Wednesday, May 30, 2012

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‘For Greater Glory’: Film about Mexican fight for religious freedom opens in U.S. theatres June 1

by Thaddeus Baklinski Wed May 30 16:59 EST Comments (0)


May 30, 2012 ( - A movie described by its lead actor as the epic story of the fight for religious freedom in Mexico is set to open in theatres across the US this Friday, June 1. Already the film is earning enthusiastic accolades from religious leaders, who say that the film couples Hollywood-quality production and acting with a powerful story of faith and freedom that is surprisingly relevant.

Starring Andy Garcia, and co-starring Peter O’Toole and Eva Longoria, “For Greater Glory” is a movie about the true story of the Cristeros, the rebels who fought against Mexican dictator Plutarco Calles who banned religion in the country in the 1920s.

At a time when the debate is raging over the Obama administration’s birth control mandate and its threat to religious freedom, numerous commentators have drawn a parallel between the religious oppression of the Mexican dictatorship and the subversion of religious freedom by the U.S. government.

Oscar-nominee Andy Garcia told CNSNews recently about the film, “It’s a fight for religious freedom, but really a greater umbrella it sits under is the concept of absolute freedom. There are countries all over the world right now that are still fighting, in the middle of a fight for those rights, and people have been deprived of those rights.”

When asked, “if there was a timeliness in the release of For Greater Glory in that Americans today are talking about the same question Mexicans were talking about in the 1920s: Can government order people to act against their faith?” Garcia answered, “There could be a parallel drawn there. Sure.”

“There seems to be a coincidence that these things are being discussed and debated right now,” said Garcia.

“It wasn’t planned out to be that way when we made the movie, and there are similar issues being discussed even in Mexico today in relationship to the church and the state. So, it’s a coincidence, and it’s important, too, I think, to recognize that if you don’t agree with something you have the right, you must, we must, have the right to protest.”

The movie portrays the Cristero War, also know as the Cristiada, of 1926 to 1929, which was an uprising and counter-revolution set off by the bloody persecution of Roman Catholics due to the strict enforcement of anti-religious provisions in the Mexican Constitution.

The film has been acclaimed by religious leaders and pro-family groups who are urging all those concerned about the future of religious liberty to support the movie by going to see it and encouraging others to do so.

Brian S. Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage, called the film “transformational.”

“All I can say is that the movie is must see for anyone concerned about the future of religious liberty. It is an epic true story about religious persecution which is as culturally relevant today as when the oppression occurred in 1920’s Mexico,” Brown said in an email to LifeSiteNews.

“I encourage you to see it, absorb it and talk about it. Get your fellow church members out to see it. This film has the potential to light a fire under those who have been sitting on the sidelines in the fight to protect religious liberty.”

“To describe this film as stirring or powerful would do it a disservice,” said Most Rev. Charles J. Chaput, Archbishop of Philadelphia, in a news release from the Maximus Group. “For Greater Glory is much more than an exercise in piety; it’s an extraordinary portrait of ordinary people struggling to defend their convictions. It’s among the most absorbing films by any director or movie studio that I’ve seen in the past few years.”

“As a nation established on the principal of freedom for all people, For Greater Glory reminds us of the important values that we as Americans and Catholics share and must be willing to protect,” said Cardinal Seán O’Malley of Boston. “This film helps us to understand the history surrounding the Cristero War and its importance in the Mexican Catholics’ efforts to fight for religious freedom and tolerance. Those values are as relevant today as they were almost one hundred years ago.”

“It is not often that a film opens a window into the past that casts so much light on the present,” said Most Rev. Thomas J. Olmstead, Bishop of Phoenix, Ariz. “For Greater Glory depicts a courageous struggle for religious freedom that was inspired by love of Christ and love of country. The Cristeros of Mexico have much to teach us today.”

For Greater Glory opens in theatres Friday, June 1.

To watch the trailer and find out more about the film and where it is playing in your area, click here.

Tags: birth control mandate, for greater glory

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‘My suffering was beyond imagination,’ Chen tells CNN in interview broadcast in China

by Kathleen Gilbert Wed May 30 16:40 EST Comments (8)


NEW YORK, May 30, 2012 ( - Blind Chinese forced-abortion opponent Chen Guangcheng told CNN last week of his severe maltreatment at the hands of Chinese officials, saying the condition of his illegal detainment was “beyond imagination” - words that CNN’s viewers in China were able to hear.

Chen, who flew to America this week after his dramatic escape from oppression in his home village, told CNN that it was hard to describe the abuse he suffered there, which had included severe beatings and lack of access to medical attention despite injuries and illness.

“It’s hard for me to describe what it was like during that time. But let’s just say that my suffering was beyond imagination,” Chen said.

He also described his relief at being able to experience the pleasures of freedom.

“I haven’t been able to feel (nature) for a long time,” said Chen. “I had some time to soak in the sun and feel the breeze. I just felt I hadn’t been able to do that in so long. I have missed out for too long. “

The blind lawyer objected to calling his recent situation “house arrest,” since he had not been charged with a crime during the 19 months he was forced to stay in his home. “When we talk about my situation, in the future, let’s not use the word house arrest, but instead let’s use the term illegal detention,” he said.

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Prior to the interview, CNN’s Anderson Cooper encouraged viewers to keep an eye on its live broadcast in China, represented at the bottom of the screen: “We’re showing it to you because, in the past, when we have reported on Mr. Chen, the Chinese government has cut off our live transmission. They have censored us. So as you watch this interview, you can also watch to see if China will censor or broadcast yet again.”

The broadcast also highlighted the incident last year when actor Christian Bale, accompanied by CNN camera crews, attempted to visit Chen in his village only to be roughed up and driven away by guards.

Chen, who drew down the ire of the Chinese government for filing a class-action lawsuit on behalf of forced-abortion victims, said that he was surprised that China “would disregard the law so blatantly” after he was arrested and jailed for four years on sham charges.

Chen reiterated his concern for his family members, and expressed gratitude for friends who have heroically fought to claim responsibility for Chen’s escape to protect others.

