Tuesday, September 18, 2012

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Justin Bieber’s mom says she rejected abortion despite pressure

by Johanna Dasteel Tue Sep 18 18:19 EST Comments (38)

 
Justin Bieber with his mom, Pattie Mallette

September 18, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – In a recent interview with Kathie Lee Gifford for NBC’s TODAY show, Justin Bieber’s mom, Pattie Mallette, talked about the pressure she suffered to abort her famous pop-star son.

A victim of childhood sexual abuse, Pattie engaged in drinking, drugs and sex at a young age, ultimately finding herself pregnant at the age of seventeen.  Even though she was encouraged to abort, she told Kathie Lee, “I just knew I couldn’t. I just knew I couldn’t. I just know I had to keep him.”

“I didn’t know how I was going to do it. But I just knew that I couldn’t abort. I had to do my best, and I was determined to do whatever it took.”

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Pattie’s interview, some say, sheds a new light on a 2011 interview then-sixteen-year-old Justin granted with Rolling Stone’s editor Vanessa Grigoriadis in which he stated, “I really don’t believe in abortion.” 

“I think it [the unborn child] is a human. It’s like killing a baby,” Bieber said at the time.

When pressed as to whether he opposed abortion in the case of rape, the young singer replied, “Um. Well, I think that’s really sad, but everything happens for a reason.  I don’t know how that would be a reason. I guess I haven’t been in that position, so I wouldn’t be able to judge that.”

Bryan Kemper, Youth Outreach Director for Priests for Life, commented on Mallette’s revelations about her pregnancy with Bieber.

“I applaud Justin Bieber’s mother for having the courage to stand up and say what she did, and I hope people will look up to what she did in protecting and carrying her son, see the potential of the child they are carrying and follow her example,” said Kemper. 

“Justin is a survivor of Roe v. Wade, and as we go into 40th anniversary of Roe v Wade, this year marks one full generation that has lived under the shadow of that Supreme Court decision.  This is the generation that will abolish abortion.  We have survived Roe, we will not let it survive us.  We will not allow another 40 years to pass of legalized child-killing. 

In a similar story in 2011, NFL player Tim Tebow was featured in a Focus on the Family Superbowl ad with his mother, Pam Tebow, who shared how she almost lost Tim before birth due to some serious health problems.  In interviews about the ad, she spoke of the pressure from her doctors to abort Tim, but how she chose life despite the pressure.

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Tags: abortion, justin bieber

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Honoring Morton Blackwell: The conservative movement’s recruiter and basic trainer

by Ben Johnson Tue Sep 18 18:00 EST Comments (0)

 
Mr. and Mrs. Morton Blackwell prepare to accept the Vision a
Mr. and Mrs. Morton Blackwell prepare to accept the Vision and Leadership Award at the Values Voters Summit.

WASHINGTON, D.C., September 18, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – On Saturday night, the conservative movement paused to celebrate the life of a man who has helped train nearly 110,000 activists to turn their passion into policy.

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins bestowed the Vision and Leadership Award on conservative leader Morton Blackwell at a black tie gala Saturday evening at the Values Voters Summit, held in the Omni Shoreham hotel in the nation’s capital.

Blackwell, who became active as a supporter of Barry Goldwater in the late 1950s, founded the Leadership Institute in 1979. Its 40 classes and seminars have equipped nearly 110,000 conservatives in everything from campaign management, to public relations, to broadcast journalism.

One of his former students, Lila Rose of Live Action, spoke of Blackwell’s influence on her own life during the dinner.

Rose said shortly after arriving as a UCLA freshman, she attended the Leadership Institute and received a grant to expand her pro-life campus publication.

“With that first $1,500 grant from the Leadership Institute, we were able to print almost 5,000 [copies] and distribute them around campus,” Rose said. “Now, six years later, The Advocate is on over 100 high schools and colleges with a circulation of over 200,000.”

As significantly, that’s where she met undercover journalist James O’Keefe, who joined Lila in exposing Planned Parenthood’s willingness to accept money to “abort a black baby” during a series of undercover videos.

In a ceremony hemmed by patriotic performances from the Indiana Wesleyan University chorale, Blackwell, accompanied on stage by his wife, humbly accepted what he called “a great and undeserved reward.”

Blackwell said abortion, same-sex “marriage,” and other moral issues reshaped the political landscape he first encountered in the not-too-distant past.

“What we now call social issues were not political issues,” he said. “In his entire national campaign I believe Senator Goldwater was never asked if he favored making abortion legal. Neither was he asked if he favored making bank robbery legal.” 

“Abortion and monogamous marriage between one man and one woman were among the many settled legal and moral issues of American culture,” he said. “But then the political Left began to bring into politics its hostility to traditional moral principles.”

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Phyllis Schlafly’s role in organizing the coalition to oppose the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) and the late Jerry Falwell’s forays into politics changed the makeup of the nation’s two major parties and forged the modern conservative movement, a marriage of moral, economic, and military conservatives, Blackwell said.

“The leftist politicians, content-free Republicans, and the so-called mainstream news media” derided Christian conservatives as “a danger to the Republic – dimwitted, uncouth, and savage people who would destroy the Republican Party.” Yet this force proved a vital part of the coalition that propelled Ronald Reagan to two landslide victories.

Blackwell, who served as a special assistant to President Ronald Reagan from 1981-1984, said, “The greatest lesson that conservatives learned in that period is that personnel is policy. Where the right people are given responsibility, good things can happen.” He credited the administration’s conservative advisers, as well as the president’s wisdom, for making the Reagan administration a success.

He was less sanguine about the current occupant of the White House. “President Obama is the personification of leftist ideology,” said Blackwell, adding that his policies had been “fundamentally ruinous for our country. He must be replaced.”

“Everything is on the line this year,” he said.

While he – and thousands of the activists he has trained – are backing Mitt Romney for president, he felt Romney had to enact a full-spectrum conservative agenda to succeed.

