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Pope Francis makes strange apology to Chilean bishops for ‘grave errors’ in sex abuse case

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By Matthew Cullinan Hoffman

April 11, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Pope Francis has issued a written apology to the bishops of Chile regarding his handling of sex abuse accusations made against a Chilean bishop who has enjoyed his support for years.

Following an investigation on the part of the Vatican that involved interviewing a total of 64 sex abuse victims in Chile and New York regarding Chilean bishop Juan Barros, Francis recognizes that he has committed “grave errors” with regard to the case.

“Regarding me, I recognize and I wish that you convey [to others], that I have fallen into grave errors of evaluation and perception of the situation, due especially to a lack of true and balanced information,” Francis wrote in a letter to the bishops of Chile signed on April 8 and published by the Vatican today.

“I now ask for the forgiveness of all of those whom I offended and I hope to do so personally in the coming weeks, in meetings that I will have with the people who have been interviewed,” he added.

However, the pope did not mention the need for justice against those who have committed sexual abuse, and called instead for “mercy,” warning against the temptation for what he called “verborrea,” which is a colloquial term used to mean “verbosity” or more informally, “verbal diarrhea.” He also made a cryptic warning against “remaining in ‘universals,’” an expression he did not explain, but which may refer to the tendency to generalize. He suggested that Chilean Catholics pray over the matter.

“Today, more than ever, we cannot again fall into the temptation of verbosity or to remain in ‘universals,’” wrote Francis. “These days, let us look to Christ. Let us see his life and his acts, especially when he shows himself to be compassionate and merciful towards those who have erred. Let us love truly. Let us ask for the wisdom of the heart and let us allow ourselves to be converted.”

Francis also wrote of the need to restore “the confidence that has been broken by our errors and sins and to heal certain wounds that do not cease to bleed in Chilean society.”

Francis’ credibility gap with regard to his protégé, Bishop Juan Barros

The pope’s apology to the Chilean bishops follows an explosive controversy in Chile and worldwide regarding Francis’ disparaging remarks towards those who have accused Bishop Juan Barros of knowing about their sexual abuse at the hands of one of his priests. Many were also outraged at Francis' claim that he had not received any testimony from those who said they witnessed Barros’ complicity in their sexual abuse.

Although such accusations have been public for years, Pope Francis has steadfastly defended Barros and has publicly dismissed his accusers’ claims as “slander” against the bishop.

Following a recent trip to Chile, in which the controversy was renewed, Francis publicly stated that no victims had approached him with information about Barros.

"The day they bring me proof against Bishop Barros, then I will speak. There is not a single piece of proof against him,” Francis told the press. “Everything is slander. Is this clear?" He also later stated: “No one has come forward, they haven't provided any evidence for a judgment. This is all a bit vague, it's something that can't be accepted.”

On his outgoing flight from Chile, Francis again spoke on the case and told the media, “You, in all good will, tell me that there are victims, but I haven’t seen any, because they haven’t come forward.”

However, the Associated Press reported in February that Cardinal Sean O’Malley, Archbishop of Boston and president of the Vatican’s Commission for the Protection of Minors, had already received from several members of the same commission a signed testimony by a victim on Barros’ witnessing of the sexual abuse, and that O’Malley had told them he had delivered it to Pope Francis personally.

Although O’Malley did not comment on the Associated Press story, he publicly rebuked Francis for his dismissive statements regarding the accusations against Barros, which had been made by sex abuse victims.

“It is understandable that Pope Francis’ statements yesterday in Santiago, Chile were a source of great pain for survivors of sexual abuse by clergy or any other perpetrator,” said O’Malley, and added that the pope’s words “abandon those who have suffered reprehensible criminal violations of their human dignity and relegate survivors to discredited exile.”

RELATED: Pope Francis’ claim he never heard from abuse victims regarding Chilean bishop is false, AP reports

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More priestly vocations coming from Catholic homeschoolers: study

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By Lisa Bourne

Update April 17, 2018: This report now includes a comment from Draper Warren, admissions director for Seton Home Study School in Front Royal, Virginia.

April 11, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Vocations to the Catholic priesthood are thriving in the greatest numbers among homeschooled students, a new study says.

Young American men who have been homeschooled are four times more likely to enter seminary than those educated by Catholic institutions, according to the findings.

Data from the 2017 survey performed by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) at Georgetown University said that nearly one in 10 young men in formation for the priesthood in the U.S. was homeschooled.

The findings demonstrate the positive effect that Catholic homeschooling has on vocations, said Draper Warren, admissions director for Seton Home Study School in Front Royal, Virginia. Warren analyzed the data in a report for Seton Magazine.

“The evidence is highly encouraging," Warren said. "Going forward, the impact could be enormous.” 

While the number of homeschooled American Catholics is small compared with those in Catholic schools – currently 100,000 homeschooled students to two million in Catholic schools – the study said homeschool students delivered eight percent of the young men who are studying for the priesthood.

On average, the young men had spent seven years being homeschooled, the Catholic Herald reported, and 16 was the average age for discerning a vocation to the priesthood.

The uptick in vocations from Catholic homeschool families is evident in the Diocese of Arlington, Father J.D. Jaffe, vocations director for the diocese, said in the Seton report.

“Homeschoolers have a disproportionately large participation in our discernment events in comparison to Catholic school and public school kids,” Jaffe said. “The same increased numbers are seen in our seminarians where roughly 30 percent of them are from homeschooling households.”

Seton Magazine spoke with seminarian Nikolai Brelinsky, a 2015 graduate of the Catholic home study program who is currently studying at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary near Philadelphia.

Brelinsky said homeschooling was helpful, and views it as one of the key components in the discernment process.

“It certainly provided an atmosphere to consider it,” he said. “In my personal opinion, homeschooling fosters the Catholic faith. Being homeschooled didn’t make me want to be a priest, but it did help me answer the calling through immersion of faith. Homeschooling goes hand in hand with the faith aspect.”

The numbers among Brelinsky’s fellow seminarians back up the CARA study’s findings, with 10 of 47 currently in the seminary coming from a homeschool background.

According to the Catholic Herald report, Baltimore Archbishop Edwin O’Brien was quoted in the archdiocesan newspaper in 2013 as saying; “There’s no greater feeder for the vocations than the homeschoolers.”

The CARA survey results come as the number of priestly ordinations in the U.S. has continually dropped overall by roughly half since 1965, and the Church faces declining numbers of priests in countries throughout the world.

The Vatican’s Central Statistics Office reported last year that vocations to the priesthood worldwide had continued a downward trend between 2012 and 2015, the latest year in the Office’s report.

Bishop James Conley of the Diocese of Lincoln, Nebraska, a leader among U.S. dioceses for attracting candidates for the priesthood that alternates with the Wichita diocese for having the highest number of priests-per-lay-Catholics in the country, told Catholic World Report in 2016 that the secret of a successful vocation program starts with prayer.

“Vocations come from God,” Conley said.

Lincoln has two cloistered communities of religious women in the diocese that pray constantly for vocations.

The other key to vocations, Conley said, is fidelity to Church teaching.

Brelinsky reported that having a supportive family, involvement within the homeschooling community and church activities were influences for him in fostering a strong faith experience in his developmental years. He also listed community service, annual homeschool Masses with the bishop and weekly Eucharistic adoration.

Homeschool families consistently report that among the benefits of homeschooling are that it allows for the family to have more time together, as well as time for prayer, and for integration of the Catholic faith throughout their children’s studies.

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Planned Parenthood launches ad blitz against Trump judicial nominee

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By Calvin Freiburger

April 11, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) -- The political arm of America’s largest abortion provider has just identified one of President Donald Trump’s latest judicial nominees as its next target.

In January, Trump nominated Wendy Vitter, an attorney for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New Orleans and wife of former Republican Sen. David Vitter, to serve on the U.S. District Court in New Orleans. As her Senate confirmation hearings begin this week, the Planned Parenthood Action Fund has announced that it will try to torpedo her appointment.

"Wendy Vitter advocates for an extreme, anti-abortion agenda, making her unfit for a lifetime seat on the federal bench. We must stop her nomination!" reads one of the organization’s social media ads. The Hill reported that the ad is part of a five-figure advertising campaign spanning Facebook and Twitter. Newsweek added that Planned Parenthood has gathered 20,000 signatures for a petition urging senators to vote against her.

“Vitter’s record of opposing women’s health and rights is far outside the mainstream," Planned Parenthood’s vice president of public policy and government affairs Dana Singiser claimed.

Chief among the abortion giant’s objections is that Vitter has a history of publicly opposing abortion. It cites a dossier from the left-wing Alliance for Justice compiling her past pro-life advocacy, including that she spoke at a 2013 rally outside the site of a new Planned Parenthood facility in New Orleans, and that she moderated an “Abortion Hurts Women” panel for Louisiana Right to Life in 2013.

“Planned Parenthood says they promote women’s health,” Vitter said at the rally. “It is the saddest of ironies that they kill over 150,000 females a year. The first step in promoting women’s health is to let them live.” The figure is derived from Planned Parenthood’s admission that it performs more than 300,000 abortions a year, and estimates that nearly half of all births in a given year are girls.

Planned Parenthood also attacks Vitter for not disclosing these and other abortion-related statements on her nominee questionnaire to the Senate Judiciary Committee. Democratic senators pressed her on the subject during Wednesday’s hearing, Newsweek reported.

Sen. Kamala Harris, D-California, highlighted a "The Pill Kills" brochure authored by one of the panel speakers and generally endorsed by Vitter at the time, particularly the brochure’s claim that birth control indirectly leads to women having “more infidelity or adultery.” Vitter answered that she was not aware of that particular item in the brochure and that she didn’t believe it was “based on reason.”

More generally, Vitter followed the common practice of previous Republican judicial nominees and declined to expressly state her personal views on abortion. She declined to answer whether she stands by her past statement on the number of females killed by Planned Parenthood, and pledged to regard Roe v. Wade as “precedent.”

"I understand the gravitas of the position you're considering me for," she said. "If I say I will take a conscious effort to put aside my personal, religious and political views and judge a matter based on facts presented to me in the law, that's what I'll do."

Despite the objections of abortion advocates, Vitter receives accolades for her legal acumen and ethics from prosecutors and attorneys who worked with her in the past, as well as attorneys for the opposing side of several of her cases. “Her work ethic was tireless and her legal knowledge vast,” the latter group wrote. “Throughout our long association with Wendy we have known her to always conduct herself in an ethical and appropriate manner.”

