Ben Johnson

Court-ordered abortion, sterilization of Catholic woman in Mass. overturned by higher court

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BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS, January 18, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – On Tuesday, the Massachusetts Appeals Court threw out a lower court’s ruling that would have forced a mentally ill woman to undergo an abortion and be forcibly sterilized against her will.

Norfolk Family and Probate Court Judge Christina Harms had ruled on January 6 that the 32-year-old could be “coaxed, bribed, or even enticed…by ruse” until she was sedated for the procedures.

The woman, who is identified only by the pseudonym “Mary Moe,” is approximately five months pregnant.

Moe, who suffers from schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, had a previous abortion in her history. She reportedly described herself as “very Catholic,” and told the court she “wouldn’t do that (abortion)” again. However, despite the testimony of a court-appointed specialist who determined Moe would not choose abortion, and the fact that Moe herself reportedly became “agitated and emotional’’ when Judge Harms mentioned her previous abortion, the judge ruled that the specialist’s findings were inconclusive.

Instead, Harms ruled that Moe was not mentally competent to decide whether to have the baby, and said that if she were mentally competent, she would choose to have an abortion so she could resume taking medication to treat her illness. She added that Moe’s opposition to abortion stemmed from her “substantial delusional beliefs.” Although no one had sought sterilization, Harms also ordered Moe sterilized “to avoid this painful situation from recurring in the future.” The request that Moe abort originated with the state Department of Mental Health.

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Appellate Court Associate Justice Andrew R. Grainger overruled the decision, noting Harms’ orders contradicted a 1982 state Supreme Court ruling allowing all the right to procreate. He added that Harms “simply produced the [sterilization] requirement out of thin air.” Another judge in a lower court will make a final ruling.

Pro-life advocates expressed thanks at the Appeals Court’s decision and dismay at the original ruling.

Terry Donilon, a spokesman for the Archdiocese of Boston, told LifeSiteNews.com the original ruling was “outrageous.”

“It’s barbaric to force anyone to undergo a sterilization or abortion,” constitutional expert John W. Whitehead of the Rutherford Institute told LifeSiteNews.com. “To force someone to go against their clearly expressed religious beliefs” is a clear violation of the First Amendment, he added.

“It’s not up to the state to determine who has a child and who doesn’t,” he said. “If permitted, it’s totalitarian.”

“The nation should take note at how close we are coming to the forced abortion policy of communist China,” Troy Newman of Operation Rescue wrote in a statement e-mailed to LifeSiteNews.com. “Can we now dispense with the ‘pro-choice’ label?”

“The abortion cartel has never wanted choice. They exist on an insatiable diet of more and more abortion.”

Others were surprised such measures were still being performed in the name of public health. “I didn’t realize that forced sterilizations were going on anywhere,” said Howard Trachtman of the National Alliance on Mental Illness Massachusetts. Daniel Pollack of Yeshiva University, said, “My guess is it happens a lot more than we know.”

The case demonstrates “the lingering shadow of eugenics, which has never left the ‘progressive’ agenda, despite its ugly history,” Father Shenan J. Boquet, president of Human Life International, http://hli.org told LifeSiteNews.com.

Although Harms prescribed a compulsory abortion to help stop Moe’s mental illness, abortion may have triggered her psychological issues in the first place. Court records show Moe had a “psychotic break” after her abortion and has been hospitalized numerous times for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

In 2003, researchers at the Elliott Institute found women with a history of previous abortion were nearly three-times as likely to have bipolar disorder, and a 2002 study by the American Journal of Orthopsychiatry observed that post-abortive women were being hospitalized for mental illnesses including schizophrenia.

In 2011, Dr. Priscilla Coleman of Bowling Green State University found nearly 10 percent of all mental illness in post-abortive women was “attributable to abortion.”

Brian Camenker, director of MassResistance, told LifeSiteNews.com, “this shows is just how dangerous these lower courts are.” Harms, who was appointed by Governor Michael Dukakis in 1989, retired on January 11. Camenker, who has long observed judicial trends in his home state, ranked Dukakis “probably the second worst [governor] in memory” for judicial appointments.

Fr. Boquet said he is happy the appeals court rejected “the extreme nature of the initial judge’s decision.”

“This young mother certainly needs help, not more violence in her life,” he wrote. “We pray that she is able to get the help she needs.”

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Four Indiana abortionists could lose their licenses over reporting violations

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By Ben Johnson

The attorney general of Indiana, Greg Zoeller, has asked a state board to review the medical licenses of four abortionists, including an out-of-state abortionist who failed to report two cases of statutory rape.

The Indiana Medical Licensing Board will review the cases of Dr. Ulrich “George” Klopfer, Dr. Resad Pasic, Dr. Kathleen Glover, and Dr. Raymond Robinson.

