Rebecca Oas, Ph.D.

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Abortion politics leaving remedies for world’s worst killer diseases underfunded

Rebecca Oas, Ph.D.
By Rebecca Oas Ph.D.

NEW YORK, January 10, 2013 (C-FAM) - A just-released global study demonstrates that the diseases causing most of the world’s untimely deaths and illness, especially among children, are not receiving proportionate attention within international policy-making institutions.

According to the 2010 Global Burden of Disease Study (GBD 2010) published in The Lancet medical journal in December, over 1.4 million people died from diarrhea in 2010.  Despite a 41.9% drop from 1990 levels, diarrhea remains a leading cause of death, particularly for children.  Yet diarrhea does not receive the same attention by the UN as more politically correct issues such as deaths from abortion. The GBD 2010 reported 37,100 deaths from abortion complications, yet advocacy groups promoting access to “safe” abortion are prominent and influential within the UN system and have gained traction by linking abortion to maternal mortality.

Abortion advocates attempted to prevent the Lancet publishing a previous report by GBD author Christopher Murray, which revealed the World Health Organization (WHO) was reporting nearly twice the number of actual global maternal deaths.

That maternal health report had important implications for many United Nations initiatives that relied on the erroneous numbers, as well as the case for their continued funding.  The new GBD 2010 reports a further reduction in maternal mortality to 254,700 deaths per year – not a trivial number, but more than five times fewer than those killed by diarrhea.

Dr. Murray, who worked at WHO before starting the GBD project, has taken issue with other statistics generated by his former employer: In February, he and his colleagues reported that malaria caused 1.24 million deaths in 2010, many of them children. This is twice the WHO estimate for the same year.

GBD 2010 was conducted by independent researchers rather than researchers connected to a policymaking institution.  Introducing the study, Lancet editor Richard Horton pointed out “the success of the GBD, then and now is that it provides a level playing field to assess independently (and dispassionately) the health priorities that face countries.”

According to a UN source, Dr. Murray became “persona non grata” within some parts of the UN system when he left the WHO to form a competitor organization aimed at challenging WHO data and UN health policy priorities.

While GBD 2010 boasted a greater number of diseases and risk factors in its assessment than previous editions, it contained one surprising omission.  Unsafe sexual practices were not examined as a risk factor for HIV/AIDS.  The authors explained the exclusion as due to “the absence of robust estimates of exposure or available approaches to determine the proportion of HIV infection that is attributable to unsafe sexual practices by country over time,” adding that “if quantifiable, unsafe sexual practices would probably account for a large fraction of global health burden.”  The authors, however, measured these practices in a previous comparative risk assessment.

According to UNAIDS, HIV drugs are saving lives but risky sexual behavior continues to derail efforts to prevent new infections, The Guardian reported last November.  Just 5% of HIV funding in the most affected countries went to behavior-change programs, a figure that becomes much more difficult to increase in the absence of quantitative risk data on sexual behavior.


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Rebekah O’Brien

Watch: Family of 12 children blows away judges on America’s Got Talent

Rebekah O’Brien
By Rebekah O'Brien

Twenty years ago, he was devastated by the loss of his 6 youngest siblings in a horrific car crash. Now Toby Willis is the father of 12 phenomenally talented children, who recently stunned judges with their performance on NBC's America's Got Talent. 

Check out their performance here:

Willis is a man who didn't let the horror of his past define his future. He didn't let fear govern his life. Instead, he and his wife, Brenda devoted their lives to their children, who range from a beautiful 21-year-old all the way down to an adorable 3-year-old. Every child is incredibly gifted. And they have completely captured hearts across America. 

These 14 individuals remind us that no matter what, life is worth living, and living to the fullest.

Read more about the Willis Clan here


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Dustin Siggins Dustin Siggins Follow Dustin

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Bishops: As world watches soccer, Mid-East Christians being slaughtered

Dustin Siggins Dustin Siggins Follow Dustin
By Dustin Siggins

I'll be honest: I don't understand why soccer has so many fans. However, as my Facebook News Feed has been inundated with other people who seem to love the sport, I've accepted that I must suffer until Sunday evening before I get a four-year break. I've even watched a couple of hours to try and understand the game, only to return to mocking it on Facebook.

If only my friends and I -- a microcosm of the American and developed world's population -- spent a fraction of this time paying attention to some real battles going on, with real consequences for millions of Middle Eastern Christians. 

From Rorate Caeli's blog, a wake-up from two bishops. First, in Syria and Iraq:

It was unclear whether Syrian troops, who apparently advanced in and around the northern city of Aleppo on Monday, July 7, would be able to halt the ISIL fighters. Yet, most Christians have already been forced to flee Syria and Iraq, where the head of the Chaldean-Catholic Church, Patriarch Louis Raphael I Sako, fears Christian life will eventually come to an end in the region.
"In ten years there will perhaps be 50,000 Christians left" in Iraq, he said in a statement released by Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need and obtained by BosNewsLife. "Prior to 2003, this figure was about 1.2 million. Within ten years we have shrunk to a community of perhaps four to five hundred thousand faithful," he added.

