Peter Baklinski

Peterborough pro-life group hasn’t missed Saturday protest in 25 years

Peter Baklinski
Peter Baklinski
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PETERBOROUGH, Ontario, October 21, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Since its inception in 1980, Peterborough Pro-Life has never swerved from what it considers its primary duty: publicly witnessing to the dignity and sanctity of a baby’s human life inside its mother’s womb. Last Wednesday, LifeSiteNews sat down with Paul Morgan and Ali van der Vegt, who recounted what the group had accomplished in 31 years of existence.

“Peterborough Pro-Life (PPL) association was formed to fight abortion and to foster respect for the dignity and sanctity of every human life, from conception to natural death, but especially the pre-born baby,” said Morgan, former president of PPL.

“It is not that we are happy that our group has been around this long,” added 78-year-old Mrs. van der Vegt, a grandmother and a long-serving member of the group.  “We wish abortion had stopped long ago and that our group was no longer needed.”

In a newsletter dated February 1998, Morgan explained to those who had recently joined the PPL group what was expected of them.

“You joined because you believe that the killing of babies, yet-to-be-born, is wrong and should not be permitted under any circumstances,” he said. “Being Pro-Life means acting, not just believing, and that action has to be persistent and constant.”

“But if you DO ACT, if you GET INVOLVED, then and only then, can you say ‘I’m a Pro-Lifer.’”

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The group has a long history of pro-life political involvement and pro-life events.

The group organized a candle-lit vigil in 1986 attended by 2000 people to protest the opening of a new Health Centre to provide abortions.

“They told us at the time that the new centre was for women’s health, but we knew that ‘health’ was really about bringing more abortion,” said Mrs. van der Vegt.

Other PPL events included participating in Canada’s first Operation Rescue effort with Joan Andrews held in Toronto in October 1988. Some of PPL’s members were arrested by police and detained in prison. Morgan, one of the ones arrested, remembers clearly the events that unfolded that day.

“The philosophy of Operation Rescue was that if we blocked the entrance ways to the abortuary with bodies—just saturated it with bodies—then the pregnant mothers and doctors couldn’t get through. Towards the end of the day, the police came with their paddy wagons and 75 of us were arrested. The clinic remained closed for the day.”

To get the pro-life message out to their hometown community, the PPL sponsored information campaigns, including a 1994 campaign where 40,000 copies of a pro-life newspaper were distributed to Peterborough homes.

The PPL group is best known for its weekly Saturday morning silent prayer vigils at the Peterborough Regional Health Centre, where they witness to the life of the unborn child with signs that read: “Abortion Kills Babies.”

With their stalwart dedication to the pro-life cause, PPL has never missed a Saturday at the Peterborough hospital in the past 25 years, ever since the group received governmental recognition as a corporation in 1986.

“There were some days when we were so cold, you couldn’t talk to one another, your face was frozen,” said Morgan, “We have been there in ‘fair or foul’ weather.”

After so many years of hard work, the group experiences frustration that babies are still killed in their hometown.

“They are killing life in that hospital which is supposed to be for health, and it’s not for health,” said Mrs. van der Vegt.

“The local doctor does abortions on Thursdays, and two other doctors take turns and they come at the end of the month on Saturdays,” she added.

“There are anywhere between 300 to 500 babies killed each year at the Peterborough Regional Health Centre,” said Morgan, explaining how they once received help from their local conservative MP Dean Del Mastro in obtaining information about the number of abortions performed, information that the hospital was at first unwilling to hand over.

While PPL does not know how many babies they have saved by their public witnessing, they realize that the battle they are fighting has spiritual ramifications.

“It’s spiritual warfare,” said Mrs. van der Vegt.

“Sometimes we have to stop, take a deep breath and say, ‘Wow, we’ve done all this over the years, and obviously our timing is not commensurate with God’s timing.’ So, all we can do from here-on-in is do what we can—in other words—fight the battle,” said Morgan.

In fighting what appears, for the time being, to be a losing battle, the group finds consolation that from God’s perspective, it is the “fighting of the battle that counts…not the winning or the losing.”

“God says as much to us: ‘I want you to fight the battle, I don’t necessarily expect you to win. In my good time, things will all ‘drop into place’ and you will understand,’” said Morgan.

As these veterans for the Pro-Life cause begin to show signs of weariness from their long struggle with the culture of death, they are glad and heartened to see young people starting to take up the pro-life banner and continue the fight for the right-to-life of pre-born babies.

“I have hope in the young people. Everywhere you go, there are young people taking over [the pro-life movement]. They are really enthusiastic about it and well educated,” said van der Vegt.

Morgan agrees. “Our greatest hope on the horizon is young people.”

“We’ve done our bit, we’ve done what we can and we’re getting to the point now where nobody really listens to us: we’re the old fogeys, the old brigade. But the young people coming in—and all the youngsters that we got coming to the [Ottawa] March for Life—these will make the changes; they will ‘get it done’ because they are the ones who have the power.”

