Monday, September 17, 2012

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LifeSiteNews again barred from ‘public’ sessions of Canadian bishops’ meeting

by Steve Jalsevac Mon Sep 17 18:08 EST Comments (43)

 
2009 Plenary

SAINTE-ADELE, Quebec, September 17, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - For the second year in a row, the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) has rejected LifeSiteNews’ request for media accreditation to the “public” sessions of the bishops’ annual plenary assembly.

CCCB communications director Rene Laprise informed LifeSiteNews Sept. 12th that its application (filed August 10) had been rejected again. “After having verified with the authorities of the Conference, I wish to inform you that your request has been denied and that you will not be granted access to this year’s meeting,” wrote Laprise.

In an interview Monday, he said the reason access was denied was the same as last year.  “It’s the purpose of the CCCB to accept or refuse media credentials, and like last year LifeSiteNews was not allowed to be at the plenary, so the decision was the same for this year,” he said. The stated reason for the rejection last year, was “serious concerns over the manner in which positions have been taken by your organization.”

After having attended and reported on a few previous years’ CCCB annual plenaries, LifeSiteNews editor-in-chief John-Henry Westen was asked to leave the 2011 meeting immediately after the opening Mass. Westen, who had driven five hours to attend the event, respectfully questioned the decision, but complied with the request to leave the premises.  An e-mail sent by the CCCB rejecting the LifeSiteNews application for accreditation was lost in cyberspace.

Asked Monday why LifeSiteNews might be treated differently than, for example, secular outlets that often aggressively oppose the Church, such as the Toronto Star, Laprise said, “It’s a decision based on each media who signs the media credential form. It’s not a fact of secular media instead of religious media.”

“We’re sorry it’s come to this again this year. We’ve been open and willing to have dialogue for a long time,” said Westen. “We’ve never wanted to defame or castigate, but rather to assist the Church in fulfilling its true social justice mission. As the Pope says, ‘Openness to life is at the centre of true development.’”

In 2009, the CCCB had made an “urgent appeal” for a “frank and transparent dialogue” with LifeSiteNews after the news agency broke the scandal of Development & Peace’s partnerships with numerous pro-abortion groups in the Third World. In response to the bishops’ “appeal”, LifeSiteNews made four separate requests to meet with the Ontario and National bishops’ conferences and officials, but was turned down each time.

The current members of the CCCB’s executive are: Archbishop Richard Smith of Edmonton, President; Archbishop Paul-André Durocher of Gatineau, Vice-President; Bishop Douglas Crosby of Hamilton, Co-Treasurer; and Bishop Lionel Gendron of Saint-Jean-Longueuil, Co-Treasurer.

LifeSiteNews’ presence at the plenary had been important in past years because it allowed the agency to report several key pro-life developments that otherwise risked going unreported.

In particular, LifeSiteNews was able to report on the courageous stand taken by Archbishop Thomas Collins of Toronto and Archbishop Terrence Prendergast of Ottawa when they broke protocol at the 2009 plenary to rise and demand that D&P not proceed with “business as usual” after the funding scandal broke earlier that year.

Also, in 2009, LSN staff were able to talk to a few bishops regarding the Development and Peace situation. One such interview was with Martin W. Currie, Archbishop of St. John’s, Newfoundland, and one of the two bishop signers of the CCCB investigation that concluded “the allegations by Lifesite News” about Mexican groups funded by D&P “are not founded on the facts.”

After being shown evidence substantiating the LSN reporting and being asked why he or the other bishops did not at least talk to LSN during their investigations, the bishop frankly admitted “I just should have followed up more”.  He also revealed that D&P co-wrote the CCCB report that exonerated the pro-abortion partners and chastized LifeSiteNews.

Contact Information:

* Important: see Composing Effective Communications in Response to LifeSiteNews Reports.

Archbishop Pedro López Quintana, Apostolic Nuncio to Canada
724 Manor Avenue
Ottawa, ON KIM OE3
Phone: (613) 746-4914
Fax: (613) 746-4786
E-mail: apostolic.nunciature@rogers.com

Archbishop Richard Smith of Edmonton
CCCB President
8421-101 Avenue
Edmonton (AB) T6A 0L1
Tel: (780) 469-1010
Fax: (780) 465-3003
E-mail: rstrauss@caedm.ca

To contact any Canadian bishop, find contact information here.

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40 Days for Life Canada campaign to be a record smasher: 18 locations in 7 provinces

by Peter Baklinski Mon Sep 17 17:46 EST Comments (1)

 

OTTAWA, Ontario, 17 September, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Canada’s upcoming 40 Days for Life campaign will smash previous records for number of cities participating. Eighteen cities in seven provinces have signed up to pray, fast, and witness 24/7 in front of abortion clinics to end the slaughter of the youngest members of the human family.

40 Days for Life first came to Canada in 2008 in two cities, Ottawa and Halifax. Now, four years later, it has grown by leaps and bounds. The 40 Days for Life campaign runs from September 26 to November 4.

“This is the most we’ve ever had and I think the first time we’ve gone double digits,” said Wanda Hartlin, assistant coordinator for 40 Days for Life in Ottawa, to LifeSiteNews.

The campaign was named after the numerous examples in the Bible where God brought about powerful change in human history in the space of 40 days. The earth was transformed by rains and floods for 40 days while Noah was in the ark. God gave his people the Ten Commandments only after Moses was on the mountain for 40 days. Jesus began his public ministry after fasting in the desert for 40 days.

Click ‘like’ if you want to END ABORTION!

David Bereit, founder of 40 Days for Life, told youths at the Campaign Life Coalition Youth Conference last year that abortion is the “defining issue of our generation.” It is with abortion, he said, that the struggle between “good and evil, between light and dark, between heaven and hell” becomes most evident.

Hartlin said that abortion destroys human persons who are “needed pieces of God’s masterpiece puzzle.”

“When someone is born, a puzzle piece is filled in. When a child is aborted, there is a gap in the puzzle that will never be filled. Our goal for the 40 Days for Life is to pray and fast to end abortion because every human life is a precious gift from God and a special someone who has a purpose. We want every baby in the womb to be born alive.”

Hartlin said that praying for the period of 40 days “keeps awareness alive” in Canada where pre-born children have existed in a legal vacuum since 1988 when the Supreme Court of Canada struck down Canada’s abortion law.

“The abortion issue will never go away as long as babies are dying,” she said.

Mary Ellen Douglas, Ontario President of Campaign Life Coalition told LifeSiteNews that “prayer and action” are the two links that have kept Canada’s pro-life movement going for more than 30 years.

“You can’t have one without the other. You can’t have prayer without the action. Action is needed to get people moving and to keep the pro-life movement a ‘movement’. And you can’t have action without prayer. Prayer is needed to begin the action on the right foot.”

Douglas called 40 days For Life a “very good event” because it “starts people to pray and includes the action of witnessing at abortion clinics. It is prayer and action working together.”

Douglas said that Canadian participants in the 40 Days for Life campaign this year will have added urgency to their prayers as the abortion debate heats up with conservative MP Steven Woodworth’s Motion 312 heading to Parliament. The motion would establish a special committee to examine the humanity of the unborn child.

Since 2007, there have been ten coordinated 40 Days for Life campaigns that have mobilized people of faith and conscience in 440 cities across the world. More than half a million people have participated in the campaigns.

Over 5900 babies have been officially documented as being saved from abortion. A documented 69 abortion workers have quit their jobs and walked away from the abortion industry. The campaigns have seen 24 abortion clinics permanently shut down.

Canadian cities participating in 40 Days for Life 2012 campaign.

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Tonya Reaves is ‘the real face of the war on women’: Lila Rose at Values Voter Summit

by Ben Johnson Mon Sep 17 16:59 EST Comments (12)

 

WASHINGTON, D.C., September 17, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – Live Action founder Lila Rose deflated the Democratic Party’s talking points about a Republican “war on women” at the Values Voter Summit in Washington, saying it is Planned Parenthood that belittles women who oppose abortion and sometimes kills women who seek it.

Rose told a large and receptive crowd at the Omni Shoreham hotel on Saturday when they think of the disastrous effects of abortion policy, they should not think of Sandra Fluke but 24-year-old Tonya Reaves. An autopsy confirmed Reaves died from a botched abortion after bleeding on an abortion table for five-and-a-half hours.

