All articles from February 1, 2019

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Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam
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VA Dems cancel event amid infanticide, KKK scandals; pro-lifers will still protest at new location

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By Claire Chretien

LORTON, Virginia, February 1, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Virginia Democrats have cancelled their planned Saturday town hall meeting as they face backlash over an abortion-through-birth bill they pushed this week and now KKK costume photos from Gov. Ralph Northam’s medical school yearbook page. Pro-life activists will still rally against infanticide as planned, but the event’s location has changed.

Northam admitted this evening that he appeared in “a costume that is clearly racist and offensive” in his medical school yearbook. His statement didn’t say whether he was the one pictured in blackface or dressed as a member of the KKK.

Democrat Del. Kathy Tran was scheduled to speak at South County High School in Lorton on Saturday. Tran sponsored a now-failed bill that she admitted would have allowed abortions at 40 weeks of pregnancy and even as a mother is “dilating” and going into labor.

Gov. Northam defended her.

Commenting on what would happen under the bill if a woman in labor requested an abortion, Northam said: “So in this particular example, if the mother is in labor, I can tell you exactly what would happen: The infant would be delivered; the infant would be kept comfortable; the infant would be resuscitated if that’s what the mother and the family desire, and then a discussion would ensue between the physicians and the mother.”

“We are disappointed Delegate Tran and her colleagues chose to call off their town hall rather than face pro-life constituents, who were looking forward to the opportunity to voice their alarm over Delegate Tran’s radical abortion bill in person,” the Susan B. Anthony List, one of the rally’s organizers, said in a statement Friday evening. “Tran has taken to social media attempting to defend her legislation that, by her own admission, would allow abortion on demand right up through the moment of birth. Now she needs to listen to the voters. Our peaceful demonstration will take place as scheduled.”

The rally’s new location is 8390 Laurel Crest Drive, Lorton, VA 22079. It will still begin at noon. The Susan B. Anthony List says attendees should walk to the corner of Laurel Crest Drive and Silverbrook Road.

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Virginia gov. who defended infanticide lectures Republicans about being ‘civil’

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By Claire Chretien

VIRGINIA, February 1, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Virginia Democrats have rushed into damage control mode as their comments about abortion during birth and infanticide continue to generate massive backlash.

On Thursday, Gov. Ralph Northam held a press conference with Democratic leadership during which he suggested Republicans have been uncivil in the wake of his comments about fellow Democrat Del. Kathy Tran’s abortion-through-birth bill. Tran had admitted that her now-defeated bill would have allowed abortion even as a mother was “dilating” and going into labor.

“So in this particular example, if the mother is in labor, I can tell you exactly what would happen: The infant would be delivered; the infant would be kept comfortable; the infant would be resuscitated if that’s what the mother and the family desire, and then a discussion would ensue between the physicians and the mother,” Northam said during a radio interview on Wednesday.

Northam is now facing calls to resign after admitting Friday evening he is in a photo in his medical school yearbook showing one person in blackface and one dressed in a KKK costume. He did not say which costume he was wearing. The Lieutenant Governor of Virginia, Justin Fairfax, is African-American. 

“Misinformation has been circulating on where Virginia Democrats stand on issues related to women’s reproductive health,” Northam said Thursday during his press conference. “Virginia Democrats are on the side of ensuring women have access to the healthcare they need.”

“We can agree to disagree on this topic, but we can be civil about it,” he claimed. “As a doctor who has counseled parents of sick children in the hospice, as someone who has given women and families some of the worst news on the worst day of their lives, to play politics with that is just not who we are as Virginians.”

Northam is a former pediatric neurologist.

He went on to espouse a number of generic pro-abortion talking points about wanting Roe v. Wade to remain the “law of the land,” “reproductive freedom” and “reproductive health” decisions.

READ: Virginia gov. who defended infanticide: ‘I have devoted my life to caring for children’

Attorney General Mark Herring spoke after Northam and directly denied that the governor had endorsed infanticide.

“(Republicans’) political games have exposed a member of the House of Delegates to violent, personal threats,” Herring claimed. “And now, (Speaker) Kirk Cox has taken his caucus completely off the deep end, accusing Governor Northam of supporting infanticide, which would be laughable if it wasn’t such a grotesque and abhorrent claim. Governor Northam served this country in uniform. He has dedicated his entire life to the welfare of children.”

A reporter asked Northam if he regretted his now-infamous comments or wished he’d said them a different way.

“No, I don’t have any regrets,” he responded.

The Democrats’ full press conference can be viewed below.

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A high-resolution scan of Northam's medical school yearbook page from 1984 has been shared widely on Twitter
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UPDATED: Yearbook photo of Virginia gov. who defended infanticide shows KKK costume

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By Claire Chretien

UPDATE at 8:59 p.m. EST on February 1, 2019: Gov. Northam has released a video on Twitter apologizing and saying he is committed to fighting for all Virginians for the “remainder of my term.” Ryan Saavedra of The Daily Wire has tweeted that the president of the NAACP and 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris, D-CA have said Northam should resign. According to Saavedra, two Democrat Congressmen have also said Northam should resign.

UPDATE at 6:28 p.m. EST on February 1, 2019: Gov. Northam has admitted he appears in the photo, but does not say whether he is the one in alleged blackface or dressed as a KKK member. 

His full statement is as follows:

“Earlier today, a website published a photograph of me from my 1984 medical school yearbook in a costume that is clearly racist and offensive. 

I am deeply sorry for the decision I made to appear as I did in this photo and for the hurt that decision caused then and now.

This behavior is not in keeping with who I am today and the values I have fought for throughout my career in the military, in medicine, and in public service. But I want to be clear, I understand how this decision shakes Virginians’ faith in that commitment.

I recognize that it will take time and serious effort to heal the damage this conduct has caused. I am ready to do that important work. The first step is to offer my sincerest apology and to state my absolute commitment to living up to the expectations Virginians set for me when they elected me to be their Governor.”

VIRGINIA, February 1, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, already under fire for his comments defending infanticide on Wednesday, is now facing scrutiny over a medical school yearbook photo showing a man allegedly in blackface and a man dressed in Ku Klux Klan garb. The photo is on a half-page spread under his name and next to photos of him, but it’s unclear who is pictured.

Northam’s office did not immediately return requests for comment from various news outlets such as the Washington Post and the Virginian-Pilot Friday afternoon.

“I can confirm that the picture in question does appear in a 1984 student-produced publication. The EVMS library is open to the public and does provide access to its materials,” an Eastern Virginia Medical School spokesperson told WUSA9 reporter Mike Valerio. “We don’t know when or where this photo was taken but it is from the 1984 yearbook. We promote a culture of inclusion and our principle mission is to recruit, educate, [and] train a culturally competent healthcare workforce.”

The Virginia Republican party has demanded an explanation from Northam and snarkily tweeted that it was “not surprised” Northam hadn’t tweeted about the first day of Black History Month today.

