THUNDER BAY, Ontario, June 8, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Catholic bishops in Ontario are scrambling to figure out how Catholic schools can remain true to Catholic teaching on sexual morality while at the same time abiding by McGuinty’s new law that forces the schools to open their doors to Gay-Straight Alliance (GSAs) clubs, which have close ties to the homosexualist political agenda.
Immediately after Bill 13 passed on Tuesday, the Assembly of Catholic Bishops of Ontario observed that they had expressed “serious concerns” regarding “certain aspects” of the Accepting Schools Act, but nonetheless stated that they will “seek to foster safe and welcoming school communities” in a way that “is in accord with our faith.”
A leaked memo from the Ontario Catholic School Trustees Association (OCSTA) one day prior to the bill’s passage allegedly suggests that one way for Catholic schools to remain uncompromised in adherence to the Catholic faith would be for principals to “allow students to call a group a ‘GSA’ if such a request is made”, but that such a group would “be a subset of a larger group such as a ‘Respecting Difference’ or ‘Open Arms’ group”.
Respecting Differences, put out by the province’s bishops and Catholic trustees earlier this year, says that any anti-bullying clubs set up should be “respectful of and consistent with Catholic teaching” and that they should be led by a carefully selected staff advisor who “must know and be committed to Catholic teachings.” The document states that clubs are not be used for “activism, protest or advocacy of anything that is not in accord with the Catholic faith foundation of the school,” and all outside speakers must be “respectful” of Catholic teaching. The document also discourages public discussion of issues surrounding sexual attraction, encouraging private counseling instead for students who may be struggling with such issues.
“The Respecting Difference Resource created for Catholic schools provides guidelines for ensuring that student-led groups to combat bullying reflect Catholic values and adhere to Ministry guidelines,” the leaked memo states.
In a move that corresponds to the proposed strategy outlined in the leaked memo, Bishop Fred Colli of the Diocese of Thunder Bay said that while Catholic schools will now accept Gay-Straight Alliances, the clubs will nonetheless adhere to Catholic teaching on sexual morality.
“Everything we do in our schools, every part of our curriculum, always has a Catholic component to it,” he said to the Kenora Daily Miner and News on Tuesday.
“If it’s an anti-bullying club of one kind or another, even dealing with sexual orientation or questioning of that, we’re going to use our Catholic teachings to show the support we can give to our students who are challenged by these kinds of questions.”
“However, I must say we’re going to be true to the teachings of our Church and help our children to understand some issues in life are going to be challenging for them, especially if it has to do with sexual orientation.”
Bishop Colli also stated that GSA clubs in Catholic schools would require “qualified adults” who would supply “good support” to the student clubs so as to ensure that they reflect Catholic values.
“We will remind the students about the teachings of the Catholic church and about what the Catholic faith expects of them and also about what our Catholic values are, because that’s the basis of our schools,” Colli said to CBC News.
Bishop Collie sought to assuage the concerns of Catholic parents and pro-family leaders who have said that Gay-Straight-Alliances will be used to promote the acceptance of the homosexual lifestyle.
“We’re going to say the Catholic church is not going to endorse or support homosexual lifestyles because we don’t see it as a proper lifestyle or a morally good lifestyle for people,” he said to the Kenora Daily Miner and News.
“The job of the church is going to be to work with people, no matter where they are, to try to give them whatever support and encouragement we can to help them live their lives recognizing that God loves them but we want to assist them. They’re going to be challenged to live their life based on what their sexual orientation is.”
But Ontario Gay-Straight Alliances Coalition lawyer Doug Elliott told the Gay and Lesbian news service Xtra! that if Catholics “driven by the position of the Vatican” think they have found a loophole in the legislation, then they will be hauled before the courts.
“If the schools try to play games with kids…, the law is clear. We won’t put up with any of that crap come September,” said Elliott. “If you’re not complying with the law, then we’re going to take you to court. It’s that simple.”
Indian ‘gendercide’ continues: two doctors arrested for late-term abortions of baby girls
MAHARASHTRA, INDIA, June 8, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) - Two doctors and numerous accomplices have been arrested in the Beed district of Maharashtra, India, on charges of doing sex-selective abortions on baby girls up to the ninth month of pregnancy, according to reports in the local and national media.
Dr. Shivaji Sanap, a private clinician, has been arrested for killing two unborn girls, whose bodies were found dumped in a dry riverbed last Saturday. One was estimated to be over eight months gestation, and the other over five months.
He has been charged with violating India’s Pre-conception and Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques (PCPNDT) act, which prohibits determining the sex of a child before birth. He has also been charged with performing an abortion after-five months, which is prohibited in India.
In addition to Dr. Sanap, his father-in-law, who also works at the clinic, has been arrested, along with two women who are believed to be the mothers and are suspected of having dumped the bodies. A 17-year-old girl and her parents, also suspected of having procured an illegal abortion at the same facility, were also taken into custody, making a total of seven arrests in the case.
The Beed district is seen by Indian authorities as one of the worst violators of India’s laws against sex-selective abortions, a crime that has ended the lives of millions of unborn girls in India and has caused a massive and growing imbalance in the population’s sex ratio.
“Beed District is notorious for foeticide and female infanticide,” Dr Pascoal Carvalho of the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy of Life, told the Catholic news service AsiaNews. “It also has one of the most skewed male-female ratios for children under six: 801 to 1,000.”
He added that the country’s 2011 census confirms that the problem extends throughout the country.
As a result of this process of “gendercide,” which Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh calls “a national shame,” some towns have a ratio as low as three males to every one female. Many men say they are unable to find a wife, and the imbalance has reportedly resulted in increased trafficking in women.
India getting serious about sex-selective abortion?
The arrests may indicate a new willingness on the part of Indian government officials to crack down on the lucrative sex-selective abortion industry, which until recently has operated with impunity in many parts of the country, despite the laws in place against it.
Two days ago, Beed area authorities followed up the arrest of Dr. Sanap and his accomplices with a raid of seven pharmacies accused of selling illegal abortion drugs, the Times of India reports. Authorities are also seeking a Beed-area physician couple, Sudam Munde and wife Saraswati Munde, which was booked in 2011 after female fetuses connected to the couple’s abortion practice were discovered, and a non-governmental organization accused their clinic of doing sex-determination tests for patients, according to the same publication.
The Times reports that activists are criticizing government officials for not doing more to stop the sale of illegal abortifacients, but that the country’s Food and Drug Administration says that it is understaffed and unable to keep up with the massive black market in such drugs.
