Thursday, June 21, 2012

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FCC to act on 1.5 million complaints backlog after Supreme Court ruling upholds indecency law

by Kathleen Gilbert Thu Jun 21 17:31 EST Comments (5)

WASHINGTON, June 21, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is free to enforce its indecency law, although the two networks suing the FCC won in their specific complaints of unfair punishment, the Supreme Court ruled today.

In FCC v. Fox, plaintiffs had argued that the federal commission had not given fair notice of the rules under which networks were punished for instances of visual and verbal profanity broadcast in 2002-03. In a unanimous ruling, the high court agreed, although it did not address the networks’ broader claim that the rules themselves were a violation of First Amendment principles.

“A fundamental principle in our legal system is that laws which regulate persons or entities must give fair notice of conduct that is forbidden or required,” wrote Justice Anthony Kennedy in the opinion, which stated there was no need to review the rule’s constitutionality.

Following the ruling in the 1978 case FCC v. Pacifica Foundation, the FCC had noted it would distinguish between repetitive and isolated occurrences of profane speech. When the FCC sanctioned for the three incidents involved in Thursday’s case, the FCC changed its application of indecency to include isolated violations.

The justices also vacated a U.S. appeals court decision that had deemed the FCC indecency law unconstitutional, and remanded the case back to that court, and gave federal officials the option of reviewing the policy.

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said Thursday that the agency is reviewing the Supreme Court decision. “Consistent with vital First Amendment principles, the FCC will carry out Congress’s directive to protect young TV viewers,” he said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Republican Commissioner Robert McDowell said the agency would swiftly begin addressing a pile of nearly 1.5 million pending complaints that had accumulated since 2003, a task that had been put on hold by the lawsuit.

Conservative watchdogs expressed satisfaction with the outcome.
 
“The real import of today’s ruling is that the FCC is free to enforce indecency law,” said Morality in Media president Patrick Trueman in a statement Thursday.

Family Research Council president Tony Perkins said that, “When a similar case goes before the Supreme Court again for fines imposed for any future violations, we expect the Court to once again decide that fleeting expletives and brief nudity are not protected under the First Amendment.”

“The public airways are just that - public,” said Perkins. “The networks using them have a moral duty to the American public to responsibly provide content that is acceptable for all viewers. This is not a heavy burden for those whose television and radio licenses provide them with substantial profits.”

Tags: federal communications commission, indecency, media, pornography

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‘Incessant rain and blisters’: 2012 Crossroads Canada pro-life walkers ‘offer it up!’

by Thaddeus Baklinski Thu Jun 21 15:43 EST Comments (2)

 
Walkers meet with Vancouver Archbishop Miller

SOMEWHERE on the prairies, June 21, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - After walking through British Columbia in almost incessant rain, the team of stalwart Crossroads Canada pro-life walkers made it to the plains of Alberta and are now trekking through the vast expanses of Saskatchewan sharing their message of life in major cities and small towns along the way.

“It’s week 4 and we’ve hit the plains! After descending the Rockies into the plains of southern Alberta, we have since jumped north and continued walking east from the Calgary area. We are now in mid-western Saskatchewan heading to Saskatoon,” the group related on their blog late last week.

Patrick Wilson, leader of the group of 10 young people ages 18 to 30, said that blisters - the most serious physical hardship the walkers have experienced so far - are both a painful reminder and an inspiration to the walkers of the reason they walk, so the phrase “offer it up” is used often.

“I am happy to report that we have sustained no real injuries as of yet - despite some fairly bad blisters for some - but everyone is more than happy to walk, even though it may at times be painful,” Patrick said. “In that vein, the phrase “offer it up!” has already become a bit of a joking cliché term - and though we joke about how frequently we say it, there is still much truth in the idea of offering up any pain in our walking for the unborn and the intentions we receive along the way at parishes.”

The team’s daily routine involves walking in shifts through the night and day. They also attend daily Mass at the nearest parish.

The group walks for five days and then spends weekends praying in front of abortion clinics, visiting parishes to talk to youth groups and to drum up donations. The weekends also give blisters and sore muscles time to heal.

“One of the things which has surprised me the most on Crossroads - in a good way - is the importance of the parish mission on the weekends,” Patrick related.

“Visiting local churches, we share with parishioners what our walk is about, and ask for spiritual and financial support. I was initially reluctant to do this part of the walk, but have since found it extremely rewarding for both the parishioners, and our own motivation.”

“For them to see young people active and engaged in the mission, who care deeply enough about it to want to walk across the country for the cause, is very encouraging for many of these people. Their encouragement, in exchange, is very encouraging for us. To feel and receive this abundant support on weekends has helped to strengthen our resolve to walk with purpose this summer. Thank-you parishioners!”

Nineteen-year-old team member Lindsay Richey of B.C., said the positive response, especially from parishes along the way has been a highlight for her.

“I’ve noticed a lot of positive response. We get a lot of encouragement, especially from parish communities on the weekends, which really fills us up and keeps us motivated,” Lindsay told the Western Catholic Reporter, which caught up with the team in Edmonton.

“I’m walking this summer because I’ve come to realize how precious all human life is and I want to witness to how important it is especially for the unborn,” added Lindsay.

The team notes that, “The general response we have received so far along the road has been interesting.”

“While the majority of actual responses we visibly receive has been so far positive - friendly horn blasts, thumbs up and waves - it is still tough to gauge exactly what the majority of those who drive by us actually think.”

As participants in previous Crossroads Canada walks have told LifeSiteNews, their experience is that many Canadians are apathetic about abortion.

