Friday, June 29, 2012

Print All Articles

Former NARAL leader must pay back hundreds of thousands of dollars in fraud

by Ben Johnson Fri Jun 29 18:20 EST Comments (24)

 
Kelli Conlin, fmr. NARAL Pro-Choice New York leader.
Kelli Conlin, fmr. NARAL Pro-Choice New York leader.

AUBURN, NEW YORK, June 29, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – A former longtime president of NARAL Pro-Choice New York will have to pay back $250,000 she improperly diverted for her private use, according to the state’s attorney general’s office.

Last February, an audit discovered Kelli Conlin had falsely claimed hundreds of thousands of dollars in personal expenitures as business expenses. This included a $50,000 tab at retailers like Giorgio Armani, 120 non-deductible meals at a sushi restaurant near her home, and $17,000 to rent a home in the Hamptons for one month.

Conlin pleaded guilty to the felony of falsifying business records last summer.

Her annual salary accounted for $309,000 of the state organization’s $4.5 million budget.

At the time Kristan Hawkins, executive director of Students for Life, told LifeSiteNews.com her arrest “shows just how corrupt pro-abortion groups are. They are not in it to help women, but rather for their own selfish profit.”

Click “like” if you want to end abortion!

State Attorney General Eric Scheniderman recused himself from the case after pro-life Democrat Sen. Ruben Diaz Sr. exposed his close family ties to the abortion advocacy group.  Scheniderman’s father, Irving, served as treasurer for NARAL Pro-Choice New York. The organization strongly backed the state’s top prosecutor in his election bid.

Jason Lilien, chief of the Charities Bureau, said, “We will vigorously crack down on those who rip off the public for their own personal gain.”

Tags: kelli conlin, naral

Print Article  |  Email Friend  |  Back to Top | View Story on LifeSiteNews.com

Planned Parenthood, NARAL overjoyed by Supreme Court ruling

by Ben Johnson Fri Jun 29 17:44 EST Comments (8)

 
Cecile Richards echoed Obama's words in her spontaneous reac
Cecile Richards echoed Obama's words in her spontaneous reaction to the High Court ruling.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK, June 29, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – While pro-life, pro-family activists lamented Thursday’s Supreme Court decision upholding the constitutionality of the health care bill, the abortion industry welcomed the 5-4 ruling in favor of a bill that could lead to the federal funding of abortion.

The nation’s pro-abortion organizations weighed in with a series of similarly worded press releases recycling many of the same phrases and talking points.

Planned Parenthood called the bill “the greatest advance in women’s health in a generation.” Echoing President Obama, Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards said, “This is a victory for the American people, and we thank President Obama and the members of Congress who passed the Affordable Care Act for their leadership on this issue.”

“Women who come into Planned Parenthood health centers often struggle to balance paying for birth control and health services with paying for textbooks, groceries, or gas for the car. The Affordable Care Act will make those decisions easier for women across the country,” she said.

Click “like” if you want to end abortion!

A Planned Parenthood press release states that one of the “key benefits” of the health care bill is that, starting in August, “birth control will be treated like any other preventive prescription under the Affordable Care Act, and will be available without co-pays or deductibles.”

Judy Tabor, president of Planned Parenthood of Southern New England, shared identical sentiments. “This is the greatest advancement for women in a generation,” she said. She said, thanks to the bill, women “won’t have to make a decision about whether to buy their birth control, or pay for their groceries or fill their tank with gas.”

The bill may pad the billion-dollar abortion industry’s bottom line. Planned Parenthood’s press release notes, “49 percent of Planned Parenthood health centers have contracts with private insurance companies”

Nancy Keenan, the departing president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, said, “The Affordable Care Act marks the greatest advancement for women’s health in a generation.” She called the decision “a tremendous victory for American women” that “will bring 30 million Americans into a health-care system that includes affordable family-planning services [and] better access to contraception.”

As implemented, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), conventionally known as “ObamaCare,” would allow insurance agencies that participate in the state exchanges the bill creates to charge women a $1 surcharge for abortion coverage, effectively underwriting the ghastly procedure with federal funds.

Tags: cecile richard, nancy keenan, naral, supreme court

Print Article  |  Email Friend  |  Back to Top | View Story on LifeSiteNews.com

Mexican pro-life leader victorious following eight years of legal attacks by pro-abortion groups

by Matthew Cullinan Hoffman Fri Jun 29 17:23 EST Comments (1)

June 29, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Jorge Serrano Limón, the founder of Mexico’s largest pro-life organization, has been acquitted in a criminal case promoted by pro-abortion groups that has dogged him for almost eight years.

The campaign against Serrano included at least one attempt to arrest him in 2011, which he narrowly escaped, when he was tipped off about the warrant against him and managed to take legal recourse in time to avoid its execution.

Jorge Serrano Limón was first accused by pro-abortion groups of malfeasance in 2004 after receiving a grant for the National Pro-Life Committee (Comité Nacional Provida), which uses mobile units to provide free ultrasounds to women considering abortions, and offers financial and moral support to help them keep their children. Some of the expenses were deemed unauthorized, and the committee was required to return a part of the funds.

In 2009 Serrano was accused again, this time of criminal fraud for using grant money to purchase monitors, cables, and other accompanying expenses for the ultrasound equipment, for which the grant had been given. Serrano contended that the other equipment and expenses were included in the grants for the ultrasound units, while prosecutors claimed they were not.

This April, Serrano was convicted by a lower court and sentenced to four years in prison, and required to pay restitution and fines of more than 2.5 million pesos (approximately $186,000 U.S.), a decision he predicted would be overturned on appeal.

On Tuesday, appellate judge Ricardo Paredes nullified the sentence completely in a decision that cannot be appealed and ordered the cessation of all other legal actions against Serrano related to the case.

“A manipulated trial was conducted in which they did not take any of the evidence into account, and a sentence was declared of four years in prison and a payment of 2,500,000 pesos,” wrote Serrano in a public statement on the case, which he called “an attack that lasted almost 8 years in which the media united to discredit me.”

“Magistrate Ricardo Paredes reviewed the case, recognized the anomalies, took the evidence into account, and declared that the correct use of the funds had been proven, for which he issued a sentence in my favor. This sentence is the final sentence. No more can be done with respect to it, it is unassailable,” wrote Serrano Limón.

“We must not forget that these attacks made on my person were not against me, but against the marvelous work of Christ, which are the Women’s Help Centers and the strategies of rescuing lives from abortion,” he added, thanking supporters “for all of their prayers,” and requesting “that we pray for those people who sought to do us damage so that our Lord might bless them, as well as your prayers to give thanks to the Virgin for her protection.”

Contact information:
To visit the website of the National Pro-Life Committee: http://provida.org.mx.

To e-mail the National Pro-Life Committee: comprovi@prodigy.net.mx.

Tags: jorge serrano limón, mexico, national pro-life committee comité nacional provida

Print Article  |  Email Friend  |  Back to Top | View Story on LifeSiteNews.com

Mississippi abortion clinic deceptively hides abortion abuses in court challenge

by Cheryl Sullenger Fri Jun 29 17:06 EST Comments (3)

 
Jackson Women's Health Organization.
Jackson Women's Health Organization.

JACKSON, MISSISSIPPI, June 29, 2012, (Operation Rescue) – The Jackson Women’s Health Organization (JWHO), the last abortion clinic in the state of Mississippi, filed a suit in Federal Court in an effort to block the July 1 implementation of a new law that would require all abortionists to have privileges at a local hospital. Operation Rescue has learned that the clinic’s court pleadings omit key information about their primary abortionist’s botched abortion history in a deceptive gambit to conceal the truth about his atrocious safety record.

Operation Rescue has obtained court documents filed on behalf of JWHO by the radical pro-abortion legal group, the Center for Reproductive Rights, that show dubious arguments and suspicious claims as the basis for the abortion clinic’s court challenge, including an attempt to hide the identity of their primary abortionist to keep the court from discovering his involvement in the hospitalization of three abortion patients and other abuses that led to the state ordered closure of the Birmingham abortion clinic where he worked.

[All court documents filed in this case as of this writing are available at AbortionDocs.org.]

JWHO, owned by the infamous “abortion queen” Diane Derzis, is seeking a temporary restraining order to keep the clinic open, but in court documents filed June 28, the Mississippi State Department of Health states that it plans to conduct a compliance inspection on Monday, July 2. JWHO has said that it will be impossible for them to come into compliance by that date. If it cannot comply, the abortion clinic will eventually be forced to close.