“If Mitt Romney wins the presidency, there will be no shortage of unattached sycophants seeking jobs and ready to do whatever they are told to do,” Blackwell warned. “I pray that he will see to it that his new administration, if it comes to pass, will hire many, many people who have distinguished themselves by long and passionate endeavors for the conservative principles he now espouses.”

This author is a graduate of the Leadership Institute’s Broadcast Journalism School.

Tags: leadership institute, lila rose, morton blackwell, tony perkins

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‘Tragic legacy’: trendsetting pro-abortion pastor dies in Manhattan at 91

by Susanna Rose Tue Sep 18 17:48 EST Comments (32)

 
Howard Moody

September 18, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – One of the first Christian pastors – and certainly the most influential - in the United States to be openly pro-abortion died last Wednesday in Manhattan. 

Reverend Howard R. Moody, longtime pastor of Judson Memorial Church in Greenwich Village, a champion of various social issues, was best known for assisting women in obtaining abortions even before abortion was legal.

“We faced fines of $1,000 and one year in jail,” Moody said in a 2003 interview with Ed Gold of The Villager.  “My phone was tapped.  But Frank Hogan, the district attorney, knew what we were doing, but didn’t close us down.  That’s because some of the women who came to us were wives of policemen and some were wives of well-known elected officials.”

Moody’s services were known across the country - one woman traveled from Florida seeking his assistance in gaining an illegal abortion after her own pastor advised her to do so.

When New York City legalized abortion in 1970, Moody organized a national network of 1,400 ministers and rabbis and opened the Center for Reproductive and Sexual Help (CRASH) to promote abortion and aid those seeking to abort their children.

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Moody said he believed that the most important calling of a Christian was to perform good works of service to those around them, and accordingly spent much of his life advocating for a variety of social justice issues such as helping the homeless, drug addicts and those in the sex trade.  But he attempted to unite his conviction with the belief that a woman should be able to kill her unborn child if she did not want to carry through with a pregnancy.

Pro-life leader and Christian pastor Patrick Mahoney says Moody was on the wrong side of the social justice fight when it came to the issue of life. “Caring about society means caring about abortion,” Mahoney says, adding, “The essential issue of social justice in our time is abortion. It is the most pressing concern.”

“Eliminate human problems.  Do not eliminate human lives,” says Mahoney. “You can’t say you’re preserving life while at the same time taking it.”

The Greenwich pastor held other controversial views as well, such as what he believed to be “mindless patriotism” among many Americans.  It angered him when he saw some Yankees fans berating another fan for not taking his hat off during the singing of the national anthem. 

Though born in Texas and raised in a Southern Baptist household, Moody came to represent the ultra-liberal wing of Christianity. He referred to God as “he or she” and he removed the cross from his church so as not to offend Jewish visitors.

He admitted there were parts of the bible “he took seriously” while other parts he “didn’t take at all.”

“He leaves a tragic legacy,” Mahoney says of Moody.  “He wanted to reach out and help but he did not understand that diminishing life in the womb and offering a woman an abortion was actually worse than the any other issue she could be facing.”

Tags: abortion, howard moody

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Pro-life leaders laud new head of U.S. bishops’ peace and justice department

by Patrick B. Craine Tue Sep 18 17:11 EST Comments (7)

 
Dr. Jonathan Reyes

WASHINGTON, Sept. 18, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Pro-life and Catholic groups are lauding the U.S. bishops’ new hire to head up their social justice initiatives, noting that he has shown a strong evangelistic approach to the Church’s charitable work and a devotion to the Magisterium and authentic Catholic apostolates.

Dr. Jonathan Reyes, a father of seven and former professor at Christendom College, will take over as executive director of the U.S. Bishops’ Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development, where he will also oversee the beleaguered Catholic Campaign for Human Development.

He replaces John Carr, who retired in August after 25 years, and was considered one of the most influential progressive voices at the USCCB.

Reyes’ hiring appears to be “emblematic of a sea change” at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops “that will very soon affect the way our bishops and priests address social and political issues,” said Dr. Jeff Mirus of CatholicCulture.org. “It is, in fact, emblematic of enormous spiritual and cultural growth.”

“The reason this is astonishing is that the new appointment marks a significant change in ideological direction for what may be the last bastion of the liberal old guard in the bureaucracy of the American bishops,” he wrote Tuesday.

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Reyes has been president of Catholic Charities in the Archdiocese of Denver since 2009. While there, he launched Christ in the City, an evangelistic outreach for college students. From 2005-2008 he served as founding president of the Augustine Institute, a Denver-based college specializing in graduate theology programs.

From 2004-2005, he served as vice president of campus ministry and leadership formation for the Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS). And from 1998-2004, Reyes served on the staff of Christendom College, in Front Royal, Virginia, first as an assistant professor of history, and then as vice president of academic affairs.

“These are all impressively orthodox institutions with a profound Catholic spirituality, deeply evangelical in character, and utterly untempted by worldly fashion or secular glory,” observed Mirus. “Reyes credentials show how deeply yet creatively rooted he is in the mind of the Church.”

The move is especially important as Reyes, who starts in December, will now take oversight of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, which has been dogged by criticism in recent years over partnerships with secular agencies that advocate abortion, contraception, and other activities contrary to Catholic teaching.

His employment comes as the Vatican has warned of a crisis in Catholic identity among the Church’s social justice and relief agencies and a disregard for the Church’s basic moral teachings in their work on behalf of the poor.

“Following Blessed John Paul II, Pope Benedict has been telling us that the social and moral teaching of the Church are inextricably linked, and that the necessary charitable work of the Church risks becoming distorted unless we also bring Jesus Christ to those who we serve,” said Stephen Phelan, communications director for Human Life International.

“More than ever, the world needs a fearless and unapologetic evangelism, including the social and moral teachings of the Church, lived and communicated in a loving and truthful way. This is how authentic, integral development occurs - by reaching out in love and truth to the whole person, and to every person,” he continued.

“Dr. Reyes’ appointment to lead the Peace and Justice efforts of the bishops looks to be a significant move in this direction, and a long overdue move towards updating the social outreach of the Church in America.”

