NOTE: There was a problem yesterday that made it very difficult for supporters to make on line donations to our current campaign. The issue concerned a security certificate that just expired. The certificate has been renewed and was implemented on the donation server very early this morning.
Major study: changing sexual orientation is possible
WHEATON, Illinois, September 29, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Therapists who favor normalizing homosexuality say that it is impossible to change sexual orientation, and that the attempt to change is inherently harmful. However, the final results of a long-term study published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy has joined hundreds of other studies in concluding that such therapy is both possible and potentially well-indicated for many individuals.
Psychologists Stanton L. Jones of Wheaton College and Mark A. Yarhouse of Regent University are the authors of the longitudinal study, which tracked individuals who sought sexual orientation change through involvement in a variety of Christian ministries affiliated with Exodus International.
The authors note that the study overcomes a primary criticism of same-sex attraction (SSA) therapy data - that the results are not adequately documented over a period of time - by assessing its 98 candidates over a period of six to seven years after therapy concluded.
Jones and Yarhouse’s results show the majority of candidates were successful in their goal of changing sexual orientation, and that the attempt was not harmful on average.
Of the original 98 subjects, 61 were successfully categorized for general outcome at the last assessment. Fifty-three percent were categorized as successful outcomes; specifically, 23 percent reported success in the form of an essential change to heterosexual orientation and functioning, while an additional 30 percent reported no longer identifying as homosexual while maintaining stable behavioral chastity. At the six-year mark, 20 percent reported fully embracing a gay self-identification.
Meanwhile, the authors say the measure of psychological distress did not, on average, reflect increases in psychological distress associated with the attempt to change.
“These results do not prove that categorical change in sexual orientation is possible for everyone or anyone, but rather that meaningful shifts along a continuum that constitute real changes appear possible for some,” states a press release announcing the study. The release also emphasizes, “the results do not prove that no one is harmed by the attempt to change, but rather that the attempt does not appear to be harmful on average or inherently harmful.”
Dr. Jones told LifeSiteNews.com that the study was likely skewed toward optimism towards therapy, as it wasn’t able to count candidates who dropped out early. However, he said, the study still stands out from the crowd for its value as a long-term assessment of the viability of same-sex attraction therapy.
“The ‘silver standard’ [of SSA therapy studies] is a longitudinal study that follows people repeatedly over multiple years and also a prospective study that assesses people from the beginning of change. To the best of our knowledge, ours is the first such study,” wrote Jones in an email Thursday.
“The ‘gold standard’ would be a completely experimental and longitudinal study that would also randomly assign participants to different treatment groups with highly defined treatments; we believe such study would actually be impossible to perform.”
A meta-analysis of over 100 years’ worth of research into therapy for unwanted same-sex attraction published in June 2009 concluded that homosexuality was not immutable, and that individuals seeking change could benefit from therapy. The report, published by NARTH, included 600 reports from clinicians, researchers, and former clients principally published in professional and peer-reviewed journals.
Although the American Psychological Association discourages mental health professionals from offering sexual reorientation therapy, the group’s official position on such therapy states that there is “insufficient evidence” to either approve or discredit the practice.
Homosexuality was declassified as a mental disorder in 1973 in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), the universal standard for classification of mental illness, after years of high-pressure lobbying by gay rights activists. The change sparked a policy shift in other top professional associations, which now uniformly oppose SSA therapy.
Dr. Robert Spitzer, who was in charge of the DSM change, reversed his position on therapy for unwanted same-sex attraction nearly 30 years later to support such therapy based on his own research.
Ad counters Toronto school board pro-homosexual curriculum
TORONTO, September 29, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A full page ad was published in the National Post on Saturday, Sept 24, arguing that the Toronto District School Board’s pro-homosexual curriculum is corrupting and confusing children.
The ad, sponsored by The Institute for Canadian Values (ICV), shows a large picture of a little girl with the header, “Please! Don’t confuse me.”
Below the photo, the youngster says, “I’m a girl. Don’t teach me to question if I’m a boy, transsexual, transgendered, intersexed or two spirited.”
The ad specifically addresses the TDSB’s policy of forbidding parents to opt-out of the pro-homosexual curriculum.
“Mr. Premier, you promised to remove this from my classroom but my teachers are still being forced to teach your curriculum.
“My Mommy says she is not allowed to withdraw me from class. You are forcing her too.”
