Jean McCarthy

47 hours with a prince

Jean McCarthy
By Jean McCarthy
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July 18, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - “Your husband isn’t with you?” The doctor looked concerned.  Hannah Boland had decided to go alone for her follow-up appointment.

Only a short while before, a pregnancy had ended in a miscarriage. But this pregnancy was different. They were out of the danger zone. The baby was already twenty weeks gestation. Alison and Harry, Hannah’s two toddlers, aged three and two respectively, were going to have another sibling.

“I like having the husband or partner present in these sorts of situations. We detected a problem with your baby’s scan,” the doctor continued. “There seems to be a problem with his brain.”

An information sheet was pushed in front of Hannah. 

The baby’s brain had not developed, the doctor explained. The condition could not be altered. It was unlikely he would be born alive. If he survived birth, he would have a few, short, painful moments to live. 

“I was in total shock,” Hannah told LifeSiteNews, “This sort of thing happens to other people.” 

Hannah and her husband, Michael, both devout Christians, raise their family in a semi-rural area outside Sydney, Australia. Michael is the sole breadwinner, working as a mechanic who specializes in elevators.  Hannah is a stay-at-home mom, who was taking care of their two toddlers at the time of the diagnosis. 

This diagnosis put her faith to the test. 

The couple’s main struggle was how to cope with the uncertainties that lay ahead. But Hannah says the Bible gave them hope.  She clung to the passage, “He will not tempt you beyond your strength.”

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Abortion was never an option for the Bolands.  “With our first child, we went through those questions because they can do prenatal testing.”  Those tests were “a waste of time,” she said. “We knew that that was not something God would want us to do…Who are we to say that that person is not worthy to live?” 

Almost every doctor they met recommended an abortion. Hannah says one doctor said at a consultation, “Tell me why I am here?  I don’t even know why I am here. There is no hope for your baby.  No.  None.  There is a 99.9 per cent chance of your baby dying right after he is born.  It is likely that he will just gurgle a little and then die.  I won’t even be present at his birth; there is no point.”

The doctors also thought there was no point in giving the baby oxygen in the event that he lived after birth.  One doctor suggested simply letting the baby starve.

Prayers and tears were all the couple was left with.  They loved their son and wanted what was best for him.  They had to decide on their own what that would mean. 

In the end they decided to feed, love and serve him.  The one real struggle was resuscitation.  Was it in his best interest to bring him back? Their final decision: “We would not do anything intentionally to end Stephen’s life.”

The birth took three days.  When Stephen was born, “he stunned the theater staff with his loud, healthy cry.  It was a far cry from the gurgling, dying cry they had expected to see,” Hannah recounted in a book she later published about her son. 

Their son looked healthy and beautiful.  Tears rolled down Michael’s cheek and family members trickled in and out to meet and cuddle the new baby.  Stephen’s brother and sister were excited to meet him, but too young to fully process what was going on.  They only understood that he was very sick.

Hours later, Stephen began to fuss, a signal that it was feeding time.  The nurses inserted a feeding tube through Stephen’s nose.  It seemed to nourish and settle him. 

“He was feeding.  He was well.  I was going to be able to bring him home and take care of him!” Hannah wrote. 

However, the initial signs were misleading.  Stephen began spitting up his food and it became apparent that he was not assimilating any nutrition.  It was only a matter of time. 

Hannah recounts being tired and frazzled, not knowing how to handle a child that was slipping away.  Her husband showed her how.  He gently took his son and said, “Well, mate, you’re still here for a reason.  And as long as you are still here, I am going to serve you as best I can.” He cradled him and swabbed his dry lips. 

It was a time to be completely selfless, which Hannah admits was difficult especially after the long labor.  She is ashamed to recount, “Here was my son dying, suffering, and once again all I could think about was how it was hard on me.”

During short intervals Stephen stopped breathing, but would revive again and again.  After several hours of cradling Stephen, Michael turned to his wife. Their son was gone.  He slipped away in the arms of his father, close to his mother.  He had arrived at his final destination.  In some ways, their journey had only just begun. 

This month marks the one-year anniversary of Stephen’s birth.  Hannah has written an account of his life, 47 Hours with a Prince, and is training to be a Christian Counselor. 

“I want to help people in the way I have been helped,” she says, explaining that a Christian Counselor helped her though the many months of grieving that followed the death of Stephen.  She hopes to help those with emotional illness, noting, “the emotional side of us is just as prone to illness as any part of us.”

There are many messages she wants to give, and one is about acceptance. “We have to look at things through God’s eyes or you are going to make decisions that you are going to regret.”

As for the book, it has met with success in Hannah’s mind.  “I have non-Christian friends coming away saying they will give deep consideration to it.”

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Jeanne Smits, Paris correspondent

Belgium approves euthanasia for rapist serving life sentence

Jeanne Smits, Paris correspondent
By Jeanne Smits

Belgium’s Minister of Justice approved a euthanasia request Monday from a convicted rapist serving a life sentence.

The Brussels court of appeal will review the case September 29, but Belgian media report it is expected simply to record the existence of the agreement between the man and the government.