Patrick observed that, “Looking into the cars of passersby (we do not try to make it look obvious!), nearly all drivers notice us, and with some degree of interest. It is easy to notice the turning heads, or the glance, and the averted eyes. We very rarely get middle fingers, angry yells, or any negative response.”

“It is interesting to note,” Patrick said, “because I think it is sadly indicative of the typical Canadian tendency towards apathy on topics such as abortion. I feel that many of these people likely do not disagree with our cause, or respect us for standing up for it, but might feel that since abortion is not directly their problem, then they should not be concerned or excited about the movement.

“How do we reach these apathetic Canadians? This is not an easy question to answer. But I only hope that our shirts have at least got these apathetic passersby to think about the issue a little more, and maybe open their minds to consider that maybe there is something wrong with the genocide that we are inflicting on our future generation.”

Again, as has been the experience by teams in previous years, Patrick and the team agree that the level of support for the pro-life cause and for their cross-Canada walk was by far the highest in the province of Saskatchewan.

“So far, our experience in this province of Saskatchewan has proven to be most supportive overall, judging by the amount of positive response we are getting from passing cars and those we meet in the towns along the way. We have even got some donations on the road!” Patrick said.

Crossroads Canada will wind up in Ottawa on August 11 with a rally on Parliament Hill. The organizers and participants are urging pro-lifers to take the time to come out and show their support of the walkers, and for the pro-life cause in Canada.

The Canada Crossroads walkers are blogging their adventures here.

The schedule of the 2012 Crossroads Canada pro-life walk is available here.

Anyone wishing to donate toward the pro-life walkers’ expenses can do so online at www.crossroadswalk.org
by phone at 1-800-353-8817
or by mailing a cheque made out to Crossroads Pro Life to:
Crossroads, Inc.
PO Box 2219
Columbia, MD 21045
USA

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Swiss vote brings death-peddlers into nursing homes

by Peter Baklinski Thu Jun 21 15:23 EST Comments (2)

 
Exit International was behind the Swiss initiative.
Exit International was behind the Swiss initiative.

VAUD, Switzerland, June 21, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – Citizens of the Swiss canton Vaud voted last Sunday in a referendum to bring the business of death into nursing homes and hospitals. When the new law goes into effect, doctors will be forced to comply with the demands of eligible people who request assisted suicide or face legal consequences.

The referendum arose when Exit, the foremost assisted suicide organization in the country, launched an initiative and gathered 14,000 signatures to make subsidized assisted suicide available in nursing homes and hospitals.

The pro-death organization argued that the elderly and the infirm must be legally empowered with the “right to self-determination” so that they can enlist the services of medical professionals to help them commit suicide, according to Tribune deGenève.

While 61.6 percent of Vaud citizens voted to bring assisted suicide into area nursing homes, they rejected Exit’s proposal, opting instead for a government counter-proposal that allows persons to make use of Exit’s assisted suicide services only if they first meet certain criteria.

These criteria include that the person in question must be suffering from a terminal illness and furthermore be judged competent to make a free decision. The head of the nursing home or the chief physician in the hospital must determine that a person meets both criteria before giving an approval for death.

In Swiss law, assisted suicide is currently illegal. Article 115 of the Swiss Criminal Code states that anyone assisting in the suicide of another person “for selfish motives” is guilty of an offense punishable by up to five years in jail or a monetary penalty.

Pierre-Yves Maillard, cantonal health minister and proponent of the counter-initiative, told the newspaper Tribune deGenève that launching a counter-initiative against Exit’s initiative was a strategy implemented to directly influence the debate. “If we had not launched a counter-proposal, the debate would have taken place between supporters of Exit and people whose minds were closed to assisted suicide. This debate has led to a successful initiative,” he said.

Up until now, Exit’s medical staff have used the Article’s legal loophole of “for selfish motives” to assist in the death of their clients, arguing that their work is not carried out for selfish ends. The new law will give Exit even greater freedom to act.

Alex Schadenberg, executive director of the Euthanasia Prevention Collation, pointed out that Exit is poised for significant financial gain by pushing the business of death into nursing homes. Schadenberg noted how the organization operates its business by selling memberships to assisted suicide supporters and then charges members a fee for each client they are asked to assist in killing.

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Exit supporters were pleased with the result of the referendum, despite their own proposal having failed at the polls.

The organization’s president, Jerome Sobel, called the vote a “half-step in the right direction.”

“The use of assisted suicide is no longer a freedom,” he said. “It is now a right acquired with a strong popular legitimacy. We now have to learn this new legal framework.”

But not all agreed that the issue was settled.

“It’s still not right that the law requires us to act contrary to our conscience,” Jacques Chollet, chairman of the boards of trustees of Praz-Sun and Bethel nursing homes, told the Tribune deGenève.

Both Catholic and Protestant leaders in Vuad were reported to have spoken against the assisted suicide initiative. Eleven nursing homes run by religious groups publicly expressed their principled opposition to providing assisted suicide to their patients and have demanded an “exception clause.”

But health minister Maillard made it clear that there will be no exceptions to a law approved by the people. He said that those who do not cooperate with the new regulations will first be given a warning before “appropriate sanctions” are applied.

Wesley J. Smith, American bioethicist and attorney, commenting on the Swiss decision, said that the “West is fast becoming – and in some regards has already become – pro suicide.”

Smith, who has been fighting what he calls an “international campaign to legalize and normalize doctor-prescribed/administered death” since 1993, pointed out that “once euthanasia is let in the door, ultimately, enough is never, ever enough.”