“At times boys may play girls and rely on sexist stereotypical behaviour with which they are familiar,” states the curriculum.
The curriculum also encourages teachers to “search Images of Pride Week” and to make posters for the school board float in the Pride Parade. “Additionally, students could have their own Pride Parade in their school,” it says.
The ad is part of the ICV’s campaign titled “Stop Corrupting Children” that decries the McGuinty government’s controversial equity and inclusive education (EIE) strategy.
“This TDSB curriculum is age inappropriate and confusing to our children. It is obvious that the purpose of the curriculum is to promote the LGBTQ agenda, a view that most parents do not want them to learn,” the ICV writes on its petition page, asking parents to make their views known to the party leaders in anticipation of the upcoming election.
“Parents have the right to choose what values their children should learn. We strongly request that Mr. McGuinty, Mr. Hudak and Ms. Horwath commit to remove permanently this curriculum and cease and desist gender-identity teaching in our schools.”
The “Stop Corrupting Children” petition is available here.
Contact information for Ontario political campaign offices:
Hon. Leona Dombrowsky, Minister of Education
Mowat Block, 22nd Flr, 900 Bay St
Toronto, ON M7A 1L2
Tel: 1-800-387-5514 (TTY 1-800-263-2892)
Elizabeth Witmer, Education Critic
Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario
Rm 422, Main Legislative Building
Toronto ON M7A 1A8
E-mail: Use this form (http://elizabethwitmermpp.ca/contact/)
Chris Spence, Director of Education
Toronto District School Board
5050 Yonge Street - 5th Floor
Toronto, Ontario M2N5N8
Chair of the TDSB Board
Dad of 18-year-old who died after RU-486 abortion tackles abortion drug misinformation
LIVERMORE, CA, September 29, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The father of an 18-year-old casualty of a drug-induced abortion has mourned the 11th anniversary of RU-486 legalization by launching a website and video to help women learn about the health risks of the abortion drug.
Monty Patterson, whose daughter Holly died in 2003, said that it is critical that a patient be fully informed of the procedures, administration, and risks involved with the chemical abortion.
“The website isn’t about the abortion debate. However, the website is about women’s health, safety and welfare,” Patterson told LifeSiteNews. “Women will always have a choice for what they believe is in their best interest. It’s too late for Holly and the other women who have died or have been seriously injured because they didn’t have the information they needed to make an informed decision.”
Holly Patterson, one of 14 U.S. women who have died after taking RU-486, was under the care of Planned Parenthood of Hayward at the time of her death. After taking the drug, Patterson experienced severe cramping, bleeding, and vomiting, but was only encouraged to take more painkillers by the Planned Parenthood clinic’s hotline.
After calling again, the clinic encouraged her to go to the emergency room if the pain continued; an emergency room doctor simply prescribed more painkillers. Patterson died of septic shock from a blood infection resulting from RU-486.
Supporters of medical abortion with mifepristone and misoprostol, which were approved in the U.S. in 2000, had hoped that it would provide a safe and non-surgical approach to rectify the inequities in abortion care.
In December 2004, Patterson filed a lawsuit naming Danco Laboratories, RU-486’s U.S. manufacturer, as well as the abortion provider Planned Parenthood, as defendants. He insists that his daughter was not adequately informed by Planned Parenthood before taking the dangerous drug, saying she received written and video materials that made chemical abortion for a 7-week unborn baby look like a “walk in the park.”
In February 2004, the California Department of Health Services reported that Planned Parenthood did not have Patterson’s signature on one of the consent forms and that it did not educate her on how to administer the abortifacient. State health officials noted that Planned Parenthood failed to report her death as an “unusual occurrence.” Planned Parenthood defended its decision, arguing that it did not see the death as unusual because Holly died in a hospital.
Eight years after Holly used the internet as a source of information to help make a decision about her medical abortion, Patterson has built his website to share with other women.
“Hopefully, any woman thinking about terminating early pregnancy with the medical abortion pill will be able to learn from those that have had the real experience,” Patterson said.
Homosexual activists boast of victory over pro-family groups in PayPal campaign
September 29, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Homosexualist websites are boasting of victory in an ongoing campaign to induce PayPal, one of the world’s largest payment processing companies, to eliminate pro-family Christians from its service.