Rose noted that doctors did not call 911 until well after the damage of a punctured uterus became obvious. “Planned Parenthood, as you may know, is very careful about their image,” she said. “They’re very good at PR, and they’re very good at dismantling other organizations, e.g., Komen.”

“Tonya left behind her one-year-old son, Alvin, and a grieving mother who is now suing Planned Parenthood for their negligence,” she said.

“Tonya is the real face of the war on women – women who have been lied to by powerful interests with powerful population control ideologies who are telling us women that abortion will liberate us, that abortion will solve our problems,” Rose stated. “We know the emotional threat of abortion and we know often, too often, the physical threats of abortion to our own bodies as well as against our children.”

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

The pro-abortion movement’s war on women includes the Democratic National Convention’s refusal to acknowledge the existence of pro-life women in its own party and media denigration of women like Rose, who defend the unborn.

The president’s opposition to a recent bill that would have banned sex-selective abortion – the subject of Live Action’s most recent undercover expose – is another front in the war, Rose said.

“President Obama, in a time when the war on women was supposedly being waged, went out of his way to say he refused this basic protection for unborn baby girls,” she stated.

The contradiction of a society that treasures women but allows baby girls to die – and of a nation that calls for a more perfect union while encouraging mothers to kill their own babies at will – threatens to hamper America’s future, she said.

Rose posed a question: When the family, “that fundamental bond, that place where we should be the safest and the most cared for…that building block of civilizations… is under threat and when family members are turned…against each other, how can we have a strong economy? How can we have a strong nation?”

Although polls show the president with a moderate bounce after the Democratic National Convention, most pundits view the presidential race as too close to call. But Rose remained confident.

“I am very hopeful about November,” she said. “We really have to get out the vote.” She looked forward to a future filled with “better things in 2013 ,when we start to create that country where every life is protected by love and by law.”

Tags: lila rose, sex-selection abortion, tonya reaves

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All charges dropped against UK pro-life group using graphic images

by Hilary White Mon Sep 17 16:47 EST Comments (16)

 
A man looks at one of Abort 67's displays showing an aborted baby.
An Abort 67 member being arrested in June 2011 for showing graphic images of abortion.

BRIGHTON, September 17, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – All charges were dropped today against pro-life campaigners in Brighton who were charged with a “public order” offence for showing graphic images of aborted children outside a local branch of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, one of Britain’s busiest abortion facilities.

Andrew Stephenson, head of the pro-life campaign group Abort 67, told LifeSiteNews.com today that they hope the Brighton Magistrate court’s decision means that their growing pro-life campaign, which is spreading all over England, will now be able to function without the constant fear of police harassment participants have faced up until now.

“We’ve said all along that the police are creating a chilling effect on freedom of expression in this country. So now we hope that this court decision will have a chilling effect on the police.”

Although more and more groups are springing up around Britain who want to use the highly effective posters and banners in their pro-life work, the actions of police in June 2011, when Stephenson and his colleague Kathryn Sloane were arrested under section 5 of the Public Order Act, created an atmosphere of unease.

“The trouble is that up until now it’s been unpredictable whether we would be able to carry on with our displays or not. Certainly the fact that those banners could be taken down and people arrested was preventing people’s access to information,” said Stephenson.

“But common sense prevailed today. We had a very strong case so it was very difficult for the judge to do anything but throw the case out.”

The case has generated much public interest. When the charges against Kathryn Sloane were thrown out on Friday, the story was the lead on the BBC Southeast’s evening television news broadcast, and today’s decision again topped the program. Despite the BBC’s demonstrated pro-abortion bias, the broadcaster emphasized the importance of the case as a freedom of speech test case in the midst of a tense political atmosphere where more and more Christians are complaining their views are being suppressed.

Stephenson said, “There is a sense of outrage that the police believe they have the power to shut down a message that’s true if someone else doesn’t like it. It’s as if they feel that if Person A dislikes Person B, or anything they’re saying, then Person A just has to complain to the police and it’s job done.” The case, he said, has illuminated “what’s been going on right under our noses.”

Perhaps paradoxically, the pro-lifers say the arrest and court proceedings have actually highlighted the need for demonstrations that show the graphic truth about the nature of abortion. Stephenson told LSN that the use of the photos, controversial even within the pro-life movement, can now be shown using court documents to be an effective vehicle for public education and the photos themselves unassailably true.

What the prosecution was trying to prove, he said, “was something unprovable, that a photo of an aborted baby can be ‘abusive or insulting’. But a true photograph can’t be abusive.”

He cited the testimony of one of the witnesses for the prosecution, Robert Wyatt, who said that when he and his wife had gone into the BPAS facility, they had been offered no counselling, despite the claims made by the organisation. Wyatt testified that he found the images on the posters “offensive,” but more crucially, he had no idea what the images were of.

While BPAS continues to claim that they offer full information on fetal development and all medical aspects of abortion, Wyatt confirmed that he had been offered no counselling of any kind, and that he thought the pro-lifers’ photos were of much older children. The images in the photos clearly show arms, legs and facial features, even though the posters typically carry only photos of early term abortions, usually before 12 weeks gestation.

“He thought there can’t be facial features; that this had to be a much older baby,” Stephenson said. “Then he was cross-examined, and asked did you receive any counselling? Because if he had, he was being led to believe that an 11-week-old baby was actually a six-month-old baby.

“But it turned out they received no counseling at all from BPAS, pre-abortion. They just didn’t have those questions answered.”

The exchange, Stephenson said, “certainly justified our reason for being there, exposing a huge misunderstanding about pregnancy, and about how much the abortion industry is covering up the facts.”

Throughout the western world, these graphic images displays, popularized by the highly organised Genocide Awareness Campaign, (GAP) are stirring controversy. In many pro-life circles, they are regarded as harsh and frightening, and therefore counterproductive. But the people who use them say that they have seen nearly miraculous results from showing the truth of abortion in a way that no one can deny.

“People say we are misleading and are wrong. They argue that for women abortion is the last resort and they have thought long and hard about it. But the truth is that they don’t have any real information,” said Stephenson.

“This means they’re vulnerable to the lies of the abortion industry. In a way, our work is simply about consumer protection. About giving women full disclosure about abortion so they can make a truly informed decision.”

Stephenson and the many young GAP enthusiasts say that the pictures belong right where abortion-minded women can see them.

“We believe that outside an abortion clinic is exactly the right place to be doing this. We are there because this is where the killing is going on. We’re there to empower the women with the facts. To help them come to a better decision.”

“We feel vindicated and pleased that justice is being done. But this is a bit of cold comfort to the unborn babies being killed all the time when we’ve been prevented from showing the pictures.”

LifeSiteNews.com also spoke with Gregg Cunningham, an American who flew to Britain to testify on behalf of Abort 67. Cunningham developed the GAP campaign in the late 1990s and since then it has spread throughout the US, Canada and now to Britain and Ireland. In the course of this work, Cunningham has faced opposition of all imaginable kinds.

He told LSN that this case in Britain is a landmark for the pro-life movement.

“I helped design the defence for Abort 67 because the US has been litigating these kinds of cases for decades. And even though this was just a magistrate’s court, it sends a powerful message to the police all over England. If our people are arrested we will simply show them the proof.”

Referring to another lawsuit being threatened by another abortion industry giant, Marie Stopes International, against a crisis pregnancy centre for handing out information on abortion, Cunningham said that he hopes the outcome of this court case will give them pause. 

“I certainly hope that the crisis pregnancy centres will fight back and I will say we will be glad to help them defend that lawsuit.”

He compared the abortion industry’s tactics to that of the tobacco industry when they were confronted with studies showing cigarettes cause lung cancer. In the end, the litigation forced the tobacco industry to release their documents showing they were covering up information.

“The parallels are very strong. We’ve got the abortion industry attacking the validity and the methodology of studies showing the link to breast cancer and abortion. It’s always a big part of the strategy of these big industries.

In the course of developing Abort 67’s defence, Cunningham found that the National Health Service formally requires that patients be given full information on the risks of medical procedures, even if the patient does not want to hear.

“They say that it’s unethical to not impose that information over the patient’s objection. That it is a requirement of informed consent.” But the abortion the industry is attempting to suppress and withhold this vital health information, he said.