Karl Gunning, head of the Dutch Doctors’ Union anticipated in 1994 the ethical Pandora’s box that would be opened once a country legally sanctioned the business of death: “We have always predicted that once you start looking at killing as a means to solve problems, then you’ll find more and more problems where killing can be the solution.”

“The moral of the story”, said Smith, is that “once the culture of death sinks into the bedrock of a society or culture, it brooks no dissent.”

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‘Sharply divided’ Supreme Court postpones ObamaCare decision

by Kathleen Gilbert Thu Jun 21 13:29 EST Comments (18)

 

WASHINGTON, D.C., June 21, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) - The U.S. Supreme Court has pushed back the hotly-anticipated ruling on the federal health care law, as Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg disclosed that the Court was “sharply divided” over the question - but gave no hint as to the outcome.

Although media were preparing for a ruling on Thursday, the high court was silent on the health care lawsuit, leaving Monday as the next possible date for a decision.

Court watchers have said that the justices’ reactions during the three days of hearings in March gave little indication of where the Court would land on the health care dispute.

The case is complicated by three major points of disagreement: whether the mandate forcing Americans to purchase health insurance is unconstitutional, whether the law could stand without the mandate, and whether its expansion of Medicaid is within the boundaries of federal power. A fourth possibility, that the case would be deemed immature, is thought to be more remote.

Meanwhile, Justice Ginsburg on Friday commented on the High Court’s unusually heavy case load and hinted that the nine justices were pushing the most difficult decisions, including the health care law, to the last minute of their session, which finishes at the end of the month.

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“As one may expect, many of the most controversial cases remain pending,” Ginsburg said. “So, it is likely that the sharp disagreement rate will go up next week and the week after.”

Ginsburn also conceded that the health care decision would be an historic one - at least, judging by the amount of attention it has garnered.

“Some have described the controversy as unprecedented,” she said, “and they may be right if they mean the number of press conferences, prayer circles, protests, counter protests, going on outside the court while oral argument was under way inside.”

Yet the answer they all sought, said Ginsburg, was not about to leak.

“At the Supreme Court, those who know don’t talk,” she said. “And those who talk don’t know.”

If the entire law is overturned, the ruling would mark a massive victory both for the health care law’s political opponents as well as faith-based leaders struggling to overturn the law’s preventive services insurance mandate, which is set to force religious groups to pay for contraceptives and drugs many consider abortifacient by August 2013.

An Associated Press-GfK Poll conducted June 14-18 found that only one-third of Americans support the health care law, while 47 percent opposed it. Nearly twice as many said they strongly opposed the bill as those who strongly supported it, 32-17 percent.

 

Tags: obamacare, supreme court

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Study: Belief in Hell is associated with reduced crime

by LifeSiteNews staff Thu Jun 21 13:27 EST Comments (29)

 
Azim Shariff, a psychologist at the University of Oregon, studies the impacts of specific beliefs within religion on people's behaviors.

EUGENE, OR June 21, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Religions are thought to serve as bulwarks against unethical behaviors. However, when it comes to predicting criminal behavior, the specific religious beliefs one holds is the determining factor, says a University of Oregon psychologist.

The study, appearing in the Public Library of Science journal PLoS ONE, found that criminal activity is lower in societies where people’s religious beliefs contain a strong punitive component than in places where religious beliefs are more benevolent. A country where many more people believe in heaven than in hell, for example, is likely to have a much higher crime rate than one where these beliefs are about equal. The finding surfaced from a comprehensive analysis of 26 years of data involving 143,197 people in 67 countries.

“The key finding is that, controlling for each other, a nation’s rate of belief in hell predicts lower crime rates, but the nation’s rate of belief in heaven predicts higher crime rates, and these are strong effects,” said Azim F. Shariff, professor of psychology and director of the Culture and Morality Lab at the UO. “I think it’s an important clue about the differential effects of supernatural punishment and supernatural benevolence. The finding is consistent with controlled research we’ve done in the lab, but here shows a powerful ‘real world’ effect on something that really affects people—crime.”

Last year, in the International Journal for the Psychology of Religion, Shariff reported that undergraduate students were more likely to cheat when they believe in a forgiving God than a punishing God.

Religious belief generally has been viewed as “a monolithic construct,” Shariff said. “Once you split religion into different constructs, you begin to see different relationships. In this study, we found two differences that go in opposite directions. If you look at overall religious belief, these separate directions are washed out and you don’t see anything. There’s no hint of a relationship.”

The new findings, he added, fit into a growing body of evidence that supernatural punishment had emerged as a very effective cultural innovation to get people to act more ethically with each other. In 2003, he said, Harvard University researchers Robert J. Barro and Rachel M. McCleary had found that gross domestic product was higher in developed countries when people believed in hell more than they did in heaven.

“Supernatural punishment across nations seems to predict lower crime rates,” Shariff said. “At this stage, we can only speculate about mechanisms, but it’s possible that people who don’t believe in the possibility of punishment in the afterlife feel like they can get away with unethical behavior. There is less of a divine deterrent.”
He added, however, that these are correlational data, and so caution should be taken with the conclusions. Though Shariff and study co-author Mijke Rhemtulla of the Center for Research Methods and Data Analysis at the University of Kansas tried to account for obvious alternative explanations, more research is needed to explore other interpretations for the findings.

The data for belief in hell and heaven, belief in God and religious attendance were culled from World Values and European Values surveys done across various time periods between 1981 and 2007. Crime data were pulled from United Nations records on homicide, robbery, rape, kidnapping, assault, theft, drug-related crimes, auto theft, burglary and human trafficking. Other factors accounted for included such things as nations’ dominant religion (Roman Catholic, other Christian and Muslim), income inequality, life expectancy and incarceration rate.