“When a group of people come together and accomplish something, they often fight for credit. But in my case, all those people who went to Shandong to pick me, up when the news broke they were fighting for risk and not credit,” he said. “They were all trying to claim responsibility to make others safer. I think this shows me hope in the growth of civil society in China.”

Cooper concluded the interview noting, “Interesting to see we were not censored this time in China.”

Chen is slated to give a speech at the Council for Foreign Relations in Manhattan on Thursday.

Tags: abortion, chen guangcheng, china, one-child policy

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TV special on Canada’s National March for Life to air June 2 on EWTN

by Katie Craine Wed May 30 16:27 EST Comments (2)


May 29, 2012 ( - EWTN will air a TV special on the Canadian National March for Life on June 2nd.

The National March for Life brought nearly 20,000 pro-lifers to Ottawa on May 10 to demand protection the unborn.

EWTN will produce a TV special in association with DunnMedia and Campaign Life Coalition that will feature highlights from the National March for Life including the pro-life Mass, the rally on Parliament Hill, a performance by the pro-life band “Survived 88”, appearances by Cardinal Thomas Collins and pro-life MPs, and the March through the streets of downtown Ottawa.

Kevin Dunn, president of DunnMedia, told LifeSiteNews, “The March for Life rally on Parliament Hill is by far the largest annual turnout for any demonstration on the hill.  Having spent my career in media, I am continually disheartened at the coverage by our mainstream media. 

“I said to myself, stop complaining and do something!  So, for three years now, in association with Campaign Life, my production company has turned our hotel room into a production hub, with cameras, make-shift editing suites and gear.  Our YouTube videos have been viewed by tens of thousands of people the world over.”

The special will be hosted Doug Keck and Fr. Joseph Mary Wolfe, MFVA with field reporters Matthew and Kathleen Dunn.

It will air in the US on June 2 at 2PM EST and in Canada at 2PM and 10PM EST.

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“This year, Canada’s prolife message will be broadcast to millions of homes throughout the world including Canada and the US, Europe and the Pacific Rim, Africa and India in this one hour special. I couldn’t be more pleased,” Dunn said.

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McGuinty stands behind effort to force gay activist clubs on Catholic schools

by Patrick B. Craine Wed May 30 16:11 EST Comments (47)

Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty

TORONTO, Ontario, May 29, 2012 ( – Ontario’s Catholic Premier Dalton McGuinty stood behind his government’s effort to force homosexual activist clubs known as “gay-straight alliances” on the province’s Catholic schools on Tuesday.

Reacting to criticism from Cardinal Thomas Collins of Toronto, McGuinty insisted the publicly-funded Catholic schools will not be able to refuse a student’s request to launch a gay-straight alliance if his government’s newly-amended “anti-bullying” bill passes.

Ontario has “fundamental values that transcend any one faith,” he told reporters.

“Cardinal Collins has his responsibilities and he has to provide leadership in keeping with his responsibilities,” he said. “But I have a different set of responsibilities. I’m accountable to all faiths, I’m accountable to people of no faith, I’m accountable to all parents.”

The announcement Friday by Education Minister Laurel Broten that the government was amending the bill to force Catholic schools to allow gay-straight alliances came as a shock to Catholic leaders, who, according to the National Post, had brokered a deal with the premier and his government behind the scenes despite warnings from parents and pro-family advocacy groups that such an approach has historically usually failed due to manipulation and lying by politicians.

In a statement Monday, Cardinal Collins, speaking on behalf of Ontario’s bishops, suggested the amendment “overrides the deeply held beliefs” of the Church and “intrudes on its freedom to act in a way that is in accord with its principles of conscience.”

Progressive Conservative education critic Lisa McLeod told supporters in an e-mail Tuesday that McGuinty’s handling of the bill has made it “clear the issue of bullying is really only a secondary concern for the Ontario Liberals.”

“We believe there should be less, not more government intrusion into the lives of Ontarians and that Queen’s Park shouldn’t be in the business of legislating student clubs, nor their names, regardless of what they are about or called,” she wrote.

“Unfortunately the Liberal government ignored the voices that appeared before committee and plan on forcing through an even heavier handed amendment today at Social Policy Committee that will force all school boards to enact certain clubs,” she added.

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The Ontario Catholic School Trustees’ Association has opposed the amendment as well, though the group’s president, Marino Gazzola, has avoided giving clear reasons for their opposition and says they are not concerned that the clubs promote homosexual advocacy.

On Tuesday, the Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association (OECTA) took a stand against Cardinal Collins and the bishops in a statement backing the government’s amendment. OECTA said same-sex oriented students should be able to use the word ‘gay’ in naming the clubs because “the word speaks to the core of their identity.”

McGuinty, an alumnus of St. Patrick’s High School in Ottawa, is himself a product of the Catholic school system that many critics say has been very weak in teaching Catholic moral principles since the 1960s. His four children also attended the province’s Catholic schools and his wife is a teacher in the system.

In December he defended his Catholic faith when his commitment was called into question by Jack Fonseca of Campaign Life Coalition. After Fonseca charged that McGuinty is “not a very strong Catholic,” McGuinty shrugged it off and told reporters, “You’ve got to do what you think is right.”

“Maybe different people bring different perspectives to that and different definitions. I have my own particular approach to this and it is the one that is informing our Accepting Schools legislation,” he added.

Tags: bill 13, catholic, dalton mcguinty, ontario

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UK woman fired for sharing abortion views with co-workers sues

by Thaddeus Baklinski Wed May 30 15:57 EST Comments (28)

Margaret Forrester

LONDON, May 30, 2012 ( - A British Christian mental health worker who was fired for “gross professional misconduct” after discussing with colleagues the mental health problems faced by women who have had abortions, launched a human rights lawsuit against her former employer at England’s High Court on May 28.

Margaret Forrester, who is being represented by the Thomas Moore Legal Center, is claiming the Central & North West London Mental Health Trust violated her rights to free speech and religion.

