Patrick Craine

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Alberta readies to impose ‘diversity’ education on homeschoolers

Patrick Craine
Patrick Craine
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EDMONTON, Alberta, February 22, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Homeschooling groups are sounding the alarm this week as the Alberta government prepares to pass a bill that they say threatens to mandate “diversity” education in the home.

The province’s new Education Act, re-tabled Feb. 14th by Alison Redford’s majority Progressive Conservative government to replace the existing Schools Act, stipulates in section 16 that all instructional materials in schools “must reflect the diverse nature and heritage of society in Alberta, promote understanding and respect for others and honour and respect the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Alberta Human Rights Act.”

But, in addition to publicly-funded school boards, the proposed Act defines “school” to include private schools and “a parent providing a home education program.”

Paul Faris of Canada’s Home School Legal Defence Association (HSLDA) says the law subjects homeschoolers’ entire families life to the Human Rights Act, the provincial version of “human rights” legislation that has been used to target Christians and conservatives across the country, particularly those espousing traditional views on homosexuality.

“Basically what it would mean is all learning that goes on in the home, all material that goes on in the home, would essentially be subject to the Alberta Human Rights Act,” Faris explained.

“At least when the child leaves the school and goes home it no longer applies, but for a homeschooling family they never get away from this,” he added.

Faris said Alberta already has some of the toughest regulations for homeschooling among the Canadian provinces. Parents have to register with a school board and submit a plan at the beginning of the year, followed by two visits from a certified teacher that normally occur in the home. He did note, however, that difficulties are somewhat mitigated by the fact that parents have some choice about which school board in which they register.

Kenneth Noster, father of six and director of Wisdom Home Schooling, said the Education Act would grant the government “quite a long reach of the arm into the home.”

Section 16 of the Act, he says, “essentially means that in order to run a school in the province you must be politically correct or you could risk being shut down.”

But, he said, “everything that they can impose on a school, they can impose on the home.” For homeschoolers, “getting up and doing morning chores and doing morning prayer and stuff is all part of your structured learning,” he noted. “So essentially, you could say, for all of that there has to be politically correct material.”

“At the same time, [the government] could insist that non-politically correct material such as Scripture and the [Catechism of the Catholic Church] could be deemed as offensive and not useable,” he added.

Under Alberta’s Human Rights Act, Red Deer pastor Stephen Boissoin was found guilty of ‘hate’ in 2008 after writing a letter to a local paper criticizing the homosexual agenda. He was forced to pay a fine, and ordered to personally apologize to the complainant and never again express his views on homosexuality publicly.

The Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench overturned that ruling in 2009 saying the tribunal overstepped its constitutional bounds and took significant procedural liberties that would have never been permitted in a real court.

In 2005, Bishop Fred Henry of Calgary was taken before the tribunal after mentioning Catholic teaching on homosexuality in a pastoral letter to the Catholic faithful.

The Alberta Home Education Association (AHEA) says the Education Act as written “provides opportunities to impose curriculum and practises upon all schools in Alberta, whereby special interest groups will have leverage to actively promote alternate lifestyles.”

“Individuals or groups with special interest agendas could take action against home educating families by utilizing [section 16] of the Act,” they add.

Despite the criticism, Education Minister Thomas Lukaszuk has so far defended the inclusion of homeschoolers in the definition of ‘school’.

In a letter to AHEA, he wrote that “Home Education is included in the definition of ‘school’ because this definition addresses both the principle of a structured learning environment with expected educational outcomes and the principle of parent’ right and responsibility to make education choices for their children.”

Faris acknowledged that it is impossible to predict how the government will apply the law, and mentioned that government officials have suggested to them that they will not enforce it on homeschoolers.

“But living in a free country means that we don’t have to fear what someone will do with a new law. … What’s written is how it should be applied,” said Faris.

“If they’re not going to enforce it, why are they writing the law that way?” he asked.

The Progressive Conservatives have 67 of the 83 seats in the province’s legislature, so the bill’s passage is essentially assured. But Faris noted that the province is set for an election so the government may be open to changing its mind on the homeschooling aspect to avoid controversy.

The Home School Legal Defence Association is calling on Alberta citizens to contact the Education Minister and their elected representatives.

LifeSiteNews.com did not hear back from Alberta’s Ministry of Education by press time.