Trump’s overall record of judicial appointments has received high praise from pro-life leaders, though the slow pace of confirmations remains an ongoing issue. The president has promised that all of his judicial nominees will oppose Roe v. Wade and follow a strict interpretation of the Constitution.

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Catholic leader: Seth Meyers shows ‘ignorance’ with anti-Catholic jokes

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By Lisa Bourne

April 11, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights has called out late night television host Seth Meyers’ latest anti-Catholic joke as ignorant.

The exchange between Meyers and one of his one of his writers, Jenny Hagel, employed the myth of institutional Church bias toward same-sex attracted individuals and smeared the entirety of the Catholic Church for the sex abuse scandal.

The bit “showcased their ignorance,” Bill Donohue said in a release Tuesday headlined, “The Ignorance of Seth Meyers.”

“The Vatican recently refused to host an international women’s day conference because one of the speakers was a lesbian,” Meyers had jibed on his Monday night broadcast, to set up the joke.

Hagel then delivered the punch line with, “…and because they’re too busy hosting a 2,000-year-long pedophile convention.”

Voices of Faith, a Catholic feminist collective, has presented an annual conference at the Vatican for the last four years, but moved the “Why Women Matter” gathering to the Jesuit Center in Rome this year after the Vatican objected to three of the speakers.

The event’s headliner, former Irish president Mary McAleese, is infamous for her longtime advocacy of women “priests,” homosexuality, and abortion. McAleese has been vociferous in her criticism of the Church, calling it the “last bastion of misogyny.” 

Reports vary on which speakers aside from McAleese were included in the Vatican objection. Participating were at least one openly gay presenter, a number of LGBT activists, and otherwise vocal opponents of Church teaching on sexuality, contraception, abortion, and women’s ordination.

Cardinal Kevin Farrell, head of the Vatican’s dicastery for laity, family and life, had said an event in the Vatican presupposes papal support, according to a report from The Tablet, but Farrell stressed he was open to dialogue with the group.

Donohue centered on two of the scheduled speakers in his response to Meyers for the Late Night anti-Catholic joke.

“This year the Vatican refused to host the event because two women, Ssenfuka Joanita Warry and Tina Beattie, have a reputation of bashing the Catholic Church,” Donohue said. “Had they been heterosexual, the result would have been the same.”

Donohue pointed out the absurdity of expecting the Catholic Church to provide a speaking platform within its own walls for individuals who vocally attack the Church and fight against Her teachings.

“Why is this different from any other conference host?” he asked. “Do journalists host conferences and awards dinners featuring those who hate the media? Do Muslims welcome anti-Islamic bigots to their events?”

Donohue then noted the ignorance in the late night personalities’ slam of the totality of the Catholic Church for the abuse scandal.

“The quip about pedophiles is another example of their ignorance,” he said. “If Meyers and Hagel were interested in the truth, they would mention homosexuals—gays were responsible for the lion’s share of the scandal (less than five percent were pedophiles).”

“But that would take guts,” added Donohue. “And this is not something that the writers and hosts of late-night TV shows have in abundance.”

Donohue wrapped up his castigation of the late night host and his associate by noting their ignoring the glaring Hollywood sex abuse scandal right beneath their noses in favor of taking a shot at the Catholic Church.

“Why didn’t Meyers and Hagel use a more contemporary example?” Donohue queried. “Why didn’t they make a joke about Hollywood not hosting a conference featuring its most strident critics? Then they could have said that the moguls are too busy hosting a decades-long rapist convention.”

Meyers has made anti-Catholic jokes and comments a number of times in the past.

The Catholic League chronicled several instances within the first few months of the February 2014 premier of Meyers’ show, including jokes about Catholic girls waiting for marriage to have sexual intercourse and masturbation.

By August of that year, Meyers was joking at the Catholic Church’s expense about the officials of a Spanish hotel inspired by the popular porn book Fifty Shades of Grey delaying the opening of the hotel over concern about its proximity to a Catholic Church. Meyers’ joked consisted of the hotel officials saying, “We don’t want to be next to all those creepy perverts.”

In his statement on Meyers’ latest episode of anti-Catholic bias, Donohue provided contact information to express concern to NBC, which airs Late Night With Seth Meyers.

 

Contact information to respectfully voice concern:
Lauren Roseman,
VP, NBC Entertainment Publicity
[email protected]

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Over 350 student groups walk out of class today to protest abortion

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By Calvin Freiburger

April 11, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Across the United States, pro-life high school and college students from more than 250 schools and more than 350 student groups walked out of class to protest abortion.

At 10:00 a.m. for each school’s local time on Wednesday, students left class to gather for seventeen minutes of silent witness for the ten children aborted by Planned Parenthood in that time period, and the more than 60 million babies killed since Roe v. Wade legalized abortion in 1973.

The National Pro-Life Walkout was devised by Rocklin High School student Brandon Gillespie of California, with organizational support provided by Students for Life of America (SFLA). Gillespie wanted the event to “honor all the lives of the millions of aborted babies every year.”

Students for Life covered the walkout with live video at several schools, including Rocklin, Moriarty High School in New Mexico, Los Alamitos High School in California, and Frederick East Classical High School in Maryland. SFLA reports enthusiastic crowds brandishing a variety of signs, as well as honks of support from passing cars. Several members of the Rocklin community turned out to support Brandon Gillespie, as well.

“We want to make students aware that this is an issue for their generation,” a Frederick East administrator identified as Kim told SFLA’s Michele Hendrickson, “because a lot of their classmates may not even be here because of the abortion movement.”

“So proud of the more than 60 students who participated in the #ProLifeWalkout from my high school,” Gulf Breeze High School student Blake Barclay of Florida tweeted, sharing pictures of the gathering. Students in Tennessee tweeted their participation, as well, with updates continuing throughout the day using the hashtag #ProLifeWalkout.

Students for Life of America president Kristan Hawkins shared a photo of a display at Los Alamitos High School, featuring 1,700 baby socks laid out to represent the estimated 1,700 babies lost to abortion daily.

 

 

The walkout received pushback from abortion supporters. Counter-protesters showed up at New Mexico’s Moriarty High School brandishing signs reading “Don't call yourself pro-life if you only value certain lives!” and “Thou Shalt Not Mess With Women's Reproductive Rights, Fallopians 4:28,” Church Militant reports. Three California chapters of Refuse Fascism, an organization affiliated with the far-left Antifa movement, also announced plans to protest Hawkins’ speech Wednesday evening at California State University, Fullerton.

Gillespie also hoped the event would highlight the double-standards of school administrators who were far more receptive to a gun control walkout the month before. His history teacher, Julianne Benzel, was suspended for two days after she questioned in class whether schools that accommodated the gun event would similarly accommodate pro-life students.

Gillespie says the school confirmed his suspicions by waiting until the last minute to respond and denying him several accommodations it had made for the gun walkout, including flexible lesson plans and the use of school sound equipment. A district spokesperson claimed the anti-gun event was “viewpoint neutral” and the pro-life event was not, despite the fact that the former’s organizers supported and opposed specific pieces of legislation.

Other schools displayed a similar double standard. Students for Life published comments from several unidentified students reporting their administrators’ decisions. “I could hold it among my friends if we talked to the office first,” one said, but “I am unable to put up posters around the school to raise awareness.” Another said his principal, who asked that his decision not “go to the media,” suggested that students gather at 8:30 a.m. instead, so as not to “disrupt instruction.”

Others report that their administrators expressly forbade walking out and/or dispensing information, despite approving the gun walkout, claiming the subject was too divisive. “My principal said that abortion is too political,” one student said, whereas “everyone agreed about the gun walkout.”

Campus Reform reports that most Ivy League institutions and more than 100 other colleges announced that students would not be penalized for participating in the gun walkout. But while most schools gave pro-lifers similar guarantees when asked, they did not proactively release statements on the subject.

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St. John Paul II prophesied priests would suffer for opposing remarriage

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By Lisa Bourne

April 11, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Pope Saint John Paul II forewarned decades ago that priests, and indeed the Catholic Church herself, would pay a "high price" on account of remaining faithful to the Church’s perennial teaching on marriage and procreation. 

The late pontiff said as well it would be a “very serious mistake” to presume that Catholic teaching on marriage is but an “ideal” in need of modification.

In his March 1984 address to Priests participating in a Seminar on “Responsible Procreation,” John Paul II spoke twice about the fact that men and women are entirely capable of grasping the Church’s teaching on marriage. 

“Make no mistake: when your teaching is faithful to the Magisterium of the Church, you are not teaching something that men and women cannot understand. Even men and women today. Indeed, this teaching which you make resound in their ears is already written in their heart,” he said. 

This teaching comes 32 years prior to Pope Francis’ suggestion that Catholic teaching on marriage is an “ideal” that is “too abstract, almost artificially constructed.” Critics have noted that Pope Francis’ 2016 exhortation Amoris Laetitia is pervaded by the notion that the Church’s teaching on marriage presents what the Pope calls an “artificial theological ideal” that is to be aimed at, rather than a reality that is binding on all.

Pope Francis’ teachings on marriage have caused numerous bishops and cardinals to champion practices contrary to Catholic teaching, such as welcoming so-called “second” marriages, supporting sexual activity (adultery) in such unions, and allowing such couples to receive Holy Communion. 

Some of those who have spoken out against such novelties have been demoted, fired, or removed from prestigious posts. 

John Paul II warned in his address about the cost of being faithful to the truth of marriage. 

“You are well aware that often the fidelity of priests — indeed, let us say, of the Church — to this truth and to the consequent moral norms, those, I mean, taught by Humanae Vitae and Familiaris Consortio, often must be paid for at a high price. One is often mocked, accused of misunderstanding and harshness, and more,” he said. 

“This is the fate of every witness to the truth, as we know,” he added.

John Paul II explained to priests how they must convey the Church’s teaching on the indissolubility of marriage, as prescribed by Christ, to the men and women in their care.

“When his contemporaries asked Christ if it was lawful for a husband to divorce his wife, he responded by referring ‘to the beginning,’ i.e., to the Creator’s original plan for marriage,” the pope said. 

“You too, as priests working in the name of Christ, must show spouses that what the Church teaches about responsible procreation is nothing more than that original plan which the Creator has impressed on the humanity of the man and woman who enter into marriage, and which the Redeemer came to re-establish,” he added.

John Paul also said the moral norm taught by Humanae Vitae and Familiaris Consortio is the “defense of the whole truth about conjugal love, since it expresses the essential demands of this love.”

Editor’s note: Translation provided by Diane Montagna

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Trump signs bill cracking down on websites that help sex traffickers

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By Claire Chretien
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WASHINGTON, D.C., April 11, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – President Trump signed an anti-human trafficking bill into law today that cracks down on websites that enable prostitution and sex-trafficking.

