All articles from April 10, 2018

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Alfie and Thomas Evans.
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Christian law firm makes last-ditch effort to stop hospital from pulling Alfie Evans’ life support

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By Calvin Freiburger

LIVERPOOL, England, April 10, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The London-based Christian Legal Centre has announced that it is stepping in on behalf of 23-month-old Alfie Evans.

On Wednesday, Christian Legal Centre standing counsel Paul Diamond will represent Alfie’s parents, Thomas Evans and Kate James, in a hearing before Justice Anthony Hayden of the High Court of England and Wales, Independent Catholic News reported. They are challenging Alder Hey Children's Hospital, which is seeking permission to remove Alfie’s life support on Thursday. Hayden previously sided with the hospital.

Evans has an unidentified neurodegenerative condition that Alder Hey Hospital claims is untreatable. For months, Alfie’s parents have been locked in a legal battle with UK courts to stop the hospital from removing Alfie’s life support. Their appeals have been denied at every turn, most recently at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg, France.

Last Thursday, the family expressed encouragement that the hospital agreed to consider new treatment options, but just hours later James accused Alder Hey of going “behind our backs” to stop Alfie’s ventilator.

Diamond intends to argue that because Alfie’s condition has markedly improved since February, as evidenced by videos of the baby breathing on his own, the court should allow an independent neurologist to assess his current condition. The family further notes that hospitals in Rome, Milan, and Munich have all offered to receive Alfie and give him new diagnoses, and says he has been deemed fit to fly.

“Thomas and Kate never leave Alfie's side. They witness to his increasing responsiveness,” Christian Legal Centre chief executive Andrea Williams said. “The state cannot override their desire to seek further treatment for their son, especially when such help is being offered by three different hospitals. The state must not pass and enforce a death sentence. Even at this 11th hour, with heavy odds against us, we will fight to the end alongside Tom and Kate for their son's life.”

On Tuesday, Evans spoke candidly in a Facebook post about his son’s prospects and Alder Hey’s efforts.

“Alfie’s was having okay couple days until last night he was having frequent seizures so we sent of sputum tests and urine and he had a urine infection, part of his right lung had collapsed and his left lung had consolidation on it,” Evans wrote, asking for prayers. Still, Alfie is “not dying” and “fights through seizures without any effect taking to him.”

“Tomorrow could be the day he is executed,” Evans added. “From god how are these devils amongst us!”

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Order of Malta members ordered to ‘swiftly’ report fellow Knights critical of Pope Francis

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By Dorothy Cummings McLean

LONDON, England, April 10, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Knights of Malta top brass are warning members not to use social media sites such as Twitter or Facebook to make statements “offensive to the Holy Father.” Members are also being warned not to defend a highly acclaimed book critical of the Francis pontificate written by a former Knight of Malta. 

Referring to Articles 119 to 125 of the Order’s Code, members were threatened with disciplinary action if they did not comply. Punishments ranged from warnings to expulsion, reported the Catholic Herald, which had seen the Holy Saturday communication sent to members. 

Members were also warned to “swiftly” report those who ignored the order. 

“We ask that you to [sic] pay the utmost attention to avoid exposing the Order to any further damage and to swiftly report any behaviour which is not in line with that envisaged by membership in the Order,” the communication said. 

Last December, Henry Sire released The Dictator Pope using the pseudonym Marcantonio Colonna. Sire was suspended from the Knights of Malta after revealing last month his authorship of the scathing biography of Pope Francis.

Released in both Italian and English on December 4, The Dictator Pope immediately caught the attention of Catholic media. The book marshaled compelling evidence that Pope Francis is a scheming Peronist figure who has a history of changing his opinions to suit his audience.  

In an interview with LifeSiteNews, Sire stated that the “popular image of Pope Francis is one of the most extraordinary deceptions of the present time, and contrasts totally with the reality of Bergoglio’s character as it was known in Argentina before his election and is known in the Vatican today.” 

Sire has stated that his suspension from the Knights of Malta is “illegal.” 

The Knights of Malta were dragged into the headlines in 2016 when it was discovered that the Order had been dispensing contraceptives through its charities in Africa. The Order’s Sovereign, Englishman Fra’ Matthew Festing, asked the man deemed responsible, Grand Chancellor Albrecht von Boeselager, to step down. In response, Boeselager appealed to Pope Francis, who subsequently requested Fra’ Matthew’s resignation. The story of the scandal appeared in The Dictator Pope

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FDA announces new restrictions on birth control implant after reports of dangerous side effects

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By Calvin Freiburger

April 10, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has announced new restrictions on who can offer the birth control implant Essure, along with new requirements for informed consent to the device’s medical risks.

The agency announced Monday that the permanent implant must now carry a label that restricts its sale and distribution to providers that review a brochure entitled “Patient-Doctor Discussion Checklist – Acceptance of Risk and Informed Decision Acknowledgement” with patients beforehand. After reviewing the document, both the patient and the physician performing the implantation must sign an informed consent acknowledgment.

The pamphlet lists perforation of the uterus and/or fallopian tubes, migration of inserts to the abdominal or pelvic cavity, persistent pelvic pain, suspected allergic or hypersensitivity reactions, and ectopic pregnancy as potential side effects of Essure. It adds that some women have reported headaches, fatigue, weight changes, hair loss, and mood changes such as depression, though those symptoms’ link to Essure remains unconfirmed.

It further warns that Essure’s safety and effectiveness for women below age 21 and above age 45 remain unknown, as do the safety and effectiveness of reversing the procedure.

The FDA also says that through the end of 2017, there have been 10 reported instances of adult death related to Essure, 20 instances of miscarriage, and four instances of an infant dying after a live birth. It cautions that it cannot “determine whether the device caused the death with only the information provided in the report,” but Device Events founder Madris Tomes said Essure is actually responsible for as many as 303 fetal deaths.

The FDA expects Essure manufacturer Bayer to “immediately” implement the new rules and says it will monitor its actions for compliance.

These new rules follow a February 2016 decision ordering Bayer to conduct a review of their product’s safety and add a warning to its packaging. The FDAY says that since then, American sales of Essure have declined by about 70 percent.

“We’ve been closely evaluating new information on the use of Essure, and based on our review of a growing body of evidence, we believe this product requires additional, meaningful safeguards to ensure women are able to make informed decisions about risk when considering this option,” FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said in the announcement. “We take the concerns of all women affected by Essure very seriously. I’ve personally had the opportunity to meet with several women and hear their important concerns about this product. Despite previous efforts to alert women to the potential complications of Essure, we know that some patients still aren’t receiving this important information.”

“That is simply unacceptable. Every single woman receiving this device should fully understand the associated risks,” Gottlieb added.

Bayer responded Monday that Essure is a “safe and effective medical device” whose benefit/risk profile “remains positive.” But CNN reported that the FDA registered more than 5,000 complaints about the implant from November 2002 to May 2015, and that 2017 saw a almost 12,000 “adverse event reports” concerning Essure. In its most recent financial statement, Bayer reported that more than 16,000 Essure users had filed lawsuits against Bayer for experiencing hysterectomies, perforations, depression, and weight gain.

In a 2016 study, researchers from Northwestern University concluded that the FDA originally approved Essure after examining only its short-term effects and left it on the market without performing adequate follow-up trials or observation. “There are much higher standards for the approval of new drugs, whether oral, injectable or even topical,” Dr. Steve Xu said. “The important question to ask is: Should we really be holding high-risk medical devices to a lower standard of evidence than drugs?”

In 2015, several women who participated in clinical trials for Essure testified that FDA researchers altered reports to hide their severe reactions to the device.

While this week’s development comes as welcome news to many pro-lifers, others believe the government should go further. Former Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick, R-Pennsylvania, introduced legislation to ban Essure entirely in 2015.

“The failures of Essure are well documented and wide-ranging,” Fitzpatrick said at the time. “Yet in the face of all these facts, this device remains on the market, certified with the FDA's stamp of approval. That's unacceptable to me and unacceptable to the tens of thousands of 'Essure sisters' who are living with this device's effects.”

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Facebook shouldn’t ban pro-life views, Zuckerberg tells Congress

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By Calvin Freiburger

WASHINGTON, D.C., April 10, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg told the U.S. Senate today the social media giant should not be censoring pro-life speech.

Zuckerberg made the remark under questioning by Sen. Ben Sasse.

The Nebraska Republican began by asking whether Facebook had a specific definition of hate speech it used to identify content warranting removal, particularly in more subjective cases where some argue that particular speech is “psychologically” harmful.

“We see this happen on college campuses across the country; it’s dangerous,” Sasse said. “40% of Americans under age 35 tell pollsters they think the First Amendment is dangerous, because you might use your freedom to say something that hurts somebody else’s feelings.”

“Guess what, there are some really passionately held views about the abortion issue on this panel today. Can you imagine a world where you might decide that pro-lifers are prohibited from speaking about their abortion views on your platform?” he asked.

Zuckerberg answered that he “certainly would not want that to be the case.”

Watch Sen. Sasse questioning Zuckerberg:

Playing devil’s advocate, Sasse countered that it “might really be unsettling to people who had an abortion to have an open debate about that,” echoing a similar justification often made for buffer zones keeping pro-life protesters away from abortion facilities.

“It might be, but I don’t think that that would fit any of the definitions of what we have,” Zuckerberg answered. “But I do generally agree with the point that you’re making, which is that as we’re able to technologically shift toward, especially having [artificial intelligence] proactively look at content, I think that’s going to create massive questions for society about what obligations we want to require companies to fulfill.”

RELATED: Ted Cruz grills Facebook’s Zuckerberg for censoring conservatives

Zuckerberg said he thinks the United States needs to “struggle” with those questions and decide on a set of principles to guide such rules in the future.

Sasse then said that he hoped Zuckerberg did not leave Capitol Hill under the impression that Congress had a “unified view...that you should be moving toward policing more and more speech.” He agreed that calls to violence and human trafficking had no place on the platform, but stressed that “adults need to engage in vigorous debates.”

After that, he moved on to a brief exchange about privacy issues, which were the primary focus of the day’s testimony.

Despite Zuckerberg’s assurances, recent months have seen several instances of Facebook restricting pro-life content. In January, Facebook blocked the creators of pro-life documentary Roe v Wade: The Movie from sharing the paid ads for its crowdfunding page. In November, Facebook censored, without notice or explanation, advertising by Wexford/Missaukee Right to Life in Michigan, though in that case it relented following media coverage of the scandal.