The homosexual magazine “On Top” reports that PayPal has eliminated Coral Ridge Ministries from its service, as well as LifeSiteNews translator and eminent Brazilian pro-family blogger Julio Severo.
Severo’s account has also been frozen by PayPal, which says it will not give him access to the funds left in the account for half a year.
The homosexualist organization “All Out,” which is spearheading the campaign with a petition drive, boasts that “Our pressure is working - PayPal already dropped several extremist sites! Lets keep up the pressure so PayPal knows we won’t give up until they drop all extremist sites!”
The All Out petition asks PayPal to eliminate service to Christian groups that oppose the homosexual lifestyle and political agenda, claiming the groups preached “hate” and are “extremist.”
The list of groups denounced by All Out mixes mainstream pro-family organizations such as Tradition, Family, and Property (TFP), and Americans for Truth About Homosexuality (AFTAH), with the extremist Dove World Outreach Center, which provoked violence in Muslim countries after threatening to publicly burn the Koran.
Following the initiation of All Out’s campaign, LifeSiteNews began its own petition drive to ask PayPal not to discriminate against pro-family Christians for expressing their religious and moral principles.
Although the petition has gathered more than 7,400 signatures, PayPal continues to stonewall all attempts to deliver the signatures and to ask questions about its policies, which appear to favor homosexual activists over Christians.
Click here to sign the petition to PayPal to protest against persecution of pro-family Christians.
September 28, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Despite the fact that more than 7,400 people have signed a petition asking PayPal not to succumb to pressure by homosexual activists, who are urging the company to eliminate Christian activists from its service, so far PayPal has issued no response.
Meanwhile, homosexualist groups are boasting that the campaign has brought about the elimination of pro-family Coral Ridge Ministries from PayPal’s service, as well as LifeSiteNews translator and pro-family blogger Julio Severo.
In addition to being cut off from the service, Severo has also been informed that the funds in his PayPal account have been frozen for half a year, after which the company says it will inform him of how to withdraw the funds.
LifeSiteNews began to gather the signatures in mid-September after the homosexualist organization All Out began a petition to ask PayPal to revoke the accounts of Christian groups and individuals that oppose the homosexual lifestyle and political agenda, claiming the groups preached “hate” and are “extremist.”
The list includes mainstream pro-family organizations such as Tradition, Family, and Property (TFP), and Americans for Truth About Homosexuality (AFTAH) under the same rubric as the extremist Dove World Outreach Center, which recently provoked violence in Muslim countries after threatening to publicly burn the Koran.
LifeSiteNews has tried to reach PayPal via an email address provided by the company, and has called customer service.
PayPal’s email response has been to insist only on interacting with PayPal account holders with a complaint about their own accounts. The organization claims it cannot open the spreadsheet attachment containing the signatures on the petition. It also continues to claim that Severo is an unregistered “organization” to justify cutting him off from the service.
A call to customer service resulted in LifeSiteNews being provided with a phone number to call for Paypal’s public relations department, which failed to return a message left on voice mail.
LifeSiteNews has sent emails to two PayPal addresses published on the internet by a prominent anti-PayPal site that claims they correspond to PayPal President Scott Thompson and Accounts Protection Senior Director Mike Vergara. No response has been received.
Sign the petition to PayPal to protest against persecution of pro-family Christians
Call PayPal at:
4:00 AM PST to 10:00 PM Pacific Time Monday through Friday
6:00 AM PST to 8:00 PM Pacific Time Saturday and Sunday
Email PayPal by clicking here and selecting “Email Us”. Non-account-holders can select the option to the right and will be given a form to fill out.
18 Catholic colleges appeal to Obama admin to rewrite abortifacient contraception mandate
WASHINGTON, DC, September 29, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A letter signed by 18 Catholic Colleges and Universities was sent to the Department of Health and Human Services today objecting to the Obama Administration’s health care mandate requiring employers to cover sterilization, contraception, and abortificients.
The letter was organized by The Center for the Advancement of Catholic Higher Education (CACHE), a division of The Cardinal Newman Society, and authored by attorneys at the Alliance Defense Fund. It appeals to the Administration to rewrite the mandate’s religious exemption, arguing that the exemption is so narrow that it could be construed to exclude Catholic institutions of higher education.
As it is currently written, the mandate allows the Health Resources and Services Administration to exempt an employer which it considers to meet the definition of a “religious entity.”