“It’s the same tactic of every powerful industry. They attempt to stifle dissent, crush the opposition, and end the debate about the welfare of women.

“It’s abusive and manipulative. We want to empower women. These crisis pregnancy centres and pro-life organisations are about empowerment of women with true information.”

Tags: abort 67, abortion, graphic images, uk

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FRC guard Leo ‘The Hero’ Johnson honored

by Ben Johnson Mon Sep 17 16:30 EST Comments (3)

 

WASHINGTON, D.C., September 17, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) –  When Family Research Council employee Leo Johnson braved three bullets to stop a hate-filled homosexual activist from committing a mass murder, he did not expect to receive an award. But that’s exactly what happened to sustained, enthusiastic applause at this weekend’s Values Voters Summit in Washington, D.C.

FRC President Tony Perkins bestowed the organization’s “Faith, family, and Freedom citation” upon the man who may have saved a score of lives. “The Lord protected us and used His servant, Leo, to keep us safe that day,” he said.

Leo Johnson – whom Perkins referred to as “Leo the Hero” – works as buildings operations manager at the pro-family group’s D.C. headquarters, a position that secondarily involves providing security. When a gunman who volunteered for a Beltway LGBT organization showed up with a handgun and 15 Chik-fil-A boxes, Johnson was the first person in his sights.

“The trajectory of the round was such that, had Leo not ducked, it would have hit him in the head,” Pekins told the large crowd of conservative Christians in the Omni Shoreham hotel. 

“The second round hit him in the arm, completely disabling his left arm,” Perkins added. 

After a third shot missed, Johnson gained control of the gun – and considered returning violence for violence.

Perkins said that his employee later confided, “’‘The thought approached me for a moment whether or not I shoot him, not knowing what he might do, but in that moment the Lord spoke to me saying don’t shoot him,’ and he obeyed.”

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

“Our Leo is a tame lion, living in allegiance to the one true Aslan,” he said.

The first paragraph of the framed citation presented to Johnson stated,

His name means “strong as the lion”. On the morningof August 15, 2012, Leo Johnson came to his daily work with no thought of the strength that would be asked of him. That he would be tested on his willingness, in the words of John 15:13, To lay down his life for his friends. Freely, with the dignity and peace that define him, Leo rose to that test, bore a wound that shattered his arm, and subdued a man bent, all evidence suggests, on mass murder.

A later paragraph added, “Character and courage have never blazed brighter than in the heart of Leo Johnson, who saved his second family and turned away malice at our very door.”

Appearing on stage with his left arm still in a cast, the audience greeted Johnson with 90 seconds of sustained applause, followed by chants of “Leo!”

Johnson, who is still recovering, began unrehearsed remarks that lasted about 10 minutes by saying, “God is tremendous.”  He thanked his wife and children, and his “second family” at FRC.

“During that fateful day – and I think about it a lot – there’s no other place I’d rather have been than right there where I was,” he said.

Johnson concluded, “Thank you – and I will be back.”

Perkins also presented awards to Charles Foster, who placed the 911 call to police, and Randy Burt, who rushed to the foyer during the shooting.

Tags: family research council, hate, hate crimes, leo johnson

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Good news for women as more Catholic physicians follow Church teaching

by Arland Nichols Mon Sep 17 15:53 EST Comments (2)

 
Dr. Thomas Hilgers meets with Pope John Paul II

September 12, 2012 (CrisisMagazine.com) - A wave of excitement is gradually making its way through a small community of Catholics in Houston, Texas. Married couples who embrace the Church’s teaching in Humanae vitae and who use natural family planning have waited too long. Houston, which boasts one of the largest and most highly regarded medical systems in the world has, for twenty years, been without an OB/GYN who adheres to the principles of Catholic teaching and good medicine by declining to do abortions, perform sterilizations, prescribe contraception, or resort to immoral infertility “treatments.”

But the wait will soon be over and a buzz is in the air—an authentically Catholic OB/GYN practice is opening its doors this September. A young and energetic physician, Kathryn Karges and her staff are launching Caritas Complete Women’s Care, an apostolate rooted in a deep respect for the dignity of women and the best of medical practice, a common denominator in similar medical practices around the nation.

The exciting news out of Houston reveals a positive trend that is slowly but steadily making its way through the United States. But this steady growth did not happen overnight. It’s a sad and familiar story: Pope Paul VI’s landmark and prophetic encyclical, Humanae vitae, was met with widespread confusion and outright disobedience from many clergy and lay Catholics alike. Eventually the dissent against Paul VI’s affirmation of the Church’s consistent teaching about contraception, would leave the Catholic medical community nearly bereft of physicians practicing women’s health who did so in accord with Church teaching. Obstetric and gynecological care that did not routinely involve contraception and sterilization was virtually unheard of.

Perhaps most instrumental in challenging the contraceptive status quo among physicians is Dr. Thomas Hilgers, who read Humanae vitae as a young doctor and felt called by God to respond to the Holy Father’s words:

It is particularly desirable that, according to the wish already expressed by Pope Pius XII, medical science succeed in providing a sufficiently secure basis for a regulation of birth, founded on the observance of natural rhythms…. Let them persevere, therefore, in promoting on every occasion the discovery of solutions inspired by faith and right reason, let them strive to arouse this conviction and this respect in their associates. Let them also consider as their proper professional duty the task of acquiring all the knowledge needed in this delicate sector, so as to be able to give to those married persons who consult them wise counsel and healthy direction, such as they have a right to expect. (HV 24, 27)

In response to Paul VI’s exhortation, Hilgers developed the body of research that would become the Creighton Method and NaPro Technology (Natural Procreative Technology). Once all but alone in a sea of dissent, these days Hilgers is anything but. Physicians and practitioners young and old are following his lead, contributing invaluable research and providing the best medical care to women. Doctor Patrick Yeung at Saint Louis University is performing cutting-edge and minimally invasive surgery on women suffering from endometriosis. Ann Nolte, a family physician, directs the Gianna Center in New York, as she and her staff provide life- and marriage-affirming care to women of all ages. The Tepeyac Family Center in Northern Virginia boasts a practice of 5 physicians who follow the teaching of Humanae vitae. And now Kathryn Karges is opening Caritas Complete Women’s Care on the campus of Saint Joseph’s Hospital—a secular hospital in the Houston Medical Center.

These are only a few examples of a growing trend toward natural methods of family planning and solutions to infertility, an astounding accomplishment in today’s health care environment. Some 400 medical practices have now incorporated NaPro Technology into their practice and adhere to the Church’s teaching concerning reproductive health. Twelve surgeons have been formally trained through the fellowship program in medical and surgical NaPro Technology and five more will soon receive this state of the art training. Further, there are now 260 “FertilityCare” Centers where trained practitioners teach the Creighton Model which is at the heart of the medical practice. The American Academy of Fertility Care Professionals, which is a thriving and active professional organization dedicated to promoting and advancing the Creighton Model of Natural Family Planning and NaPro Technology, is impacting lives and marriages throughout our nation.

What makes NaPro Technology unique is that as a family planning system it is entirely integrated with a woman’s health and can be used to identify and successfully treat various unique health issues women face. Doctor Karges recently explained, “I am so happy that by practicing NaPro Technology I am able to treat the cause of a woman’s problems, rather than simply use a “band-aid” approach to providing medical care. It not only completely abides by the teachings of the Catholic Church, but it simply makes for good medicine.” NaPro Technology is effective in spacing children and helping couples achieve pregnancy—and, importantly, it is also usually more effective than immoral methods! As Doctor Hilgers recently wrote, it is “a new women’s health science that specializes in working cooperatively (as opposed to suppressively or destructively) with a woman’s menstrual and fertility cycle.” This is authentic and dignity-affirming health care for women.

