Ben Johnson

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Major pro-life organizations endorse Mitt Romney

Ben Johnson
Ben Johnson
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Co-authored with John Jalsevac

WASHINGTON, D.C., April 13, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – With Rick Santorum having bowed out of the Republican presidential race, several major pro-life organizations have stepped forward to throw their weight behind Mitt Romney, while some other conservative groups have urged a “wait-and-see” approach to the likely nominee.

Since Santorum ended his primary fight, Romney has picked up endorsements from the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC), the Susan B. Anthony List (which campaigned for Santorum during the primaries), and various state governors and pro-life and pro-family organizations and individuals, including a leading pro-life organization in Romney’s own state.

“It is now time for pro-life Americans to unite behind Mitt Romney,” said Carol Tobias, president of NRLC. “On pro-life issues, Mitt Romney and Barack Obama provide a stark contrast.”

In a statement endorsing Romney, NRLC said, “Mitt Romney has taken a strong pro-life position and is committed to implementing policies to protect the unborn, the medically dependent and disabled, and the elderly.”

“Now is the time to unite behind Governor Romney in order to defeat the most ideologically pro-abortion president in our nation’s history,” said Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser. “It is the responsibility of all pro-life voters to now unite behind Governor Romney,” agreed Jane Abraham, Chairman of the SBA List Board of Directors.

The SBA List committed to spending $10-12 million in support of Romney on the general election.

A press release from Ohio Right to Life Society Political Action Committee President Mike Gonidakis noted, “Governor Romney is committed to protecting pro-life values. He supports the Hyde Amendment and ending federal funding for the nation’s largest abortion provider, Planned Parenthood. He is committed to upholding the sanctity of life and opposes the killing of human beings in the name of ‘science.’ Most importantly, he believes that Roe vs. Wade was wrongly decided and should be overturned.”

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A number of Republican leaders who endorsed Romney also focused on the need to rally around the party’s standard bearer. Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal said, “It’s time for all Republicans to focus their energies on the fall campaign.” Florida Governor Rick Scott stated, “Mitt Romney will be our party’s nominee and it is critical that all Republicans coalesce behind Gov. Romney and focus on electing him as president.”

At the same time, some conservative leaders are urging caution with regard to Romney’s nomination, arguing that the presumed nominee – who famously underwent a conversion to the pro-life position - has alienated social conservatives in the past as well as during the primary race.

Richard Viguerie, longtime political activist and owner of ConservativeHQ.com, said that “conservatives should not be rushing to embrace Romney; Romney should be rushing to embrace conservatives.” 

Pro-life critics of Romney, including Viguerie, have taken issue with the fact that he skipped three pro-life debates and refused to sign a pro-life pledge signed by every other candidate except Jon Huntsman. “In fact, during the campaign, Mitt Romney sent every signal possible he wanted to get the nomination without owing conservatives or the Tea Party anything,” Viguerie said.

Tea Party Nation leader Judson Phillips has said bluntly, “The Tea Party is not going to coalesce around Romney. Most of us will vote for Romney, but we will not be out there with signs for him or in his campaign.”

“Romney has a huge problem with the conservative base of the GOP,” Phillips told The Daily Caller. “He had better do something about that ASAP or he won’t have to worry about that moving to the middle nonsense.”

Former presidential candidate Gary Bauer told LifeSiteNews.com on Thursday, “These people provide the passion and hard work that are key to GOP election success. It is almost impossible to win without them. Just ask John McCain.”

Viguerie argued that pro-life, pro-family conservatives should imitate Rick Santorum, who “suspended his campaign without endorsing Mitt Romney. Like Rick, many other conservative activists and leaders are sitting on the sidelines waiting for some concrete actions from Romney to prove that he actually wants conservative support.”

Viguerie wrote, “My advice to my fellow conservatives is, ‘don’t be cheap dates.’”

At the same time, other leaders have argued that whatever reservations pro-lifers might have about Romney, it is important that they coalesce behind him in a bid to oust Barack Obama – widely considered to be the most radically pro-abortion president in history.

