John Jalsevac

Card. Dolan ‘would not suggest’ pro-abort Gov. Cuomo not a Catholic ‘in good standing’: archdiocese

John Jalsevac
John Jalsevac

NEW YORK, May 16, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – After New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan appeared to suggest during a radio interview this week that he may not view pro-abortion Governor Andrew Cuomo as a Catholic “in good standing,” the archdiocese has issued a statement saying that this is not the case, and that Dolan's remark was misunderstood. 

“Cardinal Dolan would not, and did not, suggest the governor might not be a Catholic in good standing going forward,” archdiocesan spokesman Joseph Zwilling said in a statement originally sent to the New York Times, and forwarded to LifeSiteNews.

Dolan made the remark during a discussion about Gov. Cuomo’s intention to propose a law to make abortion less regulated and more accessible. Cuomo announced the initiative during his State of the State address in January, in which he pledged to “protect a woman’s freedom of choice” by enacting a “Reproductive Health Act." 

The governor added, repeating three times, “Because it is her body, it is her choice. Because it's her body, it's her choice. Because it's her body, it's her choice.” 

During this week’s radio interview, the host of the show, Fred Dicker, asked Cardinal Dolan how Cuomo “could be a leader on an issue that the Church fundamentally feels so strongly about," namely abortion, and “still be considered a Catholic in good standing?”

“Well, I don’t mind telling you that’s one of the things the governor and I talk about,” Cardinal Dolan responded. “And look, he and I have very grave differences. And this is one of them.”

The cardinal added that while he doesn’t like to “blab on the radio” about private conversations about matters of conscience, “I don’t mind telling you…that’s something that I talk turkey with him about, and leave it at that.” 

The remark was interpreted by the New York Times as suggesting that the cardinal has reservations about whether Gov. Cuomo, who was also the leading advocate of New York’s 2011 gay “marriage” law, is a Catholic in good standing.

The archdiocese moved quickly to quell this interpretation. 

According to spokesman Zwilling, when the cardinal said he has “grave differences” and “talks turkey” with the governor, he was talking about the governor’s position on abortion, and not about whether the governor is a Catholic in good standing or not.   

“The Cardinal was very clear throughout…that he and the governor have very different positions on abortion, and he has been forthright with the governor on the matter, in public and in private,” said Zwilling. “But he has not made any statement about the Governor’s faith or standing in the Church.” 

LifeSiteNews.com asked Zwilling if Cardinal Dolan would be willing to consider telling Governor Cuomo that he must change his views on abortion or, in accordance with Canon 915 and Vatican pronouncements, be denied Communion. (See below.) The archdiocesan spokesman, however, demurred from answering the question, instead referring LSN to the statement provided to the Times

Cardinal Dolan: ‘Gov. Cuomo wants to work very closely with the pro-life movement’

Throughout the interview with Fred Dicker, Cardinal Dolan emphasized his positive personal relationship with the governor, and expressed his hopes that the governor would not, in fact, expand abortion in the state. 

“I appreciate a lot of things about Governor Cuomo. He and I get along well. And I’m grateful that he keeps in touch,” said the cardinal, adding that while he disagrees with the governor on abortion, he has enjoyed working with him on issues like gun control and immigration. 

Cardinal Dolan also said that the governor “has been very up front with me that he wants to work very closely with the pro-life community to provide alternatives to abortion,” something the cardinal said is “refreshing.” 

Since announcing his intention in January to pass a Reproductive Health Act as part of a broader Women’s Equality Act, Governor Cuomo has been coy about what, exactly, his bill will propose. Originally pro-life groups, including the state’s conference of Catholic bishops, had identified Cuomo’s bill with the same Reproductive Health Act that has languished for several years in the New York legislature. That bill would dramatically expand abortion access, including late-term abortion, and has been described as “the most sweeping abortion legislation in the country.” 

In the intervening months, however, the governor has appeared to backpedal, suggesting that the bill may only protect the “status quo” on abortion by codifying federal abortion law in state law. 

Cardinal Dolan said the governor has made similar promises to him. “He’s told me what he’s said publicly, that as of now he has not decided on the details of the Act, and that when it is revealed we won’t find it as alarming as some of the rumors are,” said the cardinal. 

The cardinal also said that of the 10 points mentioned by Cuomo as part of his Women’s Equality Act, the Church agrees with him on nine of the points. “It’s just this one about expansion of abortion that really gives us pause and makes us say, ‘please, that’s the last thing this state needs,’” the cardinal said. 