Forrester, who is Roman Catholic, was a psychological wellbeing practitioner for the National Health Service. She was suspended in Nov. 2010 after she told colleagues in a private conversation she was concerned that women are not being given adequate information on the dangers of abortion to their long-term mental health.

She showed co-workers a booklet on post-abortion syndrome called “Forsaken – Women From Taunton Talk About Abortion” that featured the personal testimonies of women who have suffered negative effects following abortion.

Subsequently, Forrester was called into a meeting with her manager and questioned about her views. At first she was suspended from her job, but then the Trust changed her status to a special leave with pay, during which she was required to sit in an office and not work.

Following this, Forrester was given a different job with the NHS, which she eventually left due to stress. According to court papers cited by The Telegraph, Forrester’s lawyer describes this new position as a “punishment posting” that involved demeaning duties inappropriate for a professional with her skills and training.

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At a disciplinary hearing on December 22, 2010, Forrester was told that she could continue to work only if she never spoke of her beliefs about abortion again. She was told never to “give materials like this to colleagues at work.”

Claire Murdoch, chief executive of Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust, said in a statement after the disciplinary hearing, “It is clear that the booklet Miss Forrester distributed offers a seriously unbalanced and one-sided view of abortion and that it is offensive to NHS staff.

“The booklet implies that abortion can lead to alcohol and drug abuse, suicidal thoughts and increased risk of cancer. This could be very worrying and deeply offensive for women who may need an abortion and want balanced, sensible advice. We simply cannot allow NHS staff to distribute material that we know to be seriously unbalanced.”

Subsequently, Forrester commented, “The fact that you cannot have an informal discussion with a colleague in the interests of patient care seems unbelievable.”

“It was incredible that I was suspended in the first place, just because I expressed a personal opinion,” she said. “I should be able to express my opinion privately without fear and act freely in good conscience.”

Andrea Minichiello Williams, CEO of the Christian Legal Centre, said following the Trust’s verdict that it was “staggering” that Forrester was being persecuted for her attempts to help patients.

“The level of intolerance in the public sphere, particularly in public sector employment, is deeply worrying and suggests that we are living in less and less of a free society,” Williams said.

“We cannot let this kind of intolerance go unchallenged.”

A spokesman for the Thomas Moore Legal Center told The Telegraph, “The attitude of the NHS in the Margaret Forrester case is not only harmful to its employees. By limiting free discussion of the experiences of patients who have had abortions or any other type of medical treatment the NHS is harming the interests of patients.”

“If Abortion is as problem-free as the NHS claims then there should be no objection to the subject being discussed amongst Health Service professionals,” the spokesman said. “If the NHS is not willing to allow the effects of abortion to be discussed by NHS staff it raises a real question as to what the NHS is afraid of.”

A spokesperson for the Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust told the Telegraph, “The Trust thoroughly disputes these allegations and will continue to defend its position vigorously. We are confident that we will be able to successfully defend these claims.”

Forrester is also challenging her dismissal in a separate Employment Tribunal trial, which will begin with a court hearing on Oct. 8.

Tags: abortion, uk

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Lady Gaga Jakarta concert canceled following outcry

by Matthew Cullinan Hoffman Wed May 30 15:22 EST Comments (12)


May 30, 2012 ( - Lady Gaga has announced that she is canceling her planned concert for early June in Jakarta, Indonesia, due to security concerns raised by widespread protests against her sexualized performances and disrespectful use of religious imagery.

“We had to cancel the concert in Indonesia,” Gaga tweeted to her fans. “I’m so very sorry to the fans & just as devastated as you if not more,” she wrote. “You are everything to me.”

“I will try to put together something special for you. My love for Indonesia has only grown,” Gaga added. In another tweet, she attributed her rejection to “hate” from the Indonesians opposing her presence.

“It’s unfortunate,” said Minola Sebayang, a lawyer for the company promoting the show, “but with threats if the concert goes ahead, Lady Gaga’s side is calling it off. This is not only about Lady Gaga’s security, but extends to those who will be watching her.”

The concert garnered broad opposition from Muslim groups, both moderate and radical, including the Indonesian Ulema Council, the country’s highest ranking Islamic authority.

Although Gaga supporters sought to blame Muslim radicals, police said that they would not issue a permit for the concert without an endorsement from the government’s Ministry of Religious Affairs, an endorsement that was not forthcoming even after Gaga’s organizers reportedly assured the authorities that her performance would be toned down.

In addition to the verbal protests filed by over a dozen Islamic organizations, protesters linked to the more extreme Islamic Defenders Front had stated publicly that they had purchased tickets, and would storm the stage if the performance went forward, to nonviolently bring the show to an end.

Gaga’s “Born this Way Ball,” as she calls her concerts, has also garnered opposition in the majority-Catholic Philippines, where her shows attracted large numbers of protesters and received the condemnation of one Catholic archbishop, as well as South Korea.

Tags: indonesia, lady gaga

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Bill 13 protest to be held at Toronto’s Dundas Square Thursday

by Katie Craine Wed May 30 15:06 EST Comments (2)

TORONTO, Ontario, May 29, 2012 ( – A protest against Ontario’s “anti-bullying” Bill 13 is scheduled to take place in Toronto at Dundas Square Thursday beginning at 12 noon.

Dalton McGuinty’s Bill 13, which will be voted on soon by the provincial legislature, has been criticized by parents, religious leaders, and family values groups across Ontario for its heavy focus on “sexual orientation” and requirement that schools host gay-straight alliance clubs.

“Our sources tell us that the vote could happen any time between today and June 7,” said Jack Fonseca of Campaign Life Coalition. “Apparently the power all lies in McGuinty’s hands to force it whichever day he chooses, and he is not giving the opposition, nor the public, any clue as to when that will be.”

Head of Concerned Catholic Parents of Ontario Kim Galvao said, “This proposed legislation by Dalton McGuinty’s Ontario government will subvert parental rights and freedom of religion. It will cause schools to teach children controversial sex ed theories that violate the religious and moral convictions of many parents about human sexuality.”