The bishop begged from attention from Western states who he said "find football" in the current World Cup "more interesting than the situation here or in Syria."

And now Cardinal Barbarin, the Primate of the Gauls:

"The eradication of religious minorities is not, alas, a collateral damage of the insane strategy of the murderers: it is their declared goal," says Cardinal Barbarin. And he adds, "Because these are men who are being murdered, in silence, between two waves of a Brazilian soccer stadium," he insists by evoking the global enthusiasm for the football world cup.

Are there tangible, real benefits to the World Cup besides the occasional scoring of goals? Absolutely. It's what the entire concept of the Olympics is based around. But as American Christians continue to be sucked into a shallow world of sports, celebrity scandals, and political memes, we ignore where critical battles for peace and justice exist -- in the Middle East, and other regions of the world, where, to quote the Boston Globe's John Allen, "Christians...find themselves in a literal firing line."

Recently, my parish had a collection to help provide funds to Middle Eastern Christians. I'm ashamed that, despite being a professional reporter, blogger, and general politico, I knew so little about the situation that I shrugged off the chance to offer some financial assistance to Christians who are modern martyrs for the faith.

If only I was alone in my ignorance. Alas, I'm not -- and while Facebook memes about popes and soccer abound, the Middle East crisis will continue to go unnoticed.


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The suit alleges that Planed Parenthood performed the abortion on R.Z., and immediately returned her directly into the hands of her abuser. Shutterstock
Operation Rescue staff

Planned Parenthood performed abortion on teen, returned her to sex abuser: shock lawsuit

Operation Rescue staff
By Operation Rescue staff

Planned Parenthood faces a legal challenge in Colorado after Cary Smith, of Federal Heights, says she discovered that clinic staff failed to inquire or report about suspected sexual abuse of her 13-year-old daughter after giving her an abortion.

It was any mother’s nightmare.

According to the lawsuit filed on June 20, 2014, Cary’s daughter, R.Z., was only about six years old when her new step-father, Timothy David Smith, began to sexually abuse her. At this age, she was too young to realize that her step-father’s inordinate attention was actually a crime.

Little R.Z. turned seven, then eight. The years went by, and the abuse continued. But Cary Smith never knew.

The abuse eventually became both verbal and physical as well, with R.Z.'s step-father even threatening to take her life. Timothy’s verbal and physical abuse soon extended to Cary, even when R.Z. was present.

Then it happened. R.Z. got pregnant. 

On May 3, 2012, Timothy transported his 13-year-old step-daughter to Planned Parenthood in Denver, Colorado, for an abortion appointment that Timothy had forced R.Z. to schedule.

Planned Parenthood staff met R.Z. and her step-father and gave them the necessary paperwork. R.Z. filled out her date of birth and signed a few forms, but Timothy completed all the rest. R.Z. never read these documents.

According to the suit, throughout the visit, four staff members spoke with and observed R.Z. and her step-father. All of them had opportunity to see that R.Z.’s birth date indicated she was only 13—well below the age of consent. Yet, the suit says that none of them asked R.Z. about their relationship and none of them asked why their last names were different. As well, none asked about potential sex abuse, and none of them reported anything to the state.

After the abortion, R.Z. walked back out to the parking lot, got into her step-father’s car, and went back home. And the abuse continued.

Two months later, on July 18, 2012, Timothy was outside of the home, and Cary was left alone with her daughter. R.Z. took the opportunity to tell her mom that her own step-father was sexually abusing her, and had been doing so for years.

Cary took the 13-year-old to the hospital and immediately reported the abuse. She contacted Planned Parenthood for her daughter’s medical records, and discovered that her husband had arranged for a secret abortion for R.Z. earlier that year.

Timothy Smith was arrested and charged with multiple counts of felony sex abuse, and pled guilty to two counts in late 2012.

But Cary was not content. Although R.Z.’s abuser was now behind bars, the system hadn’t worked.

The first medical professionals who had seen R.Z.—the four Planned Parenthood staff members—must have known that her daughter was a potential victim of sexual abuse. These were professionals who had the information to do something. They had opportunity to ask R.Z. before her mother even knew.

And they had the responsibility to act—to report suspected child sex abuse—under Colorado law.

But, according to the lawsuit, these professionals did nothing. Worse, they performed a dangerous, legally-restricted procedure on a minor child, without informing her mother, and turned R.Z. back over to her rapist following the abortion.

Cary maintains that defendants’ negligence “created an unreasonable risk of physical harm” to her daughter. Cary is now suing Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains for five claims for relief, including negligence, negligent affliction of emotional distress, and extreme and outrageous conduct.

“We applaud Cary Smith for her brave stand to hold Planned Parenthood accountable for their crime against her daughter,” said Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue. “This lawsuit is another indication that Planned Parenthood is dedicated to one thing—selling abortion; and they do not care how many young girls are raped or abused in the process.”

Read Smith v. Rocky Mountain Planned Parenthood


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