“This research provides new insights into the potential influences of cultural and religious beliefs on key outcomes at a societal level,” said Kimberly Andrews Espy, vice president for research and innovation. “Although these findings may be controversial, dissecting the associations between specific belief systems and epidemiologic behaviors is an important first step for social scientists to disentangle the complex web of factors that motivate human behavior.”

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Lesbians sue to force Catholic hospital to provide same-sex benefits, undermine DOMA

by Calvin Freiburger Thu Jun 21 12:28 EST Comments (64)

 
Bill Donohue, Catholic League president, defends marriage.
Bill Donohue, Catholic League president, defends marriage.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK, June 21, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) - A New York lesbian couple has sued to force a Catholic hospital to provide them with insurance benefits by challenging the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

The same-sex couple has filed a lawsuit against Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield and St. Joseph’s Medical Center because one of St. Joseph’s divisions, St. Vincent’s Westchester, denied them spousal benefits.

The plaintiffs, who have chosen to remain anonymous, are seeking past and future benefits and a declaration that they are entitled to receive them.

Though New York recognizes same-sex marriage, self-insured employers such as St. Joseph’s may still refuse to recognize them because they are governed by federal regulations, rather than state regulations.

The lawsuit alleges that the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as the union of one man and one woman for the purposes of federal regulations, is discriminatory and unconstitutional, and therefore cannot justify the hospital’s policy. “It’s just not socially fair,” the employee told the New York Times.

Catholic League President Bill Donohue strongly condemned the lawsuit on Wednesday in a statement e-mailed to LifeSiteNews.com, calling it an infringement on the hospital’s rights made possible by “sleuth, deception, and a wholesale disregard for the democratic process” and suggesting homosexual activists were the ones trampling on diversity.

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“It is not the Catholic Church that is seeking to impose its agenda on others” Donohue said. “It is homosexual activists who voluntarily join a Catholic institution and then seek to upend its strictures.” He noted the employee “surely knew all along…the teachings of Catholicism” on the issues of marriage and homosexuality before coming to the hospital.

DOMA has long been a high-priority target for advocates of redefining marriage. The federal Department of Justice has come under fire for refusing to defend the law in court throughout President Barack Obama’s time in office.

In July 2011, the administration called for the law to be overturned, arguing that the bill signed by President Bill Clinton was “motivated in large part by animus toward gay and lesbian individuals.”

Last month, the First Circuit Court of Appeals struck down DOMA’s federal marriage definition, ruling that benefits could not be denied to gay couples in states that recognize same-sex marriage. However, the court upheld the section of the law protecting states’ right to define marriage for themselves.

The opinion, written by a judge appointed by President George H.W. Bush, specifically denied the bill was motivated by prejudice.

Critics told LifeSiteNews at the time that the rest of his ruling was severely flawed. Liberty Counsel senior counsel Harry Mihet noted the inconsistency of ruling that “states remain free to decide the meaning of marriage for themselves and to ban homosexual ‘marriage,’ as 31 states have already done, but somehow the federal government does not have that same freedom to decide for itself…what marriage means.”

Alliance Defense Fund legal counsel Dale Schowengerdt observed that the federal government’s authority to exclude polygamy from marriage’s definition has historically been recognized, while Family Research Council President Tony Perkins argued that DOMA should be subjected to the “rational basis test,” a commonly-accepted legal standard that would recognize government’s rational interest in fostering unions that provide children with a mother and a father.

The assault on DOMA raises serious concerns for religious liberty, as well. A ruling against DOMA and St. Joseph would mean that not even religious employers who bear full financial responsibility for their own services have the right to conform those services to their religious convictions.

In October 2011, Bishop William Lori testified before a the House Judiciary subcommittee that the rhetoric used by the Justice Department against DOMA also pose a deeper threat to religious freedom.

“If the label of ‘bigot’ sticks to our Church and many other churches – especially in court, under the Constitution – because of their teaching on marriage,” he argued, “the result will be church-state conflicts for many years to come.”

Tags: bill donohue, catholic hospitals, doma, same-sex 'marriage'

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The ‘incredible pain’ that followed years after her ‘Jewish abortion’

by Dave Andrusko Thu Jun 21 12:07 EST Comments (35)

 
Sarah Tuttle-Singer

June 21, 2012 (nationalrighttolifenews.org) I had not read or heard about the essay that appeared on the Jewish parenting site Kveller titled, “My Jewish Abortion” when it ran in May. My first exposure was when I ran across an interview the author of that piece, writer Sarah Tuttle-Singer, gave to the NPR program “Tell Me More” that aired this week.

The title of her essay comes from the fact that she is Jewish and when she was a pregnant freshman at Berkeley there were Jewish “philanthropic organizations” (as Tuttle-Singer put it) “that support Jewish women in this situation.”

But what strikes the listener is the universality of what Tuttle-Singer has to say. More about that in a moment.

In a real sense the introduction by host Michel Martin is deeply misleading. There is this false dichotomy: during election season abortion is a “political” issue, while for every woman who undergoes an abortion, “it’s a deeply personal, and often painful, choice.”

The headline is in the same vein: “One Writer Puts A Face To The Abortion Debate.” The implication is that either “politicians” merely trot the abortion issue out as they campaign and/or those who oppose abortion do so because they are unfamiliar with the real “face” of abortion.

What do I mean by the universality of her story? She was 19, in college and away from home, experimenting with the things college freshmen often do, and then “found” herself pregnant. But she was also active in her faith, among other things teaching Hebrew on Sunday and Wednesday.

CLICK ‘LIKE’ IF YOU ARE PRO-LIFE!

