Hilary White

Marie Stopes opens illegal abortion facility in Belfast

Hilary White
Hilary White
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BEFLAST, October 11, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – Pro-life people in Northern Ireland and around the world were shocked today at the announcement that international abortion giant Marie Stopes will open an abortion facility in Belfast, despite abortion remaining a criminal act in the province. In a surprise move, Marie Stopes revealed that on October 18th their Belfast outlet will begin offering early-term “medical” or chemical abortions as well as other “family planning” services like contraceptives. Pro-life advocates have called the move illegal and said it is nothing more than a political dodge intended to circumvent and ultimately overturn the law through the courts.

Marie Stopes is claiming that it will be acting within the law, which allows abortion in cases where it is “necessary to preserve the life of the woman or there is a risk of real and serious adverse effect on her physical or mental health, which is either long term or permanent”. They said they will offer chemical abortions to women up to the ninth week of pregnancy, as well as abortifacient “emergency contraceptives”.

Northern Ireland’s Health Minister Edwin Poots said, “This condition applies no less strongly before nine weeks than longer into the pregnancy.”

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The situation is being described by other pro-life observers as “critical” since Northern Ireland, together with the Republic of Ireland in the south, is one of the few places left in the Western world to hold out against full legalisation of abortion. As such the island has long been a target of some of the heaviest pressure from international pro-abortion campaigners and lobbyists. Several recent attempts have failed in Northern Ireland to bring in legalisation through the “back door” of medical guidelines and regulations.

Bernadette Smyth, the head of the province’s leading pro-life group Precious Life, told LifeSiteNews.com on the telephone that Marie Stopes claim that abortion is legal in N. Ireland up to the ninth week is “nonsense”. She was clear on one point, the facility will be acting illegally: “It will be an illegal abortion clinic.”

“These people just came in and set up a clinic,” Smyth said. “They’ve been working on this plan for apparently two years.”

Precious Life is “seeking legal advice” and has contacted the police and the Department of Public Prosecutions. They will be presenting evidence that Marie Stopes knows they are acting outside the law. Smyth related that Precious Life has proof that one of Marie Stopes’ African officials admitted at a conference in London that they commit illegal abortions in African countries that outlaw the procedure.

Asked if she thought that the Belfast facility is a political ploy to do an end run around the Legislative Assembly of Northern Ireland, she agreed.

“That’s what we’re worried about,” Smyth said, “that if we take an injunction against them, we won’t have any further arguments against them because the police will protect them.”

Although the facility’s location has been kept a secret, Smyth revealed that today pro-life activists have learned where it is. Smyth said, however, that public protests are not planned for the moment and Precious Life and other groups are focusing their efforts on contacting legal and parliamentary authorities.

She said the situation is “very similar” to that of the work of abortion pioneer Dr. Henry Morgentaler who in the late 1970s and early 80s forced the issue into Canada by openly operating illegal abortion facilities in Toronto while the procedure was still outlawed. By arresting Morgentaler and pursuing the case, prosecutors eventually played into the abortion movement’s hands, bringing the case into the courts that finally overturned the law without a democratic mandate.

Smyth said that her group has found support from the Attorney General for Northern Ireland, who is arguing on behalf of the Department of Health that the purpose of the law in Northern Ireland law “is to protect unborn children” not to give abortionists excuses to introduce early-term chemical abortions.

She denied claims that Marie Stopes is acting on behalf of women who need abortion in extreme medical circumstances. “There is no way that an abortion in the first nine weeks of pregnancy can possibly address any of the long term medical concerns for the mother”.

Marie Stopes is arguing that offering early-term chemical abortions before nine weeks falls within the letter of the law in Northern Ireland. But Smyth said that medical experts have advised her group that the only life-threatening situation early in pregnancy that normally results in the un-intended death of the unborn child is an ectopic pregnancy. This medical situation, however, is not possible to “treat” using chemical abortion techniques, or even surgical abortion techniques. The only treatment that will save the life of the mother is the surgical removal of the fallopian tube, which is not an abortion, and cannot be conducted in an abortion facility.

Recently, a meeting of obstetricians and other medical experts issued a statement saying that there is no “medical necessity” for abortion, as its proponents often claim.

LifeSiteNews.com spoke with Jim Hughes, the head of Canada’s Campaign Life Coalition, who was involved in the battles in the 1980s with Henry Morgentaler. Hughes, who also serves as the vice president of the International Pro-life Committee, said that Marie Stopes is clearly using the Morgentaler technique in Belfast.

“Break the law in order to change it,” he said. For decades, abortion campaigners tried to break Canada’s laws, but it was not until Morgentaler simply defied it, and was arrested and taken through the court system, that they finally won, and Canada’s law was thrown out.

“They are obviously doing an end run around the democratic rights of the people of Northern Ireland. I’m appalled to hear it,” Hughes said. He added that if it succeeds in Northern Ireland, it will show a way forward for activists in other countries. Ireland, he said, is a “key situation” for the pro-life movement around the world.

But Hughes said that he does not anticipate the ploy will succeed as it did in Canada. “I’m most encouraged by the actions of the people of Northern Ireland to keep abortion out,” he told LifeSiteNews.

Multiple polls have shown that the public in the province has no interest in bringing in the full provisions of the UK’s Abortion Act 1967. Demand for travel to the UK for abortion has fallen 36 per cent in the last 15 years in both the Republic and in Northern Ireland.

Hughes said, “I fully expect that the politicians would have the courage to ensure the law is enforced.”

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Dustin Siggins Dustin Siggins Follow Dustin

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 millions 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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Pete Baklinski Pete Baklinski Follow Pete

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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.

Click "like" if you want to defend true marriage.

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
Thaddeus Baklinski Thaddeus Baklinski Follow Thaddeus

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German homeschoolers regain custody of children, vow to stay and fight for freedom

Thaddeus Baklinski Thaddeus Baklinski Follow Thaddeus
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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