Covering Up for “Dr. John Doe”

JWHO states in court records that it employs three abortion providers. One abortionist apparently does have local hospital privileges, but only supplies abortions at JWHO on an infrequent basis.

Documents refer to “Dr. John Doe” as being “the sole physician providing abortion care on a regular basis” at JWHO until abortionist Willie Parker was hired on June 18, 2012. Parker’s declaration states that he flies to Jackson “once a month” to conduct abortions. Parker’s name is featured as a plaintiff on the law suit. “Dr. Doe” is not a named plaintiff – an intentional omission meant to conceal “Doe’s” troubled past.

“Dr. Doe” is none other than Bruce Elliot Norman, who was employed until recently at New Woman All Women (NWAW), a Birmingham, Alabama, abortion clinic formerly owned by Derzis. Norman was the abortionist on duty on January 21, 2012, when three abortion patients were hospitalized – one in intensive care – for life threatening abortion complications. After pro-life activists filed complaints, the Alabama Department of Health (ADOH) discovered 76 pages of deficiencies and ordered the clinic closed.

An additional complaint against Norman was filed by Operation Rescue with the Medical Board. That complaint is still under investigation.

“There can be no doubt that JWHO is trying to white-wash the dangers of Norman’s abortions by putting Parker front and center in their law suit. Parker has had no complications in Jackson yet because he’s only been employed by them for eleven days,” said Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue and Pro-Life Nation. “The court is clearly being misled about the safety of abortions by JWHO staff.”

Click “like” if you want to end abortion!

In fact, the JWHO claims in court documents that “the Clinic has an impeccable safety record.” It further states that since Derzis took over ownership of the clinic in 2010, “the Clinic has had no major incidents, nor has a single patient required admittance to the emergency room after receiving an abortion at the Clinic.”

Yet, in Alabama, Derzis was ordered not to have any affiliation with the NWAW abortion clinic because of the appalling and dangerous way her abortion business was conducted. JWHO uses the same business model and the same primary abortionist.

Three hospitalizations in one day

Pro-life activists photographed two of Norman’s patients being hand-carried out of the Birmingham abortion clinic to gurneys waiting in a trash-strewn alley after being overdosed on Vasopressin by a clinic worker. Vasopressin is used to treat excessive bleeding. They filed complaints with the ADOH.

The ADOH discovered a third victim of Norman’s during a chart review while conducting an investigation into the abortion-related drug overdoses.

That patient reported for an abortion at 16 weeks gestation – the upper limit for abortions at JWCO – with multiple risk factors that increased her chances for serious complications. Norman took an hour to do the Dilation and Extraction (dismemberment) abortion. At one point he stopped and ordered Pitocin, a drug that increases the intensity of uterine contractions, for the patient because he was having difficulty with the procedure. The patient was not monitored while the Pitocin was given, in violation of patient standards of care. The abortion was later completed, but complications handed the patient in the hospital’s Intensive Care ward.

Norman’s “blatantly false” records

The ADOH deficiency report indicated that notations made on the patient charts were illegible, nonsensical, or just blatantly false. For example, one record showed the patient’s procedure time nearly an hour after her documented discharge.

Norman indicated on two charts that the women were “Ambulatory, d/ced [discharged] with no distress”, meaning they walked out of the clinic in good condition. However, those patients were the same ones who were transported to a local hospital in January after having suffered a drug overdose administrated by an inadequately trained nurse.

Norman made notes on some records that he performed ultrasounds on abortion patients the same day as their abortions, prior to their surgeries as state law mandates. However, the survey team discovered several ultrasound photos dated days after a patient had an abortion.

The survey team also found that records that had been forwarded to them before the investigation had been altered when they arrived on-site.

A botched abortion and other documented violations at JWHO

In 2008, an ambulance was called to JWHO to transport a critically injured abortion patient to the hospital. A pro-life activist photographed the event. A confidential source tells Operation Rescue that the abortion on duty that day was Bruce Elliot Norman, even though other records show that the clinic covered this incident by claiming another abortionist was actually on duty that day.

On August 28, 2009, the Mississippi Department of Health issued a 29-page deficiency report that included 18 violations discovered by state inspectors. The report stated that JWHO failed to ensure that all employees were trained in emergency resuscitation, failed to enforce their own policies regarding access to medications, and failed to keep the abortion suites clean and sanitary. In fact, inspectors discovered that medical waste, including aborted baby remains, were being improperly stored in cardboard boxes next to the recovery room at a temperature of 68 degrees.

Many of the clinic staff employed at the time of these incidents continue to work at JWCO today, including the clinic administrator.

“Deception is a way of life.”

“It is vitally important for the court to know the full truth about the abortionists who are working at the Jackson Women’s Health Organization,” said Newman who first recommended the hospital privilege requirement to a Mississippi pro-life lobbyist who pressed forward with the bill. “The court should also consider the fact that Derzis and Norman employed deceptive practices to cover up for abortion injuries and to avoid legal consequences. Based on what we have seen, for these people deception is a way of life.”

That deception continues by omitting Norman’s troubles from the Federal Court in Jackson, Mississippi.

“It appears that Parker was an eleventh-hour hire because the abortion clinic needed someone without Norman’s dirty record in order to portray abortions in Mississippi as being safer than they really are,” said Newman.

Dubious health endangerment claims

JWCO’s suit argues that it must be allowed to say open, even if it cannot comply with the hospital privilege safety law, because its closure would “threaten the health of women seeking abortions.”

“JWCO’s argument turns the truth on its head. In reality, with abortionists like Bruce Norman manning the abortion rooms, there is documented evidence that the health of women is in dire peril,” said Newman. “The abortion clinic and its shady abortionists are the true danger to women. Again, theirs is a smoke-and-mirrors deceptive claim with no basis in fact.”

Closure will not be immediate

As JWCO faces a July 1 compliance deadline, the Department of Health’s own procedures could delay closure for weeks or months. According to court documents filed on June 28 by Michael Lucius, the state’s Deputy Health Officer, the Health Department will have 10 working days from the inspection to file a deficiency report. JWCO will then have 10 calendar days to file a “reasonable” corrective plan. After that, the Health Department will again inspect to determine compliance. If the clinic still is in violation, a notice of intent to revoke its license will be mailed. If the clinic requests it, a hearing will be scheduled. Hearing decisions can be appealed. Mississippi law allows for the status quo of the licensee to be preserved until the final disposition of the matter, which could take several months.

“We had hoped the clinic would close on July 2, but unfortunately, that will not happen,” said Newman. “While we regret the delay, we have every confidence that the system will work and that the Jackson Women’s Health Organization will eventually close.

“The provision mandating that abortionists hold privileges at local hospitals is a reasonable and necessary safety measure that has already been upheld in court. If JWCO cannot meet this minimum safety requirement, then it is in the best interest of the public for it to close. When abortion clinics close, lives are saved. That’s not a bad thing for anyone except the abortionists.”

View Jackson Women’s Health Organization’s profile page at AbortionDocs.org (with links to court documents).

This article originally appeared on the website of Operation Rescue and is reprinted with permission.

Tags: bruce elliot norman, diane derzis, jackson women's health organization, mississippi

Print Article  |  Email Friend  |  Back to Top | View Story on LifeSiteNews.com

‘Slap on the wrist’ for abortionist who pointed loaded gun at pro-lifers

by Jean McCarthy Fri Jun 29 17:04 EST Comments (7)

 
Dr. Gary Boyle pointed a loaded pistol at peaceful 40 Days for Life protestors.

Washington, D.C., June 29, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – Pointing a loaded gun at peaceful protestors just became a minor offence. 

At least that’s the case for Dr. Gary Boyle, an abortionist who pointed a loaded pistol at peaceful 40 Days for Life protestors, and who will now have to pay a $100 fine after pleading “guilty” Friday to a significantly reduced charge. 

The protestors were praying and counseling outside Boyle’s abortion clinic, the Charleston Women’s Medical Center in 2010, when the abortionist pointed a semi-automatic firearm at three protestors. 

“It was shocking to see that he [Boyle] was pointing a gun at us,” said John Karafa, a 40 Days for Life participant and one of the three victims of the incident, who said that contrary to claims by the abortionist, “we were not aggressive in any way.” 

“Our lives should not be threatened because we are exercising our right to peacefully pray.”

