Patrick Craine


World Youth Day priests granted power to lift abortion excommunications

Patrick Craine
Patrick Craine

MADRID, Spain, August 16, 2011 ( – The Cardinal Archbishop of Madrid, Antonio Maria Rouco Varela, has granted all of the 2,000 priests attending World Youth Day this week the special power to the lift the excommunication and to grant absolution in confession to those who have committed the sin of abortion.

According to the Catholic Church’s Code of Canon Law, any person who procures an abortion is automatically excommunicated from the Church (can. 1398).  This penalty – the worst penalty there is under canon law - can only be lifted by the pope and bishops, as well as priests who have been given special permission by a bishop.

“Normally, only certain priests have the power to lift such an excommunication, but the local diocese has decided to give all the priests taking confession at the event this power,” said the pope’s spokesman, Father Federico Lombardi.

Priests hearing confessions at World Youth Day, however, will be granted special permission to deal with such cases from August 16-22.

The archdiocese said they hope that “all the faithful who attend the celebrations of World Youth Day can more easily access the fruits of divine grace, which opens the door to a new life for them,” according to EWTN News.

Madrid has been labeled the “abortion Mecca” of Europe by local pro-life leaders because of the skyrocketing rate of abortions, which grew from 51,000 in 1996 to 120,000 in 2007.  As many as 1 out of 5 of its pregnancies now end in abortion.

Last July, the country’s socialist government implemented a new abortion law allowing the deadly procedure on-demand for the first 14 weeks of pregnancy.

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Screenshot from video showing Prof. Mireille Miller-Young accosting pro-life youth.
LifeSiteNews staff


University prof pleads no contest after attack on pro-life students

LifeSiteNews staff
By LifeSiteNews staff

A California professor who was videotaped attacking and taking property from pro-life youth in March pled no contest Thursday, meaning she will be convicted on charges of grand theft, vandalism, and battery. A sentencing hearing has been set for late August.

The victims of Mireille Miller-Young, an associate professor of feminist studies at the University of California at Santa Barbara, were staging a demonstration to educate about abortion and promote its alternatives.

The students included Thrin and Joan Short, daughters of Life Legal Defense Foundation Legal Director, Katie Short.

While calling the police at the time of the attack, the sisters captured the altercation on video, which shows Miller-Young shoving and grabbing 16-year old Thrin, who bore visible scratches on both arms following the assault. Despite Thrin's wounds, the Short family has called for restraint in speaking about Miller-Young.

The footage also captured Miller-Young parading through campus with the stolen sign, leading students in the theft and destruction of it. When interviewed by the police after the incident, Miller-Young said she believed that her theft and destruction of the sign had "set a good example for her students."

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"Today's plea brings us one step closer to seeing justice done in this case," said Katie Short, an attorney. "Pro-life advocates should not be subjected to intimidation and violence for lawfully exercising their right to free speech, and we are happy to see that Ms. Miller-Young is being held accountable for her actions."

To date, the university has made no public statement about the assault nor issued an apology for the criminal actions of its employee and students. Two weeks after the incident, Vice-Chancellor Michael Young sent a letter to University of California at Santa Barbara students and faculty decrying the presence of "outsiders coming into our midst to provoke us, to taunt us and attempt to turn us against one another.”

In what appeared to be a denouncement of the teens advocating a pro-life worldview, he urged students to notify the Office of Student Life if they "feel harassed" or believe that "outsiders" are violating the law. It is not known whether the university has imposed any disciplinary sanctions on Miller-Young, who remains listed in the faculty directory.

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Planned Parenthood's massive abortion facility in Houston Wikimedia Commons
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Study estimates 9,200 fewer abortions in Texas this year thanks to pro-life law

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By Ben Johnson

A Texas law requiring abortionists to have admitting privileges at local hospitals will reduce the number of abortions statewide by 9,200 this year, according to a newly released report from a think tank that supports abortion-on-demand.

Analysts from the Texas Policy Evaluation Project, which previously published a report entitled "The Public Health Threat of Anti-abortion Legislation," contacted every licensed abortionist in the state and asked for the number of abortions performed since the state's new pro-life law took effect.

