Kathleen Gilbert

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Pro-life leaders weigh in on Sebelius’ Plan B call

Kathleen Gilbert
Kathleen Gilbert

WASHINGTON, December 9, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - In the days after Health Secretary Kathleen Sebelius put the kibosh on the FDA’s plans to give minors over-the-counter access to the morning-after pill, numerous speculations have arisen as to how one of the most pro-abortion politicians in the United States - as well as Barack Obama himself - found themselves at odds with the nation’s top abortion lobbies.

The FDA on Wednesday responded to a request from the drug’s manufacturer, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, to consider eliminating the need for a prescription.

But in announcing the final decision, FDA Administrator Margaret Hamburg noted that, while Sebelius had struck down the change, Hamburg herself felt the pill should be free for use by “all females of child-bearing potential,” hinting at a a clash at the highest levels of the administration. Sebelius later explained in her own letter that, especially as such a move would expose the powerful drug to girls as young as 11, the lack of data on Plan B’s effects on younger girls prevented her approval.

While claiming no involvement in the actual decision, President Obama agreed that “the reason Kathleen made this decision is that she could not be confident that a 10-year-old or an 11-year-old going to a drugstore should be able - alongside bubble gum or batteries - be able to buy a medication that potentially, if not used properly, could have an adverse effect.”

Abortion advocates such as the Center for Reproductive Rights and NARAL Pro-Choice America were aghast at the news: NARAL president Nancy Keenan complained that “we expected this kind of action from the Bush administration.” The Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) responded several hours later in a press release that it was “extremely disapointed.” PPFA president Cecile Richards followed up on Thursday with a public letter requesting a meeting with Sebelius, and on Friday with a critical editorial in the Huffington Post.

But abortion leaders were only as shocked as opponents of the industry, with both scratching their heads at such statements from a president renowned for his tight-knit relationship with the population control industry.

In addition, as governor of Kansas, Sebelius was especially well known as a strong defender of abortion, including the business of Kansas late-term abortionist George Tiller.

Sebelius, who vetoed countless bills to regulate abortion clinics or strengthen parental rights, was heavily funded by Kansas abortions through Tiller’s political PAC and has been tightly connected to the industry in other ways, including being feted on her birthday alongside Cecile Richards at a local Planned Parenthood fundraiser in 2007.

Sebelius’ administration was even implicated in October after a years-long case alleging 23 felonies and 26 misdemeanors against the local Planned Parenthood hit a wall because key evidence had been shredded by Sebelius’ attorney general, Steve Six. Obama nominated Six for a Federal Appeals Court opening this summer.

Even as pro-life leaders praised the decision, speculation continues as to exactly how the decision came about. Several commentators have concluded that the move sought to remove ammunition from Obama’s conservative political opponents in the upcoming election year. Meanwhile, others say that the move to restrict Plan B access actually benefits Planned Parenthood.

“It is a huge financial boon for Planned Parenthood because it requires the teens to come into their facilities,” HLI America fellow Bob Laird, formerly of Tepeyac Family Center, told LifeSiteNews.com (LSN). 

“Not only that, it further establishes themselves as the ‘go-to place for teen health care,’” said Laird. “I believe that the Administration was thinking of two things when they made this decision: it solidifies their alliance with Planned Parenthood, and it also allowed them to keep their voting base of over-18-year-old sexually active women happy by allowing them free sex knowing that they can stop in to the 24-hour drug store after its over for their Plan B.”

However, Jim Sedlak of Stop Planned Parenthood (STOPP) didn’t believe Planned Parenthood’s outrage was facetious.

“From what I’ve seen over the years of Planned Parenthood, Planned Parenthood is foremost, philosophically, a population control organization,” Sedlak told LSN on Friday. It’s for this reason, he said, that the organization has advocated for over-the-counter birth control of all types in the United States for “a long time.”

“I’ve read a lot of people saying, well, Planned Parenthood was not sincere when it issued its condemnation yesterday ... I don’t wholly buy into that,” he said. “I think that they really do want to have this, and I think their plan is to get Plan B available without a prescription because if they did that, there’s no argument left as to why regular birth control pills shouldn’t be available without a prescription.”

While Planned Parenthood clearly makes “millions” off their current arrangement distributing Plan B - “they sell it for 33-35 dollars and they pay 4 or 5 dollars for it, and they do over a million a year,” said Sedlak - the pro-life leader thinks that may not be Planned Parenthood’s only venue for profit.

“Planned Parenthood was part of the investment group that invested in [developing] Plan B ... so I am not sure they won’t make money if the sales go up dramatically from their initial investment in it,” he said.

In addition, Sebelius’ decision is far from the end of the story for Plan B among minors: a lawsuit is still pending against the FDA by the Center for Reproductive Rights demanding that younger girls be given over-the-counter access to the drug. A hearing on that case is scheduled for Dec. 13 on a contempt of court motion against the FDA for failing to lower the standards.

Troy Newman, whose organization followed Sebelius’ involvement with the abortion industry for years, said that in any event, he remained convinced Sebelius has “skin in the game.” “She’s going to do everything to benefit Planned Parenthood,” said Newman. “She can say she wants to protect women and children all she wants, but her track record is the exact opposite.”

Whichever the case, the move was patently in the best interest of young girls, said Mary Davenport, President of the American Association of Prolife OB-GYNs. Besides its abortifacient qualities, Plan B has been shown in several studies to increase STDs, while increasing risk of dangerous ectopic pregnancies, and remaining a popular “date rape” drug for use by sexual predators, Davenport told LSN.

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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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