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Phelim McAleer and Ann McElhinney, producers of Gosnell, speak at the Rose Dinner at the Canadian March for Life in Ottawa on May 9, 2019. Courtesy of Campaign Life Coalition
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Truth of abortion ‘ugly and barbaric,’ Gosnell producers tell March for Life

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By Lianne Laurence

OTTAWA, May 9, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — The producers of Gosnell: The Trial of America’s Biggest Serial Killer told Canada’s March for Life they made the movie to capture on film an abortionist’s sworn testimony of what really happens in an abortion.

“We had to tell this story,” Ann McElhinney told the crowd of some 5,000 gathered on Parliament Hill on a cold, windy Thursday for the 22nd annual March for Life, which marked 50 years of legal abortion in Canada.

There have been 4 million babies aborted in Canada since abortion was legalized in 1969, and there are now roughly 100,000 abortions every year.

McElhinney’s husband Phelim McAleer described how he stumbled on the horrifying tale of Kermit Gosnell when, compelled by a journalist’s curiosity and on a day off from promoting his pro-fracking documentary FrackNation, he attended a trial in Philadelphia about a “crazy doctor.”

Abortionist Gosnell had been charged with multiple counts of homicide for snipping the spinal cords of babies who survived abortion — something he reportedly did hundreds of times in 30 years at his filthy, blood-spattered abortion facility, while officials and media looked the other way.

Gosnell, now 78, was ultimately convicted of three counts of homicide for the deaths of three babies, and one of involuntary manslaughter for the death of mother Karnamaya Mongar. He is now serving a life sentence with no possibility of parole.

McAleer walked into the trial as a witness was giving evidence, and there were massive photographs of Gosnell’s victims on the courtroom walls, he told the crowd.

“I’d never heard evidence like it in my life,” he said. “I’d never seen such photographs of that in my life. But the most shocking thing was behind me, was the row after row of empty press benches.”

He returned to California convinced he had to take this on as his next project, but McElhinney and their business partner, Magdalena Segieda, wanted nothing to do with abortion.

That changed when they read the transcripts of testimonies from the day McAleer attended the trial.

Those transcripts are what’s “amazing about this story,” McElhinney told the crowd.

“We have the abortion doctor, the legal abortion doctor Karen Feisullin, who gave evidence under oath about how they do it when they do it well,” she said. “And no one can hear that and be the same.”

Feisullin testified how babies are aborted up to 23 weeks and six days gestation, which, according to AbortionDocs.com, is the legal limit for abortion in Pennsylvania.

“They asked her on the stand, what happens then? Do you pull out an arm and a leg? Yeah, that’s what you do. They asked her that. She’s not a pro-life activist, believe me, and that’s how she described it: you suction out the brains, that’s how the head comes out,” the filmmaker said, her voice intense with emotion.

“It’s the only reason we made the movie, was that that testimony would be in a movie and people would have to watch it, and anyone that watched it and said it was propaganda is a liar,” McElhinney said.

“It’s a lie, because the truth is ugly and barbaric.”

Feisullin also testified under oath that when a baby survives abortion, “we keep it comfortable, we apply comfort care, eventually it will pass,” she said.

“Good translation: neglect the baby to death.”

A policeman who questioned an abortionist who did not take the stand in connection with the Gosnell case repeatedly asked her what happened to babies born alive after an abortion.

The abortionist insisted this never happened, but when the policeman “kept pushing, she started crying. She said, ‘I never thought of it,’ and you know more than she does, because it happens,” McElhinney said.

“And we all know it happens now because of Governor [Ralph] Northam in West Virginia [sic: Northam is the governor of Virginia –ed.], who told us what happens when a baby is born alive.”

Northam told a radio station in January that if a woman who wanted an abortion was already in labour, “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 was defending the recent New York bill that allows abortion up until birth.

“This why the media don’t cover abortion,” McElhinney said.

“Because when people find out, decent people don’t like it. Never let them shut you up.”

As well as addressing the rally before Thursday’s March for Life, the two producers of Gosnell are speakers at the Rose banquet.

Canada’s largest annual pro-life event, the March for Life organized by Campaign Life Coalition, Canada’s national pro-life, pro-family political lobbying group.

Other speakers at the March include Abby Johnson, author of Unplanned, Steve Karlen of 40 Days for Life, Cardinal Thomas Collins of Toronto, Angelina Steenstra of Silent No More, M.P. David Anderson, and Shalyn McGuin of Save the 1.

The March for Life continues tomorrow with an all-day youth conference.

This article has been updated.

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Democrat presidential candidate Cory Booker calls abortion ‘health care’

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By Martin Barillas

WASHINGTON, D.C., May 9, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Democrat U.S. Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey defended infanticide when he affirmed that Georgia’s recently passed heartbeat bill is an assault on women while also saying “abortion is healthcare.”

Republican Gov. Brian Kemp of Georgia signed the “heartbeat bill” into law Tuesday that bans abortion for babies after six weeks’ gestation, prompting Booker to proclaim his support for abortion.

Booker tweeted Wednesday, “Georgia’s ‘fetal heartbeat’ law is an all-out-attack on women that will strip them of rights before many even know they are pregnant.” He added, “I will fight to protect Roe v. Wade—abortion is health care.”

The tweet included a short video that featured Booker speaking to fans at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas. He tells young Democrats in the video, “I believe very strongly in Roe v. Wade as the law of the land. I believe that we should actually codify it in law through the legislature so nobody, no matter who you appoint to the judiciary branch of government, can ever overturn it.”

Moreover, Booker, who has received political contributions from Planned Parenthood, asserted that women control their own bodies. He told his listeners in Nevada, “I will fight to protect a woman’s right to make her own medical decisions. I will fight to make sure that a woman’s body is under the purview of that woman and not a bunch of politicians in Washington or in a state capitol.”

Georgia is the fourth state to pass a heartbeat bill this year that prohibits abortion once an unborn baby heartbeat can be detected. The bills were based on model legislation drafted by Faith2Action. According to the group’s website, “While not the beginning of life, the heartbeat is the universally recognized indicator of life.”

When a woman asks for an abortion, according to the model legislation, physicians are required to use standard medical practice to determine whether the baby has a beating heart. If so, the physician is prohibited from committing an abortion, unless the mother’s life is at stake or “to prevent a serious risk of the substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function.”

According to Faith2Action, in a reference to exceptions for rape or incest, “No other law allows for the killing of an innocent child for the crime of his or her father.”

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UK parents concerned about LGBT school lessons face dogged resistance from authorities

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By Martin Barillas

BIRMINGHAM, England, May 9, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — A mediator has been designated to negotiate between the Birmingham city council and parents concerned about their children in a debate over a controversial LGBTQ curriculum.

Nazir Afzal, an experienced attorney and former lead on child sexual abuse for the Crown Prosecution Service, has been asked by the Birmingham city council and parents to guide them to a resolution on a volatile dispute over the controversial “No Outsiders” program that parents assert promotes the LGBTQ agenda.

After weekly protests over the lessons at Parkfield Community School in the Saltley neighborhood in Birmingham, the curriculum was suspended until a resolution can be reached. The lessons have also been temporarily suspended at four schools operated by the Leigh Trust in Birmingham.

Afzal confirmed that he has spoken with parents of Birmingham students, tweeting May 5: “I can confirm that the city council and parents have asked me to mediate in this matter. I don’t want payment. I don’t propose to give a running commentary. I would prefer if nobody did so that we can try and make progress for the children at the heart of this.” Afzal is Muslim, as are many of the concerned parents in Birmingham.

The former prosecutor may also become controversial after it was revealed that in April he said that students “don’t become gay because they learn about the fact there are gay people,” and affirmed that pulling the LGBTQ curriculum was “scandalous.” After a conference in Bradford on the sexual exploitation of children, Afzal said cancelling the LGBTQ lessons does children “no service at all and no good at all” and school environments should be used “as somewhere they can learn things that they wouldn’t learn anywhere else.”

Claiming that failure to teach kids about sex could lead to grooming by sex traffickers, Afzal said, “Today I’ve been talking about how British Pakistani men are disproportionately involved in some of the street grooming.” He said this was because they had no “relationship education” in the younger years. “Our families, sadly, are averse to allowing their children to understand relationship education. And relationship education is a real way of protecting them in future.”

One concerned parent, 32-year-old Shakeel Afsar, was warned by police that he may face sanctions after faculty at a school in Birmingham claimed they were intimidated by him. Afsar had protested outside a primary school for more than a month, joining others in chants of “Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve,” and “Our kids, our choice.” Protesters have demanded the resignation of Sarah Hewitt-Clarkson, head teacher of Anderton Park primary school, which offers LGBTQ curriculum and books.