The essay itself is thoughtful. We learn she is now the mother of two, living in Israel, and, unfortunately, “navigating through a separation.” The interview filled in many important blanks.

For example Tuttle-Singer tells Martin that she went public to encourage other women who’ve aborted to do so and because her public involvement “could lead to greater discourse, and greater understanding, between such opposing camps.”

Then the first of many revealing comments:

“And then I also felt, you know, setting that aside, that I wanted to share. This was something that – well, at the time, it wasn’t incredibly painful. It became incredibly painful later on, when I was pregnant with my daughter seven years later. And I had a hard time reconciling a previous decision with the excitement of seeing this tiny blip on an ultrasound monitor and saying wow, that’s a baby; that’s life.”

Tuttle-Singer is not second-guessing her decision, but she is honest enough to admit that when she became pregnant again, there was incredible pain and great difficulty with reconciling what she saw and what she had done.

Another important reason for the essay and the follow-up interview clearly was to reinforce that even “nice Jewish girls” have abortions.  And, of course, that applies to “nice” Catholic, Methodist, and Lutheran girls as well – and to the “nice” boys who get them pregnant.

The point for pro-lifers is never to shame women who’ve aborted — whether church and synagogue attenders or a-religious — but to help them (and women contemplating an abortion) to understand that abortion is not a “solution.”

Tuttle-Singer had no money as a freshman, and there was a $250 co-pay to have the abortion. But as important as the outside money (the “scholarship”) was to her was the

“huge relief to know that there were other members of my community who understood that these things happen. And they were there not to judge and not to blame, and not to say anything to make me question the decision I had already made; but to say OK, you’re in trouble, we’re going to support you, and we’re going to make sure that you can be safe and that you can heal.”

Again, the question transcends the particulars of her faith. Pro-lifers want such organizations to help a woman out of “her trouble” not by financing the death of her baby but by supporting her decision to carry the baby through an admittedly difficult situation.

Martin asked her, as a member of a minority group, if she felt “in a way, you kind of let down your side.” It had “crossed” her mind, Tuttle-Singer said, that in having an abortion she might be behaving in a way that “doesn’t represent the community as people would like it to be represented.” But the fact that a fund was available consoled her with the thought “I was not the first, nor would I be the last, Jewish girl – nice or otherwise –to be in this kind of situation.”

The interview ends with this exchange:

“MARTIN: Before we let you go, Sarah, I just can’t hope but notice that I still hear a lot of emotion in your voice as we are speaking. And I know we just met, so I could be over-interpreting – and you’re kind of far away. But do you still feel a lot of emotion around this even now, so many years later?

“TUTTLE-SINGER: Sure. It never fully goes away. And while I don’t regret what I chose to do, I regret that I had to choose what I chose. And I really hope that my daughter – I have a daughter and a son – I hope that when my daughter is 19, that she will – that she will protect her body, and not get pregnant unless she really wants to be pregnant because it is a very- it’s an excruciating choice. And it’s one that’s never made lightly, not by any woman.”

It seems clear that the abortion ran head-on into her better instincts and that these many years later she is still wrestling with reconciling “a previous decision [the abortion] with the excitement of seeing this tiny blip on an ultrasound monitor and saying wow, that’s a baby; that’s life.” And that having gone through this “excruciating choice,” she really would not want her own daughter to go through an abortion.

That says a lot, perhaps a lot more than she knows.

Reprinted with permission from nationalrighttolifenews.org

Tags: abortion, sarah tuttle-singer

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Why does it take stories like this to prick our consciences on abortion?

by Peter Saunders Thu Jun 21 11:29 EST Comments (9)

 

Few people in Britain now raise an eyebrow over the issue of abortion and I was struck by two casual references to it this week in relation to euthanasia.

British Medical Journal Editor, Fiona Godlee, in her controversial article calling for the British Medical Association and other medical bodies to go neutral on ‘assisted dying’ said that doctors were at the same stage with euthanasia that they were with abortion in the 1960s.

The clear implication was that euthanasia, like abortion, would eventually become acceptable to the medical profession and be legalised.

What she didn’t say was that abortion was legalised on the basis that it would only apply to a few extreme cases. But now the medical profession carries out over 200,000 abortions a year in England, Wales and Scotland.

Then there was Jane Nicklinson, wife of Tony Nicklinson, the man with locked-in syndrome who is this week seeking the permission of the High Court for a doctor to end his life with a lethal injection.

In a Channel Four Dispatches Programme screened on Monday night, she said that people now accepted abortion but that there would always be a small minority who objected. Her implication was that euthanasia should be viewed in the same way.

There are 42 million abortions carried out now worldwide, with the largest numbers in India and China as a result both of their large populations and the widespread practice of ‘sex selection’ – selectively aborting female babies. 200,000 abortions a year take place in Britain.

Virtually all these abortions are carried out by doctors, although abortion is against the Hippocratic Oath, against the Declaration of Geneva and against the International Code of Medical Ethics. In fact, in 1947 the British Medical Association even called abortion ‘the greatest crime’. So why this change in attitude?

Abortion is so commonplace that few stories about it now have the capacity to shock, but there have been some revelations this year that have made even the hardest pro-choice activists draw breath.

The first involved a photo widely circulated on the internet showing a baby whose mother was forced to have an abortion in China.

Feng Jiamei, from Shaanxi province, was made to undergo the procedure in the seventh month of pregnancy. Ms Feng was forced into the abortion as she could not pay the fine for having a second child, U.S.-based activists said.