Over the past several months, numerous conservative and pro-life publications, including LifeSiteNews, have seen significant declines in Facebook traffic.

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New York Times columnist: Abortion ‘extremists’ are ‘deceived’ by ‘cruel ideology’

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By Dorothy Cummings McLean

NEW YORK, April 10, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — A New York Times columnist called his pro-abortion friends, colleagues and readers “extremists” for using crisis pregnancies as an excuse “to build a grotesque legal regime” in which “the most vulnerable human beings” can be killed.

Ross Douthat reflected that although people who believe firmly in the right to an abortion share his cultural background -- and that he likes them -- he believes that they have been “deceived.”

“I try to listen to their arguments with the respect that the sincere and intelligent deserve,” he wrote. “But I also think that they are deceived by a cruel ideology that has licensed the killing of millions of innocents for almost 50 years.”

Douthat continued: “In the language that the respectable use to banish views without rebuttal, I regard them — friends and colleagues and faithful readers — as essentially extremists, for whom the distinctive and sometimes awful burdens that pregnancy imposes on women have become an excuse to build a grotesque legal regime in which the most vulnerable human beings can be vacuumed out or dismembered, killed for reasons of eugenics or convenience or any reason at all.”

Their extremism is “often blind” to the public’s real opinions on the abortion issue, Douthat said. It makes heroes out of advocates for abortion-on-demand, gives academic posts and honors to philosophers who support euthanasia and infanticide, and shrugs at the killing of the sick and the sad in Belgium, at the “near-eradication” of Down syndrome children in Iceland and at widespread sex-selective abortion in Asia.

“(It) increasingly accepts unblinking a world where human beings can be commodified and vivisected so long as they’re in embryonic form,” Douthat wrote.

The New York Times columnist was responding to two recent pro-abortion expressions. The first was that of Ruth Marcus of The Washington Post, who wrote that she would have aborted her own children had they had Down syndrome. The second was pro-abortion glee that journalist Kevin Williamson had been fired by The Atlantic soon after being hired. Williamson’s erstwhile new employers had belatedly discovered that he once tweeted his opinion that women who procured abortions should be hanged. Williamson had also, more seriously, argued that abortion should be prosecuted the same way other homicides are prosecuted in America.

Douthat said these views, which are not shared by the pro-life movement, makes Williamson an extremist in his own right.

“From my own anti-abortion perspective, this opinion makes Williamson an extremist as well,” he wrote. “When American laws restricted abortion they generally did not impose such penalties, and today’s pro-life movement likewise generally rejects the idea of prosecuting women.”

The columnist then adroitly addressed a common sneer against the pro-life movement.

“This position often gets cast as inconsistent by pro-choicers, but I think it represents the incorporation by pro-lifers of the points that my pro-choice friends actually get right — that pregnancy is unique in ways that mitigate culpability and make it unwise to treat abortion like a normal homicide, that the government can only go so far in restriction without becoming a reproductive police state — without making the literally fatal mistake of believing these things also require a civil right to kill your unborn child,” Douthat wrote.

On the subject of the Williamson firing, Douthat is divided. On the one hand, he is “glad Williamson won’t be carrying the pro-life flag at The Atlantic, out of fear that his extremities could make the work of (pro-life) persuasion harder.”

On the other hand, Douthat believes that the firing is a “case study” in the problem of ideological purity tests shrinking the number of talented writers allowed to write in influential journals to a rarified few. This tendency is resulting in contemporary liberalism’s “inability … to see itself from the outside,” he wrote. Williamson’s pro-abortion critics are thus unable to see that his “extremism” mirrors their own.  

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Ted Cruz grills Facebook’s Zuckerberg for censoring conservatives

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By Calvin Freiburger

WASHINGTON, D.C., April 10, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) -- During Mark Zuckerberg’s testimony before the United States Senate today, Sen. Ted Cruz grilled the Facebook founder about the social media giant’s alleged pattern of discrimination against conservative voices.

Cruz began by asking whether Facebook considers itself a neutral forum, to which Zuckerberg said Facebook views itself as “a platform for all ideas." Cruz followed up by noting that online services are not held liable for their content so long as they are a “neutral public forum.”

He then asked again whether Facebook considers itself a neutral public forum, or if it engages in political speech.

Zuckerberg answered that Facebook’s “goal” was “certainly not to engage in political speech.” Pressing further, Cruz told him that “a great many Americans” were “deeply concerned” that Facebook was engaged in a “pervasive pattern of bias and political censorship."

Watch Cruz question Zuckerberg:

He cited several examples of Facebook suppressing conservative views from its trending news stories, such as stories on the Conservative Political Action Conference, the Lois Lerner IRS scandal, and others. He also highlighted Facebook shutting down a Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day page, blocking more than two dozen Catholic pages, and classifying conservative video bloggers Diamond and Silk as “unsafe for the community.”

“To a great many Americans, that appears to be a pervasive pattern of political bias. Do you agree with that assessment?”

Zuckerberg answered by calling that a “fair” concern given that Facebook’s headquarters was located in the “extremely left-leaning” Silicon Valley, but he claimed that he actively tries to “root out” any instances of bias in Facebook’s work.

Cruz asked if he was aware of any instances of Facebook removing pages or advertisements associated with Planned Parenthood,, or any Democratic political candidates. Zuckerberg said he was not. He also denied knowing the political affiliations of Facebook employees involved in reviewing content, or hiring or firing anyone on the basis of their politics.

Cruz specifically asked him about the case of Palmer Lucky, the creator of the virtual reality device Oculus Rift who left Facebook after his support for a pro-Donald Trump group became public. Zuckerberg refused to comment on specifics, but denied that Lucky’s firing had anything to do with his political views.

The senator next cited Zuckerberg’s previous testimony that Facebook had an active interest in fostering “positive” connections between users, then asked whether that responsibility extended to connections “that those 15,000 to 20,000 people deem unacceptable or deplorable.”

Zuckerberg answered that there were some issues, such as “foreign interference in our elections, terrorism, self-harm,” that clearly warranted removal, but maintained that Facebook was “generally proud” of its record on that score.

“I’m very committed to making sure that Facebook is a platform for all ideas,” he insisted. “That’s a very important founding principle of what we do.”

The primary focus of today’s testimony has been Facebook’s use of personal data collected from its users. Last week the company admitted that it improperly shared information on up to 87 million users with the data firm Cambridge Analytica. The week before, a Cambridge whistleblower testified before the British House of Commons that Facebook had the ability to listen to users through smartphones in which their app is installed.

Censorship of and bias against conservative views has been a concern, as well. Analysis has found that political blogs have seen significant traffic declines in recent months while mainstream media outlets such as CNN and the New York Times have seen increased activity. In recent months, LifeSiteNews has covered several instances of Facebook censoring advertising of pro-life content.

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Six bishops withhold Development and Peace funds over pro-abortion partners

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By Lianne Laurence

OTTAWA, April 10, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — Three more bishops are withholding funding from Development and Peace in the wake of revelations that the Catholic international aid organization partnered with 40 agencies in developing countries that are either pro-abortion, pro-contraception, pro-homosexuality or pro-transgenderism.

Bishop Hector Vila of Whitehorse, Bishop-Elect Gregory Bittman of Nelson, and Bishop Gerard Bergie of St. Catharines have joined three Alberta bishops in holding back Share Lent donations to D&P until the situation is resolved.

Edmonton’s Archbishop Richard Smith, St. Paul’s Bishop Paul Terrio, and Calgary’s Bishop William McGratten announced last Friday they are withholding funding.

Meanwhile, Ottawa’s Archbishop Terrence Prendergast told LifeSiteNews in an email he will wait “for satisfactory explanations from D&P before making a decision.”

Added Prendergast: “But I assure donors from the Ottawa and Cornwall dioceses that only partnerships that are in conformity with Catholic social and moral teaching will receive our contributions.”

The bishops are responding to an interim report to the Western and Northern bishops in February on an ongoing joint internal review by the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) into Development and Peace grantees in developing countries.

“Recently, serious and credible allegations have been made against several of these overseas partners that they condone and even at times advocate policies and practices, which are not in compliance with Catholic teachings and, in particular, do not fully respect the sanctity of human life,” Bishop Vila wrote in his pastoral letter Friday.

His diocese will withhold the Development and Peace portion of the 2018 Share Lent Campaign donations, Vila wrote, “until such time as we receive clear assurance” that D&P’s “partner organizations in the Global South are complying with Catholic teachings.”

John Corriveau, apostolic administrator of Nelson diocese in British Columbia, told LifeSiteNews in an email his diocese is following suit.

“In agreement with Bishop-Elect Gregory Bittman, the Diocese of Nelson is withholding our Share Lent Collection until the issues pertaining to Development and Peace partners in the southern world have been clarified,” he wrote.

Bishop Bergie of St. Catharines in Ontario “hopes for a prompt resolution, and will withhold donations until the matter is clarified,” his vice-chancellor Marie Jong told LifeSiteNews in an email.

Edmonton’s Smith told Grandin Media last week he was “shocked” by the review’s findings so far of Development and Peace grantees.

“An estimated forty partners appear to show evidence of conflict with Catholic moral and social teaching and, in particular, that they do not demonstrate full respect for the sanctity of human life,” Smith wrote in a pastoral letter announcing his decision to withhold D&P funding.

That includes such Catholic teaching on “abortion, contraception, sterilization, same-sex relations and gender theory,” according to Grandin Media.

The bishops’ review was sparked when Catholic Women’s League members raised questions about a women’s health clinic in Haiti that is partnered with the Catholic aid association, according to Grandin Media.

LifeSiteNews has reported extensively for years on Development and Peace’s funding of pro-abortion, pro-contraception, and pro-LGBT groups in the developing world.

That includes reporting last March that D&P had been funding at least seven Latin American organizations that actively promote the legalization of abortion, including one in Haiti.

Prendergast, a member of the bishops’ liaison committee for Development and Peace, confirmed that “concern about partnerships came to the fore on several occasions and we bishops expressed the need to vet those partnerships in light of Catholic social and moral teachings.”

Consequently, “criteria were identified for establishing whether partnerships were in conformity with Catholic social and moral teaching and some of the partnerships were perceived as potentially problematic,” he wrote.