Teacher Andrew Moffat, who started the “No Outsiders” lessons at Parkfield Community School in Birmingham, will lead the annual gay pride march in the city. According to the BBC, Moffat is “overjoyed” by the invitation to lead the parade on May 25.

“The message I want to give is that it's not a case of Muslims versus LGBT or different cultures not getting along," he said. "The great thing about Birmingham is its diversity and that we can all get along."

Protests against the lessons are spreading, but Birmingham city council claims that the lessons "present a threat to the innocence of children are unfounded and misinformed."

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Eleven-year-old ‘Drag Kid’ now a spokeschild for Converse shoes

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By Dorothy Cummings McLean

BOSTON, Massachusetts, May 9, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) ― An 11-year-old drag performer known as Desmond-is-Amazing is now a model for a shoe company.

The Converse footwear company, once known for its fashionable high top basketball shoes, has announced a new “partnership” with Desmond Napoles and five other  “individuals connected with the LGBTQ+ community” to market its new “Pride collection.”

The announcement accompanied a photograph of Desmond dressed in a colorful shoulder-baring outfit and heavy makeup, posing suggestively before the five other models, including a man dressed as a woman and two women dressed as boys.

Publishing the news on Twitter, Converse said, “We're happy to launch our Pride Collection, partnering with six individuals connected to the LGBTQ+ community who show the power of expressing one's true self. Contributions are supporting @[email protected] & @FenwayHealth.

“It Gets Better” and “Out Metro West” are LBGT charities, and “Fenway Health” is a Boston medical organization specializing in the health of people with same-sex attractions and HIV/AIDS research. Converse is a Boston company, owned by Nike.

Many Twitter reactions to the announcement focused on the exploitation of 11-year-old Desmond, which some commentators linked to the exploitation of workers in Nike sweatshops.  

“Now that's true equality: child abuse in the USA to match the child abuse in foreign Converse sweatshops. Nothing or no-one should stand in the way of corporate greed,” tweeted Down children advocate Renate Lindeman and linked to an Oxfam article about abuse of workers in a Converse factory in Indonesia.

“Congrats on enabling child abuse here in America to go along with the children making your crummy shoes in sweatshops overseas,” tweeted John Hawkins.

Tamara Pfanstiel tweeted: “What they are doing to that child is abuse. Children aren’t supposed to be ‘sexy.’ That disgusting. Get a grip.”

Some LGBT advocates were disgusted that Converse was trying to appeal to buyers though the use of children.

“It's really painful trying to advocate for LGBT positivity when you see ACTUAL child sexualization lumped into it like a tumor. Whatever clueless executive signed off on this should be ashamed,” tweeted an individual called “F***ING FINALS RGC”.

Another Tweeter posted a video of Desmond pretending to snort club drug ketamine during a video appearance with an adult female impersonator or “drag queen.”

Desmond has been at the center of a controversy concerning his public appearances as a child drag performer. He first attracted public attention when he was filmed at age 10 onstage at RuPaul’s DragCon 2017. The famous host referred to the boy as “this gorgeous little queen.” The child subsequently appeared on Good Morning America and accepted engagements dancing in gay bars. He was filmed dancing in both New York and San Francisco as men threw money at him.

Desmond also appeared on a YouTube talk show hosted by Michael Alig, a 1990s New York dance club personality who spent almost 17 years in prison for manslaughter after the violent death and dismemberment of a drug dealer named Andre Melendez.

Public outcry has led to multiple complaints to several state social welfare departments against Desmond’s parents, Wendy and Andrew Napoles. However, Wendy Napoles recently stated on social media that she and her husband have been cleared of any neglect or wrongdoing and posted letters on Instagram from welfare agencies attesting to this. She has also stated that she and her husband do not profit from Desmond’s performances.

Desmond, who has autism, has stated that he is a homosexual.

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Protesters cry racism, joke about abortions at Texas Students for Life display

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By Calvin Freiburger

SAN ANTONIO, May 9, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — A Students for Life (SFL) display meant to memorialize the victims of abortion was met with contempt and irreverence from pro-abortion activists at the University of Texas–San Antonio, complete with crass jokes about aborted babies and ad hominem attacks on the motives of pro-life students.

Like many campus pro-life groups participating in the Spring 2019 Planned Parenthood Truth Tour, SFL’s chapter at San Antonio has a Cemetery of the Innocents display on the grounds, comprising pink crosses meant to denote 911 innocent lives lost to abortion. On May 1, SFL revealed the details of an April 9 incident in which members of the group Students United for Planned Parenthood (SUPP) vocally disrupted observation of the memorial.

“Some of the members approached us, but would not dialogue. They just wanted to shout their points at us,” wrote Sarah Zarr, SFL’s Texas regional coordinator. “One girl told me I was using my ‘white privilege’ and ‘wasn’t allowed to be out there talking about this issue when it affects black women.’ A few members did speak with us, but when they couldn’t think of a response to what we said, would get mad and walk off.”

Later on, a group returned to stand in the middle of the display bearing “I Stand With Planned Parenthood” signs. “A girl ran out into the grass yelling ‘I’ve had an abortion,’” Zarr wrote,” while others launched chants such as “Hey, stop, what’s that sound, all the fetuses are in the ground.”

The College Fix has more details about how the pro-abortion protesters conducted themselves, including additional chants such as “when I say abortion, you say fetuses!” and sarcastically pointing to specific crosses and declaring, “That one’s mine.”

“I’m just so slutty, I got pregnant so I had to get an abortion,” one activist yelled, while another declared, “I had an abortion” and “I’m super proud of it.” Others reportedly said they “find it kinky to abort fetuses” and asked, “What if we p--- in the fetus graveyard?”

“One of our main goals I strive for is to create dialogue with the student body to bring awareness and to create conversation about the reality of human life and of abortion,” said Melanie Salazar, president of SFL’s chapter at U.T.–San Antonio. “I truly believe that we are not going to change legislation until we change hearts and minds, and we will do this by simply having conversations. I am thankful for the freedom of speech to have events like this one at our campus. I believe that empowered women empower women to choose life for their preborn child and our pro-life club wants to create a culture of life that removes fear from women in unplanned pregnancies and instead leads them to resources and opportunities.”

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Democrat 2020 contender repeats bogus claim that Planned Parenthood does mammograms

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By Calvin Freiburger

May 9, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, one of the dozen Democrats running for the party’s nomination for president, revived a long discredited talking point about Planned Parenthood Wednesday, falsely claiming that the abortion giant offers mammogram services that would be imperiled if Congress defunds it.

“In their lifetime, one in five women go” to Planned Parenthood, Klobuchar said at a Fox News town hall event, the Washington Times reports. “And most of them are going there for contraception, birth control, they’re going there for mammograms, they’re going there for cancer screenings, and yet over and over again, this president has tried to cut that funding for Planned Parenthood.”

Planned Parenthood does not actually provide mammograms, but only offers standard breast exams that women can perform themselves and referrals to get mammograms elsewhere. Even mainstream fact-checkers such as the Washington Post have been setting the record straight ever since former President Barack Obama claimed in 2012 that Planned Parenthood offers mammograms.

Pro-life groups such as And Then There Were None and Live Action have helped expose the truth by organizing and recording phone calls to various Planned Parenthood locations by women attempting to schedule appointments for mammograms, demonstrating that Planned Parenthood could not meet their requests.

Nevertheless, various pro-abortion politicians and activists have continued to make the claim ever since. Former Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards admitted to Congress in 2015 that “we do not have mammogram machines at our health centers” (while falsely denying that she had ever suggested otherwise).

The difference between rhetoric and reality on Planned Parenthood mammograms is consistent with the broader subject of the abortion giant’s other health services. Planned Parenthood’s annual abortions rose almost 11% from fiscal years 2006 to 2016, while during that same period breast cancer screenings declined 62%, pap tests declined 72%, and prenatal care declined 30%.

During the town hall, Klobuchar also suggested she is open to “limits there in the third trimester” with exceptions for “health of the woman,” but “overall, what we want to do is make sure women have the right...to make their own decisions.” But Minnesota pro-lifers warn that she is as uncompromising on abortion as the rest of the Democrat field.

“Klobuchar has never voted for a pro-life bill or for a restriction on abortion, no matter how modest,” Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life (MCCL) writes, noting she has voted for taxpayer funding of abortion and late-term abortion. “Klobuchar also co-sponsored sweeping legislation that would have invalidated nearly all limits on abortion, at any stage of pregnancy.” In February, she voted along with the vast majority of her fellow Democrats against a bill that would have required that newborns who survive abortions be cared for and transferred to hospitals.

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Vote on Alabama abortion ban delayed for a week amid fighting over rape, incest exceptions

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By Calvin Freiburger

MONTGOMERY, Alabama, May 9, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Action on an Alabama bill to criminalize the vast majority of abortions was delayed Thursday amid a bitter dispute over a proposed amendment that would have added exceptions for aborting babies conceived in rape or incest.