Her husband said his wife had been forcibly taken to hospital and restrained before the procedure. The BBC’s Jon Sudworth in Shanghai says such allegations are nothing new in China, but what has made this one different is a widely circulated photo of the woman lying next to the baby’s corpse.

Chinese officials have now apologised to her and the Ankang city government said it decided to suspend three officials in Zhenping county following initial investigations.

LifeSiteNews this week reports on two abortion practitioners who, it is alleged, fed the bodies of girl babies killed in abortions to dogs to hide the fact that they were carrying out sex-selection abortions.

The husband and wife doctor team have been charged with homicide after a woman died, but no charges have been laid about the disposal of the babies’ bodies.

Then there is the report of 17,000 ‘Aphrodisiac’ pills made from dead, aborted babies being seized by police in South Korea.

According to Lifesite News the pills originate in China, where manufacturers reportedly obtain the corpses of aborted or stillborn babies from hospitals and abortion facilities, then dehydrate their bodies before crushing them up.

They are sold as sexual stamina enhancers and as alternative medicine for a variety of ailments.

This story has even been reported by the BBC.

Similar allegations regarding the use of human fetuses in China have emerged in the past, including claims that some restaurants in China have served ‘fetal soup,’ and that Chinese beauty product manufacturers have included fetal materials in their products.

Stories like this get wide coverage understandably. But why does it take abuses this extreme now to prick our consciences on abortion?

Reprinted with permission from Dr. Saunders’ blog.

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House committee approves ObamaCare abortion coverage ban, stops taxpayer funding of abortion in D.C.

by Kathleen Gilbert Thu Jun 21 10:37 EST Comments (2)

 

WASHINGTON, D.C., June 21, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) - The House Appropriations Committee has approved two pro-life measures: an amendment preventing abortion coverage from being included in multi-state insurance plans set up in 2014 under the Affordable Care Act, and warded off an attempt to reintroduce taxpayer funding for abortion in the nation’s capital.

“This committee has had a long history of bipartisan agreement of recognizing that taxpayers should not be asked to pay for elective abortions, nor should the taxpayers be paying for health plans that are administering elective abortions,” Rep. Alan Nunnelee, R-MS, stated in his opening remarks.

During the mark-up of the Financial Services Appropriations bill for 2013, Nunnelee successfully introduced language to prevent the insurance collectives from covering abortion.

That brought multi-state insurance plans into line with longstanding policy on elective abortion. A source on Capitol Hill noted that the multi-state plans are designed to be similar to the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program (FEHBP) which, under current policy, are barred from including elective abortions. Yet under the federal health care reform as passed, all but one multi-state plan is permitted to include elective abortion.

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The multi-state plans are to be administered by the Office of Personnel Management, which is funded by the appropriations bill. The Nunnelee amendment was adopted by a vote of 28-20.

In addition, Rep. Barbara Lee, D-CA, unsuccessfully offered an amendment to weaken the D.C. Hyde amendment, under which no taxpayer funds appropriated for the District can be used for elective abortions. The Lee amendment would have specified that the ban applied only to “federal” funds, gutting the existing policy which forbids national or local funds appropriated under the Financial Services bill to be spent on elective abortions.

Financial Services Subcommittee Chair Jo Ann Emerson, R-MO, and Rep. Steve Austria, R-OH, spoke in opposition to the amendment.

Under the U.S. Constitution, Congress has responsibility for governing the nation’s capital city. Lee’s amendment was defeated by a vote of 21-26.

 

Tags: alan nunnelee, barbara lee, washington d.c.

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Minnesota Monastery gone wild: priest urges vote against marriage amendment

by Patrick B. Craine Thu Jun 21 10:31 EST Comments (92)

 

MINNESOTA, June 21, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) —Collegeville, Minnesota’s notoriously liberal Benedictine community of St. John’s Abbey is in the spotlight once again as one of its monks urges Catholics to oppose the cause for true marriage.

On June 10th, openly homosexual priest Fr. Bob Pierson, the guest-master at St. John’s, told over 200 people at a Methodist church in Edina, Minneapolis, that “Catholics can vote no” on Minnesota’s proposed constitutional amendment prohibiting gay marriage. Pierson, who styled himself an “LGBT ally”, made his case by selectively quoting the Catechism of the Catholic Church and voicing disagreement with the Vatican on certain issues.

The event was organized by Minnesotans United for All Families (MUAF), a homosexual activist group campaigning to defeat the amendment.

“I knew that I was gay when I was ordained,” Fr. Pierson stated, after saying that he was “offended to learn” from a 2005 Vatican document that the Church has declared that men with deep-seated homosexual tendencies cannot be priests.

In defending homosexual marriage, Fr. Pierson quoted Catechism paragraph 2358: “every evidence of unjust discrimination [against people with homosexual tendencies]… should be avoided.” However, Fr. Pierson omitted to read the immediately previous passage that declares homosexual acts to be “acts of grave depravity” and “under no circumstances can they be approved.”

To defend voting “no” on the amendment, Fr. Pierson also argued for “freedom of conscience.” He quoted the Catechism’s doctrine that “a Catholic person must not be forced to act contrary to his conscience.” However, Fr. Pierson omitted the rest of the quotation, which states that the conscience must be informed by a higher authority.

Fr. Pierson’s talk occurred not long after St. John’s sponsored a retreat for ‘LGBT folks’ at the abbey. According to the Eponymous Flower blog, the retreat, in which students and monks were encouraged to “touch each other,” was to be conducted by Bob Pileggi, a pro-gay guru who allegedly teaches while he is naked and advocates mutual undressing as part of “erotic spirituality.”