“Racism has no place in Virginia. These pictures are wholly inappropriate. If Governor Northam appeared in blackface or dressed in a KKK robe, he should resign immediately,” Republican Party of Virginia Chairman Jack Wilson said.

“This is a deeply disturbing and offensive photograph in need of an immediate explanation by the Governor,” Virginia Republican General Assembly leadership said in a statement.

At least one of Northam’s Democrat colleagues, Senate Minority Leader Richard L. Saslaw, seemed to suggest in a statement to the Washington Post that he believes the photo does show Northam. However, he said there was “[probably] no one in the General Assembly who would like their college conduct examined.”

“His whole life has been about exactly the opposite and that’s what you need to examine, not something that occurred 30 years ago,” said Saslaw (D-Fairfax). “While it’s in very poor taste, I would think there is [probably] no one in the General Assembly who would like their college conduct examined. I would hate to have to go back and examine my two years in the Army. Trust me. I was 18 years old and I was a handful, [okay]? His life since then has been anything but. It’s been a life of helping people, and many times for free.”

Virginia Democrats’ bad week began when Del. Kathy Tran admitted that her now-defeated late-term abortion bill would have allowed abortion even as a mother was “dilating” and going into labor.

Northam then defended her comments.

“So in this particular example, if the mother is in labor, I can tell you exactly what would happen: The infant would be delivered; the infant would be kept comfortable; the infant would be resuscitated if that’s what the mother and the family desire, and then a discussion would ensue between the physicians and the mother,” Northam said during a radio interview on Wednesday.

Northam is a former pediatric neurologist.

Planned Parenthood spent around $3 million helping Northam get elected. The organization’s founder, Margaret Sanger, was an avowed eugenist who wrote in her autobiography that she “accepted an invitation to talk to the women’s branch of the Ku Klux Klan.”

Northam also campaigned at an abortion facility when he was running for governor.

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Abortionist Steven Chase Brigham as he was being arrested for murder in December 2010.
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Questions raised over ‘horrific’ Yelp reviews of DC center advertising late-term abortions

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By Calvin Freiburger

WASHINGTON, D.C., February 1, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Speculation is brewing over another “house of horrors” in the nation’s capital after the sharing of Yelp reviews for Capital Women’s Services (CWS) on social media.

“Our highly-trained team of professional physicians, nurses, and healthcare team members offer extraordinary care in a manner that respects the wishes of each patient,” the center’s website claims. A page specifically dedicated to late-term abortions advertises abortions “up to 36 weeks under certain circumstances, such as for fetal or maternal indications” including “birth defects.”

Qualifying “maternal indications” are not specified, but Roe v. Wade’s companion ruling Doe v. Bolton establishes that in the context of abortion, “health” must include factors such as “physical, emotional, psychological, familial, and the woman’s age.” The page claims all of its abortionists have hospital admitting privileges.

On Thursday, National Review writer Alexandra DeSanctis tweeted screenshots of Capital Women’s Services’ feedback on the business review site Yelp, which she called “eerily reminiscent of (Philadelphia abortionist Kermit) Gosnell’s house of horrors.”

The center has one star out of five based on three one-star “Recommended Reviews,” all of which are intensely negative.

“This place should be closed and banned from operation! I had the most terrifying experience when the main nurse practitioner MID PROCEDURE ANSWERED HER CELL PHONE. ... and to make matters worse it was her sister calling regarding a bra sale that was going on!” user Brittany M. wrote in October 2018, adding that another nurse openly declared “I hate this place” in her presence.

“In the waiting room, there was a lady who ran out in tears afterwards with her spouse cussing and crying saying they didn't listen to her or answer her questions, and that this place was a shithole,” she continued, “only for me to understand her EXACT sentiments minutes later!”

A review from Ha R., dated earlier this week, says her experience was “truly awful.” She describes the center as “crowded” and “dirty” without windows or water. “They somehow made be believe that getting a medical abortion was a good idea,” Ha writes. “I later came to find out that they use a super outdated protocol which caused me to have an incomplete miscarriage.”

The third review, from Yasmine R. last July, says the “filthy, unprofessional, unorganized, overcrowded” abortion facility “should be closed.”

“When I say filthy I mean the trashes were overfilled with waste materials in the operating rooms,” she continues. The staff has to be the worst staff in America (...) The nurses were eating chicken near the medical equipment and literally complaint the whole time. ‘2 more and we can get the hell home.’ No empathy for the terrified women in the room. 8 hour wait times despite scheduled appointments.”

There are two other reviews listed as “not currently recommended,” one from someone who doesn’t appear to be a patient and is just objecting to their advertising late-term abortions, and another who claims her experience was “wonderful” and “very professional.” Yelp claims it recommends reviews on the basis of whether its software determines its writer to be “helpful” and “reliable,” and how many reviews he or she has contributed.

Online reviews aren’t the only cause for concern surrounding CWS, however. In 2017, Operation Rescue identified it as having been “quietly” established by Steven Chase Brigham, who has been dubbed the “worst abortionist in America” for his record of having his medical license revoked in multiple states and multiple prior locations forced to close for health and safety violations.

Operation Rescue reported last year that CWS’ abortionist was Myron Rose. A CWS press release purporting to dispel unspecified “rumors and false information” claims “Capital Women's Services was founded by our Medical Director, Dr. Rose.” But it neither mentions Brigham by name nor expressly denies any specific claims, and its “Meet Our Medical Director” page identifies him only as “Dr. M. Rose,” curiously omitting his full first name.

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Ex-San Francisco mayor on affair with Dem presidential hopeful Kamala Harris: ‘So what?’

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By Calvin Freiburger

February 1, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Less than two weeks after announcing a bid for president of the United States, Sen. Kamala Harris is facing the return of an old scandal, reignited by former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown’s admission that he, a married man, had a romantic relationship with the California Democrat.

Harris, a 54-year-old black prosecutor who was Attorney General of California before her election to the U.S. Senate, formally announced her candidacy last month. Running as an “advocate for the voiceless and vulnerable,” Harris is a thorough supporter of abortion and same-sex “marriage,” and as the Golden State’s top cop she moved to investigate the pro-life journalists of the Center for Medical Progress rather than Planned Parenthood for the baby-parts sales CMP’s undercover videos revealed.

“Sure, I dated Kamala Harris. So what?” read the headline of a January 26 op-ed by Brown in the San Francisco Chronicle. “Yes, I may have influenced her career by appointing her to two state commissions when I was Assembly speaker. And I certainly helped with her first race for district attorney in San Francisco.”

A then-29-year-old Harris met the 60-year-old Brown in 1994, and dated him for about a year, according to a 2003 profile on Harris from SF Weekly. The piece quotes her mother as having “gone out with” Brown, and Harris herself as calling him an “albatross hanging around my neck.”

“Harris routinely tries to distance herself from her ex-squeeze, whom she hates even talking about,” SF Weekly’s Peter Byrne adds. “The mere mention of their former liaison makes her shoulders tense, her hands clench, and her eyes narrow.” Their relationship has been a source of controversy ever since.