Doctors Hilgers, Yeung, Nolte, and Karges are committed to stem the tide of the contraceptive culture that views a woman’s fertility as a disease and impediment to her dignity. For this reason, Caritas and other similar clinics are committed to following the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services and they do not perceive these ethical directives as an unwelcome burden nor abide by them begrudgingly because their Bishop is forcing them to do so. Rather they share the Church’s conviction that

Catholic health institutions may not promote or condone contraceptive practices but should provide, for married couples and the medical staff who counsel them, instructions both about the Church’s teaching on responsible parenthood and in methods of natural family planning…. A Catholic health care institution that provides treatment for infertility should offer not only technical assistance to infertile couples but also should help couples pursue other solutions. (ERD 42, 44)

Like so many of her peers, Doctor Karges notes that the Directives speak directly to her as a physician and call her to something higher than “simply providing medical care.” Physicians, she notes, also have a responsibility to follow and educate their patients in Church teaching. “It is important to understand the how and why behind these directives. They are not meant to be restrictive or prohibitive. Through our practice of medicine, we are protecting married love which is sacred and is designed to be open to the co-creation of new life with God.”

Ultimately, women and families are better served by solutions that firmly adhere to the Church’s moral teaching. The women who have been healed and the marriages that have been strengthened by the moral and medical solutions to their infertility, family planning needs, and various other women’s health issues, are a living testament to the complementarity between God’s law and the true flourishing of every human person.

Arland K. Nichols is the National Director of HLI America. He writes for the Truth and Charity Forum. This article appeared in Crisis Magazine and is reprinted with permission.

Tags: abortion, contraception, humanae vitae, natural family planning

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Alabama Planned Parenthood sued after botched abortion leaves client infertile

by The Editors Mon Sep 17 15:06 EST Comments (11)

 

Birmingham, Alabama, September 17, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A Planned Parenthood abortion clinic in Birmingham, Alabama, has been sued for negligence for a botched abortion after the abortionist allegedly failed to diagnose a client’s tubal pregnancy, which painfully ruptured 25 days later necessitating emergency surgery. She is now infertile.

The abortion took place while the clinic was on probation for supplying abortions to underage teens without parental consent.

The suit, filed last month, also includes as a defendant California abortionist Aqua Don Emmanuel Umoren, who contracts to do abortions for Planned Parenthood in Birmingham and for another abortion clinic in Huntsville.

Roberta Clark walked into the Birmingham Planned Parenthood on August 20, 2010, for what she thought would be a routine first-trimester abortion. An ultrasound exam was conducted by an unlicensed, untrained worker, who said indicated that Clark was eight weeks, four days pregnant with an intrauterine pregnancy, when in fact, the ultrasound indicated there was no baby in the womb. Umoran noted in Clark’s chart that he conducted a pelvic exam that he said concurred with the eight week, four day diagnosis.

“Umoren was either so incompetent that his manual exam failed to determine that she had no intrauterine pregnancy, or he lied on Clark’s chart. This ultimately placed Clark in a life-threatening situation. She was lucky to survive,” Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue and Pro-Life Nation.

“We wouldn’t tolerate this kind of quackery in any other medical discipline, and we shouldn’t tolerate it when it comes to abortion. Umoren should have his license revoked and Planned Parenthood in Birmingham should be shut down.”

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Clark was given a suction abortion, after which she continued to complain of nausea, vomiting, and pelvic pain. The pathology report that indicated no fetal parts were identified in the tissue specimen that had been submitted for inspection that same day. Clark was not informed of this nor is there a record of her receiving any follow-up care from Umoren or Planned Parenthood.

Twenty five days later, Clark was in a Birmingham hospital E.R. undergoing emergency surgery to save her life. Doctors removed her ruptured fallopian tube containing a 13-week fetus and placenta.

“This case reveals the dangers of fly-in abortionists who provide no continuity of care. This practice places women at risk and should not be allowed,” said Newman. “We intend to file complaints against the abortionist and Planned Parenthood for gross violations of the standard of care.”

In addition to being on probation at the time of the incident, a health inspection conducted a few months later indicated that Planned Parenthood had multiple deficiencies including shoddy record-keeping and failure to give patients discharge instructions.

This latest suit comes at a time when another suit has been launched by the mother of Tonya Reaves, an abortion client who was killed at a Chicago Planned Parenthood in July.

Operation Rescue says it has document a dozen medical emergencies at Planned Parenthood abortion clinics nationwide in the past 20 months. “And those are just the ones we find out about,” said Newman. “It is time for the Obama Administration to stop protecting its campaign donor and start protecting women from shoddy abortions at Planned Parenthood. They can start by immediately defunding Planned Parenthood.”

Tags: abortion, operation rescue, planned parenthood

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‘Infamous’ social policies accepting abortion caused global gender imbalance: Sydney archbishop

by Hilary White, Rome Correspondent Mon Sep 17 14:43 EST Comments (5)

 
Cardinal George Pell

SYDNEY, September 17, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The massive and growing gender imbalance in countries like India and China and elsewhere is the result of “infamous” social policies favoring legal abortion, the cardinal archbishop of Sydney said last week.

Cardinal George Pell was addressing the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists at their annual meeting.

In his address, titled, “Is Catholicism Compatible With Women’s Health?” the cardinal said, “The social consequences of these infamous policies over the next few decades are likely to bring new meaning to the term of reaping the whirlwind.”

Cardinal Pell is known throughout the world as a strong advocate of the Church’s teaching on the sanctity of human life. One of his initiatives is an annual archdiocesan memorial Mass for those who have died from abortion, the first of which was held September 14. The Mass is intended to provide a “solemn, beautiful and consoling remembrance of the unborn children lost to abortion.”

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“Unlike Europe and Japan, where societies aged after they had become rich, in China and India they will follow their more prosperous predecessors into serious demographic decline in a few decades, before wealth spreads across most of the community or at least of all the community.

“As well as coping with the unpredictable consequences of tens of millions of single men - they can’t all become Catholic priests - this must raise serious questions about whether we’re entering the Chinese century.”

The Catholic Church is directly responsible for 26 percent of the health care provision in the world and a majority of the care for the poor in the developing world, the cardinal observed. As a health care leader, therefore, the Church assumes a holistic approach to women’s health “founded in the dignity of the human person; support for marriage – which the Church understands as the union of a man and woman, permanent and exclusive, open to life – and the right of couples to the knowledge and understanding of their own fertility so they may determine the number and spacing of their children and non-violence to mother and child”.

Key principles in Catholic health care philosophy, the cardinal said, include “the call to solidarity with the mother; the call to solidarity with the unborn child; health care as a natural human good and fundamental human right and the preferential option for the poor and vulnerable”.

“Catholics understand the relationship between doctor and patient according to the Hippocratic ideal, rather than the more modern notion of a doctor simply being a service provider to the consumer,” he continued.

“We understand the role of the obstetrician as being a doctor to two patients: mother and child. We recognise that although the healthcare needs of these two patients normally run in parallel they can sometimes - although infrequently - come apart, and this can be very difficult and distressing for all concerned.”

He decried the secular approach to obstetrics which often places the woman into an antagonistic role against her child. He said that the Church understands that pregnancy can present threats to the mother’s life, but said, “We believe a woman should not and must not be compelled to choose between her life and the life of her unborn child.”

Abortion “always represents a tragic and collective failure to provide this care and support,” he said.

Gender imbalance is a growing problem in most countries where abortion is legal. Although the One Child policy of the Chinese government is not in place in Hong Kong, the city-state is experiencing a growing gender gap. In India, the government has admitted that the killing of girls, either before of after birth, is a major social problem. The term “gendercide” has been coined by researchers who say that 500,000 girls are aborted illegally in India every year.

In Pakistan and some countries of the Arabian Peninsula, the problem is not as freely acknowledged. In many countries of the Middle East and Southeast Asia, strong cultural antipathy towards women and girls is combining with a booming underground abortion trade that is contributing to a growing gender imbalance, despite the higher overall fertility rate than western countries.

Researchers have said that the practice of killing baby girls has also greatly contributed to the problem of human trafficking. In India and China girls and young women are often kidnapped from rural areas and sold. In his speech, Cardinal Pell cited statistics that show there are now 32 million more boys than girls under twenty in China and 7.1 million fewer girls than boys up to the age of six in India.

But in China the situation is especially acute. Mandatory abortion coupled with the Chinese government’s One Child Policy, an absence of social services, especially for sick and elderly people, and a slowing economy are combining to create a social crisis of unprecedented proportions. Although accurate statistics are nearly impossible to obtain, and the world may never know how many have been killed, officially the Chinese government admitted that at least 400 million children have been killed by abortion since the policy was instituted in 1978.