The Alabama Human Life Protection Act bans abortion for any reason other than to “avert (a mother’s) death or to avert serious risk of substantial physical impairment of a major bodily function” (mental or emotional health would not qualify). Performing an abortion would become a Class C felony, punishing abortionists with up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000.

“With liberal states like New York rushing to approve radical late-term and post-birth abortions, passage of this bill will reflect the conservative beliefs, principles, and desires of the citizens of Alabama while, at the same time, providing a vehicle to revisit the constitutionally flawed Roe v. Wade decision,” Republican state Rep. Terri Collins, the bill’s sponsor, has declared.

The Alabama House voted 74-3 to pass the bill last week, with Democrats trying and failing to add rape and incest exceptions to the bill. Republicans control the state Senate as well, but the bill’s prospects were more uncertain there due to Republican Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh saying he has “a little bit of a problem” with pro-life bills that lack exceptions.

The state Senate Judiciary Committee voted 7-2 Wednesday to advance the bill to the Senate floor, AL.com reported, but did so with an amendment by Republican state Sen. Tom Whatley to exempt abortions sought due to rape or incest. Whatley said he didn’t believe the bill could pass without exceptions.

“To accept another amendment that weakens the argument, or diverts the message of the argument, which is the baby in the womb is a person, dilutes the whole message,” Collins warned.

The next day, Republican state Sen. Clyde Chambliss moved to table the amendment, the Montgomery Advertiser reported. Democrats pushed for a roll-call vote on it, but the tabling was quickly sustained by Republican Lt. Gov. Will Ainsworth. Democrat Senate Minority Leader Bobby Singleton, who shouted objections as Ainsworth attempted to gavel the chamber back to order:

Republican Senate Judiciary Committee chair Cam Ward also threatened to filibuster until a vote was held on the amendments, declaring he was “not going to move (from) here until we get a fair process."

AL.com added that Ainsworth defended himself by arguing that Chambliss’ motion to table the amendment was not debatable under Senate rules, and that a roll-call vote was only required if three or more senators requested one. “There was a motion made to table," he said. "It’s not debatable. There was not three hands raised. So, we’re moving on.”

Marsh later moved to delay a vote on the bill until next week. “We can come back in here on Tuesday and have extended debate and make that final decision," he said. “Let people go home, talk to their constituents and come back. And quite honestly, next Tuesday when we come back, everybody has the ability to offer amendments at that time, could offer the same amendment that was just stripped off.”

Despite supporting the amendment, Marsh agreed that Ainsworth acted properly. “I think that people maybe had their guard down a little bit, maybe didn’t expect a voice vote,” he said. “But he has every right to do that and that’s what he did and that’s what happened.”

Measures like the Alabama bill and the various heartbeat abortion bans introduced or enacted over the past year are part of a broader strategy by state pro-lifers to openly defy Roe’s “viability” cutoff for abortion laws, hopefully forcing the U.S. Supreme Court to review the 1973 ruling and finally restore voters’ freedom to fully decide abortion laws for themselves. Collins argues that keeping her bill without exceptions would provide a clearer challenge to Roe.

The legislative debate over the Alabama Human Life Protection Act is also the backdrop against which Democrat state Rep. John Rogers rose to national prominence for defending abortion on the grounds that “some kids are unwanted, so you kill 'em now or kill 'em later.” Earlier this week he announced a primary challenge to Democrat U.S. Sen. Doug Jones.

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Cardinal Burke at the Rome Life Forum in Rome, May 18, 2018. Steve Jalsevac / LifeSiteNews
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Rome’s top pro-life, pro-family conference is 1 week away, and you can join

LifeSiteNews staff
By LifeSiteNews staff

ROME, Italy, May 9, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Rome’s premier pro-life and pro-family conference is being held next Thursday, May 16 and Friday, May 17.

This year’s Rome Life Forum will feature four Cardinals, including two signatories of the dubia, as well as the top pro-life, pro-family Catholic leaders from around the world.

Learn how you can watch the Rome Life Forum live online by clicking here.

The conference will be followed by the Rome March for Life Saturday, May 18.

2019 marks the sixth annual Rome Life Forum, which is sponsored by Voice of the Family. The theme for this year’s conference is: “City of God vs. City of Man – Global One World Order vs. Christendom.” Co-sponsors for the conference include Associazione Famiglia Domani (Italy), Family Life International New Zealand, LifeSiteNews, and the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (UK). Click here for a full schedule of events.

The 2019 conference comes at a tumultuous time not just in the Catholic Church but in the world. Populist and nationalist movements are rising up to oppose state multiculturalism and the liberal world order. During his pontificate, Pope Francis has welcomed radical environmentalists and population control activists to the Vatican. He has also called on nations to “build bridges and not walls.” This has left some Catholics wondering if he is now the face of the global left.

Learn how you can watch the Rome Life Forum live online by clicking here.

Below is the full schedule of events at this year’s conference. For LifeSite’s coverage of previous Rome Life Forum conferences, click the following: 2018, 2017, 2016, 20152014. 

If you are interested in live streaming the 2019 Rome Life Forum, click here to learn more. LifeSite will be on the ground reporting from the conference, which is being held at Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas near the Vatican.

Thursday, May 16 (All times Rome)

10:10 am — Fr. Wojciech Giertych O.P. (Angelicum): Opening remarks

10:20 am — His Excellency Willem Jacobus Cardinal Eijk (the Netherlands): Gender theory: a threat to the family and the proclamation of the Christian faith (In Italian)

11:10 am — Professor Roberto de Mattei (Lepanto Foundation, Italy): Mysterium iniquitatis: from one world order to global chaos (In Italian)

1:00pm — John-Henry Westen (LifeSiteNews, Canada): Finding hope in the midst of the revolution (In English)

3:30pm — Bishop Athanasius Schneider: The hopelessness of the city of man without God (video address in English)

4:00 pm — Anthony Murphy (Catholic Voice, Ireland): On faith, life and the family in Ireland — example from the west (In English)

4:45 pm — Steve Mosher (Population Research Institute, USA): On faith, life and the family in China — example from the east (In English)

Thursday, May 16 (All times Rome)

10:00 am — Fr. Kevin O’Reilly OP (Angelicum, Italy): Sacrificate sacrificium iustitiae: the transformation wrought by the cross of Christ (In English)

10:50 am — Dr. Alan Fimister (UK/USA): No abiding city - the challenge of St Augustine (In English)

12:15 pm — Fr. Linus Clovis (Family Life International NZ): The reign of Mary – mirror of the City of God

3:30pm — His Excellency Janis Cardinal Pujats: On topical questions for the family and for the society (Video address)

3:45pm — His Excellency Walter Cardinal Brandmüller: Prehistory of Humanae Vitae (In Italian)

4:15pm — His Excellency Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke: Filial piety and national patriotism as essential virtues of citizens of heaven at work on earth (In English)

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Exorcist on Etsy scandal: Sale of Communion hosts is increasingly common

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By Dorothy Cummings McLean
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COLORADO, May 9, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) ― Catholics have responded with horror to the news that nine allegedly consecrated hosts were offered for sale on the Etsy e-commerce website this week. Today a well-known American priest revealed that such outrages are common.

Fr. Chad Ripperger, an expert in spiritual warfare and exorcism, told LifeSiteNews that the theft and sale of the Blessed Sacrament is a form of simony--the sin of buying or selling sacred things--that is common today.

“Exorcists are often aware of the fact that the Eucharist is regularly stolen from churches, that some priests are actually involved in Satanism and provide the Hosts, etc,” Ripperger said by email.  

“The fact that they are being sold online is a form of simony which is extraordinarily common today as many people are selling sacred and religious items on the Internet on eBay and the like,” he continued.  

“This is happening even among non-Satanists and even Catholics who consider themselves in good standing even though they’re selling certain items which the church has always said is sacrilegious.”

The exorcist added that as Satanism is allowed to flourish, Catholics have to be prepared for the fact that these sacrileges are going to happen more often. There are five different ways in which Satanists obtain the Blessed Sacrament.

“Many of them are simply due to the fact that people who are responsible for the sacred mysteries are derelict in their protection of the Eucharist,” Ripperger said.  

Although naturally horrified by the the grave offense to God, Catholics will be comforted by the knowledge that Christ cannot be hurt by the profanation of the Eucharist.

“According to the theologians, Doctors of the Church and saints, in the Eucharist we only act upon the accidents of the Bread and not on the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of our Lord,” Ripperger explained.

“Therefore, He does not suffer when something physically happens to the accidents of the Bread,” the priest continued.

“Obviously He is offended because the accidents of the Bread ... are coterminous with His Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity.”

Ripperger believes that the way to stop the sale of the of the Eucharist is to “cut off the supply.” This can be done by changing certain practises in the Church that make consecrated Hosts easy to obtain and by educating Catholics “on the necessity of our obligation to protect the Eucharist as well as fighting the advancement of Satanism within our culture,” he said.