Bill to scrap section 13 ‘hate crime’ provision passes House of Commons
OTTAWA, June 8, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A bill to scrap the controversial Section 13 “hate crimes” provision of the Canadian human rights code passed third and final reading in the House of Commons by a vote of 153 to 136 late Wednesday.
Bill C-304, “An Act to Amend the Human Rights Act,” was introduced by Alberta Conservative MP Brian Storseth. It now goes to the Conservative-dominated Senate where it is expected to pass and be given royal assent.
Critics of Section 13 have long argued that the clause created the precise equivalent of a ‘thought crime’ in Canadian law. The provision defined a discriminatory practice as “any matter that is likely to expose a person or persons to hatred or contempt” if the person or persons affected are “identifiable on the basis of a prohibited ground of discrimination.”
In 2008, the Canadian Human Rights Commission (CHRC) hired constitutional law expert Professor Richard Moon to examine Section 13 of the act. In his report, Moon’s principle recommendation was that section 13 be repealed. However, the CHRC ignored the report and proposed its own solutions.
In 2009, a ruling by the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal in the case of Richard Warman and the Canadian Human Rights Commission (CHRC) vs. Marc Lemire, found in favour of Lemire, and also stated that section 13 was unconstitutional in that it unreasonably limited the Charter right to freedom of expression.
Lemire, operator of the website FreedomSite.org, was the subject of a complaint brought by serial complainant and former CHRC employee Richard Warman in November 2003. Warman alleged that certain postings to Lemire’s website were likely to incite hatred or contempt against homosexuals and blacks, thus violating section 13.
Following the CHRT ruling, conservative pundit and human rights commission critic Mark Steyn said that the end of the hate speech legislation was near, calling the ruling a “landmark decision.”
“This is the beginning of the end for Section 13 and its provincial equivalents, and a major defeat for Canada’s thought police,” Steyn said. “It’s not just a personal triumph for Marc Lemire, but a critical victory in the campaign by Ezra Levant, Maclean’s, yours truly and others to rid the Canadian state of this hideous affront to justice.”
MacLean’s magazine had been dragged before the Canadian Human Rights Commission in 2006 by the Canadian Islamic Congress (CIC) for publishing an excerpt, headlined “The Future Belongs to Islam,” from Steyn’s bestselling book “America Alone” in which he predicts a coming clash between an increasingly aggressive Islamic minority in Europe and native Europeans.
The CIC complained to the Human Rights Commission of “exposing Canadian Muslims to hatred and Islamophobia.” A representative of the group claimed the complaint was intended to “protect Canadian multiculturalism and tolerance.”
The high-profile Steyn/Maclean’s case became a rallying point for the movement in Canada to reform or to abolish entirely the Canadian human rights commissions. Members of this movement, including Steyn, claimed that the commissions had become arbiters of politically correct thought in Canada and a serious threat to freedom of speech.
The case was eventually dismissed.
During the debate on Bill C-304 on Wednesday, Mr. Storseth said, “Mr. Speaker, tonight every member of the House has the opportunity to vote for freedom.
“For far too long every Canadian’s fundamental right to freedom of expression has been needlessly suppressed by an overzealous bureaucracy armed with section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act, a vague and highly subjective law operating under the cloak of ambiguity.
“While section 13 may have been implemented with well-meaning intentions, its implications reach much further, chilling free speech and stifling the growth and development of free expression in our society. It is time to take back our right to freedom of expression as the bedrock upon which all other freedoms are built and repeal section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act.”
Storseth added that “Hate speech is a serious crime,” but that it should handled by “real police officers,” with “real lawyers and judges presiding over these cases, not a quasi-judicial body in a backroom doing things in the dark, which nobody ever gets to see. That is not justice.”
Only one Opposition member, Newfoundland and Labrador Liberal MP for Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor, Scott Simms, voted in support of the bill.
Same revolution, different day: US nun touts gay sex, liberal Catholics outraged at Vatican response
ROME, ITALY, June 8, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – Once again, the various bodies of the “progressive” establishment in the U.S. Catholic Church have erupted in a frenzy of outraged condemnation at the Vatican office issuing a warning this week to an academic who wrote that homosexuality and masturbation are morally acceptable.
Sr. Margaret Farley, a former full professor of ethics at Yale University’s Divinity School, also happens to be a member of the Sisters of Mercy and an established leader in the Catholic Church’s own internal sexual revolution. Her 2006 book, Just Love: A Framework for Christian Sexual Ethics, which asserts the moral acceptability of homosexuality, “gay marriage,” remarriage after divorce, and masturbation, has been the subject of an ongoing intervention by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith since 2010.
On June 4, the revolution’s flagship paper, the National Catholic Reporter, published a notification Sr. Farley received from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and has been furiously fanning the flames since then. The NCR coverage has been picked up by dozens of blogs and several mainstream news outlets, all echoing the theme of the big, bad, retrograde Vatican attacking innocent defenders of freedom of thought and our new era of sexual freedom.
“Among the many errors and ambiguities in this book are its positions on masturbation, homosexual acts, homosexual unions, the indissolubility of marriage, and the problem of divorce and remarriage,” the CDF, which has been in discussion with Farley about the book since 2010, said in a four-page document. Farley’s position “contradicts,” “is opposed to,” and “does not conform to” authentic Catholic teaching.
While the Catholic Left thunders about the Vatican’s “war on women,” commentators in Rome have said that this is just another skirmish between the CDF and the elderly leadership of the liberal Catholic revolution in the U.S., who are growing increasingly furious that their rebellion has failed to triumph.
Foremost among the combatants in the civil war have been many members of women’s religious orders, nearly all overseen by the hard-Left feminist umbrella group, the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR). One source told LifeSiteNews.com that the real problem is the long-standing “tolerance of liberals” by the Vatican, noting that the book had been published four years before it received any attention from the CDF.
The rebellion of the sisters, that started very publicly in the 1960s, has only lately been publicly acknowledged in Rome with the launching of the CDF’s doctrinal investigation of LCWR, a move that reportedly “stunned” LCWR, accustomed as it has become to decades of inaction from Rome. It has been noted that the furor over Sr. Farley is being manufactured by NCR at precisely the moment LCWR leadership produced their defiant response to the CDF’s decision last month to substantially reform the organization.
Among those fanning the flames is Charles Curran, the notorious priest who arguably launched the revolution in 1968. He wrote in NCR on Wednesday, “All have to recognize there is such a real crisis in the church today. But the crisis is not just a crisis in moral theology; it involves a crisis in the church as a whole and in our very understanding of the Catholic church.”
