All articles from June 18, 2015


News

Pro-life leaders praise, express concerns about papal environment encyclical

Pro-life and pro-family leaders are weighing in on what might prove to be the most controversial encyclical released since Pope Paul VI’s landmark 1968 teaching on human sexuality.
Thu Jun 18, 2015 - 8:32 pm EST
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Andrei Rybachuk / Shutterstock.com
Pete Baklinski Pete Baklinski Follow Pete
By Pete Baklinski

June 18, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) -- International pro-life and pro-family leaders are weighing in on what might prove to be the most controversial encyclical released since Pope Paul VI’s landmark 1968 teaching on human sexuality, praising it for its strong condemnation of abortion and population control while raising concerns that it risks undermining the Church’s promotion of the right to life.

Pope Francis’ Laudato si’, released today, has been described as everything from a “window of opportunity” for evangelization to a “well-meaning and well-intentioned effort to deal with poverty” that is ultimately unrealistic, to a “politically driven” piece that will only create confusion about the faith.

Father Shenan Boquet, president of Human Life International, praised the encyclical for its “strong condemnation of abortion and the other destructive manifestations of the population control movement.”

The encyclical specifically mentions that “concern for the protection of nature is also incompatible with the justification of abortion” (para. 120) and “that demographic growth is fully compatible with an integral and shared development” (para. 50).

“We hope that this crucial aspect of Pope Francis’ message is understood by the leaders of the United Nations and its leading member states and NGO partners, most of whom promote these evils in the push for what they call ‘sustainable development,’ a term that appears multiple times in the encyclical,” Boquet told LifeSiteNews.

Boquet noted that in the lead up to the encyclical’s release several advisors to the Holy See responded with what he called “derision and vicious condescension” when these issues were respectfully raised by pro-lifers, “which has caused a great deal of concern.”

Father Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life, called attention to the paragraphs condemning abortion, stating that it “pertain[s] in a particular way to our specific pro-life mission.”

Stefano Gennarini, director of the Centre for Legal Studies at the Centre for Family and Human Rights (C-Fam), told LifeSiteNews that it looks as if the encyclical was strategically released ahead of the Climate Summit in Paris this coming winter as well as the adoption of a new ‘sustainable’ UN development agenda in September “in order to raise as much interest as possible in what the Church can contribute to international policy debates.”

“It has had that effect. But I think the UN Secretary General and his push for the climate agreement may benefit more from it than anyone else,” he said.

“I cannot remember an encyclical or papal document ever getting this much attention in the media. But it is mostly because of climate change. As a result, it is quite possible that many of the tangible environmental concerns the Holy Father speaks of will be mostly ignored simply because of the timing of the encyclical.”

Gennarini said he hopes that the “pro-abortion leaders of climate change politics will not turn around and use the endorsement of the Holy Father for their efforts to undermine the teaching of the Church on abortion and population control.”

“Unfortunately, many of the people close to the Secretary General, and he himself, promote abortion and population control as a way to avert climate disaster. This is not likely to change even with the Holy Father’s explicit condemnation of abortion and population control in the encyclical,” he said.

Gennarini said there is much in the encyclical that the pro-life movement should “milk for everything it is worth.”

“It clearly condemns abortion. Pope Francis speaks of the importance of the family. He also speaks out against the current trend of validating the gender identity confusion that some persons experience, saying it is a violence against nature.”

“I hope all the attention the encyclical is getting may actually change some hearts and minds. Abortion groups are furious just at the possibility of this happening. We should be very happy about it,” he said.

Gennarini suggested that the pope hoped to advance the pro-life message by connecting it to the issue of the environment, the cause du jour.

“Protecting life in the context of Christian involvement in the social arena is never a question of either/or, but always a question of both/and. The Pope leads by example on this by speaking very strongly in favor of life while specifically addressing the encyclical to the wider world, and not just Catholics.”

“I hope many Catholics, and Catholic organizations that rarely, if ever, engage the milieu in which they operate on pro-life issues will follow the Pope’s lead. This encyclical creates a window of opportunity. We should use it to the fullest extent possible,” he said.

Gennarini said he would have liked to see the encyclical include a “more comprehensive discussion of the sanctity of human life, the evil of the global abortion industry and population control, as well as their eugenic origins.”

Steven Mosher, president of the Population Research Institute, agrees with Gennarini that he hoped to see stronger statements condemning powerful population reduction programs.

“I was looking for evidence that the Holy Father understands that much of foreign aid is directed to reducing the number of people in the world. So, I was looking for criticisms of reproductive health programs, which I found in paragraph 50 of the document. But I was also looking for stronger statements against those programs,” he told LifeSiteNews.

Mosher, whose background is scientific data analysis, criticized the encyclical for its take on so-called ‘global warming’ in relation to bringing justice to the poor.

“The poor have more pressing problems [than jumping on the global warming band-wagon]. The poor need access to energy. And if you deny them access to energy you're going to keep them in poverty forever. And if you deny them the use of fossil fuels, you're going to make it very hard for them to lift themselves out of poverty. [The encyclical’s suggestion of moving away from fossil fuels] really won't help. If we are going to give priority to the poor, we have to understand that denying them the use of fossil fuels makes them poor forever.”

“The poor need to be encouraged to become the agents of their own development. The only way that poor countries and poor peoples can escape poverty is by producing more goods and services themselves. I wish the Holy Father had encouraged the poor to work harder, produce more, and lift themselves out of poverty. That is, after all, how the peoples of Europe, North America, Australia, and Asia became wealthy. This is how the people of Africa, Latin American and, yes, Argentina, will one day escape poverty as well. Instead he complains that those who have already, through generations of hard work, escaped poverty are consuming too much. Don't they have a right to the fruits of their labor,” he said.

Mosher also took issue with the encyclical giving broad endorsement to the theory that so-called global warming is happening and is caused by the consumption of fossil fuels.

“I think it's far too premature to reach [that] conclusion,” he said. “I think that a lot of the global warming science that has been done is driven by politically well-connected scientists who are getting huge grants to investigate only one side of this issue.”

“I think at the end of the day we may find that we know much less about climatology than what we thought in the beginning. Certainly all of the models have been off by a factor of about 100 percent on average. We simply don't know what causes these wide swings in the earth’s temperature. It wasn't very long ago that we had an ice age with an ice shield covering half of North America, half of Europe, and half of Asia,” he said.

“It's far too early to reach conclusions and restructure the economy at a cost of trillions of dollars to deal with a problem that may turn out in the long run not to be a problem.”

Mosher worried that the pope’s call-to-arms to protect the environment will largely bring in the paid mercenaries of the wealthy elite who are already pushing an extreme anti-population agenda.

“Any new efforts to deal with this global problem [addressed in the encyclical] is going to mean that a lot of money and resources will be funneled into the same international organizations [such as International Planned Parenthood Federation, CARE, Population Services International], nearly all of which promote abortion.”

“There are a limited number of players out in the world and those are the organizations that will be getting the lion’s share of this funding. And they are not going to change their stripes. They're going to be doing the same sort of thing that they've been doing for decades. Their approach has always been to see poverty as being caused by too many poor people and to eliminate the poor and their children,” he said.

Voice of the Family, an international coalition of pro-life organizations, said it was “deeply concerned” that the encyclical omitted any “reaffirmation of the Church’s teaching against contraception” and the procreative purpose of the sexual act.

“The omission of any reference to Church teaching on the use of contraception leaves Catholics ill-prepared to resist the international population control agenda,” it stated in a press release, echoing the concerns of Gennarini and Mosher.

“Developing nations are being flooded with contraceptives and subjected to pressure to legalize abortion. Given that contraception and environmentalism so often go hand-in-hand it is deeply troubling that Church teaching on the primacy of procreation is not reaffirmed,” said Voice of the Family manager Maria Madise.

Judie Brown, co-founder of American Life League, told LifeSiteNews that she was “terribly disappointed” with the encyclical, saying that it appeared to be more motivated by “politics” than by “the teachings of the Catholic Church.”

“That troubles me the most. Because souls are going to hell every day because they are violating moral principles and are offending God in many and varied ways that are substantive and are [contrary] to the laws of God, the Ten Commandments.”

“This encyclical flies in the face of all of that. And sadly, I've come to the conclusion from what I've read of it that it is a politically motivated encyclical,” she said.

Brown said that she thinks many Catholics would prefer to see the Holy Father “leading us out of the moral morass that this world is in.”

“[There are] so many people being denied proper care, and other people are being killed at the hands of abortionists and those who perform euthanasia, and we've got all sorts of devastation going on in the human family. Should we really be looking at what's going on with endangered species of animals?” she said.

Father Raymond De Souza noted in the National Catholic Register how Pope Francis not only argues that authentic care for the environment is incompatible with abortion, but also with homosexuality and notions of gender fluidity.

The Holy Father states in paragraph 155: “The acceptance of our bodies as God’s gift is vital for welcoming and accepting the entire world as a gift from the Father and our common home, whereas thinking that we enjoy absolute power over our own bodies turns, often subtly, into thinking that we enjoy absolute power over creation.”

“Learning to accept our body, to care for it and to respect its fullest meaning, is an essential element of any genuine human ecology. Also, valuing one’s own body in its femininity or masculinity is necessary if I am going to be able to recognize myself in an encounter with someone who is different. In this way we can joyfully accept the specific gifts of another man or woman, the work of God the Creator, and find mutual enrichment. It is not a healthy attitude which would seek “to cancel out sexual difference because it no longer knows how to confront it.”

