Patrick Craine

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Ontario Catholic teachers union urges members to endorse campaign pushing ‘safe abortion’

Patrick Craine
Patrick Craine

OTTAWA, June 21, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association sent out an e-mail this week urging the province’s Catholic teachers to support a campaign promoting “safe abortion” and accusing the Vatican of furthering the plight of women targeted by sexual violence.

Mary Ellen Douglas, national organizer for Campaign Life Coalition, called the news “shocking” and “disgraceful.”

OECTA’s head office sent the e-mail to unit heads on Monday to be passed along to staff. It was a forward of an e-mail sent out by the non-profit Canada Without Poverty charging that the Canadian government was “undermining [the United Nation’s] human rights standards on violence against women.”

Earlier this month, Canada served as chair of negotiations on a resolution condemning violence against women at the UN Human Rights Council’s meetings in Geneva. Pro-abortion groups have accused the country of allowing “glaring omissions“ from the text in the area of so-called “reproductive rights.”

The Canada Without Poverty e-mail was forwarded to OECTA’s members on June 17th by Cindy Robidoux, executive assistant to Marshall Jarvis, OECTA’s General Secretary. She indicates that she was sending the e-mail on behalf of Jeremy Cox, a councillor on OECTA’s provincial executive.

“What is Canada opposing [in the resolution]?” the forwarded e-mail asks. “As part of the effort to end violence against women Canada is refusing to support sexuality education for girls or access to sexual/reproductive health services for survivors of rape.”

The e-mail then directs readers to follow a link to a blog post on Amnesty International’s website for more information. There we learn what they mean by “reproductive health.”

The resolution, they say, “fails to list what [reproductive health] services must be available [to violence survivors], including emergency contraception, safe abortion, post-exposure prophylaxis for HIV, and screening and treatment for sexually transmitted infections.”

“The provision of these critical services for survivors of sexual violence is contentious and nonexistent in many countries. That is why referencing these examples explicitly would have added tremendously to the resolution,” the post adds.

Amnesty International, in the same post e-mailed out by OECTA, also claims that the Holy See has been working “behind the scenes” against protections for victims of sexual violence.

They say Canada was in the “unenviable position” as chair of the committee to be jockeying between countries that support a strong stand on violence against women and those that do not.

“A handful of countries don’t support strong action to combat violence against women,” they write. “Egypt, Russia, China, Cuba, the Holy See, and others, all worked behind the scenes to weaken protections to women and girls who are victimized by sexual violence.”

Matthew Wojciechowski, a pro-life activist at Campaign Life Coalition who attended the 57th Session of the UN’s Commission on the Status of Women in March, said one of the abortion lobby’s main tactics recently has been to push for a ‘right to abortion’ under the guise of protecting women from violence.

When he was there in March, “abortion advocates claimed that abortion access was the solution to ending violence against women,” he explained. “They aggressively pushed forward their pro-abortion tactics proclaiming that restricting access to abortion was in itself a form of violence and that ‘sexual and reproductive health service’s’ including ‘emergency contraception’ and legal abortion were a ‘human right’.”

“Focusing on the root causes and offering genuine health care and support to victims comes secondary to these pro-abortion organizations,” Wojciechowski added. “Their main goal is to establish a ‘right to abortion’ and they have resorted to doing so under the guise of ending violence against women.  They would have us believe that abortion will eradicate rape and sexual abuse, but in reality access to abortion does nothing to prevent and/or solve the underlying problems of this devastating form of violence.”

OECTA professes to take a pro-life position and was a silver-level sponsor of this year’s March for Life for having donated $1,000. But they have also frequently undermined the Church’s defense of life by hosting pro-abortion speakers at their conferences and even effectively endorsing pro-abortion Dalton McGuinty’s Liberal Party in a multi-million dollar campaign during the 2011 Ontario election.

