocacy organization. Although Target had a long and positive relationship with Minneapolis Pride Parade, and the LGBT pressure group OutFront Minnesota admitted the store has been “a strong ally of Minnesota’s GLBT community,” the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and other homosexual political organizations demanded contributions and inspired a boycott. Target generated nearly $70 billion in annual revenues in 2011.

A Target spokesman denied the donations were linked.

FEC opposes a constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman, which is up for a statewide referendum this November.

Chuck Darrell, communications director for Minnesota for Marriage, told LifeSiteNews.com, “Perhaps it would make a lot more sense for Target to help raise money for traditional marriage, as a new study on social trends shows huge sectors of our economic benefit from traditional marriage with children. That includes corporations like Target.”

A study released last year by the Social Trends Institute found a family that is married with children spends more than three times more on households products and services than single people and significantly more than childless married couples. “Companies as varied as Home Depot…and Target…are probably more likely to profit when men and women marry and have children,” its authors, W. Bradford Wilcox and Carlos Cavallé, concluded. 

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“Government and corporations had a vested interest in encouraging traditional marriage and procreation, because everybody benefits from it,” Darrell told LifeSiteNews. 

Archbishop John C. Nienstedt of St. Paul and Minneapolis has strongly supported the measure.

Target’s beneficiary, the Family Equality Council, was founded in 1979 as the Gay Parents Coalition. In 1998, after a series of name changes, the group changed its name to Family Pride Coalition “in order to include bisexual and transgender parents.” It settled on Family Equality Coalition in 2007. 

FEC has one prominent ally in its fight against the marriage amendment: President Barack Obama. In April, an Obama campaign spokesperson said the president felt the Minnesota amendment “would single out and discriminate against committed gay and lesbian couples.” Since that time President Obama has endorsed same-sex “marriage,” citing the Golden Rule and conversations with his daughters as his motivation.

Darrell told LifeSiteNews the president’s involvement in a state issue backfired.

“President Obama’s betrayal of traditional marriage caused a lot of new interest in the campaign, especially when people come to understand that politicians are trying to meddle with the definition of marriage,” he said.

Contact:
E-mail may be sent to Target Chairman Gregg Steinhafel via this link, or call Target headquarters at (612) 304-6073, and choose option 6.

Tags: chuck darrell, minnesota, same-sex 'marriage', target

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Abortion debate jeopardizes 900-year-old Liechtenstein dynasty

by Peter Baklinski Wed May 23 16:22 EST Comments (18)

 
Hereditary Prince Alois

LIECHTENSTEIN, May 23, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Hereditary Prince Alois of Liechtenstein has threatened to step down from his royal duties if a citizen-led initiative to limit his vetoing power proves successful. The citizens’ initiative gained momentum last year when the 43 year-old prince threatened to veto the results of a referendum should the majority opt to legalize abortion in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy and in cases of fetal deformity.

Speaking to parliament in March, the prince, a devout Catholic and father of four, made it clear that for the Royal Family to continue its vision for the country, it must retain the royal power to veto legislation contrary to that vision.

“The royal family is not willing to undertake its political responsibilities unless the prince… has the necessary tools at his disposal,” said Prince Alois as reported by Agence France-Presse. “But if the people are no longer open to that, then the royal family will not want to undertake its political responsibilities and ... will completely withdraw from political life.”

Liechtenstein, with a population of 36,000 and a land area of 160 square kilometers, has a constitution that empowers the hereditary prince with the royal right of veto. The royal family and their princes have ruled the tiny country as an autonomous monarchy since the Holy Roman Empire was dissolved in 1806.

Abortion in Liechtenstein is illegal under current law. According to the Penal Code of 1987, whoever performs an abortion can be punished with up to one year in prison. If an abortion is performed for profit, the sentence is elevated to three years in prison. Abortions are permitted, however, when deemed necessary to prevent serious danger to the life of the pregnant woman or serious harm to her health, when the pregnant woman is under the age of fourteen and has not at any time been married to the man who impregnated her, or when performed to save the pregnant woman from immediate danger to her life that cannot otherwise be prevented.

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Spokeswoman for Prince Alois, Silvia Hassler-De Vos told the Associated Press last year that the prince’s vow to veto the September 2011 abortion bill should its support reach a majority in the referendum was his way of sending a “clear signal that abortion isn’t an acceptable solution for an unwanted pregnancy.”

The abortion bill, which had previously been voted down by the nation’s parliament in a 25-7 vote earlier last year, failed in the referendum, with 52% of the vote affirming article 27 of the nation’s constitution which states that “everyone has the right to life.”

“I am proud of our Prince of course!” said Dr. Josef Seifert, Professor of Philosophy at the International Academy for Philosophy in Liechtenstein to LifeSiteNews when asked to comment on the prince’s refusal to compromise with abortion.

The prince’s pro-life position runs contrary to a socially liberal trend in Liechtenstein that recently led to the creation of same-sex civil unions, a measure that was approved by referendum despite the fact that as much as 80% of the country identifies itself as Catholic.