“Parents and citizens who believe this we face a choice between liberty or tyranny, need to attend the protest,” said Fonseca.

“We can’t give McGuinty the power to take away fundamental rights from any group. Even libertarians who disagree with the Catholic Church, must defend its fundamental rights, if they wish to keep their own secure against the whims of an all-mighty State,” said Fonseca.

For more information about the protest visit CLC’s website or join the Facebook event.

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Catholic U. on HHS mandate: Obama admin ‘showed no sign of taking us seriously’

by Kathleen Gilbert Wed May 30 14:55 EST Comments (8)

The campus of the Catholic University of America

WASHINGTON, May 30, 2012 ( - One of the Catholic universities joining the barrage of lawsuits against the Obama administration over its birth control mandate says that the White House has “showed no sign of taking seriously” the objections of religious employees.

Lawrence Morris, general counsel for the Catholic University of America, told in an email that the school’s own attempts to reason with the administration, including a letter from CUA President John Garvey to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, were not met with meaningful dialogue. Morris also criticized the “accommodation” proposed by Obama earlier this year proposing that insurers would provide birth control to religious employees for “free,” but that left the wording of the original mandate unchanged.

“The Administration showed no sign of taking seriously the objections of religious institutions, and the so-called ‘accommodation’ ignores the reality of insurance companies – we would still directly be in the contraception business even if the insurer technically provided the drugs or devices,” said Morris.

CUA was one of 43 Roman Catholic organizations that filed a dozen lawsuits nationwide against the HHS mandate simultaneously at 11 a.m. on May 21.

Morris pointed out that the administration could have easily achieved the goal of making birth control universally available without forcing church compliance.

“HHS has no qualms about forcing religious institutions such as ours to underwrite surgical sterilization and contraceptives, including pills that act after fertilization to cause abortions,” said Morris. “There are many easier ways for the Administration to accomplish this if it just wanted to make free birth control available – most obviously by the government just giving it away – and not forcing religious employers to subsidize them (we pay about 2/3 of the insurance bill for the typical employee) and communicate their availability.”

Morris described the school’s lawsuit as a “regrettable last step after we have been frustrated in using the political process to obtain relief.” If the mandate weren’t overturned, he said, “we calculate that we would have to pay an annual fine of more than $2.5 million.”

“There is but one issue here: our religious freedom as a Catholic institution,” he said. “The government has overstepped its authority in trying to circumscribe that freedom and now we must turn to the courts to assert and protect those rights.”

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Tags: birth control mandate, cua

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Democratic candidate, Planned Parenthood employee who hit 7-year-old girl pulls out of race

by Ben Johnson Wed May 30 13:45 EST Comments (10)


SIOUX FALLS, SOUTH DAKOTA, May 30, 2012, ( – A Planned Parenthood employee who was cited for DUI after hitting a seven-year-old girl has pulled out of her race for the Democratic nomination for state legislature.

State Democratic Party Chairman Ben Nesselhuf told local media that 32-year-old Carmen Toft planned to pull out of the race before the accident. 

Toft, the South Dakota Public Affairs Manager for Planned Parenthood, had sought the Democratic nomination for the state House of Representatives in District 10. 
Sioux Falls Police spokesman Sam Clemens says Toft struck the young girl just after 8 p.m. last Tuesday, knocking the child from her bicycle to the ground. Toft, who refused to take a breathalyzer, said the child “came out of nowhere,” according to Clemens; police administered a state-mandated blood test. 

Although police transported the child to the hospital for possible internal injuries, The Argus Leader reports the girl was not harmed.

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The Sioux Falls Police Department did not create a case file, which concealed Toft’s name from local media outlets until yesterday.

Nesselhuf said the party was “saddened to hear of the unfortunate events involving Carmen Toft last week.”

The state Democratic Party cannot name a replacement candidate until after the June 5 primary.


Tags: carmen toft, planned parenthood, south dakota

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There are few things more horrifying than the slaughter of innocent children

by Peter Saunders Wed May 30 13:09 EST Comments (6)


BBC Radio Four led on the Syrian massacre this morning describing it in graphic terms as the ‘deliberate mass killing of children’ who ’were murdered one by one’.

The story was also one of the top three on the BBC website earlier today along with the account of six children dying in a house fire in the north of England.

These would have been the top two reports had it not been for Mitt Romney gaining the Republican nomination for the US presidential elections yesterday.

There are few things more gut-wrenching than the death of children but these two stories have grabbed the media spotlight mainly because of the particular circumstances involved.

It now appears that most of the 49 killed in the village of Taldou were summarily executed, with UN observers claiming that many of them had been killed by close-range gunfire or knife attacks.

And there are now questions being asked about whether the fire that resulted in the deaths of six siblings in Derby may have been started deliberately.

Every child’s death is a tragedy but there are few things more reprehensible than the killing of children by adults. Children are rightly seen as amongst the most vulnerable and defenceless members of society and deserving of special protection.

It is therefore not surprising that Western governments are acting quickly at the highest level to expel Syrian diplomats and impose sanctions and the police are giving high priority to investigating the Derby fire for which the children’s own parents are now suspects.

Whether or it turns out that the Syrian government was directly involved in the latest atrocities, or whether or not the parents are charged with starting the fire, it is nonetheless deeply ingrained in the human psyche that public authorities have a duty to protect the vulnerable and that the strongest advocates for children should be their own parents.

It is for this reason that I find the relatively low prominence given to the 2011 abortion statistics also published yesterday profoundly bizarre.

The BBC report highlights the fact that 34% of the 189,931 women having an abortion last year in England and Wales had had one before and most newspapers note the fact that repeat abortions now make up 36% of the total, over a third.

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The Independent further notes that for the first time last year more mothers had abortions than childless women. 51% of women undergoing abortions already had at least one child.

Other press reports give more detailed analysis with most reproducing the figures highlighted by the Press Association.

But as far as I can see no one has yet commented on the fact that 98% of the total are funded by the NHS through tax revenues and also that 98% were carried out on mental health grounds (see section 2.9 of report).