Fr. Pierson apparently cancelled the retreat due to complaints and information about it has been removed from the abbey’s Guesthouse website. However, Behind the Pine Curtain, a blog dedicated to exposing “sexual abuse and misconduct” at St. John’s, has retained a screenshot of the guesthouse website, containing the retreat details.

More information on Pileggi’s retreats—including statements such as: “massage portions of the weekend will be clothing optional”—can also still be found at Pileggi’s website.

The monastery has been subject to numerous sexual abuse allegations.

According to America magazine, Fr. Pierson was listed as a priest in good standing in the 2011 Official Catholic Directory.

LifeSiteNews made numerous attempts by phone over several days to contact Fr. Pierson’s abbey, but St. John’s failed to reply.


Contact Information:

Congregation for Religious
His Excellency Archbishop Secretary +39. 06. 69884584
FAX +39. 06. 69884526
civcsva.segr@ccscrlife.va

St. John’s Abbey
(Abbot) Rt. Rev. John Klassen
FAX 320-363-3082

Br. Aelred Senna OSB, Abbey spokesman
PHONE 320-266-8119
asenna@csbsju.edu

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130,000 elderly patients killed every year by ‘death pathway’, claims leading UK doctor

by Thaddeus Baklinski Thu Jun 21 10:02 EST Comments (13)

 
Dr. Patrick Pullicino

LONDON, June 21, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - An eminent British doctor told a meeting of the Royal Society of Medicine in London that every year 130,000 elderly patients that die while under the care of the National Health Service (NHS) have been effectively euthanized by being put on the controversial Liverpool Care Pathway (LCP), a protocol for care of the terminally ill that he described as a “death pathway.”

Dr. Patrick Pullicino, a consultant neurologist for East Kent Hospitals and Professor of Clinical Neurosciences at the University of Kent, claimed that doctors are putting people on the LCP without proper analysis of their condition, citing “pressure on beds and difficulty with nursing confused or difficult-to-manage elderly patients” as factors.

According to the Daily Mail, the doctor sounded the alarm that of the approximately half million deaths in Britain each year of elderly people who are in hospital or under NHS care, about 29 percent, or 130,000, are patients who were on the LCP.

The Liverpool Care Pathway, developed by the Royal Liverpool Hospital and the Marie Curie hospice in the 1990s, and described by its formulators as a “template” to guide the care of the dying, was approved in 2004 by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), the government’s health scrutiny body in charge of rationing health services. 

The LCP, reportedly adopted nationwide by more than 300 hospitals, 130 hospices and 560 care homes in England, allows for withdrawal of water and nourishment, and “continuous deep sedation” for patients judged to be incurable. Combined with withdrawal of fluids, deep sedation leads quickly to death.

Pullicino related the personal experience of removing a man from the LCP who went on to live another 14 months, proving that the claim of the diagnosing doctor that the man had only hours to live was “palpably false.”

“I found him deeply unresponsive on a Monday morning and was told he had been put on the LCP. He was on morphine via a syringe driver. I removed the patient from the LCP despite significant resistance,” Pullicino told the Royal Society of Medicine. “His seizures came under control and four weeks later he was discharged home to his family.”

“The lack of evidence for initiating the Liverpool Care Pathway makes it an assisted death pathway rather than a care pathway,” Pullicino stated. “Very likely many elderly patients who could live substantially longer are being killed by the LCP.

“Predicting death in a time frame of three to four days, or even at any other specific time, is not possible scientifically. This determination in the LCP leads to a self-fulfilling prophecy. The personal views of the physician or other medical team members of perceived quality of life or low likelihood of a good outcome are probably central in putting a patient on the LCP.”

“If we accept the Liverpool Care Pathway we accept that euthanasia is part of the standard way of dying as it is now associated with 29 per cent of NHS deaths,” Dr. Pullicino concluded.

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According to the Daily Mail, a Department of Health spokesman panned Dr. Pullicino’s assertions. “The Liverpool Care Pathway is not euthanasia and we do not recognise these figures. The pathway is recommended by NICE and has overwhelming support from clinicians – at home and abroad – including the Royal College of Physicians,” the unnamed spokesman said.

However, Pullicino’s claims echo a similar statement last year by Dr. Clare Walker, President of the Catholic Medical Association in the UK, where she said, “euthanasia is being widely practiced in the NHS in an official way” under the LCP protocol.

Dr. Walker explained that “she is regularly contacted by distressed healthcare professionals and managers who describe their experience of witnessing repeated instances of unofficial active euthanasia in their local areas,” adding that, “in some hospitals the LCP has become known as the Lazarus Care Pathway due to the number of people who have been put on it inappropriately, are not moribound and subsequently need to be actively treated.”

Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director of Canada’s Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, responded to Dr. Walker’s statement at the time, saying, “Whether active euthanasia is actually widespread is unknown and anecdotal at best but the reality is that the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition regularly receives phone calls and emails from family members and friends of people whose medical care-givers appear to be intentionally causing their death.

“Many of these cases are concerned family members reacting to end of life decisions that are made because the person is actually dying, whereas, sometimes these cases appear to be euthanasia.”

Tags: euthanasia, patrick pullicino, uk

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My aunt’s killer should not be an excuse to kill

by Patrick B. Craine Thu Jun 21 07:57 EST Comments (15)

 

June 21, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - ALS often comes up when euthanasia and assisted suicide are discussed. The disease seems to be the poster child for the ‘right to die’ movement, and has been a part of major court cases including Gloria Taylor’s involvement in the recent Carter case and the 1993 Supreme Court case of Sue Rodriguez.