The law is called “Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act” (usually abbreviated as FOSTA). Anti-sexual exploitation groups, longtime advocates for this legislation, have received a handful of victories over the past two weeks.

“Human trafficking is a modern form of the oldest and most barbaric type of exploitation,” said Trump. “It has no place in our world.”

 “The President is standing up to Silicon Valley and standing with victims of abuse. FOSTA is the biggest anti-sex trafficking bill that has been signed into law since The Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2003,” said Penny Nance, President of Concerned Women for America. “This bill closes the loophole that allowed bad actor websites to not only knowingly facilitate prostitution and sex trafficking, but also to profit from the ads selling women and children against their will.”

On April 7, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) seized backpage.com, which essentially functioned as a Craigslist for sex. The DOJ seized it for “knowingly facilitating” and covering up prostitution and child sex trafficking. This happened during the Coalition to End Sexual Exploitations’s Global Summit, causing conference attendees and pro-human dignity leaders to celebrate.

The pro-abortion Women’s March mourned the seizure of the site, calling it an “absolute crisis for sex workers who rely on the site to safely get in touch with clients.”

“Sex workers rights are women’s rights,” the radical feminist group tweeted.

Former sex trafficking victims have explained that their abusers sold them on backpage.com. The website and its founders’ shady operations – both were former owners of Village Voice Media in New York and were involved in starting or operating alternative media companies – are explored in detail in the documentary I am Jane Doe, which is available on Netflix.

The founder of backpage.com, Michael Lacey, was charged April 7 in a “93-count indictment” related to a federal human trafficking investigation. Six other backpage.com executives were arrested as well. Their company raked in millions charging people to post “personal” classified ads and is accused of purposefully helping pimps and traffickers use vague language in the ads to avoid being too obvious about the sale of sex, including with minors.

The indictment alleges “conspiracy, facilitating prostitution and money laundering,” the Washington Post reported. “The indictment accuses Backpage of facilitating prostitution committed by those posting ads on the site, specifically citing 17 victims trafficked on Backpage, some as young as 14. Authorities also allege the company laundered some of the estimated $500 million in prostitution-related revenue the site had generated since its launch in 2004.”

“This is a huge victory for all the victims who have been impacted by the compliance, negligence and the intentional exploitation by websites like backpage.com that allowed them to be sold and repeatedly raped,” said Nance. “President Trump signed this bill today, but the reality is that even before the bill was signed, it was driving change.”

“Through strong enforcement of FOSTA, we pray that not one more child be bought and sold for sex on the net,” said Andrea Picciotti-Bayer, Legal Advisor for The Catholic Association. “Child predators have lost their online safe haven.”

As Trump signed the bill, he told sex trafficking survivors and the mother of a 16-year-old who was sold on backpage.com and eventually killed, “You have endured what no person on earth should have to endure.” 

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Lawmakers confront Zuckerberg on cases of anti-life, anti-religious discrimination

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By Calvin Freiburger

WASHINGTON, D.C., April 11, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Several lawmakers continued to raise specific examples of conservative and religious content suppressed by Facebook during founder Mark Zuckerberg’s second day of congressional testimony.

Rep. Fred Upton, R-MI, raised the case of Aric Nesbitt, a Republican running for the Michigan state senate who attempted to pay to boost a Facebook ad vowing to be a “strengthen our economy, limit government, lower our auto insurance rates, balance the budget, stop sanctuary cities, pay down government debt and be a Pro-Life, Pro-Second Amendment” lawmaker.

Facebook rejected the ad, claiming it violated its policies against ads that “contain shocking, disrespectful or sensational content, including ads that depict violence or threats of violence.”

“I’m not sure where the threat was based on what he tried to post,” Upton said.

Zuckerberg answered that he was not familiar with the case. “It’s quite possible that we made a mistake, and we’ll follow up afterwards on that.” But he went on to suggest that such mistakes are to be occasionally expected, given the sheer volume of content Facebook was responsible for reviewing.

“By the end of this year, we’ll have about 20,000 people at the company who work on security and content review-related issues,” he said. “But there’s a lot of content flowing through the systems, a lot of reports, and unfortunately we don’t always get these things right when people report it to us.”

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-WA, asked if Facebook “adequately and clearly defines” its content standards. Zuckerberg conceded he was “worried we’re not doing a good enough” of explaining its criteria to the public.

The congresswoman went on to note that there were several well-known examples of providers “blocking and censoring religious and conservative political content,” quoting Federal Communications Commission chair Ajit Pai’s assessment that such discrimination occurs “routinely.” She asked what Facebook was doing to ensure user content was being treated fairly and objectively.

“The principle that we’re a platform for all ideas is something that I care very deeply about,” Zuckerberg claimed. “I am worried about bias, and we take a number of steps to make sure that none of the changes that we make are targeted in any kind of biased way.” He didn’t elaborate on those steps, but offered to follow up on them later.

McMorris Rodgers responded by citing the recent case of Facebook rejecting the Franciscan University of Steubenville’s Holy Week ad featuring the San Damiano Cross. The Catholic university received a notification that images could not contain “shocking, sensational, or excessively violent content.” Facebook reversed the decision following a public outcry, and “apologize[d] for the error.”

Regardless of Facebook’s reversal, she said, “that it happened at all is deeply disturbing.”

“How can users know that their content is being viewed or judged accordingly to objective standards?” she asked.

“It sounds like we made a mistake there, and I apologize for that,” Zuckerberg answered before reiterating his answer that mistakes are bound to happen given the amount of content reviewers process. But he insisted that Facebook’s overall track record was solid. “We make a relatively small percent of mistakes in content review,” he claimed, “but that’s too many, and this is an area where we need to improve.” 

Zuckerberg also denied that Facebook was intentionally discriminating against anyone. “I wouldn’t extrapolate from a few examples to assuming that the overall system is biased,” he said. “I get how people can look at that and draw that conclusion, but I don’t think that that reflects the way that we’re trying to build the system or what we have seen.”

As her time expired, McMorris Rodgers ended by reiterating that “this is an important issue in building trust...as we move forward.”

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Cecile Richards, former president of Planned Parenthood Claire Chretien / LifeSiteNews
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University with ‘Catholic tradition’ to host Planned Parenthood CEO

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By Claire Chretien

SAN RAFAEL, California, April 11, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A formerly Catholic university near San Francisco is hosting a speech and book signing by Cecile Richards, the outgoing President of Planned Parenthood, tomorrow.

Dominican University, which began as a Catholic school, now considers itself “non-denominational” but has “Catholic tradition,” a representative of their admissions office told LifeSiteNews.

The college “has not been a recognized Catholic University for many years,” Mike Brown, Director of Communications for the Archdiocese of San Francisco, told LifeSiteNews.

“Labels can be deceitful,” Patrick Reilly, President of the Cardinal Newman Society, told LifeSiteNews. “We've seen time and again that without total commitment, Catholic identity can become a mask to hide confusion, dissent, and immorality.”

Planned Parenthood is America’s largest abortion company. Richards, who is resigning next month, led the organization as it oversaw 3.5 million abortions from 2006 to 2018. During her tenure as its president, Richards had to do damage control after undercover investigations from Live Action and the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) revealed Planned Parenthood’s willingness to cover up child sex abuse, aid-and-abet sex traffickers, and profit from selling body parts of aborted babies.

Kristan Hawkins, President of Students for Life of America, said it was “extremely disappointing” that a once-Catholic university would “highlight an event headed by Cecile Richards, someone who personally directed Planned Parenthood while abortion vendors she controlled ended the lives of 3 [and a half] million preborn babies.”

She said “at the very least,” Dominican University should have also invited a pro-life speaker to talk about Richards’ legacy and the deadly harm abortion causes babies and their moms.

“As a Catholic myself, I hope that leaders in our institutions will present the truth about not only what the church teaches, but what women have experienced,” Hawkins told LifeSiteNews.

Dominican University was run by the Dominican Sisters of San Rafael, the order whose K-12 school San Domenico School removed 162 statues of Catholic saints to be more “inclusive” in 2017. That school has since stopped calling itself Catholic.

According to Reilly, Dominican University hasn’t been listed in the Archdiocese of San Francisco’s Official Catholic Directory since 2012. It’s not a member of the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities but is listed on that organization’s map of Catholic institutions.

Its website says Dominican sisters remain on its faculty and serve as board members.

“There's no place at any academic institution – Catholic or otherwise – for advocacy that promotes killing innocent people, especially when the speaker is personally responsible for thousands of deaths,” Reilly said. “This is appalling, and academic freedom is not an adequate defense.”

The campus ministry page on its website says: “Dominican University of California Campus Ministry works with the University community to help individuals develop and strengthen their spiritual lives. Using the Dominican Ideals: Study, Reflection, Community, and Service as our foundation, Campus Ministry engages with our community in an ecumenical spirit. Our graduates leave Dominican spiritually stronger and ready to make a difference in our world.”

The school has a number of Catholic Masses available to students, including a Mass of the Holy Spirit in which “students, faculty, staff, alumni, and Board of Trustee members” participate. Its heads of school were all Dominican Sisters of San Rafael until 1980.

Richards’ speech is hosted by the school’s Institute for Leadership Studies (ILS) and Book Passage, a left-wing Bay Area bookstore.

Richards will be discussing her new book, Make Trouble: Standing Up, Speaking Out, and Finding the Courage to Lead – My Life Story. Attendees of the $40 event will receive a signed copy of it.

“Ms. Richards, daughter of late Texas Governor Ann Richards, has been president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America and president of Planned Parenthood Action Fund since 2006,” Dominican University’s announcement of the event says. “She was a featured speaker at the Women’s March on Washington last year, and a ‘heroine of the resistance’ (Vogue) who has spent a lifetime fighting for social justice and women’s rights.”

“The speaker series, a cooperative effort between Dominican’s Institute for Leadership Studies and Book Passage, features some of the country’s leading figures from the worlds of business, politics, entertainment, academia, and literature,” the university’s website continues. “The series has entertained and educated thousands of Marin County and San Francisco Bay Area residents for the past 14 years.”

It lists a past speaker as pro-abortion Maria Shriver, the former First Lady of California.

Dominican University’s instagram feed is scattered with photos of its students engaging in LGBT activism.

At press time, Dominican University had not responded to an inquiry from LifeSiteNews about why it is hosting the abortion executive.