As I have pointed out before, this latter 98% are also technically illegal as there is no evidence that continuing with an unplanned pregnancy poses any greater risk to a mother’s mental health than having an abortion.

And yet doctors continue performing them regardless while government, police and the crown prosecution service stand idly by and the major abortion providers justify it as necessary.

There is no one more vulnerable, more innocent and being killed in greater numbers than the unborn child. Each year around the world there are 42 million abortions, against only 57 million deaths from all other causes except abortion.

And in Britain there have already been over 7 million abortions in the 45 years since the Abortion Act was passed in 1967.

It is understandable that people are shocked and outraged by child deaths in Syria and Derby.

But the fact that we can barely raise an eyebrow at abortion in Britain is a chilling testimony to our astounding spiritual blindness and breath-taking hypocrisy.

189,931 unborn children died in England and Wales last year – under their mothers’ instructions, at the hands of doctors and paid for by tax payers’ money. And parliament, police and prosecution service did nothing.

If the Syrian massacre was the ‘deliberate mass killing of children’ who ’were murdered one by one’ then what was this?

Reprinted with permission from Dr. Peter Saunders’ blog.

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‘Moscow is not Sodom’: Orthodox Christians disrupt illegal ‘gay pride’ demo in front of city council

by Matthew Cullinan Hoffman Wed May 30 12:36 EST Comments (15)

MOSCOW, Russia,  May 30, 2012 ( - Orthodox Christians blocked an attempt Sunday by homosexuals to demonstrate outside of the Moscow City Council in response to the city’s ongoing refusal to permit a “gay pride” parade within its jurisdiction.

Calling the event “Gay Pride 2012,” despite the ban, protesters held rainbow flags and signs, and made declarations to the media. At least one wore a Wicca symbol on her neck.

According to video posted on YouTube by march supporters, Orthodox activists disrupted the event by snatching the signs from the protesters, and even splashing holy water on them.  Some scuffled with demonstrators and took swings at them, although there were no reports of injuries. Moscow police followed up by arresting the homosexual protesters, although some Orthodox were arrested as well.

Pro-family activist Dmitry Tsarionov told reporters: “I will not allow perverts to bring the wrath of God onto our city,” and added: “I want our children to live in a country where a sin that so awfully distorts human nature is not preached in schools,” according to the Associated Press.  He held a sign that read: “Moscow is not Sodom.”

Homosexual leader Nikolai Alexeyev was one of those arrested, claiming that Russia is a “totalitarian state” because of its refusal to permit him to speak to reporters during the demonstration.

Alexeyev’s arrest at the demonstration follows another arrest in April in St. Petersburg, where he violated the law against exposing minors to homosexual propaganda by holding a sign on a public street that read “Homosexuality is not a perversion.”

Recent polls indicate that a majority of Russians are in strong agreement with the government’s opposition to the homosexual political agenda.

A national poll conducted by state-run pollster VTsIOM in April, showed 86 percent of 1,600 respondents nationwide said they supported a ban on the promotion of homosexual relationships. A 2010 poll found that 74 per cent of Russians said homosexuals are “morally dissolute or deficient” and believe that homosexuality is “an amoral mental deviation.”

Although sodomy has been legal in Russia since 1993, city governments have acted to prevent homosexuals from advocating their lifestyles in public, banning “gay parades” and passing laws against propagandizing in favor of homosexuality in the presence of minors.

Legislators at the national level are preparing to debate a bill that would outlaw such propaganda throughout the country.

Related LifeSiteNews coverage:

* Russians overwhelmingly endorse ‘gay propaganda’ ban
* Despite threat of fine from eurocrats, Moscow government again prohibits ‘gay pride’ parade
* Madonna may be fined if she promotes homosexual agenda while performing: Russian official
* Russian Orthodox Church calls for nationwide ban on homosexualist propaganda aimed at minors

Tags: homosexuality, moscow

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Former Planned Parenthood director launches new ministry to abortion workers

by Ben Johnson Wed May 30 12:32 EST Comments (9)

Abby Johnson reaches out to her former colleagues.
Abby Johnson reaches out to her former colleagues.

AUSTIN, TEXAS, May 30, 2012 ( — On June 4, 2012, former Planned Parenthood abortion clinic director Abby Johnson will launch the official website for And Then There Were None, a nonprofit organization that ministers specifically to abortion clinic workers. The purpose of the organization is to assist former abortion clinic workers as they transition out of the abortion industry and into a new line of work.

“We have hundreds of ministries for post-abortive women and men. There is literally nothing for these former clinic workers,” Johnson said.  “We are going to change that.”

In a press release, ATTWN said that it will seek to provide emotional, spiritual, legal, and financial support to former clinic workers. 

“Emotional support will be readily available for these former clinic workers as they need it,” says the release. “They will be connected to a spiritual guidance counselor of any religious denomination of their choosing for the process of spiritual healing. Full legal protections of an attorney will be available to former clinic workers at no cost.  They will obtain financial support as they receive assistance in finding a new job outside of the abortion industry.”

Aside from prayer, the new ministry will also garner funds so the clinic workers can afford to leave the abortion industry and still be able to provide for themselves and their families.  “This is where pro-lifers can truly be active in their convictions: as there is no other outreach program like this one, it will need support,” explains the ATTWN release.

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ATTWN will hold its first ever international webcast entitled “Exposing the Lie” on June 11, 2012.  During the webcast the pro-life community will hear from actual former abortion clinic workers who will share their testimonies and experiences inside the abortion industry.  It will also be an opportunity to help fund the new ministry.  More information will be available on June 4th via and 

“It is not always easy to convince people to give to a ministry where you may never meet the people you help,” Johnson said.  “You may never know their names. You may never see them face to face. But your support is saving them…saving them from a road of darkness, of pure evil. Your support is bringing them into hope.”

If you or someone you know wants to leave the abortion industry, there is free, confidential help available. Visit or  to contact ATTWN and receive guidance and assistance through your transition out of the abortion industry— every step of the way.