“As the speaker of the state Assembly, Brown had named Harris to well-paid posts on the California Medical Assistance Commission and Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board,” Politico reported. “As mayor of San Francisco in 2003, Brown was supportive of her district attorney campaign although they were no longer dating. Critics — including her opponents — were bemoaning cronyism at City Hall.”

Brown denies any political impropriety in his piece, claiming his support for her was no different than his career assistance to other California Democrats. “The difference is that Harris is the only one who, after I helped her, sent word that I would be indicted if I ‘so much as jaywalked’ while she was D.A.,” he added. “That’s politics for ya.”

Political favors aside, the piece has also caused controversy on moral grounds. Brown has been estranged from his wife Blanche Vitero since 1981, but they never legally divorced. “The measure of (Brown’s) flamboyance is he’ll go to a party with his wife on one arm and his girlfriend on the other,” Sacramento Bee reporter and Brown biographer James Richardson once wrote.

Liberal publications have leapt to Harris’ defense, with Vox’s Li Zhou claiming conservative rhetoric about Harris having “slept her way to the top” is “misogynistic.” The Nation’s Joan Walsh suggested Harris may not have known Brown was married, because “while living in the San Francisco Bay Area and even working under Speaker Willie Brown in the California State Assembly, it took me years to learn that the Democratic leader was still married.”

Responding to those defending Harris on the basis that Brown and Vitero were separated, The Daily Wire’s Paul Bois noted that the separation “does not negate the fact the two were still married, meaning Kamala Harris willingly slept with a man who had yet to divorce his wife and benefited (sic) politically because of it.”

“I’m sitting here, I’m trying to figure out what’s the difference between Stormy Daniels and Kamala Harris? Well, I mean, stop and think about it. What is the real difference?” conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh said. He added that it was unlikely to matter to Democrat primary voters.

“Just as the media began telling us that ‘everyone lies’ and ‘lying is healthy and human’ during Bill Clinton's sexual scandal, we can expect the media to begin informing us ‘Actually, sleeping with your married boss for what basically amounts to a monetary payoff is very empowering’ and suchlike,” conservative blogger Ace of Spades predicted.

Harris has rejected multiple media organizations’ request for comment on Brown’s op-ed.

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Gina Raimondo, March 22, 2012. Scott Eells/Bloomberg via Getty Images
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Rhode Island’s Catholic Democratic Gov. backs abortion bill overturning all pro-life laws

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By Lisa Bourne

February 1, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Following the lead of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, Rhode Island’s pro-abortion Catholic governor supports what amounts to unrestricted abortion written into her state’s law. 

"I write in strong support of House Bill 5127, which would enshrine the important provisions of Roe v. Wade in state law," wrote Governor Gina Raimondo (D) in a Jan. 29 letter to Chairman of the House Committee on Judiciary Robert Craven. 

"I support efforts to protect Rhode Island women's right to reproductive health care," she wrote. "This bill maintains the status quo in Rhode Island as it has existed for decades, but is important now in light of uncertainty about changes that may come from the Federal government," she added. The bill is titled Rhode Island Reproductive health Care Act (2019-H 5127).

But, according to legal experts consulted by Rhode Island Right to Life, the two abortion expansion bills (2019-H 5127 and 2019-H 5127) go far beyond Roe v. Wade.

Both H 5127 and H 5125 would "eliminate any constitutional restrictions on late-term abortions" and "eliminate any constitutional restrictions on methods of abortion."

It would also "undermine the authority of the State and the Department of Health from enacting and adopting constitutional restrictions on the performance of abortions at facilities where abortions are performed." And, it would "require the State to pay for all abortions sought by Medicaid-eligible pregnant women and women covered by the “payer of last Resort” program."

In addition, H 5127 would "repeal existing constitutional protection for a viable unborn child from criminal assaults on the child’s mother and H 5125 would substantially 'water down' the State’s parental consent statute by allowing consent to be obtained from persons who have no constitutional right to give consent (grandparents and adult siblings)."

“Neither H 5127 nor H 5125 could plausibly be regarded as merely 'codifying' the principles of Roe v. Wade,” states Rhode Island Right to Life.

Governor Raimondo vowed to support abortion legislation earlier this month in her State of the State address.

“Let's make this the year we codify women's access to reproductive health care here in Rhode Island,” Raimondo said in her speech.

Raimondo, like Cuomo, identifies as Catholic while fervently supporting abortion.

New York passed the Reproductive Health Act (RHA) on this year’s Roe vs. Wade anniversary (Jan.22), with the Cuomo championing the law and joining in the celebration of its passage. 

The RHA eliminated restrictions on abortion, made abortion a fundamental right, removed recognition of unborn children older than 24 weeks as potential homicide victims and allows licensed health practitioners other than full doctors to perform abortions. The law enshrines abortion into state law as a way of protecting the legal status of the procedure in the event the Supreme Court should overturn Roe – something abortion supporters fear with the appointment of two new Supreme Justices picked by President Trump. 

Raimondo, along with the bill’s co-sponsors Sen. Gayle Goldin and Rep. Edith Ajello, has been pushing the law since 2017, WRGB News Albany reports. The bill's pushers say politicians in Washington are putting women's health care at risk.

"With women’s healthcare under attack in Washington, it’s more urgent than ever that we take proactive steps to enshrine women’s access to reproductive care here in Rhode Island," a Raimondo spokesman said.

Goldin and Ajello said the goal is to "defend against threats at the federal level.” These threats, according to them, include “a conservative-leaning Supreme Court and a president and the leader of the U.S. Senate who are opposed to reproductive freedom" and want to protect Rhode Islanders "in the case of any federal rollback of rights."

“Unfortunately, with the individuals in power in Washington right now, there is a very real chance that Roe v. Wade could be overturned at some point in the near future,” Ajello stated via a press release, “leaving Rhode Island women subject to these insidiously restrictive, harmful and patriarchal reproductive laws.”

A spokeswoman for Ajello told NBC 10 News on Monday of this week that more than half of the House and almost half of the Senate have signed on as co-sponsors.

Raimondo was elected as the first female governor of Rhode Island in 2014. The state that statistically has the most Catholics of any state in the U.S. put her in office despite her having stated publicly that she opposed the Catholic Church’s teaching on life at a Planned Parenthood Rhode Island PAC event formally endorsing her candidacy.

"You know the Catholic Church has a clear position, and I have a clear position,” she said. “And I am clearly pro–choice, and as I've said, I as governor [will] support the decision in Roe v. Wade."

Raimondo’s Catholic alma mater, LaSalle Academy of Providence, removed her photo from the school’s Wall of Notables after she made those statements.

Raimondo was upfront about her support for abortion numerous times during her campaign, in one instance declaring she was “more pro-choice” than her opponent.

Raimondo had also pledged to repeal the 1997 Rhode Island law banning partial-birth abortion.

Providence Bishop Thomas Tobin declined to attend her inauguration as a matter of conscience.

“Over the weekend I did receive a formal written invitation to the Inauguration, the courtesy of which I appreciated,” Tobin wrote to the Providence Journal in January 2015. “However, as previously announced I will be offering Holy Mass at the Cathedral at that same time to ask for God’s blessings upon our state and nation and our public servants.”

