Dustin Siggins

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RNC chairman: ‘March for Life was a little bit of a wake-up call’

Dustin Siggins
Dustin Siggins
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WASHINGTON, D.C., March 7, 2014 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said that attending the 2014 March for Life gave him “a little bit of a wake-up call” about the fact that the Republican Party needs to lay greater emphasis on its commitment to the pro-life cause.

Priebus, who was speaking with a group of bloggers and reporters at CPAC, told LifeSiteNews that while “our party has to grow where we're weak...we also have to grow where we're strong. I think that sometimes we spend too much talking about where we're weak."

"We wanted to remind people about where we stand on life, we went to the March for Life, as an RNC. And I will tell you, personally – which is something I don't think I've shared a whole lot – the RNC going to the March for Life, for me, was a little bit of a wake-up call for me as chairman.”

(Listen to an audio recording of Priebus' answers here.)

Priebus allowed members of the RNC who wanted to attend the 2014 March for Life in Washington, D.C., to do so before the GOP's annual winter meeting.

“Here I am, the chairman of a pro-life party...and I got all this appreciation,” Priebus said. “But it was the appreciation that sort of woke me up to say, 'Why are these folks so appreciative of something that I thought was a pretty easy decision to make?'”

Priebus said that the gratitude of pro-life organizations brought a whole new realization. “I thought to myself, 'If these folks are this appreciative of something so simple, maybe we need to start reminding people about the core positions of our party more, so that we can grow in places where we're strong.'”

"Sometimes, the best fruit is right above your head," he said.

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While Priebus did say that the RNC doesn't typically get involved with direct policy – “we're a campaign organization,” he told LifeSiteNews – he also told Breeanne Howe of Red State that the RNC is not shying away from the issue of life. “We brought on a full-time faith engagement program at the RNC, and we've got full-time people going across the country talking to people of faith of all faith backgrounds, registering voters, working with different other groups – like Paster and Pews – and others, and challenging pastors, too, across the country, that church can't just be vanilla ice cream and cotton candy on Sunday morning, either. There is joint responsibility in talking about issues of faith.”

Priebus says he challenges pastors to stand up for what's right. “I tell a lot of pastors sometimes, in groups like this, 'I got a deal for ya. I'll be as strong on these social issues as you're willing to be on Sunday morning.' How about that deal?”

Priebus declined to criticize CPAC over what Howe said was its “[dropping] the issue of life this year.” He said that he “[does not] speak for CPAC, and [is not] going to criticize CPAC for the decisions they make that I'm not a part of or don't understand, but as far as our party, we're a pro-life party, and I'm not shying away from that at all.”

In 2012, the Republican Party's formal platform said the GOP “support[s] a human life amendment to the Constitution and endorse legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment's protections apply to unborn children.”

Priebus also said that the GOP is “a party that believes marriage ought to be between one man and one woman. That's our party platform, and it's a position I've never backed away from. What I have said, though, is that we need to treat each other with grace, dignity, and respect. And that's not code language. It comes out of the New Testament. And so there should be no confusion about where we stand, and so that's where we are.”

However, he demurred when asked by National Review Online's Betsy Woodruff on whether he would “hope to be reminding people of” the party's position on same-sex “marriage” more often.

“I'm not walking on down the street, but if someone wants to ask me, like you did, I didn't dance” around the issue, either, the chairman said. “I answered the question head-on, I'm very clear, and that's what you should expect out of the party.”

The discussion, which lasted 35 minutes, included a great deal of analysis about the party's primary system, an effort to get the RNC up-to-speed on digital data and other performance metrics (the party has long acknowledged its technology gap compared with Democrats), and changing the debate format to better fit with the party's needs. This includes having fewer debates and choosing better moderators, Priebus said.

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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

Dustin Siggins Dustin Siggins Follow Dustin
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, 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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South African mom files ‘wrongful life’ lawsuit on behalf of Downs son

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By Thaddeus Baklinski

A South African woman has launched a "wrongful life" lawsuit against the Cape Town-based Foetal Assessment Centre, claiming a failure to inform her that the child she was carrying was at risk of having Down Syndrome prevented her from aborting her baby.

A twist in this lawsuit is that, unlike other "wrongful birth" lawsuits, the mother in this case missed the time limit to file the claim on her own behalf, so she is asking the South African Constitutional Court to allow her to sue the center for “wrongful life” on behalf of her now-born son.

“You have a duty to tell my mother carrying me that I'm malformed so that she can make an informed decision as to whether or not to carry me to term,” the statement of claim against the Foetal Assessment Centre reads, according to SABC News.

“It is not as if the foetus is sort of putting up its hand and saying why you didn’t destroy me," the mother's lawyer, Paul Hoffman, explained to Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke. "The foetus is complaining that its malformation, its development is the result of the bad advice that was given.”

The SABC report did not say what compensation the woman is seeking.

The scope of the case is similar to that of a New Zealand couple who won a lawsuit claiming monetary compensation after a routine 20 week ultrasound scan failed to discover that their daughter had spina bifida.

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The mother, whose name has not been released, claimed that the continuance of the pregnancy was a “personal injury,” and, had she been given the correct diagnosis after that scan, she would have aborted her daughter.

"We consider that the continued pregnancy of the appellant following a misdiagnosis in the 20 week scan is capable of being an injury suffered by the appellant,” the court ruled, and directed the New Zealand Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) to make the woman eligible for compensation for the ongoing surgical and physiotherapy expenses incurred by their child.

New Zealand disability advocate Mike Sullivan said the underpinning attitude behind the decision is that those with disability, both born and unborn, are seen as a burden on society.

“This is what happens,” Sullivan said, when “the children become reduced to nothing – wrong even to exist.”

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