Tags: abby johnson, and then there were none

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Nobody owns his life: an integral defense of life

by Monsignor Ignacio Barreiro-Carámbula Wed May 30 11:46 EST Comments (2)

Monsignor Ignacio Barreiro addresses the crowds at the Rome March for Life.

Note: The following comments were adapted from a speech given on May 12, 2012 as part of Italy’s March for Life weekend celebration.

In the defense of life, it is absolutely essential that we are committed to the abolition of all laws and judicial decisions that would permit even a single abortion. But we have to look further ahead to protect in an integral way the whole of human life from its biological beginnings until natural death. The same logic of dominion over life that leads to abortion serves as justification for euthanasia, assisted suicide, as well as contraception and artificial means of fertilization. If a person is capable of deciding on the life or death of the baby in the womb, that person could also make these same decisions over the life of a dying or disabled person under his or her legal care.

Nobody owns his life; no one has the right to euthanasia or assisted suicide. No one has the right to judge if the life of a human person is “not worthy of being lived” and should thus be eliminated.

Behind an apparently compassionate approach to the sufferings of a person that is dying, there is often a strong economic motivation to save society of the expenses of keeping alive a person whose condition has been deemed terminal. Life is the property of the Creator, so only He may decide the time of its beginning and the time of its conclusion; thus neither abortion or euthanasia, suicide, assisted suicide nor any form of artificial conception where human persons decide the time of the beginning or the end of life are permissible.

We have to protect the family which is the cradle of life and encourage generosity with life at a time of demographic winter. We should do everything possible to guarantee children their natural right of being born in a stable family, constituted by a man and woman, and their right to be conceived in natural fashion and not artificially.

The struggle to protect life is closely related to the acceptance or the rejection of the fullness of the Way, the Truth and Life that was brought to the world through the incarnation of the Eternal Word. John Paul II in Centesimus annus, demonstrates that a society cannot live without God in the emptiness of atheism. He finishes this analysis indicating how the Kingdom of God has to have a concrete effect in the life of society, enlightening it and penetrating it with the energies of grace. In light of these principles we can understand the gravity of Italian Law 194 of May 22, 1978 that legalized abortion and of the Law 40 of February 19, 2004 that legalized artificial fertilization. We cannot be in agreement with those that are of the view that Law 194 has to be applied in a correct way as a means of limiting the number of abortions. The first article of this law is totally ambiguous. It states that, “The Republic…. Protects human life from its beginning.” But right away we can ask: who between the partisans of this law is ready to define the beginning of life as its biological beginning? We can try to limit the damages caused by this law applying article 73 of Evangelium vitae, but we can never accept the ideological foundations of the Italian abortion law.

The Italian law that legalizes artificial fertilization is the consequence of view of life in which men think everything he wants to do is licit. Some see this as a consequence of the Enlightenment, but really behind it we have the old demonic temptation that led our first parents to think they could be like God and become the Lords of everything created, instead of accepting that man is only a temporary administrator of a spiritual and material reality that has been entrusted to him during his life on this earth.

Behind this law there is a view in which children are not seen as a gift from God but as a right. This frame of mind of dominion over life is a grave evil in itself, but we also have to be keenly aware of its immediate consequences, which are the death of thousands of newly conceived babies, because many are rejected at implantation in the womb of the mother due to the unnatural means of implantation. There are sources that indicate that in this way more than eighty percent of the embryos produced artificially die before being born.

There is a connection that can never be taken away between the unitive and procreative meanings of the sexual act; this connection should not be broken by man. Artificial fertilization separates procreation from sexuality, and in certain way there is a relation between a contraceptive frame of mind and artificial fertility because we can say it is the reverse.

The defense of life is a fundamental part of building up the common good of society, as John Paul II taught us:

To be actively pro-life is to contribute to the renewal of society through the promotion of the common good. It is impossible to further the common good without acknowledging and defending the right to life, upon which all the other inalienable rights of individuals are founded and from which they develop. A society lacks solid foundations when, on the one hand, it asserts values such as the dignity of the person, justice and peace, but then, on the other hand, radically acts to the contrary by allowing or tolerating a variety of ways in which human life is devalued and violated, especially where it is weak or marginalized.” Then John Paul II adds with sober realism, “There can be no true democracy without a recognition of every person’s dignity and without respect for his rights.

A central element of the common good is the active protection of life as part of a commitment to establish a just and well-organized society under the Social Kingship of Christ, where Faith would be lived with a deep love of the truth, and as a consequence all the social and economic resources should be properly managed to assure a social and economic growth in real terms. A fundamental element in this struggle to establish the common good is generosity with life, because selfishness with life is the consequence of the lack of hope, which is in turn due to a lack faith. This lack of faith and hope leads directly or indirectly to abortion, euthanasia and all sorts of aggressions against the family. This happens also because without a hopeful and strong view of the future grounded in the faith it is difficult to make the permanent commitment which is the essence of marriage. A lived faith would encourage the generosity of families with life and a healthy socioeconomic policy would give them the necessary material security to carry forward their mission.

In the missionary presentation of the faith we should make a courageous and integral effort to communicate the teachings of the Church on life and family, demonstrating how all of them are bound together, and the abandonment of one of them leads to an attack on the others. These teachings are strongly opposed by a world dominated by relativism and hedonism, but without these it impossible to lead a happy and well integrated life. These obstacles should not discourage us, because nothing is impossible with God who always wishes our salvation.

Monsignor Ignacio Barreiro is the executive director of Human Life International’s Rome office. This article reprinted with permission from

Tags: abortion, assisted suicide, contraception, euthanasia

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The fall of icons

by Donald DeMarco, Ph.D. Wed May 30 11:01 EST Comments (7)


May 30, 2012 ( - A writer who practices his art at home does not want to turn his place of residence into a library warehouse. And so, every so often, in order to maintain a dynamic equilibrium between acquisitions and dispersals, he must sift through his material and separate the transitory from the enduring. It is a practice akin to gardening in which one separates the weeds from the perennials. Some material remains stubbornly attached to time, while other material becomes the stuff of history. Or so one believes. It is not an exact science.