Young men cannot find wives. Couples cannot have children. Parents fear their old age and young people are under such pressure that China has one of the world’s highest youth suicide rates. Uniquely in the world, more women kill themselves in China than men with a suicide rate for women of 14.8 per 100,000 people compared to 13.0 for men, the highest female suicide rate in the world. According to the World Health Organisation, suicide is the leading cause of death for younger women in China, particularly for women in rural areas where they are two to five times more likely to kill themselves than in cities. And though the rate is dropping, overall China still ranks ninth in the world for suicide by both sexes with over 300,000 per year, accounting for more than 30 per cent of the world’s suicides. 

Recently the International Herald Tribune, the New York Times international paper, implied that the One Child Policy is at least partly responsible for the slowing of the Chinese economy. With an economy dependent upon cheaply manufactured export goods, it is crucial to have a steady supply of labour in factories. But young Chinese are aware that an aging population, one that is not growing, gives them a competitive advantage in their work choices, so few are opting for the drudgery of factory work, preferring to pursue university studies and higher-end careers. Moreover, young people are under pressure to make more money by their parents and grandparents who have only one child to care for them in their old age.

And the end is not in sight. A government official recently confirmed that there are no plans to end the policy until at least 2015, even though the gender imbalance is acknowledged as a threat.

Tags: abortion, gender imbalance, gendercide, george pell

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Christian dad fighting for parental rights smeared in local press

by Thaddeus Baklinski Mon Sep 17 14:11 EST Comments (25)

 
Dr. Steve Tourloukis

HAMILTON, Ontario, September 17, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The Hamilton-area Christian father who is suing the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board after the board refused his repeated requests over two years to withdraw his children from classes dealing with homosexuality and other sensitive issues, is coming under attack from the local newspaper, The Spectator.

Dr. Steve Tourloukis, the man behind the lawsuit, which seeks to ensure that he is notified before controversial subjects are discussed in class, is a dentist, a member of the Greek Orthodox Church, and has a daughter in grade one and a son in grade four.

In an editorial published September 13, The Spectator’s Managing Editor, Howard Elliott, called Dr. Tourloukis’ legal action “distasteful,” “impractical,” and “downright sinister.”

The paper also published a cartoon by Graeme MacKay with the editorial that portrayed a caricature of Dr. Tourloukis drowning in an accumulation of the word “hate.”

Another version of the Spectator editorial was published by the affiliated Winnipeg Free Press alongside a grotesque cartoon of Dr. Tourloukis by Dale Cummings.

In a move that one pro-life leader called a breach of journalistic ethics and that was condemned by Tourloukis himself, Carmela Fragomeni of The Spectator named the school that Dr. Tourloukis’ children attend.

Jack Fonseca of Campaign Life Catholics expressed concerns that the decision could open the children up to harassment, saying, “The Spectator crossed the line of journalistic ethics by publishing the name of his children’s elementary school. This should make every parent angry.”

“There were many articles and TV/radio stories about this situation,” Dr. Tourloukis told LifeSiteNews. “Only the Spectator thought it necessary to publish my children’s school. There was no justification for publishing the name of the school. It was not relevant to the story in any way. But the point is that there could have been a safety issue for my children.”

“This is fundamentally about discrimination,” Dr. Tourloukis said. “My family is being discriminated against because we are not receiving the religious accommodations that are freely being given to other groups.”

“If I was a woman or member of a visible minority claiming discrimination, do you think that any newspaper would actually publish an editorial cartoon to mock me?” he asked. “That would never happen. When a person of colour is claiming to be the victim of discrimination, or a member of any other group, they would never be mocked with a cartoon. This is an anti-Christian bias.”

Dr. Tourloukis said that the issue at stake is simply the right of parents to know what their children are being taught in school.

“Keeping parents abreast of what is being covered in the class room is the standard of practice in the teaching profession. However, when a Christian parent asks to be informed in advance of materials or lessons dealing with sexuality, they are refused.”

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Tourloukis observed that the Spectator had suggested that he simply move his children to another school board, but, he responded, “if a student was complaining of ‘homophobic’ discrimination, I highly doubt they would suggest to the student’s parents that they should simply move to another Board.”

Dr. Tourloukis also pointed out that his personal address and phone number were posted in the website comment section of the Spectator’s article, which were eventually removed: but not so the many vicious comments from readers that Tourloukis says “were intended to humiliate me.”

Gwen Landolt, vice president of REAL Women Canada, described the public campaign against Tourloukis as an attempt “to destroy him by ridicule, a personal attack on his credibility, his intelligence.”

“Anybody who dares to say no to the liberal agenda is to be personally attacked and vilified. It’s a repeat of the Sarah Palin treatment.”

Dr. Tourloukis’ lawsuit against the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board is backed by the Parental Rights in Education Defense Fund, a non-profit organization focused on defending in court parental rights to direct the education of their children.

“We believe a tipping point has been reached in Canada. Without immediate intervention, parental rights to direct the moral education of their own children will be lost in several respects,” the organization states, which argues that the only way to fight back at this extreme juncture is through lawsuits.

“We have a case of a school board not only seeing itself as being an ‘equal’ co-parent, but in fact, as having a superior right over the parent to influence which religious beliefs their children will eventually embrace as their own, even if it means contradicting what the parents tell them at home,” said Lou Iacobelli, chairman of The Parental Rights in Education Defense Fund.

“If parents do not beat back this government incursion against parent rights, it will usher in an era of persecution, against people of faith, like never seen before in Canada. The Parental Rights in Education Defense Fund has been created to help parents fight back, in the courts.”

The Parental Rights in Education Defense Fund is seeking donations to help fund the Tourloukis case. Visit their website for more information.

“The pathologies of Christian indifference and apathy are perhaps bigger threats than the radical secular humanists that surround us,” Dr. Tourloukis told LifeSiteNews.

“If we do not do everything in our power to stop this injustice, we risk becoming accomplices in the spiritual molestation of our children,” he concluded.

Contact information:

The Hamilton Spectator
Dana Robbins, Publisher
44 Frid Street | Hamilton, Ontario | L8N 3G3
Phone: 905-526-3399
Fax: 905-526-0147
Email: drobbins@thespec.com

Winnipeg Free Press
Bob Cox, Publisher
1355 Mountain Avenue, Winnipeg, Manitoba R2X 3B6
Phone: (204) 697–7362
Fax: (204) 697-7412
Email: Bob.Cox@freepress.mb.ca

Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board
John Malloy, Director of Education
120 King Street West, Suite 1120
P.O. Box 2558, Hamilton, Ontario L8N 3L1
Phone: 905.527.5092
Fax: 905.521.2544
Email: (via Executive Assistant Pat Stones) pat.stones@hwdsb.on.ca

Tags: catholic, homosexuality, steve tourloukis

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Poisoned Ivies: Sex and God at Yale

by Michael W. Hannon Mon Sep 17 12:40 EST Comments (28)

 

September 17, 2012 (Mercatornet.com) - They say everyone is entitled to his fifteen minutes of fame. My mom had her brief moment in the spotlight a couple years back, when the New York Post called her for a comment about a new dorm policy at Columbia, where I was a sophomore at the time. As the article put it, “Columbia University students will soon be able to live in sin—on their parents’ dime. A new ‘gender-neutral’ housing policy . . . will allow boys and girls to shack up together in campus housing.”

My mom’s reaction was, I hope, the reaction most parents would have to such news. “I was shocked enough last year when we moved our son in and we saw that guys and girls shared a bathroom on the hall,” she told the Post. “If it had been our daughter, we would have turned around and walked straight out. As far as coed roommates go, that would be insane. If our child chose to do that, we would opt out.” Thankfully for my mom’s sanity, sharing a dorm room with a girl was never high on my college to-do list. But had she known what else Columbia had in store for us, I can guarantee she would have opted out anyway.

I don’t consider myself particularly puritanical. On the contrary, as I’ve indicated elsewhere, I have a very high view of human sexuality. But somehow I never found Columbia’s university-sponsored sexual culture all that sexy. Call me old-fashioned, but that giant, inflatable penis on the quad, Health Services’ guess-how-many-condoms-are-in-the-jelly-bean-jar game, and that mandatory freshman orientation skit on coping with roommate autoeroticism, just never fit my idea of sexually appealing.