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Pro-lifer schools pro-abortion advocate on BBC radio about the reality of coerced abortion in UK

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By Dorothy Cummings McLean

LONDON, England, April 11, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A U.K. sidewalk counsellor schooled a pro-abortion vigilante on the realities of coerced abortion in London during a BBC radio interview. 

Clare McCullough, director of the pro-life Good Counsel Network, and Anna Veglio-White, founder of pro-abortion Sister Supporter, squared off on the radio show on Tuesday. The subject of the interview was the Ealing Council’s vote to ban any pro-life witness or offer of help within 100 metres of the Ealing, London Marie Stopes abortion business. 

Veglio-White complained that pro-lifers ask women “not to do it,” offer rosaries, and stand by both gates to the clinic “so that women can’t avoid them.” 

McCullough said she was glad Sister Supporter had “moved on” from claiming her group called women murderers and blocked the gateways.

“The women that we’re speaking to are being offered leaflets, offered help,” McCullough explained. “We’re seeing hundreds of women accepting this help. These are women in the most vulnerable situations, who have no alternative but abortion: immigrants, overstayers, victims of domestic violence who don’t have rights to go to [shelters].”

“We’re telling them they have alternatives if they want.” 

After Veglio-White engaged McCullough in a spat over the leaflets’ warnings that abortion may carry breast cancer risks, the Good Counsel Network supporter underscored how women are often forced to undergo abortions at Marie Stopes. 

“Over 500 women who have turned around outside … have told us the abortion centre offers no other alternative but abortion. They had no choice. Many of them had nowhere to live. Many of them had nothing to eat if they didn’t have the abortion. So we’re there for both of them [mother and child],” she said. 

The interviewer couldn’t understand the connection between not having anything to eat and having an abortion, so McCullough explained that many women are thrown into the street by their domestic partners if they don’t agree to have an abortion. Foreign women are particularly vulnerable. 

“Women who are …. foreign women who don’t have rights to maternity benefits, for example, lose their housing and lose their job,” said McCullough. “These women will have absolutely nothing. Marie Stopes has nothing to offer them except abortion.” 

Veglio-White said that Marie Stopes had “trained counsellors” who could spot coercion and would also, if the woman “doesn’t want to go through with it”, would refer her to “impartial government services that are unbiased.”

“Marie Stopes have no agenda,” she said, and the BBC interviewer couldn’t suppress a laugh. 

“They have an agenda in the sense that they facilitate---” he began, but the incensed McCullough interrupted him. 

“They make £300-plus on every abortion that happens,” she exclaimed. “They’ve got no agenda? Give me a break!”

McCullough pointed out that women in the UK illegally don’t get government services. Veglio-White countered that the Good Counsel Network doesn’t campaign for them. But the Good Counsel Network isn’t a words-and-no-action kind of group.  

“We don’t campaign for them,” McCullough replied. “We house them and feed them, and you know nothing about it except to run them into the clinic.” 

She explained to the BBC interviewer that women have told them that if the Good Counsel Network volunteers had been a hundred metres away when they arrived at the clinic, the women would not have seen them and “they wouldn’t have had a choice to keep their baby.” 

It seems that now many women will not have that choice: Ealing Council voted unanimously last night to create a buffer zone around the Marie Stopes abortion business. 

READ: UK council bans pro-life vigils outside abortion center

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Thousands of Canadians to march against Trudeau’s abortion extremism

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By Lianne Laurence

OTTAWA, April 11, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — As Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government spearheads rising hostility towards pro-life advocates and increasing assaults on the sanctity of human life, Campaign Life Coalition is urging Canadians to head to Ottawa May 10 under the rallying theme: Pro-life ALL.IN.

It’s less than a month before Canada’s largest annual pro-life gathering, and Campaign Life Coalition president Jim Hughes says it’s critical that pro-life advocates make the effort to attend.

The 21st annual March for Life comes as Canadian children in the womb, their mothers, and allies face greater dangers than ever before, he told LifeSiteNews.

“This past year has not been an easy one for pro-life Canadians and people of faith,” Hughes said. “It is very clear that our political leaders in this country are driven by radical ideologies that place the future of our nation in jeopardy. If they come after the rights of pro-life Canadians today, whose rights will they remove next?”

Indeed, the Trudeau Liberals most recently targeted pro-life advocates by adding a discriminatory pro-abortion attestation requirement to the Canada Summer Jobs grant program, and banning funding to pro-life projects under the revamped national youth volunteer initiative, the Canada Service Corp.

This has led at least one conservative observer to warn the Liberals are laying the groundwork to denying tax-exempt status to faith-based organizations.

Trudeau’s Liberals also poured $650 million into providing and promoting abortion as part of development aid, proclaiming that access to abortion at home and abroad is its “core” mandate.

Meanwhile, Premier Kathleen Wynne Liberals in Ontario passed a draconian “bubble zone” law banning pro-life witness at the province’s eight abortion centers.

The Alberta NDP government followed suit last week, introducing legislation that will prohibit lifesaving witness outside the province’s two abortion centers. B.C., Newfoundland and Labrador and Quebec also have “bubble zone” legislation.

Moreover, the federally approved abortion pill, Mifegymiso or RU-486, is offered free of charge in at least six provinces to date: B.C., Alberta, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Quebec, and Ontario.

This is why the March for Life “is needed that much more,” Hughes told LifeSiteNews.

“This year’s theme PRO-LIFE ALL. IN. encourages all of us to re-commit ourselves to the pro-life movement and to express to our fellow Canadians and our elected officials that life is a gift from God that we must value and defend,” he said.

Canada’s national pro-life and pro-family political lobby and largest pro-life advocacy group, Campaign Life Coalition has been organizing the March for Life for over two decades.

The March on Parliament Hill marks May 14, 1969, the day the Liberals under Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau passed the omnibus bill legalizing abortion. The Supreme Court struck down the law as unconstitutional on January 28, 1988, leaving Canada with no law restricting abortion.

Since abortion was legalized in 1969, some 100,000 children are killed in the womb annually in Canada.

“We have to be the voice for unborn children, who have no voice, and for their mothers, who often feel they have no choice but to go to the abortionist,” Hughes told LifeSiteNews.

“If we pro-lifers can’t speak for them, who will? If we are pushed to the fringe, out of politics, how will we defend the weakest and most vulnerable of our brothers and sisters?” he said.

“Now is the time to commit, or for those of us who have been involved for many years, to recommit to do all we can to protect children in the womb. Now is the time to March for Life, and declare that we are, without question, PRO-LIFE ALL.IN.”

For more information on the March for Life, visit the website here.

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Toronto’s Cardinal joins bishops withholding Development and Peace funds

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By Lianne Laurence

TORONTO, April 11, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — Toronto’s Cardinal Thomas Collins has joined several other Canadian bishops in withholding this year’s diocesan ShareLife collection from Development and Peace.

His decision comes 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.

A review by the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) into Development and Peace’s global grantees “has produced alarming concerns about dozens of overseas organizations,” Collins said in an statement posted Wednesday on the archdiocesan website.

“We anticipate a more detailed report on the situation in the coming months. In the interim, we will be withholding our 2018 allocation to CCODP [Canadian Catholic Organization from Development and Peace] until more information is provided to the CCCB,” he wrote.

Collins is the eighth and highest ranked prelate to withhold funds from Development and Peace at this time.

He joins Bishop Hector Vila of Whitehorse, Bishop-Elect Gregory Bittman of Nelson, Bishop Gerard Bergie of St. Catharines, Archbishop Richard Smith of Edmonton, Bishop Paul Terrio of St. Paul, Alberta, Bishop William McGratten of Calgary Alberta, and Bishop Mark Hagemoen of Saskatoon.

“CCODP is a significant recipient of funds collected as part of our annual ShareLife appeal. We consider our relationship with our donors to be that of a sacred trust,” wrote Collins.

“As CCODP is the development arm established by the Catholic bishops, it is critical to ensure that it allocates no funds to projects or groups that operate contrary to the moral and social teachings of the church,” he concluded.

Hagemoen released a pastoral letter Monday echoing these concerns.

His diocese will withhold the diocesan Share Lent collection from D&P “until such time as the bishops of Canada receive clear assurance that Development and Peace’s partner agencies around the world are in compliance with Catholic teachings,” Hagemoen wrote.

Smith told Edmonton’s Grandin Media last week he was “shocked” by the review’s interim report, which was presented at the February Assembly of Western and Northern Canadian Catholic Bishops in Winnipeg.

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

Dioceses across Canada donate to D&P’s annual Share Lent campaign, which brought in $8.3 million in the fiscal year 2016-2017, Grandin Media reported.

In Toronto, D&P received $800,000 from ShareLife last year, according to the Catholic Register.

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.

Romain Duguay, deputy executive director of Development and Peace, told Grandin Media that Development and Peace is committed to upholding Church teaching, and is looking into the issues raised by the review.

“We will do our due diligence to respond to them and demonstrate that we are not doing anything against the position of the Church,” Duguay said.

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.

The CCCB released a short statement Tuesday confirming 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. It “remains hopeful that any necessary clarifications will be determined shortly.”

A number of bishops, including Archbishop Terrence Prendergast of Ottawa, Montreal’s Archbishop Christian Lepine, and Quebec’s Cardinal Gerald Lacroix are waiting for the review’s conclusion before making any decision on funding.  

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

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Outside Ealing Town Hall, Betty tells the story of how pro-life counsellors gave her the help she needed to keep her son, who is now nine. April 10, 2018. SPUC
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UK council bans pro-life vigils outside abortion center

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By Dorothy Cummings McLean

LONDON, England, April 11, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A London council voted unanimously on Tuesday to ban pro-life vigils outside a local abortion center that have been taking place without incident for 23 years. 

Last night the Ealing council (local government) voted to use a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) to stop pro-life advocates from praying outside the Ealing Marie Stopes abortion clinic and offering help to women as they enter or exit the building. Pro-lifers must now stay 100 meters away from the abortion center. 

Controversial in themselves, PSPOs allow councils to restrict legal activities within a specified area. Critics like the National Council for Civil Liberties say that PSPOs “criminalize non-criminal activity” and are used to limit freedom of speech and of protest.

There has been a pro-life presence outside the Ealing Marie Stopes clinic for over twenty-three years. Clare McCullough of the pro-life Good Counsel Network told LifeSiteNews last October that pro-life volunteers have been there six days a week since 2013. Her group offers women alternatives to abortion, sometimes housing and feeding women who have no-one else to turn to. McCullough told BBC Radio 4 this week that over 500 women have accepted help from the Good Counsel Network.

McCullough told LifeSiteNews that the atmosphere outside the clinic was entirely peaceful until the pro-abortion activist group Sister Supporter arrived on the scene two years ago. 