I was engaged in such sifting recently and enjoyed the serendipitous feeling of discovering literary items that seemed to improve with time. One item, however, arrested my attention in a jarring manner. It was the cover feature for the July 17, 1989 issue of Time: “Death By Gun: America’s Toll in One Typical Week.” Why would I hold onto this issue for more than two decades? I surmise that it was to remind me of the many mature souls who die violently before their time, their lives coming to an end in great numbers, like falling leaves. The words “before their time,” convey a piercing sadness: what could be, will not be. There can be no turning back.

Time dedicated a 28-page portfolio in this issue to memorialize the deaths of 464 Americans who were killed by gunfire over the course of a single week. In order to further humanize this harrowing statistic, it provided the faces of most of these casualties. Re-visiting this issue is like walking through a cemetery, but even more poignant because one knows that all these deaths were unnecessary. Each face evoked a shudder. The old Roman, Terence, was right: “I am man, I consider nothing human alien to me” (Homo sum, humani nihil a me alienum puto). It is the nature of any genuine pro-life sensibility to moved by the death of anyone.

The more I studied the specific causes of these deaths, however, the more I realized that these tragedies were not so much the result of guns, but from a loss of the will to live and the inability of people to get along with each other. A large proportion of the deaths were by suicide. How many suicides took place that week, I wondered, in which the gun was not the instrument of death? The real enemy of life lurked deeper than the gun.

On page 18 I saw a face that I recognized. It belonged to Thomas Stallcup who, at age 67, turned a shotgun on himself. In his heyday he played shortstop for the Cincinnati Reds under the name Virgil Stallcup (what a great name!). I was once the proud owner of his baseball card. He was No. 108 in the 1951 Playball series. His portrait displayed the epitome of joy and confidence. The fact that his career stats were indeed modest (his lifetime batting average is .241) did not matter. To young baseball card collectors, he was an icon, a success story, a hero larger than life. And now, Time informs me, this erstwhile role model is now a grim statistic who has been absorbed by an even grimmer statistic — 464. The fact that the photo that Time selected was the same one that appeared on his card, made the pictorial announcement of his death morbidly ironic. Icons are not supposed to fall!

Hollywood stars are also regarded as larger than life, though the disparity between their image and their behavior is the embarrassing grist for tabloid journalism. We believed in Virgil Stallcup, we youthful, naïve baseball card collectors. It is shocking to learn that there came a time in his life when he may not have believed in himself.

Life, as the poet John Keats describes it, is “A fragile dew-drop on its perilous way from a tree’s summit” (Sleep and Poetry). The great paradox is that our greatest value, life, travels with fragility as its constant companion. Hence, the profound poignancy of human existence. “We are all in the same boat in a stormy sea,” wrote G. K. Chesterton, “and we owe each other a terrible loyalty.”

Why, we may ask, does society view those who try to prevent suicide as humanitarians, and those who try to prevent abortion as fanatics? Both these cohorts are defending life. No “seamless garment” here. It is fair to conclude that our society is ambivalent about life. The fragility can be fearful, and the storms can be startling. And that’s the core of the problem. Life demands courage, support, faith and hope. It does not arrive without its challenges. And who amongst us can meet these challenges alone?

We have detached “choice” from community and are now paying a heavy price on a community level. We have been duped by the myth of autonomy. Yet, not even Major League baseball players are autonomous, though they may appear to be when looking invincible on their bubblegum cards. None of us is larger than life. Nonetheless, each of us is larger than being a mere individual. We are communal beings called to love each other. That’s not how we get ourselves on baseball cards, but that may be the best way to avoid being part of the kind of grim statistic that Time assembled more than two decades ago.

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.

Tags: abortion, suicide

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Sacha Baron-Cohen’s unexpected moment of truth about sex-selective abortion

by Eric Metaxas Wed May 30 10:28 EST Comments (35)

I don't recommend that you go see The Dictator, but the movie does have an unexpected moment of truth about abortion.

May 30, 2012 ( - In the newly released film, “The Dictator,” the title character is played by shock comedian Sacha Baron Cohen. In one scene, the dictator is informed by his wife that she is pregnant; to which he replies: “Are you having a boy or an abortion?” Yikes!

While I do not plan to see the film myself — and don’t recommend that you do — it is an example of how humor allows us to broach subjects we would otherwise ignore: In this case, what has been called “a global war on baby girls.”

That’s how a recent article in “The New Atlantis” characterizes what Nicholas Eberstadt of the American Enterprise Institute calls, “an ominous and entirely new form of gender discrimination.” This discrimination combines “surgical abortion [and the] . . . information gained through prenatal gender determination.”

Unlike Sacha Baron Cohen’s fictional Dictator, the practitioners of this discrimination aren’t content to simply ask whether it’s a boy or a girl — technologies like amniocentesis leave nothing to chance. If it’s a boy, the pregnancy virtually always goes to term. If not, abortion is often the result.

As Eberstadt tells us, “the practice has become . . . ruthlessly routine” in many societies around the world. So much so, that in these societies, gender balances have become horribly skewed.

Click ‘like’ if you want to END ABORTION!

The best-known example is China, where the infamous “one child” policy and the cultural preference for boys have resulted in a ratio of approximately 120 boys for every 100 girls. But that may understate the imbalance: There are many places in China where the ratio exceeds 150 boys for every 100 girls.

And it isn’t only China. Sex ratios are similarly skewed in Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, and India. It is estimated that there are 160 million “missing” Asian women. That’s “missing” as in “never born.”

The “missing” women aren’t the only victims of this lethal discrimination. Last summer, Chuck Colson told BreakPoint listeners about the link between sex-selection abortion and the increased demand for sex workers in India. This demand is being met, in part, by selling girls from neighboring Nepal into slavery and prostitution.

It isn’t only India. A 2007 State Department report drew a link between bride kidnapping and the Chinese sex-ratio imbalance. A 2008 “New Republic” article linked the sex-ratio imbalance to crime sprees in Chinese cities by “hopeless volatile men.”