They reported 30,800 abortions in the state of Texas between November 2013 and April – 4,600 fewer than the same period in the previous year. That represents a 13 percent decrease, which will translate into at least 9,200 fewer abortions statewide, they estimate.

Medical or chemical abortions, which are induced with the use of a pill rather than surgical procedure, declined by 70 percent, they said.

The project, which includes researchers from Ibis Reproductive Health, credited the closure of roughly half of the abortion facilities in Texas with the decrease.

H.B. 2, which made headlines for barring abortion after 20 weeks, was signed into law by Gov. Rick Perry last July. Another requirement that abortionists have admitting privileges at hospitals within 30 miles of their businesses went into effect on November 1.

The number of abortion facilities has declined from 41 to 22.

“Almost all of these closures are related to difficulties obtaining hospital admitting privileges for physicians at these facilities,” the researchers wrote.

“The closure of clinics and restrictions on medical abortion in Texas appear to be associated with a decline in the in-state abortion rate and a marked decrease in the number of medical abortions,” the authors concluded in an article published today in the journal Contraception.

There may be only six abortion facilities left in Texas by September 1, when new regulations in the law requiring abortion facilities to meet the same health and safety standards as ambulatory surgical centers go into effect.

Some pro-life leaders question the study's numbers. Joe Pojman, executive director of the Texas Alliance for Life, told the Houston Chronicle that abortionists may not be reporting all the abortions they perform.

State Rep. Jessica Farrar, D-Houston, believes the reported reduction in abortions is nothing to celebrate, saying, “we have reduced women's access to safe and legal abortion but not decreased the need for it.” She said the law “endangered women.”

But Melissa Conway of Texas Right to Life said the reductions showed that the law is influencing women to become pro-life. “The more Texans know about the truth of the life-ending procedure of abortion, they are stepping up and turning away from choosing to take the life of a baby,” she said.  

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US House gives standing ovation to ‘miracle baby’ doctors said would die (video)

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By Ben Johnson
Abigail Rose, daughter Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-WA

Its record as an institution may be spotty, but the House of Representatives honored vulnerable life yesterday, giving a standing ovation to a one-year-old whom doctors had said was certain to die in the womb or shortly after birth.

Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-WA, brought her infant daughter, Abigail Rose, to the House floor along with the doctor who refused to accept the prevailing diagnosis of her colleagues.

Abigail is believed to be the first baby ever to survive Potter's Syndrome, a rare condition in which the baby's lungs and kidneys fail to develop properly due to a lack of amniotic fluid.

After speaking with doctors who said the child had little or no chance to be born, or that the baby would suffocate shortly after birth, the Beutlers wrote, “There is no medical solution available to us. We are praying for a miracle.”

They found hope in the form of Dr. Jessica Bienstock, the residency program director for the Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Bienstock was willing to try the process of amniofusion, in which saline solution is injected to compensate for the lack of amniotic fluid.

As the injections continued, the parents saw their unborn baby girl respond.

Abigail was born last July 15 during only the 28th week of pregnancy. She weighed just two pounds, two ounces.

“After a few minutes, it was clear that her lungs were very well developed for a baby born so early,” the congresswoman said.

The Beutlers said Dr. Bienstock and the Johns Hopkins staff had been willing to fight for the impossible,” and they succeeded.

The House saw Wednesday that the baby is alive and well.

House Speaker John Boehner, sometimes given to displays of emotion, was moved to tears as he recognized Dr. Bienstock, who was visiting the chamber.

“In her career she has delivered over 1,000 babies, and one of them is well-known to us,” he said, beginning to choke up. “And she is Abigail Rose Beutler, who, of course, is the daughter of our friend – ” he said, gesturing toward the congresswoman, who was holding baby Abigail in her arms.

Beutler and the baby waved, as the House erupted in a standing ovation.

“If she is a happy, healthy miracle, Dr. Bienstock is the miracle worker who helped give the gift of hope and life to this family,” Boehner concluded, thanking all doctors and other medical workers who save children's lives.

The Beutlers hope other babies will be given the opportunity their little girl had.

“We had more doctors tell us ‘no’ than tell us ‘yes,’ and there are other parents who have had similar experiences,” the congresswoman said last year. “We’d like this to be part of the conversation when this diagnosis comes again, so these parents have an option.” 


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