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Meeting my daughter

by Marsha Stocker Tue Sep 18 16:26 EST Comments (15)

 
L-R: Susan's adoptive mother Carol, Susan, Marsha, and Lindsay.

Editor’s note: Marsha and Jim discovered they were expecting a baby, unmarried, and still in college.  They gave her up for adoption. It was a secret they kept even from their own brothers and sisters. The couple later married and raised three children together. Then, over twenty years after giving up their baby girl for adoption, she called and wanted to meet them. How could they explain her to their families? And how would they tell their other children about the sister they did not know existed? This article was originally published eight years ago in Amazing Grace for Mothers.

Christmas break from college was always great, but it was especially enjoyable during my senior year. With graduation so close, I had much to look forward to. I basked in the holiday cheer with my parents and five siblings.  By January, however, there was something else on my mind; motherhood. My boyfriend, Jim and I had dated for four years. Only recently had we become serious. We had given in to temptation, just once. That was all it took. When the pregnancy test confirmed what I suspected, I immediately told Jim. He expressed his love and wanted to marry me. But we had never previously even talked of marriage. “No, ” I said,“This is no way to begin a marriage.”

I confided in my twin sister, Margot. We were roommates at the University of Kentucky and had always been close.  I knew she understood and felt my pain. “What are you going to do?” she asked.

“Jim and I discussed marriage, but I do not want to make a life commitment based on a pregnancy,” I explained. I could keep my baby, but what kind of a life could I give a child right now?  We decided to place our child for adoption. “

It was the seventies and abortion had recently been made legal. I could instantly and discretely change my situation. But as a committed Catholic, abortion was not an option. We knew it was not our place to interfere with God’s plan for our baby.

Telling my parents was extremely difficult. They were so very disappointed and asked that I not tell others about my situation. Out of respect for them, I agreed. During my visit home at spring break, I was still able to conceal my pregnancy. I did not return home again until after the baby’s birth on September 4, 1976.

For the nine months that I carried my developing child, the little kicks reminded me that there really was a little life growing within me. I prayed often for my baby and took care of myself knowing that the baby needed to be healthy to get a good start in life. Catholic Charities allowed me to select the parents; a couple with twin boys. Being a twin had always meant so much to me. Now, that experience would be a part of my child’s life too.

Margot was at my side during the miracle of my little girl’s birth. I named her Margot, after my twin sister. Although I never wavered in my decision, that did not prevent pain over separating from my own flesh and blood. Jim was in the waiting room because back then, only a husband had the right to be in the delivery room. It was an emotional time for him, too. He tearfully asked me to marry him again. Even in the throes of love for both my baby and Jim, I held firm to our decision. The sacrament of marriage was intended to last a lifetime. It was a commitment I was not ready to make.

I was not allowed to hold my daughter in my arms, but I held her in my heart. Margot and I peeked into the nursery at her; she was beautiful. Jim and I wrote our daughter a letter and also purchased a 14k gold necklace with a cross for her new parents to give her one day. Although my own mother wanted to keep her first grandchild’s birth a secret, she too felt the pain of separation. She wrote her own letter on the day the baby was born:  “...Be a very good girl now and I will see you one day in heaven. Always know that you will have a special place in my heart and in my prayers….’

I had already begun graduate school at the University of Kentucky and missed only a couple days for the delivery. I transferred to Arizona State University the following semester and earned a master’s in special education. Jim and I had a bond and love that survived several jobs, schooling and a long distance romance. We married in October of 1979 and had three more children together, Erica, Lindsay and Clay.

I experienced boundless joy at the births of our other children, but there was always a part of me that belonged to my first daughter. Yet, although I thought of her often, God gave me a great sense of peace knowing that we had chosen life for our child and placed her with a loving, Catholic family.

During the eighties, there was a growing movement for adopted children to seek out their birth parents. Jim and I fully expected that our daughter would one day find us. When her eighteenth birthday came and went, and then her nineteenth and on into the twenties, I sometimes wondered what happened. Why did she never contact us?

Then a year-and-a-half ago, I came home from youth group where I am a leader, to find Jim on the phone. He immediately motioned for me to pick up the other phone. Margot had finally called! My hand shook as I picked up the receiver. “Hello, this is little Margot,” she nervously said in a voice identical to my other daughters. She had decided it was time to contact her birth parents. First, she also had to overcome her fears of rejection and have the courage to trust that God would guide her.

My little Margot had been renamed Susan.  She was home on break before returning to her teaching job in Ireland.  We talked for over two hours.  Susan expressed her desire to meet us.  As excited as we were to hear from our daughter, we knew accepting her into our lives would not be easy. Only my sister and parents knew about her.

My decision all those years ago was based on what I thought was best for my daughter. Now, if she wanted to be a part of our life, I wanted that too. It was a Wednesday night when she called.  The following Saturday, she made the one-hour drive to our house. Our two daughters were away at college and our son was out for the evening.

Butterflies filled my stomach when I saw the beautiful young lady stepping out of the car that had pulled up to our house. Jim and I nervously looked at each other. Susan walked to the door with a little green box full of baby photographs, report cards, school pictures and our letters. She smiled nervously as we opened the door. As she walked through the door the first words out of her mouth were, “Thank you for giving me life.”  We hugged our little girl, all grown up now. As I stood back and gazed at her, my heart fluttered. She was wearing the little gold cross we had bought for her so long ago. Her mother had told her to keep the necklace for a special occasion. This was it.

She had all the mannerisms of our other daughters and had features from both Jim and I. We spent six hours catching up on the life of our first-born. Tears streamed down my face as I gazed upon the pictures and report cards of my daughter. I was deeply touched to learn Susan had become a Special Education teacher just like me.

We all knew that this was the beginning of a new relationship for us. It was not an easy road, but we had to step beyond our own fears and again do what was best for our daughter. We broke the news to our children, family and friends. Everyone, especially our own children, readily welcomed Susan into our family.

The Monday following our meeting, Susan sent us an e-mail saying, “At church on Sunday, I could have knelt there and said thanks to God all day. God really does work wonders. It has been quite an amazing weekend.”