Given the societal devastation wrought by this discrimination, you’d hope that people would re-think the impact of abortion-on-demand.

But you would hope in vain. When Ross Douthat of the “New York Times” noted the obvious connection between the missing women and abortion, the author of the aforementioned “New Republic” article, Mara Hvistendahl, took umbrage. She insisted that abortion-on-demand was unrelated to the issue.

Chuck called this dust-up a clear “example of the blinding power of a false worldview” — in this case the unsustainable worldview that sees abortion as an absolute, fundamental woman’s right. Our culture refuses to acknowledge that in the name of “female empowerment,” millions of future women are being eliminated.

Which puts Sacha Baron-Cohen’s cinematic dictator, like other comic figures before him, in the role of truth-teller.

Reprinted with permission from

Tags: abortion, sex-selection abortion, the dictator

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How Dalton McGuinty will decimate Ontario’s Liberal Party

by Patrick B. Craine Wed May 30 08:21 EST Comments (16)


May 30, 2012 ( - Question:  Why is Dalton McGuinty the equivalent of Paul Martin, Stephane Dion and Michael Ignatieff, rolled up into one?

Answer: Because the Leader of Ontario’s Liberals is walking his party off the same plank to political extinction that took his federal cousins from “natural governing party” to the humiliating status of “third place losers” in the 2011 election.

One can trace the demise of the federal Liberals between 2005 and 2011 to their position on social issues, which increasingly put the Liberals outside the mainstream of Canadian values and painted them as “extreme”.  This was felt in particular amongst the traditionally loyal voting blocs of Catholics and visible minorities. A significant defection amongst Evangelical Christians also occurred.

Successive Liberal leaders made their party look out of touch, even “radical”, on issues like homosexual marriage (Martin 2005), taxing the air we breathe (Dion 2008), funding abortion in Africa (Ignatieff 2010), and the transsexual “bathroom bill” (Ignatieff 2010).  As they shifted to the extreme left, core voting blocs flowed to the Conservatives who then looked more aligned with their family values.

A case in point is the Catholic vote which dropped by 38 points from 54% supporting Liberals in 2000, to just 16% in 2011. Over the years, Conservatives were the main beneficiaries of the Catholic defection.

It’s the same story with visible minorities, most of whom come from countries with strong beliefs in the traditional family, marriage and the sanctity of human life. A study of “probable voting” by visible minorities found that in 2000 Liberals had a 26 point advantage. By 2008, visible minorities were “almost as likely” to vote Conservative.

This shift did not occur over night but rather over the course of a few years and successive elections.  It started when the Paul Martin Liberals abolished the true definition of marriage in 2005. Its effect in the short term was not very noticeable. Rather, it progressed over a few years, as the understanding spread within these communities that the Libs were diametrically opposed, even hostile, to their deeply-held beliefs.  I call this the tsunami effect. This is why the Liberals never saw it coming. At first, the effect is not noticeable, like a disturbance far out at sea where the water still appears calm on the surface.  Even as it grows in strength and ferocity the water appears calm, until it finally slams the shore and decimates everything. 

The biased mainstream media (MSM) tries to blame this voter shift on the “sponsorship scandal” in order to protect its anti-life, anti-family agenda. Hushing up facts that are inconvenient to their worldview is not a new tactic for the MSM.  Even Liberal MP John McKay, who was tasked with trying to regain the Catholic vote in last year’s election, conceded that the party alienated Catholics when the Paul Martin Liberals legalized gay marriage in 2005 and demonized traditional marriage supporters as “unenlightened”.

Enter Dalton McGuinty, the man who wants to leave behind a legacy as “the Education Premier”.  Instead, he has inadvertently turned himself into “the Gay Premier” by trying to ram through a radical, gay-activist piece of legislation which requires the Catholic Church to violate its religious beliefs.  I’m speaking of Dalton’s proposed ‘gay rights’ legislation, known as Bill 13, the so-called Accepting Schools Act. (And yes, I know Dalton isn’t ‘gay’, but the shoe fits).

While posing as a “bullying bill”, thousands of parents have recognized that’s just a clever ruse, a euphemism designed to sneak a sexual agenda into the classroom while keeping parents blissfully unaware. At Queens Park on March 29, a parental protest against Bill 13 saw well over 50% of the participants hail from Chinese, Indian, Arabic or African backgrounds.  Do you see the parallel with what happened to the federal Libs yet?

Right now, as we speak, McGuinty is sparking a similar, mass defection of Catholics, visible minorities and Evangelicals from the Liberals. I predict that if Bill 13 passes, it will decimate the Liberal Party of Ontario over the next couple of elections.  McGuinty is setting the stage to walk his party off the plank.

I think Dalton fears this too.  On May 24th the Liberals organized a semi-secret meeting at Queen’s Park to which they invited the ethnic media. For the past several months the Chinese and Punjabi media have reported critically about Bill 13 and the concerns of parents.  At this “massaging the media” event, the Education Minister Laurel Broten,  MPP Michael Chan, and MPP Soo Wong attempted to “clarify some misunderstandings” about Bill 13. Obviously, they were hoping the ethnic media would stop reporting critically.  (By the way, are you as creeped out as I am that the State is trying to “massage” the media?)

Part of the problem for the federal Libs was that they mistook enthusiastic MSM support of their anti-life, anti-family policies for popular support amongst Canadians. I fear the same tragic mistake is happening now with Ontario’s Liberals. The biased MSM is cheering Dalton’s tyrannical efforts, but Catholic parents, other faith communities and visible minorities are taking to the streets in protest across the province, virtually ignored by the MSM.  If Liberal backbenchers want to save their party, escape the coming tsunami and stand a chance of being re-elected, they need to organize a revolt within their caucus.  If they want to prevent the Liberal Party in Ontario from going the way of the Ignatieff Libs, they’ve got to stop Bill 13 themselves.

Jack Fonseca is the project manager for Campaign Life Coalition.

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