Sister Supporter, which has the backing of local MP Rupa Huq, has been noisily protesting the quiet pro-life presence since 2016. Some of its members were at Ealing town hall yesterday evening to ensure the Council banned pro-life free speech. One witness said they treated women who had been helped by pro-lifers with contempt. 

“One of the terrible things about last night was seeing the white middle-class women try to boo, heckle and shout down immigrant women of colour from giving their testimony about how they were able to keep their babies,” tweeted pro-life Caroline Farrow. “Some women are more equal than others.”

Farrow also wrote of a poignant episode:

“The most moving part of the … meeting was when Betty, a young mum who had been able to keep her baby thanks to the help and support offered, spontaneously threw herself on her knees and pleaded for the vigil to be able to stay and help other women like her.” 

When the voting results were announced, the Sister Supporters burst into applause. Their founder Veglio-White made a statement saying that “Free speech is a qualified right; it is not an absolute given, and it has never superseded women’s right to anonymity.”

Farrow told LifeSiteNews that pro-life advocates “burst” into singing Salve Regina [Hail Holy Queen] after the results were announced. 

“It was an extremely poignant and tear-jerking moment. I can only describe it as being like standing at the foot of the cross,” she said.

The mothers helped by the Ealing pro-lifers held a rally outside the town hall. They were addressed by Alithea Williams of the Society for the Protection of the Unborn (SPUC). 

“This is a bad day for democracy in the UK,” she said. “For the first time, a council has banned peaceful public acts of witness and freedom of expression.” 

Williams suggested that banning the pro-lifers went against basic freedoms and human rights in the UK to such an extent that it was “vulnerable to a legal challenge.” 

“What is most shocking is that a Council has voted to stop members of the public offering charitable help to vulnerable women,” Williams said.  

She added that the women who had spoken out about the help they had received from the Good Counsel Network are “devastated” that alternatives to abortion were now going to be denied to other women. Now women are “at the mercy” of such disreputable businesses as Marie Stopes. 

“This is ... bad news for women as it leaves them at the mercy of the abortion industry,” Williams said. “Marie Stopes has an appalling record when it comes to patient care and safety – as is shown by the series of Care Quality Commission reports severely censuring them for a catalogue of abuses and safety violations, as well as a 'culture that worked against patient choice.'” 

“Is the ‘choice’ offered by this organisation really the only one Ealing Council wants to be available to women?” she added.

The PSPO ban comes into effect on April 23. It will be reviewed after six months. However, it has already had a chilling effect on the pro-life witness outside Marie Stopes Ealing. Today, the day after the meeting, a male passerby attacked a pro-life witness named Andrea stationed outside the clinic. 

“Thanks to last night’s decision a woman volunteer on the vigil in Ealing has been attacked by a male passer-by,” tweeted Caroline Farrow. 

“First time in over 20 years the public feel empowered to be violent,” she noted. 

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Conservative leader Jason Kenney won’t fight Alberta ban on pro-life speech

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By Lianne Laurence

EDMONTON, April 11, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — Alberta’s United Conservative Party leader Jason Kenney says he is not voting on a provincial bill banning pro-life witness outside abortion centers because Premier Rachel Notley’s government is playing games.

“I will be abstaining from the vote as well as most of our caucus,” Kenney told reporters at the Alberta legislature Monday, as quoted in the CBC.

The NDP’s abortion “safe zone” law, which Health Minister Sarah Hoffman introduced last Thursday, isn’t about abortion, Kenney said.

“This is so obviously a transparent effort by the NDP to distract attention from its failed economic record,” he said.

“We’re not going to play games with divisive social issues. We’re here to focus on job creation and economic growth, (and) market access for energy products.”

But Campaign Life Coalition vice president Jeff Gunnarson blasted Kenney’s position.

“The NDP are not playing games. They are trampling on pro-lifers’ rights whenever they can get away with it, and shame on Kenney for not standing up for basic human rights and freedoms,” he told LifeSiteNews.

A Catholic well-known for his social conservative views, Kenney had an impeccable pro-life voting record during his 19 years as a federal MP in Stephen Harper’s Conservative government.

As UCP leader, he’s reiterated his personal pro-life convictions, but has been clear his party won’t initiate abortion legislation as government.

The UCP caucus will have a free vote on the bill, as they do on all matters of conscience, Kenney’s spokesperson Annie Dormuth told LifeSiteNews in an email.

The UCP has 25 members in the legislature to the NDP’s 54.

Bill 9, or the Protecting Choice for Women Accessing Health Care Act, forbids all pro-life witness within 50 meters of Calgary’s Kensington Clinic and Edmonton’s Women's Health Options, the two free-standing abortion facilities that account for 75 percent of Alberta’s surgical abortions.

The bill forbids audio or video recordings or the photographing of anyone going in or out from the abortion centers, and allows abortionists and abortion center staff to apply for zones of up to 20 metres around their offices, and 160 metres around their homes.

The penalty for a first offence is a fine of up to $5,000 and/or up to six months in jail. This doubles for second and subsequent offences. Ontario, British Columbia, Quebec, and Newfoundland and Labrador have similar “bubble zone” laws.

Kenney told the CBC the bill is unnecessary, particularly since injunctions forbidding certain pro-life activities have been in place for at least 15 years outside the abortion centers.

“The bubble zone has already been in place for 20 years and that’s why presumably until the last week the NDP has never proposed legislation where court orders have already been effected,” he said.

Campaign Life’s Gunnarson pointed out that although Kenney “said he wouldn’t open the abortion debate, bubble zones don’t affect the abortion laws in Canada. Bubble zones are an impediment to free speech which Jason proudly claims to uphold.”

The UCP leader “is siding with the abortion industry instead of siding with those of us pro-lifers and social conservatives who helped him throughout his career whether through voting, financially contributing to his campaign or volunteering,” Gunnarson said.

RELATED: Alberta NDP government to ban pro-life witness outside abortion centers

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Judge orders hospital to remove Alfie Evans’ life support

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By Dorothy Cummings McLean

LONDON, April 11, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Alfie Evans will be removed from life support, a judge ruled today.

Mr. Justice Hayden of the Royal Courts of Justice in London has set a time and date for the withdrawal of life support from the 23-month old infant, but the information will not be made public.

“Alfie Evans has lived most of his short life in the public domain,” said the judge.

“On February 20 I gave a conclusion after six days of evidence after which Mr Evans cross examined doctors with conspicuous skill and manifest sincerity.”

“But I came to the conclusion at the end of that hearing that Alfie’s brain had been so corrupted by mitochondrial disease that his life was futile.”

Hayden indicated that he was of the same opinion today.

The judge acknowledged that Alfie is “a much loved little boy” and that Alfie’s parents had not accepted Hayden’s initial judgement, instead pursuing the case to the English court of Appeal, the Supreme Court, and the European Court of Human Rights.

“[Mr Evans] told me he would leave no stone unturned, and he was indeed true to his word,” said Hayden.

Alfie’s parents fought Alder Hey through the English court system, and eventually to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). The ECHR ruled against them last month, stating that their request to take Alfie abroad was “inadmissible,” and that Alder Hey was not violating his rights under the European Convention on Human Rights.

Alfie’s parents cited multiple signs of life they say Alder Hey never properly acknowledged. "Does our son look in any of these pictures like he is dying," Tom Evans asked in a Facebook post along with photos of his son. "None of these are seizure or reflexes, he is clearly there alive."

"We are in bits distraught in pain. He looks into our eyes every day. He responds to us every day. Alfie James Evans, we love you so so so much. We will do everything we can," his father wrote.

Video taken by Alfie’s parents shows the child “very much alive,” reacting to stimuli such as lights and his father's voice, displaying a variety of activity including yawning and stretching, and most recently taking breaths on his own.

Those breaths, Tom Evans believed, were possible because doctors had recently reduced his son’s dosage of the anti-epileptic drug Clobazam from 14.1 mg to 11.8 mg. He also believed that an excessive dosage of that drug for Alfie’s size was partly responsible for Alfie’s difficulty in breathing all along.

With their legal recourse fully depleted, the family appealed to Pope Francis for asylum, and believed they had received a glimmer of hope last week when the hospital agreed to put off removing the ventilator and review alternative care options, including the viability of flying Alfie to Italy. However, hours later Alfie’s mother announced that Alder Hey went “behind our backs” and sought permission from a judge to end the life support.

Today Mr. Justice Hayden said that his judgement represented “a consensus of medical expertise” and that Alfie’s brain had been almost entirely “eroded” by then.

“By the time I came to conclude the case, the terrible reality is that almost the entirety of Alfie’s brain had been eroded, leaving only water and spinal fluid,” he stated. “Even at the end of February the connective pathways within the brain had been obliterated. They were not longer even identifiable.”

Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, where Alfie is on life-support, has issued a statement.

“Today the High Court has set a date and time for when life support for Alfie Evans should be withdrawn. We understand this is a difficult time for Alfie’s family and we would ask that their privacy is respected. The Trust will not be issuing any further comment at this point.”

The hospital has maintained that the infant has a “catastrophic and untreatable neurodegenerative condition” that would be “futile” to continue treating. It has wanted to remove Alfie’s life support since last summer, but parents Tom Evans and Kate James resisted. They sought authorization to take him to Rome’s Bambino Gesu Paediatric Hospital, which has offered to provide him with palliative care.

The Liverpool Echo, which live-blogged today’s proceedings, today described Alfie’s parents, Kate James and Tom Evans, as “devastated.”  

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Rep. Marsha Blackburn questions Mark Zuckerberg, April 11, 2018.
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House Republicans grill Facebook’s Zuckerberg on ‘bias against conservative news’

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By Calvin Freiburger

WASHINGTON, D.C., April 11, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Several members of Congress questioned Mark Zuckerberg on whether Facebook manipulates algorithms to suppress conservative content, during the social media pioneer’s second day of Capitol Hill testimony.

Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-TN, asked the Facebook founder point blank, “do you subjectively manipulate your algorithms to prioritize or censor speech?”

“We don’t think about what we’re doing as censoring speech,” Zuckerberg answered. “I think that there are types of content like terrorism, that I think that we all agree we do not want to have on our service. So we build systems that can identify those and can remove that content, and we’re very proud of that work.”

Blackburn retorted that “Diamond and Silk is not terrorism,” referencing the pair of popular conservative video bloggers flagged as “unsafe” by Facebook. Zuckerberg said earlier in the hearing that the judgment was made in error and that Facebook representatives had already contacted Diamond and Silk to reverse it. However, the bloggers say they have not received any follow-up from Facebook since taking the judgment public.

