Today Fr. Frank Pavone remembers Terri Schiavo’s death on March 30, 2005. I remember it very well. It is agonizing to recall and impossible to forget. It was possibly the darkest time of my over 30 years involvement in pro-life issues.
The entire pro-life movement was unable to save the life (they really tried) of a helpless woman who was being slowly murdered by starvation and dehydration with the cooperation to varying degrees of the legal and medical establishments, the police (they even had snipers on the rooftop of her residence to stop those who might try to rescue her), many religious leaders, including her frighteningly callous local Florida bishop, theologians, ethicists and the media.
It was barbaric, and I always feared that America would eventually pay a heavy price for that painful, slow, very public execution of an angelic innocent. Maybe that is one reason why it has been given Obama - who many Christians actually voted for.
TORONTO, March 30, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A crowd of an estimated 2000 or so concerned parents from a wide range of ethnic and faith communities demonstrated outside Ontario’s legislature Thursday demanding the defeat of the Liberal government’s “anti-bullying” Bill 13. The speakers and spirited, chanting crowd, many with homemade signs, expressed fears of a dangerous loss of freedoms from the government bill and its imposition on all Ontario schools of a sexual culture radically opposed to their own beliefs.
Kim Galvao, the main organizer from Concerned Catholic Parents of Ontario, expected just a few hundred but was overwhelmed to see the far larger number of protesters show up with hundreds of signs. Galvao told LifeSiteNews that she started organizing the rally only two weeks ago and networked with several other groups to get the word out.
Galvao said she is “just a mother” and decided to to try to get a rally going because the government was not responding to her serious concerns about Bill 13. “There was just silence and so I just felt I needed to do something.”
Galvao stated, “I am alarmed to see a sexual agenda imposed on our schools by the Liberal government. ... As a mom I do not want my children taught that there are seven different genders. As a mom, I do no want my young children taught the disputed theory that a person’s gender is not connected to their physical anatomy.”
There were notably large numbers of participants from the Chinese Catholic, Chinese Protestant and Korean Christian communities. The rally was attended by Christians of several denominations and the many ethnic and religious communities represented included Sikhs, Muslims, Koreans, Chinese, Somalians, Nigerians, Pakistanis, Portuguese, Spanish communities, Filipinos, and more.
Several speakers gave passionate speeches warning of the loss of liberty, parental rights and freedom of religion that would result from what they claimed is the unconstitutional proposed legislation.
Speakers included: Kim Galvao, Concerned Catholic Parents of Ontario; Jack Fonseca, Campaign Life Catholics; Dr. Charles McVety, Institute for Canadian Values; Reverend Dominic Tse, North York Chinese Community Church; Teresa Pierre of Parents As First Educators; Allan Tam, Chinese community leader and School Trustee at York Region District School Board; Phil Lees, Family Coalition Party leader and several religious leaders from various Christian denominations, as well as a Sikh speaker.
Charles McVety, holding a copy of Bill 13 and a copy of the resource guide from the Toronto District School Board titled, Challenging Homophobia and Heterosexism, said there were three main things he strongly rejected: the violation of parental rights, the attack on religious liberty and the restriction that any person or group renting schools would also have to abide by the new legislation.
Jack Fonseca of Campaign Life Catholic charged that “McGuinty’s Bill 13 is about social engineering. It is about indoctrinating kids to reject the moral and religious beliefs of their parents on human sexuality, in favour of the government’s ideology.” He added, “that’s why the bill contains bizarre things like the 7-gender theory.”
Fonseca continued: “Dalton McGuinty is requiring the Catholic church to violate its religious beliefs. ... Where does he think we are? The former Soviet Union?”
Dominic Tse, pastor of North York Community Chinese Church accused the Liberal government of using Communist totalitarian tactics similar to those those used in the Communist China that many in his community fled from.
Tse told the crowd to loud cheers, “What do we call these things? We call them dictatorship. We call it totalitarianism. Where we come from we know what that means, right? We are not going to allow the government to Bill 13 us, to dictate to us what we need to do and what we need to think.”
Theresa Pierre call Bill 13 “a grave violation of our conscience rights” and that is “going to cause social upheaval”.
Phil Lees shouted in his speech, “We will not allow the rights of responsible, principled Ontarians to be taken away”.
A pleasant surprise to the organizers was the number of MPPs who came and joined the rally. At least four PC MPPs mingled with the parents, listening to the speakers and chatting with demonstrators. Rick Nicholls, MPP for Chatham-Kent-Essex, received enthusiastic response to his brief speech commending the parents for their strong, public opposition to Bill 13. Several other MPPs were spotted coming to the steps of the legislature to watch the large, very determined crowd and to hear what they were saying.
At one point during the rally, former Education Minister and homosexual activist Kathleen Wynn came outside and walked past the huge parents group. She then went over to the small group of 40 counter-protestors who had gathered nearby to demand that Dalton McGuinty force the Catholic Church to violate its religious beliefs. She also spoke to Omni TV in favor of Bill 13, downplaying the concerns of parents.
One MPP told organizers that the parents could be heard shouting “Stop Bill 13” inside the chamber. Coincidentally, lawmakers were at the time debating Bill 14, the alternate anti-bullying bill initiated by Progressive Conservative MPP, Elizabeth Witmer. Her bill, without the sexual agenda of Bill 13, is not opposed by the demonstrators.
All speakers at the rally expressed support for legitimate anti-bullying legislation that targets genuine causes of bullying, of which body image was said to be by far the most common target.
Near the end of the rally a moving prayer was presented by Korean pastor, Rev. Soo. He humbly pleaded in his prayer, “Please grant wisdom to our leaders and support them as they make changes to our laws affecting our families and especially our precious children. Children are our future.”
Several mainstream media outlets were present, although rally organizers reported what so far appears to be a news blackout on the event in all the local television media - CBC, CTV, Global and CP24. Local newspapers and talk radio were said to have given at least some coverage to the event.
Rally organizers strongly encouraged Ontario parents to email, write, phone and visit their MPPs and to urge them to vote against Bill 13.
ALBERTA, March 30, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Homeschooling parents and other concerned parents across Alberta’s education system are celebrating after the province’s Education Act (Bill 2) failed to pass its third reading due to the Conservative Government having called an election on Monday.
“Victory in Alberta!” declared the Home School Legal Defence Association (HSLDA) in a press release. “Thanks to the thousands of homeschooling families across Alberta and in the rest of Canada and the United States who called, wrote, attended rallies and prayed to defeat this Bill.”
Parents across the province had expressed grave concern over section 16 of the proposed Education Act for what they saw as an infringement on their parental rights to raise and educate their own children as they saw fit.
Section 16 stipulated that all instructional materials in schools, including home and private schools, “must reflect the diverse nature and heritage of society in Alberta, promote understanding and respect for others and honour and respect the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Alberta Human Rights Act.”
The HSLDA had warned that the last part of section 16 would “force political correctness on parents in their own homes when teaching their children,” by making even home education materials subject to the Alberta Human Rights Act.
The Alberta Human Rights Act is the same legislation that was used most infamously to target Christian Pastor Stephen Boissoin, who was found guilty of “hate speech” by a provincial human rights tribunal for writing a letter to the editor of a local newspaper opposing the homosexualist agenda in schools.
While the election call has halted the passage of the bill, the HSLDA is warning parents that the proposed legislation is not necessarily dead forever.
“The Conservatives in Alberta have given many indications that they will be bringing this legislation back if they are elected for another term,” the association wrote.
Rob Anderson, Wildrose Education critic, warned the Alberta Home Education Association (AHEA) in a letter about the Progressive Conservative (PC) party’s ambition to resurrect the bill unchanged if they win the upcoming election.
“The PCs have decided they are committed to bringing this bill to the Legislature right after the election to pass,” Anderson wrote.
Anderson pointed out in the letter that the majority of the Education Act is “by and large a good Bill.” He noted that it “expands school choice especially regarding charter schools, takes on bullying in school, gives more autonomy to local school boards and does a whole lot of other things that will be very beneficial to our education system and that are in the Wildrose education platform.”
“It’s just the preamble and s.16 of the 200 page bill that need changing,” he wrote.
The Wildrose party brought forward two amendments to the preamble and to section 16 of the Act, but with a PC’s enjoying a massive 68-4 seat advantage, the amendments were both voted down.
The Alberta Home Education Association (AHEA) was instrumental in organizing a peaceful protest at the Alberta Legislature against section 16 of the Act earlier this month. Over 2000 people attended the March 20th event to demand that the six words “and the Alberta Human Rights Act” be erased from the Act.
Anderson pointed out in his letter that the bill’s faltering during the days leading up to Monday’s election call was due in part to the pressure of AHEA’s protest campaign.
Anderson also pointed out that with the PC’s vote against Wildrose’s proposed amendments, the PCs have “alienated virtually every parent concerned with parental rights and the potential of human rights commissions forcing Catholic schools, faith based schools and homeschooling parents to teach issues contrary to their personal beliefs.”
With the April 23rd election day fast approaching, it remains to be seen which party Albertans will choose to lead their province.
A Leger Marketing survey conducted last week and commissioned by the Calgary Herald and Edmonton Journal showed a deadlock between Alison Redford’s Progressive Conservative party and Danielle Smith’s Wildrose party.
Leger’s Alberta vice-president Ian Large said that the “momentum at the moment favours Wildrose.”
A Forum Research poll conducted Monday suggested that the Wildrose party would win a majority government if the election was held this week.
Forum Research president Lorne Bozinoff told the Edmonton Sun that the poll results show that Alberta is poised for sweeping change. His poll indicated that Wildrose would win 58 seats in the Alberta legislature, while the Progressive Conservatives’s seats would be diminished for a total of 22.
The Home School Legel Defence Association is encouraging its members to “very carefully consider their political choices in this election”.
Catholic college rescinds invitation to Ted Kennedy’s second wife at bishop’s insistence
PAXTON, MASSACHUSETTS, March 30, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – Members of the Kennedy clan may be shoo-ins for every office in the state of Massachusetts, but they are not guaranteed access to young Catholic minds.
Anna Maria College in Paxton uninvited Victoria Reggie Kennedy, the widow of Sen. Ted Kennedy, after Bishop Robert J. McManus said her positions on abortion, homosexuality, and the Obama administration’s mandate on insurance coverage for abortifacient contraception and sterilization were incompatible with Catholic teaching.
The college said in a press release that it obeyed the bishop “with great regret,” saying that “as a small, Catholic college that relies heavily on the good will of its relationship with the Bishop and the larger Catholic community, its options are limited.”