In the aftermath of the abortion referendum’s failure, political activists formed a citizens’ committee to revoke the prince’s right of veto. Under the Liechtenstein constitution, the committee had to gather 1,500 signatures by the middle of May to call a referendum.

Sigvard Wohlwend, a spokesperson for the citizens’ committee, told LifeSiteNews that 1732 signatures were submitted to Parliament on May 10. Wohlwend said that Parliament will debate the initiative today and suspects that a popular vote on a newly proposed bill to limit the prince’s power will happen in the near future.

“As we understand, the government will set the date for July 1, 2012,” he said.

Wohlwend clarified that the citizens’ initiative “does not strive to abolish the princely right to veto bills. But it wants to restrain it, so in future the Prince shall not have the power to veto bills passed by the Liechtenstein electorate.”

“He will keep his veto right against bills passed by the parliament. So the princely veto right will remain as it has been in 98%+ of the cases,” he said.

While the catalyst for the citizens’ initiative was the prince’s announcement to veto abortion legislation, Wohlwend emphasized that “this initiative to restrain the princely veto right is not a question of pro or contra abortion: It is only a matter of how much power the Prince of Liechtenstein shall have in future.”

Despite the optimism of the citizens’ group, even if the proposed referendum this summer proves successful, the prince of Liechtenstein nonetheless retains the power to veto it. Analysts suspect however that it is more likely that the prince would resign his duties and retire from politics, according to Agence France-Presse.

Prince Alois refrained from granting an interview with LifeSiteNews, saying through his spokesperson that the “interview topic concerns mainly issues of domestic policy” that he did not wish to divulge to “foreign media.”

Francis Phillips of the U.K.’s Catholic Herald commented that Prince Alois is a role model for political leaders since he does not let politics trump his own faith convictions.

“Prince Alois, as a practising Catholic – and unlike some American high-profile, supposedly Catholic politicians who I have blogged about recently – does not believe he can separate his faith from his public duties over a matter of such fundamental importance,” wrote Phillips.

“I think he is right. He is exercising his right of veto, not because of a personal whim but to uphold natural justice against the threat of an unjust law.”

“As the custodian of justice towards unborn future citizens of Liechtenstein, he is acting more responsibly than the activists,” she said.

Tags: abortion, catholic, liechtenstein, prince alois

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Indonesians fight to stop ‘blasphemous’ Lady Gaga ‘Born this Way’ concert

by Matthew Cullinan Hoffman Wed May 23 15:57 EST Comments (8)

 
Protest in Phillipines against Lady Gaga

May 23, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - As Indonesian Muslim groups fight to stop a “Lady Gaga” concert in their country, the singer claims she is in negotiation with authorities to permit the event under certain restrictions.

Islamic organizations have been fighting against the singer’s scheduled appearance in Jakarta, which is slated for June 3, for several weeks, on the grounds that her risqué, religion-mocking performances are “blasphemous” and toxic to the morality of young people.

“Lady Gaga is considered an icon for liberal culture and Indonesia’s freedom is not without limits,” Asrorun Niam, an official of the Muslim National Ulema Council (MUI), told the French Press Agency. “There are restrictions related to norms, morals and religion.”

“We reject the Lady Gaga concert on a number of considerations, including cultural liberalization, which degrades the morality of the younger generation,” said Muhammad Rahmad Kurnia, Chairman of the Muslim group Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia (HTI), in an interview with the Jakarta Globe.

The performances, which have also sparked protests by Christians in the Philippines, South Korea, and Hong Kong, have been dubbed by the singer the “Born This Way Ball,” repeating her claim that homosexuality is biologically determined.

Protests and disruptions promised by concert’s opponents

According to the Jakarta Globe, at least thirteen Islamic groups have complained to the Jakarta Police about the event, including the militant Islamic Defender’s Front (FPI) and Islamic People’s Forum (FUI).  They promise to protest the concert if it goes forward.

The Jakarta Police have publicly stated that they are against permission being granted for the “Born this Way Ball,” although they say that if permission is granted, they will defend the concert with thousands of officers.

The government’s Minister of Religious Affairs, Kemenag Suryadharma Ali, has also told the press that he is opposed to the event.

“Yes, I really have to give a letter of recommendation to the Chief of Police not to give the operating license for the Lady Gaga concert in Jakarta,” said Suryadharma today.

He added that he was not mollified by assurances that the concert would be toned down.

“I still refused, and hope that the rejection was noted by the police,” he said, adding: “The appearance of Lady Gaga still does not fit with the culture and value system adopted by Indonesia.”

Representatives of the Islamic Defender’s Front (FPI) have reportedly set up a Facebook site stating, “We have gotten Lady Gaga tickets, not to watch but for us to enter. Whatever will be will be, we’re ready for the risk.”

“She’s a vulgar singer who wears only panties and a bra when she sings and she stated she is the envoy of the devil’s child and that she will spread satanic teaching. This is dangerous,” said Salim Alatas, Jakarta head of the Islamic Defender’s Front.

