Hilary White

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African women fight back against forced, coerced sterilizations

Hilary White
Hilary White
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NAIROBI, November 15, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – A group of HIV-positive women in Kenya have launched a series of lawsuits in five countries after they were sterilized against their will following childbirth. Cases are pending before the courts in Zambia, South Africa, Malawi, and Namibia.

In many of the cases the women were told by government-sponsored health facilities that sterilization was mandatory for HIV-positive women. Some were threatened with the withdrawal of antiretroviral drugs, treatment that prolongs the life of HIV-infected patients. 

A report has been published by an independent NGO interviewing women who had experienced coerced or even forced sterilizations.

It shows that 75 percent of the forced sterilizations were conducted in public hospitals where women were often presented with consent documents to sign while in the midst of labor pains. Some said they were unconscious at the time and never signed any forms, while others say they were illiterate and could not understand what was being presented to them.

Some say that the consent forms were presented to them but that they were told that sterilization was mandatory for HIV-positive births.

According to the report “Robbed of Choice: Forced and Coerced Sterilization Experiences of Women Living with HIV in Kenya” by the African Gender and Media Initiative, forced sterilization is unnecessary, since mother-to-child transmission of HIV can be prevented using antiretroviral drugs and “modified obstetric and infant feeding practices”.

The study, which was conducted between October and November 2011 in Nairobi and Kakamega, interviewed about 40 women.

The group, which fully supports voluntary sterilization and the use of condoms to prevent HIV infection, said, “Forced and coerced contraceptive sterilization violates numerous rights guaranteed under the Kenyan constitution and multiple regional and international obligations that Kenya is signatory to.”

The women interviewed for the report said they had undergone “non-consensual tubal ligation when they visited health facilities to give birth through cesarean section. Others, who had normal delivery, were also later taken to the operating room for the procedure to be done”.

Among the groups cited by women in the report and in news investigations are Medicin Sans Frontiers and Marie Stopes International.

Marie Stopes issued a statement saying that informed consent is “fundamental” to its practice and that the report sampling was “a very small and…unrepresentative”.

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Most of the women were in their mid-twenties, and said that after sterilization men would not consider marrying them.

“Most of the men who have approached me for marriage want children. The moment they realize l cannot have babies, they leave,” Ruth Achieng, a survivor of the coerced sterilization who lives in Nairobi, told AllAfrica.com.

Others described the disintegration of their marriages after the procedure. Jones Imbwanga, one of the plaintiffs, described her loneliness CBC Radio in an interview, “I feel like the whole world wants to swallow me.”

In some cases, the women, most of whom were poor, were told that sterilisation was required as a condition for receiving free or reduced-price medical treatment or receiving food and medical aid for their children, especially milk and anti-retroviral medications. Some were told by doctors that they already had too many children and therefore permanent and irreversible contraception was necessary. Others were threatened with having their supply of antiretroviral drugs stopped if they did not consent to the procedure.

The report quotes the United Nations Human Rights Committee that calls “sterilization of women without their consent as a violation of the right to be free from torture and other inhuman and degrading treatment”. “Women living with HIV have a right to a family planning method of their choice and right to be sexually active and bear children,” they said.

Winfred Lichuma of the National Gender and Equality Commission described what happened to the women as “atrocious an infringement of their human rights and contrary to medical ethics”. The group also says that forced sterilisation is considered a crime against humanity under the Rome Statute and is prosecutable by the International Criminal Court.

The prevalence of involuntary sterilisation of HIV-positive women was highlighted this summer when Namibia’s High Court ruled in July that government health facilities had violated the rights of three women who had been sterilized without their free, full, and informed consent. The women had launched their suit in 2009.

One woman told the judge that she had been approached with consent forms while she was in extreme pain from labour. The judge called it “inappropriate” to seek consent while a woman is in active labor. The plaintiffs had not received sufficient counseling about the sterilization procedure in a language they could understand, according to a report by the group Stop Torture in Health Care.

Nicole Fritz, from the Southern Africa Litigation Centre (SALC) in Johannesburg, which brought the Namibian suit, said the three cases were only “the tip of the iceberg”.

Namibia has one of the highest rates of HIV prevalence, with about 13 percent of adults infected.

The fight-back has started over international and national groups pushing sterilization on African women. A project in western Kenya was blasted by human rights groups last year when it was discovered they were offering HIV-positive women cash for sterilizations. Project Prevention, a US-based NGO, was offering US $40 to be fitted with IUDs, which can prevent pregnancy for over a decade.