The nine wafers offered for sale on Etsy as “Real Catholic Hosts, consecrated by a priest” in Germany were sold yesterday for $11.58. The vendor told LifeSiteNews’ original source that he had obtained the items from a church and that he couldn’t “risk anyone exposing [his] priest.” The vendor, who identified himself only with the initials AL and the name of his business, Pentagora, told LifeSiteNews that there are “a handful of priests in Germany who work in the Satanic underground.”   

In 2005, online retailer eBay cancelled the listing of a consecrated Host after Catholics protested.

LifeSiteNews attempted to reach out to Etsy again, in particular to find out how readers can ask Etsy not to sell sacred objects. A representative for Etsy hung up the phone.

To ask Etsy to ban the sale of consecrated Hosts and other sacred items, like relics, please contact:

Etsy Support Hotline: 1-844-659-3879 or 1-844-387-9910
Etsy Customer Service: 800-328-5933, email: [email protected]

Etsy Corporate CEO Josh Silverman
55 Washington Street, Suite 512
Brooklyn, NY 11201
Twitter: @jgsilverman

RELATED: For sale on Etsy: nine ‘consecrated’ communion hosts ‘for abuse’

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Colorado STEM School shooting suspect Devon Erickson. YouTube screenshot
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Colorado shooting suspects are gender-confused girl and boy who hated Christians, Trump

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By Calvin Freiburger

HIGHLANDS RANCH, Colorado, May 9, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – One of the teenagers accused of perpetrating Tuesday’s shooting at a public charter school outside Denver is a gender-confused girl while the other has a history of anti-Trump and anti-Christian social media postings, according to news reports that continue to surface about the developing story.

The shooting took place at STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, & Math) School Highlands Ranch and left one student dead and eight injured, NPR reports. "This is something that no one wants to have happen in their community," Douglas County Sheriff Tony Spurlock said. "Two individuals walked into the STEM school, got deep inside the school and engaged students in two separate locations."

The school teaches students from kindergarten all the way through 12th grade, but all the victims were 15 or older. The shooters were stopped by 18-year-old Brendan Bialy, a U.S. Marine Corps recruit, and 18-year-old Kendrick Castillo, who gave his life to tackle one of the shooters.

The suspects have been identified as 16-year-old Maya McKinney and 18-year-old Devon Erickson, two STEM students who were reportedly friends. McKinney was “in the midst of transitioning from female to male,” Denver7 reports, and her attorney requested in court Wednesday that she be referred to with male pronouns and the first name “Alec.” Heavy identifies a tweet in which McKinney alleges that her mother “hates the new alec” [sic].

Heavy also reports that Erickson is a registered Democrat who wrote on Facebook that he “hates” Christians for their stance on homosexuality, and shared content critical of President Donald Trump and supportive of former President Barack Obama.

“You know what I hate?” Erickson asked in one post. “All these Christians who hate gays, yet in the bible, it says in Deuteronomy 17:12-13, if someone doesn’t do what their priest tells them to do, they are supposed to die. It has plenty of crazy stuff like that. But all they get out of it is ‘ewwwwww gays.’”

“Devon did not do what he did because he’s liberal or to make a statement. He did it due to internal struggles,” a student who allegedly knew both suspects wrote on Instagram. “They’re both struggling with mental health issues and this is a time for awareness. Alec did not do this because he’s trans, but had people supported him in the way he needed and deserved, he would not have struggled so much that he got pushed over the edge.”

But while politics or gender issues may not have motivated the alleged shooters, it may be a factor in why the mainstream press was slower to spread details about the story than they are for most mass shootings.

“There are millions of gay and transgender individuals in our country who don't violently attack people for their opinions. But the suspect's ideological and theological opinions certainly seem newsworthy,” Houston radio host Ken Webster Jr. wrote. “If these two young men were conservative Trump-supporting Christians, you can most definitely bet that information would qualify as a front page headline for the NYTimes, the Wash-Post and CNN [...] Talking heads won't talk about who these young men really were because it doesn't support their agenda against right-wing extremism.”

Listen to an interview with Walt Heyer, a former "transgender woman," who has since de-transitioned and is living his life according to his biological sex. Heyer has dedicated his life to raising the alarm about the inherent dangers of transgender ideology, as well as treating those, like himself, who have come to regret their sex change. Heyer was interviewed on The Van Maren Show, LifeSite's new weekly podcast. To subscribe to The Van Maren Show, or to listen to other episodes, click here.

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Emily Kreps

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Philadelphia Planned Parenthood has failed majority of state inspections

Emily Kreps
By Emily Kreps

May 9, 2019 (PAFamily.org) — You may have seen the video going around of State Rep. Brian Sims (D-Philadelphia) harassing and mocking a woman praying outside of a Planned Parenthood abortion clinic in Philadelphia. This is shameful behavior, especially by a current lawmaker.

But did you know this is the largest abortion clinic for Planned Parenthood in Pennsylvania? And they have a shameful health and safety record with the state, with no repercussions.

The Locust Street Surgical Center (Philadelphia), has failed 13 of its last 23 patient safety inspections.

Below is a summary of the failings in each of the thirteen failed inspections, which include failing to report child sex abuse, improper storage of aborted babies, failure to report a serious incident to a patient and no background checks on employees. (Source: PA Department of Health)

Even with these failures, there is no indication that this location was ever fined, penalized or forced to closed until the failures have been remedied.

State Licensure Survey – September 11, 2018 – FAILED

  • Out of compliance with state regulations, they failed to provide written notification to a patient affected by a serious event within seven days of the occurrence of the event.
  • Their governing body failed to ensure the Medical Director's delineation of privileges was approved and granted by someone other than the Medical Director.

Unannounced Onsite Revisit Survey – June 7, 2018 – FAILED

  • They failed to correct deficient practice and failed to follow the Plan of Correction submitted to, and accepted by, the Department of a full State Licensure survey conducted on October 24–25, 2017.

Full State Licensure Survey – October 24–25, 2017 – FAILED

  • They failed to have an ambulatory surgical facility specific Patient Safety Committee.
  • They failed to adopt governing body bylaws that were applicable to the surgery center, that described the authority to the person in charge and t the medical staff, and that required the governing body to review and approve the bylaws of the medical staff.
  • They failed to request and consider reports from the National Practitioner Data Bank on each practitioner who requests privileges.
  • They failed to ensure policies and procedures were developed for the supervision of Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNA) and failed to ensure privileges were approved for the supervision of CRNAs.
  • They failed to ensure the Locust Street Center Manager or the Assistant Center Manager or other facility staff were assigned to attend the Risk & Quality Management Meetings.
  • They failed to ensure Nursing Policies and Procedures were established for the facility.

Annual Registration Survey – September 1, 2016 – FAILED

  • They failed to determine a physical status on all patients before anesthesia or surgery.

Annual Registration Survey – August 20, 2015 – FAILED

  • They failed to provide a safe and sanitary environment.
  • The lab refrigerator / freezer had a buildup of ice within the refrigerator / freezer.
  • Failed to properly store gauze sponges. Failed to properly sterilize surgical instruments, wraps, pouches, and metal containers.
  • The recovery area revealed multiple darkened stained areas on the carpeted floor. The cushion of a patient bench had multiple darkened stains.

Special Monitoring Survey – August 13, 2015 – FAILED

  • They failed to properly store human pathological waste.
  • An environmental services closet containing used biohazard containers was not locked and appeared that the locking mechanism was not working properly in order to prevent unauthorized access to biohazardous materials.
  • An unlocked biohazard storage freezer located on a countertop revealed a heavy accumulation of ice and frost build up and several freezer bags containing red biohazard bags. The red biohazard bags contained "products of conception" — aborted babies. Two of the red biohazard bags were undated.

Full State Licensure Survey – August 29, 2013 – FAILED

PPSP Surgical Locust Street Health Center was not in compliance with The Pennsylvania Crimes Code and the Child Protective Service Law.

  • Sexual intercourse with a child less than 13 years of age is always a crime without regard to the age or relationship of the offender, and without regard to the "consent" of the child. Under Pennsylvania law, a child less than 13 years of age is incapable of consent to sexual intercourse.
  • Sexual intercourse with a child less than 16 years of age is a crime if the offender is four or more years older than the child, and the child and offender are not married to each other. Under Pennsylvania law, an unmarried individual less than 16 years of age is incapable of consent to sexual intercourse with a person who is four or more years older.
  • Accordingly, under all circumstances, any child less than 13 years of age who is pregnant, or who is found to have a sexually-transmitted disease or condition, is a child "upon whom injuries have been inflicted in violation of [a] penal law of this Commonwealth." So is any child less than 16 years of age if the person who caused the pregnancy, or who caused the child to have a sexually-transmitted disease or condition, is four or more years older than the child and is not married to the child. Professional contact with a child less than 13 years of age who is pregnant, or who has a sexually-transmitted disease or condition, therefore triggers a duty, on the part of those health care providers identified in 18 Pa.C.S. 5106 (a), to report under the Crimes Code in all circumstances. Contact with a child less than 16 years of age who is pregnant, or who has a sexually-transmitted disease or condition, triggers a duty to report under the Crimes Code if the person who caused the pregnancy, or who caused the child to have a sexually-transmitted disease or condition, is four or more years older than the child and is not married to the child. Failure to report as required by the Crimes Code is a summary offense punishable by fine and/or imprisonment.