Contact Information:

Hon. Thomas Lukaszuk, Education Minister
423 Legislature Building
10800 - 97 Avenue NW
Edmonton, AB
Canada T5K 2B6
Phone: (780) 427-5010
Fax: (780) 427-5018
edmonton.castledowns@assembly.ab.ca

Premier Alison Redford
Office of the Premier
Room 307, Legislature Building
10800-97 Avenue
Edmonton, Alberta T5K 2B7
Phone: 780-427-2251
E-mail: Use this form.

Contact info for Alberta MLAs.


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Michelle Kaufman, New Zealand Correspondent

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Abortion group targets pro-life doctors, nurses with new website: New Zealand

Michelle Kaufman, New Zealand Correspondent
By Michelle Kaufman

Pro-life health practitioners and crisis pregnancy centres in New Zealand are the target of a new website designed to intimidate those who choose not to refer for abortion or prescribe contraception.

The website, My Decision, is created by the Abortion Law Reform Association of New Zealand (ALRANZ). 

The site lists health practitioners and crisis pregnancy centres which they believe women should avoid.  The incomplete list includes the names of individuals or organisations, the region and town, and whether they are a doctor, nurse or other provider. 

Women are asked to submit their stories of “hostile or unhelpful health professionals.”  The stories are non-identifying and can be edited for length or clarity.  At the time of writing only two stories had been posted.

In an earlier blog post, ALRANZ mentioned that the new website, which was still under construction at the time, is “aimed at shining the light on ‘conscientious objectors’… who deny people the reproductive healthcare they want or need.”

Right to Life NZ says they believe the site is “denigrating the good name and reputations of health professionals who believe that abortion is a harmful choice.”

Click "like" if you are PRO-LIFE!

Under New Zealand law, health practitioners can object to providing reproductive health services according to their conscience.  However, there is one caveat – they “must inform the person who requests the service that he or she can obtain the service from another health practitioner or from a family planning clinic.”

 “Sonscientious objection is a fundamental right and one that must be preserved if we are to continue to live in a free and civil society,” said Chris O’Brien, Vice President of Right to Life NZ. “We risk tyranny if this right is taken away.”

“There are very good doctors that appear on that website” said Dame Colleen Bayer, whose Dunedin Family Life Crisis Pregnancy Centre is also named.  “These doctors speak truthfully and have real care and concern for their patients.  Women do themselves a disservice to discount them based on this information.”

The resource section on the My Decision website links to ALRANZ, Family Planning (an affiliate of International Planned Parenthood Federation and an abortion provider), and the website Abortion Services in New Zealand. 

The Abortion Services website is sponsored by ISTAR Ltd, a registered Charitable Trust which is the sole importer of mifepristone into New Zealand.  ISTAR also provides Manual Vacuum Aspiration equipment for early surgical abortions.

ALRANZ, was instrumental in the writing of the Greens abortion policy, which was unveiled earlier this year.  That policy aims to take abortion out of the Crimes Act making it more accessible.  The policy also targets health professionals who may conscientiously object to ensure they refer patients on to a “neutral practitioner”.

More information about freedom of conscience in healthcare 


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The government is proposing allowing the killing of pre-born babies suspected of being disabled and those conceived through rape or incest.
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Northern Ireland considers allowing killing disabled unborn babies: pro-lifers condemn

Thaddeus Baklinski Thaddeus Baklinski Follow Thaddeus
By Thaddeus Baklinski

Northern Ireland’s leading pro-life group, Precious Life, has condemned this week's announcement by Justice Minister David Ford that a consultation on changing the abortion law will be "ready by autumn." The government is considering allowing the killing of pre-born babies suspected of being disabled and those conceived through rape or incest.

“Abortion is a serious criminal offence in Northern Ireland,” said the director of Precious Life, Bernadette Smyth. “The law here protects unborn babies, and David Ford as Minister for Justice must ensure that all children are legally protected."

Last December, Ford revealed he would be undertaking a consultation to consider changes to the law after he heard the stories of two women, who complained that they had not been allowed to abort their babies who had been diagnosed with anencephaly. Instead, they said, they had traveled to Britain for abortions.

Abortion was refused under Northern Ireland’s laws because the diagnosis of anencephaly for the child poses no medical threat to the mother.

Click "like" if you are PRO-LIFE!

On Monday Ford told the BBC that the Department of Justice would bring forward its consultation paper on changing Northern Ireland's abortion laws by the fall.

