Patrick Craine

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Birth not a moment of ‘magical transformation’: MP slams anti-science views in rare abortion debate

Patrick Craine
Patrick Craine

OTTAWA, Ontario, April 27, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A Canadian MP called on his fellow parliamentarians to “courageously follow the facts” Thursday and to support his motion to examine the humanity of children in the womb.

Speaking in the House of Commons’ first hour of debate on Motion 312, Tory MP Stephen Woodworth said: “Canadians expect parliamentarians to embody that courage, that strength, that principled quest for the truth. Will we be seen as bold for the sake of truth, or as fearful? We can trust Canadians to embrace the truth with us.”

The Kitchener MP has called on Parliament to establish a special committee to re-examine section 223 of the Criminal Code, a 400-year-old provision inherited from British common law that states a child only becomes a “human being” once he or she has fully proceeded from the womb.

“How many Canadians believe that birth is a moment of magical transformation that changes a child from a non-human to a human being?” he asked in the House Thursday. “Perhaps that ancient definition made sense when leeches and bloodletting were standard medical practices, but does it make medical sense in the 21st century?”

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Woodworth’s motion has been strongly opposed by all of the major political parties, but none are saying that they will whip their caucus to vote against it. Tory Prime Minister Stephen Harper pledged Thursday before the debate that he would vote against it and called it “unfortunate” that it was even deemed votable.

The Opposition New Democrats, who are officially pro-abortion, say they are unanimously opposed, so have no need to whip the vote.

In the debate Thursday, Tory whip Gordon O’Connor (Carleton-Mississippi Mills) insisted that the “ultimate intention of this motion is to restrict abortions in Canada at some fetal development stage,” and re-iterated the government’s stance that they will not support any effort to “regulate abortion.”

“I cannot understand why those who are adamantly opposed to abortion want to impose their beliefs on others by way of the Criminal Code,” he said. “There is no law that says that a woman must have an abortion. No one is forcing those who oppose abortion to have one.”

New Democrat Status of Women critic Niki Ashton (Churchill) accused the Conservative government of having “rolled back the clock on gender equality” during its 6 years in office, doing so most pointedly “in the area of reproductive rights.” Opposition to abortion is the Tories’ “Trojan horse agenda,” she said.

“The reality is that the issue of abortion was settled in 1988” when the Supreme Court struck down the existing abortion law, she said.

That law, passed by Pierre Trudeau’s Liberals in 1969 as part of an Omnibus Bill, allowed the deadly procedure if approved by a committee of doctors. That law, with its loopholes and weak safeguards, soon led to a practical abortion-on-demand situation across the country.

“A woman’s right to reproductive choice is a human right. In Canada, in 2012, a woman’s right to choose is not up for negotiation,” said Ashton. “As ugly as it may seem, women must not be forced to return to those ugly circumstances of using coat hangers, vacuum cleaners or putting themselves in the hands of quacks.”

Liberal MP Hedy Fry (Vancouver Centre) said the Liberals will oppose the motion, and accused the Tories of violating Harper’s election promise to “not reopen the debate on abortion.”

“The government” is being “disingenuous” and treating Canadians as “simpletons” by pretending that a motion to examine the personhood of the unborn does not open up the abortion issue, she continued. “The Prime Minister should not have given the member the back door and the opportunity to waste the time of the House to use Motion No. 312 as a back door to recriminalize abortion.”

She said it would be “ludicrous” to grant protections for the unborn from 20 weeks gestation, around the point of viability, as some have suggested. “After 20 weeks, are the government and the state going to put a woman in jail if she does not wish to maintain that pregnancy within her person? Are they going to put her in jail and force her to keep this child until term?”

New Democrat Françoise Boivin (Gatineau) said it’s “infinitely unfortunate” that the legislature is debating abortion in 2012, arguing that the issue was settled long ago.

She accused Woodworth of ignoring “women’s rights” and instead trying to push a “conversation on the fetus.” “Wow. When I was elected in 2011, if someone had told me that I would be here on April 26, 2012, having a ‘conversation on the fetus’, I would have asked what planet this was,” she said.

Canadian case law is clear that “when a woman is pregnant, her fetus is a part of her body” so the current definition “makes sense” in stipulating that “a fetus is not a human being,” she added.

Liberal MP Denis Coderre (Bourassa) said the legislature should leave the issue alone to “respect the social harmony” of Canada and to “respect women’s rights … and the right to be pro-choice.” [He] said Woodworth is being dishonest because “in reality, what [he] wants to do is re-criminalize abortion.”

Though Woodworth was the only pro-life member to speak on behalf of the motion, Tory MP Harold Albrecht (Kitchener-Conestoga) rose at one point to correct Boivin when she claimed that there were no female MPs in the House at the time of the debate to support Woodworth.

