All articles from December 04, 2017


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Father Stephen Imbarrato speaks to pro-life activists on December 2, 2017. Claire Chretien / LifeSiteNews
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Priest arrested inside abortion center: ‘mass murder’ of unborn must end

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Julia Haag (right) and Joan McKee hold the red roses before distributing them inside the abortion center. Claire Chretien / LifeSiteNews
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The building in which Steve Bringham operates also houses a D.C. Health Department immunizations office. Claire Chretien / LifeSiteNews

WASHINGTON, D.C., December 4, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – The Catholic priest who was arrested ministering to women inside an abortion center Saturday said he hopes this latest “Red Rose Rescue” will “motivate more people” to “reflect on what is a minimally proportional response to state-sanctioned mass murder of the unborn.”

Father Stephen Imbarrato of Priests for Life spoke with LifeSiteNews before and after his arrest inside a Washington, D.C. abortion facility operated by Steven Bringham at 6323 Georgia Ave NW, Suite 210. Imbarrato, along with Julia Haag and Joan McKee, entered the abortion center on Saturday to give red roses to abortion-minded moms and encourage them to choose life.

At least two women chose life at this Red Rose Rescue.

Police allowed the three activists to stay inside the building’s common areas and hallways talking to the women. They only arrested them when they entered the abortion facility waiting room.

There were so many women there for abortions that they were spilling out into the hallway.

Bringham is one of the country’s most notorious abortionists.

In 2012, he was charged with five counts of first-degree murder, five counts of second-degree murder, and one count of conspiracy to commit murder.

When Maryland police raided a “secret clinic” operated by Bringham, they discovered a freezer full of aborted babies. One was as old as 36 weeks. Bringham wasn’t licensed to commit abortions in Maryland.

As Cheryl Sullenger of Operation Rescue wrote at the time:

Because Brigham was never licensed to practice in Maryland, his participation in the abortions in Elkton was a violation of a criminal statute related to the unlicensed practice of medicine. The Cecil County State Attorney’s office determined that the deaths of the viable babies discovered in Brigham’s filthy freezer qualified for murder charges, since they were killed during the commission of a crime.

‘I’ve kind of been itching for something real to do for years’

Imbarrato said that the police letting them counsel women inside the building, which is open to the general public, showed that in some cases the “sidewalk” may extend further than people think it does. He also said there are ways of being involved with the Red Rose Rescues that don’t involve risking arrest.

The priest, who himself is post-abortive, said the Red Rose Rescue was a “manifestation” of the country’s need for President Trump to issue an executive order declaring that the pre-born in the womb are human persons.

“I truly believe President Trump will issue such an order in 2018,” said Imbarrato. “I ask everyone reading this to contact the President and likewise encourage him to declare babies in the womb constitutionally protected persons from fertilization.”

“As a Catholic priest who is a great grandpa of a four-month old-baby, a grandfather of four, an adoptive father of a son who committed suicide three years ago, and the father of two babies who died from abortion decades ago, I cherish all life as unique, precious, and unrepeatable from fertilization,” said Imbarrato.

“Being involved in the Red Rose Rescue movement is something I feel compelled to do in good conscience after much prayer and discernment,” he explained. He said he hopes “preborn child killing” will be brought “to an end very quickly.”

Linda Mueller, a mother of six who was arrested at the Alexandria, Virginia Red Rose Rescue on Saturday morning, told LifeSiteNews the experience was “incredible.”

Mueller “had read about Mary Wagner, and I thought it was Canada years ago” and that nothing similar was taking place in the United States.

“I’ve kind of been itching for something real to do for years,” she said. She saw Imbarrato’s Facebook posts about the rescues and showed her husband.

“And he’s like ‘honey, go for it,’” she recalled. She said the treatment she and others received from the police was “excellent.”

The “Rescue” movement began during the early days of the pro-life movement. It was normal for pro-life activists to enter abortion facilities to counsel women and even chain themselves to abortion equipment to prevent abortions from occurring. Many babies were saved this way.

Then, President Clinton signed the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act, which makes it a federal crime to physically block women from obtaining abortions.

So far, no one in any of the Red Rose Rescues has been charged with violating FACE.

The pro-life activists and priests who conducted the first Red Rose Rescue in Alexandria in September 2017 were found guilty of trespassing. They each received a $500 suspended fine and were found not guilty of obstruction of justice. They faced the obstruction of justice charge for peacefully resisting arrest.

Imbarrato, McKee, and Haag were all participants in the September rescue.

Lauren Handy, the 24-year-old who heads Mercy Missions, participated in Saturday’s Alexandria rescue along with Mueller and Michael Webb.

The trio will appear in court for this on December 11.

The “D.C. three” of Imbarrato, McKee, and Haag are scheduled to appear for arraignment on December 28, the Feast Day of the Holy Innocents.

After their arrest, the trio was transferred from the precinct's holding cells to a jail. They originally thought they’d have to wait until Monday morning for arraignment but were let out early Sunday morning.

Imbarrato told LifeSiteNews during their transfer to the jail, the pro-life activists prayed the rosary.

“We got there about midnight, just as Advent was starting,” he said.

 
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Mary Wagner
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LifeSite tried to boost this pro-life heroine’s story online. But Facebook banned it

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Court-provided image disallowed by Facebook Attorney general of Ontario

Monday, December 4, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — Facebook has refused an advertisement request by LifeSiteNews for a story it published on Canadian pro-life activist Mary Wagner. The refusal was related to a court-provided image, unedited by LifeSite that was used to promote the story. Facebook claimed the ad violated Facebook Advertising Policies but refused to specify exactly how it violated their policies.

In December 2016, Wagner entered the Bloor West Village Women’s Clinic in Toronto to persuade pregnant women to choose life. She was forcibly removed from the abortion center by the abortion ‘doctor’ and an employee. The act was caught on the clinic’s security camera. Wagner was charged with and eventually convicted of breach of probation and mischief.

During Wagner’s trial, a Canadian judge disallowed not only the names of the facility’s staff from being released to the public but the security camera video as well. LifeSiteNews challenged that ruling and on November 2nd won the right to publish a court-edited version of the video that hides the identities of the abortion center staff.

On Friday, November 3, LifeSiteNews published a story titled “EXCLUSIVE: Video shows ‘doctor’ dragging pro-life activist out of abortion center.”

The report included the video recorded by the security camera. It also used a screenshot from the video as its header image. That image, with the employee’s face edited out by the court, is below. 

On Friday, November 3, the marketing team at LifeSiteNews shared the Wagner story to Facebook. The marketing team then submitted a request for $100 dollars for Facebook to ‘boost’ or promote the story.

Soon after the request was made, LifeSiteNews received a message from Facebook informing them that the post would not be promoted because the ad violated Facebook Advertising Policies.

The message Facebook sent LifeSiteNews read as follows:

Your ad wasn't approved because it doesn't follow our Advertising Policies. Ad images must fully and honestly represent the subject being advertised. An image that uses cropping or inappropriately placed arrows to entice users to click is against our policy.

How to fix: We recommend using a different image that fully represents the subject being promoted.

If you think your ad follows our Advertising Policies, you can appeal this disapproval.

After a careful study of Facebook Advertising Policies, LifeSiteNews appealed the decision, writing to Facebook:

We feel the image used for the story accurately reflects not only the subject of the story but, seeing how it is an actual image of the person the story is about, it is obvious that it fully represents the subject being promoted. In no way is it misleading, deceptive, or unrelated to the story itself.

Facebook responded with an email to LifeSiteNews later in the day on November 3, stating:

What’s wrong with my ad?

It looks like the image being used in your ad is against Facebook's Advertising Policies.

Why doesn't Facebook allow this?

The content advertised by this ad is prohibited. We reserve the right to determine what advertising we accept, and we may choose not to accept ads containing or relating to certain products or services. We won't allow the creation of any further Facebook ads for this product.

