Hilary White, Rome Correspondent

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Roundup: Brits don’t want to fund abortion with taxes, Bulgaria attacks parental rights…more

Hilary White, Rome Correspondent
Hilary White, Rome Correspondent

Lithuania considers constitutional amendment supporting natural family

VILNIUS - The Lithuanian parliament is considering amending the country’s constitution to confirm the definition of the family as based on marriage or parenthood. After a debate in April, 62 MPs voted yes, 13 voted against, and 13 abstained. Another vote is scheduled for this month, after which a break of 3 months is required to make constitutional changes.

The vote came shortly after the house voted down a proposal from the Social Democrat party to recognise more than one type of family.

Lithuania has been under constant fire from European-based homosexualist groups since 2009 when parliament passed a law making it illegal to promote homosexuality as normal. The European Union, under pressure from organisations like the International lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA-Europe) has demanded that Lithuanians accept homosexuality, including “gay pride” demonstrations.

The country annoyed homosexualist activists again in 2011 when the government considered a law banning “gender reassignment” surgery.

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Parents have responsibilities but no rights: Bulgaria

SOPHIA – The Christian Post reports that Bulgaria’s government is instituting new family law asserting that while parents have responsibilities towards their children, they have no rights to make educational decisions.

Viktor Kostov, a Bulgarian lawyer and human rights activist, reports that Bulgarian MPs have stated that “parents have only duties, no rights” and “do not hide their negative attitude to the ‘patriarchal family’.” Kostov has called the bill “dangerous and unnecessary” and a hold-over from Bulgaria’s communist, totalitarian past.

“Under the guise of ‘children’s rights,’ the bill contains a radical view of the state having more rights over children than their parents,” Kostov writes.

Among the bill’s provisions is one that allows the state to “protect” any child from “being involved in religious activities”. Parents who do not enroll their children in state schools could be subject to heavy fines. Mandatory sex education, without the right of parents to withdraw their children, will start at age five. The sex education programs will be decided by the state in conjunction with European NGOs.

Under the bill, reporting to authorities any “violence” against children is mandated, but the offence is broadly defined as the “causing of any pain or suffering” and can result in prison terms for parents. The bill also allows for anonymous reports of violence, leaving room for parents to be denounced to the state by anyone.

A statement by a Bulgarian representative of UNICEF, Kostov wrote, sums up the philosophy behind the bill: “We are not against the family; we simply want to give the children to those who can raise them.”

Kostov has worked in Bulgaria promoting religious and conscientious freedom as an advocate and Christian missionary. He is the founding editor of Freedom for All, an internet magazine for “dialogue on the issues of church, state and liberty for the Bulgarian context.”

He warns that should the bill pass, it could be used by state ideologues to quash the religious and political rights of citizens by threatening their custody over their children. Freedom for All Advocates, the Alliance Defense Fund, and the Home School Legal Defense Association have intervened in the debate over the bill, warning that similar measures in other EU countries have resulted in the state having near-total control over families and children.

Homeschooling families, parents who object to state-mandated sex education programs and families with strong religious beliefs have been forced to flee to the US and other countries from Germany and Sweden.

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Majority of Brits don’t want abortion paid for on the public dime

LONDON – A recently published Angus Reid poll showed that 57 percent believe the National Health Service should only fund abortions in the case of medical emergencies. Forty-eight percent support reducing the gestational time limit on legal abortion to less than 24 weeks. Only 33 percent believe that there should be no restrictions.

Forty-two per cent of 2,018 randomly selected British adults said there is “no point in re-opening the debate on abortion; 40 percent thought a public debate in the UK is “long overdue”.

When asked about their personal feeling on abortion, 35 percent want more restrictions; 21 percent would permit abortion only in cases of rape, incest and to save the woman’s life and 5 percent would allow it only to save the woman’s life.

Government statistics show that nearly all of the abortions carried out in Britain are for “social or economic” grounds, with the use of so-called “medical abortion,” that is, abortions using deadly drugs to kill the child and induce premature labor, becoming increasingly popular. The majority of abortions are carried out in private facilities, run by groups like the British Pregnancy Advisory Service and Marie Stopes, who contract with the NHS. If the NHS were to cease funding all “social” abortions, these organizations would lose millions in annual revenue.

In 1991, an effort to reduce the gestational time limit for abortions from 28 to 24 weeks was successful, but the votes were bought at the price of allowing all eugenic abortion without any time restrictions. Under the current law, a child suspected of having a disability, including easily treatable problems like a cleft palate or clubfoot, can be killed up to the point of full-term gestation.

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Scots police ordered by homosexual police group to refuse Gideon bible gift

EDINBURGH – Scottish Police have been instructed, on the insistence of the Gay Police Association (GPA), to refuse the proffered gift of free bibles featuring the badge of the force, being offered by the Gideons International. The GPA issued a statement saying that the bible is “homophobic” and demanding that the police not involve themselves in the scheme.

The Gideons wanted to offer the Bibles as a “valuable guide to life,” saying they can “be offered to all members of the individual force, both serving police officers and civilian staff,” the Christian institute says.

The statement from the GPA said that their members had “contacted us expressing concern that their Force is officially endorsing a religious book containing text which condemns homosexuality.”

“The GPA does not feel that a public service, such as the police, should be seen to be endorsing, by their active involvement, any particular religion over and above any other religion or non-religion.”

If the Bibles were to be offered, “surely this can be done without the actual involvement of the police force concerned”.


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LifeSiteNews staff

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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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