Rep. Steve Scalise, R-LA, also raised the subject, referencing Facebook head of news partnerships Campbell Brown’s February declaration that the platform would start “having a point of view” as to what constitutes “quality news.”

“I do want to ask you about a study that was done dealing with the algorithm that Facebook uses to describe what is fed to people through the news feed,” Scalise continued, “and what they found was after this new algorithm was implemented, that there was a tremendous bias against conservative news and content, and a favorable bias toward liberal content.” He said the study found a disparity of 16 points.

“Was there a directive to put a bias in?” Scalise asked.

Zuckerberg answered that “there is absolutely no directive in any of the changes that we make to have a bias in anything that we do.” Instead, he reiterated that he considers Facebook a “platform for all ideas.”

Scalise closed the subject by asking Zuckerberg to “go back and look and determine if there was a bias,” then notify Congress as to what actions Facebook would take to correct it. “Because that is disturbing when you see that kind of disparity,” he said.

According to analysis released last month by The Outline, Facebook engagement for conservative websites Breitbart and PragerU dropped by 28% and 32%, respectively, following Facebook’s January 12 announcement of changes to its algorithms for news publishers. Major media entities were disproportionately affected, as well, with the right-leaning Fox News seeing a 26% drop in Facebook engagement while the left-leaning CNN only saw a 2% decline. The New York Times and Washington Post actually saw slight increases during the time period in question. Other studies have found similar results.

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Zuckerberg: Censoring black pro-Trump bloggers Diamond and Silk was an ‘error’

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By Calvin Freiburger

WASHINGTON, D.C., April 11, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said a conservative video blogging duo should not have been flagged during his second day of Congressional testimony.

Rep. Joe Barton, R-TX, relayed a question he said he received from dozens of constituents: “why is Facebook censoring conservative bloggers such as Diamond and Silk? Facebook called them ‘unsafe to the community.’ That is ludicrous. They hold conservative views. That isn’t unsafe.”

Zuckerberg answered that “in that specific case our team made an enforcement error.” He added that “we have already gotten in touch with them to reverse it.”

Diamond and Silk, whose real names are Lynette Hardaway and Rochelle Richardson, are a pair of South Carolina sisters who have been video blogging since 2014 and rose to prominence during the 2016 election as supporters of President Donald Trump.

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

Since September, they say they have 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. Last Friday, they revealed Facebook’s answer, which was that “your content and your brand has been determined unsafe to the community,” a decision that was “not appeal-able in any way.”

“This is deliberate bias censorship and discrimination. These tactics are unacceptable and we want answers!” Diamond and Silk responded. “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?” 

A Facebook spokesperson confirmed the message to Fox News, but said it was “inaccurate and not reflective of the way we communicate with our community and the people who run Pages on our platform.” 

The spokesperson added that Facebook had contacted the bloggers about resolving the issue, but Diamond and Silk said on Tuesday that nobody from the social media giant had reached out to them. “We haven't spoken to Mark Zuckerberg or any representative from Facebook.”

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Pope Francis at 2016 Rome consistory when "progressive" archbishops Cupich, Joseph Tobin and Farrell were made cardinals Steve Jalsevac/LifeSite
Lisa Bourne Lisa Bourne Follow Lisa

News,

Scholars urge Dutch bishops to avoid ‘road to destruction’ taken by Pope Francis

Lisa Bourne Lisa Bourne Follow Lisa
By Lisa Bourne

NETHERLANDS, April 11, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A group of Dutch academics are petitioning the bishops of the Netherlands to speak clearly in favor of authentic Catholic teaching in the era of Pope Francis.

The direction of the Church under Pope Francis has taken a destructive turn with regard to Catholic moral teaching, the scholars state in the petition. 

“Still a short time ago, it seemed beyond belief,” they say in the petition, “but these last years we must with perplexity ascertain that under the pontificate of Pope Francis the Vatican has taken a road, notably in regard to questions which touch the essence of the teachings of the Church on marriage and sexuality, that must be called a road to destruction.”

Some 20 signatories called upon the Dutch bishops and nuncio last week to voice unconditional fidelity to the magisterial writings of previous popes, to sign on to the dubia and to protect the Church in China from the Communist regime there.

“The priests and lay faithful for whom you bear responsibility may rightfully call on you to guide and protect them against the errors in doctrine and practices which at present are allowed to develop and spread,” the petition reads, “by taking an unequivocal, doctrinally loyal stand.”

The petition dated April 4 was shared with LifeSiteNews by a signatory. It had been sent to Dutch bishops and auxiliary bishops, and the nuncio in The Hague. 

The signatories wrote a supplemental letter asking that the bishops issue a joint declaration, the academic told LifeSiteNews, or at least that each bishop speaks out clearly in support of orthodoxy as the leader of their respective diocese. 

The group is comprised primarily of professors. It also includes the former editor-in-chief of the only Catholic Dutch weekly newspaper, Katholiek Nieuwsblad. Henk Rijkers was ousted from his position last year amidst division with the president of the publication’s governing council following the paper having published a number of articles critical of the Pope’s 2016 exhortation Amoris Laetitia ostensibly opening a door to Communion for the divorced and civilly remarried Catholics 

Allowing individuals who are living in an objectively sinful state to receive the Eucharist  — whether they be adulterers, active homosexuals, or cohabiters — is at the root of the controversy surrounding Pope Francis’ exhortation. The document’s ambiguous teaching has divided bishops’ conferences and individual Catholics worldwide.

The petition reminds the Dutch bishops that their role in the Church gives them the duty to caution the pope against serious mistakes and to correct him if necessary.

“Will you join the request for the correct clarification of the controversial passages in Amoris Laetitia as directed to the pope by the petitioners of the “dubia,” the Cardinals Caffarra, Burke, Meissner and Brandmüller?” it asks the bishops.

The petition also appeals to the bishops to vocally support Humanae Vitae as well as the Church’s traditional teachings and practice related to worthiness to receive Holy Communion. It specifically asks the bishops to affirm the “doctrine of the supremacy of Divine Law over subjective human conscience.”

“Will you speak out in favor of unconditional fidelity to the magisterial writings of the previous Popes: Blessed Paul VI, St. John Paul II, and Benedict XVI?” the petition asks of the bishops.

Vatican deal with China

It goes on to request the bishops intervene with the Vatican in the reported impending deal to cede partial control of the Catholic Church in China to the Communist government there. 

Talks have been ongoing between the Holy See and China’s Communist government on an agreement regarding the Church’s status in China. Asian experts have been critical of the deal, saying it amounts to a betrayal of the Church’s laity and clergy there, who have suffered persecution for not submitting to the state-sponsored church. The reported agreement would practically yield control of choosing Catholic bishops to Beijing. A Chinese official suggested last week this was not an impediment to religious freedom.

The petition addressed to the Dutch bishops called this, “the delivering up of the Catholic bishops and 60 millions of the faithful in China to the Communist Government, which is set to become one of the greatest scandals in the history of the Vatican.”

The prospective handing over of the Church in China ended a short list of critical issues under the Francis papacy raised in the petition. The petition also explains that the time for dismissing concerns is past. 

'Too much uncertainty and division​'

“At the onset, one could try to gloss over the dubious statements and measures of the Pope or his near collaborators, in the expectation that the slips and faults were temporary and would be repaired and rectified before long,” the petition states. “Today, this view cannot be maintained any more. Too much has been said, written, and done that cannot be passed in silence; too much uncertainty and division have been created.”

In addition to issues with Amoris Laetitia and China, the petition lists among the concerns the fact the Vatican and Francis hold up “the scientifically unfounded and morally dangerous climate theory of the United Nations, as though assent to it were a religious duty.” It notes as well “the manipulative reporting of the 2014 Bishops’ Synod in Rome in favor of a liberalization of divorce and recognition of homosexual relationships.”

The signatories also mention “the homage to radical-feminist abortion activists,” specifically the Dutch Ploumen scandal, where a Dutch politician and international abortion activist was received into the Order of St. Gregory by the Vatican last year — a pontifical honor given for “meritorious service to the Church.”

They also point out that appointments have been made inside and outside the Vatican of “persons who reject Humanae Vitae or are even pro-abortion, and of advisors and Bishops in various parts of the world who openly advocate recognition of homosexual relationships.”

Also listed are “the concealed establishment of a papal commission to “re-examine” Humanae Vitae,” probable preparations for abolition priestly celibacy and instigation of discussion of female deacons.

“The misguided veneration of Luther and the denial of the necessity to strive for the conversion of Protestants, schismatics or even Muslims,” is listed as well, along with “the neglect of Christians persecuted by Islam.”

The 'red thread'

“These issues are interrelated,” the signatories tell the Dutch bishops. “By and large, the red thread running through them are the errors of Modernism and Protestantism.” 

“Half a century ago, our country experienced how these errors for the most part devastated the once vital Church,” they continue. “But now, after the remnants of orthodoxy somewhat consolidated under the previous popes, precisely the ideas and contentions of the dissident theologians of the sixties and their followers come upon us from the Vatican itself. Therefore, we are under no illusion as to the outcome.”

Cardinal Wilhelm Jacobus Eijk, archbishop of Utrecht, said earlier this year that Pope Francis should clarify the confusion surrounding Amoris Laetitia on Communion for divorced and remarried Catholics. The cardinal had spoken critically in the past of confusion generated by the pope’s exhortation.

The petition’s signers added in their communication to the Dutch bishops that they assume the petition is consistent with the mindset of Cardinal Eijk, “who already very prudently made some public statements in the good direction.”

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Monica Showalter

Opinion, ,

Facebook joins United Airlines on the list of major PR disasters

Monica Showalter
By Monica Showalter

April 11, 2018 (American Thinker) – Diamond & Silk are two massively popular supporters of President Trump who reach their millions-strong audience through Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

Like a bunch of fourth-world bozos, Facebook silenced the two by blocking their millions of viewers from seeing their performances (it's actually a form of performance art) in their news feeds, even though, presumably, those millions of viewers subscribed to the women's work precisely because they wanted to see it in their news feeds.

Then Facebook went really tinpot-creepy when the two uppity sisters had the temerity to ask why they were silenced.  With Olympian vagueness, Facebook told them they were "unsafe" to the community and cited no examples.  As for the banning, Facebook told them there was no appeal.

Now Facebook has a P.R. problem on the scale of United Airlines, and like United, the company is caving.