How to fix?

Try editing your ad by following the policy guidelines mentioned above through Ads Manager here. You can also check out Facebook Blueprint, which allows you to go through our self-paced e-learning module on Facebook's Advertising Policies.

Seeing how Facebook’s response simultaneously states that “the image” is “against” their policies and that “the content advertised” in the ad is “prohibited,” LifeSiteNews decided to ask for clarification as to what the specific offense actually was -- the image, the content, the headline, something else?

Utilizing Facebook’s “Report a Problem” messaging system, LifeSiteNews wrote, on Monday, November 6, the following to the company:

On Friday, November 3rd, LifeSiteNews attempted to boost a story about a facility that provides abortion services. Our ad was denied. We were told that the ad did not pass Facebook guidelines. We appealed this decision. Our appeal was met with a response indicating yet again the ad was not appropriate and that it violated Facebook's standards. But we are left unsure as to what specifically was inappropriate about the ad and what exact guidelines were violated. Our appeal number is #10100106172187661. Can you please clarify to us what exactly is inadmissible about this ad and what specific part of the Facebook standards it violates? Thank you

Facebook did not respond to this request.

LifeSiteNews decided to reach out to the Facebook Advertising department by calling (800) 741-7060 on the morning of Wednesday, November 8, to see if a further explanation could be given.

No one answered LifeSiteNews’ call. A voicemail was left asking why the promotion was refused. LifeSiteNews did not receive a callback.

Another call was placed to Facebook’s Advertising department on Monday, November 13. This call was not answered. LifeSiteNews left another voicemail message seeking clarification. LifeSiteNews did not receive a callback.

LifeSiteNews proceeded to submit another advertisement for the story, thinking that perhaps the promotion was refused by an employee relying on an overzealous interpretation of Facebook’s policies. The second request for a  promotion of the story costing $100 was completed on Wednesday, November 15.

Soon after the request was made, LifeSiteNews received a message from Facebook informing them the advertisement would not be allowed. The message was identical to the message LifeSiteNews received the first time the promotion was refused.

LifeSiteNews immediately appealed this denial, writing to Facebook:

LifeSite News is appealing this decision because it does not know which part of Facebook's guidelines this ad violates. The image itself is neither deceitful, misleading or unrelated to the story. Can you please cite the specific section of Facebook's advertising policy that this ad violates? Is the image itself what violates a particular part of Facebook's policy or is it something else, like the headline, that is causing it to not be able to be promoted?

LifeSiteNews has not received a response regarding its second appeal for the promotion of the report. Nor has it received a phone call from the Facebook Advertising department explaining which specific part of Facebook’s Advertising Policies the advertisement violates.

Facebook’s decision to reject LifeSiteNews’ request seems to be part of a much larger trend that has emerged in the tech industry over the past several years directly targeting pro-life, pro-family organizations.

Google, for instance, recently fired an employee who pointed out men are different than women. Apple removed a pro-life prayer app from its App Store after pro-abortionists complained about it. Apple also donated $1 million to the hateful, anti-conservative Southern Poverty Law Center.

YouTube has de-monetized thousands of videos made by prominent social conservatives. Twitter censored an ad exposing Planned Parenthood that was produced by pro-life Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn. Twitter said the ad was “inflammatory” and “negative.” Facebook also recently blocked a Michigan Right to Life affiliate’s advertisement.

Countless other examples of these corporations targeting pro-life, pro-family values can be found by searching the archives of LifeSiteNews.com.

The current chair of the United States Federal Communications Commission, Ajit Pai, has taken notice of social media’s attacks on conservatives.

In a recent speech delivered at a symposium in Washington D.C., Pai, an advocate of rolling back Obama-era “net neutrality” rules, said “when it comes to an open Internet, Twitter is part of the problem.”

“The company has a viewpoint,” he added, “and uses that viewpoint to discriminate.” Pai drew attention to Twitter’s blocking of Congresswoman Blackburn’s Planned Parenthood ad as an example.

 
 
 
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‘Pray Prince George be Gay’ urges Anglican leader

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GLASGOW, SCOTLAND, December 4, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) -- A leading Anglican has urged British Christians to pray that four-year-old Prince George becomes a homosexual.

The Very Reverend Kelvin Holdsworth posted a prayer request on his blog, hoping that if Prince George became homosexual then the Church of England might officially recognize same-sex “marriage.”

The provost of St. Mary’s Cathedral in Glasgow proposes “How to change the Church of England” would be to intercede “for the Lord to bless Prince George with a love, when he grows up, of a fine young gentleman.”

Holdsworth even advocates that people openly pray “in public if they dare” for Prince George to be same-sex attracted.

“A royal wedding might sort things out remarkably easily though we might have to wait 25 years for that to happen,” Holdsworth hoped.  “Who knows whether that might be sooner than things might work out by other means?”

“To use prayer as a mechanism for wishing this on Prince George is an unkind and destructive thing to do,” former royal chaplain to the Queen Rev. Gavin Ashenden told BBC News.  “It doesn’t have the prince’s best interests at heart, but uses him as a gender-political football to please 1.7% of the population.”

“What is especially odd and incongruous is the fact that it is suddenly OK to pray for someone to be gay, but totally unacceptable to pray for them to be free from being gay and to resume a sexuality that was in tune with their biology,” Rev. Ashenden, a Christian Episcopal Church missionary bishop, added.  “This seems not only contradictory but hypocritical.”

Ashenden also pointed out that such a “prayer” would “would disable and undermine (Prince George’s) constitutional and personal role” and run contrary to his express aim as a monarch to carry on the royal line.

The Bishop of Glasgow and Galloway, the Right Rev. Dr. Gregor Duncan, disavowed Holdsworth’s sentiments.  “The views expressed there are his personal ones,” the bishop noted.  “They do not represent an official view of the Scottish Episcopal Church, nor are they ones with which I would concur.  I will be discussing this matter with Provost Holdsworth.”

Prince George is third in line to be king.  Should he ascend to the throne, he would also the head of the Church of England.

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Ontario politician proposes hospice reform bill as assisted suicide rates soar

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TORONTO, December 4, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – An Ontario Conservative MP has proposed a bill that would mandate the province to focus on improving access to hospice palliative care. The bill comes as euthanasia and assisted suicide rates continue to climb steeply across Canada. 

Euthanasia opponents are lauding Ontario Conservative MPP Sam Oosterhoff for his private member’s bill that mandates a provincial palliative care strategy.

And they are urging Ontarians to lobby MPPs to support the legislation.

Oosterhoff tabled Bill 182, or the Compassionate Care Act, last week. 

It gives the Liberal government a year to “develop a provincial framework designed to support improved access to hospice palliative care.”

The bill specifies that the provincial strategy encompasses hospice palliative care provided “through hospitals, home care, long-term care homes and hospices.”

Oosterhoff has set up a website ontariopalliativecare.ca that explains his legislation and documents the need for palliative care.

“Ontario needs 1,300 hospice and palliative care beds. We currently have only 341 of these beds available in the entire province,” the website states. 

Ontarians can also use the website to urge MPPs to support Bill 182, which is scheduled for second reading debate December 14, the last day before Queen’s Park adjourns for two months.

“Bill 182 is a step in the right direction in order to mitigate the damage that legalized euthanasia and assisted-suicide is spreading across our nation,” says Jim Hughes, national president of Campaign Life Coalition.

“Proper palliative care is vital in providing the type of compassionate care that those who suffer deserve. It acknowledges their inherent dignity and value as human beings.”

Alex Schadenberg, executive director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, echoed this.

Not just Ontario, but Canada as a whole lacks a palliative care strategy, so access to such care varies widely from community to community, “so it’s a very bad situation,” Schadenberg told LifeSiteNews.

He reiterated there’s not enough palliative care to meet the need.