Police have responded by stating that if the event is approved, they will have plainclothes officers in the crowd, ready to counteract any disruptions.

Christians fight Gaga concerts in Philippines, Korea

Officials of the Islamic People’s Forum observe that while Gaga had made similar promises to Philippine authorities to omit objectionable material from her concerts, she has nonetheless offended the religious and moral beliefs of Christians in her recent concerts there.

“Lady Gaga wore the cross on her genitals. Many of her songs are insulting to Christian beliefs. I wonder why we are the ones that are attacked when opposing her,” a FUI spokesman said, according to the Jakarta Globe. “People who oppose it still have a healthy mind to reject a fool industry like this,” he said, adding that “This is clearly exploitation.”

Protests in the Philippines failed to stop Gaga’s two recent concerts in the Manila area, where seventy Evangelicals protested in front of Manila’s City Hall recently, with signs stating “We are not Little Monsters but God’s Soldiers,” in reference to the “Little Monsters” moniker adopted by Gaga fans, according to the AP.  Another sign read “We’re Pro-Jesus not Pro-Judas,” in reference to Gaga’s song praising Judas, the apostle who betrayed Jesus Christ to his murderers.

“Lady Gaga is now the icon of a new religion of defamation of our faith, desecration of everything holy and deception to our young people,” Pastor Benny Abante, a former Philippine Congressman who organized the group, told the AP.  He reportedly added that he would file charges against Gaga if she sang “Judas” or the song “Born this Way,” arguing that they insult religious belief and incite young people to sexual immorality.

Pasay City Mayor Antonino Calixto , who heads the jurisdiction where the concerts were held earlier this week, warned the singer beforehand that “Although we respect artistic and musical expressions, I won’t allow anyone or any group to provide acts which may be questionable in a way at any venue under my jurisdiction.”

“We reminded the producers of Lady Gaga’s concert that the show and the event as a whole shall not exhibit any nudity or lewd conduct which may be offensive to morals and good custom,” he added.

Following the first concert, held Monday, Mayor Calixto admitted that the show had been “provocative,” but defended his decision to permit it.

“Admittedly, some of the statements and choreography were provocative but the content and presentation taken all together can be considered as part of an artist’s expressions,” he said.

Similarly, in Korea, the Association of Church Communication said in March that it would carry out a “concerted action to stop young people from being infected with homosexuality and pornography” during Gaga’s Seoul concert. 

Authorities allowed the concert to proceed at that time, but with a restriction that those under the age of 18 were not to be admitted.

Tags: homosexuality, lady gaga

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Rising birth rate in former Soviet nation credited to Orthodox Patriarch

by Thaddeus Baklinski Wed May 23 15:37 EST Comments (4)

 
Patriarch Ilia II

TBILISI, Georgia, May 23, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The patriarch of the Georgian Orthodox Church has been credited with helping raise the birth rate in the former Soviet nation of Georgia.

Patriarch Ilia II came up with an astonishingly successful incentive to counteract the country’s plummeting birth rate by promising to become the godfather of all babies born into Orthodox Christian families who already have two or more children. Since he began fulfilling his promise with the mass baptisms in 2008, he has gained nearly 11,000 godchildren.

Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili publicly stated that the patriarch deserves much of the credit for the rising birth rate, which was 25 percent higher in 2010 than in 2005, and which Saakashvili said is helping the government achieve its five year plan of increasing the aging nation’s population from 4.5 million to 5 million by 2015.

While Georgia was under the domination of the former Soviet Union, the Orthodox religion was all but suppressed in the country. But now, according to the (http://patriarch.ge/eng) Patriarch Foundation, a movement set up to promote the interests of the Church, the Orthodox Church and clergy play a very influential role in Georgian society, with many seeing the patriarch as the most authoritative figure in their lives.

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“Faith is getting stronger,” said spokesman Irakli Kadagishvili. “The patriarch is seen not only as a religious figure, but also as a national authority. When he saw the need to increase the birth rate he only had to provide an incentive. It was the only stimulus most parents needed if they were already thinking about having more children.”

Lamara Georgadze, whose fourth child was recently baptized by Patriarch Ilia II, said she and her husband answered the patriarch’s call to have more children.

“The Holy Father reminded us all of the importance of increasing the birth rate,” she said in an AP report that described the 400 baptisms presided over by Patriarch Ilia II in a Tbilisi cathedral on May 6. “There are too few of us Georgians and therefore this is very important.”

“This is a wonderful day for my family,” said Tamar Kapanadze, a 33-year-old father of four. “Our fourth son, Lashko, was baptized by the patriarch himself, and before this he baptized our daughter Liziko. This is why we decided to have a fourth child.”

The Georgian government announced earlier this year that parents would be given a one-time payment of 1000 Georgian Lari (about $600) for a third child and double that amount for a fourth child.

“This will help raise the birth rate,” Saakashvili said. “The patriarch has already taken steps in this direction. We should be thankful to him for continually reminding the Georgian people that we should multiply.”