“I should add, though, that in conscience, it would always be a problem for me personally to attend the inauguration of any public official who promotes or supports abortion, which we consider to be a very grave moral evil,” ” said Tobin.  

Rhode Island’s proposed abortion law comes as other states are moving to enshrine abortion in state law.

Virginia’s Governor Ralph Northam suggested support earlier this week for leaving infants born alive in failed abortions to die.

Democratic Virginia Delegate Kathy Tran admitted during a subcommittee hearing about the bill she had introduced, known as the Repeal Act, or Virginia House Bill 2491 would allow abortion even once the mother had begun dilating in labor.    

Both comments set off a firestorm.

Catholics continue to call for canonical penalties for Cuomo in the wake of New York’s radical abortion law.

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Ashley Bratcher, who plays Abby Johnson in 'Unplanned.' LifeSiteNews
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I was almost aborted, ‘Unplanned’ actress playing Abby Johnson tells LifeSite

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By Calvin Freiburger

February 1, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Being cast in an upcoming film about pro-life leader Abby Johnson’s conversion story led to Ashley Bratcher learning of her own brush with abortion and deepened her appreciation of God’s plans, the actress told LifeSiteNews in a new interview.

Unplanned is being made by the creators of Christian hits such as God's Not Dead and I Can Only Imagine, in partnership with 40 Days for Life and Abby Johnson’s And Then There Were None. It tells the real-life story of Johnson, a former Planned Parenthood abortion facility director who converted to the pro-life cause in 2009. Johnson has exposed numerous details about the inner workings of the abortion industry and now works as a pro-life activist and commentator.  

“We have been given a false narrative by our secular media that tells us that the abortion industry is ‘safe, sanitary and provides high-quality health care for women,’” Johnson told LifeSiteNews in 2016. “The only way to effectively combat that myth is by revealing the true stories and the real horror that is taking place behind those clinic walls.”

“When I first got cast for the film I had five hours to get on a plane, to fly out to Oklahoma for eight weeks. I only had time to tell three people: my husband, my sister, my son,” Bratcher, who plays Johnson, told LifeSite. “So on the fourth day that I was on set my mother called me and I went on to tell her where I was and what I was doing. And I was really hesitant to share Abby’s story because when I was younger my mother told me that she had had an abortion when she was in high school.”

“And as I started telling her about Abby's testimony and what the film was about, she got very emotional [...] she said, ‘Ashley, I need to tell you something that you've never heard before,’” the actress recalled, relaying that her mother had planned an abortion at age 19, but upon being examined by a “very pregnant nurse,” she “got very sick and I knew that I couldn't go through with it. And I got up and I walked out and I chose you.”

WATCH: Trailer released for ‘Unplanned’ movie about Abby Johnson’s pro-life conversion

“And what's so powerful about that experience is that I never knew. I had no idea,” Bratcher explained. “And here I was in Oklahoma, on set to tell one of what I think is the greatest pro-life stories of our time, and I never knew. So it was so evident to me and I still just feel so overwhelmed when I tell it because I believe that God plans our steps from conception.”

“For me to be standing here and to have that come full circle just...I just feel so humbled that God loves us that much that he would give me, this nobody, the opportunity to tell this story that he cares for so personally,” she told LifeSiteNews.

Unplanned follows the pro-life film Gosnell and serves as another counterweight to a variety of upcoming pro-abortion movies. It’s slated for release in March; more information can be found at the film’s official website.

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Cardinal Raymond Burke
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Wikileaks docs suggest Cdl. Burke followed Pope’s directives in Knights of Malta condom scandal

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By Michael Hichborn

February 1, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Recent documents published at Wikileaks have rekindled the intrigues within the Sovereign Military Order of Malta (SMoM). Much attention is being given to the Dec. 1, 2016 letter from Pope Francis to Cdl. Raymond Burke regarding the Pope’s concerns with Knights’ "memberships in associations, movements and organizations which are contrary to the Catholic faith or of a relativist nature," and with the possible distribution of contraception by the Order’s charitable organization, Malteser International.

The letter from the Pope to Cardinal Burke, however, was already available since April 2017 when an anonymous source dumped a host of confidential Knights of Malta internal documents online that confirm the extent to which the Pope involved himself in the affairs of the Order. 

The Knights of Malta scandal centers around one of its senior members, Albrecht von Boeselager, who was in charge of Malteser International — the order's charitable arm — at the time it was caught distributing contraception.  A meeting took place at which Boeselager refused to resign his post as Grand Chancellor and was subsequently suspended from the Order. Von Boeselager then took his case to Cardinal Parolin, the Vatican Secretary of State, who then appointed a commission to investigate the matter

What is interesting about this is that Cdl. Parolin stated in his letter to Fra’ Matthew Festing, then Grand Knight of the SMoM: 

regarding the use and dissemination of methods and means contrary to the moral law, His Holiness asked that dialogue be the approach used to address and resolve potential problems.  He never mentioned, conversely, expelling anyone. [emphasis original]

Cdl. Parolin suggests that Pope Francis was saying that the supreme authority of the SMoM should only talk to Boeselager and nothing more. This is untrue.  In the letter to Cdl. Burke, Pope Francis said regarding this particular matter:

Furthermore, the Order must ensure that methods and means it uses in its initiatives and healthcare works are not contrary to moral law.  If in the past there has been a problem of this nature, I hope that it can be completely resolved.  I would be very disappointed if- as you told me- some of the high Officers were aware of practices such as the distribution of any type of contraceptives and have not intervened to end such things.  I have no doubts that by following the principle of Paul and "speaking the truth in love," (Ephesians 4, 15), the matter can be discussed with these Officers and the necessary rectification obtained. [emphasis added]

In that last line, Pope Francis spoke of both discussing the matter with those involved and obtaining “necessary rectification.” The rectification imposed by Grand Knight Festing was to request Boeselager’s resignation from his post.  When that was refused, in accordance with the laws of the Order, Boeselager was suspended.

At issue was the fact that Boeselager denied knowing about the distribution of condoms by Malteser International … a denial that the Sovereign Council found to be untruthful.  The German court also found Boeselager’s denial to be untruthful as well when it sided with in a case over this very issue.

Page 19 of the Commission of Inquiry document published at Wikileaks mentioned a testimony given by a priest who witnessed Boeselager state the necessity of providing contraceptives to women.  While no details of this testimony are provided in this particular document, the Lepanto Institute has obtained a copy of the testimony and is providing a portion here.  

During this conference, a priest listened to a talk given by Ingo Radtke, Malteser International’s Secretary General, who promoted the use and distribution of both condoms and oral contraceptives.  Immediately following Radke’s speech, the priest stood up and defended the Church’s condemnation of contraception.  As the gathering broke up, the priest was approached by Boeselager, Dominique de la Rochefoucauld (the Grand Hospitaller), and Radke.