A spokesman for the college told the media Kennedy deserved high marks for her work on behalf of “gun control.”
The backlash from liberal Catholics against the decision was swift.
Steve Krueger, chairman of the Catholic Democrats, said, “Increasingly, we see more and more bishops playing the role of enforcers of the faith rather than shepherds of souls, because they squandered the trust that they once had and the authority that came with it.”
Sister Janet Eisner, president of Emmanuel College, which gave Vicki an honorary degree in 2010, said, “I find it hard to believe in Massachusetts, in 2012, that this is happening.”
Kennedy responded in a press release, saying of the bishop, “by objecting to my appearance at Anna Maria College he has made a judgment about my worthiness as a Catholic. This is a sad day for me and an even sadder one for the Church I love.”
Some claimed the bishop had been pressured by an undisclosed “wealthy donor,” an assertion the diocese forcefully rejected. Spokesman Ray Delisle told local media, “it doesn’t take a donor to convince the bishops to act on their principles.” Patrick Whelan, president of Catholic Democrats, said the bishop told him, “This is my decision and mine alone, and nobody’s pressuring me to do this.”
He said the bishop added, “sometimes it’s lonely at the top.”
“We would want Bishop McManus to know that there’s a multitude of Catholics who would support his decision,” Adam Wilson, director of communications at the Cardinal Newman Society, a Catholic higher education watchdog organization, told LifeSiteNews.com. “Just three years ago, more than 367,000 people signed The Cardinal Newman Society’s ‘Notre Dame Scandal’ petition in support of the bishops’ speakers policy, which the Worcester diocese just referenced.” That scandal involved Notre Dame’s invitation for President Barack Obama to serve as commencement speaker in 2009 and to receive an honorary law degree.
Today’s dust-up was not Kennedy’s first brush with a faithful Church hierarchy. In 2004, she wrote an op-ed for The Washington Post entitled, “The Altar is Not a Battlefield,” which called depriving pro-abortion politicians (such as her husband) Communion a “harsh penalty” that was “flawed and intellectually dishonest.” A month later, the Vatican codified this policy in “Worthiness to Receive,” authored by then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger.
Evidence shows teen pregnancy rates drop with more restrictive abortion laws
BELFAST, Northern Ireland – The solution to Britain’s rampant teenage pregnancy is not, as the government thinks, more and more explicit “sex education” and freely available condoms, with abortion as back-up, according to Dr. David Paton, chairman of Industrial Economics at Nottingham University Business School.
This approach, he told attendees at a conference of life and family activists in Belfast, has had exactly the opposite of the stated intent.
“It has been argued that ensuring teenagers have confidential access to family planning services and abortion will have a positive impact on teenage pregnancy and abortion rates.
“However, instead it can be demonstrated that the consequent reduction in perceived risk leads to increased risky behaviour, and combined with contraceptive failure, the net pregnancy rate could increase.”
While the government remains mired in an ideological approach, an evidence-based examination of the problem reveals that more restrictive abortion law and reduced availability of contraceptives have created steadily lower rates of teenage pregnancies as well as sexually transmitted disease. In Northern Ireland this approach has resulted in a third fewer under-16 pregnancies and about a third fewer new STD infections in the same age group than in England.
Paton noted that in Northern Ireland there have been 4 diagnoses of gonorrhea among under-16s in the past 10 years compared with 160-200 each year in England.
But throughout the first years of the new century Northern Ireland has been “going the way of England” with steady increases in publicly funded sex education and “family planning,” including provision of the Morning After Pill. The result has been a steady creep upwards in STDs, while teen birth rates have remained unchanged.
Fixation with politics of ‘gender identity,’ feminism and ‘gay rights’ risks ‘fragmenting’ society: Archbishop of Canterbury
CARDIFF, Wales – Rowan Williams, the outgoing Archbishop of Canterbury said that the fixation in politics on feminism, ethnic minorities and “gay rights” could create a “fragmented” society.
Speaking to the Welsh National Assembly in Cardiff, Dr. Williams said that while minority groups have made great strides, it was time to focus on the common good.
He also warned against increasing “welfarism” and state dependency, saying the state should not be seen as a provider for people’s personal needs or a solver of their problems.
“The mutual taking of responsibility pushes back that passive welfarism, a passive statism some people call it, that the state is the provider and solver of problems,” he said.
“There is a problem of dependency, there is a problem about assuming somebody else resolves the problems, and there’s certainly a problem about centralised state provision as the solution to everything.
“And those who have recently, from both left and right, pointed out welfarism is not good news for those who want a mutually responsible, active and creative community have not been wrong.”
Dr. Williams has announced that he will be stepping down as leader of the Anglican Communion later this year, and plans to dedicate the time to speaking out “forcefully” on issues he feels passionate about.
No patents for destructive embryo research: Top Europe court
LUXEMBOURG – The European Court of Justice has banned the patenting of any stem-cell processes that result in the destruction of a human embryo.
“A process which involves removal of a stem cell from a human embryo at the blastocyst stage, entailing the destruction of that embryo, cannot be patented,” the Court said.
The decision was welcomed by the European Centre for Law and Justice, who said it “protects life and human dignity.”
The ruling cited an existing European directive on biotechnology patents “intended to exclude any possibility of patentability where respect for human dignity could thereby be affected”.
“Bizarre” attempt to redefine marriage will spark Tory backlash: MEP
BRUSSELS – A Conservative Party MEP has warned his party leadership that their attempt to redefine marriage to include homosexual partnerings will result in a backlash of the rank and file and backbench MPs. Prime Minister David Cameron is coming under intense pressure from his own party, as well as from the leaders of nearly every religious group in Britain, for his determination to re-write the law.
Mr. Giles Chichester, who represents the Tory Party at the European Parliament for the South West of England and Gibraltar, has written to Cameron asking him to reconsider his “bizarre attempt to redefine marriage.” Chichester said he supports civil partnerships but includes Cameron’s “gay marriage” plan as among many policies “attacking the traditional family.”
Chichester pointed out that the plans were sprung in a surprise attack on the British public, not having been listed in the party’s election manifesto. The effort to change the decision of marriage, moreover, while being the pet project of militant homosexualist activists, is not supported by a majority in the general homosexual community.
“Why you have chosen to push the Stonewall militant gay agenda is a mystery to me,” Chichester wrote.
“I support these civil unions or partnerships having equal rights to traditional marriage so far as property ownership, legal status, taxation and inheritance rights are concerned but cannot agree that being equal must mean being the same.”
“Should this measure go through it will cause many Conservatives to question their loyalty to a party which is no longer supporting values inherent to the party,” he added.
Subcontractor quits when he learns he’s building huge Planned Parenthood abortion clinic
FORT WORTH, TEXAS, March 30, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – A worker in Fort Worth, Texas, walked off the job when he found out he was supposed to pour concrete footings for a new abortion clinic located next door to an adoption center.
The subcontractor said his religious beliefs kept him from helping to erect the $6.5 million, 19,000-square-foot facility, located at 6400 John Ryan Drive. He told local television station WFAA other workers at the site feel the same way.
“Texas Right to Life commends him for leaving the job,” Elizabeth Graham, the group’s director, told LifeSiteNews.com. “No one should be forced to participate in building a killing center.”
According to the Planned Parenthood website, “The proposed facility in Fort Worth will be a new structure three times the size of the current one” and will provide “a full range of reproductive health care services,” including “a surgical care center.”
The abortion provider used a Dallas-area management company to secure the land, which was sold by Gladney Adoption Center. However, Gladney did not know it was doing business with the nation’s largest abortion provider, because Planned Parenthood used an intermediary. The adoption organization only found out who had purchased the land on Thursday.
“I bet they’re really disappointed to find out their land is now going to Planned Parenthood,” Graham said.
“As far as we’re concerned, being next-door to Gladney is wonderful,” said Planned Parenthood of North Texas President Ken Lambrecht, who claimed adoption referrals are a vital part of Planned Parenthood’s business. However, pro-life activists have pointed out that whereas Planned Parenthood commits hundreds of thousands of abortions each year, they only refer some 2-3,000 babies for adoption.
Planned Parenthood has used similar tactics to mask the end purchaser of properties in the past. Planned Parenthood of Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains formed a managed service organization known as Charles Vandalia, LLC, which brought the ground for its new facility in St. Paul, Minnesota, the third largest in the nation.
“They’re actually having someone else do their bidding and their dirty work,” Graham told LifeSiteNews.
“However you stand on the issue, you got to be open about it, and don’t hoodwink others into violating their convictions,” Al Meredith, pastor of nearby Wedgewood Baptist Church, told CBN News. CBN reports the general contractor, The DeMoss Company, also built Wedgewood Baptist. Pastor Meredith has asked the company to remove the church’s name from its website.
“Our concern is this will become a megacenter for Planned Parenthood,” said Michael Dean, senior pastor at Travis Avenue Baptist Church.
The new building is the largest part of a $21.5 million campaign to expand Planned Parenthood’s activities in northern Texas. Graham told LifeSiteNews, “the abortion industry is desperate to take down the Texas pro-life majority…because the state is a center of opposition to abortion.”
“If Texas loses to the pro-abortion agenda, the rest of the country will then probably lose to the pro-abortion agenda.”
Pro-life forces have made great gains in the state in recent years. “In 2011, Texas Right to Life led the effort to take as much money away from the abortion industry as we could, and we dealt them almost a 40 percent blow to their family planning revenue stream, which is a stream for the abortion industry,” Graham said.
BOISE, March 29, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The Idaho ultrasound bill that has been the subject of an extremely aggressive campaign from pro-abortion opponents met a sudden end this week despite a strong showing in the state Senate.
Like similar recent bills in Virginia and Texas, Idaho’s measure would have required abortionists to perform an ultrasound on mothers prior to an abortion, and to inform them of their right to see the ultrasound image of their child at their discretion.
The bill, which passed 23-12 in the state Senate, was on track for consideration this week before Republican Rep. Tom Loertscher announced Tuesday that he would not schedule the hearing. Idaho’s 3-month legislative session ends this week, and will not reconvene until January 2013.
LifeSiteNews.com spoke with Kerry Uhlenkott, the legislative coordinator for Idaho Right to Life, who called the turn of events “very disappointing.”
“We just ran out of time to convince the members in the House,” said Uhlenkott, whose organization ultimately agreed to drop the bill. “We pushed as hard as we could.”
The ending was anticlimactic for a bill that was memorable for its supporters showing a live ultrasound demonstration on pregnant women in the Senate.