“The Canadian Palliative Care Association estimated only 30 percent of Canadians have access to good palliative care, and that’s simply insufficient,” Schadenberg said.

Euthanasia advocates insist euthanasia is “all about choice and autonomy, which, of course, is a big lie,” he said. “But to suggest that, and not give access to good palliative care doesn’t make a lot of sense.”

Canada legalized assisted suicide and euthanasia in June 2016, and the province of Quebec in December 2015. 

Since that time, Health Canada has reported 2,149 Canadians have been killed by medical means, of these, “all but five” were euthanized, Schadenberg reported in October 2017. 

“We fully support Sam Oosterhoff’s bill and we are hoping that all parties can come to agree on this and get it through quickly,” he told LifeSiteNews.

This is the first private member’s bill for Oosterhoff, a Christian homeschooled former political science major who made history when he won the Niagara West-Glanbrook by-election at age 19 to become the province’s youngest ever MPP.

Oosterhoff has maintained a solid pro-life and pro-family voting record since arriving at Queen’s Park in November 2016, according to Campaign Life Coalition.

He spoke out in the legislature October 4 against the “tragic reality” that Icelanders were aborting all their Down Syndrome babies.

“Earlier this year, the American broadcaster CBS reported that Iceland is eliminating Down Syndrome through the use of abortion. CBS reported that almost 100 percent of unborn children diagnosed with Down syndrome are aborted in Iceland,” Oosterhoff told the legislature. 

“The reality is that Iceland is not eliminating Down Syndrome; they are eliminating people.” 

After the PC Party under leader Patrick Brown agreed with the NDP and Liberals to fast-track Bill 163, the sweeping “bubble zone” legislation outlawing pro-life witness within 50 to 150 meters of Ontario’s eight abortion centers, Oosterhoff was absent for votes on legislation.

To send a letter to your MPP in support Bill 182, go here.

 
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Italian doctor who called homosexuality a ‘health hazard’ cleared in defamation case

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December 4, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – An Italian Catholic doctor accused by LGBT activists of defamation after she highlighted in a Facebook post the skyrocketing rates of sexually transmitted disease among homosexuals has been found not guilty. 

LGBT group Torino Pride had made the accusation against Dr. Silvana De Mari, alleging that in declaring homosexuality a “health hazard” she had defamed homosexuals. 

De Mari, a surgeon and psychotherapist, was acquitted on the grounds that it would be impossible to ascertain who would have suffered injury because of her broad statement. De Mari said in her defense that it was clear that homosexuality was not a normal condition, referencing her own expertise, Breitbart reports.

“I have three specialties: psychotherapy, medicine and surgery,” she said. “I have been taking care of homosexual persons for 40 years.”

De Mari had stated in her original Facebook post: 

The recent numerous epidemics of primary-secondary syphilis registered especially in Western Europe have as main risk factors: homosexuality (45–90%). ... As confirmed by literature, the co-infection of syphilis-HIV in homosexuals goes from 10% to 70% in many clinical studies. ... While we wait until the authors of these studies are accused of homophobia and expelled from their respective medical boards, we need to acknowledge that if the health hazard involved in male homo-erotic behavior is serious now, we can only imagine what it was like before antibiotics and condoms. ...​

The Italian Public Prosecutor ruled De Mari’s statements did not comprise defamation since it would be impossible to identify the defamed parties, the decision coming after months of deliberation.
De Mari, a 64-year-old doctor, psychotherapist and children’s author, had stated her theory on homosexuality publicly before, often in an uncompromising fashion.

But her stance became more of an issue after a Facebook post she made in January of this year on the disturbing rates of sexually transmitted diseases among active homosexuals.

The post prompted a call for an interview from Italian radio show La Zanzara, according to a Church Militant report, followed by heated response and two follow-up interviews.

In the course of speaking with the radio station, De Mari forthrightly discussed threats to freedom of speech from the LGBT movement and spoke in further detail about the serious damage homosexual acts do to the human body. She’d said as well that, “gays live a tragic condition.”

De Mari has also condemned pedophilia, telling the Catholic daily La Croce around the same time earlier his year that, "Pedophilia is expanding, and the victims are always younger and younger." 

"Do you see what is happening today with our total indifference?" she queried. "Mankind has gone from papal infallibility to the infallibility of the American Psychiatric Association. If they establish that homosexuality isn't a disorder of nature, they can very well establish that neither is pedophilia."

LGBT activists accused De Mari of instigating social hatred and homophobia.

An Italian association of LGBT lawyers and activists demanded De Mari's suspension from the Torino Board of Physicians for "employing her skills against the right of homosexual patients." An online petition supported the demand, and the Board of Physicians would begin disciplinary action against her in January.

De Mari’s Facebook page was also blocked, and LGBT activists contacted her editor to get her dismissed. 

Word then surfaced in mid-March of the defamation investigation.

The lawyer representing Torino Pride in the complaint against De Mari, Nicolò Ferraris, has maintained De Mari had no right to state an idea that many people find offensive.

“The offenses pronounced publicly by De Mari are aimed at LGBT movements and not only at LGBT people,” he said, “and they are not opinions but offenses.”

 
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Peruvians protest gender ideology in schools.
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Victory for Peruvian parents as schools remove gender ideology from schools

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LIMA, Peru, December 4, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) -- Following protests of over a million Peruvians, the Peruvian government has withdrawn a national school curriculum denounced by parents for its inclusion of gender ideology.

Peru’s Department of Education announced in a November 24 statement that the 2009 version of the National Curriculum would be reinstated in the nation’s schools. The 2009 curriculum does not have the gender ideology elements contained in the 2016 version approved for 2017.

The parents’ group organized under the hashtag #ConMisHijosNoTeMetas (Don’t you mess with my children) called the move “new victory for parents.”

Population Research Institute’s Latin American researcher Sergio Burga concurred in a statement to ACI Prensa translated by National Catholic Register, saying that the Department of Education’s decision to reverse 2016 curriculum was “a great victory for the thousands of parents represented by #ConMisHijosNoTeMetas.”

Peru’s Department of Education had approved the 2017 National Curriculum for Basic Education in late 2016 amidst criticism from parents, teachers and the Catholic Church, along with a number of Christian groups in the country.

The #ConMisHijosNoTeMetas group organized marches in March 2017, assembling more than 1.5 million Peruvians to protest against gender ideology.

The Peruvian bishops’ conference (Conferencia Episcopal Peruana) was among those critical of the Education Department’s new curriculum for its inclusion of “concepts which do not proceed from the Constitution, but rather are taken from so-called gender ideology.”

In August, Peru’s Superior Court of Justice ruled in favor of another parents group, Parents in Action (Padres en Acción), which had sued the Department of Education, arguing that the curriculum was a move to indoctrinate schoolchildren with gender ideology.

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Illinois taxpayers sue state over controversial bill expanding abortion coverage

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SPRINGFIELD, Illinois, December 4, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) -- A taxpayer lawsuit against the state of Illinois is challenging a new law that uses public funds for abortion.

Illinois Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner broke his promises to pro-lifers when he signed into law at the end of September legislation (House Bill 40) to expand taxpayer-subsidized abortions. 

The complaint was made by the Thomas More Society (TMS) on behalf of Illinois taxpayers who do not want their hard earned money to be used to fund as many as 30,000 abortions a year. 

“The people of Illinois totally reject taxpayer-funded abortions,” State Rep. Peter Breen (48th District), who also serves as TMS Special Counsel and who drafted the lawsuit, stated. “Under HB 40, Illinoisans will be forced to pay for 20,000 to 30,000 abortions per year.”

Numerous Illinois legislators, nearly a dozen county and state pro-life organizations, and the Springfield Catholic Diocese joined the suit, filed in the Sangamon County Circuit Court last week.