Indeed, it is impossible to deny that a near-state of civil war exists in the Catholic Church, starting with Curran’s own spectacular rebellion, followed by innumerable academics, priests and nuns, against the publication of the papal encyclical Humanae Vitae that reiterated the Church’s prohibition against artificial birth control. Nearly 20 years later, the CDF was forced to declare that Curran could no longer teach as a theologian at Catholic University of America, opposing as he did the Church on precisely the same topics: divorce, artificial contraception, masturbation, pre-marital intercourse, and homosexual acts.
Over the decades since Curran published his letter against Humanae Vitae, the secular media has worked closely with the left-liberal movement within the Church to undermine or even overturn Catholic teaching, mainly on matters of sexuality. Through the media, the goal has been largely obtained: that of establishing in the mainstream of the Catholic Church the concept of “loyal dissent,” the idea that it is possible to be a “good Catholic” while refusing to accept whichever teaching is felt to be undesirable. This notion has been broadly accepted throughout the Western world and has resulted in such phenomena as the “pro-choice Catholic” politician.
One source inside the Vatican told LifeSiteNews.com that although the CDF’s intervention was necessary to clarify Catholic teaching, in the current climate, such actions often have unintended negative consequences. “Of course, this is how Hans Kung made his name, and Charles Curran for that matter.”
“Both are mediocre theologians whose names would have been lost in dusty academic obscurity had the Vatican not unintentionally made them into folk heroes of the anti-Catholic Left. In fact, they should both be thanking the CDF for bolstering their careers.”
Indeed, this week, Sr. Farley’s book, previously of interest only to students and professors, shot into the stratosphere of the online booksellers’ world, reaching 138th on Amazon’s bestseller list, from 147,982, within hours of NCR breaking the story. Since then, the book eventually reached number 21.
And Sr. Farley herself is a far cry from the humble, anonymously habited teaching sisters whose nearly unpaid labor in parochial schools have become the stuff of American cultural legend. Although the Sisters of Mercy do not reveal the salaries of their high-ranking academic members, Yale News reported in 2006 that the salaries of full professors at Yale ranked sixth among all private U.S. universities, at an average of $151,200 in 2005.
Monsignor Ignacio Barreiro, the head of the Rome office of Human Life International and a long-time observer of Vatican affairs, commented on the situation, saying that the same essential error being made by Sr. Farley, her defenders, and by extension the entire “liberal Catholic” movement, has dominated the Church since the 1960s. Not even the CDF, not even the pope, he said, makes up Catholic doctrine, but the Church merely keeps it as a “deposit” handed down, ultimately, Catholics believe, from Christ himself, to be passed on and shared with “everyone of good will”.
“That is what Christ established. The main function of the Vicar of Christ [the papacy] is to determine what is in accordance with the will of the Lord. A traditional title of the pope is ‘servant of the servants of god’. It’s a duty of service.”
If this is altered through adherence to the preferences of the secular world, he said, “that is not the institution established by Jesus Christ. It would be a human institution. The value of the Catholic Church is that we are an institution established by God in order to keep the integrity of the deposit given to us by God. We are not the owners of that deposit, but we are to give it to people of good will.”
In response to the accusations of suppression of freedom, Msgr. Barreiro said, “The Vatican has as part of its duties to establish what is and is not Catholic teaching. The Church is not forcing people to be Catholic, but it has a duty of service to ensure the orthodoxy and accuracy of its teachings,” and to correct misrepresentations of it.
“We dare to deny that opposition to this is acceptable within the Church,” he said, adding that “if they don’t accept it, it’s sad, but it is a function of the truth.”
In cases like that of Sr. Farley he said:
A person who calls herself a Catholic has to write and teach in accordance with the teaching of the Church. To do otherwise is to defy not only Catholic teaching, but logic.”
To clarify, if you are a member of a club, and you want to remain the member of that club, you have to follow the rules, if you don’t, you’re not being “suppressed” if the club asks you to leave. Similarly, If you pretend to play soccer, you have to follow the rules of soccer, otherwise you are not playing the same game. You invent your own game, and you play in accordance with the rules of the new game, that could be called soccer 2. But it’s no longer soccer; it’s a different game.
If…they want to follow their own rules, fine, but it’s not Catholicism; it’s a different religion. We don’t pretend to use force against different religions, but they have to be honest and not call themselves what they are not.
Msgr. Barreiro acknowledged that many Catholics involved in these battles over the years have become disheartened with the lack of action by Church authorities, but he said that this notification can be taken as a signal for renewed action.
“We now have to wait and see if the notification is implemented by the local ordinary [bishop],” he said. “If this woman continues and does not cease teaching and promoting these ideas, she might receive the same sanctions that Kung and Curran have received, and be barred from teaching or writing as a Catholic theologian. If she continues there might be an escalation of sanctions.”
The second benefit, he said, is as a “warning to local ordinaries that her book cannot be used.”
With the CDF’s notification, the book will in theory be barred from use in ecclesiastical institutions. Barreiro said that the next step is up to the informed laity: “The function that concerned laity might have is to be vigilant that this book is no longer used.”
“If it is used against this prohibition,” he said, “it is up to the knowledgeable laity to bring it to the attention of the local ordinary [bishop] and if that fails, to the CDF.”
He confirmed that this uproar is being orchestrated to generate smoke and light in response to the CDF’s actions against LCWR. “Clearly, her order is protecting her,” he said, “that it’s apparent from the CDF‘s document, and it’s also a known thing that her order is one of the dissenting orders that are part of the problem with religious in America.”
UK Prime Minister backs controversial ‘3-parent’ IVF technique
United Kingdom, June 8, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) — British Prime Minister David Cameron is reportedly supporting a controversial new IVF procedure for genetically modifying children, according to the Daily Mail. The technique is intended to prevent incurable hereditary diseases, such as muscular dystrophy, but it will result in “hybrid” children who would possess genetic material from three or more biological “parents.”
The procedure involves removing the nucleus from a zygote with flawed mitochondria, and inserting it into a healthy, donated egg. The resulting embryo would possess genetic material from the mother and father, as well as the donor.
Mr. Cameron has reportedly encouraged Health Department officials in testing the procedure, but the ethical debate over the procedure remains fierce.
“It is an attempt to genetically modify the human species,” declared Countess Josephine Quintavalle, founder of pro-life group Comment on Reproductive Ethics (CORE). Quintavalle cautioned strongly against the procedure, stating that the abnormal embryo resulting from the procedure would be “passing on these changes to future generations, with who knows what awful consequences.”
When news of the technique first broke in 2010, it was swiftly condemned by pro-life groups concerned that it was one step further down the path of the “commodification” of children. They also observed that the research requires creating, and then killing numerous embryos.