Catholic author and scholar George Weigel said that the encyclical is “primarily about us, and not primarily about trees, plankton, and the Tennessee snail darter.”

“Which is, of course, precisely as it should be. For Pope Francis is first and foremost a pastor who, like his predecessor St. John Paul II, wants to lift up for our reflection what the Polish pontiff called ‘the nobility of the human vocation to participate responsibly in God’s creative plan.’ And that is the starting point for all serious Christian reflection about the natural world: God’s ongoing creativity, which sustains the world God brought into being and in which we, by the grace and favor of God, participate,” he wrote in National Review.

“Reading Laudato Si’ as if it were a climate-change encyclical, period, is somewhat akin to reading Moby Dick as if it were a treatise on the 19th-century New England whaling industry. The ships and the harpoons are an important part of the story, to be sure; but if they become the whole story, you miss what Melville’s sprawling novel is really about. Ditto with Laudato Si’: If you read it as ‘the global-warming encyclical,’ you will miss the heart and soul of what this sprawling encyclical is about — which is us,” he said.


  catholic, laudato si, pope francis

News

Waterloo public school board dismisses parents’ concerns over Wynne sex-ed

Instead the board to invite Education Minister Liz Sandals for a Q&A to assuage parents' concerns.
Thu Jun 18, 2015 - 7:39 pm EST
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Waterloo-area parents rally against the Wynne government's explicit sex-ed program on Friday, June 12, 2015.
Lianne Laurence Lianne Laurence Follow Lianne
By Lianne Laurence

To sign a petition to stop Ontario's graphic sex-ed curriculum, click here.

WATERLOO, Ontario, June 18, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) -- After hearing eight delegations opposing the Liberal government’s sex-ed curriculum at a packed board meeting June 15, Waterloo Region District School Board trustees voted to invite Education Minister Liz Sandals to a question-and-answer session in the fall.

But trustees opposed a motion to hold information sessions for parents on the sex-ed agenda by a vote of 7 to 3, fearing that would send a signal to parents that the board could change the curriculum.

Parents like Helen and Bruce Synder were left feeling frustrated after the highly charged meeting. Inviting Liz Sandals for a Q&A “does not really deal with the actual problem that this curriculum is set for implementation in September,” Helen told LifeSiteNews in an email. 

“We were very upset that the trustees did not seem to be open to the comments made by the delegations who spoke about the impact of this curriculum on our children.”

But Jack Yang, father of an eight-year-old son and six-year-old daughter, told LifeSiteNews in an email that he thought the “amazing” delegations did, in fact, stir trustees’ concern with their “passion and scientific facts.”

He admitted, though, that the parents he works with are “mostly immigrants” and unfamiliar with political involvement.

“We are a group of desperate parents for sure, searching for help [to] raise our voice,” Yang wrote. “We don’t like protesting, we don’t like shouting, but that’s so far what we can think of to protect our kids.”

Jack Fonseca, project manager for Canada’s national pro-life, pro-family lobbying group Campaign Life Coalition (CLC), warns that the Liberals will feel the backlash from parents. Liberal MPPs should “pay attention to this uprising by moms and dads in Waterloo region, and across Ontario” and be “well-advised to take the side of parental rights, to publicly push back against their own Leader and to quickly disavow the curriculum.”

“These parents are mad as hell,” Fonseca said. “They won’t forget and they won’t forgive a government that’s intent on sexualizing their kids.”

Indeed, the Friday before the board meeting, over 100 protestors crowded Waterloo Town Square to rally against the sex-ed curriculum, and listen to MPP Monte McNaughton, Lambton-Kent-Middlesex, and CLC Toronto vice president Jeff Gunnarson.

Acton-based psychiatrist Dr. Nadine Nyhus took advantage of Monday’s board meeting to express grave concerns about the sex-ed curriculum, after “trying for months” to get through to the Ministry of Education, she told LifeSiteNews in a telephone interview. Nyhus, whose presentation can be seen here, also told LifeSiteNews that the sex-ed curriculum contains “medically unsound” information and is misleading because it minimizes the consequences of sexually transmitted diseases and HIV infections. 

She told LifeSiteNews that some research shows HIV infection among teens is on the rise:  “And it’s because of this type of curriculum, that downplays everything," she added, "It promotes the value of enjoying sex and the pleasures of sex without discussing any of the real risks. So it’s really, really misleading, and misinformation.” 

Nyhus also faulted the sex-ed curriculum for not teaching children “how to keep safe around the risk of being trafficked.” She told LifeSiteNews that an October 2013 RCMP report revealed that Canadians aged 14 to 22, especially girls, are particularly at risk for human trafficking. And the sex-ed curriculum also is silent on pornography. In her view, Nyhus said, “It’s not about safety. There’s another agenda.”

The Synders told LifeSiteNews that they see the Liberal sex-ed curriculum as “an attempt to change the longstanding religious and cultural traditions of Canadian society.”

They’re worried that “by presenting these ideas of gender fluidity, pleasure seeking activities, and making plans for sexual activity” the sex-ed curriculum will “promote sexual experimentation and increased promiscuity, along with increased rates of STIs [sexually transmitted diseases].”

Find a full listing of LifeSiteNews' coverage of the Ontario government's explicit sex-ed program here.


  liz sandals, ontario sex ed, waterloo, waterloo district region school board

News

The UK makes the morning after pill available to teens too young to legally have sex

'The availability of the morning-after pill is encouraging some adolescents to engage in casual sex,' a pro-family leader revealed.
Thu Jun 18, 2015 - 5:51 pm EST
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Thaddeus Baklinski Thaddeus Baklinski Follow Thaddeus
By Thaddeus Baklinski

LONDON, June 18, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – The United Kingdom has made the abortion-inducing morning after pill available over-the-counter to teenage girls – even those too young to legally engage in sex.

The London-based European Medicines Agency has changed the license for the so-called morning after pill brand "ellaOne" to make it available without prescription to girls under 16, the legal age of consent for sexual activity.

Minor girls can buy the pill for £34.95 (approximately $56 U.S.) after a brief conversation with a pharmacist.

While the move has been endorsed by the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, Britain’s largest abortion provider, critics have warned that making ellaOne more easily available carries risks and that potential consumers are not being told that the drug is an abortifacient.

Norman Wells, director of the pro-family group Family Education Trust, said the easing of availability to reduce teen pregnancy is likely to backfire.

"There are plenty of health and social reasons against making ellaOne available to minors," Wells told The Guardian. “The availability of the morning-after pill is encouraging some adolescents to engage in casual sex when they might not otherwise have done so, and the supply of emergency birth control to young people is associated with an increase in sexually transmitted infections.”

Wells added that the European Medicines Agency needs to consider the safety of minor girls who could be pressured into obtaining and using the drug by men who are sexually exploiting them.

“Policymakers need to factor in such unintended consequences and child protection issues before rushing to promote drugs such as ellaOne as part of a strategy to address teenage pregnancy," he said.

Josephine Quintavalle, of the UK pro-life group Comment on Reproductive Ethics, said the maker of ellaOne, HRA Pharma, is not being honest about what the drug actually does.

“There is a difference between a contraceptive that prevents conception and anything that prevents the implantation of a fertilized embryo," Quintavalle told The Telegraph. “Many women would have no problem using contraception but might feel different about a drug that has an abortifacient aspect to it. We do not feel that ellaOne is being marketed honestly."

Pro-life advocates have consistently raised the alarm over the safety and testing of the drug used in EllaOne, saying it is little more than a chemical abortion drug similar to RU-486, re-marketed to the public as contraception.

The chemical name for the drug in Ella is ulipristal acetate, which functions as a progestin-blocker, or "selective progesterone receptor modulator (SPRM)."

Mifeprostone, the drug taken in the two-step RU-486 chemical abortion regimen, is also an SPRM. Thousands of "adverse event reports" are related to the use of Mifeprostone, including 13 confirmed deaths.

Other types of emergency contraception drugs work by releasing massive amounts of progesterone into a woman's body, thereby suppressing ovulation, inhibiting sperm migration, and reducing sperm capacity for fertilization. This can also have an abortifacient effect if the influx of progesterone changes the lining of the womb, preventing an already conceived embryo from implanting.

Ulipristal acetate works differently, with far more effective abortifacient results. As an SPRM, it turns off the progesterone receptors in the body crucial not only for the beginning of pregnancy, but for its continuance.

When the U.S. FDA approved Ella in 2010 it allowed the drug to be marketed as an “occasional” emergency contraception, to be taken by a woman up to five days after sexual intercourse.

The FDA warned, however, that it was unsafe for women to use Ella more than occasionally, as they had no data on its safety over the long term.

In her condemnation of ellaOne being made available over-the-counter to children, Josephine Quintavalle asked how what she terms a "serious" drug with unknown long term effects on mature women could be given to young teens who may have much more severe adverse effects.

Unfortunately, little data exists to answer this question.

Ulipristal acetate was studied by the European Medicines Agency's Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP), but they admitted they lacked any concrete information as to the long term effects of the drug on women, and concluded that "emergency contraception is an occasional ‘rescue’ method and should not replace a regular contraceptive method."

Contact:

Executive Director
European Medicines Agency
Email: via website
7 Westferry Circus
Canary Wharf
LONDON E14 4HB UK
Phone: +44 (0)20 7418 8400
Fax: +44 (0)20 7418 8416


  abortifiacients, ellaone, morning after pill, statutory rape, uk

News

Abortion supporters in uproar over House effort to eliminate federal contraceptive and abortifacient funding

An expert told LifeSiteNews that funding 'would include drugs we would consider abortifacient drugs, such as Plan B and Ella.'
Thu Jun 18, 2015 - 5:29 pm EST
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Dustin Siggins Dustin Siggins Follow Dustin
By Dustin Siggins

WASHINGTON, D.C., June 18, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – Republicans in the House of Representatives are aiming to eliminate Title X funding – in which taxpayers fund Planned Parenthood for contraceptives and abortifacients – and dramatically boost funding for abstinence-based sex education.

