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Healing, not scarlet letters, promoted at national pro-life prayer service before March for Life

Ben Johnson
Ben Johnson

WASHINGTON, D.C., January 28, 2013, (LifeSiteNews.com) – The spirit of the National Memorial Service for the Preborn and their Mothers and Fathers was best expressed during the prayer recited as a candle was lit on stage: “We now light the Life Candle, remembering the innocent lives lost and the hope of reconciliation and healing found in the Light of the World, Jesus Christ.”

In historic Constitution Hall on Saturday morning, an ecumenical gathering of 100 or more clergy members encouraged a crowd of hundreds to be active, to pray, and to offer grace and mercy to everyone who had ever taken part in an abortion – including the abortionists.

“Jane Roe, Norma McCorvey, she sends to you this morning her prayerful greetings, and she sends her requests for our prayers,” said Fr. Frank Pavone of Priests for Life, during his dynamic homily, entitled “Recall Abortion.”

“She still has terrible wounds for having been the Jane Roe of Roe v. Wade,” he said.

Between litanies of repentance and readings for post-abortive women – and men – and the unborn themselves, speaker after speaker said the violence of abortion can only be stilled when it meets the calm of forgiveness.

“We have to put aside the scarlet letters and the condemnation and show we really do care about those who are frightened, alone, and in trouble,” said Joe Schwartz, reading a statement written by his father, Michael. “The focus is to be upon the mother.” He also asked people to pray for the conversion of abortionists.

Alveda King, niece of Martin Luther King Jr., led a litany for those who had died from abortions, beginning with Tonya Reaves, who passed away last year after an abortion at Planned Parenthood, and naming as many as she could. The response was, “Lord, have mercy on them.”

Kelly and Matt Clinger shared their testimony of abortion heartbreak, receiving a standing ovation before leving to fly out to the San Francisco Walk for Life.

One of the morning's two award recipients also reminded everyone present that millions more women will suffer trauma thanks to China's one-child policy.

“Since 1980 when the one-child policy was instituted, the Chinese Communist party boasts that they have prevented 400 million lives, which is greater than the entire population of the United States,” said Reggie Littlejohn of Women's Rights Without Frontiers.

The policy often employs forced abortions, in which the Chinese government kidnaps women from their homes, aborts without anesthesia – and then charges them for the procedure.

“The greatest hemorrhage in the world today is flowing out of China,” she said. “This is the real war against women...Where is the pro-choice movement on this issue?”

“I had no idea what they were doing in China,” 17-year-old Elaina Choo of from Tacoma, Washington, told LifeSiteNews.com. “It brought me to tears.” She said she wanted to learn as much as she can about protecting life, at home and abroad.

Littlejohn received the Pro-life Recognition Award. The award was also given to Michael Schwartz, a movement stalwart who served as chief of staff to Senator Tom Coburn. Schwartz, who is ill, sent his son Joe to received both that award and another from the Catholic business organization Legatus.

Fr. Frank Pavone's sermon brought the focus back to the United States. While the culture of life asks how it may sacrifice itself for others, the culture of death sacrifices others for itself, he said.

“Isn't it amazing that the very same words used by the culture of death to justify abortion are the words used by our Lord to proclaim life and salvation and love: This is my body!'”

“The pro-life movement arose, not primarily as a response to Roe vs. Wade, but as a response to Jesus Christ,” he said. “Abortion is the greatest violation of human solidarity, justice, love, and peace.”

He lamented that even in churches the issue of life is ostracized as "too political." And "when we speak about it in politics, we're told it's too religious,” he said. “In the world of media the topic is too disturbing. In the world of business it's too distracting. In the world of education it's too controversial. In the streets it's too disruptive.”

“So if abortion is wrong, where do we go to say so?” he asked. “We go into the churches, into politics, into the media, into the business world, into education, and into the streets!”

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The clergy's religious diversity showed, however, that the pro-life message is welcome in segments of many churches. “I think we have a denomination for every letter of the alphabet,” said Rev. Rob Schenck.

But Fr. Pavone had no intention of preaching to the choir. He outlined a specific response to every segment of society, calling on the Republican Party “to live out more courageously and consistently the words of its platform concerning the right to life of the unborn”; on the Democratic Party “to change the words of its platform regarding the unborn” and represent “the poorest of the poor, the weakest of the weak, the most marginalized of the marginalized”; on Barack Obama “to change his position” and acknowledge our youngest neighbors; and for government at all levels to “take it off the market, rid America of this failed and destructive product, this false and empty promise.”

All the speakers on the dais stood for life with “no exceptions,” the phrase of March for Life founder Nellie Gray, whose absence hung heavily in every event associated with the first march after her death.

“It was as though a member of my family – my mother or my father – had died,” said Pastor Luke Robinson in his tender personal remarks.

“She gave a national audience to Silent No More,” he said. “She also did that for the African-American community.”