Agnes Odhiambo of New York-based Human Rights Watch blasted the NGO for “pushing women with HIV to take up long-term birth control irrespective of their reproductive needs”. James Kamau, coordinator of the Kenya Treatment Access Movement, called the project “wrong, immoral and unethical”.

A Project Prevention operative told local news sources, “Why should you give birth to a child who will remain an orphan, or who is likely to die before his or her fifth birthday because the mother had infected them…Prevent the suffering before it occurs.”

In November 2011, Citizen TV ran a story about an HIV-positive widow in Mbita who had received a grant to start a fish farming venture from the American NGO. The sole qualification to receive the money was her agreement to be fitted with an IUD.

The Minister for Medical Services, Peter Anyang’ Nyong’o, responded to the reports, saying, “We can’t say as a government we have been good at providing family planning needs of women or even men but we are putting measures in place. But it is important to stress that even HIV-positive women have the right to have children if and when they desire. HIV doesn’t take that right way, not at all”.

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Gabriele Kuby

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Genderism – a new ideology destroying the family

Gabriele Kuby
By Gabriele Kuby

Editor’s Note: The following address by German author and social commentator Gabriele Kuby was delivered earlier this month in Moscow at the International Forum on Large Families and the Future of Humanity.

We are witnessing an astonishing historical shift.

More than a hundred years ago, Marxism declared the relationship of man and woman in monogamous marriage as “the first class antagonism” in history. This “class-conflict” had to be overcome by destroying marriage and the family. So in 1917, Alexandra Kollontai, the first woman commissar of the Bolshevik Central Committee, set out to put this into practise through the exercise of revolutionary power:

  1. A law for the dissolution of marriage
  2. Legalization of abortion
  3. Sexual freedom for youth
  4. Legalization of homosexuality
  5. Integration of women into the production process, and
  6. Bringing up children in collective state institutions.

But even Lenin soon realized that this was creating social chaos. And he repealed some of these revolutionary measures.

Yet the same agenda eventually migrated to the West. It had its breakthrough with the student rebellion of the 1960s, which swept through European countries with slogans like these:

Battle the bourgeois nuclear family!

If you sleep with the same one twice, you’re a slave of bourgeois vice!

Make love not war!

This movement was fuelled by Marxist philosophers, particularly of the Frankfurt School in Germany. In their view, sexuality was to be liberated from restrictive morality – even from the taboo of incest. Sex between children, as well as sex with children, was to be allowed in order to create a “society without oppression”.

During the 1970s, marriage laws and sexual criminal laws were revised in Western countries. Pornography, abortion, and homosexuality – in this sequence – were legalized, and obligatory sexual education was introduced in schools. And during the last decade, the collectivization of bringing up small children – formerly seen as a communist aberration – has been imposed on families by EU measures. This destroys the very source of human love, which is the relationship between mother and child.

Ironically, the Soviet Union and Eastern European countries were, so to speak, “protected” by communist dictatorship from the implementation of these ideas, which had originated in Marxist ideology.

Today things have shifted even further: The radical feminist movement and the homosexual movement merged and gave birth to the gender ideology. One of its trailblazers is the philosopher Judith Butler, a fellow of the Rockefeller Foundation and a proclaimed lesbian, who in 1990 published the book, Gender Trouble – Feminism and the Subversion of Identity.

Gender theory proclaims that our “social gender” is independent of our biological sex, so that we can “choose” whether we want to be a man or a woman.

At the policy level, this ideology becomes “Gender Mainstreaming,” which promotes:

  • Subversion of the identity of man and woman by destroying “gender-stereotypes” – beginning in kindergarten; and
  • Deregulation of normative standards of sexuality: Any kind of sexual practice – be it lesbian, gay, bi-sexual or transgender (LGBT) – has to be accepted by society as equivalent to heterosexuality. And this must be taught to children in school.

It has taken only 20 years for gender theory to become the ruling ideology of the West. At most universities, the new field of “gender studies” has been firmly established. In my native Germany, we have almost 200 women professors in that new field of so-called “science” – which really is nothing more than the ideological agenda of radical feminism and the homosexual movement combined. And students now must adhere to this ideology – just as their predecessors had to adhere to Marxist ideology under communism.