How did it happen?  With diamond-hard logic a top lawyer would envy (doesn't the woman who goes by the name "Diamond" have the last name "Hardaway"?), Diamond laid out for Fox News and Breitbart News the bad faith, false premises, outright illegal double standards, and capricious favoritism of the social media giant in its silencing of her and her partner, actions that at a minimum are a howl for congressional regulation.

"When we signed up with Facebook they didn't say this platform was only for liberal views," one of them told Fox News.

From Breitbart:

Diamond noted that "a lot of people say that Facebook is a private company and they can do whatever they want to do.  But it is open to the public and everybody is supposed to be treated the same."

On Facebook itself, they wrote this:

1. What is unsafe about two Blk-women supporting the President Donald J. Trump?
2. Our FB page has been created since December 2014, when exactly did the content and the brand become unsafe to the community?
3. When you say "community" are you referring to the Millions who liked and followed our page?
4. What content on our page was in violation?
5. If our content and brand was so unsafe to the community, why is the option for us to boost our content and spend money with FB to enhance our brand page still available? Maybe FB should give us a refund since FB censored our reach.
6. Lastly, didn't FB violate their own policy when FB stopped sending notifications to the Millions of people who liked and followed our brand page?

What lawyer could do better than that?  What judge would not accept their legal reasoning as diamond-hard and airtight?  What congressman (other than a partisan Democrat with shortsighted goals, blissfully not thinking the shoe could be on the other tootsie next time) couldn't come to the conclusion that Facebook's political censoring amounts to undeclared campaign contributions that need to be investigated and remedied, and regulation must follow?  How clever of Facebook to get itself into this mess just ahead of unpopular CEO Mark Zuckerberg's vaunted appearance before Congress, a boiling #deletefacebook movement on Twitter, and a tumbling stock price.

These women are something impressive.

Under regulation, Facebook faces the loss of its current privilege to be treated as an uncensored medium and public platform, to be held as an edited publishing platform, same as newspapers.  If that were to happen, Facebook would be forced to edit every post that exists on its platform, not just the popular ones, and then be held legally responsible for any bad thing that happens from even one of them if something goes wrong.  So long as the company keeps up its capricious censorship policies from the young arrogant hipsters raised in full political correctness, taking their lead from Mark Zuckerberg's leftist leadership, it will be exactly what Facebook deserves.  I wrote about it here.

Recognizing this dawning problem they brought on themselves, the social media behemoth has caved in, sounding like United Airlines in its bid to clean up its P.R. mess.

In a statement to Fox News, a Facebook spokesperson said: "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.  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."

Oh, ralf.  Diamond & Silk say they haven't been reached out to, so it may be empty public relations, which will snowball Facebook's problem if the company doesn't follow through.  But it's obviously the start of some kind of cave.

Couldn't happen to a nicer bunch of tinpot leftist censors.

Published with permission from the American Thinker.

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The Daily Signal
Kelsey Harkness

Opinion,

Pregnant at 18, she could have aborted. Instead, she did a ‘beautiful thing’

Kelsey Harkness
By

April 11, 2018 (The Daily Signal) – Kelly Clemente found out she was pregnant when she was 18. She had just finished her first semester of college, and up until then, described herself as your typical "all-American girl."

She got good grades, was a member of a sorority, and ran on the track team.

When she saw that pregnancy test, "My life is over," she thought.

"I was like, it doesn't even matter. Nothing matters anymore," Kelly told The Daily Signal.

Kelly, unlike most girls her age, was familiar with the implications of an unplanned pregnancy. In high school, she volunteered at HOPE in Northern Virginia, a nonprofit that creates gift baskets for mothers faced with an unplanned pregnancy.

Although she shared compassion for them, Kelly had bought into the stigmas about birth moms. "I'll never be one of those women," she thought.

But she was wrong. At 18, Kelly became an unplanned pregnancy statistic. "I was no better than these women that I was creating baskets for," she said.

After crying and feeling nothing but noise and chaos, Kelly thought of her little sister, who her parents had adopted into their family from Central America.

"I thought of the joy she brought into our family, and for the first moment after hours of crying, I felt calm, and I felt peaceful," Kelly said. "I knew that I needed to make the decision that my sister's birth mom had made."

Kelly would carry her baby to term, and place him – or her – for adoption.

But first, she'd have to tell her parents.

'Parents' Worst Nightmare'

Within days upon learning she was pregnant, Kelly had to figure out how to come clean with her parents. "I expected them to be angry," she said. "Parents' worst nightmare, right?"

First, she called her mom from school to say she wasn't feeling well.

"I was concerned enough to go to school to see firsthand what was going on," Susan Clemente, Kelly's mom, said.

The two went grocery shopping together, but Kelly avoided sharing the news. Sensing something was wrong, her mom invited Kelly to come back home.

"That entire ride home, I never once told you that I was pregnant," Kelly said, speaking to her mom about that day. "You told me later that you just knew."

"I did," Kelly's mom replied.

When they got home, they sat on the living room couch and talked so intently that the sun went down without anyone noticing. When her dad, Mark, arrived home from work, he asked, "Why are you all sitting in the dark?"

At that moment, Kelly had to confront one of her biggest fears – telling her dad she was pregnant.

"I could tell something was going on," he said of the two sitting in the dark.

Almost in the same breath, Kelly broke the news that she was pregnant – and going to place the child for adoption.

Instead of responding with anger or disappointment, Mark told The Daily Signal, "I just remember being so grateful and proud."

"We'd hoped that we had raised you that way," her dad said, speaking to Kelly. "So the fact that you didn't even entertain that thought [abortion], to be honest, it was a very proud moment."

After that, Kelly moved back in with her parents and set up an appointment with Bethany Christian Services, an organization that facilitates private, faith-based adoptions.

'Little Treasure'

Walking into Bethany Christian Services, Kelly was expecting "the wrath of God" to be on her.

"I'm going to an adoption agency, and I'm going to be judged," she said. But when she walked in there, "I never experienced any of that," she said.

"They showed me what it was like to walk with someone through the hardest time of their life when they are feeling so down on themselves and so alone, they were there."

Shawn and Dave Hansen were the second couple Kelly and her mom met with in the adoption process.

"It was so obvious that these were the people that would have her little treasure," her mom told The Daily Signal.

But finding them was the easy part. Kelly was 18, in college, and still pregnant.

'Where's My Choice?'

"Being pregnant and being in college is never really a great thing," Kelly said. "I found out very quickly who my true friends were."

At one point, she told a friend on her track team that she was pregnant and placing her child for adoption. His response was less than supportive.

"If you don't get an abortion, I will lose all respect for you," Kelly remembered him saying.

"I was horrified," Kelly said. "You call yourself pro-choice, but where's my choice? It's my choice to choose adoption."

Then, two weeks before the birth, Kelly got a phone call from the baby's father's best friend informing her the father – Kelly's boyfriend at the time – wasn't being faithful.

"I was devastated," Kelly said. "This is someone I knew for eight years, this is someone I trusted. I'm having his baby. We had conversations about getting married."

Hearing that news was the second hardest news to take over those nine months, Kelly said. Her entire identity had already been shattered, and her relationship now was, too.

At a low point, Kelly walked out to her parents' driveway in the middle of the night. She lay down on the road, in the dark, and prayed that a car would come run her over.

"I want to die," Kelly remembered thinking. "I can't handle this. This is too much for me."

At that moment, Kelly said she heard a voice from God telling her to get up. So she did.

"I got up, and I said, 'OK, I know that this sweet baby did nothing wrong, so I don't want him to get hurt, so I'm going to have this baby and then I'm going to take my life.' Because I was so broken, I didn't think there was any meaning left."

But then the voice came back and said, "No, I'm not done with you yet."

"At that moment, I knew that I was loved by a really big God who had a really big heart, that didn't judge me by my pregnancy and still loved me so much," Kelly said.

A few weeks later, her water broke, and Kelly gave birth to a healthy baby boy.

'An Answer to My Prayers'

"Those three days I spent in the hospital, he was mine," Kelly said of her birth son, Alex. But after those three days, it was time to place Alex with his adoptive parents, Shawn and Dave Hansen.

"I don't sugarcoat that because it's real life and I loved this child so much, but I couldn't give him a father, I couldn't give him brothers and sisters for a long time, I couldn't provide him with what felt like anything he deserved."

She then walked to the hospital chapel, said a prayer for everything to be OK, and at that moment, Dave and Shawn walked in.

"I was like, wow," Kelly said. "They truly are an answer to my prayers."

Handing her baby to another family wasn't going to be easy, even though the family was the living embodiment of her prayers.

"I thought the hardest day of my life would be finding out that I was pregnant," Kelly said. "It wasn't."

"The hardest day of my life was driving away from that hospital without a baby. I had never felt more empty in my life. I was physically empty, and I felt so alone."

Kelly made a decision that in today's society, few women do.

In 2014, the latest data available, 18,329 women in the U.S. chose to place their children for adoption. That same year, more than 900,000 women chose abortion. According to the National Council for Adoption, a nonpartisan group that advocates adoption, for every 1,000 abortions and births to unmarried women, there were only 6.9 adoptions.

'It's Over Now'

Kelly gave birth in September 2008, and returned to college in January. Much like the pregnancy, the transition back wasn't easy.

"I remember everybody just telling me over and over again, 'It's over now. It's over. Aren't you so glad that this is over?'" Kelly said.

But she felt differently.

"I was fine without drinking, I was fine without sleeping around. I had lived a life I was proud of while I was pregnant, and I wanted that to continue but I was feeling so much pressure to just be that fun sorority party girl that I was before my entire life changed. No one seemed to wrap their head around the fact that my entire worldview had been shifted."

Today, Kelly is 28 years old. She graduated from college and went back to receive a master's degree in school counseling.

"My heart is for children," Kelly said. For now, she's teaching preschool and hopes one day to be either a school counselor or a voice for teen moms and teen birth moms.

"I want them to know that they have value and their life isn't over. They have their whole life ahead of them."

She also wants birth moms to know that children placed with adoptive families "are not lacking in love."

Her son, Kelly said, "not only receives love from his adoptive parents. He receives love from me, he receives love from my parents, there's so much love to go around."

Kelly chose to have an open adoption with Alex and his parents, and sees him a couple times every year.

After enjoying time together, Kelly said, "You would think that it would be this emotional thing where I'm so upset that my birth son is going back with his adoptive parents."

"It's not," she said. "It's this beautiful thing where he's happy that he's seen me, I'm happy that I've seen him. He knows who is parents are. He knows that I'm not mom. One day I hope to be a mom, but I'm not his mom. I get to be birth mommy. And that's OK with me." 

Published with permission from The Daily Signal.