HB 40 requires tax dollars pay for abortion-on-demand for anyone on Medicaid and for all insured state employees. It offers no gestational limit to funding elective abortions and it applies “through the full nine months of pregnancy and for any reason, even when the latest scientific research has shown that the unborn child can feel pain and survive outside the womb,” a TMS press release notes.

HB 40 also states no limit to the number of abortions to be tax funded. The estimate of up to 30,000 abortions per year funded by taxpayers may be low. 

Further complicating matters is the fact that HB 40 sets no maximum limit to the amount the state will pay for each abortion. This means that the Department of Healthcare and Family Services’ reported cost of up to $1000 for each Medicaid abortion may be low as well.

Using these possibly low figures, HB 40 is estimated to cost taxpayers up to thirty million dollars.

“Regardless of your feelings about abortion, it is incredibly fiscally irresponsible to enact a law designed to spend millions of dollars that Illinois does not have,” Rep. Breen explained.  

“The state legislative process has steps that must be correctly followed in order to prevent budget-busting laws like this from being ramrodded through,” Breen said. “It is part of our civic process of checks and balances.”

The suit charges that the state General Assembly had not budgeted for the pro-abortion legislation and violated the Balanced Budget dictates of the Illinois Constitution in passing the bill.

“Even apart from the sincere moral objections that many folks have to paying for abortions, there is no money in this year’s Illinois state budget to pay for them,” Rep. Breen explained.

Secondly, the suit charges that HB 40 did not make the constitutional cut-off date for legislation to go into effect at the beginning of the next calendar year.

“Because of games played by Senate Democrats in holding HB 40 until late September, after the May 31 cutoff for legislative action, this bill can’t be effective until June 1, not January 1,” Breen added.

The taxpayer complaint asks the court to block state funding for HB 40.

Illinois allows individual taxpayer lawsuits to challenge state expenditures after a petition hearing. The petition hearing for this TMS suit is set for Thursday, December 7, at 10:30 a.m. before Associate Judge Brian T. Otwell at the Sangamon County Courthouse.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois backed the bill. Director of Public Policy Ed Yohnka compared providing abortions with providing knee replacements.  

In commenting on legislators’ need to budget provisions for HB 40’s 30,000 abortions, Yohnka said, “That’s like saying the General Assembly has to appropriate money for knee replacements.”

Fifteen states spend taxes to pay for Medicaid abortions, some only because a judge forced them to.  Previous to HB 40, Illinois only paid for abortions in cases of rape, incest, or danger to the mother’s health.

The petition for the taxpayer lawsuit may be read here.

 
 
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Giant ‘prayer walk’ causes over 50% drop in killings at abortion center

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CHARLOTTE, North Carolina, December 4, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – Thousands of pro-lifers prayed around their city’s busiest abortion center on Saturday, causing a significant reduction in the day’s abortions.

The “prayer walk” was organized by Love Life Charlotte, which focuses on “uniting and mobilizing the church to create a culture of love and life that will bring an end to abortion in Charlotte.”

The participants of Love Life Charlotte been praying at A Preferred Women’s Health Center on Latrobe Drive for the past 39 weeks. Saturday marked the final week of their 40-week prayer campaign, which they say is based on the number of weeks from conception to birth.

According to Robin Marty at the pro-abortion news site Rewire, “the number of protesters was more than enough to drop the clinic's full Saturday roster to less than half of the typical number of patients it sees.”

“As of the beginning of November, the clinic had already seen 12,000 protesters this year—with at least two events drawing more than 1,000 protesters each,” Marty reported.

There were so many pro-lifers that “clinic escorts and reproductive rights allies” came all the way “from Kentucky and Alabama” to try to steer abortion-minded women away from the pro-lifers and into the abortion facility.

Sunday’s prayer walk was “just the beginning of our work to bring a culture of love and life to Charlotte,” said Justin Reeder, Founder of Love Life Charlotte. He said more than 100 churches participated.

“With the help of our ministry partners, Love Life Charlotte has provided housing, jobs, baby showers, mentoring and additional resources to many of the 814 families that have chosen life on the sidewalks on Latrobe Drive over the last two years,” Reeder explained. “In 2017 Love Life Charlotte expanded our outreach to bring hope to hopeless children through our Orphan Care Ministry focused on foster care and adoption options.”

Photos of the event can be viewed on Marty’s flickr page and at the Love Life Charlotte Facebook page.

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Members of the Red Rose Rescue team: (L to R) Julia Haag, Father Stephen Imbarrato, Joan McKee. Dec. 2, 2017. Claire Chretien / LifeSiteNews
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Catholic priest, pro-lifers arrested for witnessing inside U.S. abortion centers

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December 4, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) -- Eleven pro-lifers were arrested Saturday, Dec. 2 in the second Red Rose Rescue. The pro-life defense of the unborn took place in three different clinics: Stephen Brigham’s Capital Women's Services 6323 Georgia Ave NW Suite 210, Washington, DC, the Alexandria Women’s Health Clinic 101 S Whiting St, Alexandria, VA, and the Women’s Center Clinic 6765 Orchard Lake Rd, West Bloomfield Township, MI. owned by abortionist Jacob Kalo. 

Father Stephen Imbarrato of Priests for Life joined two others, Julia Haag and Joan McKee and entered the D.C. clinic at 2:15 in the afternoon. They were confronted by a totally-packed waiting room—so packed indeed that other women scheduled for abortions were forced to wait in the outside hallway in the building that houses the center. They were able to distribute red roses to all those inside the clinic, offering words of encouragement not to abort their babies. Clinic staff however rounded up all the women and “sequestered” them behind the reception area. The pro-lifers then simply went out into the hallway and continued to talk to the women waiting there.

Soon however, the women inside the clinic were allowed to re-enter the waiting room area and the pro-lifers went back into the clinic to speak to them again.  Washington, D.C. police finally arrived and warned the pro-lifers that they were trespassing on private property. By now they had already been inside either the clinic or hallway for over an hour. 

The pro-lifers went back to the hallway where women scheduled for abortions were still gathered.  The D.C. police officers then made a stunning decision. They allowed the three Red Rose Rescuers to stay in the hallway as long as they were not told to leave by the owner/occupant of the building!  Their ability to counsel and witness to the women went on for another hour and 45 minutes! It was nearly five o’clock in the early evening before Fr. Imbarrato, Haag and McGee were placed under arrest and removed from the building.

Fr. Fidelis Moscinski of the Franciscan Friars of Renewal and Joan Andrews Bell who participated in the first Red Rose Rescue on Sept. 15th were present outside the D.C. abortion center with several others to pray and side walk counsel. They were joined by Mary Wagner who conducts her own Red Rose Rescue witness in Canada. 

Earlier that day three others entered the Alexandra, VA clinic: 24-year-old Lauren Handy, with Lina Mueller and Michael Webb.  They were inside the clinic for almost an hour in defense of the unborn before being placed under arrest. This is the second RRR to occur at this particular location. 

Another Red Rose Rescue in Michigan

At about 8:15am seven pro-lifers, including Citizens for a Pro-life Society director Monica Migliorino Miller entered Jacob Kalo’s West Bloomfield, MI abortion center.  Miller describes what took place:

“We ascended the stairs to the second floor and upon opening the clinic door we saw that the waiting room was already quite full.  Two young women of our group entered and simply sat down quietly while Will Goodman, Matthew Connolly, Patrice Woodworth, Robert Kolavy and myself offered red roses to women, some of them were already filling out medical forms in preparation for their abortions. A few of the women accepted the roses, some were hostile. We talked to quite a few of the women or their boyfriends or girlfriends accompanying them for several minutes before clinic staff herded them into a back room. Patrice spoke to two female friends, one of whom was there for an abortion. She told them “God loves you so much and loves your baby. The woman not getting the abortion said: ‘I don’t believe in God.’  Patrice said: ‘Well, He does love you even if you don’t believe in him.’” 