What Alexandra Kollontai could not achieve under a communist dictatorship has now become the global policy of the United Nations and the European Union. But the underlying agenda is disguised with words that abuse the great values of Christian culture: freedom, justice, tolerance, and human rights.

Central and Eastern European nations have now begun to realize that membership in the European Union has its costs. It not only brings them new economic possibilities but also the enforced destruction of their own value system – which, for many centuries, has served as the foundation of marriage and family.

In pursuit of their agenda, the UN and the EU work with an international network of political stakeholders, billionaire foundations, the mainstream media, and global NGOs like the International Planned Parenthood Federation and ILGA, the homosexual umbrella organization. They seek to impose the feminist and homosexual agenda on every nation around the world through the policy of gender mainstreaming and LGBT-rights.

Dear friends, we are indeed facing a global ‘anthropological revolution’, as Pope Benedict XVI termed it – one which attacks the very roots of human existence. This revolution has five political cornerstones:

  1. Elimination of fatherhood and motherhood
  2. Deprivation of the material basis of the family
  3. Legalization of abortion
  4. Homosexual “marriage,” including adoption and artificial child production
  5. Sexualization of children through obligatory comprehensive sexual education.

All this requires a response. In fact, faced with the demographic crisis in the West, and the moral and social breakdown of the family, we need a global movement that creates conditions under which the deepest longings of the human heart can be fulfilled. Such a movement should include:

  1. Re-awakening to the sanctity of fatherhood and motherhood
  2. Provision of the material basis of the family
  3. Protection of life – from conception to natural death
  4. Legally defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman
  5. Education of children and youth for marriage and family

As far as I can see, Russia is today the only country where there may be the possibility for church and state to rebuild the foundations of the family.

This International Forum could have a significant role in the global battle for a culture of life and the defence of marriage and family. May our political leaders be guided by wisdom and a commitment to the common good of humanity in the present political situation.

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Pro-marriage advocates must show love to all, "especially...those who disagree with us on this issue, and most of all, for those who are hostile toward us,” Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone told the 2014 March for Marriage in Washington, D.C. Dustin Siggins / LifeSiteNews.com
Lisa Bourne

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Rich liberal groups funded gay push on San Fran archbishop to back out of marriage march

Lisa Bourne
By Lisa Bourne

Tax-exempt homosexual activist groups attempted to coerce San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone out of his engagement as keynote speaker for the March for Marriage in Washington D.C. earlier this year, according to reports by his diocesan newspaper, a move that is part of a larger orchestrated campaign to fight the Catholic Church in the court of public opinion.

One of the homosexual activist organizations involved in financing the assailing of Archbishop Cordileone, the Arcus Foundation, has given funds to specifically target the Synod on the Family and World Youth Day, according to EWTN News. In one instance, Arcus gave a grant to Dignity USA "to support pro-LGBT faith advocates to influence and counter the narrative of the Catholic Church and its ultra-conservative affiliates."

Catholic San Francisco has reported extensively about how the Ford Foundation, Quark Inc. founder Tim Gill’s foundation, and the Arcus Foundation are at the top of a list of wealthy activist organizations that fund promotion of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender activity, and that they also donate extensively to faith-focused organizations that publicly dispute Catholic teaching on marriage and homosexual behavior.

The Ford Foundation gave more than $2 million to Faith in Public Life, which advocates against the Church on abortion, homosexuality, and marriage, and $900,000 to Catholics for Choice, which supports abortion.

Arcus has given roughly $1.5 million to groups calling themselves Catholic while advocating for homosexual behavior, including Dignity’s Equally Blessed Coalition, the Women’s Alliance for Theology, Ethics and Ritual, New Ways Ministry, and Faithful America.

The Gill Foundation gave $100,000 to the Catholics United Education Fund, a prominent proponent of homosexual “marriage,” $17,500 in grants to Dignity USA, $5,000 to Faith in Public Life to research the religious right, and $20,000 to the same group to support Faithful America.

While Faithful America was the organization responsible for a petition trying to pressure Archbishop Cordileone out of speaking at the June 19 March for Marriage, it has gotten funding from the Gill Foundation, billionaire and Arcus Foundation Founder and President Jon Stryker, billionaire George Soros, and the Evelyn & Walter Haas Jr. Fund, according to Catholic San Francisco.

Two days before the Marriage for Marriage in Washington roughly 75 people marched to the archdiocesan offices in San Francisco to present the Faithful America petition, and a representative from the group emailed a letter to Archbishop Cordileone.