Asked by Dicker if the cardinal wasn’t perhaps being too trusting by taking Gov. Cuomo at his word that he doesn’t intend to expand abortion, the cardinal admitted that “a lot of people are saying that to me.” 

“They’re saying, ‘Dolan you’re too trusting.’ I say, look, the governor and I have worked closely together on other issues. I’ve applauded a lot of the things that he’s done…We’ve been with him and appreciated what he’s done. So, I guess I tend to be a trusting person by nature," he said. “I guess I want to believe that he means it when he says he’s not going to expand what’s already a terribly harmful liberal abortion culture, and that he wants to work hard on alternatives to abortion.”

Cardinal Dolan: ‘It’s not all that good to trust politicians sometimes’

Cardinal Dolan has accused himself of being too trusting of New York politicians in the past.

In the aftermath of the legalization of gay “marriage” in New York, Cardinal Dolan admitted to EWTN’s Raymond Arroyo that the state’s bishops hadn’t really launched an offensive against the bill because they had been assured by “political allies” that the bill was dead in the water. 

“So, we had political allies who said, ‘Bishops, keep your ammo dry. You don’t have to pull out all the stops, speak on principle, speak up against this bill, but don’t really worry, because it’s not going to go anywhere,’” said Dolan. 

The chief champion and moving force behind the gay ‘marriage’ bill at the time was Governor Cuomo. 

During debate over the bill, the governor had accused those who opposed it of being “un-American” and saying, in effect, “I want to discriminate.” 

After the bill passed Cuomo was widely accused by Republicans and other advocates of traditional marriage of using coercive and deceptive tactics, including pushing for last minute changes to Senate rules, to ram the bill through the legislature. 

During the Arroyo interview, the cardinal was asked if the bishops had learned anything from the experience. 

“It sort of taught us that it’s not all that good to trust politicians sometimes,” Dolan said. “And I think some of us bishops think we were being deceived. And I think that could be, shame on us for believing them.” 

Cuomo should be denied communion: canon law expert, pro-life leaders

This isn’t the first time that the question of Gov. Cuomo’s status as a Catholic has been the source of public debate, and newspaper headlines. 

In February 2011, Vatican canon law legal consultant Ed Peters made headlines when he said that Cuomo should be denied Holy Communion because of his public support for abortion, as well as the fact that he was living openly with his mistress. 

Peters based his argument on Canon 915, which states that those “who obstinately persist in manifest grave sin, are not to be admitted to holy communion.” 

Other pro-life leaders have also asked that Governor Cuomo be denied Communion. In this they would appear to have strong support from the Vatican in the form of a letter written to the U.S. bishops in 2004 by then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI), in his capacity as Prefect for the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith. 

In that letter, Cardinal Ratzinger had attempted to end debate about whether pro-abortion Catholic public figures should be denied Communion, telling the bishops that those politicians who have been warned by their pastors to change their views on abortion, “must” be denied the Eucharist. 

LifeSiteNews.com asked Zwilling if Cardinal Dolan would be willing to consider taking this step with Governor Cuomo. The archdiocesan spokesman, however, did not answer the question and instead referred LSN to the statement provided to the Times

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A Planned Parenthood facility in Denver, Colorado
Dustin Siggins Dustin Siggins Follow Dustin

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Colorado judge tosses suit alleging Planned Parenthood used state funds to pay for abortions

Dustin Siggins Dustin Siggins Follow Dustin
By Dustin Siggins

Alliance Defending Freedom "will likely appeal" a Monday court decision dismissing their suit alleging Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains illegally used state funds to pay for abortions, an ADF lawyer told LifeSiteNews.

The ADF lawsuit claims that $1.4 million went from state government agencies to a Planned Parenthood abortion affiliate through Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains.

Denver County District Court Judge Andrew McCallin dismissed the case on the basis that ADF could not prove the funds paid for abortions. But ADF maintains that funding an abortion facility is indirectly paying for abortions, which violates state law.

ADF senior counsel Michael Norton -- whose wife, former Colorado Lieutenant Governor Jane Norton, filed the lawsuit – told LifeSiteNews that "no one is above the law, including Colorado politicians who are violating our state’s constitution by continuing to fund Planned Parenthood’s abortion business with state taxpayer dollars."