This is not met as evidenced by:

  • They failed to develop a policy that met the reporting requirements for statutory sexual assault victims as defined in The Pennsylvania Crimes Code and the Child Protective Service Law.
  • The facility policy incorrectly stated "... Statutory sexual assault ("statutory rape") is sexual intercourse when one person is under the age of 16 and the other is 4 or more years older. It is a crime, however it is NOT a mandated reportable incident. ..."
  • The facility cared for unmarried pregnant children under the age of 16 and the facility failed to ascertain if the child had sexual intercourse with an individual who was four or more years older than the child.
  • Patients listed as 13 year old or 14 year old pregnant showed no documentation that the facility ascertained if the child had sexual intercourse with an individual who was four or more years older than the child.
  • It was determined that medical records reviewed had documented evidence that sexual intercourse occurred with a child less than 13 years of age and the facility failed to show documented evidence that the facility reported the sexual intercourse to the appropriate authorities.

Findings include:

  • Facility policy: "Reporting Suspected Child Abuse" Effective Date: November 1, 2011, last updated: January 2, 2013, which revealed " Many of our reports are generated because a minor has replied "yes" when asked on the history form if he/she has ever been forced to have sex. Center assistants and clinicians are both responsible for following up when this question is answered with a "yes." As a Center Assistant, you should review the history and ask questions about the incident(s) of forced sex or other abuse."
  • One patient was a 13 year old child and had indicated in the sexual history portion of the medical record, that the child's age at first intercourse was 11. There was no documentation that the facility reported the sexual intercourse at age 11 to the appropriate agencies.
  • One patient was a 13 year old child and had indicated in the sexual history portion of the medical record, that the child's age at first sexual intercourse was 12. There was no documentation that the facility reported the sexual intercourse at age 12 to the appropriate agencies.

Unannounced Revisit Survey – May 1, 2013 – FAILED

  • They continue to fail to ensure the area where drugs were stored was periodically checked by a pharmacist or practitioner.
  • They continue to fail to maintain temperatures in accordance with established guidelines in the Recovery Area. The temperature recordings were outside of the allowable design temperatures range as listed in the 2010 Facility Guidelines.
  • The facility remains out of compliance with Life Safety and Fire Safety Minimum Standards.

Unannounced Revisit Survey – May 1, 2013 – FAILED

  • They failed to ensure that the post operative assessment was completed and contained the minimum criteria on patients following surgery prior to discharge. The facility had not implemented a Recovery Room chart form to include respirations, activity level, pain, or nausea and vomiting, assessed prior to discharge.

Revisit survey – December 3, 2012 – FAILED

  • Again, they fail to ensure the area where drugs were stored was periodically checked by a pharmacist or practitioner.
  • They continue to not have the appropriate apparatus to monitor or regulate temperature and humidity in the Post Anesthesia Care Unit area.
  • The facility remains out of compliance with Life Safety and Fire Safety Minimum Standards.

Full State Licensure Survey – December 3, 2012 – FAILED

  • They failed to provide documentation of the post operative assessment performed on patients following surgery prior to discharge included the minimum criteria for discharge. Respirations, activity level, pain, or nausea and vomiting were not assessed prior to discharge.
  • They remain out of compliance with Life Safety and Fire Safety Minimum Standards.

Unannounced on-site pre-licensure survey – June 4, 2012 – FAILED

  • Personnel files revealed no documentation that background checks (as required by the recently updated Child Abuse laws) were conducted for any of the employees.
  • They failed to provide a written policy for discharge of an incompetent patient.
  • They failed to ensure that drugs were checked periodically by a pharmacist or practitioner.
  • They failed to have a written policy regarding the retention of medical records.
  • They failed to have a written policy to specify who has access to medical records, under what conditions records can be removed from the facility, and under what conditions medical record information may be released.
  • No policy regarding monitoring the temperature and humidity levels in the operating rooms and post anesthesia care unit — operating rooms 1 and 2 and the recovery room.
  • They failed to ensure that automatic fire extinguishing systems, automatic and manual alarms were inspected by qualified facility personnel at least every three months and records of the inspection were kept on file.
  • Their internal disaster and fire safety plan did not contain documentation the facility incorporated evacuation procedures for the safety of both closed medical records and the records of those patients being evacuated.
  • They failed to request an annual inspection by the local fire department.
  • Operating Rooms 1 & 2 revealed ceilings that were not monolithic and the floors did not have sealed seams. The size of the two operating rooms was not in compliance with the required guidelines of 250 square feet.
  • The recovery room revealed nine recliner chairs for post operative care. There were no cubicle curtains for privacy between the nine recliner chairs.
  • Hands-free scrub sinks were not located outside the operating rooms.

Initial registration survey – November 16, 2011 – FAILED

In compliance, but recommendations were given.

  • Ultrasound Room – A heating cabinet contained two 1000 ml bags of .9% Sodium Chloride used for intravenous use. The bags were not labeled with dates and it could not be determined how long they were in the warmer. The current temperature of the heating cabinet was 100%.
  • Cleaning Room – Temperature logs were not maintained for the freezer.
  • Biohazard Room – Several cardboard biohazard boxes were stored directly on the floor. There were containers of used needles on the floor with the needles spilled and scattered on the floor.
  • Storage Room – The following items were stored directly on the floor: One carton of toilet paper, one carton of 1000 ml. bags of Ringers Lactate IV solution, two cartons of paper cups, four cartons of latex gloves and one carton of exam table rolls.
  • Recovery Room – A container of used needles was stored directly on the floor.

Building Inspections

Planned Parenthood on Locust Street (Philadelphia) has also failed seven of its last 14 building inspections. (Source: PA Department of Health)

Relicensure survey – August 15, 2017 – FAILED

  • The first floor front stair tower landing had storage items (large signs) inside the stair tower.
  • The second floor back stairway entrance door failed to close and positively latch into the frame when tested.

Relicensure survey – August 23, 2016 – FAILED

  • The corridor door to lower level stair #1 failed to close completely and positively latch into the door frame assembly when tested. The stair tower door failed to close completely and positive latch.
  • They failed to ensure doors to hazardous areas had no impediment to closing and positive latching on one of four levels.

Relicensure survey – August 25, 2015 – FAILED

  • They failed to ensure the automatic sprinkler system was inspected and tested as required.
  • They failed to ensure the sealed emergency generator battery voltage was tested on a weekly basis on the generator.

Relicensure survey – September 9, 2014 – FAILED

  • They failed to ensure the automatic sprinkler system was inspected and tested as required.

Relicensure survey – November 5, 2013 – FAILED

  • They did not record the times fire drills were performed.

Revisit – February 19, 2013 – FAILED

  • There is still a penetration into the shaft above the ductwork on the second floor, and on the basement level above the waiting room mechanical room door.

Initial Licensure Survey – December 11, 2012 – FAILED

  • It was determined that the facility did not meet the requirements of the Life Safety Code for a new ambulatory surgical facility.
  • They failed to maintain the proper fire resistance rating of vertical openings to limit the vertical spread of fire through the building. While the ambulatory health care occupancy is located in the Lower Level of the building, vertical openings must be protected throughout the remainder of the building.
  • They failed to exercise fusible links of fire dampers to verify proper operation.

Published with permission from PAFamily.org.

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Created Equal
Created Equal

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VIDEO: Abortion activist attacks pro-lifer on campus, gets assault charge from police

Created Equal
By Created Equal

May 9, 2019 (Created Equal) — A pro-abortion activist assaulted one of Created Equal's team members in a shocking new video. Created Equal was conducting a campus tour traveling to 14 college campuses in 3 states to display large signs depicting the gruesome reality of abortion and to engage students in conversation about this human injustice.

Our traveling team was attacked during its visit to University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on April 2nd, 2019. Footage of the outburst begins with a woman asking our team, "Did you put these [signs] up?" When they respond affirmatively, she proceeds to repeatedly punch and kick a member of our staff. Watch the attack and hear from law enforcement that the student is being charged with assault the video below.