In the account of the confrontation, Boeselager defended Malteser International’s (MI) distribution of contraceptives, saying that it’s a “matter of life and death” that women in these certain circumstances receive contraception.  He said, “If we don’t give them the condoms, they will die.”

Bear in mind that this comes from eyewitness testimony of a priest who heard these words come from Boeselager’s own mouth in 2014.

Of particular interest to this matter is that Boeselager has claimed that he had no knowledge of the condom distribution, and that as soon as he learned of it, the distribution was brought to an end.  However, the commissioned investigation of Malteser International’s involvement in the distribution of condoms and contraception was a direct result of the confrontation Boeselager had with the priest at the end of 2014.  The report was submitted in January of 2016, and provided multiple quotes from official Malteser documents indicating Malteser’s policy on the distribution of contraception and condoms, even as late as 2015. As one example, beginning on page 28 of the commissioned report, excerpts are taken from MI documents showing an organizational willingness to promote and distribute contraception and condoms.

From the MI document titled, "Formal Endorsement of the Policy: Bioethics - Basic principles on Birth Spacing and Reproductive Health (issued and signed 17 July 2015), it says, "Provision of contraceptives will never be undertaken systematically to broad target groups, but only in exceptional cases, on a strictly individual basis and under medical and ethical supervision."

In addition to Boeselager’s public defense of Malteser’s distribution of contraception and the findings of the investigative report commissioned by Fra Festing, the Lepanto Institute has also received copies of emails between two employees of Malteser International regarding a policy shift on condoms in 2013.  In these emails between Birke Herzbruch (MI's country representative in Myanmar) and Maren Paech (MI's Senior Desk Officer in Myanmar), it is quite clear that MI’s standing policy was to be directly involved in the distribution of contraception and condoms.  Ms. Herzbruch complains bitterly about the change in policy, ending the distribution of condoms, saying:

what matters is what Malteser believes is part of a comprehensive HIV package.  And in this sense Prevention through condoms is mandatory and not negotiable.  Honestly, I cannot believe we are having this discussion.  For the time being and until the new HIV Aids Policy of Malteser is applicable, I suggest to proceed as planned with the EMDG, again this is the last year.  Condoms are being distributed through partners for the time being at least throughout 2014.

The email exchange can be viewed here.

All of the information regarding Albrecht von Boeselager’s leadership over Malteser International, and its distribution of contraception and condoms, established a very clear impetus for his dismissal from the Order, in full accord with the Order’s code of conduct.  There never should have been any need or desire on the part of the Vatican to investigate whether or not proper protocols were followed in Boeselager’s suspension.  

In the end, Boeselager appealed to Pope Francis over his dismissal. This ultimately led to Pope Francis asking Grand Master Matthew Festing to resign. Earlier decrees were annulled and condom-pusher Boeselager was reinstated as grand chancellor in Jan. 2018. Pope Francis then appointed Cardinal Angelo Becciu in May 2018 as his special delegate to the Knights of Malta, further sealing his demotion of the order’s Cardinal Patron Raymond Burke.

Wikileaks release of the letters evokes a number of questions regarding Pope Francis' handling of the matter.

For instance, why did Pope Francis tell Cardinal Burke to "completely resolve" the matter and obtain "necessary rectification" and then side with the culprit who appeared to be receiving his just deserts? He not only sided with the culprit who was responsible for distributing contraception but reinstated him, forcing the man who dealt with the culprit to resign.

Another question is why was Cardinal Burke's rule in the order supplanted after he appeared to do exactly what the Holy Father asked him to do?

The letters do not answer these troubling questions. 

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Sean Hannity: ‘Radical, new, extreme Democratic socialist party’ trying to ‘legalize infanticide’

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By Doug Mainwaring

Editor’s note: The relevant parts of Hannity’s broadcast are from the beginning of the below clip to 8:26, and then from 16:29 to 22:45.

NEW YORK, February 1, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Legislators and governors are demonstrating an “unconscionable, grotesque brutality” as they try to “legalize infanticide,” Fox News host Sean Hannity said in a Wednesday night broadcast.

“These politicians want to make it perfectly okay, seemingly, to ‘terminate’ a baby that could easily survive outside the womb,” he added.

Hannity noted that when Virginia lawmaker Kathy Tran spoke in a hearing about her controversial bill that would allow abortion during birth, even she wasn’t comfortable defending her extreme position.

“This has nothing to do really with abortion,” said Hannity. “This is about an unconscionable, grotesque brutality.”  

“[Virginia] Governor Northam once worked as a pediatric neurologist,” noted Hannity, “and now he’s willing to support a bill that terminates a viable living child in front of him.”

The governor’s words reveal a “radical, new, extreme Democratic socialist party,” asserted the Fox News host.

Tammy Bruce, one of three panelists, concurred with Hannity’s view that Democratic Party leaders now possess extreme views on abortion that do not reflect their constituencies, and depart radically from the views of most Americans.  

“Sixty-one percent of Americans who identify as ‘pro-choice’ agree that [abortion] should be restricted to the first three months,” said Bruce. “Ninety-two percent of GOPers agree with that; 60 percent of Democrats agree; and 70 percent of independents.”

“We are not a polarized electorate. We are not a polarized nation in this regard,” added Bruce, who once was president of the Los Angeles chapter of the National Organization for Women.

“For me, what is horrific, what is certainly brutal and ghoulish is that these kinds of laws posit the notion that women who are about to give birth are willing to kill their children,” said Bruce, “And this is what we’ve got to stand up against.”

“No one wants this,” she declared. “Certain Democrat leadership, we now know, are out of touch with the American people.”

A second panelist, Fox News contributor Sara Carter, said that the video of Gov. Northam shocked the consciences of residents of the state, calling it a “game changer.”  

Cherishing the sanctity of life is central to a free republic, observed the third panelist, “Relatable” podcast host Allie Beth Stuckey. She said she sees the eroding of our views of human life as going hand-in-hand with the growth of socialism.

Because we are, as a nation, increasingly moving toward “denigrating the most vulnerable, the most marginalized, and the most helpless among us, it is no coincidence whatsoever that socialism is becoming more popular, more mainstream,” said Stuckey.

When the size of government and government power are allowed to “grow unfettered” as is favored by many Democrat politicians, the sanctity of human life is sacrificed, she argued.

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Ben Sasse challenges Dems to oppose infanticide of born-alive babies in Senate vote next week

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By Calvin Freiburger

February 1, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Seizing on the national uproar over pro-infanticide comments by Virginia Democrats, Sen. Ben Sasse, R-NE, is calling on the U.S. Senate to pass legislation forcing abortionists to give newborns medical care if they survive attempted abortions.

Video went viral this week from a subcommittee hearing in which Democrat Del. Kathy Tran takes questions about her bill to repeal regulations on late-term abortions. Republican Del. Todd Gilbert asked how late in the third trimester a physician could perform an abortion and whether that includes when the mother “has physical signs that she is about to give birth.”