Abortion activists were quick to decry the elimination of Title X funding by the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies as an attack on women.

Defunding is "a giant finger in the eye of women’s rights, and is specifically designed to be so,” a House Democratic aide told the pro-abortion news website RH Reality Check.

Spokespeople for Planned Parenthood and the National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association likewise decried the move, and Slate's Amanda Marcotte wrote that "by law, Title X funds do not and cannot fund abortion."

However, Family Research Council legislative assistant Jamie Dangers told LifeSiteNews that "according to [the Department of Health & Human Services, Title X] offers FDA-approved contraceptive methods. So, that would include drugs we would consider abortifacient drugs, such as Plan B and Ella."

Critics add that Planned Parenthood is a major recipient of federal tax dollars, and that money is fungible. In 2014, the federal government spent $286 million on Title X funding, which peaked at over $317 million in 2010 and has been on a downward trend since.

However, it is still an open question whether Congress will press to eliminate the funding outright.

When asked what action the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies was planning with regards to Title X funding, spokesperson Stephen Worley told LifeSiteNews that "[Appropriations Committee] Chairman [Thad] Cochran looks forward to consideration of the Senate Labor-HHS bill and remains committed to allowing committee members and other senators a chance to openly debate and vote on its provisions."

The Senate subcommittee will have its mark-up for the 2016 fiscal year on June 23.

The House also added provisions doubling the funds of abstinence-based sex education while dramatically cutting funds for programs that promote teenage sexuality.

The House subcommittee's effort to decrease funding for so-called "comprehensive" sex education that includes contraception and abortion from $100 million to $10 million -- while simultaneously doubling abstinence-only education from $5 million to $10 million -- was praised by National Abstinence Education Association president Valerie Huber.

"Currently, federal funding for sex education is grossly disparate, with 95 percent of all such funding going toward the sexual risk reduction approach that focuses on contraception," Huber told LifeSiteNews. "We applaud [Subcommittee] Chairman [Tom] Cole for bringing parity in emphasis and funding for sexual risk avoidance education which empowers youth to avoid all the potentially negative consequences of teen sex."
"In addition, we commend him for defining the risk avoidance approach using science informed practices. Most sex education merely focuses on pregnancy prevention, but the chairman includes a risk avoidance approach that describes the holistic nature of sexual decision-making. This approach improves future prospects for youth into adulthood," Huber explained.

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Dangers told LifeSiteNews that total federal funding for sex education that includes abortion and contraceptives totaled $960 million in 2014, while abstinence-only education received $51.4 million. 


  abortion funding, abstinence, family planning, sex ed, sex education, title x

News

Hawaiian public schools must teach contraception, sodomy in sex-ed classes

A Planned Parenthood spokesperson said she was 'elated' with the changes.
Thu Jun 18, 2015 - 5:13 pm EST
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Ness Kerton / AusAID
Dustin Siggins Dustin Siggins Follow Dustin
By Dustin Siggins

HONOLULU, HI, June 18, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – A state education board ruling will force all public schools in Hawaii to teach "comprehensive sex education" – but one activist told LifeSiteNews that they haven't even figured out what they're going to teach yet.

"Hawaii's BOE voted to change the policy for sex ed without having any curricula to show parents," said Susan Duffy of the Hawaii Parent Coalition. "Neither were they able to provide parents with some idea as to what the standards would be. A couple of parents asked but were told that they could only 'testify' and not ask questions of the board."

Duffy says that the new standards, in addition to requiring Planned Parenthood-approved education on contraceptives and abortion, will have a section on sodomy.

A Planned Parenthood spokesperson said she was "elated" with the changes. “This ensures that every Hawaii public school student will receive accurate, complete and life-saving information,” said Sonia Blackiston, director of education and training for Planned Parenthood of Hawaii.

It is not just the change in education standards that is leading to parental criticism of the board; it's also the procedures surrounding the program's instructions. According to Civil Beat reporter Jessica Terrell, Hawaii had previously been "one of 10 states that did not mandate that students be offered sex education or taught about HIV and AIDS."

Prior education standards had given the parents the option to "opt-in" to programs, while the new ones default to student involvement unless parents pull their children.

Terrell reports that a number of parents and board members differed on what the new sex education program will look like. Parents expressed concern that sexual ideologies were being promoted, and that students would be encouraged to engage in sexual activity. Board members pushed back against such concerns, but both Terrell and Duffy note that the curricula is not yet known – even by the board.

One of the options is the controversial Pono Choices curriculum, which had parents in an uproar earlier this year. 

Click "like" if you are PRO-LIFE!

Teenage pregnancies have declined since the 1990s, and teens are less likely to engage in sexual relations in Hawaii compared to other states. However, the state also has the 10th-highest rate of teenage pregnancy in America, and the 12th-highest chlamydia infection rate.

Duffy noted that "Hawaii just made news for its low abortion rates" and "lower rates of teen pregnancy. And all this has occurred under the current abstinence based policy. Why would anyone fix a policy that seems to be working?"

In short, says Duffy, "There was no burning crisis here in our state with regard to sex education. There's been no clarion call by the community for a change to the policy. In fact, my guess is that most parents here have no idea what's just happened. They will today because it is on the front page of this morning's paper but they really won't understand the full impact."

The state's Board of Education has been previously criticized for not disclosing details of its sex education program. In January 2014, American Life League's Rita Diller reported that two elected officials were denied access to information on the programs.

 The full changes can be seen here.


  hawaii, pono choices, public schools, sex ed, sex education

News

Maine votes down parental consent law, allows abortion facilities to remain unregulated

'Should we wait until there is a preventative fatality before we decide to act?'
Thu Jun 18, 2015 - 5:05 pm EST
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Maine Department of Education / Flickr
Ben Johnson Ben Johnson Follow Ben
By Ben Johnson

AUGUSTA, ME, June 18, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – Legislators in the state of Maine rejected two modest pro-life bills as its session came near to its close.

Lawmakers in both houses voted down a measure requiring minors to obtain parental consent before having an abortion. On Wednesday, the state Senate turned back the motion, L.D. 83, by a one vote margin (18-17), while the House voted against the bill 77-67.

Sen. David Burns, R-Whitig, said the bill protected parental rights. “There are many parents out there who are being cut out or isolated from that important decision,” he said. Opponents said requiring parental involvement would cause teenage girls to seek out unsafe abortions.

It was the third time a parental consent law was introduced in the state in the last six years.

Maine will allow its abortion facilities to remain unregulated, as well, as legislators dismissed L.D. 1312, “An Act To License Outpatient Surgical Abortion Facilities.”

The measure would have allowed the state Department of Health and Human Services to write regulations for the abortion industry for the first time, and require that abortion facilities renew their licenses every year – tighter requirements the abortion industry rebuffed.

“The reality is putting this law into place would give the Department of Health and Human Services the opportunity to come in whenever they see fit and add additional regulations,” said Nicole Clegg of Planned Parenthood of Northern New England.

The bill's sponsor, state Rep. Deb Sanderson, R-Chelsea, wrote that “critics of the bill point out that no issue at an abortion clinic has been reported since the 1990s.”

“Perhaps that’s because there hasn’t been any oversight of these clinics, which currently self-report any issues that may crop up,” she retorted. “It’s not hard to have a spotless record when you provide your own oversight. Should we wait until there is a preventative fatality before we decide to act?”

Lack of state oversight has been a problem elsewhere in the Northeast, enabling Kermit Gosnell to violate Pennsylvania state law with impunity while running his Philadelphia “house of horrors.”

Had either state measure passed in Maine, it would have been signed into law. Republican Paul LePage, one of the nation's most outspoken governors, is staunchly pro-life. He once shared an emotional story of how his unborn sister's miscarriage, caused by his father's abuse, affected him throughout his life. The tragedy of losing a child is one pro-life leaders have been making for a very long time.

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LePage, who won an unlikely re-election last year, is presently locked in tense negotiations aimed at convincing Democratic legislators to increase funding for autistic children by decreasing services furnished to the state's increasing illegal immigrant population.


  abortion, maine, parental consent, paul lepage

News

I’m Astonished!

This is your story, a story that must continue to be told
Thu Jun 18, 2015 - 3:59 pm EST
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John-Henry Westen John-Henry Westen Follow John-Henry
By John-Henry Westen

Twenty million.

That’s how many people have visited LifeSiteNews so far this year. According to Alexa.com, the top web-ranking service, that means our readers have made LifeSite the #1 most-read pro-life website…on the planet!

I know that might sound like boasting. But I can assure you, it’s not!

On the contrary, I’m filled with humble amazement, as well as deep gratitude for the thousands of supporters like you who have enabled us to reach so many people with the truth about abortion, marriage, faith, and family.

Indeed, when myself and co-founder Steve Jalsevac founded LifeSite way back in 1997, we never, ever dreamed that 18 years later our tiny pro-life website would have grown into an international news agency employing dozens of staff, operating in numerous countries around the world, and reaching tens of millions of people every single year.

Now, with just one week left in our summer 2015 fundraising campaign, and only 20% of the way towards our minimum goal, I must humbly ask for your support one more time.

Please don't delay! Make the most generous donation you can to help us reach our goal!