This was “brought to the attention of officials at Development and Peace and also communicated to the episcopal assemblies. Development and Peace asked for time to study and respond to our concerns. This is ongoing,” Prendergast noted.

It is “important to remember” that the preliminary report contained “findings which have given rise to serious questioning but which are being worked through together, and that we are expecting positive clarifications to come forth at the end,” he cautioned.

“We bishops are united in spirit. Several bishops have decided to announce already that they will withhold forwarding the contributions to D&P until these satisfactory clarifications are forthcoming; others are awaiting results of the review,” observed Prendergast.

“It is possible some dioceses will forward contributions only to D&P partners they judge suitable because they are evidently fully in conformity with Catholic teaching.”

LifeSiteNews contacted a number of bishops for their response.

Quebec City’s Cardinal Gerald Lacroix “respects the decision made by his brother bishops and he is awaiting the official CCCB report before making any other decisions,” spokesperson Jasmin Lemieux-Lefebvre told LifeSiteNews.

Lacroix, primate of Canada, “supports Caritas’s mission and trusts that Development and Peace is regularly reviewing its partner organizations to make sure they are coherent with Catholic teachings,” he wrote.

Montreal’s Archbishop Christian Lepine “won’t be issuing a statement on this,” press secretary Erika Jacinto told LifeSiteNews.

“He follows with interest the analyses being performed by the ad-hoc working committee at the CCCB. The committee does not have any final facts to share as they are still working on them. We are not aware of any deadline for the completion of the analysis in question either,” she wrote.

Bishop Douglas Crosby of Hamilton “does not wish to comment at this time on the matter of the distribution of Funds collected for Development and Peace,” chancellor Msgr. Murray Kroetsch told LifeSiteNews.

Bishop Paul-Andre Durocher of Gatineau is not considering withholding funds “as we let the CCCB and D&P continue their discernment process,” he told LifeSiteNews in an email.

Bishop Ronald Fabbro of London has not issued a statement at this time, communications director Nelson Couto told LifeSiteNews.

Meanwhile, the CCCB released a short statement Tuesday. It confirmed the bishops’ conference “at various times receives inquiries and questions about some of the partners involved” with Development and Peace, and that “a joint research project is currently underway involving representation from the CCCB and CCODP.”

The review is “a work in progress, for which preliminary findings have been shared with the Bishops of Canada” and Development and Peace, the CCCB stated.

“The Conference of Bishops, while having expressed concern to CCODP regarding these preliminary results, remains hopeful that any necessary clarifications will be determined shortly,” it stated.

See LifeSiteNews’ comprehensive coverage on Development and Peace funding here.

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Everything you need to know: A history of Planned Parenthood, Part I

Carole Novielli
By Carole Novielli
Margaret Sanger (image credit: Milwaukee Sentinel).
Margaret Sanger talks abortion in Woman and the New Race.
Poster from Birth Control Federation called Abortion Facts.
Margaret Sanger in Family Limitation noted that life begins at fertilization.
Sanger writes about meeting the Klan in her autobiography.
"License to Breed" by Margaret Sanger.
Julian Huxley spoke to Planned Parenthood (image credit: Maafa21 documentary).
Committee on Planned Parenthood (ABCL), 1938.
Planned Parenthood mentioned in 1939 in the NYT.
Excerpt: Margaret Sanger letter to Clarence Gamble, "Negro Project."
Planned Parenthood founded in 1942 (image: New York Times).
1950s Planned Parenthood logos (image credit: "A Tradition of Choice" by PPFA).
American Law Institute, Model Penal Code on Abortion (image: Chicago Tribune, 1966).
Harriet Pilpel and Alan Guttmacher.
Margaret Sanger dies, 1966.
Planned Parenthood Federation of America, formerly BCFA.

Editor's note: The following is part one in a two-part series.

April 10, 2018 (Live Action News) – Believe it or not, Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger did not introduce abortion to the organization. It was a man, Alan F. Guttmacher (after whom the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute is named), who did so. But Sanger has a very controversial history as an enthusiastic proponent of eugenics and as a member of the American Eugenics Society. The philosophy of eugenics not only fed her work within the Planned Parenthood movement, but her lesser known advocacy of euthanasia as well. The organizations Sanger founded, such as the American Birth Control League (ABCL), and later, Planned Parenthood, also have ties to many eugenics proponents. Under the philosophy of eugenics, minorities and the poor, as well as others deemed to be "feebleminded or unfit" were sometimes sterilized by the state. And at times, state sterilization boards used Planned Parenthood to commit these surgeries.

Sanger's advocacy of eugenics reveals that her desire was initially to sterilize those she deemed "unfit." It wasn't until after these inhumane, eugenic methods were challenged in court that abortion was introduced into Planned Parenthood as an organization.

This clip from the documentary film, Maafa21, recounts a case in which eugenics courts utilized Planned Parenthood's services to do the dirty work of eugenic sterilizations:

In 1921, Sanger founded the ABCL after opening her first birth control clinic in 1916. In 1923, according to the Margaret Sanger Papers, the Birth Control Clinical Research Bureau (BCCRB) began as the Clinical Research Bureau (CRB), and on January 19, 1939, the Birth Control Federation of America (BCFA) was formed through a merger of the ABCL and the BCCRB. At a special membership meeting held on January 29, 1942, the BCFA changed its name to the Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA).

Sanger's obsession with eugenics originated with her introduction to Henry Havelock Ellis in 1914, a psychologist and author of several books on sex, according to biographer Larry Lader. Lader once recounted that Sanger had "skimpy" knowledge about abortion, and that the topic caused a split between Lader and Sanger. "Ironically, I would eventually split with Margaret over abortion — only in a theoretical sense since, by 1963, she was too ill to carry on our old discussions," Lader wrote in "Abortion II." "Margaret had always opposed abortion…. Naturally, she was right in the context of her time," he continued.

Sanger believed in birth control to "stop the reproduction of the unfit"

Today, thanks to Lader and the media, Sanger is probably most well known for her push for contraception. But Sanger's birth control agenda had a sinister eugenics plot behind it, as she admitted in 1919, when she stated:

Before eugenists and others who are laboring for racial betterment can succeed, they must first clear the way for Birth Control…. We who advocate Birth Control, on the other hand, lay all our emphasis upon stopping not only the reproduction of the unfit but upon stopping all reproduction when there is not economic means of providing proper care for those who are born in health. …While I personally believe in the sterilization of the feeble-minded, the insane and syphilitic, I have not been able to discover that these measures are more than superficial deterrents when applied to the constantly growing stream of the unfit… Eugenics without Birth Control seems to us a house builded upon the sands. It is at the mercy of the rising stream of the unfit…"

Sanger was a nurse by trade and had witnessed the horrors of illegal abortion. In fact, as early as 1912, before there were appropriate medicines to combat infection, Sanger witnessed a patient die from what she believed to be an illegal abortion. Sanger was not necessarily opposed to abortion, but as it had not yet been legalized, her focus was eugenic sterilization and birth control. In her book Woman and the New Race, published in 1920, Sanger suggests that birth control is a better choice than abortion:

When society holds up its hands in horror at the "crime" of abortion, it forgets at whose door the first and principal responsibility for this practice rests. Does anyone imagine that a woman would submit to abortion if not denied the knowledge of scientific, effective contraceptives? Does anyone believe that physicians and midwives who perform abortions go from door to door soliciting patronage? The abortionist could not continue his practice for twenty-four hours if it were not for the fact that women come desperately begging for such operations…The question, then, is not whether family limitation should be practiced. It is being practiced, it has been practiced for ages and it will always be practiced. The question that  society must answer is this: shall family limitation be achieved through birth control or abortion?"

As abortion continues today despite the availability of multiple kinds of contraception, it appears that Sanger, in claiming women seek abortion only because they don't have birth control, was wrong.

Sanger called birth control "less repulsive" than abortion

She goes on to admit, "In plain, everyday language, in an abortion there is always a very serious risk to the health and often to the life of the patient…. Frequent abortions tend to cause barrenness and serious, painful pelvic ailments. These and other conditions arising from such operations are very likely to ruin a woman's general health."

Then, she briefly advocates for legalized abortion, while maintaining her focus on "prevention," writing, "We know that abortion, when performed by skilled hands, under right conditions, brings almost no danger to the life of the patient, and we also know that particular diseases can be more easily combatted after such an abortion than during a pregnancy allowed to come to full term. But why not adopt the easier, safer, less repulsive course and prevent conception altogether? Why put these thousands of women who each year undergo such abortions to the pain they entail and in whatever danger attends them?"

She goes on to claim that "every argument that can be made for preventive medicine can be made for birth-control clinics," adding that without these, "the rapid increase of the feebleminded, of criminal types and of the pathetic victims of toil in the child-labor factories," will continue.

Sanger understood that life begins at the moment of fertilization, writing this in her Family Limitation pamphlet, originally published in 1914: "Any attempt to interfere with the development of the fertilized ovum is called an abortion. No one can doubt that there are times where abortion is justifiable but they will become unnecessary when care is taken to prevent conception."

In 1921, Sanger proclaimed that "the campaign for birth control is not merely of eugenic value, but is practically identical in ideal with the final aim of eugenics."

In 1926, as Live Action News has previously detailed, Margaret Sanger met with the women's branch of the Ku Klux Klan, entertaining additional invitations, according to her own report of the meeting. The event took place in Silver Lake, New Jersey, and Sanger described in it in her autobiography:

I accepted an invitation to talk to the women's branch of the Ku Klux Klan…. I saw through the door dim figures parading with banners and illuminated crosses…. I was escorted to the platform, was introduced, and began to speak…. In the end, through simple illustrations I believed I had accomplished my purpose. A dozen invitations to speak to similar groups were proffered. (Margaret Sanger: An Autobiography, P.366)

Sanger called that event "one of the weirdest experiences I had in lecturing."

Sanger believed having children was a privilege (granted by the state), not a human right

In 1934, Sanger suggested requiring a "license" to have children. To the likes of Sanger, the concept of becoming a parent was never one of "choice" but rather something reserved only for the privileged few and only if they obtained the approval of either the government or eugenics leaders.

In her publication, "A License for Mothers to Have Babies" with the subtitle, "A code to stop the overproduction of children." Sanger outlined her plan article by article, which read in part (emphasis mine):

A marriage license shall in itself give husband and wife only the right to a common household and not the right to parenthood.

