Hilary White

Marie Stopes situation in Belfast ‘grim’ unless politicians act swiftly: SPUC

Hilary White
Hilary White
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BELFAST, October 12, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – If politicians and legal authorities do not move very swiftly, abortion will become a daily reality in Northern Ireland, whether the procedure remains a criminal code offense or not, pro-life activists have warned. Liam Gibson, development officer for the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children in Northern Ireland, told LifeSiteNews.com that the situation is “very grim.” He said that despite the law clearly prohibiting the killing of unborn children, the immensely wealthy international abortion machine could simply steamroller over the law.

But it seems as if there is little political will to act decisively. One official, whom Gibson declined to name, said that the government can do nothing until official statistics show a jump in the abortion rate, a process which can take two or three years.

Gibson and other pro-life activists fear that once the facility is opened and operating, scheduled for October 18th, it will have opened the legal floodgates.

Gibson said he believes the only hope is an immediate court injunction to stop the opening. Once Marie Stopes begins to operate, he fears, the process will be under way, and even if charges are laid the outcome will be inevitable.

“Even if there were a prosecution here,” he said, “and it were successful they could appeal all the way to England’s Supreme Court and that would be end of the abortion law in Northern Ireland.”

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Observers around the world were shocked when Marie Stopes, the international abortion giant, announced this week that it will be opening a shop front abortion facility in Belfast. They said they will offer chemical or “medical terminations” at a cost of £450. They have claimed in their press release that they will be acting “within the current legal framework for abortion” by offering abortions only within the first nine weeks of pregnancy.

Despite the claims by some news media and Marie Stopes, however, abortion in Northern Ireland is not legal.

The provisions of the UK’s Abortion Act 1967 were never fully applied to the province, and abortion remains an offense in the criminal code under the Offenses Against the Person Act of 1861 and the Infant Life Preservation Act. It is possible for doctors to avoid prosecution for abortion under strictly defined conditions. These exceptions permit doctors to make an intervention only if the mother’s life is threatened. Case law has established that such situations have to be serious impediments, a life-changing, totally permanent, or very long-term event.

Gibson said, however, that such circumstances “in a first world country are extremely rare”. Ectopic pregnancies, the only common life-threatening condition for which medical science is not yet able to offer an option that saves the life of the child, cannot be treated with chemical, or even surgical abortion. The removal of a fallopian tube that has been implanted by the embryo is not defined by medical science as an abortion.

How then did Marie Stopes simply decide to hang out their abortion shingle in Belfast? Gibson replied, “Everybody knows the law, the politicians and the pro-lifers, even the pro-abortionists know the law. Effectively they’re just ignoring it and going ahead anyway.”

“What people don’t understand about Marie Stopes,” he said, “is that they don’t pretend to be nice, law abiding people. These are people whose business it is to go into other countries and break the law. They have gone into African countries where abortion is illegal, and where no one wants abortion, and simply done it.”

“They’ve been talking about doing this for 20 years,” Gibson said. “Marie Stopes are used to getting a lot of heat and criticism and they’re not worried about it.

“Change the law by breaking it, is the method here,” he said.

One of the effects of Marie Stopes’ action, he said, has been to muddy the waters as to the true nature of the law, with the BBC and others claiming that abortion in Northern Ireland is not illegal after all, merely “tightly regulated.” That and Marie Stopes’ emphasis on offering abortions within nine weeks of conception is already creating confusion in the media some of whom are now claiming that abortion is legal in Northern Ireland up to nine weeks gestation.

Asked how Marie Stopes’ can claim that abortion within nine weeks is “within the law” in Northern Ireland, Gibson said he has no idea, and assumed it was simply an arbitrary date set by their own protocols. “They have done a very good job of seizing control of the situation with the media.”

The problem facing Northern Irish politicians and legal authorities, Gibson said, is due in part to the nature of the criminal justice system, which is designed to punish offenses, not prevent crime: “It’s not great at protecting someone from the aggressor.” Police, he said, will be reluctant to act until it can be shown that Marie Stopes has strayed outside the law. But by then it will be too late.

Precious Life has contacted police in Belfast but was only asked to inform police when they planned to hold demonstrations. “So, their interest,” Gibson said, “is not in the fact that Marie Stopes intends to commit criminal acts, but in policing the pro-life protesters.”

Gibson said that he has been informed that the office of the Attorney General for Northern Ireland – that has jurisdiction over civil and criminal matters that fall within the devolved powers of the Northern Ireland Assembly – is “looking into the matter.” Gibson said that although the AG does not normally receive members of the public directly, he has hopes that John Larkin, QC will be open to suggestions from pro-life Members of the Legislative Assembly.

Pro-life activists in Belfast fear a replay of the situation in Canada where Dr. Henry Morgentaler took the same route by opening illegal abortion facilities in Montreal, Toronto, and other cities, daring the authorities to prosecute him. In the end, Morgentaler was arrested and prosecuted. The final result, after decades of legal battles, was the Supreme Court of Canada overturning the law in 1988.

The court ruled that Parliament must introduce a new law regarding abortion that would withstand constitutional challenge but no government since then has had the will to do so. To this day, Canada remains the only country in the world with no abortion law whatever.