For years, we have documented incidents of violence against young members of our team. Here is a brief sampling:

For abortion activists to promote dismembering young humans through abortion is to celebrate violence. Thus, violence is inherent to abortion advocacy. We thus should not be surprised when those who champion killing babies also assault those who stand between them and the victims.

We are pleased to see that we still have the rule of law in America. As can be seen in the video, law enforcement provides an education on civics many of today's students have failed to receive.

Next week we are releasing another video showing just how shocked another UNC student is when she is arrested for committing larceny!

We are committed to defending babies. We are also committed to defending the right to defend babies. Thus, Created Equal is currently engaged in several open cases with prosecutors charging those who attack our property or people, including the incidents at UNC.

Dr. King said, "Hate begets hate; violence begets violence; toughness begets a greater toughness. We must meet the forces of hate with the power of love ... The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy; instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it."

Created Equal is a national anti-abortion organization that focuses on training students to be pre-born defenders by using a traveling photo exhibit to show as many students as possible what abortion does to preborn children. Placing abortion in the broader context of human equality, the project attempts to create debate on campus to influence America's future decision-makers and leaders.

Published with permission from Created Equal.

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Bishop Stephan Ackermann of Trier, Germany. katholische.de via YouTube
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Former head of German sex abuse study claims bishop threatened and tried to silence him

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By Maike Hickson

May 31, 2019 update: An update below includes testimony from Dirk Rossmann about the expressed threats against Professor Christian Pfeiffer during his December 12, 2012 meeting with Bishop Stephan Ackermann.

May 9, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Professor Christian Pfeiffer, a German criminologist, reveals in a Zeit interview for the first time the treatment he received from Bishop Stephan Ackermann (Trier) when they had a falling out over how to conduct the clerical sex abuse study started in 2011.

On December 12, 2012, Bishop Ackermann, in the presence of Cardinal Reinhard Marx's secretary Fr. Peter Langendoerfer, offered Pfeiffer 120,000 euros to accept a contract that would silence him and then threatened to destroy his name should he not leave the project quietly. LifeSiteNews was able to obtain a confirmation of Pfeiffer’s claims from a person who was present at that crucial meeting.

Speaking with the German newspaper Die Zeit, Professor Pfeiffer describes how the project soon after its start in 2011 became difficult, because the German bishops became nervous about its possible disclosures and possible outcome.

He admits he might have upset the dioceses by making a strong claim, already in 2011, at a conference with their general vicars, that celibacy is the root problem of the clerical sex abuse crisis. “I was perhaps a little bit imprudent here,” Pfeiffer comments.

There were soon other problems relating to matters of privacy and the German bishops’ wish to have a last veto on what may be published in the end, a wish Professor Pfeiffer considered “a wish for censorship” of academic research.

He also laments that the German dioceses did not allow a form of research that would have made it possible to point to the specific responsibility of each individual diocese in light of the possible cover-up of abuser priests. Professor Pfeiffer says Cardinal Reinhard Marx was the driving force among the German bishops to gain greater control over this academic research project that was to investigate all abuse cases in German dioceses from 1945 on. Pfeiffer would have liked to point out the individual responsibility of each diocese with regard to the cover-up of sexual abuse.

This point has also been raised by the research team that was able to finish the research project in 2018. That MSG study, as published last year, stated that “in some cases, there were to be found clear indications that files had been manipulated.” The researchers also found “explicit information” from two dioceses “that files or parts of files pertaining to sexual abuse of minors had been destroyed at an earlier time.”

The research team added that “the study project did not have access to the original files of the Catholic Church. All archives and files of the dioceses had been investigated only by diocesan personnel or by law firms hired by the dioceses.” That is to say, these diocesan employees first went through the files and filled out a questionnaire developed by the research team. As the Zeit journalist Evelyn Finger pointed out at the time, “none of the scientists ever had in their hands files from the Church’s archives. That is why this study is not really independent. The institution that had to be investigated controlled the investigation.” She also pointed out that this method was different from the Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report, as well as the Royal Commission’s report in Australia.

Professor Pfeiffer had, in order to avoid this problem, proposed to hire a set of retired judges and lawyers who would, upon order by the dioceses, confidentially do that investigative research themselves.

As Pfeiffer points out, Cardinal Reinhard Marx was among the leading bishops who wanted first to make changes to the research contract that would have given the last word to the bishops as to what was to be published. (Here, Pfeiffer refers to a specific May 7, 2012 letter from Marx’s Diocese of Munich that stipulated new conditions for the research project.)

Since Cardinal Marx himself is in favor of a discussion of celibacy in light of the abuse crisis, he must have had another reason for his intervening than possible objections to Professor Pfeiffer’s personal views.

At the end of these disagreements — and since Professor Pfeiffer was not willing to accept a new contract giving the German bishops a last word on what would be published — there took place a final meeting, on December 12, 2012 (Pfeiffer corrected the date, which he had previously remembered as December 20). Pfeiffer now states that at that final meeting with Father Langendörfer (the secretary of the German Bishops’ Conference and Cardinal Marx’s right-hand man) and Bishop Ackermann (tasked with handling sex abuse matters within the German Bishops’ Conference), he himself was threatened.

In the Zeit interview, Pfeiffer says about the meeting on December 12, which was attended also by Professor Thomas Mössle, who was then his colleague and the vice president of his Institute for Criminological Research:

He [Ackermann] told me that, if I refuse to sign the contract and if the accusation of censorship leaks to the outside, then I would be an enemy of the Catholic Church — and he would not wish that to anyone. He also declared that they would massively attack my good reputation and they would be forced to lay open the sort of difficulties they had with the institute [Pfeiffer's Krimonologisches Institut, Institute for Criminological Research, in Hannover]. He said that this would damage me, that I would regret it and that I would make a grave mistake if I did not sign [the contract].

Father Langendörfer did not distance himself during this conversation from Ackermann’s harsh words, according to the Pfeiffer interview.

Pfeiffer at the time responded with the words: “We won’t be bought!” He interpreted this Ackermann intervention as “moral blackmail.” “As a law expert, I would call this attempted coercion,” he told the Zeit.

LifeSiteNews reached out to Professor Mössle, who had been present at that crucial December 12 meeting with Bishop Ackermann and Father Langendörfer and asked him whether he could confirm Professor Pfeiffer’s description of that conversation. He answered, saying: “I can confirm what Christian [Pfeiffer] describes in his Zeit interview.” He continued:

Yes, we were offered to keep those funds that we had already received and which we had not yet spent (for use at the Institute). Yes, Mr. Ackermann [sic] threatened Christian, that is to say exactly then, when we stated that we would not accept the offer. I cannot remember exactly the words, but I remember well the content. It was about Christian’s good reputation which could be damaged and about the fact that one better not wish to have the Catholic Church as an enemy. As I recall, Mr. Ackermann did not formulate it in the active [indicative] mood, but, rather in the subjunctive mood, as a possible scenario. But this does not change anything with regard to the threat that was uttered.

Professor Mössle is no longer directly working with Professor Pfeiffer (who himself is now retired), but works in Villingen-Schwenningen as a criminology professor.

He added in comments to LifeSiteNews that he can confirm “the event in Munich.” “The drafts of a [new] contract that were presented to us came from there [Munich] and were not in accordance with academic freedom. It is certainly justified to call this attempted interference a wish for censorship.”

As a consequence of the fact that representatives of the Catholic Church in Germany threatened Professor Pfeiffer in the presence of other witnesses, Pfeiffer’s own Catholic wife left the Catholic Church and became a Protestant, with “a heavy heart,” as Pfeiffer explains in his interview with Die Zeit. Pfeiffer himself is a Protestant.

The proposed contract would have allowed Pfeiffer to keep the remaining 120,000 euros that had not yet been spent for other research projects, but he would have to promise not to accuse the German bishops of trying to censor his research. He would have been permitted to say publicly that the contract had been terminated “but not why,” the German professor explains.

Pfeiffer is of the opinion that the bishops, when they realized that his research “could hurt,” started to try to “control” his research “in nearly all aspects.” For him, “it was also about revealing that so many caught offenders [priests] remained employed [in the dioceses].”

After the falling out with the German bishops at the beginning of 2013, Pfeiffer explains that the Catholic Church in Germany under Cardinal Marx’s leadership tried to put a restraining order on him forbidding him to say in public that the German bishops tried to censor his work. They also tried to establish the rule that nothing of the study’s findings could be published without the approval of the German bishops. That is why the Church then lost two lawsuits against Pfeiffer, as he explains in the interview with Die Zeit. “I was permitted to continue to speak of censorship.” (See here an earlier German report on these legal matters. Pfeiffer, in his Zeit interview, reveals that a friend of his and a wealthy businessman, Dirk Rossmann, supported him financially in his legal dealings with the German bishops.)