“Any religious entity’s hope for an exemption appears to be subject to the whim of HRSA bureaucrats,” the letter notes. “This is certainly not reassuring to Catholic colleges and universities, especially based on suggestions made in the interim final rule’s own summary.”
The letter also points out that the mandate’s definition of a “religious employer” is inherently narrow, stipulating that the entity must primarily hire and primarily serve persons who “share the organization’s religious tenets.”
“Jesus Christ himself would fail this test, since He did not choose to heal or offer forgiveness only to existing Christians,” the letter observes.
Msgr. Stuart Swetland, Executive Director of CACHE and Vice President for Mission at Mount St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, Maryland, accused the Obama Administration of attempting to force Catholic institutions to abandon their ethical beliefs.
“The lack of respect for the beliefs of Catholic persons and institutions (and other men and women of good will) is startling and unprecedented in modern federal regulations,” Swetland said.
“Catholic institutions will not compromise on the question of the immorality of contraception and sterilization or the grave injustice of abortion,” he added.
The institutions that signed the letter were: Aquinas College (Tenn.), Ave Maria University (Fla.), Benedictine College (Kans.), Catholic Distance University, Christendom College (Va.), College of Saint Mary Magdalen (N.H.), College of Saint Thomas More (Tex.), DeSales University (Pa.), Franciscan University of Steubenville (Ohio), Holy Apostles College & Seminary (Conn.), John Paul the Great Catholic University (Cal.), Mount St. Mary’s University (Md.), Saint Gregory’s University (Okla.), Thomas Aquinas College (Cal.), Thomas More College of Liberal Arts (N.H.), University of Mary (N.D.), University of Saint Thomas (Tex.) and Wyoming Catholic College (Wyo.).
Auxiliary Bishop Thomas Curry of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, chairman of the Committee for Catholic Education at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, also signed in his individual capacity.
Additional signatories included the Center for the Advancement of Catholic Higher Education of the Cardinal Newman Society and the Society of Catholic Social Scientists.
Abortionist douses 40 Days participants with new sprinkler system - pro-lifers undeterred
September 29, 2011 (40DaysforLife.org) - I have to say that the enthusiasm I’m seeing and hearing during this 40 Days for Life campaign is really uplifting — and also humbling.
The dedication and prayers of so many — like you — have made this the largest 40 Days for Life campaign ever … and prayer always sustain us through adversity. Here are a few examples.
The people who arrived for the 40 Days for Life kickoff event outside the abortion center in Fayetteville got a bit of a surprise — a brand-new sprinkler system, with the sprinkler heads pointed directly at the prayer volunteers.
“The owner of the business complex turned the sprinklers on as soon as we set up all our equipment,” said Tiffany in Fayetteville. “And they kept the sprinklers on for two hours.”
One co-owner spent the entire two hours “pacing and walking up and down the parking lot, yelling at us and telling the police to arrest us,” she said. “Needless to say, the police officers were polite and explained they could not arrest us.”
The prayer volunteers were then greeted with loud, obscene music from inside the building. “We sang and played worship music and lifted our voices to God,” Tiffany explained. “Our God songs drowned out the vulgar music.”
Through it all, the prayer volunteers refused to be discouraged. “The bottom line — God triumphed,” she said. “Praise the Lord!”
Bright and early on Day 1, a young woman stopped by the 40 Days for Life vigil site in Toccoa and gave Mary a great big hug.
“Please know that people are noticing what you are doing,” the woman said. With tears in her eyes, she showed Mary a picture of her son.
This young mom said she had been on her way to have an abortion when her car broke down. She had to use the money she had saved up for an abortion to get her car fixed. Soon after, she decided to keep her baby — and now was so very happy with her choice.
“She also agreed to stop back and sign up to join our campaign,” said Mary. “We are looking forward to seeing her again, and hope to be able to send more stories like this.”
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA
About 75 people came out for the 40 Days for Life kickoff in Las Vegas. “The sun was hot,” said Linda, one of the local leaders, “but many were willing to brave the heat … in support of the dignity of human life.”
The event began with music — and the sound of the shofar, the traditional ram’s horn. “Pastor Wally Smith of House of Israel Fellowship proclaimed a Bible passage and called us to bravely fight the evil of abortion that occurs here in our city nearly every day,” said Linda.
“Let’s stand ready to storm heaven with prayer,” she said, “and then humbly await God’s will.”