The union has repeatedly undermined and opposed the Church’s teachings on sexuality. They have promoted bizarre sex conferences featuring talks on drag queens and sex toys, seriously mulled the official promotion of homosexual ‘marriage’, and sought to intervene in a court proceeding against a Catholic school that was being sued by a male student for refusing to permit him to bring his gay ‘boyfriend’ to the school prom.

In 2011 they opposed Ontario’s bishops in a high-profile political battle by endorsing gay-straight alliances, and even donated to a GSA project by the homosexual activist group Egale.

Douglas said they “find it disgraceful that [OECTA] would endorse such an ardent pro-abortion policy.” She said they share their concern about violence against women, but that “you don’t stop violence against women by creating violence against the unborn child.”

“There is no such thing as a safe abortion,” Douglas added. “This is turning violence towards the innocent unborn child. It’s shocking that a union which represents Catholic teachers would make such a request.”

LifeSiteNews contacted OECTA for an explanation but did not hear back by press time.


Contact info:

See Composing Effective Communications in Response to LifeSiteNews Reports.

Zenon Cardinal Grocholewski
Prefect, Congregation for Catholic Education and Seminaries
Piazza Pio XII, 3
00193 Vatican City, Italy, Europe
Phone: (011) 39-6-6988-4156

Cardinal Thomas Collins, President of the Assembly of Catholic Bishops of Ontario
Phone: (416) 934-0606, ext. 609
Fax: (416) 934-3452
archbishop@archtoronto.org

Bishop Gerard Bergie of St. Catharines
bishop@saintcd.com

Bishop Vincent Cadieux of Moosonee and Hearst
(705) 336-2908

Bishop Fred Colli of Thunder Bay
chancery@dotb.ca

Bishop Douglas Crosby of Hamilton
Use this form.

Bishop Marcel Damphousse of Alexandria-Cornwall
mdamphousse@alexandria-cornwall.ca

Bishop Nicola De Angelis of Peterborough
chancery@peterboroughdiocese.org

Bishop Ronald Fabbro of London
Use this form.

Bishop Michael Mulhall of Pembroke
Use this form.

Archbishop Brendan O'Brien of Kingston
archbishop@romancatholic.kingston.on.ca

Bishop Jean-Louis Plouffe of Sault Ste-Marie
jlplouffe@diocesecentre.com

Bishop Serge Poitras of Timmins
poitrass@ntl.sympatico.ca

Archbishop Terrence Prendergast of Ottawa
arch@archottawa.ca

Kevin O’Dwyer, President of OECTA
k.odwyer@oecta.on.ca


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Quebec groups launch court challenge to euthanasia bill

LifeSiteNews staff
By LifeSiteNews staff

As announced when the Quebec legislature adopted Bill 52, An Act respecting end-of-life care, the citizen movement Living with Dignity and the Physicians’ Alliance against Euthanasia, representing together over 650 physicians and 17,000 citizens, filed a lawsuit before the Superior Court of Quebec in the District of Montreal on Thursday.

The lawsuit requests that the Court declare invalid all the provisions of the Act that deal with “medical aid in dying”, a term the groups say is a euphemism for euthanasia. This Act not only allows certain patients to demand that a physician provoke their death, but also grants physicians the right to cause the death of these patients by the administration of a lethal substance.

The two organizations are challenging the constitutionality of those provisions in the Act which are aimed at decriminalizing euthanasia under the euphemism “medical aid in dying”. Euthanasia constitutes a culpable homicide under Canada’s Criminal Code, and the organizations maintain that it is at the core of the exclusive federal legislative power in relation to criminal law and Quebec therefore does not have the power to adopt these provisions.

The organizations also say the impugned provisions unjustifiably infringe the rights to life and to security of patients guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms. They further infringe the right to the safeguard of the dignity of the person, which is also protected by the Quebec Charter.

In view of the gravity of the situation and the urgent need to protect all vulnerable persons in Quebec, they are requesting an accelerated management of the case in order to obtain a judgment before the Act is expected to come into force on December 10, 2015.