“I don't think we have a limit in the bill [...] my bill would allow that, yes,” Tran answered. In a radio interview, Virginia’s Democrat Gov. Ralph Northam also discussed the bill, suggesting that a born-alive “infant would be resuscitated if that’s what the mother and the family desired.” He later claimed he was only referring to cases such as a “nonviable pregnancy” or “severe fetal abnormalities.”

Tran’s bill has already been tabled in committee, but the controversy – and the mainstream media’s defensive coverage of it – has sparked a discussion of the extremes to which Democrats and their allies have settled on abortion.

The Born-Alive Infants Protection Act of 2002 already defines infants who survive abortions as “human beings,” “persons,” “individuals,” and “children” with all the rights those terms entail; the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act would specifically require abortionists to get such babies to hospitals and criminalize their deliberate killing after delivery.

Sasse, a Nebraska Republican best known as a critic of President Donald Trump, has reintroduced the latter bill in the current session of Congress, delivering a floor speech Thursday calling on his colleagues to support it.

“We're talking about killing a baby that's been born,” he said. “We're not talking about some euphemism, we're not talking about a clump of cells. We're talking about a little baby girl who’s been born and is on a table in a hospital or a medical facility and then a decision or a debate would be had about whether or not you could kill that little baby. We're talking about the most vulnerable among us and we have a public official in America out there again and again defending a practice. This is infanticide that we're talking about. This should be so far beyond any political consideration. We're talking about a little baby. A baby with dignity. An image bearer.”

“Everyone in the Senate ought to be able to say unequivocally that killing that little baby is wrong. This doesn't take any political courage. And, if you can't say that, if there's a member of this body that can't say that, there may be lots of work you can do in the world but you shouldn't be here,” Sasse argued. “There should be no politics here that are right vs. left, or Republican vs. Democrat. This is the most basic thing you could be talking about.”

The senator announced he was calling for the bill to be considered under unanimous consent next week (under which the bill passes if no senator objects and individual senators’ positions are not recorded), as well as for it to be fast-tracked to a future roll-call vote. Sasse also used unanimous consent to pass a symbolic resolution defending the Knights of Columbus last month.

The bill is unlikely to pass the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives. Democrats unanimously backed the 2002 bill, but by 2015 the party moved left enough that only five House Democrats supported the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, and then-President Barack Obama claimed it would have a “chilling effect” on “access to care.” It also remains to be seen whether Republicans will make an issue of how Democrats respond to the bill beyond the current news cycle and into the 2020 elections.

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Jewish therapist sues New York City for censoring treatment of unwanted gay attraction

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By Calvin Freiburger

February 1, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – An Orthodox Jewish psychotherapist in Brooklyn is suing New York City in federal court over its ban on counseling to treat unwanted homosexual attraction or gender confusion, arguing that the law violates the First Amendment’s guaranteed right to free speech.

Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) is representing Dr. Dovid Schwartz of the Chabad Lubavitch Orthodox Jewish Community in his suit against a 2018 law prohibiting paid services that “seek to change a person’s sexual orientation or seek to change a person’s gender identity to conform to the sex of such individual that was recorded at birth.” First, second, and repeat violations are punished by fines of $1,000, $5,000, or $10,000, respectively.

ADF says Schwartz has served numerous patients who came to him seeking the ability to experience heterosexual attraction in order to have families that conform to their religious beliefs. Schwartz treats them by simply speaking with and listening to them.

“Nearly all of Dr. Schwartz’s patients share his faith, and they value his counsel about issues of sexuality and family in part because his perspective is grounded in their shared Jewish faith and respect for Torah teachings,” ADF legal counsel Jeana Hallock said. “The government has no right to dictate the personal goals an adult pursues with his or her therapist.”

“It is difficult to imagine a more direct violation of freedom of speech protected by the First Amendment than New York City’s attempt to regulate the private sessions between an adult and his counselor,” ADF senior counsel Roger Books declared. “The city council’s regulation is unprecedented and threatens to stand between Dr. Schwartz’s patients and the lives they choose to pursue.”

In an interview with PJ Media, Hallock added that the city council is currently soliciting anonymous complains about the law’s violators. Schwartz “keeps a very, very busy schedule,” she said, often working as late as 11:00 p.m., and has served the community for 40 years.

Attorney Ron Coleman took to Twitter to offer his own analysis of the law, finding its censorship was “unprecedented.”

Defenders of “reparative” or “conversion” therapy bans, such as Zack Ford of the left-wing ThinkProgress, claim that “every major medical organization has condemned the practice as ineffective and harmful.” But many former homosexuals, such as Angel Colon and Drew Berryessa, attest to the treatments’ success in improving their lives. They say they want others currently struggling with unwanted same-sex attraction to have the same options that benefited them.

“While recovering in the hospital, I had time to reflect. I learned about forgiveness. Lord, I choose you,” Colon, a survivor of the Pulse Nightclub shooting, said in June at a rally for ex-homosexuals opposing a failed California ban. “I want others to have the freedom to experience this.”

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Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam
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Virginia Gov. wants to be ‘civil’ discussing infanticide? That’s not going to happen

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By Dr. Michael Brown

February 1, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – For those who question whether abortion is really “baby killing,” the governor of Virginia, Ralph Northam, has left us no doubt. Not only does he advocate the possible killing of a newborn baby, he wants us to be “civil” when discussing it. 

This is reminiscent of Nazi leaders discussing the slaughter of Jewish children, women, and men in icy, dispassionate terms the way an accountant would discuss balancing the books. Such is the face of evil.

Earlier in the week, it was reported that, “During a radio interview on Wednesday morning, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) seemed to endorse killing an infant after it has already been delivered alive (specifically, in the case of a baby surviving an abortion)."

“In the scenario described by Northam, a baby would be born alive and resuscitated if necessary, and then doctors and the mother could ‘have a discussion’ which, based on context, would determine whether or not the child would be killed.

While pro-life advocates view all abortion as infanticide, what Northam described would be infanticide by any definition.”

This, of course, is the deadly and logical progression of the spirit of abortion. 

It is not satisfied with terminating the life of a 12-week-old baby which could not live outside the womb. It is not satisfied with terminating the life of a 32-week-old baby which could live outside the womb. It must also kill the baby outside the womb if the baby somehow managed to survive an abortion.

That’s what the infamous Kermit Gosnell did. Killing babies inside the womb wasn’t enough.

To repeat: This is the deadly and logical progression.

That’s why, in 1995, President Clinton vetoed the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act. Then, 20 years later, in 2015, President Obama promised to veto the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act (HR 3504). 

As stated by Carol Tobias, president of the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC), “President Obama's subservience to the abortion lobby is so complete that he now threatens to use his pen to protect the abortionist who would kill a baby born alive, rather than to protect that helpless baby.”

Getting back to Gov. Northam, after his initial comments drew so much controversy, a reporter asked him, “Some members of your party have said privately that, and maybe one publicly, that your comments yesterday could have been more precise, or they weren't helpful.”

So, he was asked, “Do you think, do you regret what you said yesterday or the way you said it?”

Northam replied without hesitation: “No I don't.”

