Hilary White, Rome Correspondent

‘Infamous’ social policies accepting abortion caused global gender imbalance: Sydney archbishop

Hilary White, Rome Correspondent
Hilary White, Rome Correspondent
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SYDNEY, September 17, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The massive and growing gender imbalance in countries like India and China and elsewhere is the result of “infamous” social policies favoring legal abortion, the cardinal archbishop of Sydney said last week.

Cardinal George Pell was addressing the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists at their annual meeting.

In his address, titled, “Is Catholicism Compatible With Women’s Health?” the cardinal said, “The social consequences of these infamous policies over the next few decades are likely to bring new meaning to the term of reaping the whirlwind.”

Cardinal Pell is known throughout the world as a strong advocate of the Church’s teaching on the sanctity of human life. One of his initiatives is an annual archdiocesan memorial Mass for those who have died from abortion, the first of which was held September 14. The Mass is intended to provide a “solemn, beautiful and consoling remembrance of the unborn children lost to abortion.”

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“Unlike Europe and Japan, where societies aged after they had become rich, in China and India they will follow their more prosperous predecessors into serious demographic decline in a few decades, before wealth spreads across most of the community or at least of all the community.

“As well as coping with the unpredictable consequences of tens of millions of single men - they can’t all become Catholic priests - this must raise serious questions about whether we’re entering the Chinese century.”

The Catholic Church is directly responsible for 26 percent of the health care provision in the world and a majority of the care for the poor in the developing world, the cardinal observed. As a health care leader, therefore, the Church assumes a holistic approach to women’s health “founded in the dignity of the human person; support for marriage – which the Church understands as the union of a man and woman, permanent and exclusive, open to life – and the right of couples to the knowledge and understanding of their own fertility so they may determine the number and spacing of their children and non-violence to mother and child”.

Key principles in Catholic health care philosophy, the cardinal said, include “the call to solidarity with the mother; the call to solidarity with the unborn child; health care as a natural human good and fundamental human right and the preferential option for the poor and vulnerable”.

“Catholics understand the relationship between doctor and patient according to the Hippocratic ideal, rather than the more modern notion of a doctor simply being a service provider to the consumer,” he continued.

“We understand the role of the obstetrician as being a doctor to two patients: mother and child. We recognise that although the healthcare needs of these two patients normally run in parallel they can sometimes - although infrequently - come apart, and this can be very difficult and distressing for all concerned.”

He decried the secular approach to obstetrics which often places the woman into an antagonistic role against her child. He said that the Church understands that pregnancy can present threats to the mother’s life, but said, “We believe a woman should not and must not be compelled to choose between her life and the life of her unborn child.”

Abortion “always represents a tragic and collective failure to provide this care and support,” he said.

Gender imbalance is a growing problem in most countries where abortion is legal. Although the One Child policy of the Chinese government is not in place in Hong Kong, the city-state is experiencing a growing gender gap. In India, the government has admitted that the killing of girls, either before of after birth, is a major social problem. The term “gendercide” has been coined by researchers who say that 500,000 girls are aborted illegally in India every year.

In Pakistan and some countries of the Arabian Peninsula, the problem is not as freely acknowledged. In many countries of the Middle East and Southeast Asia, strong cultural antipathy towards women and girls is combining with a booming underground abortion trade that is contributing to a growing gender imbalance, despite the higher overall fertility rate than western countries.

Researchers have said that the practice of killing baby girls has also greatly contributed to the problem of human trafficking. In India and China girls and young women are often kidnapped from rural areas and sold. In his speech, Cardinal Pell cited statistics that show there are now 32 million more boys than girls under twenty in China and 7.1 million fewer girls than boys up to the age of six in India.

But in China the situation is especially acute. Mandatory abortion coupled with the Chinese government’s One Child Policy, an absence of social services, especially for sick and elderly people, and a slowing economy are combining to create a social crisis of unprecedented proportions. Although accurate statistics are nearly impossible to obtain, and the world may never know how many have been killed, officially the Chinese government admitted that at least 400 million children have been killed by abortion since the policy was instituted in 1978.

Young men cannot find wives. Couples cannot have children. Parents fear their old age and young people are under such pressure that China has one of the world’s highest youth suicide rates. Uniquely in the world, more women kill themselves in China than men with a suicide rate for women of 14.8 per 100,000 people compared to 13.0 for men, the highest female suicide rate in the world. According to the World Health Organisation, suicide is the leading cause of death for younger women in China, particularly for women in rural areas where they are two to five times more likely to kill themselves than in cities. And though the rate is dropping, overall China still ranks ninth in the world for suicide by both sexes with over 300,000 per year, accounting for more than 30 per cent of the world’s suicides. 

