GABORONE, Botswana, May 5, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – An editorial in the Botswana Gazette this week, notes that there has been a mass escalation by international NGOs pushing to legalise abortion in answer to the country’s many woes. The call has been taken up by the media and some members of government, including Assistant Minister of Local Government Botlhogile Tshireletso who has called on the government to consider complete legalisation.
The Penal Code makes abortion a crime except in cases of pregnancy under 16 weeks gestation, where the pregnancy is the result of rape, “defilement” or incest; the pregnancy “puts the life of the mother at risk or may cause harm to her physical or mental health” or in cases where the “unborn child would suffer or later develop physical or mental abnormality. Abortions for rape, incest or “foetal impairment” must be approved in writing by two doctors and all abortions must be carried out in government-approved hospitals or specialty “clinics”. Officially, only abortions for “social and economic reasons” or abortions “on request” are disallowed under the law.
Despite these sweeping exceptions, including the notorious “mental health” exception that has opened the door to virtual abortion on demand in many western countries, international organisations and some local politicians are agitating for the removal of all restrictions.
The May 2nd Gazette editorial said, “The law has made it highly difficult for women to terminate pregnancy. This has meant that women have to resort to street abortion to assert their reproductive rights and make a deliberate decision whether or not to keep the pregnancy.
“The restrictive criteria for legal abortions and the continued criminalisation of abortion pushes women into unsafe abortions and early deaths,” the editorial said. As long as abortion remains in the penal code, the editor complains, it will not be recognised as “a right”.
In February this year, Minister Tshireletso, responding to the budget speech, called upon government to legalise abortion, saying, “Just recently, we read about six heads of infants which were found in a bucket. In another incident we heard about how dogs dug out the head of a dumped fetus.
“These things are worrisome. They are the works of backyard abortions. I therefore call on government to make abortion legal so that desperate pregnant women can have access to safer, legal and decent abortions.”
In 2011, Minister Tshireletso also supported a call from a former president of Botswana to legalise prostitution, that she called “sex work,” saying that sex workers “are not only those we call ‘ladies of the night.”
“I have male friends who tell me where they buy. So let’s decriminalise sex work to protect these people who get cheated because they do not have anywhere to go for help.”
Botswana is still a majority Christian country, with over 70 per cent of its population belonging to the various denominations, and its Christian leadership has spoken out against this latest call for legalisation. Pastor Biggie Butale, head of the Evangelical Fellowship of Botswana, said “abortion is absolute murder,” and that the churches will never accept it.
“Such an act is morally inadmissible, because it is murder; the right to life underlies all other rights and we can never support murder of innocent unborn babies that cannot retaliate,” Butale said. “As the church we unite in the defense of life, repudiating any attempts to legalize abortion in our country.
Butale warned of dire consequences if Botswana legalises abortion, saying it dehumanises.
Botswana is a country beset with problems related to health, infant and maternal mortality, and uncontrolled extramarital sexual activity, and as such is a special target of international population control groups. The State Department of the US note that HIV is mainly spread through heterosexual contact, and that the number of young girls who are infected far outstrips the number of young men.
Although average life expectancy is rising, it still lags far behind developed countries, with 2012 statistics showing 56.93 years for men, and 54.51 years for women – an improvement on the 48 years recorded for women in 1995-2000.
All observers agree that the most significant factor in the statistics is the rate of AIDS/HIV infection which is believed to be the second highest in the world in Botswana, with 24.8 per cent of the adult population being infected. The US State Department estimated in 2009 that there were 93,000 orphans due to AIDS in Botswana.
The population is young, with a median age of about 22 years for men and women, and only a tiny percentage (3.9) of the population surviving past age 65. In addition to AIDS, the rates of death from other infectious diseases is high, including bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, typhoid fever and malaria.
Paradoxically, these woes come at a time when Botswana’s economy is growing, despite the global economic crisis. In the last ten years, the country has moved from being one of the poorest in the world to being a middle-income country, though it still relies heavily on its single-export trade of diamonds. Despite recent growth, Botswana has an unofficial unemployment rate of nearly 40 per cent, with the spectre of depopulation from AIDS a constant threat to future economic prospects.