A press release from the attorney general's office called Klopfer's “the most egregious complaint.” Klopfer, who lives in Crete, Illinois, failed to report abortions of two 13-year-olds – one at his Women’s Pavilion abortion facility in South Bend and another in his office in Gary.

All abortions must be reported to the Indiana State Department of Health, and abortions performed on minors younger than 14 must also be reported to the Indiana Department of Child Services within three days. Under state law, children under the age of 14 are incapable of consenting to sex, so any sexual relationship with them is considered likely statutory rape.

Klopfer reported the two abortions 116 days and 206 days afterwards, something he described as “an honest mistake.” Klopfer faces a misdemeanor criminal charge in both Lake and St. Joseph county in connection with those allegations.

Every single one of the 1,818 abortion reports Klopfer turned in to state authorities between July 2012 and November 2013 was false or incomplete, Zoeller says. The doctor often omitted the father's name and had a habit of listing the date of every abortion at 88 weeks gestation.

The abortionist is also charged with 13 violations of the state's informed consent law.

“The pending criminal charges brought by county prosecutors along with the sheer volume of unexplained violations...merits review by the Medical Licensing Board to determine whether disciplinary action is warranted,” Zoeller said.

The other three abortionists work at the Clinic for Women in the Indianapolis area. According to a press release from the state attorney general's office, they “are in alleged violation of similar record-keeping and advice and consent laws regarding abortion procedures,” but they face no criminal charges.

The allegations were collected and submitted by Indiana Right to Life, which combed through Klopfer's records. “Our legislators passed laws regarding consent and record keeping to ensure high standards of quality and care for Hoosier women,” Indiana Right to Life President and CEO, Mike Fichter, said. “We're disappointed that these abortion doctors apparently did not willingly comply with Indiana law. We hope the Medical Licensing Board immediately schedules hearings.”

“If found guilty, we believe the abortion doctors should be fined and their licenses to practice in Indiana should be revoked," he added.

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His views were shared by national pro-life leaders. “We are encouraged by the filing of these Administrative Complaints today and urge the Board to revoke Ulrich Klopfer’s medical license due to the fact that he placed young girls in serious risk of continued rape and other abuse by neglecting to report,” said Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue. “Each of these abortionist require stiff discipline in order to impress it upon others that laws are meant to be followed and that they are not above it.”

Zoeller's complaint did not mention a third abortion of a 13-year-old that Klopfer reported after the legal date. The abortion took place in Fort Wayne in February 2012, but he did not report the procedure until July. Police subsequently filed two charges of child molestation against Ronte Lequan Latham, who was then 19-year-old.

Tensions this produced with another physician in his Fort Wayne office led to the first abortion facility closure of 2014.

The epidemic of underreporting presumed statutory rape is not limited to Klopfer. Between 58 and 75 percent of abortions performed on Indiana girls under the age of 14 were not reported in accordance with the law, according to an investigation by Amanda Gray of the South Bend Tribune.

Klopfer had a history of run-ins with authorities. In 2010 and 2012, state inspectors found that he allowed the bodies of aborted babies to be stored in a refrigerator alongside medicine the office gave to women who came in for the procedure.

The board has not yet set a date to hear evidence and make a judgment about their fitness to practice. If the board objects, it could respond by issuing a reprimand, suspending a license, or revoking the abortionists' medical license and imposing fines.

The accused may continue performing abortions until the board makes a final decision. 

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President Obama speaks at Planned Parenthood's national conference in 2013.
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Obama remakes the nation’s courts in his image

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By Dustin Siggins
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It has often been said that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is President Obama's greatest achievement as president. However, that claim may soon take second place to his judicial nominees, and especially their effect on marriage in the United States.

In a new graphic, The Daily Signal notes that while President George W. Bush was able to get 50 nominees approved by this time in his second term, Obama has gotten more than 100 approved. According to The Houston Chronicle, "Democratic appointees who hear cases full time now hold a majority of seats on nine of the 13 U.S. Courts of Appeals. When Obama took office, only one of those courts had more full-time judges nominated by a Democrat."

Three of the five judges who struck down state marriage laws between February 2014 and the Supreme Court's Windsor decision in 2013 were Obama appointees, according to a CBS affiliate in the Washington, D.C. area. Likewise, the Windsor majority that overturned the Defense of Marriage Act included two Obama appointees, Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan. Obama has nominated 11 homosexual judges, the most of any president by far, says the National Law Journal.

Only one federal judge has opposed same-sex "marriage" since the Supreme Court's Windsor decision. He was appointed under the Reagan administration.

