Hilary White, Rome Correspondent

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EU roundup: gay activist says orientation not fixed; Russian city to outlaw promoting homosexuality

Hilary White, Rome Correspondent
Hilary White, Rome Correspondent


St. Petersburg legislature set to outlaw promotion of homosexuality

The municipal government of St. Petersburg, Russia’s second largest city and cultural centre, is set to pass a bill prohibiting promotion of homosexuality.

The bill, which prohibits “public activities promoting homosexuality,” is being denounced by homosexualist activist groups as “anti-gay” and it is being vocally opposed by the U.S. State Department.

The bill proposes to outlaw the dissemination of information “which could cause damage to the health or moral and spiritual development of minors, including by inducing them to form warped perceptions that traditional and non-traditional married relations are equally socially acceptable.”

If passed it would impose fines on individuals or groups promoting homosexuality, pedophilia, or “transgenderism” to minors.

The U.S. State Department deplored the plans, saying, “As Secretary Clinton has said gay rights are human rights and human rights are gay rights. We have called on Russian officials to safeguard … freedoms [of speech and assembly], and to foster an environment which promotes respect for the rights of all citizens.

“We have also consulted with our EU partners on this issue. They share our concerns and are also engaging Russian officials on this. The United States places great importance on combating discrimination against the LGBT community and all minority groups.”

But the bill’s author, United Russia deputy Vitaly Milonov, has denied it will infringe on civil rights and freedoms. “We are only talking about propaganda as this information about sexual deviations affects our children,”  he said.

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Leading UK homosexualist admits the condition neither genetic nor fixed

Peter Tatchell, one of Britain’s most vocal advocates of the homosexualist political movement, has admitted that sufferers of same-sex attraction are neither “born with” nor stuck with the condition.

Much of the argument upon which the promotion of homosexuality as a “legitimate lifestyle choice” is founded is the paradoxical assertion that it is not a choice at all, but a fixed state of being, probably determined by genes. This is the basis of the claim that opposition to homosexual activity is “homophobia” and tantamount to racism.

But Tatchell, writing last month in an article in the Huffington Post, titled, “Future Sex: Beyond Gay and Straight,” cited the notorious Alfred Kinsey, the researcher often called the grandfather of the sexual revolution, denying that “gay and straight” are distinct categories.

Kinsey’s research, Tatchell said, “was the first major statistical evidence that gay and straight are not watertight, irreconcilable and mutually exclusive sexual orientations.”

“He found that human sexuality is, in fact, a continuum of desires and behaviours, ranging from exclusive heterosexuality to exclusive homosexuality. A substantial proportion of the population shares an amalgam of same-sex and opposite-sex feelings - even if they do not act on them.”

He claimed that homophobia in the developed world is waning and wonders what the world will look like “as future societies eventually embrace a post-homophobic culture.”

“If human civilisation evolves into a state of sexual enlightenment, where the differences between hetero and homo no longer matter, what would this mean for the future of same-sex desire and same-sex identity?” Tatchell mused.

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Hungarian Prime Minister says “If the Church were stronger, the nation would be stronger.”

While his country withstands a conflagration of international outrage at its proposed new constitution, the Hungarian prime minister has stood fast and openly described Hungary as a Christian nation.

Speaking in German to a Polish journalist, Viktor Orban said that the lack of respect for human life is a relic of the Communist regime, which hold people and life in contempt.

“If we had a strong Church, then the nation would be much stronger.” Orban said that with the Constitution and other legislative changes, he is “in the process of attempting an alliance with politicians, for whom Christendom and traditional values are important,” the German language Catholic news site Kreuz.net reports.

The new Constitution, strongly supported by voters, declares that human life must be protected from conception and says that marriage can only be contracted between a man and a woman. This has infuriated European Union secularists who are issuing threats to try to force a change back to the EU’s standards.

Orban said that factions in the EU and elsewhere are angered that the Hungarian government is distributing the EU funding to the promotion of adoption instead of abortion.

On the long tradition of prayer in Central European culture, he said, “For me this tradition has great significance.” Orban, a Protestant, said that people praying for him has been “a great power and help for me” in his political life.

“I would like to thank you for this talk and wish God’s blessing on every single citizen of the Polish nation.”

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Vladimir Putin pledges to protect persecuted Christians abroad; Egyptian Copts hounded out of their homes by Muslim extremists

The Russian Prime Minister and Presidential candidate, Vladimir Putin, has told media that he wants to protect persecuted Christians abroad. While reports of anti-Christian violence continue to pour out of Africa, the Middle East and Asia, Putin made the promise on Wednesday in Moscow at a meeting of members of various Christian denominations.

Putin was quoted by he Russian news agency, RIA Novosti, saying it is important that the “various confessions” continue to cooperate internationally.

Putin was responding to a statement by Russian Orthodox Metropolitan Illarion, that “every five minutes a Christian must die for his faith”. A recent study has shown that around the world, even in first world countries, the great majority of religiously-motivated violence is aimed at Christians, mostly by Muslims and by governments of Communist nations like China, North Korea and Viet Nam.

The Director of the Foreign Office of the Moscow Patriarchate, said persecutions are “especially noteworthy” in Muslim-dominated countries like Iraq, Egypt, Pakistan and India. The Christmas day bombing of Catholic and other Christian churches in Nigeria by Islamic group Boko Haram has become almost an annual ritual.

Friday’s headlines from Egypt highlight the plight of the Christian Copts as the “Arab Spring” demonstrations have resulted in the ascendancy of a radical Islamist-led government. Sixty-two Coptic families have reportedly been driven out of their homes in a village, Kobry-el-Sharbat, outside Alexandria. 

Local Muslims burned homes and shops with the acquiescence of local police. The violence was said to have been triggered after a Coptic tradesman allegedly took photos of a Muslim woman with his cell phone.

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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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