Not only did Susan become a treasured member of our own family, but our family became a part of hers. Carol, Susan’s adoptive mother, e-mailed us shortly after our first meeting. “I have always wanted to communicate with you spiritually over the years to let you know what a beautiful, sensitive and gifted child you gave us to love and cherish. Now I can tell you myself and thank you from the bottom of my heart. We know Susan is now complete with all of you in her life.”

That summer our families attended a summer conference at Catholic Family Land in Ohio. At one point Carol took me aside and said, “At a time in your life when you could not care for Susan you gave her to us when we really needed her. Now, at this time in Susan’s life, she really needs you and your family, and we want to share her with you.”

We have all become extended family to each other and often gather together for holidays. In the end, none of us has lost anything. We have all gained so much.
                                                             

Marsha Stocker was born in St. Charles,MO in 1953. She graduated from the University of Kentucky in 1975 and received a Master’s Degree from Arizona State University n 1976. In 1979 she married Jim Stocker, who was raised in Louisville, KY. Marsha is a special education teacher and Jim is a police officer. They live in Lexington, KY and have raised three children, Erica, Lindsay and Clay.

Posted on PattiMaguireArmstrong.com and originally published in Amazing Grace for Mothers (Ascension Press).

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Canadian MP on principles behind pro-life motion: I will fight ‘as long as I have breath’

by Thaddeus Baklinski Tue Sep 18 16:18 EST Comments (9)

 
Member of Parliament Stephen Woodworth

OTTAWA, September 18, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - In the few days leading up to the second day of debate on Stephen Woodworth’s historic motion to debate the personhood of the unborn child in Parliament this Friday, the Conservative Member of Parliament says he will continue to fight for the principles underpinning his pro-life motion “as long as I have breath.”

“For the sake of my country, for as long as I can, I will stand up for the ideal of universal human rights and honest laws.  ... Those are the Canadian ideals that I feel are essential to our Canadian character and for sure I will fight for those for as long as I have breath,” he told Postmedia News.

Noting that despite the groundswell of public support for M 312, “definitely less than half” of MPs support his motion, which is also opposed by Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Woodworth said he has low expectations of the motion passing.

“But when you’re engaged in a good cause sometimes you just have to do your part to try to achieve success and then accept the outcome, however it may be,” Woodworth said.

Woodworth’s motion does not itself propose a change in Canadian law, which permits abortion up to birth without legal restriction. Instead it proposes that a Parliamentary Committee be formed to examine the medical evidence relating to the unborn child, and produce a report outlining the options available to legislators “to affirm, amend, or replace Subsection 223(1).”

“I’m not trying to overturn any rulings on women’s rights or anything else that the Supreme Court has issued,” Woodworth said.

However, pointing out that “one does not magically transform from a non-human entity into a human being when one’s little toe pops out of the birth canal,” as the current law states, Woodworth argues that we must not “accept any law that says some human beings are not human beings!”

Speaking at the first hour of debate on his motion on April 26, Woodworth said, “Canadians expect parliamentarians to embody that courage, that strength, that principled quest for the truth. Will we be seen as bold for the sake of truth, or as fearful? We can trust Canadians to embrace the truth with us,” and called on his fellow parliamentarians to “courageously follow the facts.”

In response to Woodsworth’s motion, Campaign Life Coalition has created the “I am a Human Being” website as an educational tool that presents the scientific basis for why every human life should be protected from the time of conception to natural death.

“Campaign Life Coalition fully supports efforts in Parliament that reflect modern-day medical science and provide legal protection for all human beings from conception to natural death,” said Mary Ellen Douglas, National Organizer of Campaign Life Coalition.

Visit the “I am a Human Being” website here.

To express your opinion to your Member of Parliament before the second hour of debate on Friday, September 21, and the vote on the motion scheduled for Sept. 26th, contact information for all PMs is available here.

Tags: motion 312, stephen woodworth

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Video: Marriage activists encounter threats, flying bottles, armed opponent in Minnesota

by Ben Johnson Tue Sep 18 14:57 EST Comments (10)

 

MINNEAPOLIS, September 18, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – A team of young Catholic men encountered everything from enthusiastic support to threats of violence and opponents bearing side arms as they toured the state of Minnesota to oppose the redefinition of marriage.

Volunteers from the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family, and Property (TFP) recently completed a 10-day trip of the state, where voters in November will decide on a constitutional amendment to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman. 

A video shot by TFP shows passersby of various faiths honking their support - or threatening violence - as members held signs that read “God’s marriage = 1 man + 1 woman” and “Honk for traditional marriage.”

More than one driver threw a bottle at the TFP activists as they peacefully held their signs or prayed the rosary.  One person yelled, “Hail Satan!” out his drivers window as he sped past. Another stopped to say, “You are the exact reason that religion makes you stupid.”

One young man denounced TFP members as cogs in a “Communist” and “Nazi” organization before threatening to “bust their f—-ing teeth in.”

A handful of counter-protesters – one of whom wore a handgun in a side holster – held vulgar signs.

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A young man who opposed their message of celibacy or traditional marriage admitted candidly, “I love lying, vulgarity, everything.”

Despite the limited if explosive opposition, the constitutional amendment is expected to pass, setting Minnesota up to join more than 30 other states that have voted to defend marriage. A recent SurveyUSA/KSTP showed the measure passing by a margin of 50-43. Every region of the state including the Twin Cities favors the amendment. The poll shows young people aged 18-49 support the traditional marriage amendment 48 percent to 42 percent, as do vast majorities of Republicans and independents. Eight percent of voters were undecided. Only a poll from Public Policy Polling, a Democratic firm, shows the amendment too close to call

Minnesota-based megafirms such as retail giant Target and the Thomson Reuters news service support redefining marriage.

Two additional TFP teams toured the states of Maryland, Maine, and Rhode Island. Maryland and Maine are each facing a ballot initiative to redefine marriage.