“Don’t you know about ALS/Lou Gehrig’s disease?” I’ve been asked by those who support assisted suicide. “How would you feel if it was your loved one dying of ALS? Do you know what the disease does?”

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis? Yes, I do actually.

Several years ago my dad’s sister – my aunt and godmother – was diagnosed with the degenerative motor neuron disease that had also killed her grandmother many years before. Most patients only live between 3-5 years, but my aunt deteriorated quickly and we lost her on September 29, 2009 – only 13 months after diagnosis.

Even before the disease was officially diagnosed, she had to stop teaching due to problems with balance and standing. She called it ‘getting tippy’. By the time the disease had been officially diagnosed later that August, her mobility had been severely curtailed and the disease was already beginning to affect her speech. She warned my dad to let us kids know that if we picked up the phone and heard a drunk person on the other end, it was just their aunt.

Her approach to the disease mirrored her approach to life: blunt and practical. She quickly mobilized her husband and friends to rearrange the house for her so she had access to her scrapbooking materials and computer, and had a chair lift put in to help her get up and down the stairs. Legal matters were taken care of soon after the diagnosis as well.  There was never any “Why me?” questions; she just hunkered down to handle life as it was presented to her. It was her way of doing things.

Despite living in a small farming community in Saskatchewan, she was able to get the assistance she needed to live at home for several months. Her condition worsened rapidly – much too rapidly – and despite the heroic efforts of my uncle and her home care providers, she had to be admitted to a palliative care unit in a nearby small town hospital early the next spring where she remained until her death in the fall. Her memorial service was held at the community hall to accommodate the crowd of friends, colleagues, family and former students from decades of teaching who came to pay their respects.

ALS is a ghastly disease. My aunt quickly lost her independence, and became reliant on others for the basics that we take for granted. She soon lost her ability to speak, and near the end of her life it was almost impossible for her to communicate. Through it all, her husband and the medical team continued to lavish their love and care on her to alleviate her pain and suffering as much as possible until she died. She was an individual with dignity, and was treated with dignity, despite all the indignities the disease subjected her to.

I hesitated before I began to write, I hesitated before I sent it to my dad to look over, and I hesitated before I posted it. I do not want anyone to misinterpret my meaning. I am not glorifying my aunt’s suffering nor am I trying to make her the new poster child of our movement. My aunt would not be anyone’s poster child, thanks very much. My point is this: I am aware that ALS has a very human face to it. But it is precisely that humanity, and the humanity of all the vulnerable, that puts me firmly against euthanasia and assisted suicide. I hate the fact that my aunt’s killer is being used as an excuse to allow killing. I shudder to think how the medical system would have treated my aunt if euthanasia and assisted suicide was a part of the Canadian health care system. Would they have seen her as a financial burden to the system? Would they have done a cost-benefit analysis on her life? Would her ability to function have come to define her value?

And while Gloria Taylor and Sue Rodriguez gave a face to the euthanasia and assisted suicide movement in Canada, their stories are not the only stories. Legalizing assisted suicide and euthanasia endangers our seniors, our friends and family with special needs and those suffering from diseases. These stories and our stories matter too.

I certainly wish my aunt hadn’t suffered or died, especially from such a horrific disease. I would like to see more research done on currently incurable diseases like ALS. I would like to see palliative care and pain relief improve. But creating a right to kill will not make that happen, nor is killing an acceptable way to ‘alleviate’ suffering. Instead, by allowing doctors to kill the sufferers, it only endangers the lives of all the vulnerable.

Rebecca Richmond is the executive director of the National Campus Life Network, a national pro-life organization that aims to educate, network and support post-secondary pro-life students across Canada.

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‘New Abortion Caravan’ expected to create storm of controversy as it hits Greater Toronto Area

by Patrick B. Craine Thu Jun 21 07:38 EST Comments (6)

 

BRAMPTON, Ontario, June 21, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - In the wake of being assaulted in Thunder Bay and facing organized opposition from the Canadian Auto Workers Union, activists with the New Abortion Caravan are arriving today in the GTA and Toronto proper.

Starting Thursday afternoon, they will be driving trucks with 7-foot tall and 20-foot long abortion images through Canada’s largest metropolitan area.

“The women of the old abortion caravan have turned the wombs of Canadian women into Canada’s killing fields,” said Stephanie Gray, spokesperson for the group.  “We are a country which prides itself on peacekeeping and yet there’s war going on in the womb; so we’re taking our message to the streets to declare we will EndtheKilling in our lifetime.”

The group of young people, mostly in their 20s, will spend Thursday in Brampton, including giving a public presentation at St. Elias Ukrainian Church at 7:30pm.  They will be in Toronto on Friday, Hamilton on Saturday, and London on Monday, before returning to Toronto on June 26. They plan to end their tour in Ottawa on Canada Day.

The anti-abortion group’s activity has raised the ire of abortion supporters, like Joyce Arthur of Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada who said calling the New Abortion Caravan by its name is a “sacrilege.”  Margot Dunn, one of the original caravaners from 1970, said the campaign was “horrifying.”

In 1970, a group of self-described “furious women” drove from Vancouver to Ottawa with 2 goals: repeal the abortion laws and obtain free abortion on demand.  They achieved their goals 18 years later with the Supreme Court’s Morgentaler decision.

The New Abortion Caravan is controversial because it is retracing the old caravan’s steps with an 18 year plan to, Gray said, redeem Canadian history.  The new Caravan launched in Vancouver on May 29 with Canuck’s hockey singer, Mark Donnelly, singing O Canada at their event.

The public presentation on Thursday, June 21, will be at St. Elias Church, 10193 Heritage Rd, Brampton, starting at 7:30.

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