Government statistics indicate that the number of abortions has also declined by nearly 50 percent between 2005 and 2010.

Tags: abortion

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Not all doctors are shills for the abortion industry

by Denise J. Hunnell, MD Wed May 23 15:00 EST Comments (3)

Editor’s note: The editors of USA Today refused to publish Dr. Hunnell’s response.

May 23, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The USA Today op-ed by Drs. Angell and Greene, Where are the doctors?, is unfortunately very short on facts. It is surprising that two physicians with such prestigious credentials would put forth a call to physicians for civil disobedience while eschewing the latest scientific findings on the subject.

Their first claim that there is a war on reproductive rights because thirty-five states require counseling before proceeding with an abortion is absurd. Such counseling requires that women be given accurate and full information about abortion and pregnancy so that they can give fully informed consent for this serious procedure. The claim promulgated by the abortion industry that the developing embryo is just a “blob of cells” is corrected with an ultrasound. If a woman sees that her unborn child has a beating heart and fully formed fingers and toes and still wants to proceed with the abortion, she is free to do so. But she is doing so with more complete knowledge of the choice at hand.

And contrary to the assertions of Drs. Angell and Greene, there are numerous studies that find a link between breast cancer and abortion. A study by researchers Lilit Khachatryan of the American University of Armenia, Robert Scharpf of the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, and Sarah Kagan of the University of Pennsylvania was published in October, 2011 in the prestigious journal Health Care for Women International. Their work found a three-fold increase in breast cancer among women who had an abortion.

The much-touted 2002 National Cancer Institute (NCI) workshop that is often cited as proof that there is no abortion/breast cancer link was handily refuted in 2009 when the president of the NCI workshop, Dr. Louise Brinton, published an article in the highly regarded journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers, and Prevention. Dr. Brinton’s more recent work found that the risk for a highly aggressive form of breast cancer that strikes women under the age of forty increased by 40% in women with a history of abortion.

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Dr. Angell and Greene make further unsubstantiated allegations that there is an attempt to block access to contraception. Before addressing this charge directly, it must be noted that hormonal contraceptives prevent no diseases. Pregnancy and fertility are normal, healthy physiological conditions. Not a single medical organization recommends the routine use of contraceptives in healthy women for the maintenance or improvement of their health, for the obvious reason that there are significant risks associated with hormonal contraceptives. 

The link between hormonal contraceptives and blood clots or strokes is well established and not contested. This risk is so greatly increased in smokers that hormonal contraceptives are not recommended for women who smoke. In addition, the National Cancer Institute and World Health Organization both cite an increased risk of breast, cervical, and liver cancer associated with contraceptive use. More recently, a study by scientists at the University of Washington and published in October, 2011 British medical journal, The Lancet revealed that the use of hormonal contraceptives doubled the transmission rates of HIV.

The use of contraceptives is an elective lifestyle choice for women who have weighed the potential harms and decided their desire to avoid pregnancy while being sexually active is worth the risks.

In spite of Angell and Greene’s wild claims, there is absolutely no attempt by any legislators or religious groups to make contraception unavailable to women. There is, however, an attempt by the federal government to infringe upon religious freedom. Religious entities are responding by asserting their constitutional right to exercise their own religious principles without interference from the federal government.

Women are free to obtain contraception, but they are not free to force religious groups who find contraception morally objectionable to fund their lifestyle choice.

Where are the doctors, indeed. Clearly, attempts to portray oral contraceptives as being necessary for healthy women are scientifically dishonest and do a great disservice to women. If Drs. Angell and Greene believe women are capable of making their own decisions about their reproductive health, they should welcome the opportunity for women to have as much information as possible about medical procedures and medications that affect their health. This desire to hide important information from women is dangerous, and more importantly, demeaning to the dignity of women.

Denise Hunnell, MD, is a Fellow of HLI America, an educational initiative of Human Life International. She writes for HLI America’s Truth and Charity Forum, where this article first appeared.

Tags: abortion, breast cancer

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911: Moans, screams heard from botched abortion victim at late-term facility

by John Jalsevac Wed May 23 13:47 EST Comments (68)

 
Abortionist Leroy Carhart

BELLEVUE, Neb., May 23, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) -  A botched abortion patient can be heard moaning in obvious distress during newly obtained recordings of two 911 calls placed on Saturday, March 31, 2012, from LeRoy Carhart’s Abortion and Contraceptive Clinic of Nebraska, located in Bellevue, a suburb of Omaha.

Cheryl Sullenger of Operation Rescue told LifeSiteNews.com that witnesses at the scene said the woman appeared to be far advanced in her pregnancy, raising concerns that Carhart may be breaking the relatively recent Nebraska ban on late-term abortions after 20 weeks.

The abortion worker who placed the initial call specifically asked that an ambulance be sent with “no lights or sirens.”

The recordings were obtained through an open records request Operation Rescue, which says the recordings show that clinic workers were “uncooperative” and slow to give information about the patient’s condition to the emergency dispatcher.