The fever pitch campaigning against the bill by pro-abortion lobbyists likely played a role in its demise. Pro-abortion hecklers were removed from the capitol during a hearing last week, and buses of pro-abortion demonstrators were reportedly brought in to beef up local protests.
Uhlenkott said that one sponsor of the bill was even personally targeted with messages threatening to rape his wife. “It was very vicious. They had no boundaries on where they went,” she said.
One of the opposition’s strongest tactics was its accusation that lawmakers were “raping” women because the bill might require the use of a transvaginal ultrasound. But Uhlenkott noted that the measure, which allowed doctors to choose the type of ultrasound in consultation with the patient, merely upheld normal standards for performing abortions safe for the mother.
“We know [abortion clinics] use the transvaginal, they do it all the time. This is why it’s so disingenuous,” said Uhlenkott, who pointed to a pro-choice professor’s Slate article calling the rape rhetoric a dangerous distortion of “a benign and routine part of the abortion procedure.”
Some Republican state lawmakers indicated willingness to consider the legislation again next year, but with caveats: Sen. Chuch Winder said he would consider adding a rape and incest exception, among other amendments.
Uhlenkott told LSN that she was confident that the legislation was appropriate as it stands, and an important part of basic informed consent: when a doctor performs a mammogram, “he doesn’t just put it in a drawer, he shares it with the woman,” she said. “[Abortionists] turn the screen away.”
“We’re committed to come back. Our bill is fine the way it is,” she said.
Local pro-lifers come together to save Virginia maternity home
WINCHESTER, VA, March 30, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley is home to numerous Crisis Pregnancy Centers, but for pregnant women who need a place to live, the area has long had only one maternity home to offer. When the home’s founder passed away suddenly a few years ago, a group of local pro-lifers came together to make sure that the needs of pregnant women in the area would not go unmet.
The newly founded New Eve Ministries is a testimony to the dedication of a local pro-life community that wants to make sure, in the words of President Bob Seale, that “we do everything we can to keep these women from aborting their babies.”
The Ministry got a financial jump-start with income generated from the sale of the former home, Chalet Magnificat in Front Royal. When the organization’s board found a new home on a quiet cul-de-sac in nearby Winchester, volunteers came out of the woodwork to prepare the home and provide furnishings.
Ironically, the first baby saved by New Eve was born on January 22, 2012, the 39th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the notorious Supreme Court decision that threw open the doors to legal abortion in the United States.
Born unexpectedly at just 26 weeks gestation, the little girl was 1 pound 12 ounces at birth. Her mother is currently the only resident at the home, and has been showered with all the attention and care that local pro-lifers have to offer.
Volunteers have shuttled the young mother to and from the hospital, where the baby remains in the neo-natal intensive care unit. Other volunteers provide mentorship, teach life skill classes, prepare mailings, cut the grass, assist with home repairs, and provide numerous loving touches to the ministry.
The organization retains only one paid employee: a day time “house mother” who is present two to three hours a day. A local university student lives in as the nighttime “house mother.”
“A home like ours and others like it just show to the world that we not only support these babies and want these babies to live, but we support the mothers too. We’re so often accused of looking out for the babies and then forgetting about the moms,” reflected Bob’s wife, Joanne Seale, the Board secretary and an almost daily volunteer for the organization. “I think a home like ours is proof that that’s not the case at all.”
The home has seen a total of three women come through its doors since opening this past December. While two of them moved on before their babies were born, Joanne says she could see the impact that the ministry made.
One girl stayed only two weeks, she said, but related before leaving that her time there had made a big impression on her. We “helped her a lot to know where her priorities should be,” says Joanne.
While three is the max capacity for the small rental property, according to Bob, the Board has big plans for the future. They’re hoping to get a loan that would enable them to purchase the home, and eventually open more.
“We have seen that there is a big need for this type of thing,” he said.
“Most women, if they really searched their souls, would never want to abort their baby. I think the statistics would prove that the vast majority are pressured into in it in some way, shape or form,” Joanne added. “They just feel they don’t have any options, so we want to provide an option.”
Pro-family groups decry lack of tax relief for families in 2012 Canadian federal budget
OTTAWA, March 30, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Two top pro-family groups have criticized the recently unveiled 2012 budget, saying that it attempts to address Canada’s long-term demographic crisis without making life easier for those raising the next generation of Canadians today.
Noting Statistics Canada reports which indicate that within the next decade there will be more Canadians over the age of 65 than those under the age of 15 for the first time in Canada’s history, the Institute of Marriage and Family Canada (IMFC) applauded the steps taken in the budget to address the unsustainable nature of some of Canada’s social programs in light of demographic decline.
“It’s good to see some light shone on the fact that Canada is not having enough kids to keep social spending as is,” said Andrea Mrozek, Manager of Research for the IMFC.
However, Mrozek points out that research indicates finances are the number one stress for families, and since Canadian families carry a heavy tax burden, substantive tax relief is necessary.
“The Government has indicated they will introduce family income splitting when the books are balanced, and according to this budget, that remains in 2015. That is not soon enough as far as Canadian families are concerned,” Mrozek said.
The IMFC argues that the budget is shortsighted for addressing the long term security of some social programs, without presenting tax relief for families today, which they say will hinder the government’s long term plan to make social programs more sustainable.
“It’s all well and good to accommodate demographic changes in the future, but if you don’t make life easier for people having kids today, you are fighting a losing battle,” said Mrozek.
Gwen Landolt, national vice president of REAL Women Canada, told LifeSiteNews that her organization sent a document to Federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty in anticipation of the budget in which the group insisted on not only tax relief for families, but an increase in child benefits to encourage families to have more children.
“One thing Canada needs now is more children,” Landolt said, “but parents are reluctant because of the uncertainty they face. That’s where the government should focus their efforts now.”
OTTAWA, Ontario, March 30, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The student association at an Ottawa Catholic university is continuing to distribute condoms at their office despite a request by university administration and complaints by numerous students on campus.
Ottawa’s Saint Paul University, which holds a Pontifical charter, was at the center of a media flurry early this month after students launched a campaign against the administration’s request that the Saint Paul University Students Association (SPUSA) cease handing out the prophylactics.
Danielle Tessier, the university’s vice-rector, had written SPUSA saying it is “evident that the distribution of condoms must cease.”
But some students shot back with an online petition alleging that condoms are needed to “prevent unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections.” The petition generated coverage in national media including CBC, Metro, and the Ottawa Citizen.
On March 15th, the university and SPUSA responded with a joint statement saying they had sought mediation. “The University has not banned condoms at the University. The Administration only asked the Student Association to cease the distribution of condoms from their office,” the statement read.
“We never said that it was not a good idea to use condoms, it’s only because we’re talking about Saint Paul,” Tessier told CBC. “We have to stand behind what is Saint Paul.”
Students at Saint Paul’s have informed LifeSiteNews that the condoms remain available in a vase on a table at the SPUSA office, and have sent in photographs as verification. They say SPUSA has been handing out free condoms for two years now.
Fr. Adrian Sharp, a priest of the Archdiocese of Brisbane and a canon law student, says he objects to SPUSA using Catholic property to encourage actions that violate Catholic teaching.
“To acquiesce in the provision of condoms in a Catholic institution is to fail to properly form young people in a Christian view of human sexuality,” he said. “Surely a Catholic institution should be trying to present a Catholic view of sexuality, not just in classroom teaching, but in the very life of the university campus.”
“The allowance of condom distribution, and the lack of presentation of what the Church actually believes in regards to human sexuality, is a failure of Christian leadership, about which I feel obliged to speak up,” he added.
Paul Matenaer, another canon law student, said the flap over the condoms went on throughout the fall, with several students complaining about SPUSA’s actions and meetings being held with both SPUSA and the administration.
He said that when he and Fr. Sharp met with SPUSA’s president and treasurer on Nov. 30th, “their response was basically that they were totally unaware of the school’s Catholic identity, almost as if they had been tricked into coming here. They also said that they never signed anything saying that they would obey these Catholic norms.”
The administration has also flagged a new ‘Pride Centre’ for homosexual students that SPUSA launched in the fall.
When SPUSA sent out an e-mail to students in September announcing the Centre, the university followed up with their own e-mail stating they had had “no prior knowledge” of the Centre and were launching an investigation.
St. Paul University has caused controversy in the past for hosting talks and other events by abortion advocates and dissenting Catholics.
LifeSiteNews.com did not hear back from SPUSA or Saint Paul University by press time.
Saint Paul University
223 Main Street
Ottawa, Ontario K1S 1C4
Phone: 1-800 637-6859
UN considers recognizing sexual rights for ten-year-old children
NEW YORK, March 30 (C-FAM) The UN Commission on Population and Development is considering “sexual and reproductive health and rights” for children as young as ten.
Even the Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon agrees. In a statement recently released he said, “Young people, as much as all people, share the human right to health, including sexual and reproductive health.”
Currently international law does not recognize a “right” to sexual and reproductive health and certainly does not recognize this right in the case of minors. But just last year, the UN Special Rapporteur for Health, Anand Grover, stirred up significant controversy when he not only claimed that a “right” of sexual and reproductive health existed but attempted to define that right as including access to abortion, contraception, and sexual education.
The association of this right with youth by the Secretary General and the Commission on Population and Development (CPD), especially children, is more controversial since the right could be defined as including access to abortion and contraception.
Organizations like International Planned Parenthood (IPPF) and IPAS, staunch advocates for the sexual and reproductive rights of minors internationally and at the United Nations, have already issued official reports to the conference bureau supportive of rights language including contraception and abortion. They are also using the conference as an opportunity to attack parental involvement in the sexual health of their children.
For organizations like IPPF, parents are the biggest obstacle to minors accessing services like abortion and contraception, and they hope to secure language at the conference that will marginalize their role.
In its official statement, IPPF asserts, “laws that restrict young people’s access to sexual and reproductive health services, including parental or spousal consent laws” must either be removed or be refrained from being implemented. IPAS goes even further and argues that youth should be considered independent actors free of any obstacles that ignore their own “capacity to make informed decisions.” Their main goal at this conference will be to marginalize parental involvement and encourage countries supportive of their position to increase pressure for the kind of language that the Secretary General has already been proposing.
Given that the document that will be negotiated at the conference calls upon “governments…to give full attention to meeting the reproductive health, service, and education needs of young people with full respect for their privacy and confidentiality,” it seems their efforts may already have a head start.
The Commission members have started negotiating the document now and the final negotiating session will happen in April. It is sure to be among the most controversial in years.