In his remarks in the debate, Woodworth highlighted a paper published in the Journal of Medical Ethics in February by ethicists from Italy and Australia that called for “after-birth abortion,” otherwise known as infanticide. The authors argued, in their words, that “killing a newborn could be ethically permissible in all the circumstances where abortion would be.”

“If we accept their premise that it is acceptable to decree that some human beings are not human persons, their logic follows, inevitably,” Woodworth argued.

He then pointed out that this line of thinking has practical consequences even today. “In Canada every year, the deaths of 40 to 50 infants who are born alive and later die are classified as ‘termination of pregnancy’,” he explained.

“If basic rights can be denied to even one vulnerable person, they can be denied to anyone,” he said. “If we accept a law that decrees some human beings are not human, the question that must be asked is: Who is next?”

The motion has now dropped to the bottom of the House of Commons’ order paper and is expected to receive a second hour of debate in June or September, followed by a vote.

If it passes, the special committee will be appointed and will then have ten months to prepare a final report detailing the medical evidence on the unborn’s humanity, whether or not the Criminal Code is consistent with the evidence as currently written, and possible legislative options for Parliament to affirm or amend the Criminal Code.

Find the full Hansard transcript of the debate.

Get contact information for Members of Parliament.

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Judges order Arizona and Indiana to recognize gay ‘marriages’ on death certificates

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By Kirsten Anderson

Two federal judges have ordered Arizona and Indiana to recognize same-sex “marriages” on death certificates, although both states have laws defining marriage as a union between one man and one woman.

In Arizona, Judge John Sedwick ordered the state to issue a death certificate for George Martinez listing his marital status as “married” and his spouse as Fred McQuire.  The two were “married” in California in July, and Martinez died in September.  They had previously sued Arizona to recognize their out-of-state “marriage” as legal – a case that is still ongoing.

In his decision, Sedwick said that the majority of federal appeals courts have found that “marriage laws which discriminate between heterosexual couples and homosexual couples infringe a fundamental right.”  He said he thought it was likely that Arizona’s marriage protection law will soon be overturned. 

Sedwick’s decision applies exclusively to Martinez and McQuire.   The judge explained that given the likelihood of same-sex “marriage” becoming legal in Arizona, he didn’t want McQuire’s “marriage” to be excluded from recognition just because his “husband” died before the law could be overturned.  He said he hoped the decision would prevent “the loss of dignity and status coming in the midst of an elderly man’s personal grief.”

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Meanwhile, in Indiana, Judge Joseph Van Bokkelen presided over an agreement between the state and a lesbian couple, Veronica Romero and Mayra Yvette Rivera, who “married” in Illinois in March. The state agreed to recognize the couple’s “marriage” because Rivera is dying of ovarian cancer, and said they will issue a death certificate bearing Romero’s name as “spouse” when Rivera passes away. 

Indiana opted to concede the case mostly due to its striking similarities to an earlier case the state lost, in which Judge Richard L. Young ordered Indiana to recognize the “marriage” of Niki Quasney and Amy Sandler, who “wed” in Massachusetts in 2013.  Quasney also has terminal ovarian cancer, and the couple had argued that Sandler and her two children would suffer irreparable financial harm if the state does not recognize their “marriage” so that Sandler can collect death benefits when Quasney passes away. 

Both Indiana decisions apply only to the couples named specifically by the court; however, last week, a federal appeals court upheld an earlier ruling by Judge Young declaring the state’s marriage protection law unconstitutional. 

The state of Indiana has appealed that ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court.

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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.
Jonathon van Maren Jonathon van Maren Follow Jonathon

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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Abortion ‘doula’: I was trained to ‘support’ women choosing gendercide

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By Ben Johnson

A young woman who volunteers as an assistant in the abortion industry says she was trained to be “supportive” of women who chose to have sex-selective abortions and 11-year-olds who opted to remain in a sexual relationship with their much older rapist.

Alex Ronan also describes the conscious decision to lie to patients and the graphic, bloody details of her first year as an abortion doula in an article published Sunday in New York Magazine.

An abortion “doula” – a Greek word that literally means “female slave” – is supposed to comfort women during the abortion procedure. The 23-year-old received her training from Lauren Mitchell, who co-founded The Doula Project with Mary Mahoney in 2007.

“We sat in the park, eating pie,” Ronan remembered:

She gave us a sheet with situations so exaggeratedly horrible they seemed unreal: An 11-year-old in for an abortion who asks for birth control when she’s alone with the doctor. Her mother works nights; she’d been left with a friend who has a twentysomething son. She calls him her boyfriend; he will go to jail. A woman who says she’d like to do another ultrasound to see if it’s definitely a girl, because she’ll only keep it if it isn’t. A drug addict covered in track marks with two kids in the foster-care system who refuses birth control.