However, Smyth warned that “the core ethical principle which must underpin this discussion is that every child deserves the right to life regardless of how short their life may be, and regardless of the circumstances of their conception."

She vowed that Precious Life will launch a public campaign in support of the life of all unborn babies.

“We all feel enormous sympathy for parents in these traumatic and distressing cases," Precious Life stressed in a statement. "But parents in these difficult situations deserve much more than our sympathy – they need a professional support system in place, which will provide them with help, support and resources.

"Precious Life are resolved to work towards a solution that loves and protects both mother and baby. Once again we call on the Health Minister to immediately establish perinatal hospice services for parents who have received a poor or difficult prenatal diagnosis for their baby,” said Smyth.

 

Contact:

Justice Minister David Ford
Department of Justice
Stormont Estate
Belfast, Northern Ireland
BT4 3SG
Phone:(028) 9076 3000
Email: via website (http://www.dojni.gov.uk/contact-us.htm)


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80% of parents who have an unborn child with spina bifida choose abortion. But Chad Judice (pictured with Eli) knows that life is worth it.
Dustin Siggins Dustin Siggins Follow Dustin

Abortion? No way. Dad says son with spina bifida is a ‘gift’ to the family.

Dustin Siggins Dustin Siggins Follow Dustin
By Dustin Siggins

What is the most pro-life, pro-God influence in your life? According to Catholic author and speaker Chad Judice, his five-year old, disabled son has been a tremendous source of happiness and faith for even the hardest of hearts.

In an op-ed published in The New York Post, Judice writes that when he and his wife found out their unborn son Elijah had spina bifida, they were offered the option of abortion. While they chose life, it didn't stop them from fearing the worst for their careers, eldest child, and Eli.

"That evening...Ashley cried as she read to me from the literature we’d been given," writes Judice. "It said 80 percent of parents who receive a spina bifida diagnosis choose abortion."

"And it told us that our son might have learning disabilities and be paralyzed from the waist down, unable to ever walk."

According to WemMD.com, the two most common forms of spina bifida have few, if any effects, on those who have them. However, the most rare and most aggressive form of the disability can result in significant problems for life:

  • Little or no feeling in their legs, feet, or arms, so they may not be able to move those parts of the body.
  • Bladder or bowel problems, such as leaking urine or having a hard time passing stools.
  • Fluid buildup in the brain (hydrocephalus). Even when it is treated, this may cause seizures, learning problems, or vision problems.
  • A curve in their spine, such as scoliosis.

Eli's form of spina bifida was severe, but -- as it turned out -- manageable, writes Judice. Despite surgeries and "medical challenges," he was out of the hospital within thirty days, though seizures and surgeries would continue to challenge the family. At five-and-a-half, he is entering kindergarten, learning to walk with modern technology, and "his intelligence is at or above average, and he's very talkative."

But perhaps the greatest miracle of all, Judice says, is the effect Eli has had on those who are outside of the family. His story has helped "some pregnant mothers...to reject abortion," and "rekindle the dormant faith of some...drawing them into a life with more room for God and family."

One of those rekindled Christians was a man who, after years in prison, prayed for Eli "as he recited The Lord's Prayer." According to Judice, "it was the first time he’d prayed in 30 years."

Since Eli's birth, Judice has written two books about his son and their family. "Waiting for Eli: A Father's Journey from Fear to Faith" was the first, and has received praise from Father Frank Pavone of Priests for Life. According to Pavone, it is "an inspiring story of faith, hope, love, and the power of prayer."

"The world judges the value of human life by physical perfection, but God sees things differently. To Him, we are perfectly lovable in our imperfection. Uplifting in its reverence for human life in its most fragile stages, WAITING FOR ELI will encourage pro-life activists everywhere, from the most seasoned to the newly initiated."

Also unstinting in praise was the Chair of the Committee for Pro-Life Activities, Archbishop Daniel Cardinal Dinardo, who writes for Judice's website that the book "chronicles [Judice's] spiritual journey from fear of one’s personal limitations to self-abandonment to the divine mercy of God’s providence."

The second book, "Eli's Reach: On the Value of Human Life and the Power of Prayer," received the "Best Book by Small Publisher" award in 2013 by the Catholic Press Association.

"I think of Eli as God’s special gift to my family," Judice wrote in the Post. "And as I share about him, Eli’s story softens hearts and brings people to a greater appreciation of the beauty and sacredness of life."


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