“She turned her attention to the woman getting the abortion and encouraged her not to despair. The couple did go into the back room—but shortly after, we saw them exit the door and they left the clinic!  They did not speak to us—but we know that the young woman was there for an abortion and she and her girlfriend left.  We do not have the consolation of knowing for sure that the baby was saved.  All we know is that they left and we can only hope and literally pray that the baby will not be aborted.”                            

“A boyfriend and another older woman, who had accompanied her friend, opted to remain in the waiting room and I was able to talk to them for several minutes. I did all that I could to convince them to get their friends and leave, but sadly they just wouldn’t do it!”

The rescuers quietly sang hymns such as “Silent Night,” Amazing Grace” and “What Wondrous Love Is This?” until the police arrived and placed each one under arrest.   

Five West Bloomfield rescuers were charged with violating the city trespass ordinance as well as resisting/obstructing arrest because they practiced passive resistance.  Their first court appearance is Dec. 20th at which they will plead “not guilty” and receive a future trial date. 

A group of sidewalk counselors and prayer supporters gathered outside Kalo’s clinic, including veteran pro-life activist Lynn Mills of Pro-Life Michigan as well as Mark Harrington and Sam Reilly of Created Equal.  

The goal of the Red Rose Rescue is two-fold—first to reach out to women scheduled for abortions in those last minutes before they will indeed go through with their decision to abort their babies. The RRR is the last chance women scheduled for abortions have to hear a voice encouraging them to give live to their babies. It is the hope of the rescuers that a woman or women will get up and leave the clinic with them.  

However, if the unborn are still doomed to die, the pro-lifers, convinced that the unborn deserve to be defended, will remain in the clinic—remain in the place where the executions of the innocent occur and place themselves in solidarity with the unwanted. As long as there is a viable pro-life presence in the abortion center, the killing will most likely not take place. 

 
 
 
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Confusion explodes as Pope Francis throws magisterial weight behind communion for adulterers

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Rome, December 4, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – Retired Catholic Bishop of Corpus Christi TX, Rene Henry Gracida said on his blog over the weekend, “Francis’ heterodoxy is now official.” England’s internet-famed Deacon Nick Donnelly wondered on Twitter, “Has Francis deposed himself as the successor of St Peter by attempting to make the heretical interpretation of AL Authentic Magisterium?”

The comments come in response to Pope Francis' elevation of a controversial private letter of his to the status of an 'apostolic letter' and calling it "authentic Magisterium." His private letter to the Argentine bishops approving their guidelines for giving communion to civilly-divorced-and-remarried Catholics living in adultery was originally thought to be fake news because of its departure from Catholic teaching. But, it was later confirmed. 

Last week the controversial letter was published officially by the Vatican in an elevated status as part of the Acta Apostolicae Sedis, or Acts of the Holy See, at the request of the Pope.

Radio Spada, the Italian media outlet which broke the story, posted photographs of the newly published Acta Apostolicae Sedis (AAS) for October 2016 on its Facebook page. The photographs show that Pope Francis’ private letter telling the Argentine bishops that “there is no other interpretation” of Amoris Laetitia (AL) beyond their guidelines has been published in the official register of the Roman Catholic Church.

The Buenos Aires guidelines were also published along with the Pope’s letter and accompanied by a “rescript” (response to a command) by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin, stating:

“The Supreme Pontiff decreed that the two proceeding documents be promulgated through publication on the Vatican website and in Acta Apostolicae Sedis, as authentic Magisterium."

The Buenos Aires guidelines contradict Familiaris Consortio by allowing sexually active adulterous couples facing “complex circumstances” to "access the sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist” after taking a “journey of discernment.” 

‘A veneer of officiality’

Marco Tosatti, a veteran Vatican correspondent, reported the news on December 1st, saying that he found the insertion confusing and annoying:

“The news can only serve to further feed the confusion and uncertainty surrounding the controversial apostolic exhortation and the Pope’s way of doing things,” he wrote. “[The letter] appears, once again, to be far from the clarity and directness that many of the faithful would expect.” 

“He [Francis] has given no answer to the Cardinals of the Dubia, no answer to the letters, petitions and other initiatives by scholars, theologians, and ordinary faithful confused by the deliberate ambiguity of the document,” Tosatti continued. “But at the same time, he has given a veneer of officiality to one letter sent to one member of one episcopal conference.”

“For what purpose? To oblige everyone to give religious assent to a magisterium expressed in oblique and ambiguous forms, or to respond without committing himself in a direct response which would express the mind of the Pope in an unequivocal manner to the doubtful and perplexed? [Speaking] as a simple believer,” said Tosatti, “all this inspires feelings of annoyance towards a behaviour that could be called pretext, in the worst sense of the term.”   

Stakes raised on the Amoris Laetitia debate

Steve Skojec of OnePeterFive stated that the inclusion of Pope Francis’s letter and the Buenos Aires guidelines in the official register of the Holy See raises “the stakes on the Amoris Laetitia debate.” 

In an interview with OnePeterFive, theologian Dr. John Joy took a cautious view: 

“It means that it is an official act of the pope, rather than an act of the pope as a private person,” Joy said.  “So it cannot be dismissed as a merely private endorsement of [the Argentine bishops’] implementation of AL. It is an official endorsement. But this doesn’t necessarily mean that the letter to the Argentine bishops is itself magisterial.” 

If the content of the letter itself were deemed “magisterial,” it would likely mean that the Pope’s message to the bishops telling them that they have the only correct interpretation of Amoris Laetitia would require religious submission of will and intellect from Catholics around the world. 

Joy told OnePeterFive that this requirement would apply only if the letter intended to teach on matters of faith and morals. As it was merely “in praise of pastoral guidelines that were anything but concrete,” wrote Skojec, “this seems unlikely.”

OnePeterFive reported also Joy’s opinion that  “adding the letter to the AAS could, in fact, damage the credibility of Amoris Laetitia by potentially removing the possibility that it could be interpreted in an orthodox way through establishing, via its publication in the official acts of the Apostolic See, that the unorthodox interpretation is the official one.”

Other Catholic commentators were disturbed by the additions of the Buenos Aires guidelines to the Acta Apostolicae Sedis

Andrew Guernsey commented at Rorate Caeli that the Pope's use of the term “authentic magisterium” in adding the Buenos Aires guidelines to the AAS “appears intended to trigger Canon 752, to purportedly require ‘religious submission of the intellect and will’ to the Buenos Aires guidelines' contradiction of the  traditional teaching of the Church.’ 

But Guernsey said that the Pope, by adding the problematic communion guidelines to the AAS, has only made matters worse within the Church. 

“The problem with Amoris Laetitia, it is clear, is not merely with ‘liberal bishops’ who interpret it, but with the pope whose manifest interpretation of his own document is impossible to square with the perennial doctrine and discipline of the Catholic faith.”

Respected Canon lawyer Ed Peters said that even though the Buenos Aires guidelines have been given a more official status within the Church, the Code of Canon law has not been abrogated by this fact. It still prohibits unrepentant adulterers from receiving Communion. 

“It is crucial to understand that, today, what actually prevents ministers of holy Communion from distributing the Eucharist to divorced-and-remarried Catholics is Canon 915 and the universal, unanimous interpretation which that legislative text, rooted as it is in divine law, has always received,” he said. 

Canon 915 states that those “obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to holy communion.”

Commented Peters: “Canon 915 and the fundamental sacramental and moral values behind it might be forgotten, ignored, or ridiculed, even by ranking officers in the Church, but unless and until that law is revoked or modified by papal legislative action or is effectively neutered by pontifically approved “authentic interpretation” (1983 CIC 16), Canon 915 stands and, so standing, binds ministers of holy Communion,” he said. 