 

As I travel around, I am often overwhelmed by the many LifeSite readers who spontaneously come up to me, introduce themselves, and then share their stories of how our news service has touched their lives.

In so many ways this is your story - the story, as Mother Teresa said about pro-life workers, of “ordinary people doing extraordinary work for God.” 

Some tell me that LifeSite’s reporting precipitated a personal conversion from the “other side.” Others speak of how we inspired them to get more deeply involved and active in the pro-life movement. Others still tell me that they can’t go a single day without reading our daily news email!

However, even many of our most dedicated readers almost always express grateful surprise when I tell them just how many people visit our website every day, and how many people work full-time for our organization.

Most people just can’t believe that a website dedicated solely to reporting on the politically-incorrect pro-life and pro-family issues can be so popular, and so influential!

I know that all the fundraising gurus say that donors aren’t interested in statistics. “Tell stories about your impact!” they tell non-profits that are trying to fundraise.

And yet, I can’t help but feel that the exponential growth of LifeSite against all the odds isn’t just a boring statistic – it is a story:

It’s an amazing David vs. Goliath story: a story of survival against all the odds, a story of the “little guys”, the everyday readers like you, who have repeatedly come to our rescue in the 11th hour, when it appeared like we could not find the resources to keep our doors open another day.

It’s a story of the untold millions of readers that have been forced to think twice about the humanity of the unborn after reading one of our many powerful pro-life testimonies; or of babies that have been saved after their mothers or fathers stumbled upon the stories of pro-life heroism that we routinely publish, and changed their minds about abortion.

It’s an amazing story of LifeSite staff members with families who have given up comfortable and lucrative careers in the public sector, to instead use their talents to fight for traditional values and freedom.

In so many ways this is your story - the story, as Mother Teresa said about pro-life workers, of “ordinary people doing extraordinary work for God.” 

I hope you will help us continue telling this story with a donation to our Summer Campaign today!

 

When, at the end of the day, I look at the data, and realize that so many tens of thousands of people have visited LifeSite in the past 24 hours, I like to imagine how each of those visitors has a story: and I wonder what each of those visitors took away with them.

I pray that they took away just a little piece of what LifeSite exists to promote: the joy, the peace, the goodness, the trueness, of the Culture of Life and Family!

Today, I want to assure all of our supporters that your support, no matter how large or small, has truly made a difference. I want you to know that the only reason we have been able to reach over 850% more people with our truth journalism in the past six yearsis because of you!

And finally, I must ask for your help once more, so that LifeSite can continue to create these untold stories: that we can continue to shine as a beacon for life and family in the often confused and dark world of the media and the Internet.

With just 7 days left in our summer fundraising campaign, we still have over $160,000 to raise to reach our goal.

Please, help us reach that goal today with a donation.

Click here to make a donation on our secure donation page.

You can also donate by phone or mail.

Thank you again for your support, and may God bless you. 


News

Women’s advocates slam latest ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ novel for ‘rationaliz[ing] domestic abuse’

'The whole series is offensive to any woman who has to deal with the reality of abuse.'
Thu Jun 18, 2015 - 2:40 pm EST
Featured Image
Steve Weatherbe
By Steve Weatherbe

WASHINGTON D.C., June 18, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – As fans of the BDSM Fifty Shades of Grey film and book franchise hopefully awaited "Grey", its latest product, a coalition of 260 pro-family groups condemned it as “an irresponsible rationalization of domestic abuse,” and called for potential readers to put their money into women’s shelters instead.

The National Center on Sexual Exploitation was willing to condemn the latest Grey manifestation as another “glamorization of abuse,” in advance of publication because, its communications director Haley Halversen told LifeSiteNews, author E.L. James was not expected “to criticize its hero as a sadistic abuser. The whole series is offensive to any woman who has to deal with the reality of abuse.”

The NCSE is continuing its call for a boycott of the books and movie, asking that people instead support local women’s shelters.

“An average of 24 people per minute become victim to rape, stalking, or physical violence by an intimate partner in America— more than 12 million women and men over the course of a year,” declared the NCSE’s statement. “The continuation of this series perpetuates the mainstreaming of domestic abuse. It sends the false message that victims can ‘fix’ violent, controlling partners by being obedient.”

Essentially a female sex fantasy, aimed like a silver stake for a demographic just a tad older than the "Vampire Diaries" market, "Fifty Shades of Grey" subjects its virginal college heroine to the seductive charms of a 27-year-old billionaire who is also a helicopter pilot, a concert pianist, has a workable plan to end world poverty, and who, of course, likes to bind, dominate and inflict pain on the women who attract him.

Click "like" if you say NO to porn!

Since the series is clearly a fantasy (its eponymous protagonist’s only non-fantastic characteristic is that he still needs someone else to clean up after him), and since women as well as men not only fantasize but willingly act out bondage, dominance, sadism and masochism, why is the NCSE infringing on their “freedom of sexual expression”?

“There is no justification for abuse,” Halverson told LifeSiteNews. “Nobody can legally consent to domestic violence. But this series sends a clear message that ‘no’ can mean ‘yes,’ and that this is what women really want, and they can fix their abuser by understanding this.”

Halverson added that though such deviant relationships may be consensual, they are still psychologically damaging to both partners over the long term. As for the overall message that violent, abusive sex is acceptable, “it is certainly damaging to the larger society.”

The NCSE was called Morality in Media from its founding in 1962 until last year. It speaks for a coalition of 260 pro-family and pro-life organizations and maintains a Dirty Dozen list of media offenders, which this year includes Fifty Shades, YouTube, and Hilton Hotels and Spas along with the American Libraries Association (for encouraging members to provide public access to Internet porn sites). Past offenders such as Google and the U.S. Armed Forces have escaped the list and the recommended boycott by ending porn access or sale.

LifeSiteNews so far has gathered more than 112,000 names to its online petition supporting a boycott of the Fifty Shades of Grey movie. It is still Universal Pictures’ most successful R-rated movie.


  50 shades of grey, bdsm

News

Pope’s encyclical: Pro-climate-change, but anti-population control, pro-life, and anti-gender ideology

The 180-page encyclical is an often fascinating read on Christian care for creation, subsumed under emphatic passages on the dire risks of climate change.
Thu Jun 18, 2015 - 12:43 pm EST
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Giulio Napolitano / Shutterstock.com
John-Henry Westen John-Henry Westen Follow John-Henry
By John-Henry Westen

COMMENTARY

ROME, June 18, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) -- Climate change, says Pope Francis, in the new encyclical Laudato Si (Praised be) released today, “represents one of the principal challenges facing humanity in our day” (25).

The environmental tome of 180 pages – the longest encyclical in history – is an often-fascinating read, with many touching passages reflecting on a Catholic vision of care and concern for creation. These many passages, however, are being largely lost and subsumed under the most emphatic – even alarmist – passages devoted to detailed descriptions of "climate change" theory (described as fact) and the dire consequences of failing to take drastic measures to fight such change.

And those startling quotes have stolen the media narrative, making this, at least for the media world and thus the general public, the "climate-change encyclical." Released, as the encyclical was, just prior to the pope’s visit to the United Nations and the US Congress in September, as well as the World Climate Summit in Paris in December, this narrative was at least partially intentional on the part of the Vatican and the pope.

The stress by the Vatican on the climate change portion could not have been more evident this morning, as one of the world’s leading climate change alarmist gurus, Professor John Schellnhuber, took part in the Vatican press conference introducing Laudato Si. The day before the release of the encyclical, the Vatican also announced that Schellnhuber had been appointed by the pope to the Pontifical Academy for the Sciences. 

The new encyclical also continues the tradition launched by popes Benedict and John Paul II of tying respecting nature to respecting life in the womb and God-given gender. The pope also clearly decries the idea of reducing population to address environmental concerns.

While there is much to welcome in the encyclical’s 40,000 words, fears that its text, which is peppered with ominous warnings about climate change, will play into the hands of global warming activists whose agendas include population control and one-world government, do not seem unreasonable. Indeed, the mainstream media is already widely portraying the encyclical as a major coup for mainstream environmentalism, while ignoring the pro-life passages that critique many of the environmentalist movement's core principles.

Here are some of those pro-life passages, as well as other relevant passages and quotations from the encyclical.

Population control

Out of the 245 paragraphs, the pope devotes two to debunking population control as an appropriate means to fighting climate change or general environmental degradation.

In paragraph 50, he derides those who “can only propose a reduction in the birth rate” as the solution. He laments international pressure on developing countries making “economic assistance contingent on certain policies of ‘reproductive health.’” He suggests that “demographic growth is fully compatible with an integral and shared development,” and says that to “blame population growth instead of extreme and selective consumerism on the part of some, is one way of refusing to face the issues.”

In the same paragraph though he speaks of the need to pay attention to “imbalances in population density, on both national and global levels, since a rise in consumption would lead to complex regional situations.”

Again in paragraph 60 the pope says that there are those who hold the extreme view of “men and women and all their interventions as no more than a threat, jeopardizing the global ecosystem," and consequently believe that "the presence of human beings on the planet should be reduced and all forms of intervention prohibited.”

Population control is a major focus for climate change activists, including some of the very experts who the Vatican has relied on in producing the encyclical. For example, Jeffrey Sachs, who recently co-hosted a Vatican conference on climate change, is up front about not only the need for population control but also abortion advocacy to achieve it.

Climate change and its ‘dire consequences’

Even though at one point (188) the pope says he does not mean to “settle scientific questions” but to open debate, the encyclical has many affirmations for climate change, which is hotly contested by many scientists.