Pfeiffer also reveals that, at the beginning of the research project, he was not aware of a Church rule that permits the destruction of abuse files after a ten-year period. This could be done when writing down a general summary of the abuser priest’s deeds without any specific information. “The destruction of files has made impossible any serious research about the victims and the offenders,” Pfeiffer explains. He adds that employees from several dioceses told him, as he started his research project, that files had been destroyed that should not have been destroyed. “Now things are being shredded,” Pfeiffer says, “because the researchers are coming.”

Cardinal Marx’s own diocese in Munich “denied” Pfeiffer any access to the files, referring to a study that the diocese had ordered and financed in 2010 and whose “results have been kept secret,” except for a eight-page-long description of the research methods and of some general findings.

LifeSiteNews reached out to Bishop Stephan Ackermann’s press office, as well as to Matthias Kopp, the speaker of the German Bishops’ Conference, with the explicit question as to whether Cardinal Marx, Father Langendörfer, and Bishop Ackermann would want to comment on the crucial meeting on December 12, 2012, at which the threats against Pfeiffer had been issued. Ackermann, Langendörfer, and Marx declined to respond to the accusation.

Mr. Kopp referred LifeSiteNews back to a document of the year 2013, in which the German Bishops’ Conference presents its own view as to why the research project with Professor Pfeiffer was terminated and in which any accusation of attempted restriction of academic freedom is strongly denied. “Nothing needs to be added here,” was Mr. Kopp’s comment. The report on the December 12 conversation was not denied.

Mrs. Judith Rupp, speaking for Bishop Ackermann, told LifeSiteNews: “I ask for your understanding that Bishop Ackermann does not comment on Professor Pfeiffer’s personal accusations against him.” She also attached the link to the 2013 statement of the German Bishops’ Conference.

It is to be seen whether or not these prominent representatives of the Catholic Church will be able to maintain their attitude of stonewalling in this important moral matter, especially in light of the sensitive matter of clerical sex abuses.

***

May 31, 2019 update: 

Since publication of this report, LifeSiteNews has received a further confirmation of the expressed threats against Professor Christian Pfeiffer during his December 12, 2012 meeting with Bishop Stephan Ackermann. As one of Pfeiffer's long-term friends, Dirk Rossmann wrote to LifeSiteNews, saying that he can well remember Professor Pfeiffer's dispute with the German bishops over matters of freedom of research and he can also confirm the content of this controversial December 12 meeting.

“Immediately afterwards [after the meeting] Pfeiffer, being indignant and upset, informed me about the developments on that evening and about the possibility that he will now have to face a public legal dispute. He also told me at the time everything that he has now presented in the Zeit interview: starting with the attempt to motivate him with the offer that he may keep the remaining research funds, for him to be silent; and his answer: 'We will not be bought!”; up to Bishop Ackermann's threat to attack him massively in public should he speak in public about the Church's attempts at censorship. Subsequently, I had assured him that I would cover all of his lawyer's fees and other legal costs should it come to a legal dispute.”

Mr. Rossmann is the owner of a large company which is present in several countries in the world. Mr. Rossmann then recounts that which we reported in our own earlier report above, namely, that Professor Pfeiffer won two legal cases with the German Bishops' Conference. In the second legal case, Pfeiffer was successful in “forcing the Bishops' Conference to change its homepage. There, it had stated, against the truth, that the conflict [with Pfeiffer] had nothing to do with freedom of research.”

Mr. Rossmann concluded his witness with the words: “It was a joy for me to support Christian Pfeiffer in his legal procedures and thereby to make a contribution so that the truth would prevail.”

In the meantime, Professor Harald Dreßing, the head of the MSG study on clerical sexual abuse that was finally published in September of 2018, made several statements critical of the German bishops. He described a “defective” handling of the history of sexual abuse, pointing to the fact that so far not one bishop has taken personal responsibility and stepped back from his office. He calls for more research whereby “it could be well possible that there would be people detected who were responsible and who are still alive and even perhaps still in their [Church] offices.” 

For him as a psychiatrist, “it was astonishing to see that after, the publication of our research results, there was much talk about shame and guilt, but not about concrete and personal responsibility.”

In a new May 31 intervention, Professor Dreßing repeated that he now expects that bishops and general vicars who were responsible for cover-up of sexual abuse will now resign from their offices. He also states that the abuse crisis is still not over since new abuse cases are still taking place in the Catholic Church.

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How to watch the Canadian March for Life LIVE today

LifeSiteNews staff
By LifeSiteNews staff

OTTAWA, May 9, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Today, marchers will gather on the Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Ontario, for Canada’s National March for Life marking 50 years of legalized abortion in the country.

EWTN is offering live coverage of the National March for Life starting at 11:30 a.m. EST. You can find the EWTN live feed by clicking here

Confirmed speakers for the National March for Life include:

  • Ann McElhinney and Phelim McAleer, producers of Gosnell – The Trial of America’s Biggest Serial Killer
  • Abby Johnson, founder of And Then There Were None and Author of Unplanned
  • Steve Karlen, Campaign Director & Matt Britton, General Counsel for 40 Days for Life
  • MP David Anderson, Cypress Hills—Grasslands, Saskatchewan
  • His Eminence Thomas Cardinal Collins, Archbishop of Toronto
  • Most Reverend Terrence Prendergast, S.J., Archbishop of Ottawa
  • Shalyn McGuin, Save the 1
  • Angelina Steenstra, Canadian Coordinator for Silent No More Awareness Campaign

The rally on Parliament Hill starts at 12:30pm and march through the streets of downtown Ottawa is scheduled for 1:30pm.

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Abby Johnson at pro-life candle light vigil, Ottawa, May 8, 2019. Pete Baklinski / LifeSiteNews
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WATCH: ‘Unplanned’ author Abby Johnson tells Canadians to act ‘fearlessly’ to end abortion

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By Pete Baklinski
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Pro-life advocates at the candle light vigil for the unborn at the Canadian Tribute to Human Rights monument, Ottawa, May 8, 2019. Pete Baklinski / LifeSiteNews
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Men, women, and children at the candle light vigil for the unborn at the Canadian Tribute to Human Rights monument, Ottawa, May 8, 2019. Pete Baklinski / LifeSiteNews
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Canadian Tribute to Human Rights monument, Ottawa, May 8, 2019. It states: 'All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.' Pete Baklinski / LifeSiteNews

OTTAWA, May 8, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – ‘Unplanned’ author and former Planned Parenthood manager Abby Johnson told Canadian pro-lifers that they must not only pray to end abortion, they must act “fearlessly.” 

Johnson made her comments at a candlelight vigil tonight in the nation’s capital where men, women, and children gathered to honor the preborn targeted by abortion. The vigil was held one day prior to the National March for Life. 

Abortion was first legalized in Canada in 1969. There are now roughly 100,000 abortions every year. 

Johnson told the crowd, many of whom were young people, that it is time for the world to see abortion the way she saw it as a former Planned Parenthood manager. 

“It's time for the world to see what happens inside of these abortion facilities,” she said. “And it's time for us as a pro-life collective to begin speaking out fearlessly in the defense of the unborn and their mothers,” she said during her speech at the Canadian Tribute to Human Rights monument in Ottawa. 

Johnson went on to describe the abortion she witnessed that “changed my life and caused me to leave” the abortion industry. 

I had been called into a room to assist with a 13 week abortion. 13 weeks is still in the first trimester when the bulk of abortions are performed in your country and in mine at that time. I was asked to hold an ultrasound probe on the woman's abdomen so the doctor would be able to see the baby as it was aborted, as it was killed. 

We did the measurement. We found the baby was 13 weeks. And by 13 weeks despite what people tell you, science confirms for us that by 13 weeks everything on the unborn child is completely formed – arms, legs, fingers, toes. The heart is beating. Brainwaves are active. Every single internal organ that we stand here with today is already formed on the unborn child, by 13 weeks gestation. Outside the womb, the baby is only a few inches long and we can even tell if it's a boy or a girl, at that time. 

I stood there looking nervously at what was on the ultrasound monitor because I recognized that what I was seeing actually looked like a baby. It couldn't be...because that's what abortion science has taught us. Abortion science has taught us that if a pregnancy is unwanted, then that pregnancy is just simply tissue, trash – something to be discarded. [Abortion advocates] have taught us that a pregnancy is only valuable — a pregnancy only becomes a baby — when the mother decides that baby is wanted.

There is nothing more unscientific than the abortion movement.

But I stood there looking at this monitor feeling nervous, feeling apprehensive, and I watched a suction cannula — it looks like a straw, it's open on both ends, that's what actually hooks up to the larger suction machine — I watched that go into the woman's uterus. I could see it getting closer and closer to the side of this baby. And, when it finally touched his side, he jumped. And this baby began flailing his arms and legs, as if he was trying to move away from the abortion instrument. But there was nowhere for him to go. He was trapped inside of his mother's womb – the place that should be the safest for an unborn child to live. 