Article 4. No woman shall have the legal right to bear a child, and no man shall have the right to become a father, without a permit for parenthood.

Article 5. Permits for parenthood shall be issued upon application by city, county, or State authorities to married couples, providing the parents are financially able to support the expected child, have the qualifications needed for proper rearing of the child, have no transmissible diseases, and on the woman's part, no medical indication that maternity is likely to result in death or permanent injury to health.

Article 6. No permit for parenthood shall be valid for more than one birth.

Then, in 1936, Julian S. Huxley, brother of novelist Aldous, who authored Brave New World, published an article in the Eugenics Review, where he proclaimed that birth control had to be taught to the so-called "lowest strata" of society who were "reproducing relatively too fast." Sanger once said that Huxley "brings to the Birth Control movement the most distinguished intellectual background England can boast." Huxley wrote:

First comes the prevention of dysgenic effects. The upper economic classes are presumably slightly better endowed with ability – at least with ability to succeed in our social system – yet are not reproducing fast enough to replace themselves, either absolutely or as a percentage of the total population. We must therefore try to remedy this state of affairs, by pious exhortation and appeals to patriotism, or by the more tangible methods of family allowances, cheaper education, or income-tax rebates for children. The lowest strata, allegedly less well-endowed genetically, are reproducing relatively too fast.

Therefore birth-control methods must be taught them; they must not have too easy access to relief or hospital treatment lest the removal of the last check on natural selection should make it too easy for children to be produced or to survive; long unemployment should be a ground for sterilization, or at least relief should be contingent upon no further children being brought into the world; and so on. That is to say, much of our eugenic programme will be curative and remedial merely, instead of preventive and constructive.

Huxley was an outspoken elitist on population control who, in 1946, became UNESCO's first Director-General. He was the vice president of the Abortion Law Reform Association, and like Sanger, he once endorsed euthanasia. Then, in 1959, Huxley was awarded for his work by Planned Parenthood.

Interestingly, months later in 1937, the American Medical Association (AMA) officially recognized birth control as an integral part of medical practice and education. Then, North Carolina became the first state to include birth control in a public health program. We later learned that they were also heavily influenced by the eugenics movement.  

In 1938, Sanger set up a "Committee on Planned Parenthood," announcing it in her publication, the American Birth Control Review, writing, "As a first step in a campaign to expand the nation-wide activities and services of the American Birth Control League, the Citizens Committee for Planned Parenthood will conduct a fund-raising campaign for $263,990 this Spring in metropolitan New York."

By 1940, the group had raised over $118,000 for the cause with $10,000 coming from Albert D. Lasker.

Planned Parenthood once touted birth control as a way to reduce abortion… but it hasn't

In 1939, the New York Times used the term "Planned Parenthood" in an article headline, quoting Sanger as claiming that, "The only way to halt the increasing abortion rate and strike at the roots of a racket… is through medically guided birth control advice."

Behind the scenes, Sanger's organization was trying to gain the trust of the Black community. Her work in eugenics and her members' continued advocacy of the very racist movement created some ambivalence.  The problem they faced was that the Black community saw birth control and abortion as genocide. But Sanger had a solution: to use Blacks themselves to introduce and promote "birth control."

Thus, in 1939, Sanger created her "Negro Project," as described in a letter she penned to Clarence Gamble regarding her desire to use Black ministers in furthering her organization's agenda, because, she said, "We do not want word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population," and if it did, these ministers could "straighten out that idea if it ever occurs to any of their more rebellious members."

Then, on March 6, 1942, the NYT announced that the BCFA had changed its name to Planned Parenthood.

In 1946, Frederick Osborne, a founding member of the American Eugenics Society (AES) who signed Margaret Sanger's "Citizens Committee for Planned Parenthood" was elected president of the AES.

Osborn once wrote, "Eugenic goals are most likely attained under a name other than eugenics." Some speculate that Planned Parenthood's infamous slogan, "Every Child a Wanted Child," may have originated with Osborn. It is no wonder that Osborn also said that "Birth Control and abortion are turning out to be the great eugenic advances of our time."

A few years later, in 1950, Margaret Sanger proclaimed in a letter to Mrs. Stanley McCormick, "I consider that the world and almost our civilization for the next twenty-five years, is going to depend upon a simple, cheap, safe contraceptive to be used in poverty stricken slums, jungles, and among the most ignorant people. Even this will not be sufficient, because I believe that now, immediately, there should be national sterilization for certain dysgenic types of our population who are being encouraged to breed and would die out were the government not feeding them. Contraceptive research needs tremendous financial support…"

The push to add voluntary abortion for "medical, eugenic, and humanitarian reasons" began

Then, in 1959, the American Law Institute (ALI) proposed permitting legal therapeutic abortions. The ALI's Model Penal Code on abortion was the premise of the 1973 Supreme Court Decision.

In 1960, Psychiatrist Dr. Jerome Kummer and Zad Leavey, Deputy District Attorney of Los Angeles, suggested at an annual meeting of the American Medical Association (AMA), that abortion laws be changed to allow for, as the New York Times reported, "medical, eugenic and humanitarian reasons."

In 1962, Alan Guttmacher, M.D. began his years as president of Planned Parenthood. The following year (1963) Betty Friedan published her book, The Feminine Mystique. Then, in 1964, the platform of the American Eugenics Party was presented and read in part, "The United States is already over-populated. We must stop all immigration and impose birth controls."

In 1965, Harriet Pilpel, general counsel to the American Civil Liberties Union who later became chairwoman of the Law Panel International of Planned Parenthood Federation, according to the New York Times, published The Right to Abortion, calling abortion "the most widespread… method of fertility control in the modern world."

Pilpel added, "If we really want to cut our population growth rate on a voluntary basis, we should make abortion available on a voluntary basis, at least in the early stages of pregnancy."

That same year, more pressure was applied to the AMA to adopt a resolution in support of abortion. Sitting on the AMA's Committee on Human Reproduction was Dr. Mary S. Calderone, a leader in the Planned Parenthood movement and director of SEICUS at the time. She argued, according to the New York Times, that, "A woman should not have to go through with having a baby she will shudder to see."

Sanger died in 1966, several years before abortion was decriminalized in most states. That same year, Lader published his infamous book, Abortion.

In 1967, Lader and Nathanson hijacked the women's movement and influenced Betty Friedan to add an abortion plank to NOW. Soon after, in 1969, Lader helped to found NARAL.

Also in 1967, the AMA approved a measure to adopt an abortion policy that would allow therapeutic abortions for the health of life of the mother, to prevent the birth of a child with a physical or mental defect, and to terminate pregnancies resulting from rape or incest.

That same year, California, Colorado, and North Carolina modified their statutes on abortion as well.

The next year, Planned Parenthood would also approve abortion and call for liberalizing laws that criminalized abortion.

Published with permission from Live Action News.

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Facebook declares black, pro-Trump social media stars ‘unsafe for community’

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By Calvin Freiburger

April 10, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Facebook is in the midst of yet another controversy after classifying a conservative social media duo’s videos as “unsafe to the community.”

Lynette Hardaway and Rochelle Richardson are the South Carolina sisters who video-blog under the names Diamond and Silk. Rising to prominence during the 2016 election as some of Donald Trump’s most high-profile black supporters, the pair maintains a steady stream of passionate and humorous videos commenting on the issues of the day.

Since September, the duo says it has been asking Facebook why their million-plus followers have stopped receiving notifications of new content, and why their content has seen steep declines in reach. The month before, they say, YouTube had demonetized 95% of their videos on the grounds they were “Not Suitable For All Advertisers.”

On Friday, Diamond and Silk published Facebook’s answer, which they say came only after “6 Months, 29 days, 5 hrs, 40 minutes and 43 seconds.”

“The Policy team has came to the conclusion that your content and your brand has been determined unsafe to the community,” they quote a Facebook representative as saying. “This decision is final and it is not appeal-able in any way.”

In response, they asked a series of follow-up questions, including when their page (which launched in 2014) became “unsafe,” what specific content was objectionable, and why Facebook still allows them to spend money to boost their reach. “Maybe FB should give us a refund,” they added.

“This is deliberate bias censorship and discrimination,” they concluded. “These tactics are unacceptable and we want answers!”

“We don't sell drugs, we're not laying out in the streets, we not no thugs, we don't belong to no gang. So how are we unsafe to the community?” Hardaway asked, according to the Hill. “It's offensive, it's appalling, it taints our brand, it taints us as women, and Facebook is supposed to be an entity where they want equality for women. So why are you censoring two women of color, two black women?”

Following media coverage over the weekend, a Facebook spokesperson told Fox News it was reviewing the situation.

“We have communicated directly with Diamond And Silk about this issue. The message they received last week was inaccurate and not reflective of the way we communicate with our community and the people who run Pages on our platform,” the statement claimed. “We have provided them with more information about our policies and the tools that are applicable to their Page and look forward to the opportunity to speak with them.”

However, Diamond and Silk responded on Tuesday that they have received nothing of the sort.

“Let us be clear; Facebook has NOT communicated directly with Diamond And Silk,” they wrote. “We haven't spoken to Mark Zuckerberg or any representative from Facebook.”

This dispute comes as Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is slated to testify before Congress this week about the social media giant’s use of personal data collected from its users. Last week the company admitted that it improperly shared information on up to 87 million users with the data firm Cambridge Analytica. The week before, a Cambridge whistleblower testified before the British House of Commons that Facebook had the ability to listen to users through smartphones in which their app is installed.

Though lawmakers are expected to focus their questions on privacy, conservatives have called on them to question Zuckerberg on Facebook’s treatment of political content, as well. Analysis has found that political blogs have seen significant traffic declines in recent months while mainstream media outlets such as CNN and the New York Times have seen increased activity. In recent months, LifeSiteNews has covered several instances of Facebook censoring advertising of pro-life content.

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A student from Alameda High School in California participates in the March 14, 2018 student walkout to protest guns.
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Pro-life students at 200 high schools to stage walk-out protesting abortion

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By Calvin Freiburger
Brandon Gillespie CBS Sacramento

ROCKLIN, California, April 10, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Tomorrow, students from almost 200 high schools and more than 80 colleges across the United States will engage in a pro-life walkout to end abortion.

The National Pro-Life Walkout will consist of students walking out their classrooms on Wednesday, April 11 at 10:00 AM local time for seventeen minutes of silence and prayer. Organizers say it takes seventeen minutes for Planned Parenthood to abort ten children in a given day.

