Hilary White, Rome Correspondent

EU family roundup: Criticize homosexuality in Sweden and go to jail?: No problem for European court

Hilary White, Rome Correspondent
Hilary White, Rome Correspondent

Criticize homosexuality in Sweden and go to jail: No problem for European rights court

Anyone challenging the homosexualist agenda in public in Sweden can be sent to prison, and the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has ruled that this does not constitute any violation of rights. In 2004, the Swedish government charged a group of pamphleteers with “agitation against a national or ethnic group,” a crime that carries a maximum penalty of 2 years in prison.

The four men were convicted in 2006 by the District Court, which ruling was overturned on appeal but later upheld by the Supreme Court in a narrow 5-3 decision.

The four appealed to the ECHR, which ruled on February 9th that their application was “manifestly ill-founded”. The court said that the conviction constituted no violation of Article 10 (Freedom of Expression) of the European Convention on Human Rights. It was a “legitimate and proportional interference” with the applicants’ rights of freedom of expression and was necessary for the protection of the “reputation and rights of others”.

The case started in 2004 when the four activists distributed about 100 pamphlets at a secondary school expressing objections to the widespread acceptance of homosexual activity.

The pamphlets read: “Homosexual Propaganda. In the course of a few decades society has swung from rejection of homosexuality and other sexual deviances to embracing this deviant sexual proclivity. Your anti-Swedish teachers know very well that homosexuality has a morally destructive effect on the substance of society and will willingly try to put it forward as something normal and good.”

The pamphlets encouraged readers to respond to homosexualist propaganda by pointing out the connection between the spread of HIV/AIDS and increasing homosexual activity by infected persons, and that homosexualist lobby groups are attempting to “play down” their support of pedophilia.

The four activists, Tor Fredrik Vejdeland, Mattias Harlin, Björn Täng and Niklas Lundström, denied in court that they had intended to express contempt for homosexuals, instead saying that their purpose was to “start a debate about the lack of objectivity in the education in Swedish schools.”

The Swedish Supreme Court acknowledged the applicants’ right to express their ideas, but found the statements had been “unnecessarily offensive.” The majority ruling particularly noted that the pupils at the school had not had the possibility to refuse the leaflets, which had been left in lockers.

The judges said that the purpose of supplying the pupils with arguments for a debate “could have been achieved without offensive statements to homosexuals as a group.”

Ultimately, the first three applicants were given suspended sentences combined with fines ranging from approximately 200 to 2,000 Euros and the fourth applicant was sentenced to probation.

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Leading European homosexualist “NGO” directly funded by the EU/Dutch govt’ and George Soros

This week, a British MEP, Godfrey Bloom, a member of the euro-skeptic United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP), has demanded to know why an ostensibly independent NGO, the International Gay and Lesbian Association (ILGA-Europe), receives as much as 2/3 of its operating budget directly from the European Commission. Bloom said that the group receives a total of 70 per cent of its funding from taxpayer sources - either from the EU or from the Dutch government.

Bloom pointed to IGLA’s published figures for 2011 that said 67.7 per cent of its €1,824,000 budget, (€1,252,600) came from grants from the European Commission. Another €50,000 was granted by the Dutch Government. Of the remaining €521,400 of its budget the group received a total of €402,400 from three individuals: George Soros, Sigrid Rausing and an anonymous donor.

The group issued a statement on their blog saying, “ILGA-Europe’s member organisations pay their membership to ILGA (World) directly.” Individual membership fees, the group said, “are used by the world association to support LGBTI organisations in other regions of the world.” European human rights lawyer J.C. von Krempach, writing on the ‘blog Turtle Bay and Beyond, pointed out that this means the group is, essentially, a government organization being funded by the European Commission to lobby for changes to the European Commission.

For some years, the group was denied NGO status at the UN because of their connection to groups that promote pedophilia but this was eventually overruled by the combined lobbying of some European countries. In addition, the UN rules say that an NGO, a “non-governmental organisation,” must by definition not be funded by governments.

Austin Ruse, of the Catholic Family and Human Right Institute, wrote that there is a great deal of “bad blood” at the UN over European countries pushing the homosexualist agenda. “European nations are forcing extremist homosexual groups upon the UN NGO Committee,” Ruse said.

“Other governments,” including the US and the UK, “have taken up the cause of making homosexual activity a human right enforced by international law.”

Godfrey Bloom asked the European Commissioners, “Given the proportion of its own contribution to financing ILGA-Europe, does the Commission believe that ILGA-Europe can be described as a ‘non-governmental organization’ or as part of ‘civil society’?”

Bloom continued, “How does the Commission view the influence that wealthy individuals may exert over the NGOs they are subsidising? Is there a risk that persons such as George Soros could ‘buy’ themselves one or more NGOs that are economically dependent on their donations? How does the Commission view the impact of this particular type of ‘philanthropy’ on democracy?”

He pointed to the request by ILGA for an additional 1 million Euros spread over three years from the EU-funded EuropeAid, and asked how the Commission intends to reply to the request.

Bloom pointed out that among the requirements for NGOs that seek accreditation to obtain consultative status at the UN is that “the major portion of the organisation’s funds should be derived from contributions from national affiliates, individual members, or other non-governmental components.”

He asked if the European Commission had similar rules and if so, whether they believed ILGA had met the requirements. Ruse said that the revelations will likely prompt a re-evaluation of the group’s NGO status at the UN.

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English Catholic bishop urges MPs to resist Tory “gay marriage” proposals

The Catholic bishop of Shrewsbury in northwestern England has urged MPs to resist the efforts of the coalition government and Prime Minister David Cameron to impose “gay marriage.” Bishop Mark Davies said “politicians of Christian conscience” must protect the “God-given meaning of marriage for the sake of all generations to come.”

Bishop Davies delivered the comments in a homily during the diocese’s annual celebration of marriage, at St Wilfrid’s Church in Northwich, Cheshire, on Saturday, the Daily Telegraph reports. He criticized the idea that “progress” always means a “continuous shifting” away from society’s Christian foundations. He called the proposal to allow homosexual partnerings to be called marriage a “seismic shift in the foundations of our society.”

The comments follow the news that more than 100 Conservative MPs could vote against the proposal that will overturn the legal definition of marriage as being between one man and one woman. The government announced it would be opening a “public consultation” in March, not on whether there was acceptance of the idea, but only on the legal mechanisms for it to be implemented.

Bishop Davies said, “We face a mindset which sees progress only as a continuous shifting of our society further and further from its foundations until we have nothing left for family and society to be founded upon than changing, political fashions of thought.

“By attempting to redefine marriage for society, politicians will find they have not only undermined the institution of marriage but obscured its identity for generations to come.

“For politicians of Christian conscience this will be a moment to resist the leadership of their own political parties together with every parliamentarian who recognises the Judeo-Christian foundations on which our society rests.

“Our voices must now be raised as clearly as they can be, in order to proclaim the God-given meaning of marriage not only for the sake of this generation, but for the sake of all generations to come.”

 

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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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Courtesy of Online for Life
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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