Dr. Boyle was originally arrested for felony, facing the possibility of up to five years in jail.  However, Scarlett Wilson, South Carolina’s Solicitor for its Ninth Judicial Circuit, decided to instead reduce the charge to a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of $100 or a 30-day jail sentence.

A lawyer for the abortionist entered a guilty plea on his behalf on Friday, according to the Post-Courier.

CLICK ‘LIKE’ IF YOU ARE PRO-LIFE!

This isn’t the first time Boyle’s sentence has been reduced.  The abortionist’s initial charge of “aggravated assault with a firearm” was reduced to “presenting a firearm,” until it finally became a charge of “disorderly conduct.”  This last charge is usually reserved for cases of public drunkenness. 

“We are outraged at this latest evidence of a double standard applied by too many prosecutors – federal, state, and local – when it comes to charging abortion proponents with serious crimes against pro-life advocates,” said Shawn Carney, campaign director for 40-Days for Life. 

“How different would Judge Wilson’s charge be if the roles had been reversed?  Threat of violence is threat of violence - and should always be treated as a serious crime.  Dr. Boyle should be fully punished for his reckless and despicable actions.”

Tom Brejcha, president and chief counsel of the Thomas More Society, pointed out that the U.S. Justice Department has pursued pro-life advocates simply for offering literature to cars entering Planned Parenthood. “Yet such threats of deadly force against pro-lifers as occurred here in Charleston are now brushed off with a mere slap on the wrist.”

“Public safety is paramount, and it is high time that pro-lifers’ rights are fully and equally protected.”

One police report claimed that the three pro-lifers surrounded Dr. Boyle’s car.  But according to the Thomas More Society the pro-lifers never approached the abortionist or his car. 

The Charleston Women’s Medical Center is South Carolina’s largest abortion center, performing 2,550 abortions in 2008, and nearly 55,000 between 1988 and 2008, according to Columbia Christians for Life.

Boyle has been in trouble with the law before. For several years in the 1990s, Boyle operated a Bristol, Tennessee abortuary without proper state certification; however, an appeals judge eventually ruled in 2002 that the statute requiring certification violated a woman’s right to privacy.

Tags: 40 days for life, abortion, gary boyle

Print Article  |  Email Friend  |  Back to Top | View Story on LifeSiteNews.com

Mifeprestone: a pill that kills

by Denise J. Hunnell, MD Fri Jun 29 16:50 EST Comments (2)

(Zenit.org) – I started to feel pain in my abdomen unlike anything I had ever experienced.  Then the blood came.  It was gushing out of me…I sat there for hours…bleeding, throwing up into the bathroom trashcan, crying and sweating.

These are the words of Abby Johnson, former Planned Parenthood clinic director and now pro-life activist, describing her abortion using the drug RU-486, also known as mifepristone. She recovered from this horrendous ordeal after eight weeks of severe pain, bleeding and exhaustion.

Unfortunately, her experience is not unique. Even the National Abortion Federation, a pro-abortion advocacy group, admits that such side effects are the rule, not the exception, for abortions using mifepristone, commonly also referred to as medical abortions. Nausea, severe pain, heavy bleeding, diarrhea, fever and chills are part of the process. The known but less universal side effects are bleeding severe enough to require a blood transfusion, infection and/or death.

This brutal option for first trimester abortion was developed in France in the 1980s. It works by blocking progesterone, a key hormone that maintains the lining of the uterus to support the developing fetus. In 2000, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized the use of mifepristone in the United States under a fast tracked approval process normally reserved for unique life-saving therapies. This allowed the marketing of mifepristone without holding it to the usual standards of safety and efficacy. South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint soundly criticized the process:

Defining pregnancy as a life-threatening illness was a thoroughly political, not scientific, decision. Any reasonable person committed to protecting the health and safety of women should conclude that the approval process for RU-486 deserves an independent review.

RU-486 is marketed under the brand name Mifeprex.

Such critiques notwithstanding, there continues to be an expansion of the availability and utilization of mifepristone. The 2008 Center for Disease Control (CDC) surveillance report on abortion indicates that 14.6% of abortions were medical abortions, meaning they used mifepristone. This is in comparison to 3.4% of all abortions in 2001, the first full year after the FDA approved RU-486. By April, 2011, the FDA reported 1.52 million women in the United States had chosen to abort their children using mifepristone. Internationally, the use of mifepristone is also expanding. The United Kingdom Department of Health reported in 2009 that 40% of all abortions performed in England and Wales were accomplished using mifepristone. In Scotland, 80% of abortions done prior to nine weeks gestation and 74% of all abortions use mifepristone. Mifepristone is widely used throughout Europe with the exceptions of Ireland and Poland. It is also used extensively in Australia, New Zealand, India, China and Taiwan.

With nearly two decades of worldwide use of this abortion facient drug, what do we know about the safety and longterm effects of mifepristone? In the United States, the FDA post-marketing report of adverse events associated with mifepristone had 2,200 cases of significant side effects including blood loss requiring transfusions, serious infections, and death. It is important to note that reporting of these adverse events is entirely voluntary so they do not represent a comprehensive documentation of bad outcomes associated with mifepristone. Fourteen deaths in the United States have been linked to mifepristone. The FDA has also received reports of five mifepristone-related deaths in foreign countries. Half of these deaths were related to severe infections. In fact, of the 256 cases of mifepristone-related infections reported to the FDA, roughly 20% were deemed severe because they resulted in death, hospitalization for two or more days, or required intravenous antibiotics for at least 24 hours. A correlation between mifepristone use and infections has been detailed by Dr. Ralph P. Miech, Professor Emeritus at Brown University School of Medicine, who published an article in the Annals of Pharmacotherapy postulating that the immunosuppressant properties of mifepristone contributed to the development of septic shock in women who underwent a medical abortion.

An extensive review of adverse effects of mifepristone users in Finland was published in the October 2009 issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology. The authors reviewed the medical course of 22,368 women who underwent a medical abortion with mifepristone and 20,251 women who underwent a standard surgical abortion. The complication rate was four times higher among women who used mifepristone. A significant finding in this review was that 6.7% of women who underwent a medical abortion required further treatment because they had an incomplete abortion. This means they did not completely expel the fetus and placenta. Failure to remove this retained tissue can result in septic shock and death.

The incidence of incomplete abortion was even more pronounced in a Chinese study of mifepristone use. Published in 2011 in the Archives of Gynecology and Obstetrics, this study found that 20% of medical abortions required subsequent surgical intervention because of retained fetal tissue.

In addition to the risks of severe hemorrhage, retained fetal tissue, and life-threatening infections, a medical abortion can obscure the presence of an ectopic pregnancy, a pregnancy located outside the womb. There were 58 cases of mifepristone use with an ectopic pregnancy reported to the FDA, including two deaths. An ectopic pregnancy is a contraindication for medical abortion, but the prescribing guidelines for mifepristone do not include the routine use of ultrasound, which is the only way an ectopic pregnancy can be excluded. Unfortunately, the cramping and bleeding expected with mifepristone mimic the signs and symptoms of a ruptured ectopic pregnancy. This causes women with undiagnosed ectopic pregnancies who use mifepristone to delay seeking emergency treatment and risk death.

Clearly the potential for life-threatening complications underscores the need for mifepristone to be used under close medical supervision and with comprehensive medical follow-up. Yet this is exactly the opposite approach taken by Planned Parenthood and others seeking to make abortion more available. The National Abortion Federation reports that 87% of all counties in the United States have no abortion provider. Therefore, Planned Parenthood and other abortion advocates are seeking to bring abortion to these counties via “telemed abortions.” In this controversial procedure, a nurse or other midlevel medical practitioner examines the patient. After the initial examination, a doctor conducts a video interview of the patient, then presses a button which remotely opens a drawer containing the mifepristone and so that the patient may self-administer the mifepristone. Obviously, the doctor providing the medical abortion does not intend to deal with the potentially lethal consequences. The local medical facility and physicians that do not provide abortions are left to care for the patient with complications brought on by a medical abortion initiated by a doctor that may well be hundreds of miles away. Fortunately, five states (Arizona, Kansas, North Dakota, Nebraska, and Tennessee) have banned telemed abortions. Hopefully, more states will join them in preventing what has been termed “hit-and-run” abortions.

The loss of 1.5 million children in the United States alone through medical abortions is an unspeakable tragedy. This tragedy is compounded when the mothers of these children suffer and sometimes die from a medication that Planned Parenthood claims is natural and makes an abortion more akin to a miscarriage. The bypassing of normal FDA clinical safety trials for RU-486 and the advancement of telemed abortions in spite of the real risk of deadly complications make it clear that the abortion industry is more concerned with its own profits than it is with the health and welfare of women. Those who promote abortion, whether surgical or medical, are waging the real “war on women.”