Tags: hate, minnesota, same-sex 'marriage', tfp

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Canadian Foreign Affairs minister highlights promoting homosexual rights abroad as priority

by Thaddeus Baklinski Tue Sep 18 14:39 EST Comments (27)

 

MONTREAL, September 18, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird told a gathering in Montreal on Friday that Canada will continue to promote homosexual rights as a key component of foreign policy.

The minister, speaking at a luncheon held by the Montreal Council on Foreign Relations, said he is “aggressively” pursuing what he called Canada’s “principled, values-based” foreign policy.

As part of that effort, Baird said that he is working with western countries to promote homosexual rights in countries around the world where “violent mobs … seek to criminalize homosexuality,” and to make Canada a welcoming haven for homosexual refugees.

“We’re working with allies like the EU and the United States on encouraging the decriminalization of homosexuality,” Baird said.

“We’re working with all political parties in the House of Commons to fight those who restrict the basic human rights, from Kampala to St. Petersburg.

In his address Baird mentioned the brutal murder of Uganadan homosexual activist David Kato as an example of the dangers faced by open homosexuals in some countries. Kato died after being bludgeoned to death by a homosexual prostitute in a dispute over payment.

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Baird also highlighted the efforts of his colleague, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Jason Kenney, who he said “has been working to make Canada a safe haven for Iran’s persecuted gay community.”

Kenney said that Canada has welcomed more than 100 homosexual refugees from Iran since 2009, in an interview with Postmedia News.

Noting that “Turkey is tolerant towards homosexuality,” and is thus a close destination for homosexuals leaving Iran, Kenney said, “One of the things I did was to increase our resettlement target for refugees out of Turkey in general, partly to respond to the particularly acute resettlement needs of gay Iranian refugees but also other Iranian refugees like dissidents, journalists, Christians and Baha’is, all of whom face persecution.”

He added that he is prepared to “fast-track” Iranian homosexuals applying for refugee status and subsidize their resettlement costs.

Baird also addressed women’s rights in his address to the Montreal group, saying that “women’s rights have become such an important part of Canada’s foreign policy, and ... it has become a personal priority of mine.” In particular he focused on “the struggle to end the practice of early-enforced marriage.”

“Canada has committed nearly $3 billion over five years to help women and children lead longer, healthier lives. That’s in addition to the almost $14 million in support we have provided toward ending sexual violence and encouraging the full participation of women in emerging democracies,” he said.

Part of the federal government’s commitment to women’s rights includes re-funding the International Planned Parenthood Federation, the world’s largest abortion provider, under the “Maternal, Newborns and Child Health commitment.”

Recently the abortion organization has come under fire from pro-life and pro-woman advocates for saying that while it “opposes sex-selection abortion,” it is nevertheless willing to perform them. Several recent Live Action undercover videos have shown Planned Parenthood and NAF counselors coaching women on how to get a sex-selective abortion and evade the law.

Opponents of the practice of sex selection abortion have warned that it is creating a massive gender imbalance in many countries that leads to kidnapping of girls who are sold as child brides or forced into prostitution. Mara Hvistendahl, in her book Unnatural Selection: Choosing Boys Over Girls and the Consequences of a World Full of Men, links sex-selective abortion with bride-buying and abduction of young girls that culminates in the forced marriages that Baird is intent on eradicating.

Baird added in his speech that Canada cannot impose its values onto other countries.

“We cannot impose our form of government or our institutions on others,” he said. “Change must come from within. When it happens, Canada is prepared to support those seeking to build a free and prosperous society.”

The full text of John Baird’s speech to the Montreal Council on Foreign Relations is available here.

Tags: abortion, homosexuality, jason kenney, john baird

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Most UK MPs oppose the legalisation of assisted suicide says new poll

by Peter Saunders Tue Sep 18 13:23 EST Comments (0)

September 18, 2012 (pjsaunders) - More than seven out of ten MPs refuse to back calls to legalise assisted suicide, according to a new survey released last week (See reports from Press Association, Telegraph and Conservative Home).

The poll comes just a week after two newly appointed junior health ministers, Anna Soubry and Norman Lamb, suggested that assisted suicide should be decriminalised and just before the Liberal Democrat Conference where some MPs are expected to push for a change in the law.

It found that just 29% of MPs back moves to introduce assisted suicide, while 59% were opposed and 12% were undecided.

The survey of more than 150 MPs, conducted by ComRes, asked MPs from all parties about their views on assisted suicide.

Opposition was especially fierce in Scotland, where 86% of MPs opposed legalisation.

The poll also found that a majority of MPs believe that if the current laws were changed there would be an increase in suicides and that vulnerable people would feel under pressure to end their lives, while fewer than one third of MPs (30%) felt that changing the law would not lead to an increase in suicides.

More than seven out of ten MPs (72%) felt that if doctors were allowed to prescribe lethal drugs to patients on request, vulnerable people could feel under pressure to opt for suicide.

Almost 60% of those surveyed said legalising assisted suicide in the current economic climate would increase the risk that vulnerable people would opt for suicide so as not to be a financial burden upon loved ones.

The poll also found that majorities in all political parties disagreed with the statement that legalising assisted suicide is a key priority at the present time with just 5% of Labour MPs supporting this statement.

The poll is timely coming just a few days after a report of a man taking his life after watching a Terry Pratchett BBC ‘documentary’ supporting assisted suicide and in the same week as national statistics revealed that suicides amongst men over 45 in England are at their highest level in twenty years.

It also comes as pro-euthanasia lobby groups make preparations for introducing new bills to the House of Lords and to the Scottish Parliament with the aim of legalising assisted suicide.

Care Not Killing, who commissioned the poll, have consistently argued that any change in the law to allow assisted suicide would put pressure on vulnerable people to end their lives and that these pressures would be particularly acute at a time when many sick, elderly and disabled people are struggling to make ends meet.

Fortunately, a clear majority of MPs recognise this and agree that assisted suicide should not be legalised.

The first duty of the state is to protect its citizens and the current law with its blanket prohibition on assisting suicide is clear and right. It acts as a strong disincentive to abuse and exploitation whilst giving some discretion to prosecutors and judges to temper justice with mercy in hard cases. It does not need changing.

