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Full Text of Cherie Blair Speech at Angelicum: Sticks to Support for Contraception, Dodges Abortion

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By Hilary White, Rome Correspondent, and John Jalsevac

ROME, December 17, 2008 (LifeSiteNews.com) – In the lead-up to Cherie Blair’s lecture at the Angelicum last week, pro-life Catholics from around the world contacted the university asking that Mrs. Blair’s appearance be cancelled, due to her public admissions of dissent from key areas of Catholic teaching. In what some pro-life leaders have called a “carefully stage-managed” piece of damage control, however, Mrs. Blair in her lecture made a series of statements presented as assurance of her adherence to Catholic teaching on abortion. (To read the complete lecture, see: http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2008/dec/08121705.html To read the complete text of the question and answer session see: http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2008/dec/08121706.html.

Some of these statements were welcomed by pro-life advocates, albeit with reservations, such as her condemnation of sex-selective abortions in India, a problem that she said the Church should be more vocal in opposing, as well as her positive statements about a reportedly decreasing abortion rate for children diagnosed in utero with Down syndrome. 

Despite some assertions to the contrary, however, Blair failed to assuage the concerns of her pro-life critics, as she did not at any point renounce or in any way explain her well-documented support for some of the world’s largest and most extreme abortion organisations, nor did she at any point denounce abortion as such as a moral evil. 

Moreover, claims by a professor of moral theology at the university that Mrs. Blair is “in line” with the teaching of the Church were refuted by Mrs. Blair’s own speech, in which she openly admitted that she does not agree with Catholic teaching on artificial contraception. Indeed, in the question and answer session, Blair took to task pro-life groups and individuals who objected to her appearance at the university for stifling the "debate" over artificial contraception, despite the fact that contraception has been definitely condemned by the Church as a grave moral evil. 

In the question period following her speech, Mrs. Blair was enthusiastically praised by a priest and professor of moral theology at the Angelicum, Fr. Bruce Williams, who asserted that in light of her “admirably fearless” comments, it is “crystal clear” that she is “in line” with Catholic teaching.

Fr. Williams said that the contentions by pro-life leaders that Mrs. Blair is pro-abortion and a dissenter from Catholic teaching were “rash, if not outright calumnious.” Fr. Williams said, “The way you came across was decisively contrary to the way you have been depicted recently by a number of websites.”

During her lecture, however, and despite Fr. Williams’ assertion, Mrs. Blair made no clear statement that abortion was “morally repugnant” (as Fr. Williams claimed) and carefully omitted any mention of her ongoing support for International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), the U.K.‘s Family Planning Association (FPA), the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and other organizations whose agenda includes global abortion-on-demand.

Rather than condemning abortion outright, Blair instead condemned the “wide and indiscriminate” use of abortion due to the fact that it poses the problem of sex-selective abortions, resulting in lopsided boy-girl ratios.

“We almost all accept that human life in all its forms is sacred.  For some of us, this is a matter of religious faith,” she said. “While I am on record as having had difficulties with the current teaching on responsible parenthood, I do recognize that much of what Paul VI predicted could happen in Humane Vitae as a result of what could happen as a result of wide and indiscriminate use of abortion, has been born out in particular in relation to baby girls as the birth ratios of boys to girls in some countries.”

In her speech Mrs. Blair heavily criticised the Catholic Church, accusing it of having come only lately into line with the secular world’s dedication to human rights, including women’s rights.

Blair criticised what she characterised as the Church’s “hostility” to the modern secular human rights movement and accused it of having hesitated to follow the movement out of “fear of the unknown.”“It would be nice to say that the Church was at the fore-front of this long journey [of the development of human rights law] but it hasn’t always been the case.”

The Church “still did not uncritically embrace the secularization of human rights,” until the 1960s, she said.

Blair also claimed that the Church has been subject to the prejudices of society in failing to install women into positions of authority. The argument is a common one of the feminist movement that presses for the ordination of women to the priesthood, although Blair’s views on female ordination are unclear.