“Scientists should stop killing and abusing human beings in experiments,” said Anthony Ozimic, the communications manager for the UK’s Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) at the time, adding that they should “pursue ethical alternatives which are much more likely to be successful in the long-term.”
The British government will hold a public consultation on whether to allow the procedure within the next few weeks. Genetic manipulation of embryos — except in research — has officially been banned by the 2008 Human Fertilization and Embryology Act. However, the Health Secretary is permitted to condone new techniques, if there is a strong case for it.
Mutation of the human DNA can cause around 50 untreatable diseases, affecting one in 5,000 births; advocates claim that using the technique could save 100 lives/year. The Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority (HFEA), the Government’s fertility monitor, has declared the technique to be safe, although there shall still be more tests.
“We are as anxious as anybody to see cures for the many serious conditions related to mitochondrial defects,” stated Quintavalle, “but what is being proposed is not a cure either for the individual patient or the diseases themselves. It is an attempt to genetically modify the human species.”
Genetic scanning for 3,500 more disorders raises fears of spike in abortions
SEATTLE, WASHINGTON, June 8, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A newly developed prenatal test that allows doctors to diagnose some 3,500 genetic defects previously undetectable before birth has raised concerns that thousands of disabled children could now be targeted for abortion.
Researchers at the University of Washington were able to sequence the entire genome of an unborn baby using fetal and maternal DNA extracted from the mother’s blood and paternal DNA from the father’s saliva.
According to a report on the project published this month in Science Translational Medicine, the reconstructed prenatal genome was 98 percent accurate when compared with post-natal results in two separate pregnancies.
Dr. Jay Shendure, associate professor of genome sciences at the University of Washington, told Science Daily that the research had made it possible to diagnose a previously unheard of range of genetic disorders.
“This work opens up the possibility that we will be able to scan the whole genome of the fetus for more than 3,000 single-gene disorders through a single, non-invasive test,” he said. According to the news service, epilepsy, schizophrenia, and some cases of autism and intellectual impairments can all be potentially detected using this method.
Current pre-natal testing for genetic disorders tests for only a limited number of more easily detectable genetic abnormalities, such as trisomy disorders that are caused by the presence of an additional chromosome.
Trisomy 21, or Down Syndrome, is one of the more common of these disorders, and has been at the center of the debate over pre-natal testing. Senator Rick Santorum, whose daughter, Bella, has Down Syndrome, was a vocal opponent of an ObamaCare provision funding prenatal testing for pregnant women. Santorum spoke out against the proposal during his bid for the Republican nomination, citing selective abortions as the reason for his opposition.
“Yes, prenatal testing, amniocentesis does in fact result more often than not in abortion. That is a fact,” Santorum told CBS News.
Multiple studies have found that there is a higher than 90 percent abortion rate in the U.S. for babies prenatally diagnosed with Down Syndrome. According to the International Down Syndrome Coalition for Life, about 50 percent of all Down Syndrome babies are believed to have lost their lives to abortion.
The organization reports that there was an 11 percent decrease in babies born with Down Syndrome between 1989 and 2006, when there should have been an estimated 42 percent increase.
Religious liberty advocates see ‘unprecedented threats’ in U.S.
NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE, June 5, 2012, (Baptist Press.)—Are the current threats to religious liberty in the United States unprecedented?
Religious freedom advocates disagreed at a recent Washington, D.C., conference, but at least one asserted there is something new and different about the menace to a right protected in the First Amendment.
The debate came during a day-long event sponsored by a new program of the Ethics and Public Policy Center (EPPC), a Washington-based organization that seeks to apply Judeo-Christian values to policy issues. The American Religious Freedom Program, established last year by the EPPC, instituted the conference as part of its effort to help strengthen religious liberty.
In a panel discussion about “unprecedented threats” to religious liberty, Richard Land agreed with the session’s premise.
“When we hear the word ‘unprecedented,’ I can think of no other time in the history of the United States when the Justice Department of the United States would go before the Supreme Court of the United States and make an argument—as it did in the Tabor case—that there are no particular and special protections for religion in the First Amendment and that churches and religiously affiliated organizations have no more protections under the First Amendment than a country club,” said Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission.
The Obama administration lost that argument in a 9-0 opinion in January, when the Supreme Court ruled that the First Amendment prevents the government from interfering with a church’s ministerial hiring practices. The decision came in Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
The Tabor case represents one of three types of threats to religious freedom—threats that “are growing in number and intensity and severity,” said Hannah Smith, senior counsel of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. Tabor is part of the threat to the freedom of religious groups to choose their leaders, she told conference participants. The other two threats, Smith said, are:
—The Obama administration’s mandate—with an inadequate religious exemption—that health insurance plans must cover contraceptives, including ones that can cause abortions, and sterilizations as preventive services.
—Violations of the conscience rights of religious individuals, including pharmacists who oppose dispensing abortion-inducing drugs, photographers who decline to photograph same-sex weddings and nurses who refuse to help with late-term abortions.
Nathan Diament and William Galston contended the current threats are not unprecedented. “[T]hat is not meant to comfort you,” Diament said.
Diament, executive director of public policy for the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, pointed to a 1990 Supreme Court ruling as evidence for his argument. The high court’s decision in Employment Division v. Smith eradicated long-standing protections for religious free exercise that required government to have a compelling interest and use the least restrictive means to abridge the right.
What about the federal government’s treatment of Mormons in the 19th century or attempts in the early 20th Century to ban parochial schools?, asked Galston, senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.
Gerard Bradley, law professor at Notre Dame University, told the audience, “[T]he real question is: ‘In what way or ways is the threat today different and more serious than other threats?’”
There have been threats to religious liberty that have been as egregious, but “they’re old,” Bradley said. “Now we’re talking about something that’s happening 50 years into the institutionalization in American law and culture of a kind of religious pluralism. And we live in an era of much different ideas about religious freedom and the scope of the term religion. So it is uncharacteristic, unusual, anomalous, maybe not unprecedented, for this kind of thing to happen now.”
The contraceptive/abortion mandate and other initiatives by the Obama administration reflect two recent judgments on religious freedom, Bradley said:
—Dissent on an “emerging orthodoxy” about contraception, same-sex marriage and when life begins “is being increasingly identified” with religion. “t’s not reasonable to oppose contraception, but people do oppose contraception but they would be religious people. So that’s one thing in motion, a kind of marginalization of a certain set of viewpoints….”