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This article reprinted with permission from Dr. Peter Saunders’ blog.

Tags: assisted suicide, euthanasia, uk

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Canadian Bishops ask faithful to pray for positive outcome on Woodworth’s pro-life motion

by Patrick B. Craine Tue Sep 18 12:07 EST Comments (9)

 
Most Rev. Richard Smith, Archbishop of Edmonton

OTTAWA, Sept. 18, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – As Parliament prepares for a decisive vote on Tory MP Stephen Woodworth’s pro-life motion, Canada’s bishops have called on the faithful to pray for a positive outcome.

“As the House of Commons prepares to debate Motion 312, the Bishops of Canada invite all members of the Parliament of Canada to take into full account the sacredness of the unborn child and each human life,” said Archbishop Richard Smith of Edmonton, president of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, in a statement Tuesday.

“We also encourage Canadian Catholics, and all people of good will, to pray that our legislators be blessed with wisdom and courage to do what is best to protect and further the common good, which is based on respect for the human dignity of all,” he added.

Motion 312 seeks a re-examination of section 223 of the Criminal Code, which states that a child only becomes a “human being” once he or she has fully proceeded from the womb. If passed, Parliament would set up a special committee to consider the medical evidence relating to the humanity of the unborn.

The motion is set for a debate on Friday, followed by a vote at second reading on Sept. 26th.

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Every party leader in Parliament is opposing the motion, including Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper, and Woodworth has expressed doubt that he will be able to secure 50% of the votes.

But he has insisted that he will continue to defend the unborn “as long as I have breath.”

In his statement, Archbishop Smith explains that the Catholic Church “holds that a human being comes into existence at conception.” “The lives of human beings are, therefore, sacred at every stage in our existence—from beginning to natural end,” he said.

The statement comes as Canada’s bishops have pledged to take a more active role in promoting respect for life and family with the launch of a nation-wide pastoral plan, including a call for clergy and faithful across the country to get involved in the annual Marches for Life.

See the full statement from the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Find contact information for your Member of Parliament.
Find contact information for your local bishop.

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Gay actor: ‘I can’t think of anything worse than being brought up by two gay dads’

by Carolyn Moynihan Tue Sep 18 11:30 EST Comments (84)

 
Rupert Everett.
Rupert Everett.

British actor Rupert Everett says he “can’t think of anything worse” than two gay men bringing up a child together—an opinion that is probably held by vast numbers of people who would not dare to say so in public. But, thanks to the magic shield of celebrity, actors can get away with speech “crimes” that the rest of us would (metaphorically) hang for.

Being gay himself also deflects criticism—Everett came out as a homosexual 20 years ago and has said that this damaged his acting career. His comments on gay parenting were made in an interview with the Sunday Times Magazine last weekend (alas, The Times is only accessible to paid subscribers so we rely on The Telegraph here).

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Everett, probably best know for his role as a gay man in the 1997 film My Best Friend’s Wedding, says his mother, Sara, who was also interviewed for the article, “still wishes I had a wife and kids. She thinks children need a father and a mother, and I agree with her. I can’t think of anything worse than being brought up by two gay dads.”

The 53-year-old, who has a boyfriend, said—somewhat unnecessarily—that he was not “not speaking on behalf of the gay community.” Then he said something very interesting:

In fact, I don’t feel like I’m part of any “community.” The only community I belong to is humanity, and we’ve got too many children on the planet, so it’s good not to have more.

Leaving aside the comment about “too many children,” his note of skepticism about a “gay community” suggests that the impression given by gay activists (who are, of course, decrying his views) of a large and united constituency of homosexual persons is a political myth. We need to hear from more of these individuals on subjects such as gay marriage and parenting.

Reprinted from MercatorNet.

Tags: gay parenting, hollywood, parenting, rupert everett

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Planned Bullyhood

by Meg T. McDonnell Tue Sep 18 11:21 EST Comments (3)

 

September 18, 2012 (Mercatornet.com) - On January 31 this year the Associated Press broke the news that Susan G. Komen for the Cure, an organization dedicated to ending breast cancer, would no longer be writing grants to Planned Parenthood, the largest abortion provider in the United States and a self-described leader in women’s health care.

For the pro-life camp, the news of the break between the two organizations meant a relief from the boycott of Komen in which many pro-lifers had participated. From the pro-abortion camp, the break brought an outcry alleging that Komen no longer really cared about women. The spilt between the two women’s groups created a media furor, and at the time, a public relations nightmare for the Komen Foundation. The result was that, three days after the AP story broke, Komen reversed its decision. Meanwhile, basic facts of the parting of ways were overlooked.

To begin, Komen had been funding Planned Parenthood for some 20 years, but at the time of the break their grants totaled roughly $700,000 a year, a notably small portion of Planned Parenthood’s annual one billion dollar budget.

Secondly, Planned Parenthood grants were being cut largely because they were “crappy grants,” as one Komen employee characterized them—”crappy” not because of what Planned Parenthood was doing, but because of what they were not doing.

At the time they ceased funding Planned Parenthood Komen was working on a grant strategy overhaul. Their new grant focus was direct screening and intervention—in other words, mammograms and treatment—neither of which Planned Parenthood offers; it was using Komen grants to offer referrals for these services. This meant two things: one, there was no way to be certain that grant money was directly used for the fight against breast cancer, and two, there was no way Planned Parenthood could follow up to see if women were actually getting breast cancer treatment. This is what made Planned Parenthood grants “crappy” in the eyes of some in Komen.

Then, there was the pesky fact that the Komen grant contract specifically stated that organizations under investigation—at the state or federal level—could not receive grants. Other organizations had had their Komen grants revoked under this clause, yet Planned Parenthood had not, though their organization faced numerous investigations at the state level, and a federal investigation had recently begun. Some Planned Parenthood affiliates had even had their state funding removed—a further disqualification. In short, Komen was acting well within the bounds of its own rules. But that didn’t stop Planned Parenthood, their supporters, and many members of the media from ignoring the facts and declaring war.

