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Embattled George Rekers Resigns From NARTH, Offered Legal Aid by Liberty Counsel

LifeSiteNews.com
LifeSiteNews.com

By Peter J. Smith

MIAMI, Florida, May 14, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Professor George Rekers, a pro-family leader and expert on homosexuality, who is embroiled in a scandal after he was found to have hired a traveling companion with a profile on a homosexual escort service website, has resigned his membership on the board of National Association for the Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH). He said that he made the decision in order to resolve the allegations made against him through defamation attorneys.

At the same time, a leading Christian legal advocacy group, Liberty Counsel, has offered to provide him their services in the event of legal action. "I think [Mr. Rekers] would have a great case to file a defamation action," Mathew D. Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel, told the Washington Times.  

Rekers, 61, was caught on camera by the Miami New Times on April 13 returning from a 10 day trip in Europe with a homosexual male escort later identified as Jo-vanni Roman, 20.

Roman at first denied that he had any sexual involvement with Rekers, but later alleged that Rekers paid him $75 a day plus travel expenses in exchange for acting as a travel assistant, translator, and sensual masseur. According to a contract allegedly made between Rekers and Roman, a copy of which Roman showed to CNN, Rekers specifically contracted Roman to provide an hourly massage every day while on the trip.

Rekers, a co-founder of the Family Research Council (FRC) and professor emeritus of neuropsychiatry and behavioral science at the University of South Carolina, has denied accusations that he had sexual involvement with Roman, saying only that he required a travelling companion to help lift luggage because of recent surgery. He has also denied that he contacted Roman through the website rentboys.com, which Roman has claimed was the only way Rekers could have found him.

The embattled pro-family leader, who has seen his career and reputation collapse under the weight of the allegations, has threatened to sue media outlets like the New Times for “defamation.”

Rekers is not without his supporters. "I think it was a completely arranged setup," Liberty Counsel’s Matt Staver told the Washington Times, referring to how staff members of the New Times managed to ambush Rekers and Roman as they made their way through the Miami airport.

The possibility that Rekers is the victim of a set-up owing to his connections with NARTH cannot be completely ruled out. Earlier this year Dr. Julie Hamilton, president of NARTH, revealed that protestors at NARTH’s 2009 Convention had announced they would go after individual members associated with the organization. Hamilton said one journalist in England conducted a sting against two therapists by posing as a client with unwanted homosexual attractions.

But while the Miami New Times revealed Thursday that they did indeed ambush Roman and Rekers, they said Roman was not involved in any set-up. According to their account one of Roman’s friends knew his passwords, got into his email, and gave the newspaper screen shots of Roman’s e-mails and his travel itinerary. The New Times journalists studied the information, camped out at the airport, snapped the photo, and spoke with both Rekers and Roman before breaking the story May 4.

Rekers says he has opted to resolve the matter through attorneys instead of addressing the allegations through the media.

"With the assistance of a defamation attorney, I will fight these false reports because I have not engaged in any homosexual behavior whatsoever,” said a statement from Rekers. “I am not gay and never have been.”

NARTH has accepted Rekers resignation and in a statement said they “would hope that the legal process will sufficiently clarify the questions that have arisen in this unfortunate situation.”

“We express our sincere sympathy to all individuals, regardless of their perspective, who have been injured by these events.”


Rekers Responds to Conflicting Accounts about Finding Jo-Vanni Roman

At this point Rekers may be the only one who can set the record straight; but thus far his explanations have been somewhat thin on the details, especially on the issue of how he found Roman.

The New Times on Thursday stated that Rekers told them that he found Roman through a Google search.

The New Times asked, "Where did you find out about his services as a travel companion? Where were they being advertised?"

Rekers allegedly responded: "I did a Google search for 'travel companion,' and he came up on that. I contacted him."

New Times then said they asked whether Rekers found him on RentBoy.com or not. The newspaper said that after a long silence, Rekers said: "I don't know if it was or not."

LSN contacted Rekers twice by e-mail last Friday to get his version. He wrote in response that Roman was “recommended to me for my travel assistant by an acquaintance I trusted,” an explanation that appears to contradict what he told the New Times, assuming that the Times quoted him accurately.

Rekers added that he regretted “not taking more time to do a more thorough background check” on Roman before hiring him in retrospect.

“When I talked to him before the trip as a possible assistant, when describing his past work experience as a travel companion, he told me that he had recently worked as a companion to a foreign visitor to another state for numerous weeks,” said Rekers. “He further volunteered that it was purely a social companionship and not sexual. In addition to having relevant experience, he was also fluent in Spanish and could serve as an interpreter in Spain.”

Rekers then said that he “searched his name on the Internet (with Google, Facebook, MySpace, etc.) and did not find any negative information about him before the trip.”

In an e-mail sent to LSN today, Rekers addressed the apparent conflict between the Miami New Times account and the one he gave to LSN.

Rekers said that before the scandal broke in the media, the New Miami Times reporter, “called with a very accusatory tone, and asked me about how I found my travel assistant. He seemed to have his mind made up, and did not give me time for a full explanation, before interrupting and ending the call with insufficient time for me to respond fully."

“I had started to try to explain that I made multiple attempts to find an assistant including making a Google search and asking others, and never had the chance to complete my thoughts. He did not give me time to complete my response that my Google search ran into several dead ends in terms of finding someone in my needed time frame. The Miami New Times reporter never interviewed me at any length and terminated that call prematurely before I could make full explanation.”

LSN had requested that Rekers speak to us on the record, but he responded: “Because this has become a legal matter concerning defamation, I have been advised not to grant the interview you requested to more fully explain at this time.”


See previous coverage by LifeSiteNews.com:

FRC Responds to Reports of Pro-Family Leader Accused of Affair with Male Escort
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2010/may/10050610.html

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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

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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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