Others brushed aside questions about the sincerity of Romney’s much-debated pro-life conversation, arguing that he has adequately proved his pro-life credentials.

One prominent defender of Romney in this regard is a major pro-life organization in the candidate’s home state, the Massachusetts Citizens for Life Political Action Committee (MCFL).

“As the country’s most pro-abortion president, Barack Obama has pursued a radical pro-abortion agenda,” the organization said in its endorsement of Romney. “In contrast, as governor, Mitt Romney worked closely with MCFL. He takes a strong pro-life position and is committed to implementing policies to protect the unborn, the medically dependent, the disabled, and the elderly.”

In her endorsement popular pro-life blogger Jill Stanek argued that pro-lifers who have reservations about Romney should put them behind them. “I have a soft spot for pro-life converts, which Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is,” she said. “I think pro-lifers could do a better job of supporting them. I think it is time for that to happen for some of us who have been reluctant about Romney. The fact that he used to be pro-abortion is the major hang-up.”

In her endorsement Stanek also quoted an e-mail from pro-life leader Eric Scheidler, who, writing in a private capacity, said: “Now that Santorum is out, it’s this man’s opinion we all need to cowboy up and help Romney beat Obama.

“And that starts, now, with avoiding all disparaging remarks about ‘holding one’s nose’ and the like, which I’ve been seeing on Facebook these last few hours. From now on, I’m nothing but thrilled I’ve got a good man to rally behind, and I’ll leave it to Team Obama to make Romney look like anything less.”

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Louisiana judge orders state to recognize gay ‘marriage’

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By Kirsten Anderson

A Louisiana judge on Monday ordered state officials to recognize the out-of-state “marriage” of a lesbian couple and allow one of the women to legally adopt her partner’s child.

Angie Costanza and Christy Brewer were “married” in 2008 in California, but Louisiana’s marriage protection amendment, passed by 78 percent of voters in 2004, prevented the state from recognizing the couple’s union.  The pair sued in 2013 to overturn the law, in part because Costanza wanted to be listed as a parent on Brewer’s son’s birth certificate. 

Initially, Judge Edward Broussard dismissed the case without a hearing, but the couple appealed.  On Monday, Judge Edward Rubin took their side, ruling that Louisiana’s marriage protection law is unconstitutional in three ways:  According to Rubin, the ban on same-sex “marriage” violates the full faith and credit clause of the Constitution, as well as the due process and equal protection clauses of the 14th amendment.

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Rubin’s decision comes just weeks after U.S. District Court Judge Martin Feldman declared Louisiana’s marriage protection law constitutional – the first federal judge to decide in favor of a same-sex “marriage” ban since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down key portions of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) last year. “There is simply no fundamental right, historically or traditionally, to same-sex marriage,” Feldman wrote in his decision. 

However, because this case is being tried in the state courts, Rubin’s decision will take precedence over Feldman’s, pending appeal.

The state plans to appeal Rubin’s ruling to the state Supreme Court.  Meanwhile, the federal case is also moving forward.  Ultimately, it is expected that the question of whether statewide bans on same-sex “marriage” are constitutional will be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court sometime in 2015. 

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New archbishops in Chicago and Madrid: Ratzingerians out, ‘inclusiveness’ in

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Chicago's Archbishop-elect, Blase Cupich

Pope Francis announced Saturday that he is appointing as archbishop of Chicago a prelate best known in pro-life circles as the man who ordered his priests in 2011 not to participate in local 40 Days for Life prayer vigils. The media and Church watchers describe him as “progressive,” “inclusive,” and “left-of-center.”

The appointment of Bishop Blase Cupich, current head of the Spokane diocese in Washington, to America’s third most prominent see – an appointment which Vatican watchers predicted would signal the pope’s priorities for the direction of the U.S. Church – has been widely praised by liberal Catholics and opponents of Church teaching but met with concern by many Catholic activists.