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According to a new book, Planned Bullyhood: The Truth Behind the Headlines about the Planned Parenthood Funding Battle with Susan G. Komen for the Cure, written by former Komen vice president, Karen Handel, the reproductive health giant breached a “gentle-ladies agreement” with the breast cancer charity and incited a media firestorm surrounding Komen’s decision to halt their Planned Parenthood grants. The relentless pressure from the pro-abortion movement resulted in a reversal of Komen’s decision, despite the pro-life movement’s best efforts to support Komen by donating to their organization, sending supportive emails, and buying the Komen pink paraphernalia which pro-lifers had long resisted out of principle. Subsequently, Handel, a newer hire and a pro-lifer (which was publicly known due to her former political career) stepped down from her post at Komen.

In this tell-all, Komen insider book, among the many insights Handel offers, one point is made startlingly clear—the Komen vs. Planned Parenthood debacle was a calculated battle, instigated by Planned Parenthood as a tactic in the trumped up “War on Women” strategy. This “war” is a constructed narrative which says that anyone who doesn’t support unequivocally abortion, free contraception at the cost of religious freedom, or any other reproductive technology must not really care about women—a claim that is patently absurd. Yet that is the narrative Planned Parenthood and friends seem to think is necessary.

In fact, as Handel explains, what should have been an easy decision to cut off Planned Parenthood was complicated by the politics and opinions regarding Planned Parenthood among even Komen members who were sympathetic to the influential women’s group. “Komen’s new communications vice president noted that Planned Parenthood was ‘under the gun,’” Handel explains, “and that if Komen ended the grants, our organization would deal Planned Parenthood ‘a body blow.’” This is a startling claim considering both how little Komen grants contributed to Planned Parenthood’s large budget and the fact that other organizations had be cut off by Komen for less severe violations of its rules.

But the fact of the matter is that Planned Parenthood was under intense national scrutiny because of the recently begun federal investigation, a sizable and growing young pro-life movement, and continued gains in legislation to inform mothers and protect the unborn child. A recent exposé, coordinated by pro-life activist, Lila Rose, caught Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards lying when she claimed to offer mammograms to women. Even so, Komen wanted this break between the two women’s groups to go smoothly, without accusations of political bias or media furor for either organization.

Because of such wishes, prior to the media blitz launched by Planned Parenthood, Komen worked closely with Hilary Rosen, a communications and media consultant at a firm called SKDKnickerbocker, and Brendan Daly, a PR consultant from a firm called Ogilvy. As Handel explains, both these consultants had close ties with Planned Parenthood and many of their political friends. 

Rosen’s partner at SKDKnickerbocker is Anita Dunn, former head of communications for the Obama Administration. Many within Komen were well aware of Rosen’s “heavy hitter” status in DC, her frequent meetings at the White House and her close relationship with Planned Parenthood. For Daly’s part, he had worked with Cecile Richards, at Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi’s office, and identifies himself on his resume as a Democratic strategist.

According to Handel, though many in Komen saw these connections as beneficial in the navigating of this break—“Komen never saw Planned Parenthood as our enemy”—these consultants may have aided the coordinated attack Planned Parenthood launched.

“Much was made about me being a conservative and that my personal views drove the decision within Komen, which was not true. But if my personal beliefs were fair game,” she continues, “why weren’t those who had views on the other side of the aisle subject to the same scrutiny?”

Her reporting and support of the facts of Komen’s decision make it clear that it was not beliefs regarding abortion that dictated Komen’s funding decision with regard to Planned Parenthood. Though Handel was painted by the media and others as a staunch pro-lifer, Georgia Right to Life declined to endorse her in her previous run for Georgia governor primarily because of her acceptance of in-vitro fertilization, along with her acceptance of abortion in the case of rape and incest.

Importantly, Handel’s telling of her story adds to another growing narrative in America—that women’s views on these issues are not as easily categorized as Planned Parenthood and friends would like to claim.

The Women Speak For Themselves movement—which I have been assisting from its early days—is another example of this push-back against the narrative that unequivocal support for abortion, contraception and reproductive rights on demand defines a person who cares about women. WSFT members are as diverse as they come in age, religion, socioeconomic background, and positions on contraception, abortion, and other related issues (though as an organization it’s unwaveringly pro-life). But they are united in insisting that women can think for themselves and speak for themselves on these issues.

Handel’s description of the bullying tactics we are up against, and her fighting spirit will strike a chord with the many women who are sick of being “spoken for” by the reproductive health political establishment. As Handel says: “Planned Parenthood brought Komen to its knees, counting on no-one having the guts to stand up to them. Well, what Planned Parenthood didn’t count on is me.”

Meg T. McDonnell is the Communications Director for the Chiaroscuro Foundation. The Chiaroscuro Institute, an independent public charity related to the Chiaroscuro Foundation, has partnered with Karen Handel and her publisher in promotion of her book. This article reprinted from Mercatornet.com under a Creative Commons License.

Tags: abortion, planned bullyhood, planned parenthood

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Why do Catholic women reject their Church’s teaching on contraception? Now we know.

by Carolyn Moynihan Tue Sep 18 10:48 EST Comments (146)

 
How do Catholics feel about their Church's teachings on contraception? A new study gives us some insight into the question.

September 18, 2012 (Mercatornet.com) - Back in February this year, when the battle between religious leaders and the Obama administration over the latter’s contraceptive mandate reached a new pitch of intensity, the White House defended its policy by alleging that 98 per cent of Catholic women had used contraception. If that was the case, we were meant to ask, what on earth were the Catholic bishops, for one, making a song and dance about? Hadn’t their own female constituency effectively deserted them on this issue?

The claim, quoted far and wide at the time, turned out to be a political factoid rather than a real statistic. People who analysed the Guttmacher Institute study it came from pointed out that the study was selective and self-contradictory. For a start it was based on a survey restricted to women aged between 15 and 44, so it could say nothing about women between 45 and 100. And one table showed that 11 per cent of sexually active Catholic women who did not want to become pregnant were using no method of contraception at all.