Neither did Columbia’s annual Erotic Cake-Baking Contest, or the (in)famous “Sexhibition,” a university-sponsored event complete with a sex-toy show-and-tell and, wouldn’t you know it, more phallus-shaped baked goods. But not to worry: in true Columbia multiculturalist style, those genital cookies are kosher, lest anyone’s religious observance exclude him from this romping good time.

For better or worse, Columbia has been regarded as a trailblazer on issues of sexual “progressivism” since long before I entered its hallowed gates. Back in 1993, the university’s Health Promotion Program launched Go Ask Alice!—a Q&A-style website offering insight on such meaningful topics as sex with stuffed animals, breastfeeding one’s sexual partner, urine-drinking fetishes, and that annoying medical guideline about having to abstain from sex for three weeks after an abortion. The following year, Columbia became home to the nation’s first university-recognized sadomasochism club, Conversio Virium. (That’s Latin for “exchange of forces.” Glad to see those Classics majors putting their education to good use.)

Then in 2006, Columbia partnered with one of Soho’s notorious sex shops to bring its students “Sex Toys 101,” a workshop put on by the university’s own Health Services, which earned the school a glowing write-up in the New York Daily News.

You might reasonably think that it can’t get much worse than teddy bear masturbation and S&M clubs. How I wish you were right. But during my first term at the school, Columbia students found a way to one-up themselves yet again. In October of 2008, a group of my classmates released the first issue of a raunchy new (unofficial) campus publication, oh so cleverly titled C-Spot. Apparently it wasn’t enough for students to exhibit sex toys; from now on, they were going to be exhibiting themselves.

Like Playboy and similar magazines, the original C-Spot issue did feature a handful of articles, including a historical essay on the origins of the vibrator, and, for the more literary-minded student, a collection of pornographic poetry. But the bulk of the publication is devoted to more, let’s say, visual works of art.

As Fox News put it, “Columbia students trying to prove that scholarship can be sexy have launched a salacious magazine featuring strip-club reviews, Internet porn recommendations and nude pictures of students steamy enough to wilt ivy.” Now personally, I have never been able to figure out what would incline an Ivy League scholar to pose nude for C-Spot, often with other students and in all kinds of compromising sexual postures. But plenty do. And afterwards, sitting next to them in Symbolic Logic is never quite the same.

As I said, Columbia prides itself on being something of a trendsetter in the sexual arena. And there is certainly merit (or perhaps, more appropriately, demerit) to that claim. But while Columbia has indeed pushed the envelope on these issues of sexual obscenity, it is not the only groundbreaking force in the elite academic world. And if my brief highlight reel of Columbia’s exploits has come across as inappropriately scandalous, then I highly recommend steering clear of a new 300-page exposé about our Ivy League neighbors in New Haven. Don’t get me wrong—Nathan Harden’s Sex and God at Yale is a phenomenal book, and a timely and insightful addition to this conversation. But it definitely is not written for those with a weak stomach.

A recent graduate and a proud Yale Man himself, Harden writes not to slander the name of his alma mater, but to lovingly reprimand her for failing to live out her noble calling. It was the early fifties when William F. Buckley authored the now legendary God and Man at Yale, a book that similarly laments Yale’s abandonment of religion and its straying from its original academic mission. Harden sees his own Sex and God at Yale as “a continuation of the story [Buckley] began to tell” more than half a century ago. And yet, with the utmost respect for the late Mr. Buckley, Harden notes that Buckley’s complaints unfortunately “look quaint alongside the hard-core realities of today’s Yale.”

Chapter by chapter, Harden describes episodes in which these “hard-core realities” became particularly prominent in his own Yale experience. I will refrain from sharing here much of the graphic detail he supplies in the book, of which there is certainly plenty.

But in context, I actually found Harden’s illustrative descriptions effective in establishing a friendly tone, and a certain sense of ease between himself and the reader. True, Harden’s style of casual narrative makes it seem that he is speaking more to a young peer than to his elders at the university or in society writ large. But given the subject matter, this is the kind of book I would be more likely to pass along to a college friend than to my mother anyway.

Harden begins each chapter with a relevant quotation from a prominent Yale alumnus, effectively reinforcing the disconnect between the powerful noblemen Yale has formed in the past and the perverted juveniles it seems bent on producing today. My favorite quotation was the one he selected from Tom Wolfe, who received his Ph.D. from Yale in 1957, for Chapter 10, Hooking Up. Says Wolfe, “Today’s first base is kissing. . . . Second base is oral sex. Third base is going all the way. Home plate is learning each other’s names.” This line is obviously said a little tongue-in-cheek. But, I think, only a little.

It is presumably no secret that college is now dominated by the so-called “hook-up culture,” and that at many places anonymous or near-anonymous sexual encounters have become the norm rather than the exception on a typical Friday night. And depressingly, writes Harden, for “most college students, hooking up is the only way to carry on any kind of romantic relationship at all. Dating, in case you haven’t heard, is dead.” He goes so far as to say that actually “taking a girl to dinner is tantamount to a college marriage.” That may sound radical, but it is true to my own experience as well. Dating has become exceedingly rare among Columbia students, so much so that most students probably go all four years without ever going out on an official date.

And so, instead, college students “hook up.” Of course Yale is no different in that regard, and neither is Columbia. But at such elite institutions, and particularly at institutions as committed to the cause of women’s equality as these two are, there are special tensions that become particularly apparent. In one of the book’s more memorable passages, Harden writes,

When sex comes casually and with no relational strings attached, as it often does at Yale and on other college campuses, women are essentially commodified and objectified in the eyes of men. Here’s why: When no real relationship is involved, there is no need to treat one’s sexual partner like anything more than a functional object—a sex doll that breathes. … Under this arrangement women lose the respect they want and deserve. It’s hard to be a randy sexpot and a deobjectified feminist at the same time.

And unfortunately, as we will see, this is hardly the only respect in which the attitudes Yale fosters toward women are pathetically paradoxical.

The hook-up culture is, I’m told, fairly ubiquitous at this point, a common phenomenon nationwide. But thankfully for the rest of our country’s universities, most of the episodes in Sex and God at Yale are so over-the-top that they could only occur on a relatively few, particularly “progressed” college campuses.

Harden devotes one chapter to the tragically terrifying case of Aliza Shvarts, the Yale art major whose senior project centered around the “art” of abortion. Shvarts made national news back in 2008 for, allegedly, repeatedly artificially inseminating herself and then inducing her own abortions, as often as possible over the course of a nine-month period. She then used documentation from the process and the organic materials it produced in her final artistic display. While the media spectacle did eventually lead the university to try to distance itself from the project, up until then Shvarts had had the approval and supervision of the Yale Art Department for the entire exhibition.

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One of Yale’s most infamous events, and one that occupies about a hundred pages of Sex and God at Yale, is Sex Week. Held every other year, Sex Week features a ten-day series of activities, with varying levels of university involvement from one event to another. During Harden’s time, it featured such uplifting installments as: “Defiant Desires,” an S&M symposium; “Y-Couture Fetish Fashion Show,” with student models, of course; “Getting What You Really Want,” an anti-monogamy talk by a “polyamorist activist”; “Babeland’s Lip Tricks,” wherein a burlesque performer gave a 90-minute oral sex workshop to a packed auditorium of students; “Speed Dating—Give Some, Get Some!”, which is pretty pathetically self-explanatory; “Love Junkies,” a panel discussion in which a “clinical sexologist” described the group therapy he once gave to a grandfather, a grandmother, and their sex slave; “Erotic Piercings,” a section which I highly recommend skipping over in the book, as I’m still having nightmares about it; and “BDSM 101,” yet another sadomasochistic event, but this one including a demonstration in which the presenter, herself a porn star, got naked in a Yale classroom and became a human prop in the presentings. Once again, I sense some potential conflicts with the prevailing feminist ideologies of the Ivy League. Somehow, I don’t think this is quite what Gloria Steinem had in mind.