The pope speaks of:

  • “an urgent need” to “drastically reduce” emission of “carbon dioxide” (26);
  • “a very solid scientific consensus” that “indicates … we are presently witnessing a disturbing warming of the climatic system” resulting from “greenhouse gasses” released “mainly as a result of human activity” (23);
  • climate change as “a global problem with grave implications” (25);
  • and an “urgent need for us to move forward in a bold cultural revolution” (114).

Beyond a mere acceptance of global warming, the pope seems also to believe the catastrophic predictions that global warming activists have posited. He warns of “an unprecedented destruction of ecosystems, with serious consequences for all of us” (24). He notes, “It is foreseeable that, once certain resources have been depleted, the scene will be set for new wars” (57).

In that vein, paragraph 161 stands out:

Doomsday predictions can no longer be met with irony or disdain. We may well be leaving to coming generations debris, desolation and filth. The pace of consumption, waste and environmental change has so stretched the planet’s capacity that our contemporary lifestyle, unsustainable as it is, can only precipitate catastrophes, such as those which even now periodically occur in different areas of the world. The effects of the present imbalance can only be reduced by our decisive action, here and now. We need to reflect on our accountability before those who will have to endure the dire consequences.

Global governance

Professor Schellnhuber, founder of Germany’s Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, was an adviser on the draft of the encyclical and one of the four presenters at the press conference releasing the encyclical this morning. Schellnhuber advocates for global government as key to bringing climate change under control, notions reflected in the encyclical.

In several places the encyclical speaks to the need for:

  • “an agreement on systems of governance for the whole range of so-called ‘global commons’” (174);
  • “think[ing] of one world with a common plan” (164);
  • “a global consensus … for confronting the deeper problems, which cannot be resolved by unilateral actions on the part of individual countries” (164);
  • “a true world political authority” (175);
  • “stronger and more efficiently organized international institutions, with functionaries who are appointed fairly by agreement among national governments” (175).

Significantly, the pope says that such an international body should have the power “to impose sanctions” (175) or “impose penalties” (214).

Pro-life

The main paragraph dealing with life issues is 120, where Pope Francis says, “Since everything is interrelated, concern for the protection of nature is also incompatible with the justification of abortion.”  He also speaks three times about protection of the human embryo.

Pope Francis says it is “troubling that, when some ecological movements defend the integrity of the environment, rightly demanding that certain limits be imposed on scientific research, they sometimes fail to apply those same principles to human life” (136). He adds, “There is a tendency to justify transgressing all boundaries when experimentation is carried out on living human embryos.”

Respecting nature means respecting your gender

Pope Francis tied respect for nature to respect for one’s God-given gender, which should spark media interest in light of the international headlines recently garnered by former Olympic athlete Bruce Jenner. "Learning to accept our body, to care for it and to respect its fullest meaning, is an essential element of any genuine human ecology,” writes Francis. He spoke of "valuing one’s own body in its femininity or masculinity,” adding, "It is not a healthy attitude which would seek to cancel out sexual difference because it no longer knows how to confront it."

This is the fourth time Pope Francis has condemned gender ideology.  He does so this time in the language of respecting nature; in January, he did so by blasting the forcing of gender ideology onto students as a form of "ideological colonization" comparable to Hitler Youth indoctrination.


  catholic, laudato si, pope francis

Opinion

Calls to Obama to allow abortion funding overseas are not about rape victims

Abortion advocates reject the idea that victims of sexual violence who become pregnant want to keep their unborn children.
Thu Jun 18, 2015 - 3:30 pm EST
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Everett Collection / Shutterstock.com
Lisa Correnti
By Lisa Correnti

June 18, 2015 (C-Fam) -- Abortion advocates are exploiting victims of sexual violence in conflict to advance their own narrow agenda – opening up a new funding stream to international abortion groups and changing abortion laws in countries where restricted.

Global humanitarian groups receive hundreds of millions of dollars to help the most vulnerable – many in areas of conflict or regions that have had natural disasters. Most of these groups stay away from abortion.

One reason they do, is that many of these groups are faith-based organizations that deliver programs that address the most basic needs of the poor and victimized – food, shelter, and healthcare services. Other groups exclude abortion because they receive funding from the U.S. and the Helms amendment prohibits U.S. development aid to be used to promote or provide abortion. Though these organizations receive funding from many other sources most will not segregate funding — the World Health Organization being an exception.

The Helms amendment has successfully allowed faith-based groups to qualify for U.S. grant money to administer programs to the most vulnerable people in the world. By prohibiting overseas aid money from covering abortions it prevents limited funding from being siphoned from holistic healthcare programs that truly help poor women and children.

With an abortion-friendly president in the White House, abortion proponents are calling for President Obama to issue an executive order to gut the Helms amendment allowing abortion groups to be eligible to receive hundreds of millions of dollars more than they already do.

Last week so called “faith leaders” stepped up the anti-Helms rhetoric asking President Obama to make this change so the Boko Haram girls and other that have become pregnant through sexual violence may obtain US funded abortions. These same leaders are abortion advocates that have for years lobbied for unrestricted abortion – the kidnapping of the Boko Haram girls is a tragic opportunity to push their agenda.

Anti-Helms proponents imply that abortions aren’t available in developing countries. However, many African countries allow an exception for rape and many international clinics operate in these regions and provide abortion – Marie Stopes International, International Planned Parenthood Federation, and Doctors Without Borders. Additionally, several of USAID’s top vendors such as World Bank, World Health Organization, and Population Services International support programs involving abortion.

Click "like" if you are PRO-LIFE!

Abortion advocates reject the idea that victims of sexual violence who become pregnant want to keep their unborn children.  On a recent trip to Nairobi I met a doctor providing care to unmarried pregnant girls by opening homes throughout the country. She shared a story about a young woman who escaped from the Congo where all her family had been killed. She was pregnant due to rape. When she delivered her very wanted son she announced he would be called – Victor, because he was the only remaining family she had.

This home offered her the assistance she desperately needed – safe shelter, pre-natal and post-natal medical care and healing from the trauma she experienced. Will abortion clinics provide the same?

If President Obama lifts the restrictions it is the poor in these conflict countries that will be most harmed. Charitable humanitarian groups that administer to sexual violence victims will be denied grants as they won’t be able to comply with grant guidelines that they offer abortion as a reproductive health service. And, more money will be directed to abortion groups that will use the funding not only to perform abortions but to agitate at the local level to change abortion laws.

President Obama and Democratic members of Congress have received large campaign donations from abortion rights groups calling for the end of the Helms amendment. This change will allow millions more to be channeled to their organizations and will lead to the United States soon becoming the largest abortion provider around the globe.

Reprinted with permission from C-Fam


  abortion, obama

Opinion

Don’t use my pain as a weapon: Infertility and same-sex ‘marriage’

It should be clear that the casual comparison between homosexual couples and infertile heterosexual marriages is not only facile and foolish—it is hurtful, callously disregarding the lived experience of infertile couples.
Thu Jun 18, 2015 - 3:10 pm EST
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Oliver Olivarez
By

June 18, 2015 (ThePublicDiscourse) -- I’m growing weary of being told that I must either support gay marriage or disavow my own marriage. I refer not to anything my wife and I did that would violate the traditional norms of marriage, but to something we had no control over: our ongoing inability to conceive a child.

My wife and I, along with all other childless heterosexual couples, often find ourselves presented as exhibit A in the court of public opinion. Our plight has become a standard response to the main reason for traditional marriage, a reason that until lately was non-controversial: that heterosexual couples’ unique, natural procreative ability gives rise to a state interest in ensuring that their relationships are stable for the sake of the children they potentially will have growing up in their homes.

Put in the form of a question, this is the argument: If children are the state’s primary reason to regulate marriage, then why should it recognize the marriages of infertile couples? Why not follow the proposal of Plato in the Laws that infertile marriages should be invalidated? Or, to redirect the question, why should these be recognized as marriages but not the relationships of homosexual couples? Aren’t homosexual couples effectively interchangeable with infertile heterosexual couples insofar as the state and society should be concerned?

Although this may be an effective debating point, it is grotesquely unreal when considered from the lived experience of infertility—the harsh and unhappy reality of what it is like to be an infertile couple waiting every month for a child that never comes.

The Private Pain of Infertility

For all the sturm und drang of pundits, few infertile couples have weighed in either way. Our silence is understandable, both because there is no unanimity of religious or political outlook among infertile couples and because the pain of infertility is intensely private. The agonizing progression of medical tests and despair is rarely shared publicly, and those who wonder whether a couple’s childlessness is an intentional application of modern medical technology or an example of its limitations are rarely so tactless as to broach the subject uninvited.

And so it is in silence that my wife and I live through our cycles of concern, hope, despair, and acceptance. We had always wanted children and were determined to make child-rearing work regardless of our student debt and work hours. We never used contraception, and we married in our early twenties. After a while, it became clear that something was wrong, so we embarked on batteries of awkward and painful medical tests. Every avenue has failed to produce a diagnosis, and the passing years of marriage have failed to produce a child. Several fertility drugs were to no avail, as was surgery. For ethical reasons, we will not use IVF or surrogacy.

And so we are entering our thirties without a reason why we have no children, yet with no real hope of having a child naturally. I don’t know if a definitive diagnosis would be better or worse than not knowing—whether it would bring some closure or would only inflict more wounds. I do know that these painful experiences illuminate the differences between our marriage and homosexual relationships.