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The caller, who said she knew nothing of the patient’s condition, questioned the nurse, Lindsey (Alejandro) Creekmore, in the procedure room in an attempt to get information to the dispatcher that was needed in order to get the woman the help she needed.

“What’s going on, Lindsey?” the caller asked. “They want to know. 911 wants to know. They want to know what’s going on. I need an answer.”

A witness that was at the scene when the ambulance arrived stated, “I saw a woman, who looked like she was quite pregnant, clutching her stomach as she was put into the ambulance. She had a drape below her belly.”

Police told witnesses to the indent that the woman was transported to the Bellevue Medical Center where she was treated.

Late-term abortionist Leroy Carhart was present at the time of the medical emergency in March, but did not participate in the 911 calls. He was involved in the 3rd trimester abortion death of a patient in 2005.

“Based on this incident, there is concern that Carhart may be violating the Nebraska ban on late-term abortions after 20 weeks when babies can feel pain,” said Troy Newman, president of Operation Rescue and Pro-Life Nation.

“This is particularly troubling since the Nebraska Attorney General’s office is very aware that Carhart may be breaking the law. Operation Rescue has submitted several statements by former Carhart employees and supplied then with information from other confidential informants who have alleged violations ranging from billing fraud to missing drugs to falsifying ultrasound measurements for the purpose of evading the late-term abortion ban.

“Yet, all we have gotten from the supposedly pro-life Attorney General Jon Bruning is the ‘run-around’. The injury of this woman is directly Bruning’s responsibility because he had the opportunity to protect women from Carhart’s dangerous abortion practices, but did nothing.”

Operation Rescue has released a video featuring the 911 recordings and a written transcript of the calls.

Carhart is one of the United States’ most notorious late-term abortionists.

During a preliminary injunction hearing in a US District Court in 1997 on the issue of late-term abortions, Carhart testified that he would sometimes dismember advanced-stage unborn babies during abortions, while the babies were still alive. Carhart described in detail the process of grasping the limb of the baby to be removed, and then twisting it off. When asked if the babies usually die during the process of dismemberment, Carhart responded, “I don’t really know. I know that the fetus is alive during the process most of the time because I can see the fetal heartbeat on the ultrasound.”


Contact:

Attorney General Jon Bruning
Phone: (402) 471-2682
Fax: (402) 471-3297
E-mail: www.ago.ne.gov/contact_form

Tags: abortion, leroy carhart, operation rescue

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President Obama: The best thing to happen to the pro-life movement in years?

by Susan Michelle Tyrrell Wed May 23 12:48 EST Comments (10)

 

May 23, 2012 (Bound4Life.com) - As election talk increases and pro-lifers debate their best strategies, an article this weekend reminds me of an assertion that many may see as controversial but which I think we can reasonably conclude: The election of president Obama was the best thing for the pro-life movement in years.

Before you stone me for defending the most pro-abortion president United States history, consider the complacency that prevailed when we had political leaders who were seemingly more pro-life. It was easier to sit back and just say “abortion is bad. Don’t have one.” But we went on about our days. Little vision drove us; little reality sunk in.

When the 2008 elections rolled around and we were faced with President Obama, pro-lifers began to examine his voting records and views on abortion. His alignment with Planned Parenthood was alarming. And his prompt appointments of pro-abortion judges on the Supreme Court told us that we were looking at a lifetime of his legacy. We got scared.

Many positive things happened. Pro-lifers got loud, politicians ran on pro-life platforms in the mid-term elections. And the face of abortion in the nation, while sharply divided, also began to change for the positive.

The Tennessean reports:

In 2011, states passed a record number of abortion restrictions, with 92 new laws taking effect in 24 states.

Momentum has continued in 2012 in what has become a two-year major overhaul in many of the states’ abortion laws.

The laws range from imposing new penalties on doctors to requiring women to undergo more medical procedures, but they all serve to make it more difficult for a woman to legally end a pregnancy.

Of course there’s no scientific correlation between Obama’s election and an overhaul of abortion laws. We, theoretically, could have seen the same thing if McCain had been elected, but even pro-abortion experts agree, it’s a backlash from Obama’s election:

Both sides in the abortion debate say the flurry of lawmaking is a legacy of the 2010 elections, which ushered conservative lawmakers and governors into office around the country. Nineteen statehouses changed from Democratic majorities to more conservative Republican majorities, and others, already Republican, saw more Republicans elected on socially conservative platforms.

“This year, we’re seeing more action than what you’d expect for an election year,” said Elizabeth Nash, the Washington, D.C.-based state issues manager at Guttmacher Institute, which tracks abortion and reproductive health policy.

“We’re still seeing effects of the election of 2010, when very conservative legislatures and governors were elected, and they are continuing on a path of social issues, and that strategy includes abortion,” Nash said.

