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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Brian Fisher

Birth mothers: real heroes of the pro-life movement

Brian Fisher
By Brian Fisher
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What does it mean to be brave? Is it the doctor who dedicates himself to improving the health of a third-world nation? Is it the woman who faces her third round of chemotherapy to fight the progression of cancer? Is it the teacher who forgoes the comforts of a suburban school to reach minorities in the inner city? All of these are examples of bravery demonstrated in exceedingly challenging circumstances. And our society longs for stories of bravery to inspire us and fill us with hope.

As someone who works day in and day out with those on the front lines of helping rescue babies from abortion, I’m no stranger to stories of bravery. I see courage every day in the eyes of the men and women who sacrifice their time and energy to help women facing unplanned pregnancies. I see it every time a young mom — despite being pressured by her parents or significant other to get an abortion — chooses LIFE. And perhaps more profoundly than in any other situation, I see it when an expectant mom with no relational support, job, or income chooses to place her baby for adoption rather than abort her son or daughter.

This was Nicky’s situation.

When Nicky found herself pregnant with her boyfriend’s child, her life was already in shambles. During her 26 years, Nicky had already given birth to and surrendered sole custody of a little girl, committed several felonies, lived in her car, lost several jobs, and barely subsisted on minimum wage. So when she met up with an old boyfriend, Brandon, Nicky believed she was being given a second chance at happiness. “Our first year together was beautiful. We were getting to know each other and deciding if we would stay together forever.” Unfortunately, a positive pregnancy test result changed everything.

“When I told him I was pregnant, Brandon sat down on the bed, looked me in the eyes, and told me to ‘get an abortion’.” Nicky says those three little words changed everything for her. “I became depressed living with someone who wanted his child ‘dealt with.’”  Like thousands of women every day, Nicky began searching online for information on abortion, hoping her boyfriend would eventually change his mind. Through our strategic marketing methods, Online for Life was able to guide Nicky to a life-affirming pregnancy center where she received grace-filled counsel. “The woman I sat with was beyond wonderful. She helped me to just breathe and ask God what to do….And so I did.”

Nicky left the pregnancy center that day with a new resolve to choose life for her child, even though she still wasn’t sure how she’d financially support a child. “I was alone with just $10 in my pocket…and without any type of plan for what I was going to do.” So Nicky relied on the support of the staff she met at the life-affirming pregnancy center. With their help and through a chain of fortunate events, Nicky was put in contact with the couple who would eventually become her daughter’s adoptive parents.

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After meeting this couple face to face and coming to terms with her own desperate situation, Nicky conceded that the best thing for her unborn child would be to place her in someone else’s loving home. She told Brandon about her plans and he agreed that adoption would give their child the best chance at a happy and secure future. He even returned home to help Nicky prepare for the birth of their child. “The weeks leading up to my delivery were filled with a mixture of laughter, tears, protectiveness and sadness,” Nicky recalls. But one sentiment continued to be shared with her. “Brave…so brave.” That’s what everyone from the life-affirming pregnancy center to the adoption agency to the birthing center kept calling Nicky. “The nurses kept coming up to me and telling me they were honored to care for and treat someone like me.” After several weeks of preparation, Nicky finally gave birth to a healthy baby girl, and she made the dreams of a couple from the other side of the country come true.

Nicky’s adoption story continues to be riddled with a strange combination of pain and joy. “I cry every day, but I know my baby, who came out of a very bad time, ended up being loved by people from across the country.” When asked what message she’d like to share with the world about her decision to give up her child for adoption, Nicky responds, The voice of the mother who gives up a baby for adoption isn’t heard. We need to change that.”

To learn more about Online for Life and how we’re helping to make stories like Nicky and her daughter’s story a possibility, please visit OnlineforLife.org.

Author, speaker, and business leader Brian Fisher is the President and Co-Founder of Online for Life, a transparent, metric-oriented, compassion-driven nonprofit organization dedicated to helping rescue babies and their families from abortion through technology and grace.