September 29, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - French doctors are increasingly refusing to do abortions, and look down upon the practice of killing the unborn, according to an unusual confession by a French abortionist published on the prominent blog of medical journalist Martin Winkler.
The author, a female abortionist who writes anonymously, says she fears that if current trends are not corrected, the killing of the unborn will be “endangered.”
“I think that [abortion] is a medical practice that is ‘tolerated’ more than it is really accepted, even several decades after its legalization, and including in the heart of the medical community,” she writes.
“It isn’t rare to hear strongly disagreeable reflections [regarding abortion] on the part of fellow physicians, a sign of little openness of spirit and of tolerance regarding VIP [Voluntary Interruption of Pregnancy].”
“Just in my ‘small’ experience at the heart of our establishment, few gynecologists commit themselves at a reasonable level to the practice of VIP ... fewer and fewer, and fewer and fewer among the younger generations ... We count them on our fingers, with one hand, where I work ... They use their ‘conscience clause’ to justify their lack of involvement.”
“But how can they fail to concern themselves with VIP, which applies statistically to one woman in two during their lives, when one is to be an obstetrician-gynecologist?” the author asks, observing that there are two abortions for every eight births in France “if my memory is correct.”
“On the other hand, practicing VIP, is to be ‘apart,’ ever and always, even in 2011 ... it is an activity that is little valued, little recognized, little understood, poorly paid.”
The abortionist says that the problem “is not unique to our center, and tends to be found a bit throughout all of France.”
The anonymous abortionist’s observations resemble those of abortion advocates in the United States, where programs have been created at medical schools to encourage doctors to embrace the practice of abortion.
A recent study indicated that fewer physicians than previously believed are willing to perform abortions in the U.S.
The study, the results of which were released in August, found that 97% of doctors say they have encountered people seeking abortions, while only 14% have actually carried them out.
WASHINGTON, D.C., September 29, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Democratic Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has called cutting Planned Parenthood funding a “horror.” When asked by CNS News last week what she would do if Republicans renewed an effort to prohibit federal taxpayer funding of Planned Parenthood as part of a Continuing Resolution, Pelosi refused to speculate.
“Let’s hope that they’re not playing games with us–and now we are getting into games … Why don’t we come back and have another press conference after they say what they are going to do,” Pelosi said. “Because I think it’s a waste of your time and my time to speculate on the horrors that they could come up with–because we know they are endless and we could be here a long time.”
“So why don’t we just say this: We wish them the best,” she said. “We understand that when you need to get 218 votes you have to count on your own side of the aisle to do that if you don’t want to do it in a bipartisan way.”
Congress has approved several short-term Continuing Resolutions (CR) this year to continue funding the operations of the government. Democratic Party leaders, such as Pelosi, have stonewalled Republican effort to end funding for Planned Parenthood in the resolutions.
Pelosi, of California, has won a reputation as a 100 percent pro-abortion lawmaker as scored by NARAL Pro-Choice America.
In an appearance on the NBC program Meet the Press in 2008, Pelosi claimed that the Catholic faith is compatible with supporting the legalized killing of unborn children.
“I would say that as an ardent, practicing Catholic, this is an issue that I have studied for a long time,” she said. “And what I know is, over the centuries, the doctors of the church have not been able to make that definition. And Senator - St. Augustine said at three months. We don’t know.”
Federal judge blocks Idaho RU-486 regulations as ‘likely unconstitutional’
BOISE, September 29, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A federal judge in Idaho has sided with a woman who complained that Idaho law requiring that the medical abortion drug RU-486 be distributed by a physician is unconstitutional.
Plaintiff Jennie McCormack brought the complaint after she was charged with violating Idaho law by obtaining RU-486 over the Internet, and ingesting it during either the second or third trimester of her pregnancy. The charges have since been dropped.
Idaho Federal District Judge Lynn Winmill issued the ruling late Friday afternoon, which granted a temporary restraining order against the statute in the case McCormack v. Heideman.
The statute in question states that a first-trimester abortion must be performed by a physician in a hospital, physician’s office, or clinic “properly staffed and equipped for the performance of such procedures” where the abortionist has “made satisfactory arrangements with one or more acute care hospitals within reasonable proximity” to provide emergency care in case an abortion procedure goes awry.