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Colorado baker appeals gvmt ‘re-education’ order

LifeSiteNews staff
By LifeSiteNews staff

A Colorado cake artist who declined to use his creative talents to promote and endorse a same-sex ceremony appealed a May 30 order from the Colorado Civil Rights Commission to the Colorado Court of Appeals Wednesday.

The commission’s order requires cake artist Jack Phillips and his staff at Masterpiece Cakeshop to create cakes for same-sex celebrations, forces him to re-educate his staff that Colorado’s Anti-Discrimination Act means that artists must endorse all views, compels him to implement new policies to comply with the commission’s order, and requires him to file quarterly “compliance” reports for two years. The reports must include the number of patrons declined a wedding cake or any other product and state the reason for doing so to ensure he has fully eliminated his religious beliefs from his business.

“Americans should not be forced by the government – or by another citizen – to endorse or promote ideas with which they disagree,” said the cake artist’s lead counsel Nicolle Martin, an attorney allied with Alliance Defending Freedom. “This is not about the people who asked for a cake; it’s about the message the cake communicates. Just as Jack doesn’t create baked works of art for other events with which he disagrees, he doesn’t create cake art for same-sex ceremonies regardless of who walks in the door to place the order.”

“In America, we don’t force artists to create expression that is contrary to their convictions,” added Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Legal Counsel Jeremy Tedesco. “A paint artist who identifies as homosexual shouldn’t be intimidated into creating a painting that celebrates one-man, one-woman marriage. A pro-life photographer shouldn’t be forced to work a pro-abortion rally. And Christian cake artists shouldn’t be punished for declining to participate in a same-sex ceremony or promote its message.”

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In July 2012, Charlie Craig and David Mullins asked Jack Phillips, owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop, to make a wedding cake to celebrate their same-sex ceremony. In an exchange lasting about 30 seconds, Phillips politely declined, explaining that he would gladly make them any other type of baked item they wanted but that he could not make a cake promoting a same-sex ceremony because of his faith. Craig and Mullins, now represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, immediately left the shop and later filed a complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Division. The case now goes to the Colorado Court of Appeals as Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Craig.

“Jack, and other cake artists like him – such as those seen on TV shows like ‘Ace of Cakes’ and ‘Cake Boss’ – prepare unique creations that are inherently expressive,” Tedesco explained. “Jack invests many hours in the wedding cake creative process, which includes meeting the clients, designing and sketching the cake, and then baking, sculpting, and decorating it. The ACLU calls Jack a mere ‘retail service provider,’ but, in fact, he is an artist who uses his talents and abilities to create expression that the First Amendment fully protects."

Celebrity cake artists have written publicly about their art and the significant expressive work that goes into the artistic design process for wedding cakes.


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Prisoner of conscience Mary Wagner appeals her conviction

Tony Gosgnach
By Tony Gosgnach

TORONTO -- As promised, Mary Wagner has, through her counsel Dr. Charles Lugosi, filed a formal notice of appeal on numerous points regarding her recent, almost two-year-long court case that ended on June 12.

Justice Fergus O’Donnell of the Ontario Court of Justice rejected every application made by the defence – including for access to abortion center records, public funding, standing for a constitutional challenge and for expert witnesses to be heard – before he found Wagner guilty and sentenced her to five months in jail on a charge of mischief and four months on four counts of failing to comply with probation orders.

He further levied two years of probation, with terms that she stay at least 100 metres away from any abortion site. However, because Wagner had spent a greater time in jail than the sentence, she was freed immediately. She had been arrested at the “Women’s Care Clinic” abortion site on Lawrence Avenue West in Toronto on August 15, 2012 after attempting to speak to abortion-bound women there. She then spent the duration of the trial in prison for refusing to sign bail conditions requiring her to stay away from abortion sites.

Wagner is using the matter as a test case to challenge the current definition of a human being in Canadian law – that is, that a human being is legally recognized as such only after he or she has fully emerged from the birth canal in a breathing state.