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Dustin Siggins Dustin Siggins Follow Dustin

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New York farmers stop hosting weddings after $13,000 fine for declining lesbian ceremony

Dustin Siggins Dustin Siggins Follow Dustin
By Dustin Siggins

New York farmers Robert and Cynthia Gifford, who were ordered last week to pay $13,000 for not hosting a same-sex "wedding," say they are closing that part of their operation.

"Going forward, the Giffords have decided to no longer host any wedding ceremonies on their farm, other than the ones already under contract," said Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) lawyer James Trainor. ADF represented the Giffords in their legal fight against New York's non-discrimination law.

Last week, the Giffords were ordered to pay a $10,000 fine to the state of New York and $3,000 in damages to a lesbian couple, Jennifer McCarthy and Melisa Erwin, who approached them in 2012 about hosting their "wedding." The Giffords, who are Roman Catholic, said their religious convictions would not let them host the ceremony, but that McCarthy and Erwin could hold their reception on their property.

Unbeknownst to the Giffords, lesbian couple recorded the two-to-three minute conversation. After declining to hold the reception on the Giffords' farm, on which they live and rent property, the lesbian couple decided to make a formal complaint to the state's Division of Human Rights.

Eventually, Judge Migdalia Pares ruled that the Giffords' farm, Liberty Ridge Farm, constitutes a public accommodation because space is rented on the grounds and fees are collected from the public. The Giffords argued that because they live on the property with their children, they should be exempt from the state law, but Pares said that this does not mean their business is private.

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Trainor told TheBlaze that the Giffords' decision to end wedding ceremonies at Liberty Ridge “will hurt their business in the short run," but that was preferable to violating their religious beliefs.

“The Giffords serve all people with respect and care. They have hired homosexual employees and have hosted events for same-sex couples,” he said.

However, "since the state of New York has essentially compelled them to do all ceremonies or none at all, they have chosen the latter in order to stay true to their religious convictions," Trainor explained to LifeSiteNews. "No American should be forced by the government to choose between their livelihood and their faith, but that’s exactly the choice the state of New York has forced upon the Giffords."

"They will continue to host wedding receptions," said Trainor.

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Thaddeus Baklinski Thaddeus Baklinski Follow Thaddeus

South African mom files ‘wrongful life’ lawsuit on behalf of Downs son

Thaddeus Baklinski Thaddeus Baklinski Follow Thaddeus
By Thaddeus Baklinski

A South African woman has launched a "wrongful life" lawsuit against the Cape Town-based Foetal Assessment Centre, claiming a failure to inform her that the child she was carrying was at risk of having Down Syndrome prevented her from aborting her baby.

A twist in this lawsuit is that, unlike other "wrongful birth" lawsuits, the mother in this case missed the time limit to file the claim on her own behalf, so she is asking the South African Constitutional Court to allow her to sue the center for “wrongful life” on behalf of her now-born son.

“You have a duty to tell my mother carrying me that I'm malformed so that she can make an informed decision as to whether or not to carry me to term,” the statement of claim against the Foetal Assessment Centre reads, according to SABC News.

“It is not as if the foetus is sort of putting up its hand and saying why you didn’t destroy me," the mother's lawyer, Paul Hoffman, explained to Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke. "The foetus is complaining that its malformation, its development is the result of the bad advice that was given.”

The SABC report did not say what compensation the woman is seeking.

The scope of the case is similar to that of a New Zealand couple who won a lawsuit claiming monetary compensation after a routine 20 week ultrasound scan failed to discover that their daughter had spina bifida.

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The mother, whose name has not been released, claimed that the continuance of the pregnancy was a “personal injury,” and, had she been given the correct diagnosis after that scan, she would have aborted her daughter.

"We consider that the continued pregnancy of the appellant following a misdiagnosis in the 20 week scan is capable of being an injury suffered by the appellant,” the court ruled, and directed the New Zealand Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) to make the woman eligible for compensation for the ongoing surgical and physiotherapy expenses incurred by their child.

New Zealand disability advocate Mike Sullivan said the underpinning attitude behind the decision is that those with disability, both born and unborn, are seen as a burden on society.

“This is what happens,” Sullivan said, when “the children become reduced to nothing – wrong even to exist.”

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