And then this, which is utterly baffling and completely contrary to the life-saving ethic of the medical profession: “I'm a physician. I'm also the governor.”

He continued, “But when I'm asked questions, a lot of the times it is put in the context of being a physician, again realizing how we approach, how we manage patients, how we offer advice and counseling, so no I don't have any regrets.”

So, he had no regrets about making his barbarous comments about killing a newborn baby. (And remember: The context of those comments was the proposal of a new abortion Virginia law that would have allowed a full-term, pregnant woman who was already dilating to choose to abort the baby even for alleged mental health reasons.)

None of that troubled the governor.

Instead, he said, “But I do find that how my comments, I did answer that question, I regret that those comments have been mischaracterized, the personal insults towards me I really find disgusting.”

No, Gov. Northam. 

It was your comments that were disgusting, sir. It was your beyond-extreme, pro-abortion, baby-killing words that were disgusting. 

And while I regret that some people have responded to your ill-spoken words with ugly words of their own, you, sir, bear the responsibility for making such an evil suggestion.

Or perhaps we should expand the parents’ “discussion” about whether to let any handicapped baby live? Or what about any unwanted baby? Maybe kill that one too?

And yet there’s more.

Gov. Northam ended his response with this: “So again as I said in my comments about this earlier, we can agree to disagree, but let's be civil about it.”

What? Let’s “agree to disagree” about the ethics of infanticide? Let’s “be civil” about terminating the life of a newborn?

With all respect, sir, that is not going to happen. Not as long as there are Americans with a conscience. Not as long as there are Americans with a heart.

We do recognize that abortion can sometimes be an agonizingly difficult choice for a pregnant woman, like a 16-year-old raped by her drunken uncle. While we still say that abortion was the wrong choice, we do not condemn the teen as a moral monster.

In contrast, just as New York’s new abortion law is monstrous and just as the failed Virginia proposal is monstrous, so also the governor’s comments are monstrous – and beyond.

Gov. Northam, we will never “agree to disagree” with you about infanticide. As Vice President Pence wrote, what you’re advocating “is morally reprehensible and evil.”

May the Lord grant you repentance.

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Democratic leaders including Nancy Pelosi address the media after meeting with Republicans to work out a compromise to end the partial government shutdown. Washington, D.C., January 4 2019
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Democrats are now the party of infanticide, and no one can deny it

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By Jonathon Van Maren

February 1, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – The Democrats have overplayed their hand. I’ve never seen such a suicidal strategy on the part of pro-abortion progressives—and it proves that they’re getting genuinely desperate.

For decades, abortion activists and their political allies have wisely attempted to avoid the topic of late-term abortion entirely. Many insisted that partial-birth abortion simply did not exist, strategists warned behind closed doors that defending late-term abortion was a sure way to drive more people into the pro-life camp, and Nancy Pelosi even responded to a question about late-term abortion by ducking, dodging, and then demanding that her questioner be ashamed of himself because the question of killing third trimester infants is apparently “sacred ground” to her.

But then Hillary Clinton, the champion of the abortion industry, lost her bid for the presidency. She did so, it must be added, defending abortion at any stage in pregnancy, sending even reluctant pro-life voters into the Republican fold, but that lesson apparently remains unlearned. Clinton’s loss induced a well-publicized meltdown that continued with the confirmation of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court and reached a crescendo with the collective shriek of rage and fear that met the replacement of Justice Anthony Kennedy with Brett Kavanaugh.

Progressives are now terrified that Roe v. Wade will be overturned and that legal abortion in the United States might be under threat. One abortion activist and journalist, Robin Marty, has already released a Handbook for a Post-Roe America and is warning her ideological allies that Roe’s days are numbered. I’m not so sure about that—we have no idea how Kavanaugh and several other justices would vote on Roe v. Wade, and the pro-life movement has snatched defeat from the jaws of victory several times in the past, when supposedly pro-life justices (Kennedy included) decided to uphold Roe

But the best evidence for the desperation of abortion activists is their decision to whole-heartedly embrace late-term abortion. In New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo lit up landmarks with pink light to celebrate a bill that essentially permitted abortion until birth. In Virginia earlier this week, Democratic delegate Kathy Tran put forward a similar bill, and when questioned by Republican Todd Gilbert, admitted that her bill permitted abortion until forty weeks. Even, Gilbert asked, when “she has physical signs that she is about to give birth? She’s dilating?” There was an awkward silence, and then Tran’s response: “My bill would allow that, yes.” That same day, Tran had submitted a bill to protect caterpillars at certain stages.

Just as the wave of shock and outrage that met the New York late-term abortion bill had begun to recede, the Virginia bill set the debate ablaze once again. When Governor Ralph Northam attempted to defend the bill in an interview, he ended up simply horrifying people even further. “If a mother is in labor,” he stated, “I can tell you exactly what would happen. The infant would be delivered. The infant would be kept comfortable. The infant would be resuscitated, if that’s what the mother and the family desired, and then a discussion would ensue between the physicians and the mother.” In other words, late-term abortion involves killing an infant if the family decides to—and infants born alive could be left to die.

Videos of these exchanges have gone viral, racking up millions of hits. To many people, the agenda of the Democrats has suddenly become crystal clear: They are the party of abortion, regardless of how barbaric the procedure is. Democrat politicians are so afraid of recent pro-life gains and pro-life judicial appointments that they seem willing to stake out this ground, come hell or highwater—and in doing so, they have tipped their hand. They are becoming, as Trump recently tweeted, “the party of late-term abortion.” Trump also spoke for many when he noted that he had seen the defences of late-term abortion and simply found them “terrible,” reminding people of a famous debate moment: “Do you remember when I said Hillary Clinton was willing to rip the baby out of the womb? That’s what it is, that’s what they’re doing, it’s terrible…This is going to lift up the whole pro-life movement like maybe it’s never been lifted up before. The pro-life movement is very much a 50-50, it’s a very 50-50 issue, actually it’s gained a point or two over the years. I think this will very much lift up the issue because people have never thought of it in those terms.”

That is precisely right. Ironically, as the Democrats scramble to protect the abortion industry, their morbid enthusiasm for prenatal infanticide is causing ordinary Americans to recoil in horror. Vice President Mike Pence responded to the late-term abortion bills by penning an editorial for the National Review, noting that these procedures violate “every demand of human decency,” and that in his opinion, the “New York and Virginia bills aren’t some bold departure into a brave new world. They are the last gasp of a dying movement that stands in stark and irreconcilable contrast with our nation’s timeless founding principles.”  

I hope the vice president is correct. I do think that this is a significant moment in the abortion debate, the moment where the Democratic Party abandoned all pretence of caution and threw their lot in with those who demand the right to kill babies right up until the moment of birth, and occasionally even after. Men like Ralph Northam demanded that everybody see him as the compassionate one in the debate, and nobody bought it. Because Cuomo and Tran and Northam were so blunt about what it was that their bills would permit and facilitate, they could not deny that these bills were death warrants for full-term babies. Perhaps they forgot how ugly and extreme that is. If they did, the American people are letting them know, loudly and clearly. 