ROME, March 30, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The global economic crisis has been caused by moral failings in a society that has abandoned traditional universal moral precepts, according to a joint Jewish/Catholic statement issued today from the Vatican. The foundation of a just economic order, the statement says, is the guarantee of “protection of life,” followed by the guarantee of “certain basic human needs, such as … sustenance, clothing, housing, health, education and employment.”
At the root of the crisis “lies a crisis of moral values in which the importance of having, reflected in a culture of greed, eclipsed the importance of being; and where the value of truth reflected in honesty and transparency was sorely lacking in economic activity.”
“Furthermore the crisis has revealed the profound lack of the ethical component in economic thinking,” continued the statement.
“The purpose of an economic order is to serve the wellbeing of society, affirming the human dignity of all people, each created in the Divine Image.”
The statement comes at the conclusion of three days of meetings of the Bilateral Commission of the Delegations of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel and the Holy See’s Commission for Religious Relations with Jews, held in Rome from March 27th to 29th.
Primary among the solutions to the crisis, the delegates said, must be the encouragement of an economics of “enough” rather than insatiable consumption. For this to happen requires “a degree of self-limitation and modesty” and “responsible stewardship,” they said.
The heart of a “just economic order” the statement said, “is the affirmation of the sovereignty and providence of the Creator of the world,” who is the origin of all wealth, given to mankind “for the common good.”
Michelle Duggar: ‘We’re not anywhere near being overpopulated’
VIRGINIA BEACH, VIRGINIA, March 29, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – TLC reality star Michelle Duggar has often been excoriated by environmentalist activists for having 19 children and contributing to what they say is the world’s “overpopulation” problem. But the fecund mother and star of the reality show 19 Kids and Counting, told CBN News recently that she believes overpopulation “is a lie.”
The journalist for the Christian news network read an e-mail from a “friend,” which read:
I’ve always wanted to ask the Duggars what kind of environmental impact this super-large family is having on the world. The question of overpopulation might be a controversial subject, but there are a lot of people out there who find the amount of children they have to be too many, and more than the average of two kids per family.
“Oh wow,” Duggar responded. “The idea of overpopulation is not accurate because, really, the entire population of the world, if they were stood shoulder to shoulder, could fit in the city limits of Jacksonville,” she continued. “We’re not anywhere near being overpopulated.”
Duggar said that despite her family’s unusual size, they minimize their environmental impact by buying used and second-hand items headed for the scrap heap.
But ultimately, an abundance of babies causes her little concern. “I agree with Mother Teresa when she said, ‘To say that there are too many children is like saying there are too many flowers.’”
Duggar said she prays for and raises her children to be a force for good in society. “They’re going to go out into the world and they’re going to be the ones making a difference,” she said. “And they’re probably going to be the ones that are going to be paying for the Social Security and helping others in the long run.”
Ironically, experts say that underpopulation may be a more immediate threat to many nations, especially in Europe and the developed West. “We’ve had other countries coming to our doorstep asking us to please let their people know that they need to have more children, because their death rates are outnumbering their births rates, and they’re in crisis,” Duggar told CBN. “They don’t have people of marrying age for their youth now.”
The United Nations Population Fund has estimated Russia will lose ten percent of its already sagging population in the next 20 years.
“I think we’re so deceived when we believe” in overpopulation, Duggar stated.
Despite a dearth of evidence, the impending threat of overpopulation continues to exercise a hold over high-ranking officials in the United States and around the world. A new report states, despite policies that forbid the promotion of abortion or sterilization, the European Union has illegally paid abortion providers $30 million in taxpayer funds. Many of these expenditures were done in the name of “development.”
“If we look at economic development in so-called third-world countries, we see that very often the contrary is the case: a growing population leads to economic development. Development policies have to combat poverty, not the poor,” Sophia Kuby, executive director of European Dignity Watch, told LifeSiteNews.com.
Kuby said the funding of abortion in the name of economic progress is inspired by “a Malthusian thinking that says: The world will face unbearable overpopulation and the highest priority – a priority that even trumps the most fundamental right to life – is to reduce population in developing countries.”
The Obama administration’s Science Czar, John Holdren, described himself as “firmly in the neo-Malthusian camp” in his 1977 book Ecoscience, which proposed limiting the world’s population through drastic measures, including “compulsory abortion” for American women, if necessary.
Duggar told CBN instead of culling excess population, “we need to focus on loving people and trying to reach out and make a difference for good in our world.”
Quebec bishops oppose government committee’s call for euthanasia
QUEBEC CITY, March 30, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The Quebec bishops are opposing a report issued last week proposing the legalization of euthanasia, and are threatening to pressure the government to ensure the respect for life.
“While we are pleased that the members of the Commission recommend greater access to palliative care for all people, we disagree with the recommendations that propose to change the laws ‘to recognize medical aid in dying as care appropriate at the end of life,” the Assembly of Quebec Catholic Bishops wrote in a statement Thursday.
“Changing the terms ‘assisted suicide and euthanasia’ to ‘medical aid in dying’ does not change the reality,” they added.
The bishops were reacting to a report released March 22nd by a National Assembly committee charged with exploring the issue of “dying with dignity.”
The report called on the provincial government to legalize euthanasia according to a Netherlands/Belgium model. “The pertinent laws should be modified to recognize medical aid in dying as an appropriate end to life option,” states the report.
The committee recommended that a person opting for “medical aid in dying” must be a resident of Quebec, an adult, must have freely requested the “medical help” to die, must suffer from a “serious and incurable disease,” must have a medical situation with “no prospects of improvement,” and must be experiencing “physical or psychological suffering which is constant and unbearable.”
Anti-euthanasia advocates pointed out that the committee’s report ignored the results of their own public hearings on the issue, where 156 of 271 briefs were against or somewhat against euthanasia and assisted suicide.
It also flouts the Canadian Parliament’s jurisdiction over criminal law. In 2010, the House of Commons rejected Bill C-384, a euthanasia bill proposed by Member of Parliament Francine Lalonde, in a cross-party vote of 228 to 59.
In their statement Thursday, the Quebec bishops noted that they had submitted their own brief at the consultations in June 2010 calling on the committee to offer recommendations that would help make the end of life “the most humane and the most humanizing possible.”
“We think this will happen if this end comes at the right time: not before by euthanasia or assisted suicide, not after because of aggressive treatment,” they wrote in their submission.
In yesterday’s statement, they pledged continued vigilance and warned that they would consider intervening if the government decides to act on the report.
“The Assembly of Quebec Catholic Bishops continues to pursue this issue and will consider appropriate ways of intervention to use in order that the government would take into account the requirements of the respect for life that were expressed with force throughout the process of the commission. In this respect, there are numerous moral and ethical consequences,” they wrote.
The Planned Parenthood abortion center in Virginia Beach — where a 40 Days for Life vigil is in progress outside — has cut its business hours. They’re now open four fewer hours each week.
“Does this mean they are struggling financially?” asked Marcia in Virginia Beach. “I do not have an answer, but obviously they are not flourishing if they are cutting back hours.”
Since this new location opened, abortions had been scheduled on Tuesday mornings. But now they don’t open til noon on Tuesdays. At first, it was believed that abortions would just be scheduled later in the day. But not so! They did no abortions Tuesday of last week.
“This means one third of their usual abortion business did not happen last week,” said Marcia. She checked with someone who monitors all of the abortion centers in the area, and abortion numbers were down everywhere.
“Is this the fruit of prayer and fasting?” Marcia asked. “I believe that it is. Let’s go for a strong finish!”
CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA
“There have been five more babies saved from abortion in Charlotte since we last reported,” said Andrea. “That makes a total of 46 for this campaign!”
“Over the past week in Pensacola, those praying in front of Pensacola’s last remaining abortion facility witnessed five mothers choose life,” Ernie reported. “Praise God for these blessings!”
MONTCLAIR, NEW JERSEY
“Five babies were saved last week in Montclair,” Christine wrote, “bringing the 40 Days for Life campaign total to date up to 16!”
“I just learned about three more turnarounds at the Southfield 40 Days for Life site,” said Mike. “One of them was a set of twins. Praise the Lord!”
“Another mom carrying twins chose life for her baby on Saturday,” said Jenny, “so two more from Louisville! God is so good!”
Russian Parliament considers national law against gay propaganda aimed at minors
March 30, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Russia’s national parliament will soon begin consideration of a bill to outlaw homosexual propaganda aimed at minors, throughout the country.
The bill, which was submitted to the parliament yesterday by a regional government legislature in Siberia, is similar to one passed recently by the government of St. Petersburg and other regional bodies. It would impose a fine of up to $170 on individuals, $1,700 on public officials, and $17,000 on organizations, for exposing minors to propaganda advocating the homosexual lifestyle.
According to an explanatory note published by the authors of the bill and quoted by the independent Russian news agency Interfax, “Propaganda of homosexuality has gained momentum in contemporary Russia,” including the “active organization of public actions propagating homosexuality as a norm.”
According to the Russian government news agency RIA Novosti, the authors of the bill claim that their initiative is “not countering homosexuality per se, as they are only recommending punishment for the propaganda of such behavior among minors as it negatively affects their spiritual and moral development.”
Such initiatives, which are supported by the Russian Orthodox Church and reflect the majority viewpoint among Russians on homosexual behavior, have been stimulated in recent years by provocative acts by homosexuals, who have insisted on organizing gay marches through the streets of Moscow and St. Petersburg, and have even threatened to demonstrate in front of schools.
The governments of the two cities have responded by arresting and fining the demonstrators, and have continued to prohibit the displays in defiance of an order from the European Court of Human Rights.
Canadian teen launches campaign to send 100,000 pro-life letters to Prime Minister Harper
KINGSVILLE, Ontario, March 30, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A 17-year-old woman on fire for protecting human life has decided to do something about Prime Minister Harper’s apathy towards young life in the womb. Alexandra Jezierski has started Letters4Life, a campaign to write 100,000 letters to Harper by May 10th “to speak out against abortion.”
“I realized that this is something we really need to do in Canada,” Alexandra told LifeSiteNews (LSN) from her home in Kingsville.
According to Statistics Canada, approximately 100,000 babies are murdered annually through abortion in Canada. With no legal protection under Canadian law, a baby can be killed in a mother’s womb for any reason and at any moment during the pregnancy. The law does not protect the baby until the moment of birth.
“And we are forced to pay for this with our tax money,” wrote Alexandra on her Facebook page. “It is time to stop this injustice.”
Prime Minister Harper has unequivocally stated more than once that he will not ever permit anyone to open the abortion debate.