A simple law of physics says that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. What happened in the United States is that pro-lifers were shaken awake by the election of a man who advocated abortion with few restrictions, who walked into the Oval Office and started signing documents to increase abortion funding (reversing the Mexico City Policy, for example, in his first week in office) and who then pushed through a health care plan that would expand abortion more than any other time in US history, and includes an abortion “premium” all Americans must pay.

And pro-lifers said “No more!” And we roused a bit from our slumber and peeked out from under our rock.

A bit.

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Part of me wonders what would happen if we elected a relatively pro-life president again. The fact is, while the president is vitally important because of the Supreme Court appointments he makes which last a lifetime, there is much more that needs to happen than blaming all our woes on one leader.

We have focused on “getting that man out” because of his abortion stance. But what we should be doing is focusing on getting light in. Of course we advocate voting for people who support LIFE, but we have to do more than leave our nation to a lone politician. The best thing that ever happened to the pro-life movement in recent history was the election of President Obama because it roused us a bit. We need to take this momentum and use it to thrust us forward even more, no matter who is in the White House or how pro-life our state may seem. We need to consider that our slumber is partially responsible for the death of babies and rise up.

The article this weekend is an encouraging reminder of what a unified people can do for a purpose. No election on earth should be determining our unification or lack of it. Only our heavenly election should determine anything, and in that comes a call to stop the shedding of innocent blood. So let’s be encouraged by this article and the many new pro-life laws, but let’s not be complacent no matter what happens. The nation isn’t governed from Washington DC, but from the throne room of Heaven (Psalm 2).

Reprinted with permission from Bound4Life.com

Tags: abortion, obama, planned parenthood

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Sixth World Congress of Families Conference takes place in Madrid May 25-27

by Thaddeus Baklinski Wed May 23 12:07 EST Comments (0)

MADRID, Spain, May 23, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The Sixth World Congress of Families (WCF) Conference is set to take place at Madrid’s Palacio de Congresos, May 25-27, 2012, and is expected to be the largest nondenominational, international gathering of pro-family leaders, scholars, researchers, officials and activists at this venue since the inaugural conference took place in 1997.

Austin Ruse, President of the Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute (C-FAM), which is a co-convener of this event, told LifeSiteNews that Spain is the ideal location for this conference due to the passing of anti-family and anti-life legislation foisted on the country by the previous socialist government of José Luis Zapatero.

“Spain has been laid waste by the ‘pelvic left’,” Ruse observed. He said that despite the legalization of abortion and same-sex marriage by the Zapatero regime, “Our host group, HazteOir, along with other pro-life groups in the country have held several demonstrations with over one million participants.”

Based upon the relative populations between the U.S. and Spain, “that would be the equivalent of having 17 million people at the DC March for Life.”

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Ruse told LifeSiteNews that the organizers of the event are hoping for 2000 participants at the Congress and that he will be speaking on international law and how it affects unborn children.

The WCF notes that Spain “has just emerged from 8 years of socialist rule, marked by anti-family policies toxic even by European standards,” and that following “Spain’s liberation from the Zapatero regime,” the country is facing pressing challenges to the natural family which the conference will address.

These include preserving natural marriage in the face of a cultural/political onslaught, the culture of life versus the culture of death, declining birthrates and Demographic Winter, the sexual revolution and the family, freedom of religion and education, and the homosexual lobby’s influence on international institutions and the family.”

Gwendolyn Landolt, National Vice-Chairman of REAL Women of Canada, which is one of 30 Partner organizations supporting the Sixth World Congress of Families Conference, stated, “By becoming a Partner of the World Congress of Families, we are acknowledging and supporting its great work in uniting us all in the most formidable challenge of the 21st century – to protect and promote the natural family.”

The organizers of the World Congress of Families VI state that participants will hear renowned speakers from academic, scientific, religious and political backgrounds on a broad range of topics crucial to the family’s survival, will meet pro-family leaders, activists and scholars from all over the world, will have an opportunity to network with others from six continents who share the same values and concerns.

Previous Congresses took place in Prague (1997), Geneva (1999), Mexico City (2004), Warsaw (2007) and Amsterdam (2009). The World Congress of Families V in Amsterdam drew participants from over 60 nations on 6 continents.

Information and registration for the Sixth World Congress of Families Conference in Madrid is available on the World Congress of Families website here.

Tags: austin ruse, family, spain, world congress of families

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Vatican backs European personhood initiative

by Patrick B. Craine Wed May 23 10:46 EST Comments (10)

 
St. Peter's Basilica

ROME, Italy, May 23, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The Vatican is backing a petition campaign in the European Union that seeks a debate about enshrining personhood for the unborn from the moment of conception.

The Vatican’s Pontifical Council for the Laity says the campaign, which must gather at least one million signatures from 7 EU states by May 11th, 2013, is a “significant opportunity to send a wake-up call to the people of Europe.”

While the EU cannot change the laws of member states to protect unborn life, the petition aims to ensure the EU respects life in its areas of competence, particularly in terms of development aid and scientific research.

The petition’s organizing committee includes representatives from 21 pro-life organizations in 21 EU states. The campaign involves a coordinated effort by Christian associations and movements across the continent with the support of educational and cultural activities in each of the 27 states, and organizers hope to secure far more than minimum of a million signatures.