Still, nobody is pretending that hordes of Catholics don’t dissent from their Church’s “thou shalt not” regarding contraception. We do not need the Guttmacher Institute or the White House to tell us that. Nor do we need them to tell us why the many Catholics who never go to church would not bother with one of its more difficult moral teachings.

What we don’t know is why practising Catholics who do go to Mass—and even, if only occasionally, to confession—also feel entitled to reject the teaching.

Why, for instance, do “Catholic moms in minivans drop their children at the parish school and head to their gynaecologists to be fitted for diaphragms or to get a new prescription for ‘the pill’ —and think nothing of it,” as the authors of a new study, What Catholic Women Think About Faith, Conscience, and Contraception, put it.

Do the parish moms have an accurate idea of the Church’s teaching on family planning? After four decades of dissent it would be surprising if they all did. And when the teaching is presented accurately to practising Catholics are they more open to it? What are their reasons for rejecting it, and what would they like to know more about?

For all the times Catholic women have been surveyed on whether they have “ever used” contraceptives, no-one has asked those who practice their faith but not its teaching on family planning, “Why?”, say the study’s authors, lawyer Mary Rice Hasson, a Fellow in the Catholic Studies Program at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, Washington, D.C, and director of the Women, Faith, and Culture project, and Michele M. Hill, a Baltimore Catholic and co-director of the project.

National survey of church-going women

To answer that question a national online survey of church-going Catholic women aged 18 to 54 was carried out in June and July of last year by the polling company inc./WomanTrend. (This is a preliminary report, say the authors, as further insights are expected from focus groups and ongoing in-depth interviews with 100 of the women.) Of the 824 women in the sample, half attended church at least weekly, while the other half attended less than weekly but at least a few times a year.

Their responses confirm that, on this issue at least, church-going Catholics have been influenced far more by popular culture than by Catholic teaching on sex and reproduction. Fully 85 percent of all the women believe they can be “good Catholics” even if they do not accept some of this teaching, including the 37 percent who completely reject it.

The picture, of course, looks decidedly better among regular Mass-goers. Among young women (18-34) who attend every week, 27 percent completely accept the Church’s teaching, and among those who both attend Mass weekly and have been to confession within the past year that figure rises to 37 percent. Just 24 percent of the women who go to Mass every week completely reject the teaching on contraception, and for those who have been to confession that figure drops to 12 percent.

Even among the dissenting majority, however, not all are closed to the Church’s message on this subject. Hasson and Hill point out that about a third of these women mistakenly believe that the Church itself gives them the right to make up their own minds about which methods of family planning are morally acceptable. Many do not reject the Church’s authority out of hand.

Top reasons for contraceptive use

Mistakenly or not, 53 per cent of all women in the study who dissent in part or completely from church teaching cite a couple’s “moral right” to decide which method of family planning they will use. This makes it the top reason given for rejecting church teaching on the matter.

Two other reasons are cited frequently among this group: 46 percent say couples have “the right to enjoy sexual pleasure without worrying about pregnancy”, and 41 percent think that natural family planning is not an effective method to space or postpone pregnancy.

The authors perceive two main dynamics shaping these views: the influence of a cultural mindset that divorces sex from procreation and promises “sexual pleasure without consequences”, and a deficit on the church side in presenting Church teaching.

The latter can be deduced from the fact that 72 per cent of women surveyed said they rely mainly on the homily at Sunday Mass for learning about the faith, and yet just 15 per cent of that group fully accept the Church’s teaching on sex and reproduction. The weekly Mass homily, the authors say, “seems to represent a lost opportunity when it comes to conscience formation on the contraception issue.”

As for cultural influences, they seem likely (although the authors don’t say so) to account for at least some of the scepticism about natural family planning given the systematic bad press NFP is give by mainstream family planners and the media.

For the pastors of the Church, all this represents a steep challenge. Yet Catholic women may be more receptive to the Church’s view of things than first appears.

Openness of the “soft middle”

Importantly, the survey shows they are more open to children than the average American, their “ideal” number of children averaging 3.5 (or 4 if money were not a factor) compared with the American ideal of two or fewer.

Also, say the study authors, “When presented with an accurate description of the Church’s teachings on family planning many Catholic women show reluctance to completely reject the Church’s teaching.”

Instead, three groups emerge: “the faithful” (who fully accept the teaching—13 percent of the sample), “the dissenters” (who completely reject it—37 percent), and the “soft middle” (who accept “parts” of the teaching). In addition, a significant number of women in the “soft middle” (about half of weekly Mass-goers) show openness to learning more about church teaching on contraception and natural family planning.

Good will shown by many women in the “middle” represents an opportunity for the Church, the authors point out—and natural family planning may be a good starting point for communicating the Church’s teaching about procreation. About one in four of those who attend Mass regularly shows an interest in learning more about the method: hearing from other couples about the health and relationship benefits of NFP, what doctors say about it, and scientific evidence about its effectiveness. Such messages may be more persuasive than spiritual or authoritative ones, the authors suggest.

But alongside their message that many Catholic women are “reachable” the authors warn that the task is becoming more complicated. While the survey shows 10 percent of church-going women have had abortions (lower than the national average), 17 percent of younger women have used emergency contraception. This means that the Church has to inform women about the potentially abortifacient nature of EC “as well as arguing more persuasively that contraception itself is wrong.”

The Catholic bishops are fighting the Obama administration’s contraceptive mandate—that is, the policy of forcing all employers, including Catholic institutions such as hospitals and schools, to provide full cover for contraceptives, sterilisation and emergency contraception in their health insurance plans—as an attack on the free exercise of religion, which it is.

But in light of the information in “What Catholic Women Think…” the mandate may be a blessing in disguise. By forcing the issue of contraception to the top of the Church’s public agenda it has created an opportunity for the Church to have an internal conversation on the subject—the kind of opportunity that perhaps has not been seen since Pope Paul VI issued Humanae Vitae in 1968.

The study from the Women Faith and Culture project shows that such a discussion is long overdue.

Carolyn Moynihan is deputy editor of MercatorNet. This article reprinted under a Creative Commons License.

Tags: abortion, birth control mandate, catholic, contraception

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