Recently the International Herald Tribune, the New York Times international paper, implied that the One Child Policy is at least partly responsible for the slowing of the Chinese economy. With an economy dependent upon cheaply manufactured export goods, it is crucial to have a steady supply of labour in factories. But young Chinese are aware that an aging population, one that is not growing, gives them a competitive advantage in their work choices, so few are opting for the drudgery of factory work, preferring to pursue university studies and higher-end careers. Moreover, young people are under pressure to make more money by their parents and grandparents who have only one child to care for them in their old age.

And the end is not in sight. A government official recently confirmed that there are no plans to end the policy until at least 2015, even though the gender imbalance is acknowledged as a threat.

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PBS defends decision to air pro-abortion documentary ‘After Tiller’

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By Dustin Siggins

Under pressure for showing the pro-abortion documentary "After Tiller" on Labor Day, PBS' "POV" affiliate has defended the decision in response to an inquiry from LifeSiteNews.

The producers of the film say their goal with the documentary, which tells the stories of four late-term abortion doctors after the killing of infamous late-term abortionist George Tiller, is to "change public perception of third-trimester abortion providers by building a movement dedicated to supporting their right to work with a special focus on maintaining their safety.” 

POV told LifeSiteNews, "We do believe that 'After Tiller' adds another dimension to an issue that is being debated widely." Asked if POV will show a pro-life documentary, the organization said that it "does not have any other films currently scheduled on this issue. POV received almost 1000 film submissions each year through our annual call for entries and we welcome the opportunity to consider films with a range of points of view."

When asked whether POV was concerned about alienating its viewership -- since PBS received more than $400 million in federal tax dollars in 2012 and half of Americans identify as pro-life -- POV said, "The filmmakers would like the film to add to the discussion around these issues. Abortion is already a legal procedure."

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"This is an issue that people feel passionately about and will have a passionate response to. We are hopeful that the majority of people can see it for what it is, another lens on a very difficult issue." 

In addition to the documentary, POV has written materials for community leaders and teachers to share. A cursory examination of the 29-page document, which is available publicly, appears to include links to outside sources that defend Roe v. Wade, an examination of the constitutional right to privacy, and "a good explanation of the link between abortion law and the right to privacy," among other information.

Likewise, seven clips recommended for student viewing -- grades 11 and beyond -- include scenes where couples choose abortion because the children are disabled. Another shows pro-life advocates outside a doctor's child's school, and a third is described as showing "why [one of the film's doctors] chose to offer abortion services and includes descriptions of what can happen when abortion is illegal or unavailable, including stories of women who injured themselves when they tried to terminate their own pregnancies and children who were abused because they were unwanted."

Another clip "includes footage of protesters, as well as news coverage of a hearing in the Nebraska State Legislature in which abortion opponents make reference to the idea that a fetus feels pain." The clip's description fails to note that it is a scientifically proven fact that unborn children can feel pain.

The documentary is set to air on PBS at 10 p.m. Eastern on Labor Day.

Kirsten Andersen contributed to this article.

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He defended ‘real’ marriage, and then was beheaded for it

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By Pete Baklinski

A Christian man was executed during the night by a high-profile ruler after making an uncompromising defense of real marriage.

The Christian, who was renowned for his holiness, had told the ruler in public that his relationship with his partner was “against the law” of God. The Christian’s words enraged the ruler’s partner who successfully plotted to have him permanently silenced.

John the Baptist was first imprisoned before he was beheaded. The Catholic Church honors him today, August 29, as a martyr and saint.

While John’s death happened a little less than 2,000 years ago, his heroic stance for real marriage is more pertinent today than ever before.

According to the Gospel of Mark, the ruler Herod had ‘married’ his brother’s wife Herodias. When John told Herod with complete frankness, “It is against the law for you to have your brother’s wife,” Herodias became “furious” with him to the point of wanting him killed for his intolerance, bullying, and hate-speech.

Herodias found her opportunity to silence John by having her daughter please Herod during a dance at a party. Herod offered the girl anything she wanted. The daughter turned to her mother for advice, and Herodias said to ask for John’s head on a platter.

Those who fight for real marriage today can learn three important lessons from John’s example.

  1. Those proudly living in ungodly and unnatural relationships — often referred to in today’s sociopolitical sphere as ‘marriage’ — will despise those who tell them what they are doing is wrong. Real marriage defenders must expect opposition to their message from the highest levels.
  2. Despite facing opposition, John was not afraid to defend God’s plan for marriage in the public square, even holding a secular ruler accountable to this plan. John, following the third book of the Hebrew Bible (Leviticus 20:21), held that a man marrying the wife of his brother was an act of “impurity” and therefore abhorrent to God. Real marriage defenders must boldly proclaim today that God is the author of marriage, an institution he created to be a life-long union between one man and one woman from which children arise and in which they are best nurtured. Marriage can be nothing more, nothing less.
  3. John did not compromise on the truth of marriage as revealed by God, even to the point of suffering imprisonment and death for his unpopular position. Real marriage defenders must never compromise on the truth of marriage, even if the government, corporate North America, and the entire secular education system says otherwise. They must learn to recognize the new “Herodias” of today who despises those raising a voice against her lifestyle. They must stand their ground no matter what may come, no matter what the cost.

