Cheryl Sullenger

#Gosnell tweetfest breaks media blackout as teen worker testifies about patient death

Cheryl Sullenger
By Cheryl Sullenger
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Philadelphia, PA, April 15, 2013 (OperationRescue.org) — As week five of the Gosnell trial is set to begin on Monday morning, the weekend saw a flood of news articles and blog stories concerning the gruesome murder trial after it was essentially ignored by the mainstream media for four weeks. The coverage was prompted by a 'Tweetfest' that trended in the number one spot on Twitter most of the day on Friday.

“The tweet-up was a huge success and did what it was intended to do, and that was to show the mainstream media that there is a huge interest in seeing coverage of the Gosnell murder trial. We hoped that the tweet-up would pressure the media to cover the story,” said Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue, who sponsored the event along with Bryan Kemper of Stand True and Andy Moore, creator of AbortionWiki.org.

About 10,000 people on Facebook signed up to participate, but the event took off, dominating the trending chart, which is no easy task.

“I couldn’t hit the ‘new tweets’ button fast enough. At one point there were about 100 tweets coming as fast as I could push the refresh button,” said Newman.

The tweetfest helped bypass the mainstream media and educate vast numbers of Twitter users that otherwise would never have heard of Gosnell, and in doing so prompted several media outlets to begin publishing stories, many for the first time. Anderson Cooper of CNN broadcasted a noteworthy segment on the Gosnell story that Newman said was remarkably fair considering Cooper’s leftist leanings.

So successful was Friday’s Twitter event that another is planned for Wednesday, April 17. Pro-life groups are asking for everyone to tweet under #Gosnell.

Click "like" if you want to end abortion!

Several news outlets, including Fox News referred to testimony given Thursday by 22-year old Ashley Baldwin. Baldwin began working for Gosnell at the age of fifteen and worked up to 50 hours a week – sometimes into the early morning hours on school nights — helping with the grisly late-term abortions for which he faces seven counts of first degree murder. Ashley Baldwin testified that she saw babies born alive moving, and in one case “screeching” as Gosnell applied surgical scissors to the back of the neck and then severed the newborns’ spinal cords.

Baldwin, who said she received very little training, was also present when Karnamaya Mongar died from a drug overdose during a second trimester abortion. Gosnell faces one count of third degree murder for her death. Baldwin testified that when Mongar turned gray and stopped breathing, Gosnell began giving her chest compressions and told Baldwin to get the defibrillator.

“I got a small shock when I plugged it in,” she told the court. “It didn’t work.”

Ashley Baldwin’s mother, Tina Baldwin, also worked for Gosnell as a receptionist. Tina pleaded guilty in a plea agreement to the charges of racketeering, conspiracy, and corrupting a minor for allowing her daughter to work at Gosnell’s “House of Horrors.” Tina also testified on Thursday of her job answering phones.

For the past four weeks, jurors have sat through extremely graphic and troubling testimony about Gosnell’s squalid clinic and horrific abortion practices conducted by a staff of undereducated, unqualified workers, some of whom masqueraded as licensed physicians. They told the court in graphic detail how women who had been drugged into stupors delivered babies born alive and struggling for life, only to be murdered by what one worker described as a “virtual beheading.” They explained to the jury how Gosnell would assuage their concerns about his neck-snipping technique by telling them “that’s how it was supposed to go” then, in one case, joked about an older baby being big enough to walk him to the bus stop or made goulish references to chickens with their heads cut off.

The prosecution is expected to wrap up its case soon, after which Gosnell’s attorney, Jack McMahon, will present the defense. McMahon has already told the jury that his case will show that Gosnell operated an acceptably clean facility that boasted of repeat customers. But Gosnell’s primary defense appears to be the argument McMahon has been making since the trial began - that all the babies were already dead when delivered and that severing of the spinal cords was simply to “ensure fetal demise.”

Operation Rescue will be attending the trial each day this week and will post daily reports. There are also plans to Tweet throughout the day during breaks in the trial. The public is invited to “like” us on Facebook and follow @OperationRescue on Twitter. We will be tweeting under #Gosnell. Daily e-mail updates are also available by signing up at OperationRescue.org.

Correction: Due to an editing error, this story originally stated that Ashley Baldwin began working for Gosnell at the age of five. It should have read 15. The error has been corrected.


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Thaddeus Baklinski Thaddeus Baklinski Follow Thaddeus

African researchers warn early sexual activity increases risk of cancers

Thaddeus Baklinski Thaddeus Baklinski Follow Thaddeus
By Thaddeus Baklinski

A report on rising cancer rates in Africa delivered at a conference in Namibia last week warned that oral contraceptives and engaging in sexual activity from a young age lead to an increased risk of breast and reproductive system cancers.