“We will no longer tolerate legal abortion in our nation, which has killed more than a fourth of our generation,” the event page reads. “We will no longer watch as our leaders in Washington continue to fund our nation’s largest abortion vendor, Planned Parenthood, with more than $500 million of our taxpayer dollars. We will no longer permit Planned Parenthood and their allies in the abortion industry to target our peers for their predatory business cycle.”

Rocklin High School student Brandon Gillespie of California is spearheading the event, with organizational support from Students for Life of America. Gillespie announced the walkout on March 22, to “honor all the lives of the millions of aborted babies every year,” and to raise awareness of the “cruel injustices taking place at Planned Parenthood.”

READ: Teen organizes nationwide school ‘walkout’ to protest abortion

Students for Life of America President Kristan Hawkins said in a press release that more than 350 students or student groups nationwide have notified SFLA that they plan to participate.

Gillespie also hopes the event will serve a secondary function of exposing whether public schools hold pro-life activism to a different standard than other causes.

On March 14, another high school walkout took place to call for gun control in the wake of February’s mass shooting in Parkland, Florida. It also spanned seventeen minutes, to honor the number of people killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

Gillespie’s history teacher, Julianne Benzel, found herself suspended for two days over a class discussion in which she raised the question of whether schools that allowed students to leave class for the gun walkout would show the same deference to walkouts on other issues, such as abortion.

That inspired Gillespie to put her thought experiment to the test. “I would like to see if there really is a double standard and what will come of that,” he said.

So far, his school district’s reaction is confirming their suspicions. A Rocklin Unified School District spokesperson told CNS News that while pro-life students will not face disciplinary action for participating, the school will not officially sanction the event because it isn’t “viewpoint neutral.”

By contrast, the district claimed that the gun walkout qualified as a “special event” because it was a “viewpoint neutral” “remembrance activity.” However, CNS News notes that the gun walkout did advocate specific policy viewpoints, such as support for banning high-capacity magazines and opposition to concealed carry reciprocity legislation.

Gillespie added that the school waited until the last minute to respond to his requests, and in the end denied him teacher flexibility in lesson planning and the use of school sound equipment. The school had previously granted both accommodations to the gun activists. “It just confirms for me that there is a political double standard, at least in my school district, but I’m still going to be out there,” he said.

On Monday, the Life Legal Defense Foundation sent a letter to Rocklin High School stating it was in violation of legal precedent against viewpoint discrimination, and warning that it would pursue legal action if the school attempted to enforce any double-standards against Gillespie.

It is "well settled that once a forum is opened for the expression of views, regardless of how unusual the forum, under the dual mandate of the first amendment and the equal protection clause neither the government nor any private censor may pick and choose between those views which may or may not be expressed,” the US First Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in 1973, as quoted by the letter.

“This is a blatant case of content discrimination and arbitrary favoritism,” Life Legal executive director Alexandra Snyder said. “Rocklin High School’s decision treats the Pro-life Walkout differently than the way the school treated the gun walkout, which violates the First Amendment and the Equal Protection rights of every student participating in the Pro-life walkout.”

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Friars launch weekly live-streamed Holy Hour to pray for end of abortion

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By Pete Baklinski

GOSPORT, England, April 10, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A religious community in England is launching a weekly international “pro-life Holy Hour” on Thursday to pray for the ending of abortion. The hour will be live-streamed globally on Radio Immaculata

“Our pro-life Holy Hour is an initiative aiming at creating a chain of people around the world to pray together for the sake of human life so that it might be acknowledged by everyone as a mystery, naturally and supernaturally, to be honored and respected,” said Father Serafino M. Lanzetta Superior of the Marian Franciscans to LifeSiteNews. 

"Life is a mystery, a great mystery. It is the very beginning of everything. This is the reason why we must support it as best we can,” he added.

The live Holy Hour will take place every Thursday from 7:00 PM - 8:00 PM GMT. It’s launch date is set for April 12. The Friars have developed an app for both Android and Apple devices so people can more easily tune in for the Holy Hour.

The Franciscan friars say that prayer is needed more urgently than ever to end the estimated 1 million abortions that take place each week globally

“As believers in Jesus Christ, the Risen Lord of Life, our pro-life vocation and mission becomes even more urgent and compelling. Through our pro-life activities and actions we wish to show everyone the love of the Lord of life who became Himself a Baby and laid in a Mother’s womb,” said Father Lanzetta.

The friars say that Jesus asked his disciples to watch and pray with him for one hour. 

“How can we respond to the attack on the dignity of human life, so prevalent in our times in the ‘culture of death’ in which we are immersed? St Maximilian Kolbe, Patron of the Pro-Life Movement, explained to his Friars that only Prayer can lay the foundation for the conversion of hearts,” the friars say about the Holy Hour.

“In many developed countries, such as those in North America and Europe, where the attack on the unborn is most pronounced and where the capacity to change this intrinsically evil legislation seems almost impossible, we must through God’s mercy and Mary’s intercession seek to make the notion of abortion unthinkable,” they add. 

The friars say that abortion has made a mother’s womb become the “most dangerous place.” 

“What can we do? Jesus Christ instituted the most holy Sacrament, Tradition tells us around 7.00pm on Maundy Thursday. Then he went to Gethsemane and Calvary. Then let us keep watch with Jesus Christ Our Saviour, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and all the Heavenly Court in this hour. Were you there when they crucified your Lord? We can respond confidently, saying, ‘Yes, Lord, we watched with you,’” the friars state.

The Franciscan friars are asking those who wish to become part of the Holy Hour to invite others to join in. 

“Let us defeat this diabolical attack with the power of prayer so that our hearts will be one and we will be like the multitude of believers in Acts 4:32 who ‘had but one heart and one soul.’”

Editor's note: Diane Montagna contributed to this report.  

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Cardinals can declare that a heretical pope has ‘lost his office’: Church historian

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By Stephen Kokx
Professor Roberto de Mattei speaking at the 2018 Catholic Family News conference. Dave Reilly

DEERFIELD, IL, April 10, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – True devotion to the Chair of St. Peter is essential to a Christian spiritual life, but today there exists a “false devotion” to the Pope that claims he “must always be obeyed, no matter what,” renowned Church historian Roberto de Mattei told a gathering of Catholics just outside Chicago this past weekend.

Speaking at the 2018 Catholic Family News conference, de Mattei called on laity and clergy alike to oppose the “theological error” of “papolatry” and to live out a “true devotion” to the papacy.

“True devotion to the Chair of Peter is not the worship of the man who occupies this Cathedra, but is the love and veneration for the mission which Jesus Christ gave to Peter and his successors.”

Professor de Mattei’s talk — delivered to approximately 100 Catholics hailing from multiple continents — touched on a variety of topics, including collegiality, the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI, and the claim that Pope Francis has fallen into heresy and is no longer pope.

Obedience to God first

Central to de Mattei’s hour-long address was an urgent request for Catholics to expose by name the pastors who contradict perennial Church teaching. 

Opposing errors is not enough, Professor de Mattei said. “We need to have the courage to say: ‘Holy Father, you are the first one responsible for the confusion which exists today in the Church. Holy Father, you are the first one responsible for the heresies which are circulating in the Church today.’”

Papolatry views the Pope as a “new Christ.” It takes the position that “there is no need to worry about anything” and that the pope “perfects the doctrine of his predecessors, adapting it to the changing of the times.”

Papolatrists “deceive themselves” and “tranquilize” their conscience by thinking the pope is “always right, even when he contradicts himself or his predecessors.” 

In reality, “Tradition remains the criterion for discerning that which is Catholic and that which is not.” “Tradition comes before the Pope and not the Pope before Tradition.” Otherwise the Church’s perennial magisterium is replaced with a “living” magisterium that has “its rule of faith in the subject of the authority and not in the object of the transmitted truth.”

Obedience to the Pope “has its limits in the natural and Divine Laws, and in the Tradition of the Church, of which the Pope is guardian and not creator.”

Catholics cannot remain silent

Professor de Mattei, who will be speaking at LifeSiteNews’ Roman Life Forum in May 2018, also pointed out that Catholics cannot succumb to a “catacombist” mentality in response to the crisis in the Church.

Catholics cannot “retreat from the battlefield” and think they can “survive without fighting.” It is not permitted for a Christian to leave behind their militant attitude. “To make silence a rule of behavior...would be an error.” It would be to commit a guilty silence.

Who then must speak up and what must they do? Professor de Mattei said the responsibility falls not only on ordinary Catholics but also on Cardinals who in their silence “don't fulfill their duty.” It also falls on the shoulders of Pope Emeritus Benedict.

“The politics of silence has become a jail which imprisons many conservatives.” “Today is the moment to speak.” There has been a “modernist infiltration inside the Church” that is “wreaking havoc” in Rome. Catholics must oppose this infiltration with filial resistance, not with sarcasm, irreverence, bitter zeal, or pride.

Is the Pope Catholic?

Professor de Mattei then shared his thoughts on the historic resignation of Pope Benedict.

It is “incorrect” for Benedict to refer to himself as Pope Emeritus. Quoting Cardinal Brandmüller, de Mattei said “Canon Law doesn’t recognize the figure of a Pope Emeritus.” For Benedict to still dress in the white papal vestments and to still live in the Vatican “creates confusion,” de Mattei told LifeSiteNews. Benedict “seems to be convinced of still being Pope.” But “it is impossible that two Popes can exist. The Papacy is not dismountable: there can be only one Vicar of Christ.” 

Professor de Mattei also addressed the increasingly relevant, and increasingly important, question of whether Pope Francis is still the pope.

After citing others scholars who have suggested Francis has fallen into heresy, de Mattei said “we must admit that the Pope himself promotes and propagates errors and heresies in the Church.” But, “as a tree can live for a certain time after its roots have been severed, so can jurisdiction be maintained...even after a fall into heresy. Jesus Christ maintains the person of the heretical Pontiff in his jurisdiction provisionally, until the Church recognizes the deposition.”

Speaking to LifeSiteNews, de Mattei said “nobody can depose the pope” but the Cardinals, can, in principle, “declare and recognize that being a heretic, [the pope] has lost his office.” 

Until such a time comes, de Mattei added, Catholics must “clarify to people that unfortunately [Pope Francis] propagates heresy.”  However, Francis “does not lose his office until his heresy becomes manifest” and widespread. This “has not yet happened.” 