This accomplishment, aided by the elimination of Senate filibusters on judicial nominees, could affect how laws and regulations are interpreted by various courts, especially as marriage heads to a probable Supreme Court hearing on the constitutionality of state laws.

Democrats eliminated the filibuster for all judicial nominees except for Supreme Court candidates last year, saying Republicans were blocking qualified candidates for the bench. However, the filibuster was part of the reason Democrats were able to keep the number of approved Bush appointees so low.

The Supreme Court may hear multiple marriage questions in its 2015 cycle. 

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Cardinal Dolan: Debate on denying Communion to pro-abortion pols ‘in the past’

Lisa Bourne
By Lisa Bourne

As America heads into its 2014 midterm elections, a leading U.S. prelate says the nation’s bishops believe debate over whether to deny Communion to pro-abortion Catholic politicians is “in the past.”

The Church’s Code of Canon Law states in Canon 915 that those “obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to Holy Communion.” Leading Vatican officials, including Pope Benedict XVI himself, have said this canon ought to be applied in the case of pro-abortion Catholic politicians. However, prelates in the West have widely ignored it, and some have openly disagreed.

John Allen, Jr. of the new website Crux, launched as a Catholic initiative under the auspices of the Boston Globe, asked New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan about the issue earlier this month.

“In a way, I like to think it’s an issue that served us well in forcing us to do a serious examination of conscience about how we can best teach our people about their political responsibilities,” the cardinal responded, “but by now that inflammatory issue is in the past.”

“I don’t hear too many bishops saying it’s something that we need to debate nationally, or that we have to decide collegially,” he continued. “I think most bishops have said, ‘We trust individual bishops in individual cases.’ Most don’t think it’s something for which we have to go to the mat.”

Cardinal Dolan expressed personal disinterest in upholding Canon 915 publicly in 2010 when he told an Albany TV station he was not in favor of denying Communion to pro-abortion politicians. He said at the time that he preferred “to follow the lead of Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI, who said it was better to try to persuade them than to impose sanctions.”

However, in 2004 Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who became Pope Benedict XVI the following year, wrote the U.S. Bishops a letter stating that a Catholic politician who would vote for "permissive abortion and euthanasia laws" after being duly instructed and warned, "must" be denied Communion. 

Cardinal Ratzinger sent the document to the U.S. Bishops in 2004 to help inform their debate on the issue. However, Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, then-chair of the USCCB Task Force on Catholic Bishops and Catholic Politicians, who received the letter, withheld the full text from the bishops, and used it instead to suggest ambiguity on the issue from the Vatican.

A couple of weeks after Cardinal McCarrick’s June 2004 address to the USCCB, the letter from Cardinal Ratzinger was leaked to well-known Vatican reporter Sandro Magister, who published the full document. Cardinal Ratzinger’s office later confirmed the leaked document as authentic.

Since the debate in 2004, numerous U.S. prelates have openly opposed denying Communion to pro-abortion Catholic politicians.

In 2008, Boston Cardinal Sean O’Malley suggested the Church had yet to formally pronounce on the issue, and that until it does, “I don’t think we’re going to be denying Communion to the people.”

In 2009, Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington D.C. in 2009 said that upholding of Canon 915 would turn the Eucharist into a political “weapon,” refusing to employ the law in the case of abortion supporter Rep. Nancy Pelosi.

Cardinal Roger Mahoney, archbishop emeritus of Los Angeles, said in a 2009 newspaper interview that pro-abortion politicians should be granted communion because Jesus Christ gave Holy Communion to Judas Iscariot.

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However, one of the Church’s leading proponents of the practice, U.S. Cardinal Raymond Burke, who is prefect of the Vatican’s Apostolic Signatura, insists that denying Communion is not a punishment.

“The Church’s discipline from the time of Saint Paul has admonished those who obstinately persevere in manifest grave sin not to present themselves for Holy Communion,” he said at LifeSiteNews’ first annual Rome Life Forum in Vatican City in early May. "The discipline is not a punishment but the recognition of the objective condition of the soul of the person involved in such sin."  

Only days earlier, Cardinal Francis Arinze, former prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, told LifeSiteNews that he has no patience for politicians who say that they are “personally” opposed to abortion, but are unwilling to “impose” their views on others.

On the question of Communion, he said, “Do you really need a cardinal from the Vatican to answer that?”

Cardinal Christian Tumi, archbishop emeritus of Douala, told LifeSiteNews around the same time that ministers of Holy Communion are “bound not to” give the Eucharist to Catholic politicians who support abortion.

Pro-life organizations across the world have said they share the pastoral concern for pro-abortion politicians. Fifty-two pro-life leaders from 16 nations at the recent Rome Life Forum called on the bishops of the Catholic Church to honor Canon 915 and withhold Communion from pro-abortion politicians as an act of love and mercy.

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