Infertility as Loss

Infertility does not invalidate our marriage, but we constantly experience infertility as an inability to fulfill a basic aspect of marriage. It is a loss for us in a way that it can never be for a same-sex couple, who can never have expected fertility together. Our relationship is ordered toward having children, even if it is frustrated and kept from this fulfillment.

To return to Plato, love desires fecundity. Love wishes to have children with the Beloved. And while Plato’s Symposium gave precedence to the children of the mind, physical procreation has its place even in his system, a place that has been further exalted by the Christian contributions to the Western tradition. Even the Greeks, despite their frequent tolerance (and sometimes even enthusiasm) for some homosexual relations, never conflated such relationships with marriage.

Love, erotic or intellectual, between two men could never be fruitful in the physical way that it could be between men and women. Physical sterility is the natural order for homosexual couples, and is dictated by their sexual proclivities, which are in direct conflict with the possibility of natural procreation.

There is a clear distinction (whether considered in ontological, teleological, or experiential terms) between homosexual couples and infertile heterosexual couples. For the latter, childlessness is not intrinsic to their relationship. Rather, whether due to illness, age, or deliberate action, it is a loss from the fullness of what their marriage should be. For those who are voluntarily sterile, it is an intentional avoidance of that fulfillment—an avoidance that has traditionally been condemned. For same-sex couples, the question does not even arise, because fertility is never a natural fulfillment of their relationship. No matter what medical advances may be made against age, illness, and injury, homosexual relations will remain intrinsically sterile.

The Connection between Marriage and Children

Redefining marriage to include same-sex unions severs the connection between marriage and children in a way that recognizing the marriages of childless heterosexual couples does not. The possibility and even the desire to have children together must be discarded upfront. Instead of being viewed as an important aspect of marital love that some couples will, by mischance or age, be unable to fulfill, bearing children and raising them together becomes entirely optional, even more than in the case of voluntarily sterile couples.

The reality that my wife and I, by some still-unknown mischance, have yet to conceive is an imperfection that we feel keenly and on a daily basis. We will presumably never learn what combining our particular genetics might have produced—what features, traits, and attributes we would have seen passed on to our children. No matter how much we dote on our canine co-evolutionary buddies, they will never say “I love you” to us. The Legos I saved from my childhood will continue to sit in a box.

Click "like" if you want to defend true marriage.

However, our infertility does not make our relationship interchangeable with one in which childlessness can never be felt as a loss because fertility was never, and could never, be an option within it. As is often noted, it would be absurd and intrusive for the government to try to withhold marriage licenses from infertile heterosexual couples. This absurdity would only be heightened by the fallibility of fertility tests, with which my wife and I are all too familiar. However, it can be confidently predicted that no homosexual couple will ever procreate together naturally.

Adoption is a possibility, of course, but it usually necessitates a great deal of additional expense and trouble on top of the already considerable burdens of parenting. Thus far we have lacked the career and financial stability to spend tens of thousands of dollars in order to adopt a child. Furthermore, while it is often a loving and noble undertaking, adoption always involves trauma, insofar as it requires the death, incapacitation, or unsuitability of both natural parents. We hope that one day the evil of infertility and the evil of orphanhood will be redeemed in the good of adoption, but it is not yet for us.

If and when we do adopt, we will offer a child both a mother and a father, thereby providing the closest restoration available to the natural family that has been lost. Thus, even in adoption, an infertile heterosexual marriage displays essential differences from homosexual ones, which in adoption always deprive a child once again of either a mother or a father.

The case for gay marriage may be constructed on a variety of other supports than the supposed interchangeability of homosexual relationships with those of childless heterosexual couples, and this essay has no pretensions of settling the same-sex marriage debate. However, it should be clear that the casual comparison between homosexual couples and infertile heterosexual marriages is not only facile and foolish—it is hurtful, callously disregarding the lived experience of infertile couples.

Neither a same-sex couple nor an infertile opposite-sex couple is able to conceive naturally. For one couple, this is predictable and intrinsic to the nature of their relationship. For the other, it is a painful, often unexpected injury to the nature of their marriage.

Oliver Olivarez is a character in GK Chesteron’s The Surprise. The author using this pseudonym holds a PhD in political theory and yearns for the day when young academics may speak freely without fear of having their careers destroyed. Reprinted with permission from The Witherspoon Institute.


  homosexuality, infertility, same-sex 'marriage'

Opinion

‘Safe sex’ means risky sex for teenagers

In the light of the latest findings on safe sex belief and risk taking among teenagers, the 'Keep it safe, keep it sexy' approach is scientifically and morally indefensible.
Thu Jun 18, 2015 - 2:49 pm EST
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Shutterstock.com
Carolyn Moynihan
By Carolyn Moynihan

June 18, 2015 (MercatorNet) -- For the teenager curious about the experience of having sex, but vaguely aware that pregnancy and disease are possible outcomes, the Family Planning of New South Wales website is reassuring. It says:

This youth friendly safe sex pack, encourages safer sexual behaviours to help prevent sexually transmissible infection and unplanned pregnancy.

Specially designed by Family Planning NSW, the experts in reproductive and sexual health, each safe sex pack contains:

* one condom

* one lube sachet

* step-by-step directions on how to correctly use a condom, and

* how to contact FPNSW for more information and support about sexual health.

All this comes packaged in a slim cardboard pack which easily slips into a pocket or wallet.

Yes, it says “safer” once, but “safe sex” twice, and that’s what the curious teenager is going to remember, especially when further information tells him, “Keep It Safe, Keep It Sexy”. Sexy, that's what he wanted to hear.

But how safe is the condom? Well, “98 percent effective when used correctly every time,” sounds quite good, if not perfect, but “85 percent with typical use” sounds a bit risky – and, seriously, what would be the score of an average teenager?

“Safe sex” is one of the great deceptions of our age. It speaks volumes about the prevailing philosophy of sex (or lack of philosophy) but from a technical point of view it says not nearly enough.  And yet it’s a slogan that has given many adolescents the confidence to start having sex while still in school, increasing their risk of pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections, including HIV.

This has been demonstrated by researchers at the University of Navarre in Spain. As part of a larger international cross-sectional study -- Project YOURLIFE, on what youth in developing countries think and feel about relationships, love and sexuality -- they asked nearly 9000 students aged 13 to 18 about the risk of being infected with HIV if a person has sex using condoms.

The study, led by public health specialist Jokin de Irala, found that one out of seven of the young people believed condoms are 100 percent effective. They also found that these “safe-sex believers” were collectively 82 percent more likely to have had sex than those without such a belief -- although they were no more likely to use a condom the first time they had sex.

This points to what is known in public health circles as “risk compensation”. Writing in the BMJ Open last month the authors give the examples of public health measures such as compulsory car seat belts being accompanied by an increase in speeding, or sunscreen promotion leading to people baking themselves for longer on the beach. Indeed, their study shows that some teens are so reassured by the safety of condoms that they don’t even use them!

The teenagers in this study live in Catholic majority countries – The Philippines, El Salvador and Peru – where HIV infection rates are estimated at less than 1 percent and are even lower for young people. However, a significant proportion of the general population start sexual activity in their teens, putting them at risk of other sexually transmitted infections, and also HIV. “In all cases, condom use among young people is far from the recommended 100%,” the study authors note.

The study sample were from public and private schools in different areas of each country. All students aged 13 to 18 were invited to participate, and those who responded filled in a confidential and anonymous questionnaire which included questions about socio-demographic information, as well as the youth’s leisure activities, opinions, sources of information and communication with parents about love and sex. Schools arranged parental consent.

One in five of the students reported that they were sexually initiated (20.2 percent) but this was much more likely among those who believed there is no risk at all of contracting HIV if one has sex using a condom. Safe sex belief was more frequent among males than females, among Filipinos and Peruvians than among Salvadorians, among those with low or no religiosity, and among students attending public and coeducational schools, compared with private and single sex.

There was a similar correlation between believing condoms kept a girl safe from pregnancy, and becoming sexually active.

The authors comment:

“Some campaigns that promote condom use might be placing too much emphasis on their effectiveness, to the point of conveying the message that their protection is complete. Indeed, although agencies such as the WHO have used the term ‘safer’ sex instead of ‘safe’ sex for years, campaigns continue using the ‘safe sex’ message. [Examples are given] Ambiguous information only stressing condom safety may lead youth to think that sex using condoms is simply ‘safe sex’.”

Other research has shown that condom users have less interest in basic prevention measures such as delaying sexual initiation, avoiding casual sex or reducing the number of partners, which can undermine or cancel out the effect of using condoms. And this is the most likely interpretation of the reported behaviour of teenagers in the Project YOUR LIFE study.

The study is, by the way, the first of its type to test the relationship between safe sex belief and risk compensation behaviour among teenagers in three different developing countries. The authors conclude: “Overconfidence in condom effectiveness might indeed be contributing to the increase of sexual initiation among adolescents  from these countries, and these results could also be relevant in other settings.”

A decade ago, confronting the HIV/AIDS pandemic, leading public health experts published a consensus statement in The Lancet medical journal setting out priorities for prevention. When targeting young people, they ordered the priorities thus:

  • [F]or those who have not started sexual activity, encourage abstinence or delay of sexual onset 
  • After sexual debut, return to abstinence or be mutually faithful with an uninfected partner
  • For the sexually active, support correct and consistent condom use – which “lowers the risk of HIV (by about 80-90 percent for reported ‘always use’)” and of other STIs and pregnancy.

In recommending the expansion of prevention programmes in and out of school they also said that “parents should be supported in communicating their values and expectations about sexual behaviour.”