"The State of Colorado even acknowledges that about $1.4 million of state taxpayer dollars flowed from Colorado government agencies through Planned Parenthood to its abortion affiliate. The Denver court seems to have agreed with that fact and yet granted motions to dismiss based on a technicality," said Norton.

According to Colorado law, "no public funds shall be used by the State of Colorado, its agencies or political subdivisions to pay or otherwise reimburse, either directly or indirectly, any person, agency or facility for the performance of any induced abortion." There is a stipulation that allows for "the General Assembly, by specific bill, [to] authorize and appropriate funds to be used for those medical services necessary to prevent the death of either a pregnant woman or her unborn child under circumstances where every reasonable effort is made to preserve the life of each."

According to court documents, the Colorado law was affirmed by state voters in 1984, with an appeal attempt rejected two years later. In 2001, an outside legal firm hired by Jane Norton -- who was lieutenant governor at the time -- found that Planned Parenthood was "subsidizing rent" and otherwise providing financial assistance to Planned Parenthood Services Corporation, an abortion affiliate. After the report came out, and Planned Parenthood refused to disassociate itself from the abortion affiliate, the state government stopped funding Planned Parenthood.

Since 2009, however, that has changed, which is why the lawsuit is filed against Planned Parenthood, and multiple government officials, including Democratic Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper.

According to ADF legal counsel Natalie Decker, the fact that Planned Parenthood sent funds to the abortion affiliate should have convinced McCallin of the merits of the case. "The State of Colorado and the Denver court acknowledged that about $1.4 million of state taxpayer dollars, in addition to millions of 'federal' tax dollars, flowed from Colorado government agencies through Planned Parenthood to its abortion affiliate," said Decker.

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"Without even having the facts of the case developed, the Denver court seems to have granted motions to dismiss filed by the State of Colorado and Planned Parenthood on grounds the term 'indirectly' could not mean what Ms. Norton and Governor Owens said it meant in 2002 when they defunded Planned Parenthood."

"That, of course, is the plain meaning of Colo. Const., Art. V, § 50 which was implemented by the citizens of Colorado, and the reason for Ms. Norton’s lawsuit."

Decker told LifeSiteNews that "Colorado law is very clear," and that the state law "prohibits Colorado tax dollars from being used to directly or indirectly pay for induced abortions."

She says her client "has been denied the opportunity to fully develop the facts of the case and demonstrate exactly what the Colorado tax dollars have been used for." Similarly, says Decker, it is not known "exactly what those funds were used for. At this time, there is simply no way to conclude that tax dollars have not been used to directly pay for abortions or abortion inducing drugs and devices."

"What we do know is that millions of Colorado tax dollars have flowed through Planned Parenthood to its abortion affiliate, which leads to the inescapable conclusion that those tax dollars are being used to indirectly pay for abortions."

A spokesperson for Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains did not return multiple requests for comment about the lawsuit.

The dismissal comes as Planned Parenthood fights an investigation by the state's Republican attorney general over a video by Live Action, as well as a lawsuit by a mother whose 13-year old daughter had an abortion in 2012 that she alleges was covered up by Planned Parenthood. The girl, who was being abused by her stepfather, was abused for months after the abortion.

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Steve Weatherbe

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Fledgling high-tech pro-life group marks 2,000 babies saved: 2-3 saved per day

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Online for Life, the Dallas-based pro-life marketing agency, saved its two-thousandth unborn baby earlier this year and is well on its way to saving its three thousandth by 2015.

“We are getting better all the time at what we do,” says founder Brian Fisher. “It used to be one baby saved every four to six weeks and now its two or three a day.”

But the most significant save? “It was the very first one,” he says, recalling the phone call from a crisis centre a month after OFL’s 2012 startup.  “And for me personally it was just a massive turning point … because [of] all the work and the money and testing and the volunteers and everything that led up to that moment. All the frustration of that was washed away in an instant because a child had been rescued that was about to be killed.”

Though increasing market savvy has led Online for Life to expand offline, the core of the non-profit, donor-financed operation remains SEO -- search engine optimization -- targeting young women who have just discovered they are pregnant and gone onto the Web to find the nearest abortion clinic.

Instead, they find the nearest crisis pregnancy center at the top of their results page. Since OFL went online it has linked with a network of 41 such centers, including two of its own it started this year, in a positive feedback loop that reinforces effective messaging first at the level of the Web, then at the first telephone call between the clinic and the pregnant woman, and finally at the first face-to-face meeting.