Alexandra, who is finishing her 11th grade through home schooling, was inspired to begin her Letters4Life campaign after she read a story on LifeSiteNews about the Teenage Life Club in the U.S. and its campaign to flood the White House with one million pro-life letters before the end of March.
Alexandra designed a website with the help of her father and a Facebook page that provides the Prime Minister’s contact info, a form letter, as well as a survey to keep track of how many letters have been sent. The campaign was officially launched on March 25, the international day of the unborn.
“I would love to make a difference in how our government looks at abortion. I believe that we can accomplish that by showing just how many Canadians are pro-life,” she said.
The form letter tells the Prime Minister that if Canada is to be held up as a free and just nation, then the rights of even the youngest and smallest of human persons must first be upheld.
“I stand, as a voice for the voiceless, demanding justice for the unborn. For the sake of the unborn, for the sake of justice, for the sake of Canada, I will continue to fight for and uphold the basic human right of the most vulnerable and most innocent ones of our society,” the form letter states.
Alexandra told LSN that if she could have an exclusive visit with the Prime Minister, she would ask him whether he believes that unborn babies are human.
“Scientific proof has shown us that the unborn are human,” she said, adding that “all human beings in our country are entitled to their rights, especially to the basic right to life.”
“I’d like to ask the Prime Minister to reopen the abortion debate so that we can establish Canada’s stance on life.”
“There should be no exclusions based on discrimination because of the size or the viability baby,” she said she would tell the Prime Minister.
Alissa Golob, Director of Campaign Life Coalition Youth, told LSN that the Letters4Life campaign highlights the “amazing initiatives” that young people are taking upon themselves in connection to the annual March for Life. The closing date of Alexandra’s letter writing campaign coincides with the date of the National March For Life in Ottawa, which is May 10th.
“We are going to win this battle, and it’s because of people like Alexandria, as well as the tens of thousands of young people who attend the March for Life every year who will do it,” said Golob.
Alexandra’s passion for protecting the lives of the unborn is contagious.
“What if you could help change the course of the future?” she asks. “What if you could save countless lives or what if you could unite with thousands of Canadians and stand up and fight for the preciousness of life to be recognized… from the moment of conception to natural death?”
Alexandra believes that if pro-life Canadians unite, her campaign will reach its goal of 100,000 letters sent to Prime Minister Harper.
“So yeah, maybe we’re crazy. But we’re determined. We’re strong. We’re passionate. And that’s what’s going to make the difference,” she said.
To join Alexandra and her pro-life efforts for Canada:
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One marvels how President Barack Obama is so at ease telling bald-faced lies. I am referring to his video endorsement today of Planned Parenthood. Scary.
There are more stories today reflecting the current trend of serious attacks by Canadian governments and activist courts on basic freedoms and traditional moral principles. Many religious and pro-family spokesmen are openly speaking about a frightening rise of totalitarian tyranny in Canada that must be vigorously fought before it is too late.
The LifeSiteNews website for mobile devices is 95% completed. Those who view LifeSiteNews on IPhones, Blackberrys and similar devices will be very pleased with this new option for small screen devices.
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EU illegally gave abortion providers $30 million, report says
BRUSSELS, BELGIUM, March 29, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – The European Union is funding the world’s largest abortion providers and underwriting abortion in the Third World in an apparent violation of the law, according to a new report by a European pro-life organization.
An analysis released by European Dignity Watch found the EU subsidizes the world’s largest abortion providers under the guise of “sexual and reproductive health” (SRH).
“Two of the major beneficiaries [of] EU funds allocated to SRH [sexual and reproductive health] have been and continue to be International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) and Marie Stopes International (MSI),” according to EDW, which took more than a year to produce the 40-page document.
Marie Stopes, which performs more abortions worldwide than IPPF, received a minimum of nine million euros ($12 million U.S.) in 2005 and 2009 alone, EDW discovered. This does not include funds the European Commission appropriated for MSI and “refused to disclose,” citing “commercial interests.” MSI declares it has received more than $30 million in all.
The EU did not disclose how much money it gave to the international arm of Planned Parenthood.
Sophia Kuby, executive director of European Dignity Watch, told LifeSiteNews.com via e-mail that since EU member nations disagree on abortion policy, the union is barred from using common funds for the practice. “This is clearly laid down in European law,” Kuby said.
“The EU definition of SRH explicitly excludes abortion and, moreover, prohibits not only the funding, but the promotion of incentives of abortion, sterilization, and improper testing of contraception methods in developing countries,” Kuby said. “There is a blatant conflict between the definition of the EU of SHR and the core strategies of IPPF and MSI that is to increase abortion worldwide.”
“The funding of Marie Stopes International and the International Planned Parenthood Foundation would appear to be in violation of prohibitions against funding the performance of abortion abroad,” Stephan Phelan, communications director at Human Life International, told LifeSiteNews.com.
The grant recipients do not explicitly state they provide abortions with the funds, but IPPF admits to providing “emergency contraception” in Bolivia, Peru, and Guatemala. The catchall term often refers to abortion-inducing drugs.
MSI also hides behind the term “menstrual regulations,” which it performs in Bangladesh, a nation where abortion is illegal except to save the mother’s life. “This is the same process that is termed a ‘surgical abortion’ by the medical field” – including the Alan Guttmachiner Institutes – “except that a ‘menstrual regulation’ is performed on a woman who suspects rather than knows she is pregnant,” Kuby told LifeSiteNews. MSI personnel use a manual vacuum aspirator to empty the uterus without taking a pregnancy test; the evidence is then disposed of.
“This devastating EDW report appears to confirm something that HLI’s missionaries have long seen first hand: many proponents of abortion have absolutely no respect for law, just like they have no respect for the authentic well-being of women in the developing world,” Phelan told LifeSiteNews.com. “Their drive to spread the practice of ‘menstrual regulation’ in countries that suffer from severe poverty risks creating scores of dangerous back alley abortionists, under the pretense of improving maternal health.”
“Are the EU’s budgets for Development Aid and Public Health used to finance abortions in developing countries?” asked Kuby. “Is this legal?”
EDW is asking the EU to investigate its funding, demanding Members of European Parliament (MEPs) press for full disclosure of this money.
European should contact “elected Member of European Parliament and ask them about this issue and what they intend to do to stop this misuse of EU funding,” said Kuby.
“For all non-Europeans,” Kuby continued, “spread the word, publish this information if you can and get involved with good organizations who are committed to the cause of life. ”
Confronting population control in ‘the Kingdom in the Sky’
March 29, 2012 (HLIWorldWatch.org) - Lesotho, a small African nation about the size of Maryland and completely surrounded by the country of South Africa, is known as “The Kingdom in the Sky” for its high elevation and mountainous terrain. Like its beautiful landscape, the population was at one time sky-high with Basotho (the plural name of Lesotho citizens) women having an average of 5.8 children in 1975. That birthrate has now dropped to 2.8, and is projected to drop below the replacement level of 2.1 within the next ten years thanks in large part to the efforts of international population control organizations doing their best to destroy traditional family values in Lesotho.
When I visited Lesotho in February, it was hard not to notice the ceaseless work of the huge “family planning” and population control groups operating there. At the main traffic circle at the center of the city of Maseru, right across from Our Lady of Victory Cathedral, is a pedestrian bridge sporting giant “Trust Condom” billboards on both sides. The billboards (and the condoms) are sponsored by Population Services International (PSI) and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). In many of the restrooms around the city (and in the airport), there are machines that dispense free condoms.
Other population control groups operating in Lesotho include Family Health International (FHI), the Population Council, and, of course, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). These and other groups have spent a whopping $115 million on population control in Lesotho since 1990. To make matters worse, enforcement of Lesotho’s pro-life laws is almost nonexistent. In fact, the abortionists freely advertise in the newspapers, and “herbal doctors” can “help” a pregnant woman if she doesn’t want to go the surgical route.
Life expectancy in Lesotho is a dismal forty years, largely due to the high adult HIV infection rate of 24 percent, the third highest in the world, and the world’s fourth highest tuberculosis infection rate. Only about six percent of Basotho are above the age of 60, and there are 170,000 AIDS orphans. Virtually every family has been heavily impacted.
Bishop Augustinius Tumaole Bane, ordinary of the Leribe Diocese, whose brother and brother’s spouse both died of HIV leaving four orphans, says the huge rate of HIV infection is due to a drastic decline in morality, which is a direct result of the baleful influence of the West. He also says that, “Catholicism has always played a big role in the lives of the people, but most of the people are Catholics only on Sundays. During the week they are inclined to their own traditional way of living. So there is a separation between the faith and the day to day.”
The current monarch, King Letsie III, plays a unifying role amidst all the diverse political parties and religions. He is Catholic, and he recently declared that he would no longer continue the royal tradition of polygamy. Because of his example of monogamy (and perhaps also because a wife costs 25 head of cattle), polygamy is declining in Lesotho.
On the Ground
When I arrived in Lesotho, Father Lawrence Tanki Motsi, O.M.I., and Sister Sophia Mabote met me at Lesotho’s Moshoeshoe International Airport after the 16-hour flight from New York, and we drove the short distance to the Mazenod Retreat Center, our home base for the week. Here, every day began with 6:45a.m. Holy Mass prayed in the Basotho language. In my travels around the world, I am always struck by how, even if you can’t understand a word that is being said, you always know exactly what is going on during the Mass.
Over a week’s time, myself and Emil Hagamu, Human Life International’s (HLI) regional coordinator for English-speaking Africa, talked to nearly a thousand priests, religious sisters, Catholic high school principals, doctors and nurses. In these talks, I discussed the population control agenda, the threat of homosexuality, abortion myths and the ineffectiveness of condoms at halting HIV/AIDS (sadly, very relevant to the situation in Lesotho). Some of the people (especially the medical professionals) were obviously already conditioned to accept abortion because of the influence of the population controllers. But when Emil showed the pro-life movie “The Hard Truth,” which presents in graphic detail the truth about abortion, the horror on their faces was plainly evident, although some were so hard-hearted it did not seem to affect them.
Ignoring the Will of the People ― As Usual
The population controllers and pro-abortionists are endlessly deceptive and tricky. Instead of trying to pass a conventional abortion legalization bill, which would immediately attract the attention of parliamentarians and the people, they buried their language deep in the new Penal Code. Few of the lawmakers actually read this voluminous document, preferring to trust the experts, attorneys and consultants to do the job right. This, of course, is exactly what the pro-abortionists want.