—“[A] body of people with certain moral views about controversial issues like abortion, same-sex marriage and contraception are being told by outsiders, ‘That’s your religion, whether you know it or not or whether you like to admit it or not, and your religion, your doctrine, the tenets of your religion, they’re not reasonable. Now you hold them and in some limited, strange sense they might be true, but they’re beyond rational defense. ... So religion and doctrine thereof is being squished into this space reserved for the beyond the rational.”
The contraceptive/abortion mandate “shows either a hostility to religious freedom or a complete ignorance of the First Amendment,” Land said. “It seems to me there are not any other alternatives.”
“I think I can make an argument that this extreme, secularist mind-set embodied in the [contraceptive/abortion] mandate violates not only the First Amendment’s free exercise clause but the establishment clause as well,” he told participants. “When the federal government asserts the right to universally mandate actions, trample religious convictions and then grant exemptions to those it so chooses, the government is behaving perilously like a secular theocracy granting ecclesiastical indulgences to a chosen few.
“Make no mistake about it,” Land said. “This is only incidentally about reproductive freedom. It’s about freedom of religious organizations to practice their faith.”
Baptist theologian Timothy George expressed concern at the May 24 conference that even Baptists, who have been known as champions of religious liberty, have experienced “a kind of amnesia about these roots of religious freedom.” He pointed to two developments in the last 100 years that he believes have resulted in this becoming an issue:
—“The reduction of Baptist identity to rugged individualism and the restriction of religious freedom to simply what’s good rather than the communitarian emphasis that was there certainly in the 17th Century when Baptists emphasized covenants, catechisms and confessions.”
—The issue of church-state separation “has become the subject of a great deal, I think, of misconstrual as to what it originally meant and what it might mean today. It has become, in fact, for many Baptists and others the severance of religion from public life. And now we are caught again in this misunderstanding of the most basic rudiments of our religious faith.”
George spoke on a panel of representatives from various religious traditions about working together to protect religious liberty for all. He urged the participants to maintain their “firmly held religious conviction” while defending religious freedom.
“[W]ithin our own religious conviction and tradition there is a common-core commitment that allows us to respect one another, to enter into dialogue with one another and to stand for one another when religious freedom is under assault. [It is] what I call an ecumenism of conviction, not an ecumenism of accommodation. That’s the way forward,” said George, dean of Beeson Divinity School at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama.
The EPPC’s American Religious Freedom Program plans to start caucuses for legislators in all 50 states to help protect religious freedom, said Brian Walsh, the program’s executive director.
“We’re willing to do whatever it takes, make sacrifices, in order to make sure that we continue to make religious freedom something that we can pass on to future generations,” Walsh told Baptist Press. “We’ve been given it; we can’t squander it.”
MIRAMAR, FLORIDA, June 8, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – Fresh off embarrassing Barack Obama in the Democratic presidential primaries, Operation Rescue founder Randall Terry is now running for Congress in Florida.
Terry qualified as an independent candidate against Rep. Alcee Hastings, a pro-choice Democrat who has represented Florida’s 23rd district since 1993.
“My goal is to be a voice for the babies in south Florida,” Terry told LifeSiteNews.com. Seeking office “enables me to reach 10 million residents in Florida with the truth.”
Terry and other pro-life activists across the country are seeking office to exploit a loophole that says TV stations must air advertisements from political candidates. The law also gives candidates preferential ad rates.
He told LifeSiteNews he will again purchase “television ads that show the mangled bodies of babies who have been murdered under Obama’s and Hastings’ policies.”
By pursuing this strategy, he broadcast pro-life commercials in many parts of the country during the Super Bowl.
Terry moved to Florida in 2004 and quickly became active campaigning to save Terri Schiavo.
In 2009, he told Congress it must pass hate crimes legislation to protect people who engage in “all of these philias and fetishes and isms that were put forward,” including “apotemnophilia, asphyxophilia, autogynephilia, coprophilia, exhibitionism, fetishism, frotteurism, gerontosexuality, incest, kleptophilia, klismaphilia, necrophilia, partialism, pedophilia, sexual masochism, sexual sadism, telephone scatalogia, toucherism, transgenderism, transsexual, transvestite, transvestic fetishism, urophilia, voyeurism, or zoophilia.”
Hastings became the sixth federal judge in the history of the U.S. to be impeached after a bribery charge, but subsequently ran a successful campaign to represent Florida’s 23rd district in the House of Representatives in 1992. He was Nancy Pelosi’s original choice to chair the House Intelligence Committee after the Democrats took power in 2006.
Terry’s growing political history includes a previous run for U.S. Congress as the Right to Life Party candidate from his home state of New York against Rep. Maurice Hinchey in 1998 and for Florida state senate in 2006. Both bids were unsuccessful.
Terry said he ran against three far-Left Democrats, because “Truth has within it the seeds of its own victory. Lies have within them the seeds of their own destruction. When we juxtapose truth with lies, truth shines like a diamond in the sun.”
Although he is unlikely to become the next Democratic presidential nominee, in late May he named Missy Smith his his vice presidential running mate. Smith campaigned for Congress in the District of Columbia.
“Our message is very simple: If you vote for Obama, you empower him to murder babies and attack the Church,” Terry told LifeSiteNews.com. “No Catholic can in good conscience vote for Obama.”
June 8, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - I remember the meeting like it was yesterday. All of the clinic directors assembled in the main conference room. Sitting in a sort of squared-circle facing each other.
We were being told that we had all been guilty of fraudulent billing to the state and federal government. We didn’t even know that we had been participating in the fraud. We were all sitting there in silence. What did this mean? Were we in trouble? Could we potentially get in trouble? So, I broke the silence. I simply asked, “What are we going to do about the money we shouldn’t have received?” The response, “We are going to hope we don’t get caught.” But…”What if we do get caught? Can we be held responsible?” She then went into a long story about a similar situation she had once been in at a clinic where she once worked. The moral of the story was, yes, we could all be held responsible…but not to worry, “we” wouldn’t get caught.
A couple years later, I left Planned Parenthood. I talked to several attorneys about that meeting. I knew what I had been involved in was wrong, and I knew Planned Parenthood needed to be held accountable. That meeting had nothing to do with pro-life or pro-choice issues; this was about our tax dollars and fiscal responsibility. So, I decided to come forward with the information I knew and am now involved in a lawsuit against Planned Parenthood.
I often think about the people I worked with at Planned Parenthood. When this case goes to court, can they be held accountable? Yes. Can they be put in jail for this fraudulent activity? Yes. Is that a scary thought? Absolutely.