“Testing is crucial,” says Fisher. “We test everything we do.” Early on, Online for Life insisted the clinics it served have an ultrasound machine, because the prevailing wisdom in the prolife movement was that “once they saw their baby on ultrasound, they would drop the idea of having an abortion.” While the organization still insists on the ultrasound, its own testing and feedback from the CPCs indicates that three quarters of the women they see already have children. “They’ve already seen their own children on ultrasound and are still planning to abort.” So ultrasound images have lost their punch.

OFL has had to move offline to reach a significant minority who have neither computers, tablets, or cell phones.  Traditional electronic media spots as well as bus ads and billboards carry the message to them.

As well, says Fisher, “unwanted pregnancy used to be a high-school age problem; now that’s gone down in numbers and the average age of women seeking abortion has gone up to 24.” By that age, he says, they are “thoroughly conditioned by the abortion culture. Even before they got pregnant, they have already decided they would have an abortion if they did get pregnant.”

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What they need—and fast, in the first two minutes of the first phone call—is sympathy, support, and a complete absence of judgement. Online for Life is always gathering information from its network on what responses are most effective—and this can vary city to city. The organization offers training to clinic volunteers and staff that stresses a thorough knowledge of the services on tap. “Any major city has all sorts of services—housing, education, health—available,” says Fisher.

The problem that OFL was designed to address was the crisis pregnancy centers’ market penetration. Three percent of women with unwanted pregnancies were reaching out to the CPCs, and seven per cent of those who did reach out were having their babies. “So about 2.1 children were being saved for every 1,000 unwanted pregnancies,” says Fisher. “That’s not nearly enough.”

So Fisher and two fellow volunteers dreamed of applying online marketing techniques to the problem in 2009. Three years later Fisher was ready to leave his executive position at an online marketing agency to go full-time with the life-saving agency. Now they have 63 employees, most of them devoted to optimizing the penetration in each of the markets served by their participating crisis centers.

The results speak for themselves. Where OFL has applied its techniques, especially with its own clinics, as many as 15-18 percent of the targeted population of women seeking abortions get directed to nearby crisis pregnancy centers. “It depends on the centres’ budgets and on how many volunteers they have to be on the phones through the day and night,” he says. “But we are going to push it higher. We hope to save our 2,500th child by the end of the year.”

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Shock: UK mom abandons disabled daughter, keeps healthy son after twin surrogacy

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By Pete Baklinski

A UK woman who is the biological mother of twins born from a surrogate mom, has allegedly abandoned one of the children because she was born with a severe muscular condition, while taking the girl's healthy sibling home with her.

The surrogate mother, also from the UK — referred to as "Jenny" to protect her identity — revealed to The Sun the phone conversation that took place between herself and the biological mother over the fate of the disabled girl.

“I remember her saying to me, “She’d be a f****** dribbling cabbage! Who would want to adopt her? No one would want to adopt a disabled child,’” she said.

Jenny, who has children of her own, said she decided to become a surrogate to “help a mother who couldn’t have children.” She agreed to have two embryos implanted in her womb and to give birth for £12,000 ($20,000 USD).

With just six weeks to the due date, doctors told Jenny she needed an emergency caesarean to save the babies. It was not until a few weeks after the premature births that the twin girl was diagnosed with congenital myotonic dystrophy.

When Jenny phoned the biological mother to tell her of the girl’s condition, the mother rejected the girl.

Jenny has decided along with her partner to raise the girl. They have called her Amy.

“I was stunned when I heard her reject Amy,” Jenny said. “She had basically told me that she didn’t want a disabled child.”

Jenny said she felt “very angry” towards the girl’s biological parents. "I hate them for what they did.”

The twins are now legally separated. A Children and Family Court has awarded the healthy boy to the biological mother and the disabled girl to her surrogate.

The story comes about two weeks after an Australian couple allegedly abandoned their surrogate son in Thailand after he was born with Down syndrome, while taking the healthy twin girl back with them to Australia.

Rickard Newman, director of Family Life, Pro-Life & Child and Youth Protection in the Diocese of Lake Charles, called the Australian story a “tragedy” that “results from a marketplace that buys and sells children.”

“Third-party reproduction is a prism for violations against humanity. IVF and the sperm trade launched a wicked industry that now includes abortion, eugenics, human trafficking, and deliberate family fragmentation,” he said. 

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