This would not be the first euthanasia of a Belgian prisoner – a terminally ill man who had already spent 27 years in jail was legally killed two years ago – but in the case of Frank Van Den Bleeken, the euthanasia request is being linked to the conditions of his imprisonment.

Van Den Bleeken, 50, has spent close to 30 years in prison. He was sentenced to life-long imprisonment for several counts of rape, one of them followed by murder. He has been declared irresponsible for these acts because of psychiatric disorders and does not want to be released from prison, considering himself to be “a danger for society.” Despite having repeatedly asked for psychiatric treatment, none has been forthcoming in the absence of any Belgian institution prepared to take up this sort of patient.

The convicted rapist says his psychological suffering is “intolerable” and it is on these grounds that three doctors decided last May that Van Den Bleeken should be entitled to euthanasia – even though he has also asked for a transfer to a Dutch institution where psychiatrically ill criminals receive adequate treatment and care.

He presented both demands to the minister of Justice via an emergency procedure. The Brussels appeal court decided that the minister, Maggie De Block, was not competent to order a transfer to the Netherlands but that she could decide to grant his request for euthanasia. The decision is being called a purely “medical” one by the minister who told the press that she confined herself to following the doctors’ opinion.

A previous euthanasia request made by Van Den Bleeken three years ago was rejected on the grounds that all had not been done to ensure that he would suffer less and that other options than death were available.

Now, even though it is clear that the prisoner would find more humane conditions of detention in nearby Holland, that he is conscious of the gravity of the acts he commits under the pressure of his mental illness, and that he is in need of medical care, the decision to make him die reads as a further trivialization of euthanasia in a country where an ever-increasing amount of psychological motives are being accepted to justify “mercy-killing.”

As in all the states of the European Union, the death penalty does not exist; it was abolished in Belgium in 1996. Rapists and murderers can find themselves sentenced to life-long sentences with no hope at all of ever being freed, a perspective which some find worse than death.

Since Van Den Bleeken’s story received media coverage, including a televised interview at the end of 2013, fifteen other prisoners have contacted the “UL-Team,” an information center for end-of-life questions, euthanasia expert Wim Distelmans told the media this Tuesday. He said those numbers are expected to rise. Distelmans is known for his support and active participation in cases of euthanasia for psychological reasons.

No date has been fixed for Van Den Bleeken’s death but his family has indicated that a doctor willing to perform the act has been found. Once the appeals court has given its ruling the prisoner will be allowed to leave the Turnhout prison where he is interned at present, and will be transferred to an unnamed hospital where he will be able to say goodbye to his family before receiving a lethal injection.

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Sen. Rob Portman, R-OH http://portman.senate.gov
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First GOP senator to back marriage redefinition may run for president in 2016

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By Ben Johnson

The first Republican U.S. senator to support same-sex “marriage” is considering running for president in 2016 – if he is re-elected this year.

Sen. Rob Portman, the junior senator from Ohio, told reporters he would decide about campaigning for the GOP presidential nod during a recent visit to New Hampshire, home of the first in the nation primary.

“I’m focused, as you can tell, on 2014 and on doing my job as a senator,” he said, according to The Daily Caller. “After the election, I'll take a look at it.”

Portman became the first Republican senator to support same-sex “marriage” last March, citing a two-year “evolution” that took place after he learned his son, Will, is homosexual. He announced his change of heart shortly after he “held a dozen meetings with big New York donors” who did not believe the GOP sufficiently championed the cause of redefining marriage, in his capacity as vice chairman of finance for the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), according to Politico.

That provoked a backlash from pro-family leaders in the state, who warned Portman's move – which is at odds with the Republican Party platform – would splinter the Republican Party.”

That splintering could be seen on the pages of Ohio newspapers this month.

Lori Viars, vice president of Warren County Right to Life, wrote a column entitled, “Why Conservatives Are Dumping Portman.” She recounted asking then-Congressman Rob Portman if he would vote for the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in the 1990s.

“I thought he'd give me a quick yes and that I'd be on my way in search of air conditioning. But Portman would not answer my question. I pressed him, and again he deflected,” she wrote. “On my third (more emphatic) try, he got angry with me. He clearly did not want to take a position on DOMA. At the time, his son would have been in preschool.”

“Whatever his reason, Portman's flip-flop puts his presidential ambition at a disadvantage,” Viars wrote.

That garnered a ripping riposte from Mike Gonidakis of Ohio Right to Life, which was published as a letter to the editor. He accused Viars of “recklessly question[ing] Sen. Rob Portman's commitment to the pro-life cause.” Portman has a zero percent vote rating from NARAL Pro-Choice America and, while representing his conservative southwestern Ohio district voted against taxpayer funding for abortion at home and overseas, in favor of the partial birth abortion ban and protecting babies who are born alive during botched abortions, and against human cloning.

Still, Viars is not alone in distancing herself from the senator. Ohio's social conservative group, Citizens for Community Values, now lists Portman as an "unacceptable candidate."