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

Tags: mifepristone, ru-486

Print Article  |  Email Friend  |  Back to Top | View Story on LifeSiteNews.com

Kagan’s participation in ObamaCare decision may have violated judicial ethics and federal statute

by Ben Johnson Fri Jun 29 16:08 EST Comments (28)

 
Kagan (circled) would especially be all smiles after Thursday's decision upholding Obamacare

WASHINGTON, D.C., June 29, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – Elena Kagan’s decision to vote on Thursday’s health care ruling may have violated judicial ethics and federal statute, legal experts say. As Solicitor General, Kagan appointed the head of the legal team that formulated the president’s legal defense of the health care reform bill, signaling a possible conflict of interest. Her participation, according to liberals and conservative scholars alike, casts a pall over the outcome.

“Her evident refusal to explain why she hasn’t recused herself given all the substantial information out there, taints the decision,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton told LifeSiteNews.com.

“We can be all upset, and rightly so, about [Chief Justice John] Roberts signing on to this terrible, judicial activist decision,” he said, “but in terms of good government there is now substantial question about the legitimacy of the decision, because of the outstanding questions about Kagan’s participation in the ObamaCare defense when she was Solicitor General.”

Federal statute 28 U.S.C. 455 demands that a judge must step aside “in any proceeding in which his impartiality might reasonably be questioned” or in which he (or she) “participated as counsel, adviser or material witness concerning the proceeding or expressed an opinion concerning the merits of the particular case in controversy.”

“Elena Kagan should have recused herself from this decision, considering she was Solicitor General during the highly contentious Congressional debates over the Affordable Care Act,” constitutional scholar John W. Whitehead, president of The Rutherford Institute, wrote in an e-mail to LifeSiteNews.com. “She was certainly in a position which would call into question her ability to be impartial in her ruling.”

After a contentious Freedom of Information Act request, Judicial Watch secured the text of multiple e-mails and the Vaughn index, which refers to seven e-mails written from March 17-21, 2010. Kagan was copied on three e-mails that discuss “what categories of legal arguments may arise and should be prepared in the anticipated lawsuit.” Another four dealt with “expected litigation” against the health care law.

On January 8, 2010, Brian Hauck, Senior Counsel to Associate Attorney General Thomas Perrelli, wrote to Kagan’s deputy, Neal Katyal, asking for the office’s assistance in “how to defend against the inevitable challenges to the health care proposals that are pending.” Three minutes later, Katyal replied, “Absolutely right on. Let’s crush them. I’ll speak with Elena and designate someone.” After Katyal volunteered, Kagan responded, “You should do it.”

A few hours later, Katyal updated Hauck, writing, “Brian, Elena would definitely like OSG [the Office of Solicitor General] to be involved in this set of issues.” Katyal added,”I will handle this myself, along with an Assistant from my office, (Name Redacted), and we will bring Elena in as needed.” (Emphasis added.)

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

When Katyal suggested Kagan should attend a meeting “to help us prepare for litigation,”  Kagan ended the paper trail cold, responding, “What’s your phone number?”

Katyal would later insist Kagan had been “walled off from Day One,” and he had “never discussed the issue with her one bit.”

Kagan and Lawrence Tribe later exchanged e-mails celebrating the passage of the health care law.

Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-AL, called Kagan’s appointment of Katyal, “the legal equivalent of a firm’s senior partner delegating work to a junior associate.” Citing the Tenth Circuit Court’s ruling in United States v. Gipson and other precedents, Sessions argued that Kagan’s actions are all the law “requires to trigger mandatory recusal.” 

It is not merely conservatives who believe Kagan should have stepped aside.

Eric Segall, who describes himself as “a liberal constitutional law professor for more than 20 years, and a loyal Democrat,” wrote in Slate, “Elena Kagan should recuse herself from hearing challenges to the act.” He said even “the lack of certainty points to recusal, because it raises serious doubts…about the appearance that a Supreme Court Justice with a conflict of interest is sitting on a major case.” He noted no other justice had been as closely tied to a lawsuit as Kagan is to ObamaCare.

“She ought to step aside,” he wrote. “Nothing less than the integrity of the Supreme Court is at stake.”   

One of Kagan’s judicial heroes, Thurgood Marshall, disqualified himself in 98 of the 171 cases – 57 percent – decided his first year on the High Court, after leaving his post as Solicitor General. 

During her confirmation hearings, Kagan pledged to recuse herself if “officially formally approved something” or “played a substantial role.” 

Although that falls short of the legal standard, Chief Justice Roberts has taken a hands-off approach, writing at the end of last year that, because of the justices’ “exceptional integrity” and “character,” he had “complete confidence in the capability of my colleagues to determine when recusal is warranted.” 

Fitton wrote in a letter to Kagan that he did not call on her to recuse herself but demanded she “address the facts surrounding your tenure as Solicitor General” and her role in the PPACA legal defense “‘as they existed,’ not as they are being ‘surmised or reported.’” Yet she has refused to clarify her role in the defense.

“Her silence certainly does not instill faith that there isn’t something there that would cause even greater concern,” Fitton told LifeSiteNews.

For years, Judicial Watch has led the legal effort to uncover Kagan’s role in the administration’s defense of the unpopular and far-reaching law, and determine if she is required to refrain from weighing in on the case. 

Fitton told LifeSiteNews.com the fight would continue. “This issue is not over,” he said.

The organization is currently in another lawsuit, requesting all calendars, agenda, and phone logs for the meetings their previous document cache revealed. 

“I predict we’re still going to get documents about the Kagan question. It surely will be interesting to see what they disclose.”

Tags: elena kagan, obamacare, supreme court

Print Article  |  Email Friend  |  Back to Top | View Story on LifeSiteNews.com

Catholic Health Association ‘pleased’ by Obamacare ruling

by Kathleen Gilbert Fri Jun 29 15:57 EST Comments (18)

 
Sr. Carol Keehan is at odds with the Catholic bishops, again
Sr. Carol Keehan is at odds with the Catholic bishops, again.

WASHINGTON, D.C., June 29, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Sr. Carol Keehan, the president of the Catholic Health Association, has said her group is “pleased” that the Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act (ACA). In a separate, simultaneous response the U.S. Catholic bishops pointed to the bill’s “fundamentally flawed” treatment of conscience rights and urged passage of legislation to fix the massive reform bill.

“We are pleased that, based on an initial read of the ruling, the ACA has been found constitutional and will remain in effect,” said Sr. Keehan in a statement Thursday. She noted that CHA supported the health care law so strongly that “we signed onto amicus briefs encouraging the Court to find in favor of the ACA’s individual mandate and the Medicaid expansion.”

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

The Catholic Health Association’s support of ACA deepens a rift between the hospital association and the Catholic bishops that traces back to at least 2009, when the group pledged its funding and support to the Obama administration for the reform effort. Since then, Sr. Keehan and CHA have repeatedly been used by ACA’s liberal supporters to downplay the strong protests of the Catholic bishops, who have blamed Sr. Keehan both for the passage of the bill and for the “wound to Catholic unity” caused by her dissent on the issue.

CHA recently reversed its position on the controversial HHS mandate to comport with nationwide Christian protest against forcing religious employers to cover contraceptives and abortifacients, but began pushing a compromise that U.S. bishops had deemed inadequate last September.

CHA concluded its Thursday statement by saying the group “will continue working closely with our members, Congress and the administration to implement the ACA as fairly and effectively as possible.” The group said its position may be updated as it “tak[es] time to carefully read and evaluate the decision,” although the CHA website showed no change as of Friday afternoon.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) issued its own reaction on Thursday noting that, although the bishops had no position on the issue before the high court, the result ended in upholding a bill fundamentally flawed in other respects.

“USCCB’s position on health care reform generally and on ACA particularly is a matter of public record,” the group wrote. “The bishops ultimately opposed final passage of ACA for several reasons.”

The bishops go on to list the bill’s use of federal funds to pay for abortions and abortion insurance, emphasizing that “the risk we identified in this area has already materialized,” as well as the bill’s lack of basic conscience protection language, “illustrated in dramatic fashion” by the HHS mandate. The bishops also point to the ACA’s neglect of immigrant workers and families, including those using their own money.