No mention of “safe sex” there. Why is it that more than 10 years later the use of this misleading and harmful catch-phrase by agencies targeting youth persists? Which of them gives priority to abstinence and delaying sexual activity? In the light of the latest findings on safe sex belief and risk taking among teenagers, the “Keep it safe, keep it sexy” approach is scientifically and morally indefensible.

Reprinted with permission from MerctorNet


  contraceptives, sex-education

Opinion

Princeton should treat Peter Singer like a racist

Racism is now forbidden territory. But oppressing the most weak and vulnerable humans is deemed respectable.
Thu Jun 18, 2015 - 2:27 pm EST
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Wesley J. Smith
By Wesley Smith

June 18, 2015 (National Review) -- In recent days, we have seen college professors forced out of their positions over relatively minor infractions of politically correct dogma.

But Peter Singer says all human beings should not be treated equally, indeed that some among us can be killed–and for that kind of pernicious advocacy, Princeton is all for academic freedom. 

That was the university’s response to the call by disability rights activists that Singer resign. From the Aleteia story:

Protestors from Not Dead Yet Pennsylvania and New Jersey centers for independent living, as well as groups representing parents of persons with disabilities, held a rally on the Princeton campus June 10, calling on the Ivy League school to address what they describe as Singer’s “hate speech” toward disabled people.

“Since about 1980, Singer has promoted public policy that would legalize the killing of disabled infants in the first month of life,” said Stephen Drake, Not Dead Yet’s research analyst and expert on Singer. “More recently, he has expanded his position in the context of health care rationing.”…

“We understand the importance of academic freedom,” said Alan Holdsworth of Not Dead Yet Pennsylvania. “But Princeton has a policy on ‘Respect for Others’ which ‘deplores expressions of hatred directed against any individual or group.’ If Singer’s comments about killing disabled babies don’t qualify as hatred toward a group, then I don’t know what does.”

One can speak in a soft-voiced passive lexicon, with a charming Aussie accent, and still be spouting hatred.

Here is Princeton’s response:

Princeton issued a statement saying it is “strongly committed to ensuring the academic freedom of members of its community and to ensuring that the campus is open to a wide variety of views.”

Right. But we all know the kinds of views Princeton would not protect.

I spoke at Princeton shortly after Singer received his prestigious appointment–offered by Princeton because he thinks some humans are killable and usable in experimentation based on supposed non-personhood, not in spite of it. I got very angry as I spoke and went off script–saying that bringing Singer to Princeton was like bringing David Duke–as anyone watching the video embedded above will see. 

During the Q and A (not shown in the video), a quite famous conservative professor chastised me, saying he believed in academic freedom. I asked him whether Princeton would ever hire the Nobel Laureate, the great physicist Dr. William Shockley–regardless of his scientific credentials–since the man was an outspoken racist. The professor admitted, no, it wouldn’t.

So, why should Singer be treated differently than a racist? 

As far as I know, Shockley didn’t call for killing black people like Singer has human non-persons. Shockley didn’t say that black people should be used in medical experiments in place of animals, as Singer has said some humans should be so used.

Here’s the difference: Racism–thank goodness–is now forbidden territory. But oppressing the most weak and vulnerable humans–e.g., personhood theory, where value is individually measured based on cognitive capacity–is deemed respectable. In fact, it is all the rage in academic bioethics.  

That is why Singer was brought to Princeton and given a respected tenured chair in bioethics, despite not having an academic Ph.D.

And that is also why he will never be asked to leave.

Reprinted with permission from National Review


  euthanasia, infanticide, peter singer, racism

Opinion

Strong marriage prep is essential to promote the Gospel of Life

If we are going to reclaim a proper understanding of natural marriage, then we must challenge and confront the ideology and environment in which our youth are being raised.
Thu Jun 18, 2015 - 2:08 pm EST
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Shutterstock.com
Fr. Shenan Boquet
By Fr. Shenan Boquet

June 18, 2015 (Human Life International) -- It has been my experience in my roles both as pastor and as president of HLI that most married couples are ill-prepared for the sacramental life they are called to live in Christ. There are a number of reasons for this unfortunate reality.

Foremost, parents and the Church have failed to form souls to love God and his commands. In most cases, the faith has not been passed forward to the next generation as our Lord commands (Deut 6:4ff), bringing us to this current crisis within the Church and society. As a result, the Culture of Death has made great strides in corrupting most adults seeking marriage because they do not comprehend the core requirements of fidelity, exclusivity, permanence, and fruitfulness within the marital union. In many cases their experience of sacramental marriage is limited or non-existent.

Because of the high rate of divorce, many young adults seeking marriage – or even those discerning a vocation to the priesthood – are emerging from broken homes, which affects their understanding of sacramental marriage and family life as God has constituted. There are also a very high percentage of young adults engaged in premarital sex, exhibiting and worsening their misunderstanding of sexuality. Moreover, many couples approaching the Church are cohabitating as if they’re married. When — and if they do marry — they are more likely than ever to marry outside their faith, as indicated by a recent poll from Pew Research.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, we have a tragic dilemma before us. Young people are not being raised in the same faith-based culture as my grandparents and parents. We cannot compare the preparation of couples of that generation to the drastically needed preparation of couples today. If we are going to reclaim a proper understanding of natural marriage, then we must challenge and confront the ideology and environment in which our youth are being raised. We must lovingly and firmly assist them to live their duty and responsibility in Christ and to strive for holiness in their vocation.

It is true that several dioceses have designed robust marriage preparation programs, and bishops have raised standards for those who hope to be married in the Church. Unfortunately, however, many marriage preparation programs are inadequate, as they are not focused on assisting the couple to faithfully live out their vocation. Instead of focusing on marriage, many couples focus exclusively on the details of the wedding: the bridal attire, flowers, and banquet.

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Catholic bishops and priests around the world must take seriously this responsibility to prepare young couples for a sacramental life in Christ. If we can reclaim this, then we can change the future! Children raised in homes open to life are more likely to receive the proper formation they need; and these same children will influence the culture around them and transform it as they become husbands and wives, religious, and priests. If we do not see the larger picture — the serious crisis in front of us that we must address — then divorces will continue, the number of cohabiting and same-sex couples will increase, and a childless society will usher in the death of traditional and natural societies around the world.

Finally, we must recognize that for many of those approaching the Church hoping to marry are not ready. We must be proactive in promoting chastity programs for young people. We must, as the Church faithful, claim the duty and responsibility to assist souls. This is the work of Human Life International, which began with Fr. Paul Marx’s vision to defend life, faith and family.

Therefore, pray that our bishops and priests will engage these issues and proactively support them whenever you can. Please pray for the success of HLI’s efforts to defend faith, life, and family. Finally, pray for a deeper love of God’s gift of natural marriage as the lifetime and faithful union of one man and one woman open to the transmission of life – and love.

Reprinted with permission from Human Life International


  catholic, marriage

Opinion

Transgenderism: A pathogenic meme

The central issue with all transgender subjects is one of assumption—the assumption that one’s sexual nature is misaligned with one’s biological sex.
Thu Jun 18, 2015 - 11:54 am EST
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Helga Esteb / Shutterstock.com
Paul McHugh
By

June 17, 2015 (ThePublicDiscourse) -- For forty years as the University Distinguished Service Professor of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins Medical School—twenty-six of which were also spent as Psychiatrist in Chief of Johns Hopkins Hospital—I’ve been studying people who claim to be transgender. Over that time, I’ve watched the phenomenon change and expand in remarkable ways.

A rare issue of a few men—both homosexual and heterosexual men, including some who sought sex-change surgery because they were erotically aroused by the thought or image of themselves as women—has spread to include women as well as men. Even young boys and girls have begun to present themselves as of the opposite sex. Over the last ten or fifteen years, this phenomenon has increased in prevalence, seemingly exponentially. Now, almost everyone has heard of or met such a person.

Publicity, especially from early examples such as “Christine” Jorgenson, “Jan” Morris, and “Renee” Richards, has promoted the idea that one’s biological sex is a choice, leading to widespread cultural acceptance of the concept. And, that idea, quickly accepted in the 1980s, has since run through the American public like a revelation or “meme” affecting much of our thought about sex.

The champions of this meme, encouraged by their alliance with the broader LGBT movement, claim that whether you are a man or a woman, a boy or a girl, is more of a disposition or feeling about yourself than a fact of nature. And, much like any other feeling, it can change at any time, and for all sorts of reasons. Therefore, no one could predict who would swap this fact of their makeup, nor could one justifiably criticize such a decision.

At Johns Hopkins, after pioneering sex-change surgery, we demonstrated that the practice brought no important benefits. As a result, we stopped offering that form of treatment in the 1970s. Our efforts, though, had little influence on the emergence of this new idea about sex, or upon the expansion of the number of “transgendered” among young and old.

Olympic Athlete Turned "Pin-Up" Girl

This history may clarify some aspects of the latest high-profile transgender claimant. Bruce Jenner, the 1976 Olympic decathlon champion, is turning away from his titular identity as one of the “world’s greatest male athletes.” Jenner announced recently that he “identifies as a woman” and, with medical and surgical help, is busy reconstructing his physique.

I have not met or examined Jenner, but his behavior resembles that of some of the transgender males we have studied over the years. These men wanted to display themselves in sexy ways, wearing provocative female garb. More often than not, while claiming to be a woman in a man’s body, they declared themselves to be “lesbians” (attracted to other women). The photograph of the posed, corseted, breast-boosted Bruce Jenner (a man in his mid-sixties, but flaunting himself as if a “pin-up” girl in her twenties or thirties) on the cover of Vanity Fair suggests that he may fit the behavioral mold that Ray Blanchard has dubbed an expression of “autogynephilia”—from gynephilia (attracted to women) and auto (in the form of oneself).