In the 1974 document issued by the US National Security Council, National Security Study Memorandum 200, Botswana was listed among the Sub-Saharan African “least developed countries” whose population growth was considered problematic. The Memorandum held that population growth in these countries is a risk to U.S. concerns abroad. The Memorandum was adopted as official policy in 1975, and led to the pairing of overseas aid to developing countries with the mandating of population control measures, including the promotion of artificial contraception.
‘Healing Sexual Wounds’: Dawn Eden interview about new book
WASHINGTON, D.C., May 4, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - World renowned chastity speaker and pro-life convert Dawn Eden has just released a new book about how to find healing for sexual wounds with the help of Catholic saints. LifeSiteNews caught Dawn at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. on the weekend as she promoted My Peace I Give You: Healing Sexual Wounds with the Help of the Saints (Ave Maria Press, 2012).
“It’s a message for people like myself who suffered childhood trauma, particularly those who, like myself, suffered sexual abuse in childhood,” said Dawn to LifeSiteNews.
“I want to show them that the evils that were committed against them were not their fault, that God never positively wills evil — God only permits it because through it he can bring a greater good. And the greater good that God brings through the evils that were committed against us is that through our wounds God enables us to draw closer to the wounded Christ.”
Dawn Eden, former rock-musician journalist and former editor at the New York Daily News, became famous for her outspoken defenses of chastity and purity after a dramatic conversion to Catholicism catapulted her from a life of rebellion and “having sex with whomever I pleased”.
As part of her own path to healing, Dawn had examined the lives of some of the saints who themselves were sexually abused or who suffered self-inflicted sexual wounds in an effort to pin down what aided them most along the difficult road to healing and holiness. What she discovered helped her in her own healing process to such an extent, that she decided it was good enough to share with others. That’s when the idea for a book entered her head.
“The healing that they’ve received, and that I’ve experienced through the Church, [is what] I seek to share in this book,” she said.
Readers may be surprised to discover the sexual trauma experienced by high caliber saints such as Thomas Aquinas.
Dawn related to LifeSiteNews the story of Saint Thomas Aquinas, whose family imprisoned him after he announced his desire to become a Dominican friar. They finally resorted to weakening Thomas’ resolve by sending a beautiful prostitute to seduce the young man in his cell, strategizing that if he broke his vow of chastity, he might abandon his desire for religious life. Upon seeing the women, Thomas brandished a burning log from the fireplace and drove the women from his cell.
“[In my book] I talk about how Thomas responded to that, and how the prayer that he offered up to God in the wake of the terrible trauma is a model for our own prayer”, Dawn said.
Other saints mentioned in the book include Saint Ignatius of Loyola, who Dawn says, through his Suscipe prayer offered his very memory to God thereby showing a way to “purification of memory”.
“…the memories of traumatic events, whether present to us or not, remain part of,” Dawn wrote in her book. “That is why there is something very beautiful about St. Ignatius offering his memory to God. The saint acknowledges there are things he cannot change … and at the same time displays the bold hope that his Maker will accept him as he is now.”
Readers will discover in Dawn’s book secrets to emotional and psychological healing from saints such as Josephine Bakhita, Gemma Galgani, Sebastian, Maria Goretti, Therese of Lisieux, and Bernard of Clairvaux.
Alice von Hildebrand praised My Peace I Give You as a “powerful and poignant voice formulating in words the unspoken cry of the heart from those who have been shamefully abused and violated. Dawn Eden — a victim herself — shows readers that there is healing not in repression or misplaced self-blame, but in hiding in the wounds of Christ.”
The book has received an imprimatur (an official declaration from the Catholic Church allowing the book to be printed) from the Archbishop of Washington, D.C., Donald Cardinal Wuerl.
May 5, 2012, (bioedge.org) – Entering national politics is a bit like strip mining the family farm. As soon as you’ve sold your soul, the earthmovers get to work excavating your family’s life story. This week, for instance, two of Barack Obama’s old flames popped up in a tell-all biography to be released next month. And yesterday it emerged that Mitt Romney’s new twin grandchildren were born with the help of a surrogate mother.