Harden’s book is incredibly graphic, and it should probably not be recommended reading for too general an audience. Nonetheless, his commentary on these obscene scenes is truly top-notch. In his discussion of the “Babeland’s Lip Tricks” event at Sex Week, Harden draws attention to the fact that many of the techniques recommended by the burlesque lecturer require latex gloves, to be performed safely. In a particularly gripping moment, he steals away from the action to offer the following gem, another of my favorites from the book:

This must be, I think to myself, the natural progression of the culture of clinical safe sex, taken to its banal extreme. It started with sex educators’ near-religious devotion to the condom—that miraculous wonder-sock that was supposed to cure AIDS, liberate women from the curse of motherhood, eliminate unwanted pregnancy, make abortion obsolete, and, above all, free mankind from so many lingering Victorian vestiges of fearful prudery. The all-powerful rubber gave us sex with no strings attached. But that wasn’t enough. Now our hands are also supposed to be covered with latex. Slowly but surely, our anonymous sex culture is becoming as devoid of physical contact as it is of emotional contact. Touchless, heartless, passionless sex is the inheritance of this porned-out, hooked-up generation.

In the fifth and final section of Sex and God at Yale, Harden ceases most of his narrative style, and in its place he offers a reflective analysis of what went wrong, of what led the ivy-covered university that produced presidents, Supreme Court justices, and movers and shakers the world over, to such a pathetic, pornified place. Squeamishness aside, this section really is worth everyone’s reading in its entirety.

Harden’s diagnosis is that Yale has lost its sense of moral and educational purpose, thereby losing any standard by which to discriminate worthy from unworthy classroom pursuits, and that the resulting relativism has inevitably given rise to the bizarre sexual dystopia one finds there today. Looking to the future, he prophesies,

Nihilism is, ultimately, where Yale is headed. Yale was built in order to nurture ideas that would elevate the soul and advance human understanding, but it now has no governing moral principle. As a result, the knowledge generated there is divorced from any larger human purpose. Apart from a kind of vague appreciation of certain concepts like tolerance and diversity, Yale is a moral vacuum. Therefore, almost anything goes.

One might wonder, given nude porn stars in the classroom, what that “almost” could still exclude.

Looking back on his expectations before moving to New Haven, Harden says, “I had thought of Yale as a modern-day equivalent of the Athenian agora; but all too often, I found myself sitting in the equivalent of an intellectual whorehouse.” And yet, he authored Sex and God at Yale not simply to draw attention to the university’s defects, but to hold Yale up to the standards that it once set for itself. In penning the present essay, I mean to do the same with regard to my own alma mater. Please do not misunderstand me; Yale and Columbia are fantastic institutions. I count myself blessed to have studied where I did, and Harden frequently conveys the same sense of gratitude to Yale throughout his book. But the greatness of these universities has come under fire, and their sexual obsession is compromising the virtues of the academy. So we write what we do, that they may be what they were. Our shared hope is that Columbia and Yale would once again flourish as the universities they were created to be—intellectual whorehouses no longer, and Athenian agoras once more.

Michael W. Hannon is a first-year law student at New York University and a graduate of Columbia University, where he triple-majored in Philosophy, Religion, and Medieval and Renaissance Studies. This article first appeared at Mercatornet.com and is reprinted under a Creative Commons License.

Tags: abortion, sex week, yale

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Those ‘personally opposed…but’ politicians

by Alma Acevedo Mon Sep 17 12:07 EST Comments (5)

 

September 17, 2012 (Mercatornet.com) - Along with the electoral season comes the inevitable “I am opposed to […], but it is a personal decision.” Just fill in the blank with abortion, euthanasia, surrogacy, or any morally contentious matter. The rhetorical finesse quenches the debate, bypassing the polemical minefield. As a media and public silencer, to save face and buy time, it is a mediocre but successful technique. As a meaningful proposition, however, it fails.

“I am opposed to […], but do not believe it my role to impose my personal views on others” is a kindred statement. The first clause appeals to the party base; the second, to the rest. With one stroke, candidates thus persuade the rank and file that their values are safely aligned, while appeasing the opponents’ concerns.

Besides, we would not want our political leaders to impose anything, would we?

Their affirmative counterparts run on similar linguistic tracks: “I favor [outlawing abortion, curtailing euthanasia, banning surrogacy,…], but will not impose my personal views.” The ostrich maneuver. Label it personal and the interrogation halts to an end. Yet, as with the ostriches’ legend, the rhetorical move escapes reality.

Momentarily imagine a candidate professing the following: “I am opposed to [incest, domestic violence, racism, sexism, human exploitation, ethnic cleansing, rape, bribery], but it is a personal decision.” No chance. The candidate would be (justly) booed all the way to oblivion and shame.

The difference lies in the object. When the issue is thought to be morally controversial (politically sensitive), it is labeled “personal”, as if personal simply meant subjective, private, or to be resolved by sheer individual preference. When its moral nature is socially settled (politically safe), the “but it is personal” defense is not invoked.

Why should contentiousness define what a personal decision is?

What is, then, a personal decision? Non-moral and moral decisions are both “personal” insofar as they are a human individual’s, and not a human collective’s. Decisions of a non-moral nature, having nothing to do with ethics or morality, are individual or “personal” in the lowercase letter sense, so to speak. For instance, whether to go shopping or to the cinema tonight, and whether to choose vanilla or chocolate, are matters of individual choice such as preferences, interests, and tastes.

Personal (individual) decisions may also involve issues of more consequence, such as whether to study economics or finance. They are, generally speaking, decisions relative to particular circumstances. The choices are based on conditions specific to the individual. “Personal” may also signify private reasons the person legitimately chooses to keep secret, such as when someone retires for “personal” reasons.

Moral decisions, on the other hand, are personal. They are not simply matters of individual (relative to oneself) choice, but spring from the very core of human personality: human intellect and free will. They are personal for they entail universal and objective normative principles linked to properly human goods. Individual circumstances may influence the degree of moral responsibility in specific cases. An ethical conclusion, however, is not merely a subjective “personal view” but a personal judgment stemming from right reason and free will.

G. K. Chesterton wrote in What’s wrong with the world, “most modern freedom is at root fear. It is not so much that we are too bold to endure rules: it is rather that we are too timid to endure responsibilities.” Candidates must boldly stand for something; we must responsibly learn. Just as they do not confound as impositions their positions on economic affairs, their stances on major moral issues should not be thus construed.

These matters are not solely private or relative, but hold wide public repercussions, in terms of human dignity and the common good. That they are contentious does not preclude their discussion, but beckons it. Far from imposition, their responsible and reasonable discussion enhances free civic discourse and action. Conversely, the candidate’s reticence imposes an impoverished public debate, thus undermining the conditions necessary for a democratic society. Rather than tolerance, this silence may signal indifference, hesitation, deceit, or cowardice.

The “but it is personal” linguistic maneuver must be exposed for what it really is: a cheap electoral season pass whose political currency has expired. Because moral decisions are personal, candidates ought to tell us what and why. Because they are personal, we, the citizens, ought to ask and to know.

Alma Acevedo, PhD, teaches courses in applied ethics and conducts research in this field. This article first appeared at Mercatornet.com and is reprinted under a Creative Commons License.

Tags: abortion, euthanasia

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Leading our children to life: what’s a pro-life parent to do?

by Kristi Burton Brown Mon Sep 17 10:21 EST Comments (5)

 

September 17, 2012 (LiveActionNews.org) - Unfortunately, as pro-life parents, we know all too well that our children are not being raised in a culture that values life. Babies are aborted left and right, often with no reason other than that they simply weren’t “convenient.” Elderly people are no longer honored and respected. In some cases, they are left to die while we call ourselves “merciful.” Our culture is, in many ways, self-centered and apt to enjoy violence while freely supporting the destruction of those things or people we don’t agree with. What’s a pro-life parent to do? How do we encourage our children to value life and speak out for it?

First of all, there is good news for this current generation. The tide is turning in the hearts of young people – they are choosing the pro-life side. Many wonder if it was truly right for their potential friends, cousins, and neighbors to have been aborted. Many understand that the peace they so desperately seek cannot be found on the side of death. But there is still peer pressure. There is still the idea that to be successful, you cannot have a baby “dragging you down.” There is still the societal idea that we ought to think of ourselves and our own dreams ahead of anyone else – including an innocent, helpless baby. There is still a great lack of personal responsibility and the willingness to accept the consequences of the choices we make.