Section 45 (1) of the Penal Code begins promisingly enough: “A person who does any act bringing about premature termination of pregnancy in a female person with the intention of procuring miscarriage, commits the offence of abortion.”
So far, so good, right?
But then, Section 45 (2) provides a long laundry list of exceptions, including for the life and health of the mother, fetal birth defects (eugenics), rape and incest.
Of course, the “mother’s health” exception is defined by the World Health Organization as “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” So, while the population controllers claim that the Penal Code places strict limits on abortion, the reality is that it legalizes abortion for any reason whatsoever ― in other words, abortion-on-demand.
Interestingly, the Lesotho National Federation of Organizations of the Disabled came out strongly against Section 45. One young blind man asked the very logical question, “If you could abort me for being blind before I was born, what is the difference between that and killing me now? It is all just discrimination based on handicap.”
Meeting with the Minister
Originally, Emil and I were slated to meet with the King and the Prime Minister of Lesotho, but, as it turned out, God directed us to a far more suitable person.
The Honorable Mpeo Mohase-Moiloa carries the intimidating title of “Minister of Justice, Human Rights and the Correctional Services and of Law and Constitutional Affairs.” She described herself as an ardent “gender feminist,” and supports the pernicious United Nations Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, or CEDAW. The CEDAW committee has, among other actions, ordered various nations to legalize abortion and prostitution, and has also said that the celebration of Mother’s Day demeans women.
As Archbishop Lerotholi presided, Emil and I spoke with the Minister and asked her some rather pointed questions. During the hour-long meeting, Emil made a point of outlining the future of Lesotho should abortion be legalized. It is essentially a “lethal injection” to the soul of any nation. After the meeting, the Archbishop told us that Emil’s words had “touched her heart,” and that he had never seen the minister so quiet or thoughtful. Additionally, she agreed to crack down on the illegal abortionists who freely advertise in the newspapers.
Will the Penal Code pass “as-is?” We simply do not know at this time, but the signs are encouraging.
“My Culture, My Religion and My Sincerely Held Beliefs”
It is really a little depressing to learn that even a tiny and remote country like Lesotho cannot be left in peace by the voracious anti-life mentality. But I always remember that the victory will be ours in the end, even if Our Lord does not return soon. And when this victory is achieved, much of the credit will be due to the good priests who have resolutely “held the line” for many years.
One evening at the Mazenod Retreat Center, Emil and I were sitting at the dinner table with some of the Oblate priests, and one of them declared that population control, homosexuality and abortion violate, “My culture, my religion and my sincerely held beliefs.” If the population controllers get their way in Lesotho, none of these will survive. Pro-lifers must continue to help Lesotho and the rest of Africa rid itself of the Western scourge of population control to protect not only the culture, but the very lives of the African people.
A version of this article appeared in the March 29, 2012 issue of The Wanderer. Dr. Brian Clowes if the director of education and research for Human Life International (HLI).
Obama endorses Planned Parenthood: ‘you’ll never stop fighting for choice and neither will I’
WASHINGTON, March 29, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - In an unusually candid video addressed to Planned Parenthood, President Obama assured the billion-dollar abortion organization of his continued support and touted his record blocking efforts to defund the group by pro-life “professional politicians.”
“For you and for most Americans, protecting women’s health is a mission that stands above politics,” said the president in a video posted to Youtube by the Planned Parenthood Action Fund. “Yet in the past year you’ve had politicians who want to deny millions of women the care they rely on, and inject themselves into decisions that are best made between a woman and her doctor.”
The affirmation comes amidst an onslaught of bad publicity for the abortion giant in recent months: The group is now under federal investigation after reports alleged that it has engaged in systematic Medicaid fraud, abused other federal funds, and routinely evaded state abortion laws.
Planned Parenthood’s defensive posture became even clearer last December when prominent breast cancer charity Susan G. Komen for the Cure cut funding to the group because of the investigation, as well as the fact that Planned Parenthood clinics do not provide direct breast cancer services such as mammograms. After Planned Parenthood and its allies excoriated Komen for the decision, the charity was forced to apologize, but left it unclear whether the grants would resume.
Obama extolled Planned Parenthood’s “fight” for women in the video, suggesting that the group helped women receive “mammograms,” alongside praise for its efforts providing affordable contraception.
“So when some professional politicians casually say that they’ll ‘get rid of Planned Parenthood,’ don’t forget what they’re really talking about: eliminating the funding for preventive care that millions of women rely on and leaving them to fend for themselves,” said Obama.
Kristan Hawkins, head of Students for Life of America, called it “outrageous” that Obama would repeat the claim that Planned Parenthood performs mammograms, after extensive coverage pointing out that the abortion organization does not provide the service.
“Somehow the White House has missed the memo that PLANNED PARENTHOOD DOESN’T PROVIDE MAMMOGRAMS. How could they have missed that?” wrote Hawkins.
“And why is Planned Parenthood posting videos that say as much, when they have already been caught in the lie?”
The president also referred to last year’s budget negotiation stalemate, in which Obama and House GOP leader John Boehner came to personal loggerheads over the bill’s provision defunding Planned Parenthood - the final issue Obama cited in his refusal to sign the bill hours before government shutdown.
When “Republicans in Congress threatened to shut down the government” over the measure, “I had a simple answer: no,” Obama said in the video.
The president concluded: “I know that Planned Parenthood will continue providing care no matter what. I know you’ll never stop fighting to protect the health care and the choices that America’s women deserve.
“And as long as I have the privilege of being your president, neither will I.”
House committee approves bill strengthening parental involvement in minor abortions
WASHINGTON, DC, March 29, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – In an attempt to close a loophole in state laws requiring parental notification or consent for minor abortions, the House Judiciary Committee approved a bill earlier this week which would make it a federal crime to transport a minor across state lines in order to circumvent parental involvement laws in the minor’s home state.
The Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act would also require that parents be notified any time an abortion is performed on an out-of-state minor, regardless of the parental notification laws in the minor’s home state. Additionally, it guarantees a parent’s right to civil action against violators of the law, unless the pregnancy is the result of an incestuous act on the part of the parent.
Pro-abortion critics have dubbed it the “Arrest Grandma” act, since not even the minor’s family members would be exempt.
In comments to LifeSiteNews, Douglas Johnson, Legislative Director of the National Right to Life Committee contended that a law conferring parental rights on grandparents “would be extraordinary.”
“Who favors a law that says their mother-in-law can authorize surgical procedures on their minor children without their knowledge or consent?” he asked.
Johnson added that the notification requirement would be dispensed with if the girl claims to be a victim of parental abuse. The abortion doctor, however, would be required to notify authorities of the situation. “If it’s a bona fide case of abuse, obviously the last thing you want to do is just give her the abortion and send her back to the abusive situation,” he said.
According to House Judiciary Chair Lamar Smith, the law is designed to protect teens in abusive situations. Smith noted in his opening comments for the hearing that under the status quo, it was possible for “complete strangers” to assist minors in evading parental involvement laws.
“Teenage pregnancies often occur as a result of predatory practices of men who are usually much older than their minor victim. This results in the transportation of victims across state lines by an individual who has a great incentive to avoid criminal liability for this conduct,” he said. “Parental involvement laws ensure that parents have the opportunity to protect their daughters from those who would victimize them further.”
Smith added that parents who were unaware that their daughter had obtained an abortion would be unable to ensure that she had access to appropriate post-abortive care.
“The medical, emotional and psychological consequences of an abortion are dramatic and lasting,” he said.
The legislation has been approved by the House several times in the past but has never made it through the Senate. According to Johnson, the battle in the Senate remains “up hill” this time around.
He noted, however, that the effort to get members of Congress “on the record” about the issue was worthwhile. “We are very serious about seeing it enacted into law eventually,” he said.
‘Licensing the government to pimp’: ex-prostitutes condemn Ontario’s brothel ruling
ONTARIO, March 29, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A number of former prostitutes have vehemently denounced a decision by the Ontario Court of Appeal that determined that provisions in the law that had prohibited brothels are “unconstitutional.”
“In my opinion, this just gives the government a license to be a pimp, because now they can charge taxes to these women,” said Tania Fiolleau, a former prostitute and overseer of brothels who once employed hundreds of women.
Fiolleau told Brian Lilly on SunNews that if the ruling is not overturned it will only encourage more women to become unwittingly enslaved to prostitution simply because brothels are now legal.
Fiolleau argued that all the ruling really accomplishes is to give pimps a new title with a new kind of license.
“What it does is now it says ‘You know what? You’re not a pimp anymore, you are now a valid entrepreneur and we’re going to change your title from being a pimp to an entrepreneur/bodyguard/driver.’”
Ex-prostitutes from Montreal agreed with Fiolleau and slammed the argument that legalized brothels would help prostitutes protect themselves from exploitation and abuse when selling sex for profit.
“It’s hypocritical - it’s merely legitimizing pimps into businessmen,” said Marie (not her real name) to the National Post. “Legalizing bordellos is simply telling men it’s OK to go there.”
“When I heard [the ruling] my first thought was, ‘Those hypocrites, they are saying ‘put [prostitutes] somewhere where we can’t see them’ but are still admitting that prostitution is dangerous.”
Fiolleau told LifeSiteNews that prostitution is a physical and psychological destroyer of women. “As the years go on they develop drug habits. Every single time that you sleep with a John, it chips away at your soul. Eventually you are the walking dead and then you try to take your life. I see it over and over and over again.”
Another former prostitute named Julie told the National Post that prostitution does not suddenly become more safe if it is legally performed inside a brothel. “There’s no more security in doing this inside a bordello,” she said.
Marie agreed. “The violence against women is not on the street, it’s between four walls,” she said. “There are escort services, massage parlours, all operating now with organized crime and street gangs. Bordellos will be the same.”
Fiolleau pointed out that a majority of under-the-table brothels are already run by criminal organizations and that the ruling will only encourage these organizations — such as Hell’s Angels — to become more established in the business of selling woman’s flesh for profit.
Fiolleau flatly disagreed with the argument that the health department would be able to make the legalized brothels safer and cleaner for the women through regulations.
“It does not keep the women safe just because they’re getting tested for STDs. It keeps the Johns safe. The Johns are not the ones getting tested for STDs. What happens when a John goes and passes on an STD to these girls is that they get fired from working in the brothel because they are no longer clean and they end up on the street anyhow.”
The country’s leading champions for the dignity of women and the strengthening of marriages and families are demanding that the ruling be immediately appealed to the Supreme Court of Canada so that Parliament may have the ultimate say in social policies regarding prostitution.