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'Googleplex,' Google Headquarters, Mountain View, California. achinthamb / Shutterstock.com
Katie Franklin

Opinion, ,

Not even liberal Google employees can escape pro-abortion harassment

Katie Franklin
By

April 11, 2018 (Pregnancy Help News) – In recent years, abortion activists have ramped up a campaign to tar and feather the country's 2,750 pregnancy help centers as "fake clinics." From protesting the non-profits in creepy costumes to smearing them in Google reviews, they're throwing everything at them to see what sticks.

This week, Business Insider ran a bogus story highlighting the abortion lobby's new weird tactic: "Pro-choice activists followed Google employees on their way to work this week to call attention to a little-known problem with search results."

The accompanying photo depicts a couple of paid cyclists with sandwich boards informing employees, "GOOGLE WILL SEND YOU TO FAKE, ANTI-ABORTION CLINICS."

The absurdity of the photo itself makes me want to facepalm, but the translation is pretty simple and shows how we're winning: As Jay Hobbs puts it, Pro-Life Centers are Kicking Planned Parenthood's Tail on Google.

According to Business Insider, Karin Roland, chief campaigns officer for pro-abortion group UltraViolet, said her organization has been lobbying Google to remove pregnancy centers from Google search results and Google Maps for four years.

"Our goal with the campaign is for Google to stop being complicit with these clinics, stop running fake abortion clinic ads," Roland told Business Insider.

Apparently actual competition is just too difficult for the abortion industry. So instead of competing with pregnancy centers in the digital marketplace, they turn to name-calling and harassment. To be fair, I guess I'd have a wild sense of entitlement too if the government regularly forked over half a billion taxpayer dollars to me.

Tell Congress to keep their promise and defund Planned Parenthood. Sign the petition here!

It's campaigns like this that prove just how out-of-touch the abortion lobby is with the women they claim to help. They turn a woman's simple search for information into a circus, harassing the everyday public with angry, tone-deaf messages in hopes that they can simply bully a company into submission.

But beyond the sheer outrage of the matter, let's consider the heart of it. Google searches are saving lives and helping women in need. Consider "Jennifer", who found Option Line – the nation's only fully staffed, bilingual, 24-7 pregnancy helpline – when she needed help.

Or consider Katrina, who was able to reverse her abortion after a simple Google search lead her to Abortion Pill Reversal and eventually, a pro-life pregnancy center. Her baby boy, Gabriel, is a living, breathing reminder of why Google shouldn't skew search results against the pregnancy help community.

Even Planned Parenthood tells women to "just Google it" when looking for information on prenatal care, adoption, or any other life-affirming services the abortion business doesn't provide.

If abortion activists had their way, Google search results would land women right back at Planned Parenthood with abortion as their only choice.

And that's where whatever remains of the "pro-choice" mantra is completely obliterated.

The fact that the abortion lobby would invest so much time, money and resources into conspiracy theories and censorship of this magnitude is telling.

And really, it makes sense. After years of dealing with explosive undercover investigations from groups like Live Action and The Center for Medical Progress, the abortion lobby has had enough. While David Daleiden was busy exposing Planned Parenthood for selling the remains of human children, NARAL decided they'd show the world something truly gritty...like, that many pregnancy centers are run by Christians.

As Huffington Post claims, these "faith-based clinics" are "dangerous as hell."

The claim is laughable but it's also tragically ironic, considering the very abortion facilities they defend aren't just dangerous, they're deadly. And yet, not a single person has died at the hands of a pregnancy help center. Not only that, as the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals recently pointed out, the abortion lobby hasn't been able to produce a single woman who has had a bad experience at a pregnancy center. 

Perhaps that's because 99 percent of women who've visited a pregnancy center report a positive one. 

As outlandish as the abortion lobby's hijinks have become, they definitely won't be stopping anytime soon. While Google may not necessarily be a bastion of pro-life advocacy, the major corporation hasn't caved to the demands of the abortion lobby, and I, for one, applaud them for that. 

Published with permission from Pregnancy Help News.

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Steve Jalsevac Steve Jalsevac Follow Steve

Blogs,

Now is the time to demand action to save freedom on the Internet

Steve Jalsevac Steve Jalsevac Follow Steve
By Steve Jalsevac

April 10, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Please pay close attention to our reports on the congressional questioning of Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg. This is crucial to the continued existence and influence of LifeSite and almost all other conservative websites, blogs and Internet information services. They have been threatened by rampant discrimination and censorship by Google, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, especially during the last several months.

After being made aware by questioners of one outrageous instance of unjust censoring after another , Zuckerberg stated, “we make a relatively small percent of mistakes in content review…I wouldn't extrapolate from a few examples to assuming that the overall system is biased.”

All the evidence that we and others have seen indicates the bias is in fact wide-ranging and systemic within Facebook. It is far more than a case of “a relatively small percent of mistakes.”

Read these to get the picture that Zucherberg downplays

Ted Cruz did a great job calling Facebook to account. Senator Ben Sasse also made some crucial points. Watch Marsha Blackburn and Steve Scalise stand up for free speech and balanced and fair policies. See Zuckerberg forced to admit that his company’s ridiculous censoring of conservative bloggers Diamond and Silk was an “error.”  Congressmen Fred Upton and especially Cathie McMorris Rodgers also hit home with their remarks.

And then review again LifeSite’s April 9 article that gives a crucial overview of the very alarming threats to freedom from the Big Tech oligarchs and their attempt to rig the upcoming US mid-term elections to restore globalist control of the United States. My article explaining how difficult Facebook has been making it for the 1 million persons who have liked LifeSite's Facebook pages to actually see our posts anymore is also worth a re-read.

Now is the time to demand action. Contact the White House, FCC chairman Ajit Pai and Americans contact your senators and congressmen. You must do this because without a strong public outcry to government there is a very real possibility that LifeSite and your other favorite Internet services may no longer exist in the near future.

White House:  https://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/#page
Ajit Pai, head of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)  Email: [email protected].

Also, pray for Mark Zuckerberg that he will begin to grasp the wrongness of how he and his staff have been violating freedom and trust, not only in the United States, but also in the many other nations in which Facebook is extensively used.

Pass this article on to all your friends.

Steve Jalsevac
Co-Founder and President
LifeSiteNews

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Michael L. Brown Michael L. Brown Follow Dr. Michael

Blogs,

When a man sets the record for the fastest marathon run by a woman

Michael L. Brown Michael L. Brown Follow Dr. Michael
By Dr. Michael Brown

April 11, 2018 (LifeSiteNews.com) – If our world survives a few more generations, historians will doubtless look back at our current era and ask, "Was there something in the water? Something in the air? How is it that an entire society went mad at the same time?"

If you've read my columns over the years, you know I have compassion for those who genuinely struggle with their gender identity. That is something I wouldn't wish on anyone, something I do not treat lightly. At the same time, you know I have often spoken against today's cultural madness in which perception becomes reality.

In the latest example of that madness, the Boston Marathon (among other marathons) has announced that men who identify as women can compete with the women.

Since everyone runs together, it simply means that their times will be compared with the times of the female runners. And since both the male winner and the female winner receive the same prize money ($150,000 in Boston), if a man who identifies as a woman beats the ladies, he will win the prize.

Again, I'm not questioning the fact that some men believe they are really women (and vice versa). I'm simply stating the obvious: these men are not women, and it is not fair for a male to compete against a female. It doesn't take a rocket scientist at MIT to explain these simple facts.

But who cares about facts these days? What I feel is the only thing that matters. My morality. My truth. My reality.

This corporate insanity is not limited to America.

TELL DISNEY: Don’t make Elsa a lesbian in Frozen 2! Sign the petition here.

Writing for the Daily Wire, Amanda Prestigiacomo tells us what is happening in Iran:

The Iranian 'women's soccer team has found a loophole. Instead of comprising a team of actual women, they have added on eight full grown men who they claim are transgender and awaiting sex changes.

'The country's football association was accused of being "unethical" for knowingly fielding eight men in its women's team,' reports The Telegraph.

'[Eight players] have been playing with Iran's female team without completing sex change [sic] operations,' said Mojtabi Sharifi, an official described as 'close to the Iranian league.'

Yes, "[m]embers of the national team were ordered on Wednesday to undergo gender testing. Iran's soccer governing body implemented random checks in 2014 after four women's team players were discovered to be biological men who never underwent a sex change [sic]."

If you're wondering why these male players weren't noticed before, it's because "[p]layers on the Iranian women's team are mandated to wear long-sleeved jerseys, pants, and hijabs." (Adding to the sad irony of this story is this: while homosexual acts are punishable by death in Iran, so-called sex change surgery is "rampant" and is actually pushed on gays by some Islamic clerics.)

To say it once more: I'm not passing judgment on the motivation of these men. I'm not making a determination about the absence or presence of gender confusion in their lives.

I'm simply saying that there's a reason we have boys' sports and girls' sports in our children's schools. (Let's not forget about the locker rooms and showers!) And there's a reason we divide into male and female sports in every major professional league, as well as the Olympics.  Men and women are built differently.

Last year, Science Daily reported, "Researchers identif[ied] 6,500 genes that are expressed differently in men and women."

Specifically, "Weizmann Institute of Science researchers recently uncovered thousands of human genes that are expressed – copied out to make proteins – differently in the two sexes. Their findings showed that harmful mutations in these particular genes tend to accumulate in the population in relatively high frequencies, and the study explains why. The detailed map of these genes, reported in BMC Biology, provides evidence that males and females undergo a sort of separate, but interconnected evolution."

This makes perfect sense.

A 2014 report from the University of Helsinki indicated that "[identifying] genetic associations with X chromosomal genes can be particularly valuable in helping researchers to understand why some characteristics, such as height, differ between sexes ... [because] women have two copies of this chromosome and men only one[.]"

Is anyone really surprised?

I do understand that a tiny percentage of people have a chromosomal or genetic or biological abnormality, because of which they do not fit neatly into normal categories. But I seriously doubt that the eight men playing on the Iranian women's soccer team fit into this unique, neither fully male nor fully female category. Or that Bruce Jenner fits into this category. Or that the first man who will run against women in one of the marathons will fit into this category.

Last year, "Andraya Yearwood, a freshman who was born a male, won the girls 100-meter and 200-meter dashes at the Connecticut high school Class M state championships.

Kate Hall – who last year won the girls 100-meter dash Class M state title as a sophomore – came in second to Yearwood at this year's 100-meter race and was tearful in the aftermath, the Hartford Courant reported.

"It's frustrating," Hall of Stonington High School told the Courant. "But that's just the way it is now."

Let's hope it doesn't stay that way for long.

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