The archbishop-elect gave a sense of his approach to the U.S. “culture war” in an interview Sunday with Chicago’s CBS affiliate, in which he suggested he would be open to giving Communion to pro-abortion Catholic politicians and a person wearing a button in favour of same-sex “marriage.”

“As long as they’re in church, are willing to hear the word of God, be open to Christ’s call of conversion for each one of us, then I think that that’s sufficient for me,” he said. “We cannot politicize the Communion rail and I just don’t think that that works in the long run.”

Cupich will replace the ailing Cardinal Francis George, known in the US as a “Ratzingerian” for his strong defense of Catholic orthodoxy, particularly on issues of sexual morality, but who is suffering from cancer and is overdue for retirement at age 77. The archbishop of Chicago is also normally granted the “red hat” and made a cardinal, which would make Cupich eligible to vote in upcoming papal conclaves. Cupich is scheduled to be installed in Chicago November 18.

The Chicago appointment mirrors that of another outside the US in recent weeks. Rome announced August 28 that Carlos Osoro Sierra, 69, will be installed as the new archbishop of Madrid, Spain’s capital city and largest archdiocese. But the story in Madrid has less to do with the new appointee and more to do with the would-be appointee who was demoted.

Until just before the appointment, most Vatican watchers expected the prominent post to be given to 68-year-old Vatican Cardinal Antonio Cañizares Llovera, dubbed the “little Ratzinger” for his orthodoxy in line with Pope Benedict XVI.  When LifeSiteNews interviewed Cardinal Cañizares in 2009 at the time of his appointment as prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments, he noted that denying communion to pro-abortion politicians was a charitable act.

Leaving his Vatican post, he was considered a natural for the Madrid spot. But instead it went to the archbishop of Valencia, and Cañizares is to fill that vacancy instead.

The former archbishop of Valencia is known for his strong “liberal” leanings and he will be replacing Cardinal Antonio Maria Rouco Varela, 78, who, like Cañizares, is also known for following the lead of the retired Pope Benedict XVI.

El Pais wrote of the new appointee that Catholics of the Madrid archdiocese, accustomed to the “hieratic” Varela, will be seeing “an entirely different model.”

“Shortly after the announcement of his appointment, the most repeated words to define his figure were ‘dialogue’ and ‘moderation.’”

“During the 12 years he has been the head of the Catholic Church [in Madrid], Rouco Varela has too often mixed faith and politics, with an overdose of intransigence. Defending the (exclusively traditional) family and attacking laws that recognize the right of women to abortion are the main workhorses.”

Catholic News Agency’s Vatican-watcher, Andrea Gagliarducci, wrote that the appointment marks a “new course for Spain’s bishops.” He is described in the Spanish press as “affable,” “friendly,” and “extremely gregarious.” 

As for Cupich, David Gibson of Religion News Service described him as “a prelate closely identified with the Catholic Church’s progressive wing.”

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Vatican watcher Rocco Palmo, author of the “Whispers in the Loggia” blog, wrote that the appointment is “the most shocking major move the American hierarchy has seen in the last decade and a half.” Another Vatican veteran, John Allen Jr., wrote for the US Catholic online magazine Crux that Cupich so closely mirrors Pope Francis’ theology and style that he could be called the “American Pope Francis in Chicago.”

On his blog, Bishop Robert Lynch of St. Petersburg, Florida, known for his icy relations with the pro-life movement, shared his excitement over the “new breeze” brought by Cupich’s appointment. The bishop noted that Cupich “admires deeply the ecclesiology and vision” of leftist prelates such as former San Francisco Archbishop John Quinn and former Galveston-Houston Archbishop Joseph Fiorenza.

The news of Cupich’s appointment was met with praise in the mainstream press. According to The New York Times Francis has “set the tone” for US appointments by “replacing a combative conservative with a prelate whose pastoral approach to upholding church doctrine is more in keeping with the pope’s inclusive tone.”