Winmill concluded that the plaintiff was likely correct that the statute placed undue burden on abortion-bound women.
“Under the statute, a woman is put to the Hobson’s choice of finding a means to police her healthcare provider’s actions, or being threatened with criminal prosecution for her healthcare provider’s failings,” he wrote. “Faced with these two choices, a woman will likely choose not to have an abortion through an Idaho physician.”
However, Winmill struck down the plaintiff’s bid to challenge the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act based on lack of standing.
“Plaintiff’s testimony that she would seek an abortion if she were to become pregnant in the future does not suffice to give her standing,” he noted.
David Ripley, Executive Director of Idaho Chooses Life, said, “our worst fears in this lawsuit have come to pass.”
“While the new fetal pain law has escaped Winmill’s courtroom, laws regulating 1st trimester abortions have not,” said Ripley in a press release Monday.
FDA rules require that RU-486 be used only in the first 49 days of pregnancy, something that would require a doctor’s visit to confirm. The drug also requires a follow-up exam to remove any parts of the baby’s remains still in its mother’s womb, or else it poses a major risk to her health.
Botched RU-486 abortions have killed at least a dozen U.S. women since the drug was approved by the FDA in 2000.
Ripley expressed fear that the order makes it impossible to enforce regulation of the dangerous drug.
“One of the worst implications of Winmill’s activism is that Idaho women are no longer protected from quacks and quick-buck artists preying upon them at times of great stress,” said Ripley.
Notre Dame prez to Obama on contraception mandate: what happened to the ‘sensible approach’?
NOTRE DAME, Indiana, September 29, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - As the Obama administration prepares to force all Catholic employers in the United States to cover contraception, including abortifacient drugs like Plan B and Ella, the president of the University of Notre Dame is asking what happened to the “cooperation and understanding” between ideological opponents that Obama urged during his commencement speech at the university two years ago.
The new regulations announced by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on August 1, which are part of the new health law, will mandate that private insurers cover sterilizations and FDA-approved birth control, including drugs that function by causing early abortions, without co-pay.
The regulations include a “conscience clause” that defines religious employers as those that “primarily serve persons who share its religious tenets,” a definition that excludes nearly all major Catholic organizations, including universities. Comment from the public on the new regulations is being accepted until tomorrow.
Obama had told Notre Dame graduates in May 2009: “Let’s honor the conscience of those who disagree with abortion, and draft a sensible conscience clause, and make sure that all of our health care policies are grounded in clear ethics and sound science, as well as respect for the equality of women.”
Notre Dame president Fr. John Jenkins, the enthusiastic host of Obama’s speech and honorary law degree at the prestigious Catholic institution, has penned a letter to Sebelius dated September 28 expressing concern at the disparity in Obama’s words and the impending mandate.
“May I suggest that this is not the kind of ‘sensible’ approach the president had in mind when he spoke here,” wrote Jenkins in a Sept 28 letter to Sebelius, calling the provision “narrower than any conscience clause ever enacted in federal law.”
He noted that, instead of being drafted from federal law, the regulation clause is drawn from the narrowest known state definition of “religious employer,” which only three states use.
The university president said that he “still stand[s] by that decision” to invite the deeply pro-abortion president, despite the opposition of over 300,000 petitioning Catholics and 80 active U.S. bishops. However, he observed that under the new regulations, Notre Dame would be forced to “offer our students sterilization procedures and prescription contraceptives, including pills that act after fertilization to induce abortions, and to offer such services in our employee health plans.”
“This would compel Notre Dame to either pay for contraception and sterilization in violation of the Church’s moral teaching, or to discontinue our employee and students health care plans in violation of the Church’s social teaching,” wrote the priest. “It is an impossible position.”
Jenkins urged that the conscience protections be rewritten according to the “church plan” exemption found in section 414(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, which he notes “was developed specifically to avoid church-state entanglements in religious governance” relative to health plans.
In addition to the pending contraceptive mandate, in February 2011 Obama repealed a conscience regulation dating from the Bush administration that protected the conscience rights of health care providers opposed to providing abortifacient contraception, such as the Plan-B “morning-after” pill.
Teacher put on leave after suspending student for criticizing homosexuality
FORT WORTH, Texas, September 29, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The teacher responsible for suspending a student after he expressed opposition to homosexuality has been placed on administrative leave with pay.