Researchers presented the "2014 Integrated Africa Cancer Fact Sheet & Summary Score Card" during the 8th Stop Cervical, Breast and Prostate Cancer in Africa (SCCA) conference, held in Windhoek, Namibia from July 20 to 22, noted that cancer is a growing health problem in many developing countries and that breast and cervical cancer are the most common forms affecting African women.

The report said that sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) play a major role in reproductive system cancers and that young girls who engage in sexual activity risk getting, among other STDs, the human papilloma virus (HPV), some strains of which are linked to cervical cancer.

The report said although HPV infections are common in healthy women, they are usually fought off by the body’s immune system, with no discernible symptoms or health consequences.

The Cancer Association of South Africa points out that of the scores of HPV types, 14 of the more than 40 sexually transmitted varieties are considered "high risk" for causing serious illness, while two, HPV-16 and HPV-18, are linked to cervical cancer.

“Long-term use of oral contraceptives is also associated with increased risk [of cancer], and women living with HIV-AIDS are at increased risk of cervical cancer,” the report said.

Dr. Thandeka Mazibuko, a South African oncologist, told the conference attendees that when an 18-year-old is diagnosed with cervical cancer, “this means sex is an important activity in her life and she indulged from a young age.”

Mazibuko said the standard treatment for cancer of the cervix is seven weeks of radiation therapy.

“After the treatment they cannot have sex with their husbands or partners. They cannot bear children because everything has been closed up. Some may still have the womb but radiation makes them infertile,” Mazibuko said, according to a report in The Namibian.

Statistics from the Cancer Association of Namibia show that cases of cervical cancer have risen from 129 in 2005 to 266 in 2012.

The SCCA Conference theme was, "Moving forward to end Cervical Cancer by 2030: Universal Access to Cervical Cancer Prevention."

In his keynote address, host and Namibian President Hifikepunye Lucas Pohamba urged African countries to help each other to expand and modernize health care delivery in the continent.

"Within the context of the post-2015 Development Agenda and sustainable development goals, the provision of adequate health care to African women and children must be re-emphasized," said the president, according to AllAfrica.

The Namibian leader urged mothers to breastfeed their children for at least six months as a measure to prevent breast cancer.


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Hilary White Hilary White Follow Hilary

Allow ‘lethal injection’ for poor to save on palliative care: Lithuanian health minister

Hilary White Hilary White Follow Hilary
By Hilary White

Euthanasia is a solution for terminally ill poor people who cannot afford palliative care and who do not want to “see their families agonize” over their suffering, Lithuania’s health minister said last week.

In an interview on national television, Minister Rimantė Šalaševičiūtė added that the Belgian law on child euthanasia ought to be “taken into account” as well. 

Šalaševičiūtė told TV3 News that Lithuania, a country whose population is 77 percent Catholic, is not a welfare state and cannot guarantee quality palliative care for all those in need of it. The solution, therefore, would be “lethal injection.”

“It is time to think through euthanasia in these patients and allow them to make a decision: to live or die,” she said.

Direct euthanasia remains illegal in the Balkan state, but activists tried to bring it to the table in 2012. A motion to drop the planned bill was passed in the Parliament in March that year in a vote of 75 to 14. Since then the country has undergone a change in government in which the far-left Social Democrats have formed the largest voting bloc.

Šalaševičiūtė is a member of Parliament for the Social Democrats, the party originally established in the late 19th century – re-formed in the late 1980s – from Marxist principles and now affiliated with the international Party of European Socialists and Socialist International.

Fr. Andrius Narbekovas, a prominent priest, lecturer, physician, bioethicist, and member of the government’s bioethics committee, called the suggestion “satanic,” according to Delfi.lt. He issued a statement saying it is the purpose of the Ministry of Health to “protect the health and life, instead of looking for ways to take away life.”

“We understand that people who are sick are in need of funds. But a society that declares itself democratic, should very clearly understand that we have to take care of the sick, not kill them,” he said.


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Islamists in Mosul mark Christian homes with an Arabic "N" for Nazarene.
Gualberto Garcia Jones, J.D.

We must open wide our doors to Iraq’s Christians

Gualberto Garcia Jones, J.D.
By Gualberto Garcia Jones J.D.

On July 18, the largest Christian community in Iraq, the Chaldean Catholics of Mosul, were given a grotesque ultimatum: leave your ancestral home, convert to Islam, or die.