In August 2013, Cleveland Right to Life criticized Rob Portman's stance. National Right to Life Committee (NRLC) President Carol Tobias sent a letter to CRTL, saying it had chosen to “disaffiliate” itself with NRLC because it had “issued public criticisms of and implicit political threats against a U.S. Senator who has supported the right-to-life position on every vote that has come before the Senate, and who is a sponsor of major NRLC-backed bills – because the chapter disagrees with his position on a non-right-to-life issue.”

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Aside from his stint in the U.S. Senate, the 58-year-old served 12 years in the House of Representatives and acted as U.S. Trade Representative and Director of Management and Budget under the George W. Bush administration, holding each office for one year, respectively. He largely favored free trade and voted for the 2002 authorization for the use of force against Iraq.

He has prepared presidential and vice presidential candidates for debates and has twice been considered for the vice presidential nomination, in 2008 and 2012.

Polls show Portman a virtual lock for re-election to the Senate. But the largely unknown, not especially charismatic senator does not register in polls for the presidential nomination of a party that is still committed to the traditional concept of marriage and family. 

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A topless activist with Femen attacks Belgian Archbishop Andrè-Joseph Leonard, who is known for his strong pro-life and pro-family stance.
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Why are pro-abortion protesters always taking their clothes off?

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By Jonathon van Maren

I’ve seen a lot of bizarre responses to pro-life activism. There’s the crude picket signs, the illiterate chants, the flashes of violence, the incoherent threats that so often seem to involve used tampons, and even activists dressed up like giant genitalia.

But there is one phenomenon that never ceases to stagger me with its counterproductive stupidity and moral blindness: The increasing prevalence of “feminist” protestors, almost exclusively women, stripping down to “protest” something—usually protection for the pre-born or some other dissent from the totalitarian death cult of the Sexual Revolution.

When people ask me what the weirdest response to pro-life work is and I try to explain this phenomenon, they find it hard to believe. So do I. But yet it happens, time and time again.

The suicidal tendencies of modern-day feminism would be almost laughable if they were not so depressing.

One student stripped down and sat on a folding chair in front of our pro-life display at the University of British Columbia. A few protestors decided to protest the launch of our 2012 national tour by going topless. Then, at a presentation in London, Ontario, a bunch of pro-abortion protesters showed up at a counter-protest organized by the Canadian Auto Worker’s Union, sans clothing. And of course, at last year’s March for Life a topless Femen protestor flung herself at a remarkably composed Catholic bishop as he spoke to the crowd, shrieking “F*** your morals!”

You’d think such behaviour would attract ire rather than admiration. But this is 2014 and most of our municipal governments use our taxpayer’s cash basically to fund a day dedicated to that type of behaviour when the Pride Parade rolls around.

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Instead, these women are now generally referred to as “brave.” Even the popular, but tiresomely far-left website Upworthy recently pushed a video with a street activist protesting harassment by misogynist pigs by standing on the street in her lingerie. (Little tip: Protesting the fact that some misogynists define you by your body by voluntarily showing them what they wanted to see in the first place isn't defiance, it's acquiescence. Protesting the fact that these guys aren't treating you with dignity by acting like you have none is counter-productive. “That guy crudely suggested he wants to see me naked! Well, I’ll show him! By showing him exactly what he wants to see! Wait…”)

A bit of research into the infamous nude activist group Femen (“Our mission is protest, our weapon is bare breasts”) shows just how exploitative (inadvertent though it may sometimes be) this entire phenomenon is. In recent documentary the group’s leader, Viktor Svyatski, admitted that he had perhaps started the group to “get girls,” and that he carefully selected only the most attractive girls for his group. The documentary also revealed that Svyatski had described the Femen girls as “weak,” and was often verbally abusive with them.

Again, the suicidal tendencies of modern-day feminism would be almost laughable if they were not so depressing.

But the phenomenon of public nudity is also more than just incoherent protest—it is a way of forcing people to accept any and all manifestations of the Sexual Revolution. As I noted some time ago:  The public is now regularly subjected to crude and wildly exhibitionist “Gay Pride Parades” and “Slut Walks.” These are not considered to be optional festivals hosted by tiny minority groups. No, politicians who refuse to attend are labelled as heretics by the high priests of the New Moral Order, which is of course not an order at all, but a proud lack thereof.

Liberal activists don’t want the State to be outside the bedroom anymore, they want the State in the bedroom—loudly applauding the acts they see taking place, refraining from any judgment but one of approval, and paying for pills and bits of rubber to ensure that such acts do not go awry and result in reproduction or infection.

Your prayers are not welcome in public, but your privates are. The Emperor has no clothes, and is quite enjoying it—so long as the chilly breezes of moral truth don’t leak out of drafty cathedrals to cause discomfort.  

There may be hope on the horizon, as indicated by the wild popularity of such books as Wendy ShaIit’s A Return to Modesty, as well as increasing disinterest in topless beaches in places like France. Some “feminists” have responded to such trends with irritation, grumbling that all the hard-won ground they had fought for is being spurned by the ungrateful brats of today. But perhaps, instead, many women are realizing that allowing men to freely objectify them in public is not all it’s cracked up to be.

Perhaps people have begun to rediscover a human value that was once enormously prized, but now almost forgotten: Dignity.

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