Following her example, hundreds vowed before God to remain faithful witnesses for the most defenseless children.

“Today I commit myself never to be silent, never to be passive, never to be forgetful of the unborn,” they prayed. “I commit myself to be active in the pro-life movement, and never to stop defending life until all my brothers and sisters are protected, and our nation once again becomes a nation with liberty and justice, not just for some, but for all.”

The 19th annual service left everyone who attended uplifted. “I'd been wanting to come for a few years,” Choo told LifeSiteNews. “It was just wonderful.”

The service was sponsored by the National Pro-life Religious Council, the National Pro-life Center, Gospel of Life Ministries, the National Clergy Council, Priests for Life, Faith and Action, and National Pro-life Radio. It was also cosponsored by Couples for Christ Foundation for Family and Life.


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UK quietly opens the door to genetic engineering, ‘3-parent’ embryos

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By Hilary White

Last month the UK’s Department of Health quietly redefined the term “genetic modification” to open the door to allow certain kinds of modification of human embryos – thus potentially making it the first country in the world to allow genetic engineering.

Scottish journalist Lori Anderson recently raised the alarm over the change in a column in the Scotsman, in which she alleged that the change is designed to “dupe” the British public into accepting “full-scale germline genetic engineering,” using human embryos as test subjects.

Anderson said that in July, the Department of Health “effectively re-wrote the definition of ‘genetic modification’ to specifically exclude the alteration of human mitochondrial genes or any other genetic material that exists outside the chromosomes in the nucleus of the cell.”

“The reason for doing this is that it believes it will be easier to sell such an advancement to the public if it can insist that the end result will not be a ‘GM baby’.”

This change follows a statement from the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), the government body that regulates experimental research on human embryos, approving the procedure to create an embryo from one couple’s gametes but with genetic material added from a third party donor, a procedure called in the press “three-parent embryos”.

Anderson quoted a statement from the Department of Health comparing this procedure to donating blood. The statement read, “There is no universally agreed definition of ‘genetic modification’ in humans – people who have organ transplants, blood donations, or even gene therapy are not generally regarded as being ‘genetically modified’. The Government has decided to adopt a working definition for the purpose of taking forward these regulations.”

This assertion was challenged by one of the UK’s leading fertility researchers, Lord Robert Winston, who told the Independent, “Of course mitochondrial transfer is genetic modification and this modification is handed down the generations. It is totally wrong to compare it with a blood transfusion.”

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The HFEA, which throughout its history has been known as one of the world’s most permissive regulatory bodies, has been working steadily towards allowing genetically modified embryos to be implanted in women undergoing artificial procreation treatments. In a document issued to the government last year, they called the insertion of mitochondrial DNA (mDNA) into embryos “mitochondrial donation” or “mitochondrial replacement”. mDNA is the genetic material found in the cytoplasm outside a cell’s nucleus, problems with which can cause a host of currently incurable genetic illnesses.

In the statement issued in June, the HFEA said the technique of inserting “donated” mDNA into already existing in vitro embryos, “should be considered ‘not unsafe’ for the use on a ‘specific and defined group of patients.’”

“Mitochondria replacement (or mitochondrial donation) describes two medical techniques, currently being worked on by UK researchers, which could allow women to avoid passing on genetically inherited mitochondrial diseases to their children,” the statement said.

The HFEA admitted that the techniques are “at the cutting edge of both science and ethics” and said that the results of a “public consultation” in 2012/13 were being examined by the government, which is considering “draft regulations”.

In June, the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children echoed Lori Anderson’s concern, commenting that the HFEA is attempting to deceive the public. Paul Tully, SPUC’s general secretary, said, “Human gene manipulation is being sold to a gullible public on a promise of reducing suffering, the same old con-trick that the test-tube baby lobby has been using for decades.” 

Any manipulation of human genetics, always breaks “several important moral rules,” entailing the creation of “human guinea-pigs,” Tully said. “Human germ-line manipulation and cloning – changing the genetic inheritance of future generations - goes against internationally-agreed norms for ethical science.”

He quoted Professor Andy Greenfield, the chairman of the scientific review panel that approved the techniques, who said that there is no way of knowing what effect this would have on the children created until it is actually done.

“We have to subject children who have not consented and cannot consent to being test subjects,” Tully said.

Altering the mDNA of an embryo is what cloning scientists refer to as “germline” alteration, meaning that the changes will be carried on through the altered embryo’s own offspring, a longstanding goal of eugenicists.

In their 1999 book, “Human Molecular Genetics” Tom Strachan and Andrew Read warned that the use of mitochondrial alteration of embryos would cross serious ethical boundaries.

Having argued that germline therapy would be “pointless” from a therapeutic standpoint, the authors said, “There are serious concerns, therefore, that a hidden motive for germline gene therapy is to enable research to be done on germline manipulation with the ultimate aim of germline-based genetic enhancement.”