All but forgotten by the 1.2 billion Catholics of the world, these last Christians who still speak Jesus’ native tongue of Aramaic and live in the land of Abraham and Jonah are being wiped out before our very eyes.

As a way of issuing a thinly-veiled threat, reminiscent of the Nazi persecution of the Jews, the Arabic letter “N” (for Nazarean) has been painted on the outside of the homes of all known Christians in Mosul.

These threats, issued by the fanatical Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) known for its bloodthirsty rampage of executions, have been taken very seriously by the several hundred thousand Christians in Mosul who have left with little more than the clothes they were wearing. 

At least most of these Christians were able to flee and find temporary protection among the Kurds in their semi-autonomous region.  However the Kurds do not have the resources to defend or shelter the Chaldean Christians for much longer.

On Monday, during an interview on Fox News, Republican U.S. Rep. Frank Wolf, who recently joined with 54 other members of the House of Representatives in a letter to President Obama asking him to act to protect these communities, stated that while Iraqi President Maliki had sent military flights to Mosul to evacuate Shiite Muslims, the US has done nothing to protect the Chaldean Christians.  Rep. Wolf also stated emphatically that President Obama has done “almost nothing” about the genocide taking place.

The silence from the White House is deafening.  But the lack of leadership from the hierarchy of the Catholic Church in America has been shocking as well.

Nevertheless, the plight of these Iraqi Christians is beginning to be taken seriously.   This is due in large part to the heroic efforts of local Iraqi religious leaders like Chaldean Patriarch Sako, who has gone on a whirlwind tour of the world to alert us all of the plight of these Iraqi Christians.  In a statement demonstrating his character, he told the Christians of Iraq last week, “We are your shepherds, and with our full responsibility towards you we will stay with you to the end, will not leave you, whatever the sacrifices.”

Before the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq was launched there were approximately 1.5 to 2 million Christians living in Iraq.  Today, there are believed to be less than 200,000.  The numbers speak for themselves.

Now that the world is beginning to be aware of the genocide in Northern Iraq, many of us ask ourselves: what can we do?  As citizens and as Christians blessed to live in nations with relative peace and security, what can we do?

The answer is quite simple and unexpected.  Demand that our government and church pull its head out of the sand and follow France. Yes, France.  

Yesterday, in a heroic gesture of Christian solidarity that would make Joan of Arc proud, the government of France opened wide its doors to the persecuted Iraqi Christians.  

”France is outraged by these abuses that it condemns with the utmost firmness," Laurent Fabius, France's foreign minister, and Bernard Cazeneuve, France's interior minister, said in a joint statement on Monday.

"The ultimatum given to these communities in Mosul by ISIS is the latest tragic example of the terrible threat that jihadist groups in Iraq, but also in Syria and elsewhere, pose to these populations that are historically an integral part of this region," they added. "We are ready, if they wish, to facilitate their asylum on our soil.  We are in constant contact with local and national authorities to ensure everything is done to protect them.”

The French statement drives home three crucial elements that every government, especially the United States, should communicate immediately:

  1. Recognize the genocide and name the perpetrators and victims.

  2. Officially condemn what is happening in the strongest terms.

  3. Offer a solution that includes cooperation with local authorities but which leads by making solid commitments such as offering asylum or other forms of protection.

With regard to the Church, we should look to the Chaldean Patriarch and the Iraqi bishops who shared their expectations explicitly in an open letter to “all people of conscience in Iraq and around the world” to take “practical actions to assure our people, not merely expressions of condemnation.”  Noticeably, the last section of the letter from the Iraqi bishops, before a final prayer to God, is an expression of thanks to the Kurdish government, which has welcomed them not just with “expressions” of goodwill but, like France, with a sacrificial hospitality.

On Friday, July 25, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops did issue a statement, but unfortunately it lacked much in terms of leadership or solutions.  We should encourage our bishops to do better than that, be bolder and stronger for our persecuted brothers and sisters, name names and offer concrete sacrificial aid. In a word, be more like the French.

In 1553, Rome welcomed the Chaldean church into the fold of the Catholic Church.  Nearly 500 years later, Catholic Americans must find ways to welcome these persecuted people into our country, into our churches, and into our own homes if need be.

I say, I am with you St. Joan of Arc.   I am with you, France.  I am with you, Chaldeans!

Gualberto Garcia Jones is the Executive Director of the International Human Rights Group, a non-profit organization based in Washington, DC, that seeks to advance the fundamental rights to life, the natural family, and religious liberty through international law and international relations. 


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