The letter, which selectively referenced Church documents and statements, as well as the words of Pope Francis, was signed by numerous pro-homosexual politicians, homosexual activist groups, and laicized and dissident clergy.

Archbishop Cordileone responded with a letter explaining his duty to speak the truth, offering to meet with those who opposed Church teaching on marriage and sexuality and informing them he would not back out of the March for Marriage.

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Anne Hendershott, a professor of sociology at Franciscan University, reported on Faithful America and the forces behind the attacks on Archbishop Cordileone in June for Crisis Magazine, noting that former Assistant Director of Media Relations for the USCCB John Gehring now works for the George Soros-funded Faith in Public Life and Faithful America.

“Gehring now spends his time attacking the same bishops he once worked for,” Hendershott wrote in her column.

She stated as well at the time that it is likely the attacks will continue to escalate.

Faithful America sent a call to action in a September 11 email to its subscriber list after Catholic San Francisco began reporting on who was behind the attacks on Archbishop Cordileone.

It referred to Archbishop Cordileone as “right-wing,” claimed he had a “hateful agenda,” admitted their goal is “attempting to change Church doctrine on matters of sexuality,” and expressed concern over reporting on its funding appearing in a diocesan publication versus other media.

The email called for support for an ad in the San Francisco archdiocesan newspaper with local Catholics criticizing Archbishop Cordileone, and “adding another organizer to Faithful America’s team.”

Jesuit Father John Piderit, moderator of the curia and vicar for administration for the Archdiocese of San Francisco, noted in Catholic San Francisco that Faithful America suggested it was ordinary Catholics that were upset about the archbishop’s decision to participate in the March for Marriage.

“To operate successfully in the public sphere, American Catholics need clear knowledge about the forces arrayed against them,” said Father Piderit. “Similar to other groups, Faithful America is a well-funded pressure group that espouses a variety of viewpoints contrary to Catholic teaching. Informed Catholics are aware that such groups regularly promote their viewpoints in the media.”

Hendershott identified this in her column as well.

“Still, no one should imagine that these attacks, so heavily funded by non-Catholic sources, reflect the views of faithful Catholics,” she said. “This is why even a well-funded dissident minority cannot ultimately weaken a church that is united and confident in its teachings and mission and, most importantly, enjoys divine protection.”

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Snapshot of FB message from Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada to its fans
Pete Baklinski Pete Baklinski Follow Pete

Pro-Aborts hate doing this, but they HAVE to…

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By Pete Baklinski

“Aren’t you just preaching to the choir?” my friend suggested after I told him I had begun working as a pro-life journalist for LifeSiteNews.

“You know,” he continued, “the only people who read pro-life news are pro-lifers,” implying that my work would be practically useless and largely ineffective. 

I admit, his comment totally took the wind out of my sails.

It had always been my desire to do something for the life-and-family movement that would make a difference, effect change, restore the culture.

Yet, here was my friend telling me I had just signed up to do something basically futile. He walked away shaking his head, and I began work wondering if he was right. 

Now, three years later, I can tell you that am I glad I didn't listen to him. Being new on the job back then, I really had no idea just what kind of a punch a pro-life journalist can actually throw.

I have since learned that it’s an awfully powerful one! 

(Click here to support our Fall Campaign)

It always surprises me where some of the reports I have written end up traveling to, as they journey through the unchartered waters of the Internet. I usually only find out where some of them have gone by chance.

A friend will e-mail me to say he enjoyed seeing my story highlighted on this blog here, or that news outpost there. Or an opponent will contact me expressing outrage after picking up my report from a website on the other side of the fence. 

Here are a few stories about some of the strange (and not so strange) places I have seen LifeSiteNews reports: 

International Influence
 
Once when I was researching the harms caused to children adopted by homosexual couples I found myself traveling online to Puerto Rico.

My search engine had pulled up a document from that country that had been submitted to the government in 2013 arguing against allowing homosexuals to adopt.

It was a remarkably well-written piece. I scrolled down to the 65 footnotes at the end of the piece linking to scholarly articles and research papers. It was then that I noticed 13 of those footnotes linked to some of our own LifeSiteNews reports on the matter

“Well, what do you know,” I said to myself at the time, “our reports are being used by people from distant lands and languages to fight for life and family. How awesome is that!”

Who knows how many government officials read that document that was partly influenced by our reports? 