According to the Pontifical Council for the Laity, the organizers view the effort as “far more than a need,” saying it “is in fact urgent.”

“They say that it is absolutely necessary to have a ‘general mobilisation’ of all who support life, as requested by John Paul II in the encyclical Evangelium vitae (no. 95),” the Pontifical Council writes. “A true civil and moral renewal at a time of crisis, mistrust and resignation can begin to speak out on behalf of those who have no voice.”

Personhood USA, which has organized petitions in states across the U.S. calling for personhood amendments, said they are pleased to see that the Vatican supports the petition strategy as a means to achieve John Paul II’s call for a “general mobilization”.

“Petitions are great ways to identify, educate, and activate pro-lifers, especially if the petition process is enlisted in support of solid principles with a solid grass roots strategy behind it,” said Gualberto Garcia Jones, Personhood USA’s Director of Legislative Analysis.

He said paragraph 2270 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church makes it “abundantly clear” that “legal personhood is the cornerstone of the pro-life movement.”

That paragraph reads: “From the first moment of his existence, a human being must be recognized as having the rights of a person - among which is the inviolable right of every innocent being to life.”

“So what better catalyst could there be than a personhood petition, in the EU, in the US, or in any other nation that wishes to respect life?” Garcia Jones asked.

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Number of ‘pro-choice’ Americans hits record low: Gallup poll

by Ben Johnson Wed May 23 10:20 EST Comments (22)

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. May 23, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – A new Gallup poll shows a record-low number of Americans describe themselves as “pro-choice,” while half call themselves “pro-life.”

The poll, conducted from May 3-6, found only 41 percent of Americans would embrace the “pro-choice” monicker, the lowest level since the company began asking the question in 1995.

Exactly 50 percent said they identified as pro-life, a near-record high.

The results closely track results in May 2009, when 51 percent of Americans called themselves “pro-life” and 42 percent called themselves “pro-choice.”

Since that poll, more Americans have labeled themselves pro-life than pro-choice, a situation Gallup calls “the new normal.”

A majority of Americans believe abortion is immoral, the most recent survey found. Those who believe abortion is wrong exceed those who do not by a wide margin, 13 percentage points (51 percent to 38 percent).

The poll contains some interesting revelations leading into the 2012 presidential election.

For only the second time, more independents identify as “pro-life” (47 percent) than “pro-choice” (41 percent). The Hill newspaper reports Mitt Romney has led Barack Obama among independent voters in 12 of the 14 polls taken over the last two months by an average of 6.5 percent. “That suggests that Romney doesn’t need to pivot dramatically to the center, shed partisan identity or turn his back on the GOP base to gain favor with nonpartisans,” the paper states.

Breakdown among the parties was more predictable, with both parties trending more pro-life.

Pollsters found 72 percent of Republicans were pro-life, one of the highest margins ever, while only 22 percent are “pro-choice,” a record low.

However, the number of Democrats who describe themselves as “pro-choice” has hit its lowest level since 2003 (58 percent). Meanwhile, more than one-third of Democrats, 34 percent, say they are “pro-life.”

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The polling company’s longest-running measure of abortion – under what circumstances abortion should be legal – remains little-changed. Since 1975, most Americans have believed abortion should be legal under some circumstances. In this poll 52 percent of respondents held that position, although the poll does not spell out which circumstances they felt justified abortion.

A recent poll from the Charlotte Lozier Institute found 77 percent of Americans oppose sex-selective abortion. Last December, 79 percent of Americans said they supported restricting abortion to the first trimester, and a majority would limit abortion to cases of rape, incest, or to save the life of the mother, according to a Knights of Columbus/Marist College poll.

In this month’s Gallup poll, 25 percent of those surveyed believed abortion should be legal in all circumstances; while 20 percent believed abortion should be illegal in all circumstances. 

The poll’s results are a stunning turnaround from the first survey to ask this question. In 1995, 56 percent of Americans described themselves as “pro-choice,” and only 33 percent of Americans were “pro-life.”

Tags: gallup, poll

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Ghoulish ‘art’: the Body Worlds exhibit

by Eric Metaxas Wed May 23 10:03 EST Comments (16)

 

May 23, 2012 (Breakpoint.org) - As the father of a twelve-year-old girl, I find that opportunities to teach worldview lessons pop up at the most unexpected times.

A few weeks ago, my daughter came home from school and announced that her class was attending an exhibit called “Body Worlds.” If you’ve never heard of this, “Body Worlds” is an exhibit of human corpses.

Unfortunately, I’m not kidding. There’s a cadaver of a pregnant woman, her belly sliced open to reveal the corpse of a fetus. One cadaver is riding a horse — a horse cadaver, that is. Several cadavers appear to be dancing together — a true dance macabre. Frankly, they look like something out of a horror film.

The corpse choreographer is a German doctor, Gunther von Hagens. And his traveling cadaver circus has stirred up an international debate about the sanctity of the human body.