The Emperor’s New Clothes

But the meme—that your sex is a feeling, not a biological fact, and can change at any time—marches on through our society. In a way, it’s reminiscent of the Hans Christian Andersen tale, The Emperor’s New Clothes. In that tale, the Emperor, believing that he wore an outfit of special beauty imperceptible to the rude or uncultured, paraded naked through his town to the huzzahs of courtiers and citizens anxious about their reputations. Many onlookers to the contemporary transgender parade, knowing that a disfavored opinion is worse than bad taste today, similarly fear to identify it as a misapprehension.

I am ever trying to be the boy among the bystanders who points to what’s real. I do so not only because truth matters, but also because overlooked amid the hoopla—enhanced now by Bruce Jenner’s celebrity and Annie Leibovitz’s photography—stand many victims. Think, for example, of the parents whom no one—not doctors, schools, nor even churches—will help to rescue their children from these strange notions of being transgendered and the problematic lives these notions herald. These youngsters now far outnumber the Bruce Jenner type of transgender. Although they may be encouraged by his public reception, these children generally come to their ideas about their sex not through erotic interests but through a variety of youthful psychosocial conflicts and concerns.

First, though, let us address the basic assumption of the contemporary parade: the idea that exchange of one’s sex is possible. It, like the storied Emperor, is starkly, nakedly false. Transgendered men do not become women, nor do transgendered women become men. All (including Bruce Jenner) become feminized men or masculinized women, counterfeits or impersonators of the sex with which they “identify.” In that lies their problematic future.

When “the tumult and shouting dies,” it proves not easy nor wise to live in a counterfeit sexual garb. The most thorough follow-up of sex-reassigned people—extending over thirty years and conducted in Sweden, where the culture is strongly supportive of the transgendered—documents their lifelong mental unrest. Ten to fifteen years after surgical reassignment, the suicide rate of those who had undergone sex-reassignment surgery rose to twenty times that of comparable peers.

How to Treat Gender Dysphoria

So how should we make sense of this matter today? As with any mental phenomenon, what’s crucial is noting its fundamental characteristic and then identifying the many ways in which that characteristic can manifest itself.

The central issue with all transgender subjects is one of assumption—the assumption that one’s sexual nature is misaligned with one’s biological sex. This problematic assumption comes about in several different ways, and these distinctions in its generation determine how to manage and treat it.

Based on the photographic evidence one might guess Bruce Jenner falls into the group of men who come to their disordered assumption through being sexually aroused by the image of themselves as women. He could have been treated for this misaligned arousal with psychotherapy and medication. Instead, he found his way to surgeons who worked him over as he wished. Others have already commented on his stereotypic caricature of women as decorative “babes” (“I look forward to wearing nail polish until it chips off,” he said to Diane Sawyer)—a view that understandably infuriates feminists—and his odd sense that only feelings, not facts, matter here.

For his sake, however, I do hope that he receives regular, attentive follow-up care, as his psychological serenity in the future is doubtful. Future men with similar feelings and intentions should be treated for those feelings rather than being encouraged to undergo bodily changes. Group therapies are now available for them.

Most young boys and girls who come seeking sex-reassignment are utterly different from Jenner. They have no erotic interest driving their quest. Rather, they come with psychosocial issues—conflicts over the prospects, expectations, and roles that they sense are attached to their given sex—and presume that sex-reassignment will ease or resolve them.

The grim fact is that most of these youngsters do not find therapists willing to assess and guide them in ways that permit them to work out their conflicts and correct their assumptions. Rather, they and their families find only “gender counselors” who encourage them in their sexual misassumptions.

Those with Gender Dysphoria Need Evidence-Based Care

There are several reasons for this absence of coherence in our mental health system. Important among them is the fact that both the state and federal governments are actively seeking to block any treatments that can be construed as challenging the assumptions and choices of transgendered youngsters. “As part of our dedication to protecting America’s youth, this administration supports efforts to ban the use of conversion therapy for minors,” said Valerie Jarrett, a senior advisor to President Obama.

In two states, a doctor who would look into the psychological history of a transgendered boy or girl in search of a resolvable conflict could lose his or her license to practice medicine. By contrast, such a physician would not be penalized if he or she started such a patient on hormones that would block puberty and might stunt growth.

What is needed now is public clamor for coherent science—biological and therapeutic science—examining the real effects of these efforts to “support” transgendering. Although much is made of a rare “intersex” individual, no evidence supports the claim that people such as Bruce Jenner have a biological source for their transgender assumptions. Plenty of evidence demonstrates that with him and most others, transgendering is a psychological rather than a biological matter.

In fact, gender dysphoria—the official psychiatric term for feeling oneself to be of the opposite sex—belongs in the family of similarly disordered assumptions about the body, such as anorexia nervosa and body dysmorphic disorder. Its treatment should not be directed at the body as with surgery and hormones any more than one treats obesity-fearing anorexic patients with liposuction. The treatment should strive to correct the false, problematic nature of the assumption and to resolve the psychosocial conflicts provoking it. With youngsters, this is best done in family therapy.

The larger issue is the meme itself. The idea that one’s sex is fluid and a matter open to choice runs unquestioned through our culture and is reflected everywhere in the media, the theater, the classroom, and in many medical clinics. It has taken on cult-like features: its own special lingo, internet chat rooms providing slick answers to new recruits, and clubs for easy access to dresses and styles supporting the sex change. It is doing much damage to families, adolescents, and children and should be confronted as an opinion without biological foundation wherever it emerges.

But gird your loins if you would confront this matter. Hell hath no fury like a vested interest masquerading as a moral principle.

Paul McHugh, MD, is University Distinguished Service Professor of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins Medical School and the former psychiatrist in chief at Johns Hopkins Hospital. He is the author of The Mind Has Mountains: Reflections on Society and PsychiatryReprinted with permission from The Witherspoon Institute


  bruce jenner, transgenderism

Opinion

Breaking down America’s declining abortion numbers

Increased technology, medical knowledge, and social support allows traditionally marginalized women—teenagers, minorities, and those with unintended pregnancies—the choice to give birth.
Thu Jun 18, 2015 - 11:54 am EST
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Shutterstock.com
Christina Hadford
By

June 17, 2015 (FRCBlog) -- Although recent AP reports that abortion is on the decline shocked many, past studies have well documented this trend. For instance, last June the Marriage and Religion Research Institute (MARRI) released its Family and Social Trendlines to consolidate federal data on family issues. A series of charts from this report will help contextualize the AP’s findings.

As Chart 1 shows, abortion procurement peaked in the early 90’s and has declined since. In fact, the number of abortions in 2008 was lower than the number of abortions in 1977.

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A closer look at abortion demographics in the past two decades reveals the nature of this decline. Chart 2 breaks down the abortion rate by the age of the mother. Between 1990 and 2008:

  • 15- to 17-year-olds: Abortions decreased from 26.5 to 10.4 abortions per 1,000 women
  • 18- to 19-year-olds: Abortions decreased from 57.9 to 28.6 abortions per 1,000 women
  • 20- to 24-year-olds: Abortions decreased from 56.7 to 38.4 abortions per 1,000 women
  • 25- to 29-year-olds: Abortions decreased from 33.9 to 28.6 abortions per 1,000 women
  • 30- to 34-year-olds: Abortions decreased from 19.7 to 18.4 abortions per 1,000 women
  • 35- to 39-year-olds: Abortions decreased from 10.8 to 10.2 abortions per 1,000 women
  • 40- to 44-year-olds: Abortions increased from 3.2 to 3.4 abortions per 1,000 women

Especially noteworthy is the sharp decline in abortions for teens. For both 15- to 17-year-olds and 18- to 19-year-olds, abortion procurement was cut by more than half. Abortions to 20- to 24-year-olds, the age group obtaining the most abortions, also significantly dropped.

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Likewise, the U.S. abortion rate declined for every race/ ethnicity, especially for Blacks and Hispanics (see Chart 3 below). Between 1993 and 2008:

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  • The abortion rate among Black unmarried women decreased from 81.2 to 60.9 abortions per 1,000 women.
  • The abortion rate among Hispanic unmarried women decreased from 60.6 to 39.3 abortions per 1,000 women.
  • The total abortion rate among unmarried women decreased from 43.1 to 30.7 abortions per 1,000 women.
  • The abortion rate among White unmarried women decreased from 33.9 to 22.7 abortions per 1,000 women.

A comparison of Charts 4 and 5 provide a core insight into abortion trends. Between 1990 and 2008, the rate of pregnancies, live births, abortions, and miscarriages to married women remained relatively stable. In other words, married women have not significantly affected abortion rates.

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However, that is not the case for unmarried women. In fact, in the early 90’s—around the same time abortion numbers began declining—the ratio of women who gave birth to women who had an abortion swapped. By 1993, more women chose to have their baby than women who chose to abort him/ her. This gap has progressively widened since the early 90’s.

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Although the surge of unmarried women who decide to carry their pregnancy to term may not be the only factor affecting abortion numbers, it is certainly a vital demographic trend that cannot be ignored. This trend is not entirely surprising. As FRC expert, Arina Grossu, points out, increased technology, medical knowledge, and social support allows traditionally marginalized women—teenagers, minorities, and those with unintended pregnancies—the choice to give birth. This is, indeed, a profound and momentous advancement for women in America.

Reprinted with permission from Family Research Council


  abortion