Ben Johnson

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Romney Used Polls to Determine His 1994 Abortion Position

Ben Johnson
Ben Johnson
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BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS, January 13, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Republican frontrunner Mitt Romney has been dogged by allegations that his shifting positions on abortion have been politically opportunistic. That perception will be bolstered by a new book that reveals Romney consulted polling data before deciding to campaign as “pro-choice” during his 1994 Senate race.

In the book Mitt Romney: An Inside Look at the Man and His Politics, Ronald Scott wrote that Romney commissioned former Reagan pollster Richard Wirthlin to survey Massachusetts voters on key issues. Wirthlin showed Romney a poll indicating any candidate describing himself as “pro-life” was unelectable in the state.

Before initiating his campaign against then-incumbent Senator Ted Kennedy, Romney informed the elders of his church about his decision to run as a supporter of abortion rights. In November 1993, Romney, Wirthlin, and Scott (all Mormons) presented their case to the leadership of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints as a courtesy. Romney, then a Mormon leader in his state, explained his would label himself personally opposed to abortion but would take no action to outlaw it, a view he later described as “effectively pro-choice.”

The meeting proved a contentious one. “I may not have burned bridges, but a few of them were singed and smoking,” Romney said of the exchange.

The Romney campaign has declined to comment on the book’s allegations.

Meanwhile, new information has come to light about the relative whose death from an illegal abortion Romney credited with making him pro-choice in that race. Ann Keenan’s brother, Loren, married Lynn Romney, Mitt’s sister, in the 1950s. Lynn Keenan died at Wyandotte General Hospital on October 7, 1963, when Mitt was just 16-years-old. Her death certificate listed the cause of death as a “criminal recent abortion.”

Sandra Nye, Keenan’s friend from Michigan State University, said, “It was all very hush-hush, because [Mitt’s father George] Romney was governor, and they really wanted this very quiet and to go away.”

The girl’s parents wrote in her obituary that, “Memorial tributes may be sent to the Planned Parenthood Association.”

In a 1994 debate against Kennedy, Romney alluded to Keenan as the inspiration for his first conversion, from pro-life to pro-abortion:

Many, many years ago, I had a dear, close family relative that was very close to me who passed away from an illegal abortion. It is since that time that my mother and my family have been committed to the belief that we can believe as we want, but we will not force our beliefs on others on that matter. And you will not see me wavering on that.

He later elaborated her case “obviously makes one see that regardless of one’s beliefs about choice, that you would hope it would be safe and legal.”

It would be the first of many twists-and-turns in the governor’s abortion record. The same year, his wife, Ann Romney, made a donation to Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards would later say Mitt Romney “used to come to Planned Parenthood events. He asked for our endorsement.”

Kennedy would go on to defeat Romney by 17 percent of the vote in the election that saw Republicans regain control of Congress for the first time in decades

In 2002, Romney chose to run again, this time for governor. During the campaign, he said, “On a personal basis, I don’t favor abortion. However, as governor of the commonwealth, I will protect a woman’s right to choose under the laws of the country and the commonwealth. That’s the same position I’ve had for many years.”

After his election, however, he began to change his views again, telling reporters he had been influenced by the state’s debate over creating embryos for scientific research. He stated, “When we were studying cloning in our state, I said, ‘Look, we have gone too far.’ It’s a brave new world mentality that Roe v. Wade has given us, and I changed my mind.”

Not everyone was convinced, believing Romney told Massachusetts voters what they wanted to hear in order to get elected. His adviser, Mike Murphy, would tell National Review during the 2008 Republican primary race, “He’s been a pro-life Mormon faking it as a pro-choice friendly.”

After his most recent pro-life turn, Romney said Ann’s contributions to Planned Parenthood speak “for her and not for me…Her positions are not terribly relevant for my campaign.” His wife later made substantial donations to Massachusetts Citizens for Life, becoming its co-chair.

Romney says he now favors overturning Roe v. Wade. When asked during a 2007 debate if he would sign a bill banning all abortions, he replied, “I’d be delighted to sign that bill.” He has said at various times he believes “abortion should be limited to only instances of rape, incest, or to save the life of the mother.”

His relationship with the pro-life movement in 2012 has at times been strained. In June he declined to sign the Susan B. Anthony List’s pro-life pledge. In October, Romney told Mike Huckabee, “I’d make sure that the progress that has been made to provide for life and to protect human life is not progress that would be reversed.” Some liken that to his pro-choice position in earlier campaigns, when he said he “was personally pro-life but that I would protect a woman’s right to choose as the law existed. ”

This has led critics in both parties to question his core convictions on the issue. Republican strategist Keith Appell stated in 2007, “It’s part of Romney’s challenge: How many epiphanies have you had?”

 

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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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