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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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

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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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