Occupying powers in Rome

Professor de Mattei proceeded to issue what appeared to be a warning to Catholics concerned with the direction Francis is leading the Church.

“We need to be careful of speaking of the ‘Bergoglian church,’ or of ‘the new Church.’ The Church today is occupied by churchmen who betray or deform the message of Christ, but it has not been substituted by another church. There is only one Catholic Church, in which they cohabitate in a confused and fragmentary way, different and counterpoised theologies and philosophies. It is more correct to speak of a ‘Bergoglian theology,’ of a ‘Bergoglian philosophy,’ and, if one wishes, of a ‘Bergoglian religion’ or ‘irreligion.’”

There are not two Churches, but one Church, he continued. It is, to be sure, a Church where bad tendencies have been introduced but it is a Church still governed visibly by its Vicar Pope Francis, whose election has not been contested by any Cardinal.

Professor de Mattei urged Catholics to unite themselves to “the good priests” inside of the one Church.

Assisting the auto-demolition of the Church

Drawing on his vast knowledge of Church history, Professor de Mattei explained how Pope Francis’ support for decentralization and collegiality is undermining the papacy.

Reminding his listeners of how ultramontanists were victorious at Vatican I, Professor de Mattei noted that the real protagonists of Vatican II were Liberal Catholics, and that among other things Liberal Catholics seek to transform the “monarchical and hierarchical constitution of the Church into a democratic and parliamentary structure.”

Professor de Mattei pointed out that this is precisely what Francis is attempting to do. He wants to usher in a “polycentric or multi-sided church” where the papacy is “conceived as a form of ministry at the service of the other churches, renouncing the juridical Primacy or government of Peter.”

But, de Mattei continued, such a view of the papacy runs counter to what has been handed down through the ages. The Pope is not an equal with the other Bishops. “Jesus Christ entrusted the mission of governing to Peter, after the Resurrection.” To democratize the Church and to “reduce her to a purely-sacramental dimension” is to “transition from a juridical Church to a sacramental Church, a Church of communion.”

Moreover, Professor de Mattei added, to destroy the Primacy of Peter is to accomplish what the enemies of Christ have been attempting to do for centuries because “they have understood that it comprises the visible foundation of the Mystical Body [of Christ].”

Editor's note: Read the full text of Professor de Mattei’s talk here.

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HBO comedian attacks pro-life pregnancy centers as ‘predators’

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By Calvin Freiburger

April 10, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Liberal comedian John Oliver used the most recent episode of his weekly HBO show to launch a wide-ranging attack on pro-life crisis pregnancy centers.

On Sunday’s “Last Week Tonight,” Oliver devoted a 21-minute segment to nonprofit facilities that provide alternatives to abortion, calling them practitioners of “emotional manipulation.”

“The tactics that CPCs often use are disingenuous and predatory, and it is absolutely critical that people understand that” he said.

He began by accusing CPCs of hiding their objective of discouraging abortions by using the word “choice” in their names and advertising “pregnancy options.” He quoted pro-life activist Abby Johnson’s advice that clients are more receptive to clinics that “appear neutral on the outside.” CPCs offer assistance with choosing either parenthood or adoption, but Oliver maintained the language was misleading if abortion is not among those options.

In a Facebook post published Monday, Johnson, a former Planned Parenthood employee, slammed the hit piece as 'full of lies and misrepresentations.'​ She responded to claims made in the segment. “There is a group of women who would never think to darken the door of a pregnancy center” thanks in large part to “the false statement they have read in media publications,” she said, so “aside from lying and manipulation, we will do whatever it takes to get that woman in the door, because the life of her child is depending on it.”

Pro-lifers have also argued that it’s Planned Parenthood’s name that’s misleading, citing a Live Action investigation last year that found that 92 out of 97 Planned Parenthood locations did not offer prenatal services to women who choose parenthood. Following President Donald Trump’s election, Oliver called on his audience to support Planned Parenthood.

He next accused pregnancy centers of “intercept[ing] people’s internet searches” by buying Google ads for keywords related to pregnancy and abortion, and trying to “physically intercept” women by placing their locations close to abortion facilities. When the pro-abortion group NARAL originated this charge in 2014, an investigation by Jill Stanek determined that the juxtaposition of pregnancy center ads with “abortion clinic” searches was a result of Google’s AdWords’ real-time bidding algorithms, not conscious decisions by CPCs.

Oliver spent the bulk of the segment arguing that CPCs routinely deceive women in a variety of ways, starting with “nonsense information” such as that “35 percent of suicidal behaviors…may be attributable to abortion,” abortion “almost doubles” risk of breast cancer, and that “condoms are ineffective in preventing pregnancy.”

However, the suicide statistic comes from a 2011 study published in the British Journal of Psychiatry; the breast cancer statistic (which refers to abortions performed before age 18 or after age 30) comes from the National Cancer Institute; and the US Centers for Disease Control reports an 18% failure rate for the “first year of typical use” of male condoms.

A 2016 study out of the University of Notre Dame found a link between school condom programs and a 10% increase in teen birth rates, which dovetails with the pro-life argument that encouraging condom use ultimately encourages sexual promiscuity, as well. Nevertheless, Oliver chided CPCs for not dispensing birth control.

Pro-lifers should be “filling Pez dispensers with birth control pills,” “giving condoms out to trick-or-treaters,” and giving “IUD earrings out as hostess gifts” if they really oppose abortion, he said. He claimed pro-lifers don’t because their real goal is “controlling women’s sexual behavior” rather than saving lives.

But Mary Eberstadt, Senior Research Fellow at the Faith & Reason Institute, has pointed out that historically, an “increased use of contraception has also increased abortion.”

"Fifty years ago, many people of good will defended contraception precisely because they thought it would render abortion obsolete.  But the statistical record since the 1960s shows this commonly held logic to be wrong,” she said. 

Oliver also claims that “abortion is far less medically dangerous than carrying a child to term” (a claim disputed by multiple researchers), which he contrasts with video of a supposed CPC worker claiming that “if people die due to an abortion, later on a lot of times they’re finding parts of the fetus in, like, the lungs or the heart.” The center is not identified, but rare cases of abortionists leaving baby parts inside of a woman have been reported.

Offering free ultrasounds to women constitutes “emotional manipulation” as well, Oliver says, thanks CPC workers using “coercive” language such as “mom” and “baby” while operating the ultrasound.

He then played video of New York OB/GYN and abortion advocate Dr. Anne Davis recounting a case in which a patient in her third trimester came to her seeking an abortion after a CPC allegedly told her “she didn’t have to rush […] because they do abortion in New York City up until term,” only to discover she would have to give birth. Davis has recounted similar anecdotes elsewhere, but does not identify the alleged CPC. 

Oliver conceded that “some” pregnancy centers offer women assistance such as “parenting classes and free diapers.” But he then attacked that support by quoting Abby Johnson’s advice that pregnancy centers should cut off such assistance at six months after birth, to encourage self-sufficiency in new mothers, and because CPCs lacked the resources to provide care indefinitely.

“To which I would say, yeah! Exactly!” Oliver responded, drawing a parallel to women who “need” abortions for similar economic reasons.

In her Facebook post, Johnson responded that “pregnancy centers will never be able to effectively compete with the abortion industry,” so “we want to provide services that they would NEVER consider providing: material assistance for Mom and baby, professional counseling, true options counseling, grief counseling from past abortions, lactation support, parenting and childbirth classes, fertility care instruction, and so much more.”

Katie Yoder of Newsbusters adds that the national pregnancy center network Care Net has “provided over $112 million in free services in the last two years to people in need of support in making pregnancy and family decisions.” 

Oliver’s final point was that it is “way too easy for a religious organization to disguise its true nature, establish a CPC, and provide women with dangerously poor information about one of their most important health choices.” To “prove” this, he closed the segment by revealing that he had easily registered a mobile pregnancy center called “Vanned Parenthood” in the state of New York.

Inside the van was comedian Rachel Dratch, portraying a caricature of a religious CPC worker named “Wanda Jo Oliver.” Dratch recited a series of outlandish claims about abortion: that it “make[s] a ghost baby that’ll haunt their hoo-ha forever,” “turns your breast milk into kombucha,” and that afterward “your vagina seals shut like an Egyptian tomb.”

Oliver claimed it was “all perfectly legal” for CPCs to actually tell women similar things, because they are not required to be licensed as medical professionals. But Johnson noted that the same could be said of many Planned Parenthood locations.

“Planned Parenthood doesn’t use licensed professionals to perform medical procedures, such as ultrasounds or lab tests on patients. It is not even a recommendation in their policies and procedures,” she wrote. “It IS a recommendation from both Heartbeat and Carenet that medical professionals be the ones performing these procedures in pregnancy centers.”

“The media is so dishonest, it’s not surprising that they won’t even mention these FACTS in their pieces,” Johnson concluded. “Either way, we must keep sharing truth.”

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‘Rebuke to…anti-abortion activists’: World media reacts to Pope’s new doc

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By Claire Chretien

April 10, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A number of prominent media outlets noticed how sharply Pope Francis veered from the positions of his predecessors by labeling immigration as important of an issue as abortion in his new exhortation Gaudete et Exsultate.

And leftist clerics and Church observers, like Father James Martin, S.J., celebrated the exhortation for its jabs at pro-life, doctrine-supporting Catholics.

“Caring for migrants and the poor is as holy a pursuit as opposing abortion, Pope Francis declared in a major document issued by the Vatican on Monday morning,” Jason Horowitz at the New York Times began. “Pushing back against conservative critics within the church who argue that the 81-year-old pope’s focus on social issues has led him to lose sight of the true doctrine, Pope Francis again cast himself, and the mission of the Roman Catholic Church, in a more progressive light.”

“To answer God’s call to holiness, Christians must care for the poor, the sick and the immigrant just as they care for preventing abortion, Pope Francis wrote in his latest major guidance to the Catholic Church, published Monday,” the Washington Post summarized.

Both of those liberal outlets pointed to the passages in the exhortation where Pope Francis criticizes the “harmful ideological error” of those who dismiss the importance of the “social engagement of others,” such as in immigration or service of the poor.

They “find suspect the social engagement of others, seeing it as superficial, worldly, secular, materialist, communist or populist,” the pontiff wrote. “Or they relativize it, as if there are other more important matters, or the only thing that counts is one particular ethical issue or cause that they themselves defend.”