“The latter could result in positive eugenics programs, whereby planned genetic modification of the germline could involve artificial selection for genes that are thought to confer advantageous traits.”


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Cable series portrays nun as back-alley abortionist

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By Ben Johnson
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'To depict a nun who performs an abortion is a new low,' said Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights.

The Cinemax TV series The Knick portrayed a Roman Catholic nun as a back alley abortionist who tells a Catholic woman God will forgive her for going through with the procedure.

In its latest episode, which aired Friday night, the series showed Sister Harriet (an Irish nun played by Cara Seymour) telling a Catholic woman named Nora, “Your husband will know nothing of it. I promise.”

“Will God forgive me?” Nora asked, adding, “I don't want to go to Hell for killing a baby.”

“He knows that you suffered,” the sister replied, before performing the illegal abortion off-screen. “I believe the Lord's compassion will be yours.” 

The period medical drama is set at the Knickerbocker Hospital (“The Knick”) in New York City around the turn of the 20th century, when abortion was against both civil and ecclesiastical law.

“It is no secret that Hollywood is a big pro-abortion town, but to depict a nun who performs an abortion is a new low,” Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, said. “The only saving grace in this episode is the real-life recognition of the woman who is about to have the abortion: she admits that her baby is going to be killed.”

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The series is directed by Steven Soderbergh, known for such films as Erin Brockovich, the Oceans Eleven franchise, and Sex, Lies, and Videotape. More recently he directed The Girlfriend Experience, a film about prostitution starring pornographic actress Sasha Grey.

Critics have hailed his decision to include a black surgeon in circa 1900 America. But after last week's episode, the New York Times stated that The Knick has chosen to “demonstrate concern for other kinds of progress,” citing the depiction of the abortion. 


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Catholic Malta enacts ‘transgender’ employment discrimination law

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By Hilary White

An amendment to Malta’s Employment and Industrial Relations Act means that employment “discrimination” against “transsexuals” is now officially prohibited in the Catholic country. The provision, which was quietly passed in May, came into effect on August 12th.

The law allows those who believe they have a complaint to make a case with the National Commission for the Promotion of Equality, with an industrial tribunal or the courts. A government spokesman told local  media, “Employees do not need to prove that their employer has discriminated against them.”

“They only need to provide enough evidence pointing to a likely case of discrimination. The employer will then need to prove that discrimination has not taken place.”

The amendment defines illegal discrimination against “transgendered” people as, “in so far as the ground of sex is concerned, any less favourable treatment of a person who underwent or is undergoing gender reassignment, which, for the purpose of those regulations shall mean, where a person is considering or intends to undergo, or is undergoing, a process, or part of a process, for the purposes of reassigning the person’s sex by changing physiological or other attributes of sex.” 

Silvan Agius, Human Rights policy coordinator with the Ministry for Social Dialogue, Consumer Affairs and Civil Liberties, told Malta Today newspaper that the new amendment brings Maltese law into harmony with EU law.

“This amendment is continuing the government’s equality mainstreaming exercise. The inclusion of gender reassignment in the Act also brings it in line with the anti-discrimination articles found in both Malta’s Constitution and the Equality for Men and Woman Act,” Agius said.

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Agius is a key member of the homosexual activist apparatus in Malta’s government working to entrench the ideology of gender in law in Malta and elsewhere. In June, he was a featured speaker, with the notorious British anti-Catholic campaigner Peter Tatchell, at a Glasgow conference organised by the Edinburgh-based Equality Network, a group that helps organise and train homosexualist campaign groups.

The amendment to the law follows promises made recently by the country’s equalities minister, Helena Dalli, to a “transgender” congress in Hungary in May. Dalli, who brought forward Malta’s recently passed same-sex civil unions bill, told a meeting of gender activists in Budapest that while her government’s focus had been mainly on homosexuals, that she would shortly be turning her attention to “trans” people.

“The next step now is a Bill towards the enactment of a Gender Identity law. A draft bill has been prepared and it has now been passed to the LGBTI Consultative Council for its vetting and amendment as necessary,” Dalli said.

“Some of you may be thinking that we are moving forward quickly. I have a different perspective though. We are doing what is right, what should have been done a long time ago,” she added.

Since the legalisation of divorce in 2011, Malta has been remarkable for its rapid adoption of the gender ideology’s agenda. In 2013, Malta was named the “fastest climber” on the Rainbow Europe Index, a survey organised annually by ILGA Europe, the leading homosexualist lobby group funded directly by the European Union.

The ILGA Europe report notes (p. 114) that Helena Dalli Helena “was one of 11 EU Member States’ equality ministers to co-sign a call for the European Commission to work on a comprehensive EU policy for LGBT equality.” The report also noted that although the new Labour government has proved cooperative, the Christian Democrat Nationalist Party has “progressively proved more receptive to LGBTI issues, including same-sex unions.”


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