The situation in Belfast closely parallels that of Canada’s in the late 1960s, when Morgentaler started conducting abortions illegally in Montreal. At that time, abortion in Canada was a criminal act and was also allowed only in the rare, medically determined cases in which continuing a pregnancy threatened the life of the mother.

Far from being convicted of the mass murder of thousands of unborn children under the law, Dr. Morgentaler was exonerated and lionized as a hero of “women’s rights,” finally being awarded the Order of Canada in 2008 in a country that had been staunchly pro-life and nearly 50 percent Catholic.

As a registered charity, Marie Stopes International UK had a declared income of £145 million last year, mostly in fees and grants from government bodies. They handle much of the abortion business for the National Health Service along with other groups like the British Pregnancy Advisory Service. Their deep pockets have enabled them to go into countries where abortion is illegal, including the Republic of Ireland, and establish political beachheads, promoting the pro-abortion and contraceptive ideologies through sympathetic media, and lobbying politicians. The pro-life group Precious Life has said they will be presenting evidence to the Attorney General that Marie Stopes officials have admitted to doing clandestine abortions in African countries where the practice remains illegal.

“It looks very much like there’s no way of stopping them if they’re determined. I’ve been speaking to politicians, but it looks as if no one will try to stop it.”

“Pro-life politicians are in shock and do not seem to be acting decisively,” he said. “The whole thing is so crazy that I think the politicians are simply saying ‘I never thought this could happen. How can they get away with it?’ It makes nonsense of the political process.”

“It looks very grim,” he added.

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Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller, prefect of the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
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Vatican pressing forward with reform of US feminist nuns: Cardinal Müller

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By Thaddeus Baklinski

Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, says the Vatican is pressing forward with plans to reform the U.S.-based Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR).

In an interview published in the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano, the cardinal said that the reform of the LCWR, which was undertaken after an assessment of the group found serious doctrinal problems, will be carried out with the goal of helping them "rediscover their identity.”

“Congregations have no more vocations and risk dying out," Müller said. "We have first of all tried to reduce hostility and tensions, partly thanks to Bishop Sartain whom we sent to negotiate with them; he is a very gentle man. We wish to stress that we are not misogynists, we are not women gobblers! Of course we have a different concept of religious life but we hope to help them rediscover their identity.”

Moreover, the cardinal said that problems specific to the LCWR are not a reflection of all the women religious in the US.

"We need to bear in mind that they do not represent all US nuns, but just a group of nuns who form part of an association,” Müller said.

“We have received many distressed letters from other nuns belonging to the same congregations, who are suffering a great deal because of the direction in which the LCWR is steering their mission.”

Cardinal Müller's remarks confirmed the assertion he and the Holy See’s delegate to the LCWR, Archbishop Peter Sartain of Seattle, made in an address to LCWR officials in Rome on April 30, that the theological drift the feminist nuns are taking constitutes a radical departure from the foundational theological concepts of Catholicism.

The Holy See “believes that the charismatic vitality of religious life can only flourish within the ecclesial faith of the Church,” Müller said in the address.

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“The LCWR, as a canonical entity dependent on the Holy See, has a profound obligation to the promotion of that faith as the essential foundation of religious life. Canonical status and ecclesial vision go hand-in-hand, and at this phase of the implementation of the Doctrinal Assessment, we are looking for a clearer expression of that ecclesial vision and more substantive signs of collaboration,” he stated.

The LCWR has openly defied the mandate of reform intended to bring their organization into line with basic Catholic doctrine on the nature of God, the Church, and sexual morality.

Among the CDF’s directives, to which LCWR has strenuously objected, is the requirement that “speakers and presenters at major programs” be approved by Archbishop Sartain. This, Müller has explained, was decided in order to “avoid difficult and embarrassing situations wherein speakers use an LCWR forum to advance positions at odds with the teaching of the Church.”

The LCWR has invited speakers to their Annual Assembly such as New Age guru Barbara Marx Hubbard, and Sr. Laurie Brink, who is particularly noted for flagrantly denying the Divinity of Christ and telling the sisters that to maintain their “prophetic” place in society they need to “go beyond” the Church and even “go beyond Jesus.”

In one of the first public statements of his pontificate, Pope Francis affirmed that the investigation and reform of the LCWR must continue.

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Brian Fisher

Birth mothers: real heroes of the pro-life movement

Brian Fisher
By Brian Fisher
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What does it mean to be brave? Is it the doctor who dedicates himself to improving the health of a third-world nation? Is it the woman who faces her third round of chemotherapy to fight the progression of cancer? Is it the teacher who forgoes the comforts of a suburban school to reach minorities in the inner city? All of these are examples of bravery demonstrated in exceedingly challenging circumstances. And our society longs for stories of bravery to inspire us and fill us with hope.

As someone who works day in and day out with those on the front lines of helping rescue babies from abortion, I’m no stranger to stories of bravery. I see courage every day in the eyes of the men and women who sacrifice their time and energy to help women facing unplanned pregnancies. I see it every time a young mom — despite being pressured by her parents or significant other to get an abortion — chooses LIFE. And perhaps more profoundly than in any other situation, I see it when an expectant mom with no relational support, job, or income chooses to place her baby for adoption rather than abort her son or daughter.