Migration shouldn’t be seen as a “secondary” or “lesser” issue to “‘grave’ bioethical questions,” Pope Francis continued, suggesting the people who say that are like politicians “looking for votes.”

CNN called this “a pointed rebuke to Catholic anti-abortion activists who focus on the issue to the exclusion of all others” and a rebuke of “narrow-minded Catholics.” Its article mentioned Cardinal Raymond Burke as one of the pope’s “principal critics,” noting Catholics are concerned about Pope Francis “trying to open up Catholic teaching.”

The New York Times used its article to say the pontiff has elevated the “plight” of migrants to “global attention perhaps more than any other issue.”

The leading liberal newspaper called the document “a distilled expression of Francis’ vision of the church, which is consistent with a view articulated by Cardinal Joseph L. Bernardin, the archbishop of Chicago who died in 1996, and who called for a ‘consistent ethic of life’ that wove issues of life and social justice into a ‘seamless garment.’”

It then took Pope Franics’ use of the phrase “church militant” – which in Catholic theology simply means the Church on Earth, with the “church suffering” being the souls in purgatory and the “church triumphant” being those in heaven – to call the news website Church Militant a “fringe Catholic website.”

The Times also quoted a Muslim refugee, pushed by the Vatican as available for interviews, as celebrating the pope’s declaration that migration is just as important of an issue as abortion.

“Francis does not use the term, but he clearly favors a ‘seamless garment of life’ approach to these issues,” liberal Villanova Professor Massimo Faggioli wrote at Commonweal magazine.

Despite its liberal slant, CNN gave relatively fair treatment to comments Pope Francis allegedly made to a leftist, atheist journalist during Holy Week denying the existence of hell.

“The Vatican issued a vague denial, leaving some to question the true position of the Pope,” CNN continued. It picked up on a subtle distinction that has been a feature of some of the pope’s recent comments: saying that the devil is real but casting doubt on whether anyone is actually in hell with him.

“While Francis does not address the question of hell in his new document, he makes clear that he believes the devil exists and is at work in our world.”

Feminist: reading the exhortation ‘feels good’

An article from The Independent got the gist of the exhortation right – it puts immigration on par with abortion – but then displayed extreme ignorance about Catholicism by claiming in 2016, Pope Francis “gave Catholic priests the power to forgive abortions.”

Pope Francis extended priests’ ability to forgive abortions without canonical obstacles, something that was already in place in most parts of the world.

The Independent, too, though, highlighted the parts of Gaudete et Exsultate that say the defense of pre-born babies must be on equal footing with defending “the lives of the poor, those already born, the destitute, the abandoned.” It also quoted the quickly-becoming-infamous section decrying the “harmful ideological error” of seeing others’ “social engagement” as “superficial, worldly, secular, materialist, communist or populist.”

Joanna Rothkopf at the feminist site Jezebel celebrated the parts of the exhortation that mention “harmful ideological error” and migration as on par with “grave” bioethics issues.

“The Pope immediately loses me with his full-throated, iconically Catholic defense of the unborn, sure, but that second part feels good,” Rothkopf wrote, referencing the following sentence:

Equally sacred, however, are the lives of the poor, those already born, the destitute, the abandoned and the underprivileged, the vulnerable infirm and elderly exposed to covert euthanasia, the victims of human trafficking, new forms of slavery, and every form of rejection.

She called the exhortation “a righteous subtweet of America’s allegedly Christian (but not Catholic!) Republican party, which will surely be triumphantly mangled, misinterpreted, or outright rejected with a #NotMyPope.”

A subtweet is a subtle, passive aggressive dig at another.

‘How should you regard flinging...doors open wide to Muslim migrants?’

Two prominent figures in American pro-life sphere found the exhortation confusing and nonsensical.

“Pope Francis is not only a religious leader, but is also the ruler of a sovereign state, Vatican City,” mused Rob Dreher at The American Conservative. “If he really believes what he is saying, let him open the gates of Vatican to as many migrants as want to come. Let him offer permanent residency to them, and provide them and their families with financial assistance.”

He continued:

If you are a European Christian, you are living in a post-Christian, unbelieving society (the Poles are an exception), a society in which your children will face great hardship in practicing the faith, and their children’s children may have an even more difficult time. How should you regard flinging to doors open wide to Muslim migrants, who are bearers of an alien religion and culture? The Pope gives no guidance, except to imply that you are a bad Christian for asking that question (“the only proper attitude”).

When Pope Francis invites migrants to turn St. Peter’s Square into a permanent camp, then he will be true to his principles, and lead by example. If he won’t do that, then he and his supporters should reflect on why he’s not doing so, and what it might say about his own sentimentalism and double standards.

Anyway, I cannot grasp why the claim an economic migrant makes on a nation, asking it to grant him the right to live there, as he desires to do, is on the same moral level as the claim an unborn child makes on the community: to permit him the right to live, period.

Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List, said Gaudete et Exsultate “blurs lines and causes confusion” about the moral severity of abortion.

“It is impossible to equate the moral weight of abortion – the direct killing of innocent unborn children occurring on a daily massive scale, here in America and abroad – with any other social justice issue,” said Dannenfelser. “The right to live predates or precludes every other right. It is simple logic. Without the fundamental right to life, no debate can even begin on the rights that follow.”

She continued:

The Catholic Church has long taught that abortion is an intrinsic evil that must always be opposed. [The exhortation] by Pope Francis confirms this when he says “Our defence of the innocent unborn, for example, needs to be clear, firm and passionate, for at stake is the dignity of a human life, which is always sacred and demands love for each person, regardless of his or her stage of development.” We all affirm the absolute dignity of the migrants and those suffering from poverty. How we solve these issues are matters of prudential judgment on which Catholics can disagree. Today’s exhortation blurs lines and causes confusion.”

‘Holiness’ means ‘being yourself’?

Carl E. Olsen at Catholic World Report presented an incisive analysis of the exhortation, focusing on parts that seemed to insult and “take aim” at Catholics with whom Pope Francis disagrees.

Olsen noted some parts of the document affirm Catholic teaching: “the best parts of the exhortation are those summarizing or revisiting the Church’s core beliefs about holiness, sainthood, and the spiritual life.”

And in the exhortation, there are some “hard truths put forth with clarity and brevity,” Olsen wrote.

Olsen noted that homosexuality-pushing Jesuit Father James Martin seemed “giddy” at the portions of the exhortation that the priest says are “taking aim at Catholics with ‘an obsession with the law, an absorption with social and political advantages [and] a punctilious concern for the Church's liturgy, doctrine and prestige.’”

“Martin’s rather giddy Tweet [on the exhortation] carried a strong whiff of ‘giving them what they had coming,’” Olsen wrote. “Would (or should) a papal text on holiness really ‘take aim’ at certain Catholics? Meanwhile, in an online piece for America magazine about the ‘top five takeaways’ from the papal text, Martin explained that the first key point is ‘Holiness means being yourself.’ And what if I’m someone who has a ‘punctilious concern’ for the Church’s liturgy and doctrine? What then?”

(One also wonders: Does Fr. Martin think pedophile priests should just “be themselves”?)

Exhortation signing coincided with ‘Lettergate’

Veteran Vaticanista Sandro Magister offered readers of his blog a biting critique of the new exhortation.

“On his objectors within the Church, Francis sketches in ‘Gaudete et Exsultate’ a profile that is prejudicially dismissive,” Magister observed.

“Curiously, however, the day on which Francis put his signature to ‘Gaudete et Exsultate’ was March 19,” the feast of St. Joseph, Magister concluded. “But it was also the final day of the ‘Viganò saga,’ the most colossal piece of ‘fake news’ fabricated so far by the pontificate of Francis, and moreover at the expense of his innocent predecessor, Benedict XVI.”

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Dear Wapo: Here’s why pro-lifers ARE being ‘honest’ in not wanting to hang post-abortive women

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By Calvin Freiburger

April 10, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Abortion supporters seem to be of two minds on how to spin Kevin Williamson’s recent trouble to their advantage.

Vox’s Anna North argues that Williamson’s past suggestion that women be executed for aborting their babies is an “actual policy recommendation” with “prominent” political support. But considering her evidence was weak even by Vox’s standards—a quickly-recanted statement from an Idaho politician and a handful of statements and proposals that endorsed punishment but didn’t specify the death penalty—others have instead decided to admit that most pro-lifers have no interest in punishing women…which somehow proves we’re big, fat phonies.

On Friday, the Washington Post saw fit to publish not one, but two op-eds arguing that Williamson’s position demonstrates a logical consistency that’s sorely lacking from the pro-life consensus, which is that punishment for abortion should fall on the abortionist alone.

“[W]hat Williamson said is also, from his point of view, intellectually honest, which is more than can be said for many who oppose abortion rights,” deputy editorial page editor Ruth Marcus wrote. She claims the rest of us don’t want to prosecute women as murderers simply because we would “prefer to avoid the implications of [our] asserted conviction that life begins at the moment of conception.”

WaPo senior political reporter Aaron Blake agrees. “If abortion is murder, isn't that at the very least being an accomplice to murder?” he asks. “If you stop short of that, it sort of undermines your entire argument that abortion and murder are the same thing.”

READ: Double-standard? The sheer hypocrisy behind the Atlantic’s decision to fire Kevin Williamson

Yes, we really believe abortion is murder. Yes, the standard consequence for taking a life is at least imprisonment, if not necessarily capital punishment (which many pro-lifers oppose, demonstrating more consistency than our liberal betters). But to conclude we must therefore support throwing women in jail (or worse) demonstrates a glaring ignorance of abortion’s legal history, as well as an unsurprising disregard for how carefully pro-lifers have thought through this dilemma.

Limiting prosecution to abortionists isn’t just something modern pro-life activists made up for PR purposes; it’s a settled legal standard that long predates Roe v. Wade. On Thursday I quoted Villanova University law professor Joseph Dellapenna’s explanation that prosecuting women for abortions was found to be detrimental to prosecutions of far-more-dangerous abortionists. Today let’s refer to Americans United for Life president and attorney Clarke Forsythe:

In fact, the irony is that in nearly all of the reported court cases explicitly addressing the issue of whether a woman was an accomplice to her abortion, it was the abortionist (not the prosecutor) who pushed the courts to treat the woman as an accomplice, for the obvious purpose of undermining the state’s criminal case against the abortionist (including the abortionist Ruth Barnett when Oregon last prosecuted her in 1968).