Last week, Western Hills High School teacher Kristopher Franks retaliated against high school freshman and honors student Dakota Ary after he was overheard telling one other student that he believes homosexuality is wrong because of his Christian faith. The conversation, held during a class discussion on religious beliefs in Germany, arose when one student asked what Germans thought about homosexuality in relation to religion.
Ary says the instructor “started yelling” upon hearing the boy’s statement, and charged him with “possible bullying” before sending him to the principal’s office for discipline, where he received a two-day in-class suspension. The sentence was reduced to one day after Ary’s mother confronted the principal.
In a press release Wednesday, Liberty Counsel attorneys representing Dakota note that the same instructor had displayed a picture of two men kissing and encouraged his students to accept homosexuality. Many of the students were offended by Franks’ actions and his continually bringing up the topic of homosexuality in a German language class, the lawyers allege.
After attorneys sent a demand letter to the school and then met with school officials, the school district reversed the in-school suspension and placed Franks on administrative leave with pay.
Liberty Counsel founder and chairman Mat Staver said that his group was pleased with the school’s response thus far, although the teacher should “apologize publicly” to Ary.
“It is intolerable for the teacher to ridicule the religious beliefs of students in front of class,” said Staver. “This teacher should not force his views about homosexuality upon students.”
Cardinal: Not even Jesus would qualify for HHS contraceptive mandate religious exemption
WASHINGTON, D.C., September 29, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Jesus himself would not qualify for the Department of Health and Human Services “religious employer exemption” from its abortifacient contraceptive mandate, according to the chair of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Committee on Pro-Life Activities.
The HHS’s “religious employer exemption” is “so extremely narrow that it protects almost no one,” said Cardinal Daniel DiNardo. “Jesus himself, or the Good Samaritan of his famous parable, would not qualify as ‘religious enough’ for the exemption, since they insisted on helping people who did not share their view of God.”
DiNardo was objecting to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) requirement, which will go into effect in 2012, that all insurance programs nationwide cover all forms of contraception - including abortifacient drugs such as Plan B and Ella - and sterilization as “preventive services for women.” Under the mandate only faith-based institutions that serve members of the same faith would be able to claim an exemption - thereby excluding the large number of religious organizations that offer their services to people of any or no faith.
The remarks, in which the cardinal accused the HHS of “a distorted view of sexuality and a disdain for the role of religion,” were made as part of the USCCB’s 40th annual October observance of Respect Life Month.
“The decision [by HHS] is wrong on many levels,” the cardinal said. “Preventive services are aimed at preventing diseases (e.g., by vaccinations) or detecting them early to aid prompt treatment (e.g., screening for diabetes or cancer). But pregnancy is not a disease…. Mandating such coverage shows neither respect for women’s health or freedom, nor respect for the consciences of those who do not want to take part in such problematic initiatives,” he said.
The cardinal blasted the Obama administration for their “misguided efforts to foster false values among our youth, to silence the voice of moral truth in the public domain, and to deprive believers of their constitutionally-protected right to live according to their religious convictions.”
In his statement, DiNardo reflected on the Respect Life Program’s theme for 2011-12: “I came that all might have life and have it to the full.” “Jesus’ promise of ‘life to the full’ is especially poignant today,” he said, “when our culture and sometimes our government promote values inimical to the happiness and true good of individuals and society.”
DiNardo specifically countered claims that contraception is necessary for women’s health, and that it reduces the abortion rate. “Far from preventing disease, contraceptives can have serious health consequences of their own, for example, increasing the risk of acquiring a sexually transmitted disease, such as AIDS…,” he said. “Studies report that most women seeking abortions were using contraception in the month they became pregnant. Again and again, studies show that increasing access to contraception fails to reduce rates of unplanned pregnancies and abortions.”
DiNardo said that Catholics face increasing pressure “to violate their moral and religious convictions or stop serving the needy.”
Echoing Pope Benedict XVI, DiNardo invited Catholics to “pray and reflect on how each of us might renew our commitment and witness to ‘respecting, promoting and teaching the transcendent nature of the human person.’”
“Catholics must not shrink from the obligation to assert the values and principles we hold essential to the common good, beginning with the right to life of every human being and the right of every woman and man to express and live by his or her religious beliefs and well-formed conscience,” he said.
The comment period for the news regulations ends Friday at midnight. (Click here for the U.S. Bishops’ contact page.)