This was Nicky’s situation.

When Nicky found herself pregnant with her boyfriend’s child, her life was already in shambles. During her 26 years, Nicky had already given birth to and surrendered sole custody of a little girl, committed several felonies, lived in her car, lost several jobs, and barely subsisted on minimum wage. So when she met up with an old boyfriend, Brandon, Nicky believed she was being given a second chance at happiness. “Our first year together was beautiful. We were getting to know each other and deciding if we would stay together forever.” Unfortunately, a positive pregnancy test result changed everything.

“When I told him I was pregnant, Brandon sat down on the bed, looked me in the eyes, and told me to ‘get an abortion’.” Nicky says those three little words changed everything for her. “I became depressed living with someone who wanted his child ‘dealt with.’”  Like thousands of women every day, Nicky began searching online for information on abortion, hoping her boyfriend would eventually change his mind. Through our strategic marketing methods, Online for Life was able to guide Nicky to a life-affirming pregnancy center where she received grace-filled counsel. “The woman I sat with was beyond wonderful. She helped me to just breathe and ask God what to do….And so I did.”

Nicky left the pregnancy center that day with a new resolve to choose life for her child, even though she still wasn’t sure how she’d financially support a child. “I was alone with just $10 in my pocket…and without any type of plan for what I was going to do.” So Nicky relied on the support of the staff she met at the life-affirming pregnancy center. With their help and through a chain of fortunate events, Nicky was put in contact with the couple who would eventually become her daughter’s adoptive parents.

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After meeting this couple face to face and coming to terms with her own desperate situation, Nicky conceded that the best thing for her unborn child would be to place her in someone else’s loving home. She told Brandon about her plans and he agreed that adoption would give their child the best chance at a happy and secure future. He even returned home to help Nicky prepare for the birth of their child. “The weeks leading up to my delivery were filled with a mixture of laughter, tears, protectiveness and sadness,” Nicky recalls. But one sentiment continued to be shared with her. “Brave…so brave.” That’s what everyone from the life-affirming pregnancy center to the adoption agency to the birthing center kept calling Nicky. “The nurses kept coming up to me and telling me they were honored to care for and treat someone like me.” After several weeks of preparation, Nicky finally gave birth to a healthy baby girl, and she made the dreams of a couple from the other side of the country come true.

Nicky’s adoption story continues to be riddled with a strange combination of pain and joy. “I cry every day, but I know my baby, who came out of a very bad time, ended up being loved by people from across the country.” When asked what message she’d like to share with the world about her decision to give up her child for adoption, Nicky responds, The voice of the mother who gives up a baby for adoption isn’t heard. We need to change that.”

To learn more about Online for Life and how we’re helping to make stories like Nicky and her daughter’s story a possibility, please visit OnlineforLife.org.

Author, speaker, and business leader Brian Fisher is the President and Co-Founder of Online for Life, a transparent, metric-oriented, compassion-driven nonprofit organization dedicated to helping rescue babies and their families from abortion through technology and grace.

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New York farmers stop hosting weddings after $13,000 fine for declining lesbian ceremony

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By Dustin Siggins

New York farmers Robert and Cynthia Gifford, who were ordered last week to pay $13,000 for not hosting a same-sex "wedding," say they are closing that part of their operation.

"Going forward, the Giffords have decided to no longer host any wedding ceremonies on their farm, other than the ones already under contract," said Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) lawyer James Trainor. ADF represented the Giffords in their legal fight against New York's non-discrimination law.

Last week, the Giffords were ordered to pay a $10,000 fine to the state of New York and $3,000 in damages to a lesbian couple, Jennifer McCarthy and Melisa Erwin, who approached them in 2012 about hosting their "wedding." The Giffords, who are Roman Catholic, said their religious convictions would not let them host the ceremony, but that McCarthy and Erwin could hold their reception on their property.

Unbeknownst to the Giffords, the lesbian couple recorded the two-to-three minute conversation. After declining to hold the reception on the Giffords' farm, on which they live and rent property, the lesbian couple decided to make a formal complaint to the state's Division of Human Rights.

Eventually, Judge Migdalia Pares ruled that the Giffords' farm, Liberty Ridge Farm, constitutes a public accommodation because space is rented on the grounds and fees are collected from the public. The Giffords argued that because they live on the property with their children, they should be exempt from the state law, but Pares said that this does not mean their business is private.

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Trainor told TheBlaze that the Giffords' decision to end wedding ceremonies at Liberty Ridge “will hurt their business in the short run," but that was preferable to violating their religious beliefs.

“The Giffords serve all people with respect and care. They have hired homosexual employees and have hosted events for same-sex couples,” he said.

However, "since the state of New York has essentially compelled them to do all ceremonies or none at all, they have chosen the latter in order to stay true to their religious convictions," Trainor explained to LifeSiteNews. "No American should be forced by the government to choose between their livelihood and their faith, but that’s exactly the choice the state of New York has forced upon the Giffords."

"They will continue to host wedding receptions," said Trainor.

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