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Dutch media uses footage of ugly US pro-abortion rally to slam pregnancy center

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By Jonathon Van Maren

February 1, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Nearly every pro-life activist has discovered that when it comes to the mainstream media, we can expect to be lied about. 

There have been dozens of examples: the Covington Catholic School boys, fake hate crimes perpetrated against abortion activists by themselves, and the refusal to cover violence against pro-life activists. In each instance, the media has intentionally attempted to smear pro-lifers, lie to the public, and trump up support for their ideological allies in the abortion wars. 

In fact, in Canada the media has consistently attempted to drum up support for “bubble zones” around abortion clinics in several provinces by publishing claims describing hordes of anti-abortion harassers disturbing the peace—but failed to provide a single example of this harassment. 

In the Netherlands, the pro-life movement has been growing in strength for quite some time, while the Dutch abortion industry has been rocked by scandals and revelations of financial fraud amounting to millions of euros. In response, the media has come to the aid of their friends in the abortion industry, and fallen back on a tactic that pro-lifers in North America have experienced many times: An attempt to use a hidden-camera investigation to “expose” pro-lifers in some fashion. In nearly every instance, the journalists collecting such footage are forced to pretend that the information they have gathered is in some way newsworthy, when in reality these investigations nearly always prove something that everyone already knows: Pro-lifers are opposed to abortion.

I contacted pro-life activist Chris Develing, the communications director for the Dutch pro-life organization Cry for Life, to find details about the smears being faced by pro-lifers in the Netherlands at present. This is our conversation:

LifeSiteNews (LSN): What is the situation in the Netherlands right now?

Chris Develing: We have watchers (sidewalk counselors) in multiple cities who stand outside abortion centers to pray and talk to the women who go inside. On average they save about one child every two weeks, often through our sponsor plan which can provide a woman with financial and/or mental support.

Obviously, the abortion centers and their political affiliates are not happy about the volunteers. So they took a few months to collect anecdotal “evidence” that would incriminate them. In our country the media is predominantly left-leaning, so they were quick to find a TV program called ‘OneToday’ (translated) that would help them out. They sent an actress with a hidden camera to record what our watchers tell these women. They combined that with the anecdotes about the so-called harassment, then attached our name to all of this and used it to call on politicians to set a buffer zone between the centers and our watchers.

LSN: Why is the Dutch pro-life movement being attacked?

Develing: We stand for both the women and their unborn children. Because we care for them, we continuously call for recognition of the dangers and immorality of abortion. We are also advocates for full information for women, so they can make their choice while taking into consideration all risks and alternatives.

The dominant pro-choice side attacks everything we say or do, and this is just a new episode. As in America and Canada, the propaganda in The Netherlands has, for the past 4 decades, led to a long-standing caricature of the pro-life movement. Because of this, we are silenced and alienated by many sides.

LSN: How have the facts been misrepresented?

Develing: The facts were misrepresented in a number of ways. Before broadcast they asked us for a written response to the allegations. This response never made it into the TV report, after which they said our response could be found on their website. And even that wasn’t true for the first few days, until the news was no longer topical. (Segment begins in video below at 18:42)

They also claimed that our watchers have harassed women in a variety of ways--all of which was never substantiated by a police report or other real evidence. Some of their claims, about people banging on car windows and following women into the centers, supposedly happened on locations where our people do not even hold watch.

As stated before, they also took hidden camera footage of our watchers in one location, Utrecht. In the heavily edited footage our volunteers never live up to the legend of “aggressive protesters” as they are labeled in the very same report. We see gentle, Christian people, talking to a young lady about what abortion does and that there are ways they can help her keep the baby. Even the ominous movie score which was edited into the footage couldn’t create their desired outcome.

So they had to be even more creative and boy did they try. They also visited the same watchers with a regular TV crew, asking them for interviews. The watchers obliged and answered them calmly and kindly. One of our volunteers was asked to show the cameraman his booklet. The voice-over then says that he’s showing the camera “highly explicit pictures.” But as is plain for everyone to see, he’s actually showing normal pictures of healthy, living fetuses. In fact, some of them are pictures by the world-famous Swedish photographer Lennart Nilsson.  

As you can imagine, things weren’t working out with the narrative that the center’s visitors were “continuously being harassed by aggressive anti-abortion protesters.” Since they had no footage of anything remotely resembling such a scene, they had the illuminating idea to build their case from a foreign country. The voice-over expressed the center’s concerns that the anti-abortion protesters were becoming “increasingly aggressive” and that this is copied from the American pro-life movement. At this point, footage of an American protest appeared. And indeed, it was a pretty vulgar scene, with lots of blood and screaming--exactly what they needed for the stimulation of their viewer’s outrage. One problem: it was a pro-choice protest by wildly inappropriately-behaving feminists, covered in blood-red paint. Some of their signs said: “Pro-life, that’s a lie!” which proves an important lesson: always read all four words on protester signs.

Of course this blunder, or rather this accidental moment of truth in their report, was more than just a little mistake. I say it accidentally unfolded a web of hypocrisy. Because rectifying the claim that these were pro-life protesters is one thing, but they can’t take back their judgment of that particular method of protesting. The very people they are protecting are now judged by them, by mistake. Of course, hardly anyone noticed the mistake. Even I didn’t spot it until a colleague told me about it. It’s alarming how quickly we trust the pictures that are placed before us. If the reporters tell you they are pro-lifers, we assume they are.

LSN: What does the Dutch pro-life movement actually do?

Develing: I will only speak for our foundation, Schreeuw om Leven (Scream for Life). Basically, we challenge the pro-choice culture in all areas. We provide a helpline for women who are thinking about abortion and need help. We can provide them with financial and or mental support in hopes of taking away any reason they may have to choose abortion. Our helpline team invites women to our pregnancy center for counseling, but we also help them by communicating over the telephone and e-mail. In the advocacy department we try to be involved in the public debate on abortion. Six times a year we create our own magazine (about 26,000 subscribers), containing lots of testimonies of people who have suffered from abortion or who decided to keep their baby, sometimes with our help. The fact that we have these results are a clear testimony to the fact that our government is not succeeding in getting to the bottom of what women need. If they did, we wouldn’t have a job. So we try to speak to politicians when we can in order to stimulate them to spread our pro-women, pro-unborn, pro-life message.

LSN: What do people need to know about this story?

People need to know that the Dutch media is often influenced by organized feminism and Humanism, who find the Dutch abortion laws way too restrictive. Even though it’s the most “progressive” abortion law in Europe, since almost all countries that allow abortion do so up to 12 weeks. In our country this limit is placed at 24 weeks.

This latest attack by the media is just another episode in which we were not heard as the accused party in this extremely one-sided and unfounded range of claims about our organization. No mention was made of the babies we save or the women we help. At the same time, they found no evidence for their claims, so they created an atmosphere of indictment in order to sway public opinion once more. Their short-term goal: get buffer zones between our watchers (who they persistently call demonstrators) and the abortion centers.

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