Although they do not aim to repeal the entire health care law, the bishops said, “The decision of the Supreme Court neither diminishes the moral imperative to ensure decent health care for all, nor eliminates the need to correct the fundamental flaws described above. We therefore continue to urge Congress to pass, and the Administration to sign, legislation to fix those flaws.”

 

Tags: carol keehan, health care law, obamacare, usccb

Print Article  |  Email Friend  |  Back to Top | View Story on LifeSiteNews.com

80-year-old mom receives surprise ‘baby shower’

by Peter Baklinski Fri Jun 29 15:34 EST Comments (8)

 

TROY, MISSOURI, June 29, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – An 80-year-old grandmother and mother of six may have stopped bearing children decades ago, but old age has only boosted her love for babies. Earlier this month, friends and family members celebrated the birthday of Joan Silverberg-Barteau, an “avid pro-Life supporter,” by collecting baby items for a pregnancy support center in her honor.

“Joan is well known and loved in the community,” wrote Mary Silverberg, daughter-in-law to Joan, on a blog. “Kind and generous, she is beloved by friends and family alike.”

Friends describe Joan as “still a beauty at 80” and “very active.” She “happily” keeps a rigorous volunteer schedule and is recognized as a “tremendous blessing to her family and all who know her.”

As Joan’s big birthday bash approached, her children knew that their mom would not want to be inundated with birthday gifts. Instead, they came up with a novel plan that they made sure to communicate to everyone who knew Joan.

“Please, gifts are unnecessary, but if you would like, in lieu of gifts, please consider bringing an unwrapped item for a newborn baby to be donated in Joan’s honor to Birthright International located in Wentzville,” stated the invitation.

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

The idea proved to be a smashing success with Joan being, well, showered with baby gifts. An estimated $1,000 dollars worth of baby clothes, blankets, diapers, and toys were collected.

Dianne Graslie, director of Birthright International in Wentzville, told LifeSiteNews.com that she has never heard of “something like this happening before”.

“It’s awesome,” she said. “This is really stepping up to the plate.”

Graslie explained that Birthright International, as a nonprofit organization, is responsible for its own fundraising. The pro-life center offers free support and services to pregnant mothers, including emotional support, pregnancy testing, adult and baby toiletries, clothing, food, and diapers.

“If we have it, we give it out,” she said.

Graslie pointed out that while the pregnancy support center does “little things” throughout the year, such as an annual golf tournament, to keep the center’s shelves stocked with items to help mothers and babies, the center will nevertheless “greatly benefit” from Joan’s successful baby shower.

In the end, Joan’s “baby shower” birthday turned out to be a charming event for everyone: A pregnancy support center got a huge boost in the arm by receiving many needed baby items, and Joan’s family and friends spent a “lovely afternoon celebrating a very lovely lady.”

 

Tags: birthright international, crisis pregnancy center

Print Article  |  Email Friend  |  Back to Top | View Story on LifeSiteNews.com

Lawmakers: Obama victory would mean death knell for conservative Supreme Court

by Kathleen Gilbert Fri Jun 29 15:22 EST Comments (25)

 
Rep. Trent Franks, R-AZ.
Rep. Trent Franks, R-AZ.

ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA, June 29, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) - If conservatives are worried about the Supreme Court now, they will have much more to worry about if Obama is re-elected, pro-life members of the House and Senate told national pro-life leaders Friday morning.

“Of all the challenges that we’ve ever faced in my lifetime, this next year…if we don’t do the right thing in this election, we will see the Supreme Court abrogate the Constitution entirely,” said Rep. Trent Franks, R-AZ, at the 2012 National Right to Life Convention in Arlington, Virginia.

A New York Times article this week pointed out that the current court is among the oldest since the New Deal era - meaning that many believe the next election could determine the court’s political leaning for decades longer than its impact on the Executive Branch. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who turns 80 next March, has already surpassed the average age of Supreme Court retirement. She is one of four justices over 70.

Trent, who spearheaded the Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act (PRENDA) banning abortions based on gender, hinted that the impact on the future of pro-life efforts in America would be greatly magnified with Obama’s continued influence over the Supreme Court.

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

“The appointments Barack Obama will put on this Court will take it over into the darkness,” he said. “I have to say to you, if we do anything for the cause of the unborn, we must defeat the abortion president, Barack Obama.”

“If we don’t have the courage to protect those who can’t vote for us…then in the final analysis, we will never have the courage to fight for the cause of freedom for anyone,” he said.

Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-NH, echoed Franks’ concerns: If the current president is reelected, she said, “the courts wouldn’t just be in Obama’s hands for the next four years, but for the next 40 years.”

Ayotte, who with NRLC’s backing was part of the conservative sweep of Congressional seats in 2010, said the Supreme Court ruling Thursday made it especially critical to harness the energy from two years ago to finish the job.

“In 2010, our goal was to stop President Obama’s anti-life agenda. And in 2012, our goal is to replace him,” said Ayotte. “Life is on the line in this election. It truly is. We can’t afford to just play defense; we have to get on the offense.”

Ayotte said she appeared at the conference on behalf of GOP presidential contender Mitt Romney, and that she was confident he could defeat Obama in November.

“I have gotten to know Governor Mitt Romney very, very well, and I know he can do it,” she said.

 

Tags: kelly ayotte, nrlc, supreme court, trent franks

Print Article  |  Email Friend  |  Back to Top | View Story on LifeSiteNews.com

An Australian first: Working women are having fewer than two children

by Thaddeus Baklinski Fri Jun 29 13:39 EST Comments (6)

 

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA, June 29, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) - For the first time since researchers began gathering the statistics, Australian women are reaching the end of their fertile years having had fewer than two children. A researcher at Monash University in Melbourne says the latest census figures show a continuing trend of declining fertility, with a segment of women whose birthrate has fallen below replacement level.

Dr. Genevieve Heard, a research fellow at Monash University with extensive experience in the Demography Section of the Australian Bureau of Statistics, told The Australian that her analysis shows the consequences of an ever-increasing number of women delaying childbirth in favor of pursuing a career.

“New data from last year’s census shows that women aged 40-44 years in 2011 were nearing the end of their reproductive years with 1.99 children each,” Dr Heard said. “This makes them the first cohort of women to reach this age group with fewer than two children on average.”

Dr. Heard said the drop in the number of children women aged 40 to 44 had was the result of many years of low and declining fertility.

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

“Women aged 40-44 years in 2006 had an average 2.05 children, while women reaching 40-44 years in 1996 had exceeded that with an average 2.2 children each,” Dr. Heard observed.

The replacement level for population is 2.1 children.

The latest figures available from the Australian Bureau of Statistics website indicate that in 2010, Australia’s total fertility rate was 1.89 babies per woman, a small decrease from 1.90 babies per woman in 2009.

The report notes that while fertility rates decreased slightly for all age groups under 35 years between 2009 and 2010, fertility rates were highest for women aged 30-34 years, recording 123 babies per 1,000 women.

Dr. Heard said demographers assume that women had completed their childbearing by the time they reached the 40-44 age group. “However, later childbearing, often facilitated by assisted reproductive technologies, means that this cohort of women may yet add to their average by a small fraction,” she said.

“It remains to be seen whether these women will reach an average of two children each before the next census, in 2016, by which time this cohort will be aged 45-49 years,” she stated.

Pro-life advocates have warned that Australia’s below-replacement fertility rate and high abortion rate raises concerns about the country’s future.

The government’s highest rate population projections indicate a population of 42.5 million by 2056. However, in 2009 a population control group issued a call for the Australian government to institute a one-child policy in order to drastically reduce the population from the current 21.3 million to 7 million.

However, Anthony Ozimic, an Australian and the political secretary of Britain’s Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC), countered that a sustainable Australia must be based on the understanding that people are the country’s most valuable primary resource.

Australia’s biggest problem, Ozimic said, is that the nation has too few people to take advantage of its abundant natural resources. “A radical cut in Australia’s population would mean cutting Australia’s best natural resource - its people, and the future pioneers among them,” he stated.

 

 

Tags: australia, birth rate, genevieve heard

Print Article  |  Email Friend  |  Back to Top | View Story on LifeSiteNews.com

Gays disrupt hearings in Brazilian Congress on psychological treatment for homosexuality

by Matthew Cullinan Hoffman Fri Jun 29 13:12 EST Comments (17)

 
Psychologist Marisa Lobo spoke out for patients' rights
Psychologist Marisa Lobo spoke out for patients' rights.

