Rebecca Oas, Ph.D.

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Transcript: ICPD Global Youth Forum on “Families, youth-rights and well-being (including sexuality)”

Rebecca Oas, Ph.D.
By Rebecca Oas Ph.D.

NEW YORK, December 6, 2012, (C-FAM.org)—Following the plenary session (also discussed here) on the topic of “Families, youth-rights and well-being (including sexuality),” recommendations were compiled for inclusion in the International Conference on Population and Development’s (ICPD) Global Youth Forum’s outcome document and presented to the forum.  The recommendations are as follows:

Financing and accountability: Governments should make a political and financial commitment to ensure that sexual and reproductive health and rights policies are prioritized for budgetary allocation and are equally accessible for all young people. Governments must be transparent in the implementation of these policies and programs on sexual and reproductive health and rights.

Sexual rights: Governments must fund and develop, in equal partnership with young people and health care providers, policies laws and programs that recognize, promote, and protect young people’s sexual rights as human rights (Footnote 1).  This must be developed in accordance with the principles of human rights, nondiscrimination, respect, equality, and inclusivity, with a gendered, multicultural, and secular approach.  Governments together with other stakeholders should guarantee an environment free from all forms of harmful traditional practices and psychological, physical, and sexual violence, including gender-based violence, violence against women, bullying in the home, school, workplace, and community, sexual coercion, and female genital mutilation, amongst others.  Support must be provided for victims of violence, including free counseling services and legal redress. Cultural and religious barriers, such as parental and spousal consent, and early and forced marriages, should never prevent access to family planning, safe and legal abortion, and other reproductive health services, recognizing that young people have autonomy over their own bodies, pleasures, and desires.

Legal protection: Governments must ensure that international and national laws, regulations, and policies remove obstacles and barriers, including requirements for parental and spousal notification and consent, and age of consent for sexual and reproductive health services, that infringe on the sexual and reproductive health and rights of adolescents and youth.  Governments must repeal laws and regulations that permit violence and/or discrimination against young people, especially those who are marginalized, including laws that limit same-sex marriage and criminalize young people living with HIV, and LGBTQI.  Governments should, with multi-stakeholder involvement, promote and implement laws, policies, and programs that eliminate harmful practices such as early forced marriage, rape, sexual and gender-based violence, female genital mutilation, honor killings, and all other forms of violence against adolescent girls and young women.  Governments should decriminalize abortion and create and implement policies and programs that ensure that young women have access to safe and legal abortion, pre- and post-abortion services, without mandatory waiting periods, requirements for parental and spousal notification and/or consent, or age of consent.

Sexual and reproductive health services and comprehensive sexuality education: Governments should ensure that every young person, including LGBTQI young people, have equal access to the full range of evidence- and right-based, youth-friendly sexual and reproductive health services and comprehensive sexuality education that is respectful of young people’s rights to informed consent.  Services should be confidential, accessible, and include a full range of safe, effective, affordable methods of modern contraception and family planning services and commodities including pre- and post-natal care, amongst others.  Comprehensive sexuality education should be developed in partnership with young people and include information on sexual orientation and gender identities that is free of religious intolerance.

Families: The concept of family is constantly evolving, and governments must recognize this by adapting legal, policy, and pragmatic frameworks that embrace every form of family (Footnote 2). Governments should ensure the right of everyone to form a family, regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity.

Footnotes:

[1]  With reference to the WHO working definition of sexual rights, the Yogyakarta Principles, and sexual rights in the IPPF declaration. (see below)

[2] Forms of families include, but are not limited to: single parenthood, same-sex couples, traditional temporarily separated, displaced, child-led, or -headed, divorced, cohabitating, fostered, grandparents raising children, couples without children, migrants, extended families, and LGBTQI.

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Further notes:

The WHO working definition of sexual rights is:

“Sexual rights embrace human rights that are already recognized in national laws, international human rights documents and other consensus statements. They include the right of all persons, free of coercion, discrimination and violence, to:

the highest attainable standard of health in relation to sexuality, including access t sexual and reproductive health care services;
seek, receive and impart information in relation to sexuality;
sexuality education;
respect for bodily integrity;
choice of partner;
decide to be sexually active or not;
consensual sexual relations;
consensual marriage; and
pursue a satisfying, safe and pleasurable sexual life.”

From the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) website:

IPPF endorses the definition of sexual rights agreed at the Fourth World Conference on Women, which stated that: “The human rights of women include their right to have control over and decide freely and responsibly on matters related to their sexuality, including sexual and reproductive health, free of coercion, discrimination and violence. Equal relationships between women and men in matters of sexual relations and reproduction, including full respect for the integrity of the person, require mutual respect, consent and shared responsibility for sexual behaviour and its consequences.”

C-FAM’s discussion of the problems with the Yogyakarta Principles can be found here.

Reprinted from C-FAM.org.

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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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