“Just as diversity between and within the sexes enriches human life and strengthens our civil society so to would it strengthen the Church if we could see more women in leadership roles within it," she said.

She then made the proposal: “There is no reason why these appointments should be exceptional and actually no reason why half all curia posts should not be filled by women.” 

The little praise Mrs. Blair did have for the Catholic Church’s record on human rights was for its activities in educating women in the developing world, which she said has had the effect of reducing birth rates. Quoting the Independent newspaper, Mrs. Blair said, “By being one of the leading providers of education across the developing world, the Church is making a powerful contribution to improving the lives of women, lifting them out of poverty and enabling them to reduce levels of child-birth, which can be, and is actually often dangerous to their health.” 

“History teaches us that improving the general economic situation and particularly improving women’s educational levels, gives women more power in society and helps them exercise more responsible fertility.” 

Neither did Mrs. Blair mention her support, in her capacity as a lawyer, of Britain’s homosexualist political movement. The years of her husband’s tenure as Prime Minister and leader of the Labour Party are known by life and family advocates and Catholics as the bleakest of Great Britain’s history, seeing more anti-life, anti-Christian and anti-family legislation installed than at any other time.

Mrs. Blair’s support for the openly anti-Catholic homosexualist political movement, so strongly supported by her husband’s administration, is long and well-documented.

This August, she told the Belfast Telegraph in an interview that she was “immensely proud” of her husband’s government for having installed homosexual “civil partnerships.”“It’s fantastic the way the country has accepted that,” she added.

In an interview with a Mumbai news service, she condemned opposition to the homosexualist political agenda saying, “It’s a personal tragedy to be condemned because of one’s lifestyle choices. It is high time everyone started judging people by their contributions and not their sexual inclinations.” Mrs. Blair also made headlines last year when she attended, and “gave away” her Parisian celebrity homosexual hairdresser, Andre Suard at his “gay wedding.”

In the same interview with MiDDay news service in Mumbai, when asked to identify her “biggest scandal” she replied, “Nothing beats the fact that I’m a Catholic who uses contraception. The Church does not allow it but women do it today and I wouldn’t want another baby.”

As of this writing, on the “Women of the World” page of her personal website, Mrs. Blair praises the work of the UN’s CEDAW (Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women) organisation as “the only human rights treaty which affirms the reproductive rights of women.” It is widely acknowledged that the phrase “reproductive rights” includes abortion on demand, and a major function of the CEDAW committee is to pressure national governments to legalise abortion or expand abortion “rights.”

To read a transcription of the complete Cherie Blair speech see:
 http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2008/dec/08121705.html

Read related LifeSiteNews.com coverage:

Pro-Abortion Cherie Blair to Speak at Prominent Pontifical University of St. Thomas in Rome
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2008/dec/08120205.html

Angelicum University Refuses to Believe Cherie Blair’s Pro-abortion and Anti-Family Reputation
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2008/dec/08120501.html

Cherie Blair Denies Pro-Abortion Label at Angelicum Lecture
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2008/dec/08121207.html


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African denounces Western elites pushing population control in his country

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By Ben Johnson

An op-ed in one of the leading publications in Uganda has denounced the promotion of IUD use and other long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs) in the nation as a colonialist form of population control.

An article published in New Vision, which bills itself as “Uganda's leading daily,” and which was posted online after being translated into broken English, contradicts the frequent claim that there is a desperate cry from Africans and brown people generally to provide the “unmet need” for contraception in the Third World.

Programs to convince African women to use the IUD or other forms of contraception “are projects of multibillion international agencies distributing them under the guise of helping the poor countries to control birth rates,” Stephen Wabomba wrote.

The use of the IUD leads to an increase in “the spread of STIs/HIV/AIDS, infections or increased rates of Pelvic Infection Diseases (PID),” and other maladies, he said. The IUD, which is inserted into the uterus and may work for years at a time, offers no protection against sexually transmitted diseases and often does not prevent fertilization.