BRASILIA, BRAZIL, June 29, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) - Homosexual activists disrupted a hearing on Thursday in Brazil’s Chamber of Deputies on proposed legislation to permit psychologists to treat homosexuals who wish to change their orientation, an activity currently prohibited by the country’s Federal Council of Psychology (CFP).

The bill, known as Legislative Decree 234/11 and derided by Brazil’s leftist media as the “gay cure” bill, would also overturn a CFP regulation that prohibits psychologists from publicly speaking of homosexual orientation in a negative way.

Homosexual protesters began to interrupt the hearing when psychologist Marisa Lobo spoke to defend the rights of homosexuals to receive treatment for their condition, calling her “homophobic,” “fundamentalist,” and “blabbermouth.”

“Everyone in the world who disagrees with you, you call ‘homophobic,’” retorted Lobo, according to the Correio de Bahia newspaper.

Lobo noted that the CFP’s prohibition of reparative therapy for homosexuals “injure the autonomy of the patient, because it prohibits treatment for homosexuals,” and that as a psychologist, she must “listen to that psychological suffering” when homosexuals wish to change their orientation.

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

The homosexuals in the audience continued their interruptions, and were ultimately expelled from the chamber when they began to read aloud a statement by the CFP repudiating the hearings. Christian supporters of the bill remained, however, cheering on the author of the legislation, Federal Deputy João Campos, a leader of the National Congress’s Evangelical caucus.

Lobo was also attacked by Deputy Jean Wyllys, the leader of the Mixed Parliamentary Front for LGBT Citizens, who said he felt “uncomfortable” because of Lobo’s statements, according to the Diario do Grande ABC newspaper.

“I didn’t offend the deputy,” Lobo responded. “It is he who tried to diminish me, trying to say that my positions can’t be considered, just because I am religious.”

The CFP itself refused to participate in the hearings, claiming that the issue is scientifically settled and that the roster of those called to testify was stacked against it. The organization has historically taken an ideologically affirmative position towards homosexuality, declaring in 1999 that “homosexuality does not constitute an illness, nor a disturbance, nor a perversion,” and claiming that those who disagree are guilty of “prejudice.”

The CFP’s decision to boycott the hearings followed a letter written to the organization by Toni Reis, president of the Brazilian Association for Gays, Lesbians, and Transsexuals, “suggesting” that the “Federal Council of Psychology not present itself in said Public Hearing, because of the understanding that it is an affront to science, human dignity, human rights, secular government and the autonomy of the Federal Council of Psychology.”

The letter, a copy of which has been obtained by LifeSiteNews, also asks the CFP to “pronounce officially in an emphatic and decisive way against this hearing and against this initiative, for violating human rights.”

Brazil’s Federal Council of Psychology, unlike other psychology associations such as the American Psychology Association (APA), has the power to deprive a therapist of his right to practice if its rules are violated.

The CFP used its powers to censure psychologist Rozangela Justino in 2009 for conducting reparative therapy for homosexual clients who wished it, and ordered its Rio de Janeiro division to enforce the ruling prohibiting the treatment.

Recent studies indicate that some homosexuals can learn to resist their homosexual urges and even develop opposite-sex attraction through therapy. The American Psychological Association claims the existing evidence is not sufficient to determine the efficacy of such therapy,  although it admits that among those who have received it, “some individuals modified their sexual orientation identity (i.e., group membership and affiliation), behavior, and values (Nicolosi, Byrd, & Potts, 2000).”

The World Health Organization continues to recognize the category of “Egodystonic homosexuality” for those who suffer from unwanted same-sex attraction, and also recognizes the use of therapy in such cases.

It also recognizes “sexual relationship disorder,” in which sexual orientation interferes with existing relationships. Transvestitism and transsexualism are also acknowledged as mental disorders by the organization.

Tags: brazil, marisa lobo, reparative therapy

Print Article  |  Email Friend  |  Back to Top | View Story on LifeSiteNews.com

Dr. Alex Moens: ‘Being pro-life is an old Canadian value that needs to be rediscovered’

by Alex Moens Fri Jun 29 13:02 EST Comments (2)

 
Professor Alex Moens speaks at the launch of the New Abortion Caravan

Note: Alexander Moens is a professor of Political Science at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver and a Senior Fellow at the Fraser Institute in the Centre for Canadian-American Relations.

June 29, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - I spoke in support of the anti-abortion caravan that was launched from the steps of Vancouver’s Art Gallery on May 29. The caravan will end in Ottawa on Canada day. It is a grass-roots action by young people who aim to put abortion laws back on the legislative agenda. It is an entirely peaceful and orderly campaign but it includes a no-holds barred visual aspect in which large posters depict what a badly mangled fetus looks like when killed and extracted from its mother’s womb.

One of the things I said was: “If you are speaking for the unborn, you are a Canadian; you are not an extremist.” Some 40 students and activists were jumping up and down just behind the equally small crowd of pro-lifers. They were yelling at the top of their lungs “Shame, shame, shame.” I am not suggesting for a moment that abortion and pro-life issues are easy, but “shame”? Do those who oppose Canada’s absence of laws limiting abortion really have to be ashamed? Is Canada really beyond this debate?

I think the opposite is true. This new movement is forcing the rest of us to see what abortion looks like, just as pictures of the dead in Nazi camps forced people to see what happened under their noses. I believe these young Canadians are heroes (they are taking a lot of verbal abuse) and will someday change the common view on abortion.  I have no idea how that will change the law, but the first step is simply to get us all to admit that the fetus in the womb is a form of life which cannot be worthless and disposable. It simply does not make sense.

I believe that sooner or later Canadians will see the point because we are already committed to the value and quality of all life.  A momentary glance at our public arena shows abundant evidence.

If parents abuse their children, we insist that government come to the aid of the young and vulnerable. We do not want our homeless to perish on the streets. We do not want our prisoners subject to unusual and cruel punishment. Canadians were disgusted with the disposal of sled dogs last year in Whistler. We do not want ducks to die in the tailing ponds of the oil sands. Most Canadians do not want to use the life of things in our environment such as plants and water in a wasteful manner.

We value life and its quality. It is no surprise that some Canadian cities rank among the highest in world scores on quality of life. We even value quality of life in our immigration and refugee policies. Our newcomers integrate quite well on the whole because most Canadians want them to belong. We prefer being too friendly to being not friendly enough. It is part of us. Our big cities and universities bristle with diversity and it is enjoyable and enriching.

What is Canadian foreign policy but the projection of the values and quality of life abroad? We can be peace makers and we invented peace keeping. Seeing how dictators and warlords of all stripes abuse their own citizens, Canada helped launch the idea of human security. Abusive governments cannot simply claim national sovereignty and destroy human live. Human beings deserve some degree of security of person. It is part of our responsibility to protect them. Just recently we helped protect Libyans from a leader who called his own people “rats.”

Being pro-life is an old Canadian value that needs to be rediscovered. To include the unborn, fragile and dependent young life as it develops in the womb into the rich mosaic of Canadian life seems to me to be squarely in the centre of what we are as Canadians.

Tags: abortion, alex moens, new abortion caravan

Print Article  |  Email Friend  |  Back to Top | View Story on LifeSiteNews.com

Vienna priests will not be forced to renounce dissident anti-Catholic group

by Hilary White, Rome Correspondent Fri Jun 29 12:30 EST Comments (12)

 
The Cardinal Archbishop of Vienna, Christoph Schönborn

VIENNA, June 29, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Months after Pope Benedict XVI and Vatican officials demanded action, the Cardinal Archbishop of Vienna, Christoph Schönborn, has told a group of priests that they do not have to renounce their membership in a dissident organization opposed to Catholic teaching. A spokesman for the cardinal said that priests involved in the Austrian Priests’ Initiative, who issued a letter last year titled “A Call to Disobedience,” must only renounce the letter initiative and the use of the word “disobedience.”

“You can easily remain a member of the Priests Initiative. You must only distance yourself from the ‘Call to Disobedience’ in an appropriate way,” Church spokesman Nikolaus Haselsteiner said in a public announcement.

“In an average company, a department head can’t say he doesn’t care what the CEO says,” he added.

Cardinal Schönborn told priests last month that supporters of the manifesto would not be appointed as heads of local deaneries, or groups of parishes, or have their title renewed if they are existing deans.

The leader of the Priests’ Initiative, Father Helmut Schüller said that this announcement was the first sign that the Catholic leadership of Austria was taking action against them. Fr. Schüller said his group represents 10 percent of the Austrian clergy.