“Neither the pope’s letter to the Argentines, nor the Argentine bishops’ document, nor even Amoris laetitia so much as mentions Canon 915, let alone do these documents abrogate, obrogate, or authentically interpret this norm out of the Code of Canon Law,” he added

No matter how much Canon 915 and the values behind it are ignored, they prevent sacrilegious communions from becoming a norm, Peters explained.

 
 
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Cardinal Cupich at The University of Chicago Institute of Politics Nov. 6, 2017. Facebook / University of Chicago IOP
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Cardinal ‘evolved beyond’ stating right and wrong, thanks to Pope Francis: commentator

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December 4, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) -- When Cardinal Blase Cupich says he wants Catholics to graduate from “an adolescent spirituality into an adult spirituality” where they will be able to use their “freedom of conscience” to “discern truth” in their lives, he’s abandoning his own responsibility as shepherd, commented a Catholic journalist in a recent article. 

Matthew Schmitz, a senior editor for First Things, recently critiqued the Archbishop of Chicago in an article titled “A Cool Cardinal.” He takes issue with Cupich’s insistence that Catholics must behave “like adults” and be treated “like adults.” Schmitz believes the phrase points to the archbishop’s wish to leave thorny moral questions to lay consciences to determine right from wrong.

Schmitz writes:  “Some people have a quaint idea that a bishop should say what is right and wrong, in season and out, but Cupich has evolved beyond this. Cupich wants to liberate Catholic consciences from clerical control. ‘If people come to a decision in good conscience,’ [Cupich] says, ‘our job is to help them move forward and to respect that.’ If you’re okay, so is he.”

"Cupich credits his ideas to Pope Francis," commented Schmitz.

The writer likens Cupich to the “cool dad” who leaves a courting couple alone or hints that he doesn’t count his beer bottles. This kind of father, who prefers to be a pal, “told us to act like adults so he didn’t have to.”

Cupich uses Amoris Laetitia to justify shoving responsibility onto lay consciences, says Schmitz. The writer takes issue with a presentation at the recent Boston College conference on Amoris co-hosted by Cupich, where a speaker linked episcopal authority, or “infantilization of the laity,” to a “colonization of the conscience.” That connection, Schmitz suspects, serves to free episcopal office from episcopal responsibility:

“If bishops no longer exercise real authority over Catholic consciences, the faithful are of course free to do as they please,” he writes. “But so are the bishops. They no longer have to worry if their spiritual charges are blithe about abortion, adultery, and sacrilege. Those very words, with their antique and judgmental shadings, begin to sound foreign to the refinement of the episcopal office. Dialogue is more pleasant than polarization.”

Pius X’s Vehementer Nos, which defends clerical authority, came in for a kicking at the conference and so Schmitz puts it in its historical perspective. When an anti-clerical government moved against the Church in France, Pius X recognized that a non-hierarchical Church would be dominated by the world. Now Schmitz says the failure of American bishops to lead has not liberated Catholics but left them “enslaved to state, market, and tribe.”  

Meanwhile, as empty seats in parishes attest, Cupich’s attempts to be a “cool dad” by embracing such pop culture authorities as actor Mark Wahlberg are failing, Schmitz argues. Worse, he accuses the Cardinal of being cool in another sense: “indifference.”

“He pretends to be a friend to people who need a father,” says Schmitz. “Instead of watching over, he looks away.” 

 
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Purity Thomas (in red) speaks at an anti-Planned Parenthood rally in April 2017
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Abortion activist punches pro-life teen outside Planned Parenthood, gives concussion

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Purity Thomas speaks at an anti-Planned Parenthood rally in April 2017 Claire Chretien / LifeSiteNews
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Purity Thomas, right, says she completely forgives the woman who punched her Claire Chretien / LifeSiteNews

ROANOKE, Virginia, December 4, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – An angry abortion activist punched a pro-life high school student outside a Planned Parenthood on Saturday, giving her a minor concussion but strengthening her resolve to fight abortion.

Another pro-life activist caught the assault on camera.

15-year-old Purity Thomas was praying outside the Roanoke Planned Parenthood on Saturday morning when a woman, apparently there for an abortion, became agitated at the pro-lifers.

“It was really cold out and I had actually just texted my parents to come and pick me up,” Thomas, who was holding a 40 Days for Life sign, told LifeSiteNews. She said a Liberty University student named Serena “called out to this woman.”

Serena said, “‘Good morning, we’re here for you, we’re praying for you. There’s other resources that we have, just wanted to offer them to you,’” Thomas recalled.

The woman approached Serena and began yelling, “what are you gonna do when I beat you all up, when I f*** you all up?”

“And then she was like, ‘I’m gonna have my girlfriends come and beat you all up,’” said Thomas.

The woman then asked Serena what she was going to do if she took her sign, which said, “All people are made in the image of God.”

“She grabbed that sign and she tried ripping it up but it’s really thick plastic so she ended up folding it up,” Thomas told LifeSiteNews. It was at this point that the teen, who is a high school fellow with Students for Life of America (SFLA), suggested to her fellow activists that they start filming.

When Thomas told the woman, “we’re praying for you,” the woman came over and began threatening to take Thomas’s sign as well.

“She tried taking my sign and then punched me right below the eye on my left cheek,” Thomas said. The video of the attack shows the punch caused Thomas to fall to the ground.

The other pro-lifers called 911 and the police came. The woman was not arrested.

“Immediately afterwards, I was really light-headed,” said Thomas. This was followed by a headache. A doctor discovered she had a minor concussion. Thomas said the site of the punching was red for a while.

Two days after the assault, “I just have a lot of pressure in my head right now,” she said.

“I absolutely forgive [the assailant],” said Thomas. “There’s no hard feelings towards her.”

She said she wishes she could “talk with her and be there for her.”

Thomas is also not revealing the identity of the woman because “she’s just suffered from an abortion.” Thomas doesn’t want her to be swamped with angry messages from those upset over that and the assault she committed. She hopes instead that the woman can heal.

“I feel super sorry for her and I want her to know that we’re not violent, we actually care about her,” said Thomas.

“Being punched was nothing compared to what those babies are feeling when they are aborted,” said Thomas. “And honestly, I would take a million punches if it saved one child.”

The teen has no intention of ceasing her pro-life activism.

“I will most definitely be there” again this coming Saturday, she said.

Kristan Hawkins, President of SFLA, called the incident an “act of violence” that “serves as a sad reflection on the state of debate today.”

“It’s horrific that a minor expressing love for pregnant women was targeted for violence,” said Hawkins. “But this is not an isolated incident. Across the country we are witnessing a rise in the number of incidents of vandalism and violence against peaceful pro-life speech.”

“Even the American Bar Association is demonizing pro-life speech, trying to block pro-life attorneys from taking a seat on the bench,” said Hawkins. “We pray that the assailant...is brought to justice swiftly. But we also pray for the protection of those who volunteer their time to speak for the innocent, preborn infants and their mothers.”

SFLA has launched a webpage through which people can send Thomas supportive messages.

Thomas spoke on Capitol Hill at SFLA’s #SockIt2PP rally on April 26, 2017. The spunky adolescent is already a senior in high school despite being only 15. She is homeschooled.

 
 
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Justice Sheilah Martin has a long history of 'radical feminist activism,' according to REAL Women of Canada.
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Trudeau appoints pro-assisted suicide feminist to Supreme Court

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OTTAWA, December 2, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — Sheilah Martin, Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s newest appointment to the Supreme Court of Canada, has a long history of championing feminist causes, and was the first judge to rule an individual could legally obtain assisted suicide.

Trudeau announced Wednesday Martin was his nomination to fill the vacancy created by Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin’s retirement on December 15, 2017. The Liberals will announce the new chief justice later this month.

Martin, 60, is a judge on the Court of Appeals for Alberta, Northwest Territory and Nunavut, and her nomination maintains the top court’s current balance between the sexes of four women and five men.