His oldest son Tagg now has six children, three of whom have the same surrogate mother. Tagg and his wife Jen are the biological parents. He posted the news on Facebook:
“A special thanks to our gestational surrogate who made this possible for us. Life truly is a miracle, and we feel so blessed to be able to celebrate the arrival of these precious boys into our family. For those keeping score at home, these are grandchildren numbers 17 and 18 for my parents.”
According to Romney biographer Ronald B. Scott, three of Mitt Romney’s sons have resorted to IVF to create their families. The Republican presidential candidate is opposed to abortion, Plan B contraception and embryonic stem cell research, but has never clarified his views on IVF. ~ NY Times, May 4
This article first appeared on Bioedge.org and is reprinted under a Creative Commons License.
United Methodist Church affirms homosexuality ‘incompatible with Christian teaching’
TAMPA, FLORIDA, May 7, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – Members of the nation’s largest mainline Protestant church voted to maintain the doctrine that homosexual actions were “incompatible with Christian teaching” on Thursday.
The United Methodist Church voted down two proposals to water down its stance on homosexuality on Thursday. One proposal called homosexuals “people of sacred worth” and acknowledged differing viewpoints on the issue, while another said humans did not know enough about human sexuality to prefer one lifestyle over another.
The Religion News Service reports after delegates defeated the pro-LGBT proposals, “gay rights activists flooded the assembly floor and disrupted the session by singing the hymn ‘What Does the Lord Require of You?’” They refused to honor Indiana Bishop Michael Coyner’s request to stop singing, forcing him to curtail that morning’s session.
The church’s position, enshrined in its Book of Discipline, conflicts with the words of one of the United Methodist Church’s most prominent members, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
The denomination’s more traditional members were overjoyed by the announcement.
“Thanks to its global membership, United Methodism uniquely is growing in members and rejecting liberal accommodation of secular Western culture, unlike declining U.S. mainline Protestant denominations,” Mark D. Tooley, president of Institute for Religion and Democracy, said.
Tooley, a longtime critic of the UMC’s liberal drift, said the million member denomination is “likely to have an African membership majority within a decade or so, United Methodism can anticipate a bright future ahead that is more tied to vibrant global Christianity than to dying liberal Protestantism in America.”
The United Methodist Church has 12 million members, 8 million in the United States.
Georgetown University invites Kathleen Sebelius to give commencement address
WASHINGTON, D.C., May 4, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – The Catholic university at the center of the HHS mandate controversy has invited the mandate’s sponsor and chief Catholic advocate to address graduates who plan on going into politics.
Georgetown University, an historically Jesuit institution, has announced it is inviting Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to address the commencement of the Georgetown Public Policy Institute on Friday, May 18.
Sebelius admitted before Congress last week that she had not consulted any Supreme Court decision on religious liberty before promulgating the HHS mandate requiring religious institutions to fund contraception, sterilization, and abortifacient drugs without a co-pay in their health plans.
In addition to her role as chief enforcer of the controversial edict, Sebelius had a lengthy history as a pro-abortion governor of Kansas.
The Cardinal Newman Society, a Catholic educational watchdog organization, has posted a petition opposing Sebelius’ speech on the website GeorgetownScandal.com. The measure asks university president John J. DeGioia to “withdraw the invitation to Secretary Sebelius immediately.”
“It is scandalous and outrageous that America’s oldest Catholic and Jesuit university has elected to provide this prestigious platform to a publicly ‘pro-choice’ Catholic who is most responsible for the Obama administration’s effort to restrict the Constitution’s first freedom—the right to free exercise of religion—while threatening the survival of many Catholic and other religious colleges and universities, schools, charities, hospitals and other apostolates,” it states. “Georgetown insults all Americans by this honor. The selection is especially insulting to faithful Catholics and their bishops, who are engaged in the fight for religious liberty and against abortion.”
WASHINGTON, D.C., May 4, 2012, LifeSiteNews.com) – The Democratic Party’s pro-life members are not asking their party to oppose abortion in 2012; they’re just asking for recognition that they exist.
Democrats for Life of America, “the pro-life voice of the Democratic Party,” has unleashed a new petition to the party, asking for recognition that not all Democrats support abortion-on-demand for all nine months of pregnancy.