For Fiolleau, who has seen all the horror that the trade in women’s bodies can produce, the answer is simple: make prostitution illegal.
“As a forward moving nation, we should make prostitution illegal, but we should not make the laws as tough for women caught prostituting as we should for the pimps, Johns and recruiters, since many of them did not choose this lifestyle nor can escape it,” wrote Fiolleau in a position paper on her website SaveTheWoman.ca.
“Where there is a demand, there will always be a supply. We need to have stiffer laws for the Johns, recruiters and the pimps in order to reduce the demand for the prostitutes.”
To contact the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada
The Honourable Robert Douglas Nicholson
284 Wellington Street
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0H8
Ph: (613) 957-4222
CINCINNATI, OHIO, March 29, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) - Operation Rescue has obtained a recording of a 911 call placed by the infamous late-term abortionist Martin Haskell after one of his patients suffered life-threatening seizures following an abortion.
The Cincinnati abortionist told an emergency dispatcher that the young woman, who was between 19 and 20 years old, was “in continuous seizures” since coming out of anesthesia. Haskell described the condition as “status epilepticus,” a life-threatening condition in which the brain is in a state of persistent seizure lasting more than five minutes.
The audio recording captures Haskell’s unhurried tone and laughter when the dispatcher offered additional emergency instructions. “We’ve been pushing IV Valium, so, and it’s just not controlling it. Alright?” he said.
Operation Rescue notes that Haskell has no hospital privileges, as required by the law, but operates under a variance from the Ohio Department of Health. That permits Haskell to practice as long as other physicians agree to cover his abortion complications once patients have been admitted. One of those physicians, William T. Bowers II, has been disciplined in two states and is under criminal investigation in another, the pro-life watchdog reports.
“Haskell is a danger to the public, plain and simple. We are urging the Ohio Department of Health to rescind Haskell’s variance and close his dangerous abortion clinic immediately in the interest of public safety,” said Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue and Pro-Life Nation.
WASHINGTON, D.C., March 28, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – A little-noticed executive order issued earlier this month would allow the federal government to seize all national resources (including food), draft civilians into the military or forced “labor,” regulate all communications, and ration health care to “promote the national defense.” Congress may be briefed on the government’s actions but lacks any power to alter them. This completes a “martial law matrix” that hands all national resources to Washington, a prominent author told LifeSiteNews.com.
Jim Garrison of The Huffington Postsummarized its provisions:
• The Secretary of Defense has power over all water resources;
• The Secretary of Commerce has power over all material services and facilities, including construction materials;
• The Secretary of Transportation has power over all forms of civilian transportation;
• The Secretary of Agriculture has power over food resources and facilities, livestock plant health resources, and the domestic distribution of farm equipment;
• The Secretary of Health and Human Services has power over all health resources;
• The Secretary of Energy has power over all forms of energy.
Each power includes all its component parts. For example, “Civil transportation includes movement of persons and property by all modes of transportation in interstate, intrastate, or foreign commerce within the United States, its territories and possessions, and the District of Columbia, and related public storage and warehousing, ports, services, equipment and facilities.” Similarly “Food resource” means all commodities and products, (simple, mixed, or compound), or complements to such commodities or products, that are capable of being ingested by either human beings or animals.”
“These are entirely illegitimate powers from a Constitutional perspective,” author and editor William Norman Grigg told LifeSiteNews.com. “There is not even a hint or a whisper or legitimacy here.”
“You’re dealing with someone who clearly doesn’t see the presidency as susceptible to any limits whatsoever, either legal or constitutional,” he said.
Grigg, who is managing editor of Republic Magazine, said, “What is especially troubling is that he shows no compunction at all about exercising all of the powers that have been claimed by his predecessors and adding to that corpus of extra-constitutional presidential powers.”
These sweeping new powers may be invoked “in peacetime and in times of national emergency,” whenever they are “deemed necessary or appropriate to promote the national defense.” The president would determine when those circumstances apply.
Congress would be briefed on the agencies’ actions – annually – but could not alter policy.
The president’s defenders, including some Republicans, say the executive order only updates the Defense Production Act of 1950 and of Bill Clinton’s Executive Order 12919, written in 1994. The chief difference is the new order transfers functions from FEMA to the Department of Homeland Security.
Ed Morrissey of Hot Air wrote, “Barack Obama may be arrogant, and the timing of this release might have looked a little strange, but this is really nothing to worry about at all.”
But Grigg says the change from a wartime to peacetime emergency alone is troubling.“When you’re dealing with semantic engineering that is that finely tuned, that looks very much like evidence of bad intent,” he said. “They have dispensed with the idea that there needs to be a discrete event that would trigger a national emergency is significant.”
The reliance on previous executive orders also troubles Grigg. “Obama has…spoken about the supposed virtues of the domestic regimentation of the entire civilian population along military lines,” he said. “That goes right back to Bernard Baruch,” chairman of the National War Industries Board under President Woodrow Wilson during World War I. He wrote in 1918, “We are living today in a highly organized state of socialism. The state is all; the individual is of importance only as he contributes to the welfare of the state.”
“That is an aspiration that has been alive in the bosom of pretty much every collectivist since time immemorial,” Grigg told LifeSiteNews.com.
Some who support the order are troubled by its reliance on a 62-year-old law. Doug Mataconis, who believes the executive order is nothing to worry about, wrote, “The fact that the President of the United States is still exercising authority granted during the Korean War and the height of the Cold War is yet another reflection of how power, once assumed by the Imperial Presidency, is never surrendered.”
The president’s defenders in both parties say the order is merely a worst case scenario in the event of a nuclear strike or catastrophic disaster that would disable the normal flow of daily life. This would let the federal government maintain order.
“There really is no strategic or tactical case to be made for executive dictatorship as an emergency management strategy,” Grigg said. “The problem here is the assumption that the best way to deal with that kind of tragedy is to centralize power and thereby give one convenient target to our enemies. In a strategic sense, that makes no sense.”
On the contrary, widely defusing and localizing power would make it more difficult for an enemy to completely disrupt national life.
“I think there really ought to be an element of humility being displayed by the same govt that conveyed the benefit of toxic FEMA trailers to the survivors of Hurricane Katrina,” he said.
However, the greatest loss is the loss of liberty, they say. Chuck Norris wrote, “enacting this martial law even during a time of peace is an unprecedented and out-of-control abuse of executive power…Our Founding Fathers never would have allowed it, and we shouldn’t, either.”
Some say that is doubly true under the current president. “By his actions he’s displayed a disposition that can be described as dictatorial,” Grigg told LifeSiteNews.com. “It’s a case of the man and the moment having met. They created this institutional architecture of executive dictatorship. Now the dictator is taking residence therein.”
March 29, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - After the Ontario Court of Appeal legalized brothels this week, the pictures that were broadcast throughout the land perhaps said it all. There among the celebrants was “dominatrix” Terri-Jean Bedford with whip in hand, lining up with lawyers and other “sex trade” workers to welcome a new day of hedonism while ostensibly participating in a news conference. If anyone saw the irony, or perhaps the perverse humour, in a whip-wielding advocate of prostitution emerging from a courtroom to proclaim the inherent “safety” of working in a bordello, it was surely lost on the approving media.
But by striking down section 210 of the Criminal Code of Canada and launching an open season for brothels and sex houses, the fallacy of “harm reduction” strikes again and the court is affirming the error and reinforcing the delusion that prostitution is made safe via the venue that
it is practiced in. Let us be clear: prostitution is a social ill that is unsafe at any time or place.
The decision also amends Section 212 of the Criminal Code because it criminalizes “non-exploitive” relationships between a prostitute and another person. For legal purposes, a pimp is defined as one who lives off the avails of prostitution “in circumstances of exploitation.”
So the court has described a pimp but just how is exploitation defined? The definition of pimping has been broadened to such an extent that exploitation will have to be demonstrated to the extent that it satisfies a court of law. This is a relationship that could well prove difficult to verify and substantiate in that legal context.
But clearly the most dangerous leap of logic in this entire challenge to the existing prostitution laws is the concept of harm reduction. Legalized prostitution is about as safe as injecting heroin in a “safe” injection site – it’s not. The argument – and erroneous reasoning – is the same. Having sexual relations with multiple anonymous partners every day is about as safe as putting poison into your bloodstream – it can cause disease and kill you. Whether the act occurs in a four star hotel or a condemned flophouse, a pseudo-hospital room or a back alley, the act is inherently unsafe.
Instead of just asking how many prostitutes fall victim to violence each year, we should be asking how many are perishing as a result of choosing this inherently unsafe practice with its sexually transmitted diseases and the collateral damage caused by destructive lifestyles that are rarely far from drug addiction and despair.
What is the total cost of this – dare we say – sin upon our society? How many lives are destroyed and how much hopelessness is created? Hollywood has glamourized prostitution for decades with films like Pretty Woman, where the so-called “oldest profession” is presented as empowering when in reality it is impoverishing. With the courts now essentially recognizing prostitution as a trade and workers within that trade as worthy of employee protection, the process of legitimization continues. But this is no trade, no profession, no legitimate occupation of any kind – just a vile commodity that brings shame upon both buyer and seller.
If Canada liberalizes its prostitution laws, we will not be the first country to make sex for cash an activity of greater ease and accessibililty. But we will not be creating a business like any other business. A similar approach to lawlessness has transformed many parts of Europe into one large brothel; these nations are now struggling with the consequences of their libertine legislation because prostitution has become even less safe as a result of complete legalization than it ever was. According to the mayor of Amsterdam, legalized prostitution just brought in bigger criminals while the Netherlands has become a top destination for the victims of human trafficking.
During the waning years of the Paul Martin regime, a subcommittee of the House of Commons Justice Committee examined this issue, with a view to the complete legalization of prostitution. Recently retired Calgary MP Art Hanger (who would eventually become the Chairman of the committee after Stephen Harper became Prime Minister) was a member of that subcommittee and one of the few voices of dissent at the time.
First, by releasing their travel agenda to the national media, he squashed an attempt by this inquisitive subcommittee crew to initiate a world cathouse tour that would have included trips to Reno, Amsterdam and Liverpool to “study” prostitution. Then he stood up to the long line of committee witnesses and their parliamentary allies by refusing to treat prostitution like it was no less legitimate a business than real estate or haberdashery. Hanger summed up the efforts of this sorry gang thusly: “Liberals want to make sin safe. They promote a culture of death when we should be promoting a culture of life.”
Just as they do by refusing to protect the rights of the unborn child, social liberals are still promoting a culture of death.