Major Mainstream News Outlets

I remember the excitement I felt when my first story found its way to The Drudge Report, the massive U.S.-based news aggregation website.

The story was about sex-selective in vitro fertilization services being offered by a fertility clinic in the U.S. to Indo-Canadians in British Columbia.

I don’t know why Matt Drudge thought it worthy to post the story on his site, but I do know that tens of thousands of people who read the story learned the shocking truth about how girls in their earliest beginnings are being eliminated because this fertility clinic panders to ethnic groups with a preference for boys.

The story spread far and wide, eventually being picked up by other news services, including The Daily Mail. 

My second story that was linked on the Drudge Report was about the waste-to-energy facility in Oregon that incinerated the remains of babies aborted in Canada to power the grid. Public outrage was swift and effective. Before 24 hours had gone by the facility declared they would put a stop to the program.

When a journalist sees his story picked up by major international news websites, he feels like he has won the lottery, or like he has just received a huge promotion.

There is excitement, exhilaration, and a sense of accomplishment. Journalists write reports to be read. When their reports are read by tens or even hundreds of thousands of people, he congratulates himself for a job well done. When the reports effect real change, he becomes humbled by the power of the word.

You just never know who’s going to pick up a story.

We’ve had Rush Limbaugh use our reports in his programs, mentioning that they came from our site.

I’ve had a Canadian Member of Parliament tell me how widely read our news service is among MPs who are concerned about the moral implosion of our formerly Christian nation. 

Resource for Opponents
 
Here’s one of my favorite stories.

You know you’re doing something right when your ideological opponent is forced to use your own reports because nobody else has the same goods. 

Last May we covered the ongoing trial of Mary Wagner, jailed for entering an abortion clinic and peacefully handing out roses and literature to abortion-bound women.

The Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada literally apologized to its Facebook fans when it posted a link to our story on its page. 
 
"Sorry for the anti-choice source, but no-one else is covering this,” they said. 
 
Reading this, I could not help but smile to myself. “When your opponent starts depending on you for information, can the end be too far off,” I remember thinking at the time. 

Cultural Change
 
My work as a pro-life and pro-family journalist has never been so dramatic as the time I wrote a series of articles involving a fellow who did social justice work with school children during the day, while moonlighting as a gay stripper at night.

The series resulted in him losing his day job a week and a half after the first report was published.

Not only will the children be mercifully spared his presentation on “shameless idealism,” but they will no longer be under the influence of someone who delights in feeding the impure sexual fantasies of adults.

It was humbling to witness once again the power of fact-based reporting. 

My co-workers and I could tell you numerous stories like these that highlight the huge difference one good report can make. 

If my friend were to make the same comment to me today about ‘preaching to the choir,’ I know what I’d tell him now.

I’d say that I know that many of our reports are read by the choir, but the choir surely needs to know what’s going on if they’re going to ‘raise the roof’ with their singing.

I know some members of the choir who read our stuff regularly are influential leaders and decision-makers who hammer out pro-life-and-family strategies based on our reports.

Secretly I believe it’s faithful members of the choir — all the hardworking, uncompromising, and faith-filled moms and dads — who will one day be credited with saving the world.

So many read our reports for trustworthy news on the most crucial issues facing our times. They read so they can learn to effectively form the upcoming generation to combat the evils of our times.

They read for inspiration in the fight for a culture of life. 
 
I’d continue to tell my friend our reports reach way beyond the confines of the choir loft, making their way into the political chambers of government agencies across the world, into the homes of  mainstream families in Canada, the US, and other parts of the world, and even slipping into the think-tanks of those opposing everything we fight for and believe in. 
 
I’d tell him our reports pack a punch way beyond their weight, that they’re having an impact and changing the world for the good. 
 
“Our reports are helping change the course of history,” I’d say. 
 
“Preaching to the choir?” I’d say incredulously. “You really have no idea what goes on here, do you!”
 
Dear friends of LifeSite, we’re now in the midst of our fall fundraising campaign.

We need these funds to continue infusing our culture with factual truth-based reports from the only perspective that really matters, that of life-and-family.

(To make an online donation, click here.)

The ‘choir’ needs these reports.

Leaders and decision-makers need these reports.

Even our opponents need these reports.

The rebirth of a civilization of love depends upon dispelling error with truth. Please help us today to reach our goal. Make a difference that will last. 
 
Thank you so much for standing with us! 

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