Dr. von Hagens preserved the cadavers using a technique he invented called plastination. He says his exhibit is meant to help lay people understand the workings of the human body. But thoughtful people around the world are repelled and disgusted by what he’s doing. Some countries and U.S. states have passed laws in an effort to ban the exhibit. Three years ago, a judge in France ruled that putting dead people on display for profit is “a violation of the respect owed them.” A German prime minister called the exhibit “degrading to human dignity.” Religious leaders, including Catholics and Jews, have condemned what von Hagens is doing — including, three years ago, putting on display a dead male and female which, were they alive, would be engaging in sex.

Von Hagens claims that all the cadavers came from people who volunteered to have their remains used this way. That may not be the case: He has been accused of buying the corpses of executed Chinese prisoners and purchasing cadavers from prisons and psychiatric hospitals without the families being notified. That would make the for-profit exhibit even more horrifying.

It probably won’t surprise you that von Hagens is an atheist. As Chuck Colson noted a few years ago when he learned of this exhibit, “Dr. von Hagens’s grotesque work is a product of his materialist worldview. His public comments suggest that he views the human body as nothing more than a complex mechanism, a complicated network of cells. So he sees nothing wrong with putting corpses on display like so many stuffed owls or racks of deer.”

By contrast, Scripture teaches that the human body, even one that is deceased, has great value. It’s a belief that comes from the Incarnation — God taking on human form. And of course, we as Christians believe that these bodies of ours will be resurrected as was Jesus’ body.

Sadly, even the faithful sometimes forget the Christian teaching that the body deserves great respect — which is why my daughter’s Christian school thought nothing of taking children to see this ghoulish exhibit of cadavers. But when I explained why such exhibits were wrong, I’m happy to report that they canceled the field trip.

Situations like this demonstrate why it’s so important that we have a thorough understanding of the Christian worldview. Once we do, we all ought to speak up — respectfully, of course — when we run into this type of thing.

And we ought to teach our children why it’s wrong to turn human bodies into a display for the entertainment of others: Because God Himself took on human form.

Reprinted with permission from Breakpoint.org

Tags: body worlds

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Bored to death? How we consume media.

by Eric Metaxas Wed May 23 09:43 EST Comments (2)

 

Mah 23, 2012 (Breakpoint.org) - By most estimates, South Korea is the most-wired society in the world. South Koreans “enjoy” virtually universal internet access at speeds and prices that Americans can only dream about.

But that access comes at a high price: By official government estimates, nearly two million South Koreans can be described as “internet addicts.”

Now, the words “addict” and “addiction” get thrown around a lot in contemporary culture, but what would you call the following: a Korean couple repeatedly leaves their apartment and goes to an internet café where they spend all night playing an internet game. One night they return to find their three-month-old daughter dead from malnutrition and dehydration.

This actually happened in Seoul. While it’s the most extreme case, the difference is one of degree, not kind. An episode of PBS’ “Frontline” showed South Korean kids at government-sponsored rehab centers trying, mostly in vain, to wean themselves from their dependence on the internet.

There are several lessons we can learn from the South Korean experience, but I will settle for just one: We would be wrong to believe that media is inherently value-neutral and that any harm stems from the way it is used.

To paraphrase Winston Churchill, we shape our media and afterwards our media shapes us. It does this not only by what it depicts and tell us, but in the habits and dispositions it inculcates in those who consume it.

I’m not saying anything new: in 1989, Ken Myers, in “All God’s Children and Blue Suede Shoes,” wrote that “Christian concern about popular culture should be as much about the sensibilities it encourages as about its content.”

Popular culture, with its emphasis on the new and immediate, reliance on instant accessibility and the casual, time-killing way it is usually consumed, is changing us — and not for the better: We are becoming less reflective, more impatient and easily-bored, to name but a few ways. The result is what Myers called a “loss of cultural memory, [and] a loss of commitment to the future and the past.”

Twenty-three years later, Myers seems, if anything, overly optimistic. Christians are adept at sniffing out objectionable content, but we are largely oblivious to the impact of media and popular culture on our sensibilities.

Take the easily-bored part: Do you compulsively glance at your smartphone screen while waiting in line? Of course you do.

Those of us with kids have no doubt noticed that “multitasking” doesn’t do justice to the way they consume media. The average American kid crams nearly 11 hours of media into 7.5 hours in front of screens: Consuming multiple media streams at the same time is becoming the rule rather than the exception.

It’s not that they are better at processing information — studies actually show just the opposite — it’s that they, like their South Korean counterparts, have come to somehow need the stimulation. Their threshold for “boredom” has been recalibrated by the media they — and we — consume.

It doesn’t have to be this way. Those of us over, say, forty, can remember a time when we weren’t staring at our phones in the checkout line. I don’t recall being particularly bored.

This isn’t nostalgia — it’s understanding that sensibilities that have been distorted can be straightened out. “How?” is the subject of our next article.

Reprinted with permission from Breakpoint.org

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