When I look back, I realize just how shocking and disrespectful Planned Parenthood was. You can see how much they value their personnel. “We are going to hope we don’t get caught”…but if we do, we will throw you under the bus instead of correcting our mistake.
So, maybe you are currently a clinic worker. Maybe you are aware of fraudulent activity taking place at your facility. Maybe it is happening and you don’t even know about it. We just recently saw videos exposed by Live Action that show clinic workers knowingly breaking the law. Has that been you? Can you really trust your employer, the abortion industry? This is the same industry that has multiple lawsuits pending (all brought on by former clinic workers) that allege fraud. This is the same industry that is currently under Congressional investigation because of suspected misdeeds. This is the same industry that has been caught again and again by Live Action and other groups breaking the law and deliberately lying to patients. These are the people you trust? You think they are loyal to you? Think again. Just months before I left Planned Parenthood, I had received their “Employee of the Year” award. Three weeks after I left, I was sitting in a court fighting against the people I once called my closest friends. You’ve heard the saying, “There is no honor among thieves.” Well, there is even less honor in the abortion industry.
You may hear things from your supervisors like, “Oh, those Live Action videos are a hoax.” Why don’t you check it out for yourself? We always post unedited video on our site, www.liveaction.org. If they are indeed a “hoax” then why do these clinics always fire the employees involved in the videos? I understand tolerance and acceptance, but those two things do not require law breaking…which is what we see over and over again.
I remember watching one video…I heard the clinic workers say, “We don’t judge here. We accept people from all walks of life.” I could almost hear my voice making that statement. The clinic worker was reassuring a pimp and a prostitute that their illegal sex trafficking ring was “safe” with Planned Parenthood. You see what we have done? We have forgotten who we are working to protect. We have allowed the idea of “tolerance” to cloud our judgment of right and wrong.
I suspect you have run into similar situations at your clinic…I know I did. Did you brush them off under the idea that ‘you are a tolerant person’ or did you do the right thing and stand up against what you saw? I bet you let “tolerance” and “acceptance” get the best of you.
Are you willing to take the fall for your job? Are you willing to go to prison for this industry? If not, then we can help. You don’t have to feel trapped. There is a way out and it is called “And Then There Were None.” It is an organization to help you leave the abortion industry. We provide 4 streams of assistance.
- Up to three months of financial support after a worker resigns and help with job placement
- Emotional support during the transition time
- A spiritual advisor of the former worker’s choosing
- Free legal counsel to protect the worker’s interests during transition
There is no reason to stay in the abortion field if you want out…and we have a strong desire to help you. You deserve better than the abortion industry. You deserve to work somewhere where you are valued and respected. Let us help. www.attwn.org.
Washington gay ‘marriage’ law stopped after opponents gather 240,000 signatures
WASHINGTON, June 8, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) — Washington State’s new gay “marriage” law has been halted one day before it was set to come into effect, after Preserve Marriage Washington (PMW) collected and filed over 240,000 signatures opposing the redefinition of marriage.
The “marriage” law, signed by Governor Chris Gregoire, would have made Washington the seventh state to legalize gay “marriages.”
Brian Brown, president of National Organization for Marriage, commended PMW, stating that the successful signature campaign demonstrates the “deep support that traditional marriage enjoys” and “sets the stage for a tremendous victory for marriage this November.”
“The signature gathering effort produced more signatures than have ever been collected by any referendum committee in the history of the state,” Brown declared.
The submitted signatures will be reviewed over the next week, to determine if they are sufficient to qualify to put a referendum to protect true marriage on the November ballot. The number of signatures submitted, however, is over twice the amount necessary to qualify for a public vote.
“We are… confident of victory,” Brown declared. “Thirty-two states in America have voted on marriage and every one has stood for traditional marriage, and rejected redefining marriage. We have no doubt that Washington State will do the same.”
The issue has further political repercussions, with President Barrack Obama now being a public supporter of same-sex “marriage,” and R-74 – the marriage referendum measure - having divided Washington state’s two candidates for governor.
Three other states – Maine, Minnesota and Maryland – are all set to have public referenda on the marriage issue this November.
Five-months pregnant couple facing forced abortion in China issues desperate plea for help
June 8, 2012 (turtlebayandbeyond.org) - Two groups that work to prevent human rights abuses in China, China Aid and All Girls Allowed, have reported that a woman who is five months pregnant from the Hunan Province is being held at a hospital in Changsha city for violating China’s one-child policy and faces an imminent forced abortion if she does not consent to a voluntary abortion or pay a fine.
Cao Ruyi, 37, and her husband Li Fu have a six year old daughter. Her husband reports that Cao was taken from their home and “dragged by more than a dozen government family planning officials and security guards.”
Bob Fu, president of China Aid Association just last month assisted human rights dissident Chen Guangcheng in gaining his release from China testifying multiple times at congressional hearings and remaining in contact with Chen. Fu has been in touch with Cao’s husband since the arrest. Fu also spoke to a family planning official in Changsha City and was told that Cao had two options: “to abort the baby or pay over $24,000 penalty.”
From the China Aid report:
Bob Fu spent one hour talking with the family planning office chief of the pregnant woman and was trying to persuade her to have mercy. She was very stubborn and told Bob Fu unless the couple pay about US $23,500(RMB150,000) according to the “law” for “social burden” fee, she and her colleagues will “try their best for as long as possible to let her abort the baby voluntarily.”
All Girls Allowed reports that Ms. Cao has received at least one injection “that may be part of an effort to induce labor and kill the child inside.”
From All Girls Allowed:
They’re going to give me a second shot,” said Cao, who was distressed about receiving the injections. She said hospital workers told her the injection was anti-inflammatory, but pregnant women are not supposed to receive heavy anti-inflammatory doses. In recent instances, hospital workers have forcibly injected abortive chemicals in pregnant women under orders from family planning officials. Melissa Chan of Al Jazeera documented such a case in 2010.
Cao and her husband are asking for public support so they may keep their unborn child. Li Fu told Chia Ling, president of All Girls Allowed, “Help us - I will never sign the consent form, but we also need the public to help stop a forced abortion. Tell them to please help us!”
Changsha County Maternal and Child Health Hospital (People’s Hospital in Changsha County)
No. 53 Xiangchun Road, Changsha City, Hunan Province
Phone: +86-731-8433-2238 or +86-731-8406-9120
24-Hour Line: +86-731-8401-1900
June 8, 2012 (HLIWorldWatch.org) - The Korean Food and Drug Administration (KFDA) announced Thursday that the purchase of emergency contraceptives, known as morning-after pills, will no longer be regulated by medical doctors, and the drugs will now be available over-the-counter (OTC).