Western governments and NGOs are very much “aware of the side effect[s] but still force them on us through sensational marketing strategies by claiming that there is unmet need” for contraception “in Uganda,” he wrote.

He instead suggested the use of Natural Family Planning methods as the “best alternative” for married couples, as well as increased “funding of chastity and abstinence education in Uganda.”

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He called on every citizen of Uganda “to stand up and be counted as a lover of life” and become a “protector of the voiceless and defenseless unborn children being aborted every day.”

Wabomba is heeding his own advice by acting as director of the Pregnancy Help Center in Jinja, the second largest city in Uganda. The town of 87,000 is perched on the shores of Lake Victoria.


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UN tells Chile and Peru to legalize abortion

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By Guilherme Ferreira Araújo

On July 7 and 8, the United Nations Human Rights Commission (UNHCR) discussed Chile’s abortion laws and issued a report asking for liberalization of those laws.

According to the report, Chile “should establish exceptions to the general prohibition of abortion, contemplating therapeutic abortion and in those cases in which the pregnancy is a consequence of a rape or incest.”

Chile is one of the few countries that prohibits abortion in all cases.  So far, the country has managed to stand against internal and external pressure to legalize abortion.

But during her campaign, President Michele Bachelet promised to make the legalization of abortion a priority.  Indeed, last May she stated that her intention was to reopen the debate so that the government could approve therapeutic abortion before the end of this year.  The U.N. report also said that Chile “should make sure that reproductive health services are accessible to all women and adolescents."

One of the reasons the UN is using to pressure Chile’s government to change their abortion laws is the high number of clandestine abortions allegedly taking place in Chile. The UNHRC points to “official data” showing 150,000 annual clandestine abortions. However, not only is it impossible to corroborate that figure, but other sources show that this number could be exaggerated by a factor of 10.  According to an article published in the Chilean news publication, Chile B, the annual number of clandestine abortions in Chile may vary between 8,270 and 20,675.

Inflating the number of illegal abortions and maternal mortality is a common tactic of the pro-abortion movement’s effort to legalize the deadly practice. Dr. Bernard Nathanson, founder of the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL), famously admitted the tactic after becoming pro-life.

“We claimed that between five and ten thousand women a year died of botched abortions,” he said. "The actual figure was closer to 200 to 300 and we also claimed that there were a million illegal abortions a year in the United States and the actual figure was close to 200,000. So, we were guilty of massive deception."

Chile has also been used as a prime example that legalized abortion does not reduce maternal mortality.

A study published in 2012 by Plos One Institute found that since 1989 when Chile banned abortion, there has been an annual decrease in maternal death. That study, and others compiled and published by the Chilean MELISA Institute strongly challenge the myth that abortion is safe or even necessary to increase maternal health.

Click "like" if you are PRO-LIFE!

Notwithstanding the empirical data, the United Nations is also hard at work to pressure Chile’s neighbor to the North, Peru, to liberalize its own abortion laws.  In the case of Peru it is the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) that has issued the report, not the UNHRC.  CEDAW representatives examined Peru’s case on July 1 and suggested that Peru should legalize abortion in case of rape and severe abnormalities of the unborn child.

The organism suggested that the government eliminate all laws that punish women who abort and asked that Peru “urgently” adopt a law to fight violence against women, a notion often used as a euphemism for legalizing abortion.  

The CEDAW commission presented the conclusions of the report on July 22 and put special emphasis on the abortion issue. This happens despite the strong opposition to abortion in Peru. A recent survey showed that 79 percent of Peruvians support the Catholic Church’s position on abortion.

The CEDAW pressure on Peru is not new. In 2011, after the UN sanctioned Peru for denying an abortion to a teenager, Carlos Polo, Director of the Population Research Institute’s Latin American office, stated that the UN organism doesn’t have the right to force Peru to approve abortion.