“What do you assume?” Mitchell asked of each case. “How can you be supportive?”

The 23-year-old said, as the training went on, she realized these cases were not hypothetical. “Later, I learned from Mahoney that all the examples were real cases that had come from her first six months working as an abortion doula.”

Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers have repeatedly been caught covering up statutory rape – by pro-life sting operations and outraged parents – as well as facilitating sex-selective abortions.

Faced with the reality of abortion, Ronan said she felt “embarrassed” by “the limits of my compassion. I judged these women on the worthiness of their reasons ('Would she really only keep a boy?' I wondered) and found myself questioning why those who come in for late-term abortions had waited so long to decide.”

Soon, she would see cases she would never forget. She bookends her article with two stories that reveal the pain women suffer in the process and the gory details the procedure burned into her mind.

She saw an emergency that ended in a hysterectomy on her first day.

The abortionists moved up the late-term procedure after seeing the woman's reaction to laminaria. “I hear one doctor tell the other that there’s too much blood,” Ronan writes. “They have to cut into Dee’s abdomen to get a clearer picture of what was going on...Eventually, they have to remove the uterus; there isn’t any other way.”

After the procedure, “What’s called the products of conception bucket is mostly filled with bloody gunk. I make out a doll-size arm, fist curled. It feels like I shouldn’t look, but I can’t turn away,” she admits.

Soon, she got her opportunity to “support” a minor in an “abusive” relationship. Afterwards, “Eliana” asked Ronan, “Do you think I’m too young for an abortion?”

“I tell her no. I think she’s making a really responsible choice,” she writes. “She looks at me, says, 'Do you even know how old I am?' I shake my head no. 'I’m 14,' she says.”

Ronan did not indicate that she or anyone at the abortion facility reported the abuse, or encouraged Eliana to do so.

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When abortion volunteers speak to one another, they acknowledge they have seen everything – “the patients who have second thoughts, and the ones who get abortions for reasons that make you feel uncomfortable. These images are the stuff of pro-life campaigns, the ones that try to make women change their minds.”

Rather than help women face the facts, she said she often acts as a “distraction” to women. “When the patients stand, I see the blood stains on the white paper, a little or a lot,” she writes. “I step between them and the bed, to block their view of the blood.” Mitchell suggested doulas make small talk about astrology, but the writer chooses to talk about the Kardashians.

Part of that abortion industry's “distraction” involves lying, Ronan confesses. As a part of the abortion process, you “quickly learn that you do whatever you need to and ... sometimes you are dishonest. In the beginning, I shadow a more experienced doula as she reassures a patient that the woman in the next room screaming wildly is not here for the same procedure, though, of course, she is.”

She has also seen women who did not want to have abortions but feel they have no other option.

“A doula tells me a story about a woman who wanted to continue the pregnancy but had lost her job, run through all her savings, and was living in a homeless shelter.” For this reason, crisis pregnancy centers offer free medical procedures, diapers, baby clothes, and sometimes financial support to struggling mothers.

Another woman chose life too late. She scheduled a second-trimester abortion, because her child might not belong to her boyfriend. That morning, after the two-day procedure had been initiated, he told her they should keep the child anyway. “I can't, though, right?” she asks. “Since she’s already done laminaria, it’s unclear what would happen if she stops at this point.” She ended up aborting to assure the child would not be born with a birth defect. “I don't know what she wants and I don't know that she does, either,” Ronan says.

Ronan also reveals the often icy indifference of the industry to women's suffering.

She remembers another second-trimester patient named “Princess” who began having contractions, yet the doctor pushed her abortion back all day long. When she feels her child coming out, about to be born alive, the doula seeks help, but the coordinator tells her “coolly” that the doctor is unavailable. After she pleads for help, the abortionist dispatches an attending physician who performs the abortion.

“The fetus comes out easily; they put it in the bucket and shove it near me. It is fully intact, curled on its left side, fists closed, knees bent up,” Ronan writes. Looking at the dead child's mother, she thinks to herself, “He sleeps just like you.”

She immediately has “a second thought, an act of distancing: He looks more like an alien than a person.” An employee at Dr. Kermit Gosnell's late-term abortion facility, Sherry West, said one child who was murdered after being born alive screamed and screeched “like a little alien.”

But for all the pain they have witnessed, abortion doulas are relatively unmoved about what they are doing.

Doula Project co-founder Mahoney has admitted “those pictures pro-life activists flash are real.”

“When you see the procedure, you must decide, as a pro-choice person, whether you are in or out,” Mahoney said. “I have never been more in.”

Ronan seems to be in for the long haul, as well. Abortion “strikes me as strangely similar to birth, only the opposite word and a different outcome.”

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