The KFDA also reversed its policy on non-emergency oral contraceptives, announcing that purchase will require a doctor’s prescription beginning as early as next year. The pills are currently available OTC except for Bayer’s Yasmin and Yaz brands, which have been under investigation by the U.S. FDA for elevated risk of blood clots. A prescription for emergency contraceptives will still be required for teenagers.
“According to our panel of experts, the main mechanism behind the emergency pills is the interference of hormonal action, linked to interference of implantation. It is not an abortion,” said Cho Ki-ho, a KFDA official.
The Korea Herald reported that Catholics in Cheongju, North Chungcheong Province, held a protest in front of the KFDA headquarters prior to Thursday’s announcement urging authorities to maintain the current classification of the drug.
Bishop Gabriel Chang Bong-hun of Cheongju, president of the Committee for Bioethics of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Korea (CBCK) argued fiercely against reclassifying emergency contraceptives as OTC drugs in a May 6, 2012 letter:
“The Korean Pharmaceutical Association (KPA) and some NGOs have argued recently that the morning-after pill should fall under the category of an over-the-counter drug because it can cut the abortion rate. … For the last thirty years the government in promoting a policy to curb overpopulation has played a decided role in the diffusion of contempt for life and the infringement upon the dignity of human life, because it has overlooked and even encouraged the practice of unethical artificial contraception and abortion. As a result, our society is now facing a serious low birth rate.”
The bishop called the use of artificial contraception “an ethically unjustifiable act” and argued that the morning-after pill “is also a kind of contraceptive infringing upon human life.”
“Blessed Teresa of Calcutta said that abortion is the most severe violence against the peace of the world,” he said. “Just as we cannot tolerate visible school violence, so we cannot tolerate the invisible violence of abortion and the morning-after pill.”
The Korean Pharmaceutical Association (KPA) issued a statement last week urging the government to list emergency contraceptives as OTC drugs, and claimed deregulation would decrease the number of illegal abortions in South Korea.
“Emergency pills are effective when taken within 12 hours of sexual intercourse and 72 hours utmost. Finding and visiting a doctor in that limited time is very difficult,” the KPA said.
“In a way, conventional pills are much riskier,” said Kim Koo, head of the KPA. “Long-term exposure to oral contraceptives is much more harmful. Think of it, your hormone secretion is being manipulated regularly for years. But many of them are sold without doctors’ prescription.”
The KFDA recognizes that the side effects of oral contraceptives can include thrombosis, thromboembolism, thrombo puerperalis, myocardial infarction, cerebral hemorrhage and cerebral thrombosis, among others, and bans the pills from being administered to women with breast cancer, endometrial cancer, hepatitis and thromboembolism. Women who are over 40 years old, obese, have headaches, depression or other related conditions are also restricted from obtaining the pills.
“In order to prevent pregnancy, women are advised to take the pills for 21 days a month then take a seven-day break. This pattern goes on forever. It affects the hormonal activities of the body. We need a careful approach to the issue,” the KFDA’s Kim Sung-ho said.
But when it comes to emergency contraceptives, KFDA authorities do not appear to be concerned about harmful side effects. The cited reason for the lack of concern was that health officials have not observed many of the more serious side effects in Korean women: “The most commonly reported side effects of the drug, including irregular menstruation, headache, nausea and vomiting, are reported to cease within 48 hours. Thromboembolism and other serious adverse effects have not yet been reported in Korea.”
The Korean Society of Obstetrics and Gynecology warned of the harmful side effects of emergency contraception in a statement released prior to the KFDA ruling in which the group argued to keep the current restrictions in place.
“Emergency pills shift the hormonal action of the body to an extreme level since it should be able to prevent conception. The hormone contained in the drug is 10-15 times stronger than regular pills. Then how critical can that be? It naturally requires doctors’ consideration and monitoring,” said Chung Ho-jin of the Korean Society of Obstetrics and Gynecology.
The group also did not agree with claims that greater access to emergency contraceptives would curb the number of abortions: “In Sweden, the morning-after pills were reclassified as OTC from 2001. By 2007, the abortion rate increased by 17 percent. The more important thing is that the failure rate of the abortion pills is more than 15 percent, which shows that the drug is not a cure to irresponsible sex.”
The Catholic Church in South Korea is not likely to relent in its opposition to the government’s action on contraceptives. In an effort to strengthen the clergy’s understanding of life and family issues, Bishop Gabriel Chang Bong-hun recently commissioned the translation of Human Life International’s A Pro-Life Pastoral Handbook, and sent copies to every priest in South Korea. The publication was specifically designed to help priests, seminarians and other religious and lay teachers of the Catholic faith examine questions about contraception, abortion, end of life issues, assisted reproductive technologies, and the Sacrament of Marriage.
“The KPA and pharmaceutical companies must have deep concern for health and sound sexual morals of the youth and not just focus on their profits,” said the bishop in May. “[T]hough it is a long and difficult way, we have to walk together towards respect for life and sound sexual morality.”
June 8, 2012 (BryanKemper.com) - When I first read the headline of this story I was hoping I was reading wrong or that it was a parody. Unfortunately I was reading correctly and this was a real news story. Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest provider of abortion, has set up one of their death camps inside the walls of a public high school.
From the article in the Daily Caller it appears that the abortion giant will not actually be doing surgical abortions on the campus, but they most definitely will be referring and counseling for abortion. They also will be providing free birth control for teens without their parents’ knowledge. I would bet that the school nurse is not even allowed to give kids an aspirin, yet Planned Parenthood can give birth control? Something is just plain wrong with this.
Not only is Planned Parenthood setting up camp in the school, they are going to train and use the kids to spread their poison to other kids.
“Planned Parenthood also trains Roosevelt students to market its services to their peers by talking to them about sexually transmitted diseases and how to avoid getting pregnant.”
As a parent I am appalled that not only are they allowed to have a clinic on the campus but are openly using kids to market abortion and promiscuity to other kids. Planned Parenthood receives hundreds of millions of our tax dollars and now they are being given front row access to our kids; this should enrage parents.
I want to know if when the history teacher is teaching about the Nazi Holocaust in class that the students are also told about the Planned Parenthood founder’s connection with Hitler’s Nazi regime?
Planned Parenthood is in the business of killing children and for them to be allowed near our children is deplorable. They prey on kids and peddle their cycle of death to them; sex, condoms, abortion and start over again. They create a destructive pattern of activities that are dangerous and have no place in our schools.