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People ask me all the time, “How do you live with your past?” My answer is silly, but it is a true story. Youtube screenshot
Abby Johnson Abby Johnson Follow Abby

I helped so many women abort their babies. Now how do I live with that?

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By Abby Johnson
Abby Johnson business card Planned Parenthood

I have many memories of my time with Planned Parenthood. I spent eight years of my life there. Some memories are good, some are not. But they are contained in my mind. It’s easy to forget them. I have forgotten so much about my time there in just four and a half short years. 

I found my old business card the other day. That is a tangible memory for me. It made me think of the day that I heard I had been promoted to direct the clinic. I was so happy…hugging and jumping up and down with my supervisor. She was so proud of me.

I thought about the day I moved everything into my new, big office. I put pro-choice stickers all over my file cabinet. I called my parents to share the news. They were, of course, proud of me, but hated my work. I can’t imagine how conflicted they were in their minds and hearts. Human resources sent me my new paperwork. There was my new title, my new and amazing salary. 

A few days later, my new business cards came. I remember putting them in my new business card holder on my desk. I filled up the business card holder that I kept in my purse. I had already become used to hearing myself say my new title.

I was proud of myself. I was proud of the hard work I had put in to earn that new title. I worked so many hours, sacrificed so much time from my family. But I knew it would be worth it. And now I had the job title to prove it.

I remember proudly passing out my new business cards to anyone that would take one. Being pro-choice was not just a movement to me; it was a lifestyle. I wholeheartedly embraced that lifestyle and loved being a part of it. 

These tangible reminders that I occasionally find are sometimes hard to work through. I remember receiving the records from my medication abortion. That tangible reminder of my past was difficult to manage. I look at my “Employee of the Year” award that I received from Planned Parenthood and think back to the night I received it. I ended up putting that old award on my desk as a reminder of where I came from and how much my life has changed. Seeing that plaque no longer brings back those tangible memories. 

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One of the reasons I was so taken aback when finding my old business card was not just because it was a reminder of how proud I had been to run an abortion clinic…something I find deplorable now. It was because of the things I took part in while I had that big title.

The memories of handing women small monetary checks in order to pay for their silence after we had left them with a serious infection after their abortion. The memories of watching women bleed out on our abortion table and being instructed not to call the ambulance because we didn’t want to let the pro-lifers know that we had a medical emergency. The memories I have of “joking” about the babies that died in our facility by abortion. The memories I have of training our abortion facility employees on the “normalcy” of abortion and how to convince women that abortion is the best choice for them.

Part of being a former abortion clinic worker is learning how to deal with your past sin. It may be the lady who came to your clinic for an abortion that you bump into at the store. It could be standing in front of your former abortion facility and remembering all of the damage your words and actions did to so many women. It could be finding that old business card that reminds you of the pride you felt when you became the director of an abortion facility. 

People ask me all the time, “How do you live with your past?” My answer is silly, but it is a true story. 

One day I was watching the kid’s movie “Kung Fu Panda” with my daughter. In the film there is a wise, old tortoise named Oogway. He is talking to one of his students who is frustrated with his current situation. Oogway asks his student, “Do you know why today is called the present? Because it is a gift.”

That little line by an animated tortoise hit me like a ton of bricks. Today is a gift. There is absolutely nothing we can do with our past. And there is very little we can do to control our future. We live NOW. We serve NOW. We choose to move on from our past NOW. 

I don’t know what your past sins are. And I don’t know how frequently you are reminded of them. But as someone who has to face their past sins on pretty much a daily basis, I can tell you that you can be free from their burden. Being reminded of your past doesn’t mean that you have to live with constant grief. It simply means that you have been given the opportunity to transform your past into something positive…maybe you can help others make different choices than you did, maybe you can help others heal from the same struggles that you lived through. I don’t know what you are being called to do, but as the saying goes, “God can turn our mess into a message.” 

Carrying around past burdens doesn’t help us in any way. Know that you can be forgiven. Accept that forgiveness. Use your life to help others. The present is indeed a gift.

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