Leslie Reagan, in her 1997 book When Abortion Was a Crime, admits that states did not prosecute women for their abortions and concedes that the purpose behind that law was not to degrade women but to protect them.

But our stance is not only pragmatic; it’s compassionate. As former Planned Parenthood clinic director turned pro-life activist Abby Johnson said back when Williamson originally made the comments, “abortion is the ultimate violence against women and their unborn children. We must not, in turn, respond with violence against those who are misled and living in spiritual blindness.” She added that most women seeking abortions say they felt forced into the “choice,” meaning that punishment would only compound an already-nightmarish situation.

Justice also requires recognizing that while every individual does bear responsibility for the evil they do, neither the woman (nor even the abortionist) is the only guilty party. For generations, the very institutions we’re supposed to look to as authorities—government, public schools, academia, the media, leading medical journals, and even some churches—have indoctrinated people with the lies that life doesn’t begin at conception and that “terminating a pregnancy” only destroys some vaguely-defined mass of tissue. Women who go to abortion “clinics” are met with supposed healthcare professionals whose job is to lie to them.

There’s nothing inconsistent about considering all this when deciding how much culpability we should assign to women who abort, just as Abraham Lincoln sought to abolish the institutionalized, indoctrination-backed evil of his time without punishing former slaveholders.

Now, long after we’ve recriminalized abortion and uprooted its propaganda from polite society, future generations might well decide that abortion-seeking women should be presumed to fully understand what they’re destroying, and face prosecution. But that’s not the world we live in today, where fighting to protect mother and child alike more than suffices.

Finally, it can’t be stressed enough that these “here’s why pro-lifers don’t really think abortion is murder” arguments are nothing new. They’ve been a staple of pro-abortion apologetics as long as I can remember, for a simple reason: the never-ending quest to dismiss the pro-life argument without refuting it.

Let’s assume for a moment that everything Marcus and Blake said about us was true, and that pro-lifers really are just too squeamish to carry our rhetoric all the way. Would it follow that life doesn’t begin at conception? Would it change the settled biological criteria that define the preborn as every bit as human as Jeffrey Goldberg at every stage of development?

Of course not; as one of the Left’s favorite thinkers likes to say, science is true whether or not you believe in it. Yet a debate about the science is the last thing most pro-aborts want, and recycling tortured theories about our motives is the easiest way to change the subject.

So rather than most pro-lifers’ disagreement with Kevin Williamson somehow proving we’re wrong, the Washington Post’s spin is yet another reminder that deep down, many of our most vocal foes know we’re right.

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Why the Church teaches marriage is good, but consecrated virginity is even better

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By Dr. Peter Kwasniewski

April 10, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – As celibacy and virginity come increasingly under fire not only in the secular world but even within the Church and her very hierarchy, we must renew our understanding of immutable Catholic doctrine and our commitment to “contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints” (Jude 1:3).

In the ancient Church, Jovinian was a heretic who taught the equality of sacramental marriage and celibacy for the kingdom of God. His views were roundly refuted by St. Jerome and St. Augustine, and the Church in her Magisterium has consistently taught as they do: one who marries in Christ and brings children into the world does well, but one who altogether relinquishes marriage and family for the sake of following Christ more closely does even better.

Nevertheless, Jovinianism rears its ugly head throughout Christian history. The Protestant Reformers challenged the traditional doctrine, in spite of the fact that it is based on the very words of Christ and of St. Paul. In more recent times, we certainly see among Catholics a pragmatic sort of Jovinianism, which I have discovered in nearly all the students I have ever taught. Perhaps because they have met in their lives so few authentic religious brothers and sisters, they tend to think it wrong to elevate the religious state above the married state as a means for attaining perfection in charity and contemplation. They are surprised to learn that they are in conflict with the unanimous teaching of the Church Fathers, Doctors, Popes, and Councils.

One student put the case this way on a final exam: “If I am a married person and I do everything, including change diapers and go to work and embrace my wife and build up a house and garden, all for the love of God, how am I not making of myself and my life a ‘holocaust’, a total offering, that is just as pleasing as the offering of a religious who gives up family, property, self-determination? As a matter of fact, the religious still has clothes, a bed, a house to live in, probably a lot of books, financial worries in his community, practicalities to take care of, his brethren as a family, and for the most part he does what he wants from day to day, even if the bigger decisions belong (in part) to a superior. So is his life really all that different from mine?”

Sounds plausible, doesn’t it? With a vague appeal to the “universal call to holiness” and the “primacy of charity,” one can quickly deduce that all Christian states in life are equal. Interestingly, St. Thomas Aquinas also teaches that holiness is for everyone and that charity holds pride of place in becoming holy, but he does not, all the same, reach that egalitarian conclusion.

The student claimed that “marriage, too, is a total holocaust.” I ask: in what sense? Is the married man or woman actually giving up spouse, children, house, fields, his or her own will? In a way yes—but in a decisive way, no. When Jesus told his disciples that they who left everything to follow him would receive a hundredfold, he was not speaking metaphorically, but quite literally. Nor was he saying that those who renounced these things up front were permitted to reintroduce them later, through the back door. The hundredfold blessing rests only on the ones who remain poor, chaste, and obedient, and to the extent that they are truly such.

In order to understand the Our Lord’s teaching better, let us consider how the evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity (in the sense of perpetual continence), and obedience are means for accomplishing the goal of perfection in charity, that is, holiness.

The counsels take away those material and temporal goods that tend to distract or weaken our focus on God or that allow us to rely on them rather than on Him. Unlike the commandments, the counsels do not separate us from bad things that are incompatible with love of God. Rather, they separate us from things that are in themselves good, even very good, but not the greatest good, and thus can hinder a direct focus on the greatest goods, and on the Giver of all good things. The reason why separating ourselves from things that are good is helpful for focusing on the highest good and source of all goods, on God Himself, is that we are finite beings with finite capacities for attention and love. Therefore, by removing our attention and love from worldly and temporal goods, the counsels help us to fix them more fully on spiritual and eternal goods, on the divine. St. Thomas beautifully makes this point:

It is manifest that the human heart is borne more intensely towards one thing, to the extent that it is withdrawn from many things. Thus man’s mind is borne more perfectly to loving God to the extent that it is removed from love for temporal things... Therefore all the evangelical counsels, by which we are invited to perfection, have as their aim the turning away of man’s mind from love for temporal things, so that his mind may tend more freely to God, by contemplating, loving, and fulfilling his will. (On the Perfection of the Spiritual Life, ch. 6)

In the present climate, it is important to emphasize that the counsels are not proposed as good because the things we give up by following the counsels are bad, but because there is a better way to grow in love than the use of these things. Giving up marriage enables one to grow more in the love of God and neighbor solely because the direct dedication of our heart and mind to God is a better means for growing in love than marriage is, whether considered in itself or as a sacrament (see Pope Pius XII, Encyclical Letter Sacra Virginitas, nn. 37–39). Pope John Paul II taught this quite clearly:

The reference to the nuptial union of Christ and the Church gives marriage itself its highest dignity: in particular, the sacrament of matrimony introduces the spouses into the mystery of Christ's union with the Church. However, the profession of virginity or celibacy enables consecrated persons to share more directly in the mystery of this marriage. While conjugal love goes to Christ the Bridegroom through a human union, virginal love goes directly to the person of Christ through an immediate union with him, without intermediaries: a truly complete and decisive spiritual espousal. Thus in the person of those who profess and live consecrated chastity, the Church expresses her union as Bride with Christ the Bridegroom to the greatest extent. (Catechesis on Consecrated Life, November 23, 1994)

Implied in these words is, however, a salutary warning. One who gives up marriage—a monk or nun, a priest, a bishop—will not be any better off for doing so if he does not use the freedom of his heart to devote himself more fully to God and to the service of the Church. In fact, he will be worse off, since he will lack the great good of marriage as well as the greater good of virginity or celibacy “for the kingdom,” the orientation that alone makes it so great a good. 

Moreover, assuming good intentions to begin with, the intensity and steadfastness of the resolve to pursue the goal of holiness using whichever means one chooses is of greater importance than the means as such. To be more concrete: it is better to seek for holiness in marriage wholeheartedly, than to seek holiness in religious life halfheartedly.

Our Lord has provided us with two ways, noble and nobler, good and better, of entering into the mystery of His indissoluble nuptial union with the Church: through a sacramental image of it in marriage, and through a mystical participation in the very union itself in consecrated life.

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Midwife and nurse can commit abortions: Montana judge

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By Claire Chretien

MONTANA, April 10, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A judge in Montana has granted a midwife and a nurse permission to commit abortions while a law preventing non-doctors from practicing abortion is litigated.

Preventing non-doctors from committing abortions “places unnecessary, unfounded, and arbitrary barriers to Montanans’ access to abortion care,” according to Caitlin Borgmann, the Executive Director of the ACLU of Montana. The Montana Abortion Control Act currently mandates that only licensed doctors commit abortions.

That law “perpetuates ongoing irreparable harm to the Plaintiffs and their patients,” District Judge Mike Menahan wrote. His ruling only allows the two non-doctors fighting the law, APRN Helen Weems and certified nurse midwife “Jane Doe,” to be exempt from it at this time.

The ACLU and the Center for Reproductive Rights are challenging the law. They argue that midwives and advanced practice registered nurses (APRN) should be allowed to commit abortions.

Menahan acknowledged in his ruling Weems isn’t even fully trained on how to commit abortions but “expects to be competent to provide abortion services (medication and aspiration abortion) within a matter of weeks or months, respectively.”

“The State has not met its burden of showing a compelling state interest in restricting Montana women’s fundamental right to privacy,” Menahan wrote.

In 2013, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill allowing midwives, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants to commit first-trimester abortions.

Kermit Gosnell, the Philadelphia abortionist convicted of killing babies outside of the womb, had a 15-year-old employee administer anesthesia to patients at his “house of horrors” abortion facility.

Just as political slogans supporting abortion have shifted from “safe, legal, and rare” to “keep abortion safe and legal,” it seems the left has given up on its former claim that abortion “is between a woman and her doctor.”

One wonders when the abortion lobby will stop harping about how pro-life laws send women to the “back alley” for unsafe abortions, given that they think non-physicians are qualified to carry out the deadly procedure.

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