Over the past few years Live Action has been exposing Planned Parenthood for what they really are. They have done undercover investigations showing Planned Parenthood covering for pimps seeking abortions for underage sex slaves. They have recently shown Planned Parenthood coaching girls how to get a sex selection abortion.
How can an organization that would help a sex trafficker be allowed near teenage girls? Where is the outrage in Los Angeles? Is anyone thinking with an ounce of discernment?
I talked to Kristina Garza from the Southern California based organization, Survivors of the Abortion Holocaust, and asked what they will be doing about what is happening in their front yard.
Kristina has this to say:
“CBS News makes no qualms about calling Planned Parenthood’s business deal exactly what it is: ‘setting up shop’ in our public schools. The fact that Planned Parenthood is garnering business directly from LA Unified School District is not news, though. LAUSD and Orange County school employees have been taking high school girls to Planned Parenthood for abortions during school hours, without their parents’ knowledge for years.
“Planned Parenthood also recruits life-long clients from our public schools by teaching sexual education that promotes promiscuity to students as young as 5 years old, providing free condoms and birth control to high school students, and advertising in public school newspapers
“Planned Parenthood claims that they will reduce the number of teen pregnancies at Roosevelt High, but, in fact, they will just increase the number of pregnancies that end in abortion. We are disgusted by Planned Parenthood’s blatant and desperate attempt to take over our public school systems with it’s death-dealing business agenda, and will not let the Roosevelt High School death camp go unnoticed.
“Students deserve to know the truth about Planned Parenthood, and Survivors will 1.) Expose Planned Parenthood’s lies about ‘sexual health,’ 2.) Make sure the public knows that Planned Parenthood unashamedly protects child predators and circumvents the proper role of parents in students’ lives, and 3.) Continue to show students the reality of abortion, of which Planned Parenthood is the number 1 provider in the world. Planned Parenthood cannot be trusted and must be stopped from preying on our students by setting up shop on our public schools.”
Father Frank Pavone, president of Priests for Life commented, “This is actually a great opportunity for the pro-life movement to implement a project we at Priests for Life took up years ago: to train local taxpayers to alert their school district to the liability that partnership with Planned Parenthood brings. Planned Parenthood breaks the law left and right, covering up sexual abuse of minors, for example. For a school district to partner with an organization like Planned Parenthood is like a school district buying a swing set from a company who produces defective swing sets that have hurt and killed children in the past. Taxpayers should start bringing this up in school board meetings.”
The Priests for Life Youth Outreach will work along side Survivors, Live Action and other organizations to confront this atrocity and continue to expose the Planned Parenthood for who they are. This is the generation who will abolish abortion; we will not sit silently while predators like Planned Parenthood are targeting the youth of America.
Read the original story from the Daily Caller here.
SASKATOON, Saskatchewan, June 8, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - After launching the “New Abortion Caravan” last week from the Vancouver Art Gallery, a large group of anti-abortion youth activists with the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform is heading to Saskatoon after passing through Chilliwack, Kelowna and Edmonton.
Pro-choice advocates have already been responding to the New Abortion Caravan as it makes its way across the country to Ottawa, with one member of the original 1970 Abortion Caravan calling the pro-life hijacking of the project “horrifying,” while counter-protestors have employed a variety of tactics to throw the pro-life activists off message.
“Clearly, abortion advocates realize that we’ve hit upon tactics that have always been successful when employed by social reform movements,” said Stephanie Gray, CCBR’s executive director. “It took the pro-abortion movement 18 years from the 1970 Caravan to achieve free abortion on demand. We plan to turn this thing around, and we will do it using historically proven tactics and an unstoppable team of young people that keeps growing.”
The group plans to run huge, box-bodied trucks through Saskatoon featuring bloody images of aborted fetuses that are seven feet tall and twenty feet long, while youth activists hit the streets displaying graphic hand-held signs and circulating thousands of graphic postcards depicting abortions into Saskatoon mailboxes.
“Canada has been tolerating abortion because she has not been forced to confront the reality of what it is,” said Gray. “Our projects are forcing Canadians from Vancouver to Ottawa to realize that we are miserably failing the most vulnerable of all Canadians: pre-born children in the womb.”
Supreme Court dismisses appeal by prisoner of conscience Linda Gibbons
OTTAWA, Ontario, June 8, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The Supreme Court of Canada dismissed an appeal by pro-life prisoner of conscience Linda Gibbons on Friday morning as she continues her 18-year battle to overturn a Toronto injunction banning pro-life activity outside of abortion facilities.
Gibbons was appealing a criminal charge of disobeying a court order by arguing that while the 18-year-old temporary injunction she is accused of violating was instituted by a civil court, she has since been tried in criminal courts.
Her lawyer, Daniel Santoro, argued that the Crown is taking her before the criminal court because the civil court would have the power to overturn the injunction.
But the Supreme Court agreed with the Crown in an 8-1 decision issued at 9:45 a.m. Friday.
Gibbons’s criminal charge was quashed by a lower court judge in January 2009 on the grounds that the matter was improperly heard in a criminal, rather than civil, court. But the Ontario Court of Appeal later overturned the ruling and reinstated her criminal conviction.
Gibbons has spent about 9 of the last 18 years behind bars for repeated violations of the injunction because she steadfastly refuses to accept a bail condition that requires her to stay away from the abortion facilities.
She told LifeSiteNews in 2011 that signing the bail papers would be like saying, “Yes I will cease defending innocent unborn children that are about to be killed.”
“If a two-year-old was being murdered next door, you’re not going to sit down and write a letter to your MP,” she explained. “When we’re having unborn children slaughtered at the rate we are in Canada, … should our lives go on as normal?” she asked in response. “It’s not normal to live in the Holocaust and sort of pretend it’s not happening.”
The 1994 injunction was instituted by Bob Rae’s provincial NDP government amidst calls for a government crackdown against the pro-life movement after they were declared guilty by the media for the 1992 bombing at abortionist Henry Morgentaler’s Toronto facility. Charges were never laid in that bombing, however, and the prime suspect was the father of a child aborted at the facility.
Nevertheless, the injunction has had the effect of silencing pro-lifers’ freedom of speech, and effectively impeding the life-saving work of sidewalk counselors and vigil-keepers.
Gibbons told LifeSiteNews in 2011 that she will continue to challenge the injunction “as long as God gives me life and breath. If I can get out of bed and put my feet on the floor, then I want to continue.”
“When we begin to suffer for the unborn, our identification with them, that’s when we’re going to impact society, when they see that,” she added. “The Church is not hurting enough for the unborn. When we start feeling their hurt in a real concrete way, then things are going to change, because then we’re saying very clearly that this cannot go on.”