To become a member of Peterborough Pro-Life or to send a word of congratulations, please contact:

Ali van der Vegt
Ph: (705) 745-3820
E-mail: ali.vandervegt@yahoo.ca

Join the Peterborough Pro-Life Silent Prayer Vigil every Saturday, 10AM to 11AM.
Peterborough Regional Health Centre
1 Hospital Dr, Peterborough, ON

 


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Thaddeus Baklinski Thaddeus Baklinski Follow Thaddeus

African researchers warn early sexual activity increases risk of cancers

Thaddeus Baklinski Thaddeus Baklinski Follow Thaddeus
By Thaddeus Baklinski

A report on rising cancer rates in Africa delivered at a conference in Namibia last week warned that oral contraceptives and engaging in sexual activity from a young age lead to an increased risk of breast and reproductive system cancers.

Researchers presented the "2014 Integrated Africa Cancer Fact Sheet & Summary Score Card" during the 8th Stop Cervical, Breast and Prostate Cancer in Africa (SCCA) conference, held in Windhoek, Namibia from July 20 to 22, noted that cancer is a growing health problem in many developing countries and that breast and cervical cancer are the most common forms affecting African women.

The report said that sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) play a major role in reproductive system cancers and that young girls who engage in sexual activity risk getting, among other STDs, the human papilloma virus (HPV), some strains of which are linked to cervical cancer.

The report said although HPV infections are common in healthy women, they are usually fought off by the body’s immune system, with no discernible symptoms or health consequences.

The Cancer Association of South Africa points out that of the scores of HPV types, 14 of the more than 40 sexually transmitted varieties are considered "high risk" for causing serious illness, while two, HPV-16 and HPV-18, are linked to cervical cancer.

“Long-term use of oral contraceptives is also associated with increased risk [of cancer], and women living with HIV-AIDS are at increased risk of cervical cancer,” the report said.

Dr. Thandeka Mazibuko, a South African oncologist, told the conference attendees that when an 18-year-old is diagnosed with cervical cancer, “this means sex is an important activity in her life and she indulged from a young age.”

Mazibuko said the standard treatment for cancer of the cervix is seven weeks of radiation therapy.

“After the treatment they cannot have sex with their husbands or partners. They cannot bear children because everything has been closed up. Some may still have the womb but radiation makes them infertile,” Mazibuko said, according to a report in The Namibian.

Statistics from the Cancer Association of Namibia show that cases of cervical cancer have risen from 129 in 2005 to 266 in 2012.

The SCCA Conference theme was, "Moving forward to end Cervical Cancer by 2030: Universal Access to Cervical Cancer Prevention."

In his keynote address, host and Namibian President Hifikepunye Lucas Pohamba urged African countries to help each other to expand and modernize health care delivery in the continent.

"Within the context of the post-2015 Development Agenda and sustainable development goals, the provision of adequate health care to African women and children must be re-emphasized," said the president, according to AllAfrica.

The Namibian leader urged mothers to breastfeed their children for at least six months as a measure to prevent breast cancer.


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Hilary White Hilary White Follow Hilary

Allow ‘lethal injection’ for poor to save on palliative care: Lithuanian health minister

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By Hilary White

Euthanasia is a solution for terminally ill poor people who cannot afford palliative care and who do not want to “see their families agonize” over their suffering, Lithuania’s health minister said last week.

In an interview on national television, Minister Rimantė Šalaševičiūtė added that the Belgian law on child euthanasia ought to be “taken into account” as well. 

Šalaševičiūtė told TV3 News that Lithuania, a country whose population is 77 percent Catholic, is not a welfare state and cannot guarantee quality palliative care for all those in need of it. The solution, therefore, would be “lethal injection.”

“It is time to think through euthanasia in these patients and allow them to make a decision: to live or die,” she said.

Direct euthanasia remains illegal in the Balkan state, but activists tried to bring it to the table in 2012. A motion to drop the planned bill was passed in the Parliament in March that year in a vote of 75 to 14. Since then the country has undergone a change in government in which the far-left Social Democrats have formed the largest voting bloc.

Šalaševičiūtė is a member of Parliament for the Social Democrats, the party originally established in the late 19th century – re-formed in the late 1980s – from Marxist principles and now affiliated with the international Party of European Socialists and Socialist International.

Fr. Andrius Narbekovas, a prominent priest, lecturer, physician, bioethicist, and member of the government’s bioethics committee, called the suggestion “satanic,” according to Delfi.lt. He issued a statement saying it is the purpose of the Ministry of Health to “protect the health and life, instead of looking for ways to take away life.”

“We understand that people who are sick are in need of funds. But a society that declares itself democratic, should very clearly understand that we have to take care of the sick, not kill them,” he said.


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Islamists in Mosul mark Christian homes with an Arabic "N" for Nazarene.
Gualberto Garcia Jones, J.D.