Wagner’s notice states the appeal is regarding:

  • Her conviction and sentence on a single count of mischief (interference with property),
  • Her conviction and sentence on four counts of breach of probation,
  • The order denying public funding,
  • The order denying the disclosure of third-party records,
  • The order denying the admission of evidence from experts on the applicant’s constitutional challenge concerning the constitutional validity of Section 223 of the Criminal Code,
  • The order denying the admission of evidence from experts concerning the construction of Section 37 of the Criminal Code,
  • The probation order denying Wagner her constitutional rights to freedom of speech, freedom of expression, freedom of conscience and freedom of religion on all public sidewalks and public areas within 100 metres of places where abortions are committed,
  • And each conviction and sentence and all orders and rulings made by O’Donnell.

In the notice of appeal, Lugosi cites numerous points on which O’Donnell erred:

  • He denied Wagner her constitutional right to make full answer and defence.
  • He denied Wagner her right to rely on Section 37 of the Criminal Code, which permits “everyone” to come to the third-party defence and rescue of any human being (in this case, the preborn) facing imminent assault.
  • He decided the factual basis of Wagner’s constitutional arguments was a waste of the court’s time and that no purpose would have been served by having an evidentiary hearing on her Charter application because, in the current state of Canadian law, it had no possibility of success.
  • He misapplied case law and prejudged the case, “giving rise to a reasonable apprehension of bias and impeding the legal evolution of the law to adapt to new circumstances, knowledge and changed societal values and morals.”
  • He accepted the Crown’s submission that it is beyond the jurisdiction of the courts to question the jurisdiction of Parliament legally to define “human being” in any manner Parliament sees fit.
  • He ruled Section 223 of the Criminal Code is not beyond the powers of Section 52 of the Constitution Act, 1982.
  • He ruled Section 223 of the Criminal Code does not violate the Preamble to, as well as Sections 7, 11(d), 15 and 26, of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
  • He denied Wagner standing to raise a constitutional challenge to the validity of Section 223 of the Criminal Code.
  • He ruled that Section 223 of the Criminal Code applied generally throughout the entire Criminal Code and used it to deny unborn human beings the benefit of equal protection as born human beings under Section 37 of the Criminal Code.
  • He denied the production and disclosure of third-party records in the possession of the “Women’s Care Clinic” abortion site, although the records were required to prove Wagner was justified in using reasonable force in the form of oral and written words to try to persuade pregnant mothers from killing their unborn children by abortion.
  • He denied Wagner the defence of Section 37 of the Criminal Code by ruling unborn children did not come within the scope of human beings eligible to be protected by a third party.
  • He ruled Wagner did not come within the scope of Section 37 because she was found to be non-violent (in that she did not use physical force).
  • He ruled the unborn children Wagner was trying to rescue were not under her protection.
  • He denied Wagner the common-law defences of necessity and the rescue of third parties in need of protection.
  • He denied Wagner public funding to make full answer and defence for a constitutional test case of great public importance and national significance.
  • He imposed an unconstitutional sentence upon Wagner by, in effect, imposing an injunction as a condition of probation, contrary to her constitutional rights of free speech, freedom of expression, freedom of conscience and freedom of religion.

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Among the orders Lugosi is seeking are:

  • That an appeal be allowed against conviction on all counts and that a verdict of acquittal be entered on all counts,
  • That Section 223 of the Criminal Code be found unconstitutional  and contrary to Section 52 of the Constitution Act, 1982, as well as the unwritten constitution of Canada,
  • That the sentence be declared unconstitutional and contrary to Section 52 of the Constitution Act, 1982, and the unwritten constitution of Canada or that a new trial be conducted, with Wagner permitted to make full answer and defence, be given standing to make a constitutional attack on Section 223 of the Criminal Code, with the admission of expert witnesses,
  • That the Women’s Care Clinic abortion site be made to produce third-party records pertaining to patients seen on August 15, 2012 (when Wagner entered the site),
  • And that there be public funding for two defence counsels at any retrial and for any appeal related to the case.

No date has yet been established for a decision on the appeal or hearings.

A defence fund for Wagner’s case is still raising money. Details on how to contribute to it can be found here.


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