But REAL Women vice president and lawyer Gwen Landolt has raised the alarm on Martin’s long history of “radical feminist activism.”

The future Supreme Court justice penned a thesis on “Legal Controls on Human Reproductions in Canada:  A History of Gender Biased Laws and The Promise of The Charter” for her law doctorate at the University of Toronto in 1991, Landolt pointed out in a Thursday press release.

She also argued “numerous cases” before the Supreme Court of Canada for the Legal Education and Action Fund, or LEAF, the feminist movement’s pro-abortion legal arm.

Moreover, for contribution to the book Women’s Legal Strategies in Canada, Martin assessed the “feminist strengths and weaknesses” of “abortion litigation” in Canada, including the Supreme Court’s 1992 Morgentaler decision striking down the abortion law, according to an Osgoode Hall Law Journal review.

The book surveyed “feminist involvement in leading cases” on issues such “abortion, domestic workers, pornography, child care, and violence against women,” the review said.

More recently, Martin was the first judge to rule an individual could legally be assisted to commit suicide, when a woman with ALS petitioned the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench to do so in February 2016.

At the time, the Supreme Court had struck down the law banning assisted suicide and euthanasia a year earlier, but suspended the ruling until June 2016, so Parliament could craft a law. Individuals seeking euthanasia in the meantime could apply to a judge.

Indeed, Martin highlighted her decision in her application to the top court because it “shows how judges are often required to confront the pressing issues of our time,” she wrote.

“The applicant came to court on Thursday and sought permission to end her life on the following Monday,” Martin wrote.

“Time was of the essence, her decision was personal, permanent and profound, and I was called upon to respond fully and quickly.”

Martin, who was born and grew up in Montreal, was appointed to Alberta’s Court of Queen’s Bench in 2005, and to the appeal court in June 2016.

She was married to Hersh Wolch, a lawyer who advocated for those claiming wrongful convictions and who died in July at age 77, according to the Toronto Globe and Mail. The couple had a total of seven children from former relationships.

Martin is the second Supreme Court justice nominated under the Liberals’ new selection process, in which aspirants to the top court apply online.

The Advisory Board for the Supreme Court of Canada Appointments, headed by former Conservative prime minister Kim Campbell, narrows the number of candidates down to a shortlist of three to five.

Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould will appear with Martin before a special hearing of the House of Commons Human Rights Committee Monday to “explain why Martin was nominated,” Landolt said in her press release, before adding: “We already know.”

 
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Canadian Supreme Court to decide if Christian school can require students to uphold Biblical values

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OTTAWA, December 1, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — A Christian college at the heart of what observers say is Canada’s most significant religious liberty case since it adopted the Charter finally had its days in court.

The Supreme Court of Canada heard arguments Thursday and Friday from lawyers for Trinity Western University and the law societies of British Columbia and Ontario, as well as from 56 lawyers representing a staggering 32 intervenors in the landmark case.

A Christian liberal arts college in Langley, B.C., Trinity Western University (TWU) requires that students sign a community covenant that includes a promise to refrain from any sexual conduct “that violates the sacredness of marriage between a man and a woman.”

As a result, the law societies in British Columbia, Ontario, and Nova Scotia preemptively challenged TWU’s proposed law school, delaying its initially scheduled 2016 opening until at least 2019.

The law societies refused to grant accreditation to TWU graduates because, they claim, the covenant violates Charter equality provisions by discriminating against homosexual and transgendered persons.

TWU argued the Charter protects its freedom of religion, and fought the ruling in all provinces. It won in Nova Scotia and B.C.

The Supreme Court of B.C. ruled the case shows “that a well-intentioned majority acting in the name of tolerance and liberalism, can, if unchecked, impose its views on the minority in a manner that is in itself intolerant and illiberal,” reported the CBC.  

But TWU lost in Ontario. The Ontario Court of Appeal ruled in June 2016 that TWU’s covenant “is deeply discriminatory to the LGBTQ community.”

Both TWU and B.C.’s law society appealed to the top court.

The Supreme Court made an exceptional ruling to grant two full days for the appeals to allow for the unprecedented number of interveners.

These included Ontario’s Liberal government, which compared Trinity’s covenant requiring students to refrain from homosexual relations to the anti-Semitism inherent in the province’s banning non-Christians from the legal profession 200 years ago.

“Ontarians have a right to expect that they or their children can seek to become lawyers without facing impediments because of their religion, gender or sexual orientation,” the attorney general’s factum stated.

Canadian Civil Liberties Association lawyer Alan D’Silva made similar arguments Friday when the nine justices heard from interveners.

He said TWU’s covenant “offends modern concepts of equality and privacy,” reported the Vancouver Sun.

Chris Paliare, lawyer for the Advocates’ Society, argued that “merit should determine who gets admitted to law school,” the Sun reported.

“Who you sleep with or how you choose to live your private life should not be a factor in deciding who gets admitted to law school,” Paliare said.

But Albertos Polizogopoulos, lawyer for the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, argued the “coercive imposition of the majority view” by the law societies “is a straightforward breach of freedom of religion.”

EFC President Bruce Clemenger pointed out in a press statement that “Christian institutions are usually founded on statements of faith and codes of conduct.”

These codes are “essential parts of their identity” and “consistent with Canadian law and should be respected in a free and democratic society.”

Other groups intervening for TWU included the Catholic Civil Rights League, the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Association for Reformed Political Action, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Vancouver, and the National Coalition of Catholic Trustees Association.

Groups intervening against TWU included West Coast LEAF; Start Proud; Egale Canada Human Rights Trust; British Columbia Humanist Association; Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals and Trans People of the University of Toronto; and the Canadian Civil Liberties Association.

The Supreme Court reserved its judgement.

“We know the Supreme Court justices will carefully consider the case and we are confident they will decide in favour of a truly free, diverse and pluralistic Canadian society,” Earl Phillips, executive director of TWU’s proposed law school, said in a statement Friday.

“As the B.C. Court of Appeal stated when it decided in favour of the law school, ‘a society that does not admit of and accommodate differences cannot be a free and democratic society’,” noted TWU President Bob Kuhn.

“This case is about more than our law school. It is about freedom for all faith communities and other minorities in Canada.”

 
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U.S. Senate passes major tax reform, excludes unborn

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WASHINGTON, D.C., December 1, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – For the first time in over thirty years, Congress is on course to pass sweeping tax reform legislation. But in the process they omitted an innovative pro-life measure that would have granted important legal recognition to unborn children.

In a late night nailbiter, United States Senate voted 51 to 49 to approve the $1.5 trillion tax relief bill.

President Trump tweeted that he hopes to sign the bill by Christmas. “We are one step closer to delivering MASSIVE tax cuts for working families across America,” he wrote.

Missed pro-life opportunities

While a major victory for Capitol Hill Republicans, the celebratory mood of pro-life America was dampened by the eleventh hour omission of two groundbreaking amendments from the final bill.

First, the Rubio-Lee Amendment, aimed at helping lower income families benefit more fully from the increased Child Tax Credit, garnered only 29 ‘Yes’ votes, falling far short of the 60 required for passage.  Thirty Republicans voted against the measure, while 9 Democrats supported it.

Second, Senate procedural hurdles required the removal of the unborn from the 529 education savings accounts and also prevented Alaska Senator Steve Daines from offering his much anticipated amendment which would have included the unborn in the Child Tax Credit (CTC).

Rubio-Lee Amendment fails, aimed to benefit children in low-income families

The Rubio-Lee Amendment was important to many families of more modest means. The Child Tax Credit would have been refundable not just against income taxes, but also against payroll taxes.

It could have been an enormous boon to low income families who don’t earn enough money to fully benefit from an increased Child Tax Credit.

“Utah families are the big winners tonight thanks to the doubling of the child tax credit to $2,000,” said Sen. Lee in a bittersweet statement. “I wish we could have done more for working families by making that credit refundable, but we did lay the groundwork for future pro-family tax reform and I am confident we will get there someday.”