We must open wide our doors to Iraq’s Christians

Gualberto Garcia Jones, J.D.
By Gualberto Garcia Jones J.D.

On July 18, the largest Christian community in Iraq, the Chaldean Catholics of Mosul, were given a grotesque ultimatum: leave your ancestral home, convert to Islam, or die.

All but forgotten by the 1.2 billion Catholics of the world, these last Christians who still speak Jesus’ native tongue of Aramaic and live in the land of Abraham and Jonah are being wiped out before our very eyes.

As a way of issuing a thinly-veiled threat, reminiscent of the Nazi persecution of the Jews, the Arabic letter “N” (for Nazarean) has been painted on the outside of the homes of all known Christians in Mosul.

These threats, issued by the fanatical Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) known for its bloodthirsty rampage of executions, have been taken very seriously by the several hundred thousand Christians in Mosul who have left with little more than the clothes they were wearing. 

At least most of these Christians were able to flee and find temporary protection among the Kurds in their semi-autonomous region.  However the Kurds do not have the resources to defend or shelter the Chaldean Christians for much longer.

On Monday, during an interview on Fox News, Republican U.S. Rep. Frank Wolf, who recently joined with 54 other members of the House of Representatives in a letter to President Obama asking him to act to protect these communities, stated that while Iraqi President Maliki had sent military flights to Mosul to evacuate Shiite Muslims, the US has done nothing to protect the Chaldean Christians.  Rep. Wolf also stated emphatically that President Obama has done “almost nothing” about the genocide taking place.

The silence from the White House is deafening.  But the lack of leadership from the hierarchy of the Catholic Church in America has been shocking as well.

Nevertheless, the plight of these Iraqi Christians is beginning to be taken seriously.   This is due in large part to the heroic efforts of local Iraqi religious leaders like Chaldean Patriarch Sako, who has gone on a whirlwind tour of the world to alert us all of the plight of these Iraqi Christians.  In a statement demonstrating his character, he told the Christians of Iraq last week, “We are your shepherds, and with our full responsibility towards you we will stay with you to the end, will not leave you, whatever the sacrifices.”

Before the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq was launched there were approximately 1.5 to 2 million Christians living in Iraq.  Today, there are believed to be less than 200,000.  The numbers speak for themselves.

Now that the world is beginning to be aware of the genocide in Northern Iraq, many of us ask ourselves: what can we do?  As citizens and as Christians blessed to live in nations with relative peace and security, what can we do?

The answer is quite simple and unexpected.  Demand that our government and church pull its head out of the sand and follow France. Yes, France.  

Yesterday, in a heroic gesture of Christian solidarity that would make Joan of Arc proud, the government of France opened wide its doors to the persecuted Iraqi Christians.  

”France is outraged by these abuses that it condemns with the utmost firmness," Laurent Fabius, France's foreign minister, and Bernard Cazeneuve, France's interior minister, said in a joint statement on Monday.

"The ultimatum given to these communities in Mosul by ISIS is the latest tragic example of the terrible threat that jihadist groups in Iraq, but also in Syria and elsewhere, pose to these populations that are historically an integral part of this region," they added. "We are ready, if they wish, to facilitate their asylum on our soil.  We are in constant contact with local and national authorities to ensure everything is done to protect them.”

The French statement drives home three crucial elements that every government, especially the United States, should communicate immediately:

  1. Recognize the genocide and name the perpetrators and victims.

  2. Officially condemn what is happening in the strongest terms.

  3. Offer a solution that includes cooperation with local authorities but which leads by making solid commitments such as offering asylum or other forms of protection.

With regard to the Church, we should look to the Chaldean Patriarch and the Iraqi bishops who shared their expectations explicitly in an open letter to “all people of conscience in Iraq and around the world” to take “practical actions to assure our people, not merely expressions of condemnation.”  Noticeably, the last section of the letter from the Iraqi bishops, before a final prayer to God, is an expression of thanks to the Kurdish government, which has welcomed them not just with “expressions” of goodwill but, like France, with a sacrificial hospitality.

On Friday, July 25, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops did issue a statement, but unfortunately it lacked much in terms of leadership or solutions.  We should encourage our bishops to do better than that, be bolder and stronger for our persecuted brothers and sisters, name names and offer concrete sacrificial aid. In a word, be more like the French.

In 1553, Rome welcomed the Chaldean church into the fold of the Catholic Church.  Nearly 500 years later, Catholic Americans must find ways to welcome these persecuted people into our country, into our churches, and into our own homes if need be.

I say, I am with you St. Joan of Arc.   I am with you, France.  I am with you, Chaldeans!

Gualberto Garcia Jones is the Executive Director of the International Human Rights Group, a non-profit organization based in Washington, DC, that seeks to advance the fundamental rights to life, the natural family, and religious liberty through international law and international relations. 


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