David Krayden is the executive director of the Canadian Centre for Policy Studies, an independent, not-for-profit institution dedicated to the advancement of freedom and prosperity through the development and promotion of good public policy.
Pro-life atheists invade the American Atheist Convention
March 29, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - “The atheist community is a diverse community,” said a speaker at the American Atheist Convention in Washington, D.C., to a round of applause and cheers. “We’ve got people here from all genders, races, religious backgrounds, and sexual orientations.”
But as Secular Pro-Life discovered after setting up an information table at the convention and mingling among the 25,000 participants of the Reason Rally the day before, for many atheists, the enthusiasm for diversity ends where the philosophical line on issues like abortion begins.
“There’s a war on the womb” said Elizabeth Cornwell, executive director of the Richard Dawkins Foundation. “A war based on dogma, a war based on ignorance, a war based on lust for power. The religious radicals want to enshroud women in an invisible burqa. They want to take away a woman’s right to control her own body.This is not about declaring a blastocyst as a human being. No…This is about eradicating a woman’s right to take her full place in society!”
As a secular pro-lifer I believe my case is scientifically and philosophically sound. Science concedes that human life begins at fertilization, so it follows that abortion is ageism and discrimination against a member of our own species, based on characteristics outside of their control. As I listened to another speaker denounce all pro-lifers as “religious bigots who seek to enslave women and occupy vaginas,” it bothered me to see the pro-life position dismissed in its entirety alongside other dogmas of religion.
“I don’t understand how women could be so hateful to other women,” said one participant who approached the Secular Pro-life table. Her comment comes in the wake of a Pennsylvania representative who recently dismissed pro-life women like as us as “men with breasts.”
Secular Pro-Life president Kelsey Hazzard does not hate women. Kelsey is part of a team that is launching www.AbortionSafety.com - a site that will expose the number of medical malpractice suits in the so-called ‘safe and legal’ abortion industry, and help women make an informed choice. Nonetheless, it is intellectually dishonest to argue “enslavement” without addressing the matter of competing human rights interlaced with one’s obligation to a dependent offspring.
Our time at the Atheist Convention was not the least bit in vain. A number of pro-life atheists approached us, ecstatic that we were there, and said, “Thank you! I thought I was the only one!” Many others spent hours engaging us in meaningful and reasoned debate, granting a number of our premises and inviting further dialogue on the matter. “I disagree with you but I’m impressed with you,” said one young man after a lengthy discussion. “This is the first time I’ve ever heard someone defend [the pro-life] view with reason and rational arguments.”
The young man’s words resonate the need for pro-lifers to use secular arguments when appealing to a secular audience. Indeed, atheists are not the only ones to be exclusive within their ranks. I have been told by fellow pro-lifers on more than one occasion that I have no business being at a pro-life event if I am not a Catholic. I know of several pro-life friends, including pro-life gays and lesbians, who feel too ostracized from the movement to be able to engage in meaningful activism with the rest of us. I’ve even been told that if non-Catholics want pro-life events with a non-Catholic approach “we should hold our own events.” The pro-life movement cannot afford to be exclusive, especially given the audience it primarily seeks to reach, and its own minority status.
My pro-life atheist friends and I are a minority within the pro-life movement, and a minority among atheists. Both movements could do with a little more open-mindedness. After all, whether there is a God or there is no God, we all have to find social solutions that allow us to live together on this planet.
You can read a more detailed summary of Secular Pro-Life’s experiences and exchanges at the American Atheist Convention on its blog. Read their account ofDay 1, and Day 2.
Ontario’s NDP hope to force Catholic schools into naming clubs ‘gay-straight alliance’
TORONTO, March 29, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – As parents battle the McGuinty Liberal government’s effort to impose homosexual “anti-bullying” clubs on Ontario’s schools, Ontario’s New Democratic Party is taking it a step further by announcing plans to introduce an amendment that would force schools to let the clubs be called “gay-straight alliances.”
Currently McGuinty’s controversial Bill 13 says the clubs can be called “gay-straight alliance or another name,” which has allowed the Catholic schools to instead set up a network of clubs under the name “Respecting Differences”.
But New Democrat MPP and education critic Peter Tabuns (Danforth-Greenwood) has revealed that his party is planning to introduce an amendment that would force Catholic schools to allow students to use the name “gay-straight alliance” if they choose.
The amendment “will allow students to determine the name of the group,” Tabuns told Xtra. “We also think [Education Minister Laurel Broten] should closely monitor the implementation of the bill in schools.”
Bill 13 was introduced on November 30th and received second reading at Queen’s Park on March 26. It comes as part of McGuinty’s stated effort to reform the “attitudes” of the province’s children on homosexuality.
“Allowing students in schools to set up support networks gives them the security of being together and reduces the isolation that we all know can be, literally, deadly,” Tabuns remarked.
Ontario’s Catholic bishops have opposed GSAs, saying they encourage early self-identification as homosexual.
And pro-family advocates have charged that the groups encourage the normalization and affirmation of the homosexual lifestyle, and promote homosexual activism by tying youth into a cross-continent network of activists.
Progressive Conservative MPP Randy Hillier has said that McGuinty’s bill, which has been criticized by religious groups for its strong emphasis on sexual orientation, “reaches the zenith of downright stupidity” and manipulates recent suicides by homosexual teens for “political gain.”
“Bill 13 is little more than a poorly disguised pacifier intended to create a perception that not only is the government acting, but is also compassionate and sympathetic toward children who are bullied,” wrote Hillier (Lanark—Frontenac—Lennox and Addington) in a strongly worded op-ed in the Ottawa Citizen in January.
The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada (EFC) has pointed out that the bill would actually increase the isolation bullied children might feel.
“Rather than permitting students to learn about their differences and recognize their commonalities in equity clubs, this Bill specifically sets out to isolate students into issue-specific groups,” the EFC argued.
“Attempting to address an issue as complex as bullying by legislative force is debatable,” the EFC said, adding that the “approach adopted by Bill 13 lacks sensitivity, flexibility, and a full consideration of proper application of the Constitution Act, 1867, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Ontario Human Rights Code.”
David McNorgan, president of the Catholic School Chaplains of Ontario, says the name of the clubs should not be the focus of debate.
“The naming of the club is not crucial,” he told the Catholic Register. “I think everybody is going to be able to live without calling them GSAs. But as far as practical pastoral care for our kids, we’re going to be able to do it under different banners.”
Tabuns told LifeSiteNews that he will reveal the exact wording of his amendment when the bill reaches committee stage.
March 29, 2012 (TheBlaze.com) - Earlier this month the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation’s (GLAAD) “Commentator Accountability Project” included me on their list of people who deserve special scrutiny before they can be engaged as commentators on the marriage debate. But it is organizations like GLAAD that need to be held accountable for the impact of their rhetoric on the public debate.
According to the GLAAD website, I have held myself out as someone who purports to be an “expert on the lives of LGBT people.” Evidently (and unbeknownst to me) I have devoted my career “making life more difficult for LGBT people.” Although these extreme statements have since been scrubbed from the site, the organization continues to claim that “Bias is Not Balance.” The undeniable implication is that my views are baseless. GLAAD’s systematic policy of slapping negative labels on their opponents without actually engaging them in debate reduces the quality of discourse in the public square.
Out of the hundreds of thousands of words I have spoken or written, GLAAD found a grand total of four quotes as evidence of my supposed “extreme animus towards the entire LGBT community.” One of these is that I say redefining marriage will marginalize fathers from the family, because fathers will be considered inessential. GLAAD acts as if this were self-evident evidence of anti-gay bias.
This is very peculiar, as the claim that redefining marriage will marginalize fathers from the family is not a statement about the behavior, character or motives of same sex attracted people, male or female. It is simply my forecast of one consequence of redefining marriage. I believe it with all my heart, and have said so on numerous occasions, citing a variety of reasons and evidence. I am not the slightest bit ashamed of this forecast.
My training is in economics. Economists examine how changes in public policies alter people’s incentives, and hence their behavior. So it is natural for me to ask, What will happen if we remove the gender requirement from marriage? I wonder what society will look like after 30 years of agents of the state making statements like this one from the Iowa Supreme Court: “The traditional notion that children need a mother and a father to be raised into healthy, well-adjusted adults is based more on stereotype than anything else.”
You may disagree with me about how likely it is that making marriage a genderless social institution will marginalize fathers from the family. Or you may disagree with my assessment of the harm it would do. But you cannot deny that this is a serious question about the possible impact of changing the law and culture of marriage.
Evidently GLAAD believes that raising legitimate questions about the group’s preferred policies automatically makes a person “anti-gay.” But surely one can disagree with policies advocated by the National Education Association without hating every teacher in America, just as one can surely oppose policies advocated by the NAACP without being a racist.
Redefining marriage raises questions that deserve to be fully aired. Trying to discredit skeptics changes the subject. Equating all disagreement with evidence of bias lowers the intellectual level of the discussion. These rhetorical tactics do not do the gay lobby any credit. In fact, responsible people of all parties should shun these strategies and make room for honest debate on this momentous question of changing the fundamental structure of our most important social institution.
This article first appeared on The Blaze and is reprinted with permission of the author.
Spain’s main conservative and socialist parties join in rejecting euthanasia bill
March 29, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Spain’s two major parties, the conservative People’s Party (PP), and the Spanish Socialist Worker’s Party (PSOE), have joined their votes to thwart the introduction of legislation that would permit euthanasia and assisted suicide.
Under the slogan “life is a right, not an obligation,” the Plural Left, a coalition of three small socialist parties, offered a bill yesterday to eliminate criminal penalties to one who by “necessary actions or active cooperation, permits, brings about, or facilitates death with dignity and without pain of another person, with express, free, and unequivocal permission of the same, when they suffer from a serious illness that would have definitely caused his death.”
The legislation also would have given individuals the right to “understand at least the purpose and nature of each intervention and treatment, as well as the risks and consequences,” and to “refuse to consent to a treatment” if they so wished.
The proposal was roundly rejected by Spain’s two biggest parties, which are normally at loggerheads over human life and family issues.
Maria Torrado of the PP said that her party supports the extension of palliative care, which “helps to improve quality of life and to ensure that the patient is without pain,” and that “it is unnecessary to open a debate about euthanasia and its penal deregulation” which “adds no value to care beyond a clear ideological intention.”
Julio Villarrubia of the PSOE enunciated a similar position, in favor of ensuring that the end of life occurs “without pain” but “without speaking of euthanasia.” Although he agreed with some provisions of the bill, he noted that what the Plural Left is proposing is a crime under Spanish law.