In the lead up to the vote, Senator Lee noted, “Our amendment would make a small change in this bill, but a huge difference in the lives of working families.”

"We need pro-growth and pro-worker tax reform, and that’s what this amendment aims to do by allowing working families to keep more of their own hard-earned money,” added Senator Rubio.

“We have a chance to do better by working families in this tax bill,” Senator Lee explained previously.  “Right now, 70 percent of the tax cuts we’re considering would go to businesses, and only 30 percent to individuals. This amendment would level the playing field for families, while still kick-starting national investment and growth. By increasing access to the Child Tax Credit, we can increase working family fairness and deliver overdue relief to America’s greatest investor class: our moms and dads.”

Innovative pro-life measure would have extended tax credit to cover the preborn

Montana Senator Steve Daines’ amendment to the Senate’s tax reform bill would have made the Child Tax Credit applicable to unborn children from the time of their conception.

In the run up to the crucial Senate vote, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins said allowing parents to receive a Child Tax Credit for their unborn babies would be “a huge pro-life and pro-family win” and predicted it would “help individual families and the economy by helping parents better handle the new costs of raising their children.”

Author of the innovative amendment, pro-life Montana Senator Daines told EWTN, “What this means long term is if we talk about, perhaps, overturning Roe v Wade someday, it gives us that much more strength in terms of a law that says what that woman is carrying is a life, and that could have some significant implications long term.”

“By including unborn children to qualify for the Child Tax Credit,” said Susan B. Anthony List president Marjorie Dannenfelser before the crucial vote.  “Congress would achieve a significant pro-life win for families preparing for their baby’s birth.”

"We often hear from pro-abortion advocates that many women choose abortion because they don’t have the resources to care for a newborn," noted Dannenfelser. "By expanding the Child Tax Credit to cover unborn children, families will receive a double credit in their first year after the baby is born — giving them greater ability to pay for costly hospital bills, diapers, clothes, formula, and lost wages due to time off after delivery."

"Moms and dads start planning and preparing for their baby’s birth as soon as they learn about their pregnancy,” said FRC head Perkins, expressing a similar sentiment.  “Parents take off time for doctor’s appointments, stock up on diapers, formula, clothes and swaddles.  And, they plan financially to take time from work to care for and bond with their baby.”

Final steps to becoming law

Now that the bill has passed, it will go through a process of reconciliation with the tax reform package passed by the U.S. House of Representatives.  A committee composed of members of both the House and Senate will produce a final version of the legislation to be approved by both the chambers.

There are some significant differences between the two tax reform packages, but Capitol Hill’s upper and lower chambers are expected to be able to resolve those differences quickly so that the completed legislation can be delivered to President Trump’s desk, ready for him to sign into law before Christmas.

 
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Andrew Guernsey

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Here’s how Pope Francis elevated communion for adulterers to ‘authentic magisterium’

Andrew Guernsey

December 4, 2017 (Rorate Caeli) -- This week, the Vatican's organ for promulgating the Official Acts of the Apostolic See, Acta Apostolicae Sedis (AAS), has published its October 2016 issue, containing Pope Francis' infamous Letter to the Buenos Aires Bishops. AAS not only published this letter, declaring that there are "no other interpretations" ("No hay otras interpretaciones") of Amoris Laetitia other than those of the Buenos Aires bishops, but it also published the full Buenos Aires guidelines themselves, which permit Holy Communion in some cases for couples in a state of permanent and public adultery who are not committed to living in complete continence. 

Most significantly, AAS upgrades Pope Francis' private letter to the Buenos Aires bishops to the official magisterial status of an "Apostolic Letter" ("Epistola Apostolica") - AND it includes a special rescript as an addendum by Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Secretary of State. This rescript declares that Pope Francis expressly intends that BOTH documents - the pope's letter and the Buenos Aires guidelines themselves- bear the character of his "authentic Magisterium", and that the pope personally ordered their publication in AAS and on the Vatican website.

The rescript reads in Latin as follows:

RESCRIPTUM «EX AUDIENTIA SS.MI» 

Summus Pontifex decernit ut duo Documenta quae praecedunt edantur per publicationem in situ electronico Vaticano et in Actis Apostolicae Sedis, velut Magisterium authenticum. 
Ex Aedibus Vaticanis, die V mensis Iunii anno MMXVII 
Petrus Card. Parolin
Secretarius Status

Here is an English translation:

Rescript "from an Audience with His Holiness"  

The Supreme Pontiff decreed that the two preceding documents be promulgated through publication on the Vatican website and in Acta Apostolicae Sedis, as authentic Magisterium. 
From the Vatican, June 5, 2017 
Pietro Card. Parolin
Secretary of State

The Catholic Encyclopedia defines a papal rescript as follows: "Rescripts are responses of the pope or a Sacred Congregation, in writing, to queries or petitions of individuals. Some rescripts concern the granting of favours; others the administration of justice, e.g. the interpretation of a law, the appointment of a judge." Rescipts generally have the force of particular law, however, as in this case, only "when they interpret or promulgate a general law, are they of universal application." Since papal rescripts answer an inquiry - could this rescript be a direct reply to the dubia of the Four Cardinals?

Under Canon 8 § 1 of the 1983 Code of Canon Law, the AAS is the regular method by which "universal ecclesiastical laws" are to be promulgated: “Universal ecclesiastical laws are promulgated by publication in the official commentary Acta Apostolicae Sedis, unless some other manner of promulgation has been prescribed in particular cases.” While most papal documents appearing in AAS lack canonical or disciplinary force, the Pope's rescript at the hand of Cardinal Parolin is clearly intended to give the Buenos Aires Guidelines a significant level of Magisterial authority in the interpretation of Amoris Laetitia.

The pope's use of the term "authentic magisterium" is especially disturbing because it appears intended to trigger Canon 752, to purportedly require "religious submission of the intellect and will" to the Buenos Aires guidelines' overturning of the traditional teaching of the Church:

Can. 752 Although not an assent of faith, a religious submission of the intellect and will must be given to a doctrine which the Supreme Pontiff or the college of bishops declares concerning faith or morals when they exercise the authentic magisterium, even if they do not intend to proclaim it by definitive act; therefore, the Christian faithful are to take care to avoid those things which do not agree with it. 

In paragraph 6 of the Buenos Aires guidelines, now explicitly to be treated as belonging to Pope Francis' "authentic magisterium", the allowance for communion in cases of couples in a state of adultery without living in complete continence is made explicit:

6) In other, more complex circumstances, and when it is not possible to obtain a declaration of nullity, the aforementioned option [living in continence] may not, in fact, be feasible. Nonetheless, it is equally possible to undertake a journey of discernment. If one arrives at the recognition that, in a particular case, there are limitations that diminish responsibility and culpability (cf. 301-302), particularly when a person judges that he would fall into a subsequent fault by damaging the children of the new union, Amoris Laetitia opens up the possibility of access to the sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist (cf. footnotes 336 and 351). These in turn dispose the person to continue maturing and growing with the aid of grace. 

Pope Francis' once private letter to the Buenos Aires Bishops, but now to be considered an Apostolic Letter belonging to his "authentic magisterium", confirms these guidelines:

"The document is very good and completely explains the meaning of chapter VIII of Amoris Laetitia. There are no other interpretations. And I am certain that it will do much good."

The problem with Amoris Laetitia, it is clear, is not merely with "liberal bishops" who interpret it, but with the pope whose manifest interpretation of his own document is impossible to square with the perennial doctrine and discipline of the Catholic faith.

See the October 2016 edition of the AAS on the Vatican website (very large pdf).

See the Buenos Aires guidelines on the Vatican website here.

Below is the excerpted portion of the AAS in its original published form.

Editor’s note: This article was republished with permission of the author. 

 
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