In June 2011 the Austrian Priests’ Initiative issued their letter demanding “reform” of Catholic teaching and practice to allow married and female priests and the reception of Holy Communion by non-Catholics and divorced and remarried Catholics. In the intervening year it has remained essentially unchallenged by Vienna’s Catholic authorities and has gained support from groups of priests in Germany, Ireland, Belgium and the United States.

The lack of action on the situation in Vienna has angered the pope and Vatican officials. This Easter, in a nearly unprecedented move, Pope Benedict used one of the most important liturgical celebrations of the Catholic year, and the one most closely pertaining to the nature of the Catholic priesthood, to forcefully correct the Austrian situation that had by then remained unaddressed for ten months.

Following reports that the cardinal had received a letter from Rome demanding action, Schönborn told media that he would be requesting a “clarification” from the group. Vienna Church officials said repeatedly that only the use of the term “disobedience” was problematic.

“There must be a clarification here about the ‘Call for Disobedience’. We bishops have said this from the beginning, the word ‘disobedience’ cannot be allowed to stand. I think we need a clarification, a public statement and I think we need to address this matter soon,” the cardinal said.

One priest, a founding member of the Initiative, who responded with defiance to the new rule , told Reuters that he would be staying on as parish priest in two parishes of the archdiocese of Vienna. Fr. Peter Meidinger, said he stepped down from the post of dean after the cardinal made the announcement.

“I spoke to the archbishop and perhaps you cannot say I had to choose, but I had the impression that there was no way out for me so I am stepping down and freeing up the spot,” he told Reuters on Wednesday.

“For me what is important is the Priests’ Initiative and not the term ‘disobedience’,” the priest said. “The term civil disobedience is used when the leaders are simply not prepared to listen to people.”

Tags: benedict xvi, christoph schönborn, vienna

Print Article  |  Email Friend  |  Back to Top | View Story on LifeSiteNews.com

Roberts’ ‘very conservatism’ led him to uphold Obamacare: pro-life attorney

by Kathleen Gilbert Fri Jun 29 11:07 EST Comments (9)

 
John Jakubczyk

ARLINGTON, Virginia, June 29, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – While perhaps rightly earning the ire of conservatives, Justice Roberts’ role as the fifth vote upholding the federal health care law is less surprising in light of his reputation for strict constructionism, according to one pro-life legal expert.

John Jakubczyk, an attorney and National Right to Life representative for Arizona who has been active in the pro-life movement for 36 years, told LifeSiteNews.com that he was “disappointed that [Roberts] went to such lengths to find a means of upholding the statute.”

But the reasons Roberts did pose for his decision were actually conservative ones, said Jacubczyk, who had just finished reading the opinion at the National Right to Life Convention 2012 in Arlington, Virginia.

Roberts’ majority opinion on Thursday rejected the idea that the individual mandate was a power granted to Congress under the Commerce clause, but upheld it based on its possible interpretation as a tax. However, said Jacubczyk, Congress had passed the bill with the intention that the Commerce clause justified the mandate.

Justice Roberts wrote near the beginning of the majority opinion that the “permissive reading of these powers is explained in part by a general reticence to invalidate the acts of the Nation’s elected leaders.”

Wrote Roberts:

Members of this Court are vested with the authority to interpret the law; we possess neither the expertise nor the prerogative to make policy judgments. Those decisions are entrusted to our Nation’s elected leaders, who can be thrown out of office if the people disagree with them. It is not our job to protect the people from the consequences of their political choices.

Jacubczyk said Roberts’ decision was understandable given a strict constructionist mindset: “[Roberts] was reading this thing in the light most likely to hold it, which is what a conservative judge normally does with a statute. So his very conservatism led him there.”

“As a lawyer, I can rationally understand his steps,” said Jacubczyk. However, he said, “I think he stretches this power to tax a little too far.”

“The notion that we are a federal government of limited powers does not mean we have an unlimited power to tax. And I think that’s what the implication is,” he said. “There’s an old saying that goes, the power to tax is the power to destroy.”

The attorney noted that Roberts’ finding against the bill’s Medicaid expansion was, in comparison, much less lenient. 

“He finds that the Medicaid provisions that deals with forcing states to comply, or having all their Medicaid funds withheld, is unconstitutional. So he is recognizing this relationship of federalism between the states and the federal government,” said Jacubczyk. “Why he didn’t just use that same reasoning with respect to the individual, is disconcerting.”

The ongoing constitutional challenge against the bill, in the form of lawsuits against the Health and Human Services (HHS) mandate forcing religious employers to insure employees’ birth control, is a different matter, said Jacubczyk.

That mandate could well be shot down by the Supreme Court because the HHS mandate is an administrative act “that goes far beyond what the Affordable Care Act claims,” rather than a Congressional act, he said - if the administration isn’t voted out of office by then.

“We would hopefully have a new HHS secretary anyway,” he said.

Meanwhile, the decision has created a “perfect storm” from a political perspective, as the individual mandate affects a large swathe of the population.

“People of all stripes who see this as being an intrusion upon our private lives need to stand up and say, excuse me, but we’re not going to re-elect the current administration,” he said.

“The question is, will the people respond? And they will get the government they deserve.”

CLICK ‘LIKE’ IF YOU ARE PRO-LIFE!

Tags: john roberts, obamacare, supreme court

Print Article  |  Email Friend  |  Back to Top | View Story on LifeSiteNews.com

Conservatives stunned by Roberts’ health care ruling, ask ‘did he cave’ to Obama pressure?

by Ben Johnson Fri Jun 29 10:50 EST Comments (26)

 
Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch.
Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch.

WASHINGTON, D.C., June 29, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – For once, MSNBC’s Chris Matthews spoke for most conservatives. “There must be a strange feeling down in Texas right now in the Bush family,” Matthews said after President George W. Bush’s choice for chief justice, John Roberts, ruled to uphold the health care law, the signature bill of the Obama administration.

The decision by a justice one thought to be reliably conservative has left pundits grasping for an explanation, citing everything from social approval, to a desire to subvert Congressional authority. Sources who spoke with LifeSiteNews cited everything from the Left’s bullying of the Court to “the rise of a corporate-state.”

Tom Fitton, president of the investigative powerhouse Judicial Watch, told LifeSiteNews.com Roberts may have been bowed by“the unprecedented left-wing assault on the Court.”

“The president participated personally in this pressure campaign,” Fitton said.

“You have to wonder whether or not [Roberts] bent to that pressure,” he said. “He didn’t want the Court to be to subjected to the whims of these attacks anymore and one way to do that was not only to preserve ObamaCare, but to help the Obama administration in its lawless immigration policy, as well.”

Before Thursday’s ruling, few questioned the 57-year-old’s credentials. He clerked for Chief Justice William Rehnquist, served as a legal adviser in the Reagan administration, and was appointed by President George H.W. Bush as deputy solicitor general and a federal appeals court judge.

After Thursday’s ruling, when he ruled the health care law’s mandate that individuals purchase insurance passed constitutional muster if it is understood as a tax, Young America’s Foundation spokesman Ron Meyer told The Daily Caller, “Our Constitution is dead, and we can thank our chief justice for that.”

Click “like” if you want to end abortion!

Adding to the confusion are signs Roberts switched his vote at the last minute

Howard Kurtz, Newsweek‘s Washington bureau chief, wrote that Roberts’ “acquaintances say[he]  cares deeply about how he is portrayed in the press.”

In April, President Obama took the unusual step of preemptively criticizing the Supreme Court’s decision. He said invalidating his law would amount to “judicial activism, or a lack of judicial restraint,” and he was “pretty confident that this court will recognize that and not take that step.”

It was part of an escalating pattern of tongue-lashings the president had administered to that co-equal branch of government. In the 2010 State of the Union Address, with the justices present, Obama referenced the Supreme Court’s Citizens United case, saying, “The Supreme Court reversed a century of law to open the floodgates for special interests — including foreign corporations — to spend without limit in our elections.” Justice Samuel Alito visibly mouthed that the statement was “not true.”

Such directed attacks may have their roots in the president’s theory of executive power. In a 2001 public radio interview, Obama stated the High Court should “take judicial notice of” societal phenomena and interpret the Constitution accordingly. “[Y]ou’ve got a whole host of social conditions that the Court inevitably is influenced by,” he stated with approval. 