The petition, “We Support the Big Tent,” proposes a plank to the Democratic Party platform that would “recognize that members of our Party have deeply held and sometimes differing positions on issues of personal conscience, like abortion and the death penalty.”
The draft plank encourages liberals to “find common ground” to “reduce the number of abortions” by implementing enhanced government spending policies.“Women deserve to have a breadth of options” of new welfare programs, it states, including “access to education, healthcare, childcare.”
No new restrictions on abortion are proposed in the plank.
“The Democratic Platform currently contains language to allow taxpayer funding of abortion,” DFLA writes. “National polls have consistently demonstrated that most Americans do not support the government paying for abortion. In fact, a February 2012 Quinnipiac University poll…found that nearly thirty percent of Americans would not vote for a candidate with whom they disagreed on abortion but agreed on other issues.”
Kristen Day, executive director of Democrats for Life or America, also cited political reasons for the petition, telling toldThe Washington Examiner, “Expanding our big tent policy with more neutral language on abortion will bring estranged Democrats back and allow pro-choice and pro-life Democrats to work together for common-sense policies.”
Her words echo those of former president Jimmy Carter, who recently told talk show host Laura Ingraham the party should limit abortion “only to women whose life are in danger or who are pregnant as a result of rape or incest.”
“I think if the Democratic Party would adopt that policy that would be acceptable to a lot of people who are now estranged from our party because of the abortion issue,” he said. He made similar statements in 2005, shortly after releasing his book Our Endangered Values.
“What he’s doing is making a political calculation,” Dr. Richard Land told LifeSiteNews.com at the time. Abortion “is killing the Democrats in the South,” said Dr. Land, who has served as president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission since 1988. “Jimmy understands this.”
“I think there’s a political calculus at play here,” agreed J. Matt Barber, vice president of Liberty Counsel Action.
The last pro-life Democrat to appear on a national ticket was Sargent Shriver, George McGovern’s second vice presidential choice in 1972. He died last January.
As of this writing, the petition had attracted around 375 signatures. Some of its signers wrote messages like:
- “No longer a Democrat because of the extreme out-of-touch position on abortion. Democratic in absolutely every other issue!”
- “Will have to vote for MR if BO continues his health care premium payment stand—contrary to what he represented to RC bishops he would do”; and
- “I would be a Democrat if the tent was enlarged in this way.”
Its petition wants to change the 2012 Democratic platform language to:
We respect the conscience of each American and recognize that members of our Party have deeply held and sometimes differing positions on issues of personal conscience, like abortion and the death penalty. We recognize the diversity of views as a source of strength and we welcome into our ranks all Americans who may hold differing positions on these and other issues.
However, we can find common ground. We believe that we can reduce the number of abortions because we are united in our support for policies that assist families who find themselves in crisis or unplanned pregnancies. We believe that women deserve to have a breadth of options available as they face pregnancy: including, among others, support and resources needed to handle the challenges of pregnancy, adoption, and parenthood; access to education, healthcare, childcare; and appropriate child support. We envision a new day without financial or societal barriers to bringing a planned or unplanned pregnancy to term.
A crucial lesson for pro-life, pro-family and religious leaders
The reports on the possible release of Chen Guangcheng and then also He Peirong contain a crucial lesson as Reggie Littejohn states:
“Some say that quiet, back door diplomacy is the way to deal with the detention of Chinese human rights defenders. But human rights activists have found that high profile, public pressure is far more effective.”
LifeSiteNews learned long ago that such public pressure is frequently the only way to get results on moral issues conflicts simply because corrupt liberal leaders, when it comes to such issues, are often manipulative and dishonest. They will only take responsible action if undeniable, disturbing facts are made very public and a campaign is organized to force needed resolution. That is the real world on the street which political operatives are well aware of. Getting many persons involved in determined public campaigns will create far more effective pressure than only a few persons foolishly acting alone.
Trying to work “quietly behind the scenes” with political manipulators tends to be a disastrous strategy, placing those who attempt such strategies, and who usually hugely overestimate their influence and skill, at a big disadvantage. Next time you hear from a leader, “Everything is being taken care of. We are working quietly behind the scenes”, challenge him or her and ask what assurances they really have that this is indeed the best strategy. Ask them to give examples of when it has worked well in the past on such issues. I doubt they can.