Well, fellow pro-life parents, there is hope! We are not left without a way to lead our children to life. First, I believe that it will speak volumes to our children that we chose life for them, regardless of our circumstances or the timing of their conception. I also believe that we must start educating our children at a young age on the worth of every person and every person’s equal right to life. Children are never too young to learn that life is precious. And teaching our children the value of life will lead them not only to reject abortion. It will also lead them to reject suicide and other unnecessary violence. If life is precious, no one has the right to destroy it to make his or her own life easier.

In my personal opinion, young children do not need to be shown photos of aborted babies to understand the seriousness of abortion. Sometimes, those photos – while realistic – are too much for little minds to handle. We do not want to scare our children by showing them everything violent that happens in this world and not allowing kids to be kids. Kids ought to experience peace and fun and not be exposed to too much evil too early on.

Click ‘like’ if you want to END ABORTION!

As pro-life parents, we need to be creative. How can we show children the value and preciousness of life without exposing them too early to the violence and destruction that goes hand-in-hand with abortion? We should never lie to our children – some are ready earlier than others to know the entire truth. But rather than showing them dying, bleeding, cut-up babies, perhaps we should focus on an unborn child’s development and beautiful photos of life in the womb so our children never doubt the scientific realities of life. If we show them life at its earliest stages, they will not be persuaded so easily that an unborn child is only “potential” life. Expose children to these kind of amazing true stories. Check out these sites for photos, information, an amazing book, and videos that might be helpful for children.

My mother always taught me to have compassion for the women who have abortions and not to condemn them. Several people in my extended family and some of my mom’s good friends have had abortions. Yet instead of condemning these women, my mom sought to help them through their pain. I have always admired her for that and have believed that it is much better to care for women and the babies. Pro-life parents should never compromise on the truth, but we should never neglect compassion, either.

I believe that it is very important to bring our children along and involve them in pro-life work. Here are a few ideas. Please share any you have in the comments below.

  1. Conduct a diaper, formula, blanket, or other drive for your local pregnancy center. (Just look up “pregnancy center” along with your city and state on Google or Bing.)
  2. Go together to your church and pray for abortion to end. When you make a special point to go somewhere to pray or have a special family meeting, your children are likely to remember.
  3. Create a pro-life video or graphic together.
  4. Write a letter to unborn babies and imagine what they need to hear from someone who loves them.
  5. Make a poster about the development of unborn children.
  6. Pass out flyers for a pro-life campaign.
  7. Write a letter, thanking your local pregnancy center or pro-life organization for their work.
  8. Get involved with Babies of Juarez.
  9. Raise money for or otherwise help Save the Storks.
  10. Write a story or essay about why life is precious, no matter its age, circumstances, or condition.
  11. Ask your local pro-life organization for ideas.
  12. In the end, if pro-life parents are truthful, passionate, creative, caring, prayerful, and active, I believe we will go a long way in leading our children to life.
  13. One last suggestion: order the book Justice Love Babies for your children!

Tags: abortion

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Pro-Life? That’s RACIST!

by Cassy Fiano Mon Sep 17 10:05 EST Comments (18)

 
Brian Fung

September 17, 2012 (LiveActionNews.org) - What does racism have to do with being pro-life? Well, for many pro-abortion fanatics, it has everything to do with it. To them, minorities having more children and less abortions is a bad thing and racist. It’s not racist, however, to target them for abortions. Mention that an overwhelming majority of abortion clinics are in urban neighborhoods, or that black women get a disproportionately higher number of abortions, and you’re racist. Show documented examples of racism at Planned Parenthood, and you’re racist.

Say you want to abort black babies because they’re ugly and will grow up to be murderers, however, and there’s not a peep.

In short, anything that hampers abortion is racist. Minorities getting a disproportionate number of abortions, though, is awesome! Only the white people should be having lots of kids, right?

Putting this attitude on display is Brian Fung at The Atlantic, who derides abortion bans as racist, because they would mean that minority women would not be able to have as many abortions. His argument is literally that it is racist for there to be less abortions of minority children.

[W]hatever you make of those topline numbers, one thing seems certain: an abortion ban would disproportionately affect women from non-white and low-income backgrounds.

… Non-white and low-income women aren’t so lucky. For them, an abortion ban would mean either carrying their unplanned pregnancies to term — something the NBER paper predicts could happen to some degree, and which would likely be exacerbated by conservative attempts to limit contraception access at the same time that they crack down on abortion — or resorting to unsafe, illegal abortions.

Go ahead and try to make sense of this argument. Being pro-life, and hoping fewer minority women have abortions – thereby leading to more minority children – is racist. Cheerleading the disproportionate number of abortions that minority women get, and the abortion clinics helpfully planted in minority neighborhoods, however, is not racist. It’s progressive! It’s choice! Fewer minority babies is good for them! And minority women need abortions, because they clearly can’t handle having children under any circumstances, with an exception for those who are absolutely perfect.

Same thing for poor chicks, too. Only rich white women can have babies at any time. Any other type of woman needs to have abortion readily available, because if they get pregnant, they have to have an abortion. Ban abortions, and they’ll resort to the old rusty coat hanger, because clearly a minority woman, or one with a lower income, can’t handle a baby. She couldn’t comprehend the option of adoption, either, clearly, so abortions are absolutely necessary. They’re so necessary in these situations that clinics are helpfully making sure they sprout up right in those neighborhoods, ready and waiting to make sure that minority women can kill their babies as soon as they get pregnant.

To me, that entire argument reeks of racism. Pro-lifers welcome the the thought of more minority children being born. Pro-aborts, however, run screaming from the thought. Now explain to me which side comprises the real racists.

Reprinted with permission from LiveActionNews.org

Tags: abortion, planned parenthood

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Abp Chaput on voting for Obama: ‘I certainly can’t vote for somebody who’s pro-choice’

by Patrick B. Craine Mon Sep 17 10:00 EST Comments (34)

 

PHILADELPHIA, Sept. 17, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - As the November general election approaches, America’s Catholic bishops have been walking a fine line as they strive to avoid appearances of partisanship while at the same time they wage a high-profile battle against the Obama administration over religious freedom.

Earlier this month, one of the leading lights in the U.S. episcopate insisted he “certainly” could not vote for Obama, while not specifically endorsing his Republic opponent Mitt Romney.

Asked whether a Catholic could vote for Obama in good faith, Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia replied: “I can only speak in terms of my own personal views. I certainly can’t vote for somebody who’s either pro-choice or pro-abortion.”

In a wide-ranging interview with John Allen, Jr. of the National Catholic Reporter, published Friday, the archbishop drew a sharp distinction between a candidate’s “prudential judgments” about how we care for the poor, and his position on an intrinsic evil like abortion.

Responding to concerns over the budget proposed by Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan, which some Catholic bishops and other critics had called immoral because it cut programs to the poor, the archbishop pointed out that people of good faith can legitimately disagree over the role of government in providing aid to the poor.

“Jesus tells us very clearly that if we don’t help the poor, we’re going to go to hell,” he insisted. “But Jesus didn’t say the government has to take care of them, or that we have to pay taxes to take care of them. Those are prudential judgments.”

“You can’t say that somebody’s not Christian because they want to limit taxation,” he continued. “To say that it’s somehow intrinsically evil like abortion doesn’t make any sense at all.”

The archbishop, while noting he is a registered independent, said he has “deep personal concerns about any party that supports changing the definition of marriage, supports abortion in all circumstances, wants to restrict the traditional understanding of religious freedom.”

Chaput also said the bishops’ Fortnight for Freedom campaign in the summer was a success in raising greater awareness among Catholics about the grave threat to religious freedom facing America.

“The history of the world demonstrates that if we aren’t always on guard about religious freedom, we’ll lose it. It happens everywhere, and it could happen in the United States,” he observed.

“I would never have thought, even ten years ago, that we would be dealing with it so quickly,” he added.

On the HHS mandate, Chaput said he “can’t imagine” the courts would not overturn it. “If we don’t win, I’ll be astonished, and I’ll be even more worried about the future of religious freedom in our country,” he said.

“Those who oppose us on the mandates are very insistent. I thought they would back down by now, but they haven’t,” he continued. “We have to fight as vigorously in opposing them as they are in imposing them. Who’s going to win? I don’t know. It will be whoever fights the hardest and wins the hearts and minds of the people.”

Read the full interview at the National Catholic Reporter.

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