Others worry of more dangerous steps ahead. “The Court has certainly been facing increasing political attacks from both sides of the aisle, so it’s possible that Roberts was attempting to save face,” John Whitehead, president of the Rutherford Institute, told LifeSiteNews.com. However, he worries “the Court has completely lost focus of what powers the government is entitled to per the Constitution, and is willing to defer to the government is almost all cases.”

“We are seeing the rise of a corporate-state, one which is slowly dismantling the legal rights of the states and the people in favor of a unilateral, top-down form of governance,” he said.

If Roberts’ motivation is good press, his decision succeeded wildly.

Kurtz wrote that Roberts “proved himself capable of rising above ideology and following what he believed to be the law.” 

Yale Law constitutional professor, and Elena Kagan’s former teacher, William Eskridge told Forbes Roberts’ opinion on Obamacare was one of the most skillful opinions he had ever read. 

Bloomberg News columnist and Harvard University law professor Noah Feldman wrote, “Roberts now enters the pantheon of true judicial conservatives, judges who hold back from activist results no matter how it affects presidential politics. By helping the court avoid making history, Roberts’s place in history is assured.”

Had Roberts “joined the four right-wing judges in striking down the entire law,” it would have been read as an endorsement of Mr. Romney’s presidential candidacy,” wrote New York Times editorial page editor Andrew Rosenthal. The chief justice, he wrote, was “on the verge of writing himself a reputation after seven years in office as a highly partisan player who was using see-saw majorities to further not just a conservative judicial philosophy but also the broad aims of the neo-conservative wing of the Republican Party.” 
 
Fitton told LifeSiteNews Roberts has written himself a different legacy. “Between the assault on the sovereignty of the people in the Arizona case and in the ObamaCare case you can’t fairly describe Roberts as being part of the conservative bloc on these key issues anymore,” he said.

Tags: john roberts, judicial watch, obamacare, supreme court

Print Article  |  Email Friend  |  Back to Top | View Story on LifeSiteNews.com

Cancer mom refuses abortion, nominated Walmart’s ‘Mom of the Year’

by Peter Baklinski Fri Jun 29 09:50 EST Comments (15)

 
Maria Pitman with her daughter Johanna, born while Pitman was undergoing treatment for cancer.

NOVA SCOTIA, June 29, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The story of a Canadian mother who declined to abort her baby girl while battling cancer is receiving attention after she was nominated by her young daughter for Walmart’s 2012 ‘Mom of the Year’ award.

“My mom is absolutely amazing, always putting us first while encouraging others with her story, positive attitude and being an example of God’s love,” wrote daughter Jocelyn Pitman on Walmart’s tribute page to her mother Maria.

In May 2011, Maria Pitman was diagnosed with breast cancer while pregnant with her seventh child, according to her daughter’s nomination submission.

“After refusing to abort the baby she underwent a full mastectomy at 20 weeks pregnant. While still being pregnant, she went through 3 chemo treatments, all while taking care of my 5 brothers and I and homeschooling 4 of us.

“In September Mom delivered a perfectly healthy baby girl at 36 weeks.

CLICK ‘LIKE’ IF YOU ARE PRO-LIFE!

“After a short recovery she went through 3 more chemo treatments and 25 radiation treatments 3 hours away from our home, keeping us together and life as normal as possible this entire time.

“We are blessed to have her, now cancer free and my little sister is perfectly healthy.”

Walmart says that the ‘Mom of the Year’ award is a “celebration of the 9.2 million Canadian Moms who work tirelessly every day to provide for their family,” adding that the initiative is a “way for all of us to recognize the Moms in our lives for everything they do.”

The winning mother will be honored with a “special red carpet gala in Toronto”, followed by a “photo shoot and a day of pampering”, ending with a $10,000 prize to be pocketed by the mother and a $100,000 donation to be given to a charity or cause of her choice.

The competition is still running, with entries being accepted until July 8. Competition judges will evaluate all eligible submissions to choose fifty moms who have had a “positive impact on others in their life, their family’s life, their community or the environment”, who have “helped … others to live better”, and whose “positive impact was ‘extraordinary’”. Judges will then choose eight moms from the fifty who best exemplify the competition’s threefold criteria. From these eight, judges will choose a final winner

Pitman already has an exuberant following on her tribute page.

“You are one of the most amazing, encouraging, loving women I have ever known,” wrote a friend. “Your living testimony is one to inspire others to put faith/family/friends first.”

Another wrote that Maria is “one of the most true, loving and sincere women and mothers, I have ever known. You are truly an inspiration to everyone. I think you deserve the mom of the year award for the next 100 years.”

One fan said that Maria is “someone who is always concerned [about her] children and others before [her]self. Even through battling cancer [she] would always ask how I was doing never drawing attention to [her]self.”

Heather Haase, an intimate friend of the nominated mother, believes that Maria’s story of “declining an abortion and putting the health of her unborn baby before her own” is one of “complete unselfish love”.

Haase noted that the cancer-free Mom is now racing with her 9-month-old daughter Johannah to see “who can grow hair first”.

Editor’s note: Walmart invites fans to “show some love for Maria” at her tribute page.

Tags: abortion

Print Article  |  Email Friend  |  Back to Top | View Story on LifeSiteNews.com

Goddard’s riveting account of firing from Rogers Sportsnet and hateful responses to tweet

by Angela O’Brien Thu Jun 28 20:36 EST Comments (28)

 

This report describes some of the contents of the Part II video of Damian Goddard’s talk at the CLC Forum. See the video here. See Part 1 report and video here.

TORONTO, June 28, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - In his speech at the CLC pro-life Forum, Damian Goddard gave a riveting, very personal account of his firing from Rogers Sportsnet after having ‘tweeted’ in support of the true definition of marriage.

Goddard, at first continues from Part 1 to describe how the 911 “act of terrorism… harnessed me to get re-acquainted with my faith to re-connect with the ‘whole why am I here?’” Emphasizing that he “loved being a sportscaster” while on this spiritual journey, Goddard then said, “fast forward to May 10, 2011”, the date of his infamous tweet.

It was “a typical day at home” with his two children while his wife was out giving gymnastics instruction. He was watching a TSN report on Todd Reynolds, vice-president of hockey agency Uptown Hockey, who voiced a disagreement with Rangers hockey player Sean Avery on the same-sex marriage issue. 

Reynold’s tweeted that he was saddened to read Avery’s “misguided support” of gay marriage. “Legal or not,” Reynolds wrote, “it will always be wrong.” A few hours later, he added that he was not expressing hatred or bigotry, but that he believed in “the sanctity of marriage between one man and one woman.”

Goddard related that “the firestorm that emanated from Reynold’s pro-marriage tweet was amazing.” It was then that Goddard sent what he thought was a very “innocuous” tweet in support of Reynold’s.

What was Goddard’s controversial tweet? Here it is verbatim:
“I completely and wholeheartedly support Todd Reynolds and his support for the traditional and true meaning of marriage.”

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

Goddard relates that the almost immediate response to his tweet caused him to sense “that proverbial eye of Mordor switched and honed in on me”.

“Within minutes it was craziness. People wishing I was dead….I couldn’t believe the hate that was seeping from my laptop.”

And then, he reports, “Within the hour, a tweet from Rogers Sportsnet - ‘The views of Damian Goddard do not reflect those of Rogers Sportsnet’”.

The flood of hateful tweets continued such as, “I hope you get raped by someone with AIDS.”

Goddard stated, “I remember feeling the presence of an evil lurking. It was so palpable. And it still gives me a chill.”

An hour or so after the Sportsnet tweet Goddard says he got a call from his employers, “Listen, can you come in and chat”. When he went in the next day,  “before I could sit down they said, ‘we are terminating your contract.’”

He returned home and tried to jokingly break the bad news to his wife Andrea who then started to cry at which time he tried to assure her that there was something good happening in all this and “things would work out.”

Goddard said he experienced many difficulties during the following days with “peers in the media taking swipes at me”.  A report in the National Post called him “notoriously unwise” for having sent the tweet.  Goddard’s response to that one was, “unwise for stating that marriage is between one man and one woman?  I hope to God that I am notorious in that manner.”

Goddard ended emphasizing that, as Christians, we must take a stand. 

“Our job is to spread the Gospel. Where did we lose this, as a culture?” Goddard demanded. “When did we become afraid? … We have to live our faith. We have to speak our faith, and not get a damn pat on the back for it.”

Tags: damian goddard, freedom of speech, homosexuality

Print Article  |  Email Friend  |  Back to Top | View Story on LifeSiteNews.com

back to top