John the Baptist was not intolerant or a bigot, he simply lived the word of God without compromise, speaking the word of truth when it was needed, knowing that God’s way is always the best way. Were John alive today, he would be at the forefront of the grassroots movement opposing the social and political agenda to remake marriage in the image of man.

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If he were alive today he might speak simple but eloquent words such as, “It is against God’s law for two men or two women to be together as a husband and wife in marriage. Marriage can only be between a man and a woman.” 

He would most likely be hated. He would be ridiculed. He would surely have the human rights tribunals throwing the book at him. But he would be speaking the truth and have God as his ally. 

The time may not be far off when those who defend real marriage, like John, will be presented with the choice of following Caesar or making the ultimate sacrifice. May God grant his faithful the grace to persevere in whatever might come. St. John the Baptist, pray for us!

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The Wunderlich family Mike Donnelly / Home School Legal Defence Association
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German homeschoolers regain custody of children, vow to stay and fight for freedom

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By Thaddeus Baklinski

One year to the day since a team of 20 social workers, police officers, and special agents stormed a homeschooling family’s residence near Darmstadt, Germany, and forcibly removed all four of the family’s children, aged 7 to 14, a state appeals court has returned custody of the children to their parents.

The reason given for the removal was that parents Dirk and Petra Wunderlich continued to homeschool their children in defiance of a German ban on home education.

The children were returned three weeks after being taken, following an international outcry spearheaded by the Home School Legal Defense Association.

However, a lower court imposed the condition on the parents that their children were required to attend state schools in order for them to be released, and took legal custody of the children in order to prevent the family from leaving the country.

In a decision that was still highly critical of the parents and of homeschooling, the appeals court decided that the action of the lower court in putting the children in the custody of the state was “disproportional” and ordered complete custody returned to the parents, according to a statement by the HSLDA.

The Wunderlichs, who began homeschooling again when the court signaled it would rule this way, said they were very pleased with the result, but noted that the court’s harsh words about homeschooling indicated that their battle was far from over.

“We have won custody and we are glad about that,” Dirk said.

“The court said that taking our children away was not proportionate—only because the authorities should apply very high fines and criminal prosecution instead. But this decision upholds the absurd idea that homeschooling is child endangerment and an abuse of parental authority.”

The Wunderlichs are now free to emigrate to another country where homeschooling is legal, if they choose, but they said they intend to remain in Germany and work for educational freedom.

“While we no longer fear that our children will be taken away as long as we are living in Hessen, it can still happen to other people in Germany,” Dirk said. “Now we fear crushing fines up to $75,000 and jail. This should not be tolerated in a civilized country.”

Petra Wunderlich said, "We could not do this without the help of HSLDA,” but cautioned that, “No family can fight the powerful German state—it is too much, too expensive."

"If it were not for HSLDA and their support, I am afraid our children would still be in state custody. We are so grateful and thank all homeschoolers who have helped us by helping HSLDA.”

HSLDA’s Director for Global Outreach, Michael Donnelly, said he welcomed the ruling but was concerned about the court’s troubling language.

“We welcome this ruling that overturns what was an outrageous abuse of judicial power,” he said.

“The lower court decision to take away legal custody of the children essentially imprisoned the Wunderlich family in Germany. But this decision does not go far enough. The court has only grudgingly given back custody and has further signaled to local authorities that they should still go after the Wunderlichs with criminal charges or fines.”

Donnelly pointed out that such behavior in a democratic country is problematic.

“Imprisonment and fines for homeschooling are outside the bounds of what free societies that respect fundamental human rights should tolerate,” he explained.

“Freedom and fundamental human rights norms demand respect for parental decision making in education. Germany’s state and national policies that permit banning home education must be changed.

"Such policies from a leading European democracy not only threaten the rights of tens of thousands of German families but establish a dangerous example that other countries may be tempted to follow,” Donnelly warned.

HSLDA Chairman Michael Farris said that acting on behalf of the Wunderlichs was an important stand for freedom.

“The Wunderlichs are a good and decent family whose basic human rights were violated and are still threatened,” Farris said.

“Their fight is our fight," Farris stressed, "and we will continue to support those who stand against German policy banning homeschooling that violates international legal norms. Free people cannot tolerate such oppression and we will do whatever we can to fight for families like the Wunderlichs both here in the United States and abroad. We must stand up to this kind of persecution where it occurs or we risk seeing own freedom weakened.”

Visit the HSLDA website dedicated to helping the Wunderlich family and other German homeschoolers here.

Contact the German embassy in the U.S. here.

Contact the German embassy in Canada here.

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