It has also been praised by dissident Catholic groups such as the homosexual activist group New Ways Ministries. Last year, the group issued a roundup of evaluations of the various leading members of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops who were set to elect a new president. New Ways praised Cupich for his intervention in the 2012 debate leading up to a referendum on “gay marriage” in Washington State. Cupich’s only intervention was a pastoral letter in which he asked voters to uphold traditional marriage, but also called for a “more civil and honest conversation about Catholic positions on equality.”

“I also want to be very clear that in stating our position, the Catholic Church has no tolerance for the misuse of this moment to incite hostility toward homosexual persons or promote an agenda that is hateful and disrespectful of their human dignity,” Cupich wrote.

Cupich stood out from his fellow US bishops in his response to the abortion-funding Obamacare. Though he joined his other bishops in condemning the Obama administration’s mandate that Catholic employers cover abortifacients and contraceptives, he encouraged Catholic Charities in his diocese to act as an Obamacare navigator and help people sign up for coverage that could fund the destruction of unborn life.

He also condemned the line of other US bishops when they threatened to shut down Catholic social services. “These kind of scare tactics and worse-case scenario predictions are uncalled for,” Cupich wrote in a letter to diocesan employees. “I am confident we can find a way to move forward.”

Today the anti-Catholic organization Call to Action issued a press release saying they are “relieved” at the appointment. “At a time when numerous U.S. Bishops are choosing to fight ideological battles, Pope Francis’ selection of Cupich demonstrates a desire for a humbler, more pastoral church.”  

Call to Action, like New Ways Ministries, works to overturn Catholic doctrine, particularly on sexual matters, from within the Church, and has received the censure of the US bishops for their activities. They wrote, “The choice of Cupich shows promise for a church which can be closer to the people. Catholics in Chicago and beyond yearn for a faith rooted in the Gospel call of love and justice over rigid orthodoxy.”

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Rick Perry: Joan Rivers’ death shows Texas is right to require abortionists to have admitting privileges

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By Kirsten Anderson

In the wake of the high-profile death of comedienne Joan Rivers due to complications from throat surgery at an outpatient clinic in New York City, Texas Gov. Rick Perry pointed to the tragedy as an example showing the necessity for his state’s one-year-old law requiring abortion clinics to meet the same standards as other ambulatory surgical centers.

"It was interesting that when Joan Rivers -- and the procedure that she had done, where she died -- that was a clinic,” Perry said at a Texas Tribune event on Sunday. “It's a curious thought that if they had had that type of regulations in place, whether or not that individual would be still alive.”

Many observers have criticized the governor’s remarks, noting that Rivers’ surgery was performed in a fully licensed ambulatory surgical center by a doctor with admitting privileges at a nearby hospital, as is the current standard for abortion facilities in Texas, but died anyway.  However, the painstaking investigation into what may have gone wrong at the New York City clinic reveals that while all surgery carries risks, ambulatory surgical centers are required to take every precaution to ensure the safety of their patients, in contrast to more loosely regulated abortion clinics, where injuries and deaths are rampant, and often covered up.

While 32 separate medical associations have signed a joint agreement stating that anyone “performing office-based surgery must have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital, a transfer agreement with another physician who has admitting privileges at a nearby hospital, or maintain an emergency transfer agreement with a nearby hospital,” abortion businesses have fought such regulations tooth and nail, arguing that requiring abortionists to maintain admitting privileges is too burdensome and will cause clinics to close their doors.  

Abortionists have also opposed tougher safety restrictions forcing them to adhere to the same standards as other ambulatory surgical centers, arguing that upgrading their substandard facilities to meet hospital-grade requirements is costly and unnecessary.  But proponents of such regulations point out that the tiny parking lots, narrow hallways, and lack of elevators common to most abortion facilities are serious impediments to getting lifesaving help to women in case of emergencies, delaying paramedics who can’t park their ambulances or maneuver gurneys through such buildings.  In addition, licensed ambulatory surgical centers must have and properly maintain state-of-the-art resuscitation equipment, and train employees in their use – something abortion clinics have repeatedly been cited for failing to do.

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