When the doctor had the suction tube in the right position, he asked the technician to turn on the suction machine. And it was at that time I could see the legs become dismembered from the child's body. And then the arms. And the final thing that I saw in that woman's womb that day, was a perfectly formed tiny backbone, swirling and floating around, inside his mother's uterus. And in just an instant, just like that, it was suctioned away. And the uterus was empty. 

I knew at that time that what I had seen was not a ‘choice.’ That child was given no choice that day. 

Johnson said that abortion providers weren’t there to offer women “choice,” but “abortion, ” because “abortion is what made us money.” 

She said that what is happening inside of the abortion facilities and hospitals in Canada as well as the U.S. amounts to “abuse.” 

“It is abuse of the unborn. It is the ultimate form of bullying. And these providers are willing to bully innocent unborn children, till death,” she said. 

She encouraged those present at the vigil to “speak up” for the preborn. 

“Especially you young people – you have the opportunity to actually be agents of change in your society. You have the opportunity to speak up inside of your schools. That may not be seen as something that you should do. Do it anyway. Because there should be no fear,” she said. 

“There should be no fear when we are protecting the rights of the innocent. We should have no fear when we are attacking injustice and when we are defending the unborn. We should be proud. We should be ready to take the ramifications, the consequences. We should be ready to do whatever we need to do to fight for those who have no voice. Stop letting fear keep you from speaking the truth about this issue,” she added.

The crowd could be heard in the background cheering and shouting “amen” after Johnson said this. 

Noticing signs that said “pray to end abortion” in the crowd, Johnson said that it will not only take prayer to end abortion, but concrete action as well as sacrifice. 

“Lives are literally hanging in the balance. These babies are depending on your voice and your action, not just your prayers. They're depending on you to act, to sacrifice, to serve, to do something,” she said. 

“This tragedy of abortion is rampant, in your country and in mine. Don't allow this opportunity to pass you by. Don't allow any opportunity to stand up for the unborn to pass you by. Use every opportunity you can. God did not place you here on earth to win some sort of popularity contest to see how many friends you can gather on Instagram. He sent you here to evangelize his truth. And his truth is the Gospel of life,” she said. 

“Do it. Speak it every chance you can,” she concluded. 

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National March for Life, Ottawa, May 9, 2019. Pete Baklinski / LifeSiteNews.com
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Pro-lifers unite for Canadian March for Life on 50th anniversary of legalized abortion

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By Lianne Laurence
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National March for Life, Ottawa, Canada, May 9, 2019. Pete Baklinski / LifeSiteNews
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National March for Life, Ottawa, Canada, May 9, 2019. Pete Baklinski / LifeSiteNews
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National March for Life, Ottawa, Canada, May 9, 2019. Pete Baklinski / LifeSiteNews
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The pro-life event was not allowed to take place on the stairs leading up to the Parliament building, as has been the case in previous years. National March for Life, Ottawa, Canada, May 9, 2019. Pete Baklinski / LifeSiteNews
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Abby Johnson at the National March for Life, Ottawa, Canada, May 9, 2019. Pete Baklinski / LifeSiteNews

OTTAWA, May 9, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Thousands of Canadians are in Ottawa today for the national March for Life marking 50 years of legal abortion in their country.

But as well as mourning the four million unborn children killed by abortion in those five decades, pro-life advocates are looking ahead to Canada’s federal election five months away.

Ousting Justin Trudeau and his Liberals and electing pro-life politicians in their place on October 21 would be a significant victory for life and family advocates.

Ironically, Canada’s half-century of legal abortion is bookended by the Trudeau father-and-son team.

Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau brought in abortion with the Liberal omnibus bill of May 14, 1969. His eldest son and current prime minister is infamous for making the promotion of abortion “rights” — and LGBTQ “rights” — the cornerstone of his government’s foreign and domestic policy.

Some of Trudeau’s more notorious anti-life measures include requiring employers sign a pro-abortion attestation to receive Canada Summer Job grants; earmarking $650 million to promote abortion overseas; and earlier in his career decreeing that individuals with pro-life convictions could not run for the Liberal Party.

“Some in Parliament, from both sides of the aisle, including our prime minister, claim that abortion is a human right,” says Matt Wojciechowski, vice president of Campaign Life Coalition.

“This is a lie. The killing of a child in the womb is not a right and no one has the right to kill another human being,” Wojciechowski said at a press conference yesterday kicking off the three-day event.

Campaign Life Coalition is Canada’s national pro-life, pro-family political lobbying group and organizer of the March for Life, the country’s largest annual pro-life event.

“Thousands of Canadians in Ottawa and across Canada will be marching because they refuse to let another 50 years of this human rights injustice pass by,” he said.

“We will be marching because we want abortion to become unthinkable in this country,” added Wojciechowski.

“We want women who face unplanned pregnancies to know that abortion is not an option. We want those who work in the abortion industry to leave their jobs, and for doctors to stop committing abortions, and prescribing deadly chemical abortions.”

American pro-life advocate Abby Johnson, former Planned Parenthood abortion clinic manager and founder of the pro-life outreach to abortion workers “And Then There Were None,” told reporters that “any time there is injustice anywhere, there’s injustice everywhere.”

A speaker at today’s rally, Johnson’s book Unplanned, the story of her rejection of abortion after witnessing the ultrasound abortion of a 13-week-old unborn baby, is now a hit movie.

But Unplanned is “effectively banned” in Canada, and anyone wishing to see it on the big screen will have to attend a private screening or go to the United States, co-producer Lisa Wheeler said at the press conference.

That’s an indication of what Canadian pro-lifers are up against, as is opposition to the March itself.

In the past, that has taken the form of semi-nude women rushing the stage; violent protesters disrupting the candlelight vigil on the eve of the March; and a ferocious backlash in 2017 after a pro-life flag was raised at City Hall the morning of the March that resulted in it hastily being removed.

Moreover, the March now follows a different route than it traditionally has because of a “bubble zone” law passed by Kathleen Wynne’s former Liberal government that bans pro-life witness outside the Morgentaler abortion center. There are similar laws in Newfoundland, British Columbia, and Alberta.

But Canadians defending unborn children won’t “be bullied into submission” or “censored or silenced,” says Josie Luetke of Campaign Life Coalition.

“Grassroots members of this movement are fiercely dedicated to going the distance to make a difference,” she said in a Campaign Life blog.

Moreover, “pro-lifers are getting more and more mobilized.”

Campaign Life Coalition has already “signed up thousands of supporters for memberships to various political parties so that they could vote in leadership and/or nomination contests,” she said.

“A large number of them have participated in party conventions and succeeded in getting pro-life and pro-family policies passed.”

With the federal election set for October 21, the March for Life is a kickoff into full election mode, she emphasized.

“This National March for Life is the beginning of a long stretch ahead of us, during which we will become more active in educating our fellow community members about life issues and in volunteering for pro-life candidates,” observed Luetke.

“And we can’t wait to kick into high gear.”

The May 9 hourlong rally begins at 12:30 and is emceed by LifeSiteNews co-founder and editor-in-chief John-Henry Westen and Campaign Life Coalition youth director Marie-Claire Bissonnette.

It is preceded by four morning Masses and three prayer services throughout the city (for information on locations, go here), and followed by the March itself. The day’s program ends with testimonies from Silent No More, and a Eastern-rite Catholic prayer service.

As well as Johnson, rally speakers included Ann McElhinney and Phelim McAleer, producers of the movie Gosnell – The Trial of America’s Biggest Serial Killer; Steve Karlen and Matt Britton of 40 Days for Life; Archbishop Terrence Prendergast of Ottawa, Cardinal Thomas Collins of Toronto; Conservative MP David Anderson, sponsor of a conscience rights bill; Angelina Steenstra, Canadian coordinator for the Silent No More Awareness Campaign; and Shalyn McGuin of Save the 1.

Local marches will be taking place on May 9 across Canada in conjunction with the National March for Life. For information on these, go here.

This article has been updated.

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U.K. Supreme Court judge Lord Sumption. Université Bordeaux Montaigne via YouTube
Anthony McCarthy

Opinion , ,

Former UK Supreme Court judge encourages breaking laws against assisted suicide

Anthony McCarthy
By

May 9, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Just before Easter, the Right Honourable Lord Sumption, OBE, a recently retired British Supreme Court Judge, gave his first Reith lecture. In the course of it, he told the audience, “The law should continue to criminalise assisted suicide” while adding: “And I think that the law should be broken from time to time”. There is, he said, “No moral obligation to obey the law”, and although “it has always been ... criminal ... courageous friends and families have helped people to die”.

The Reith lectures

The prestigious Reith lectures are broadcast annually by the BBC and aim “to advance public understanding and debate about significant issues of contemporary interest.” The BBC remains a hugely important cultural institution, both in the U.K. and beyond, in spite of the rise of other media. It is not a small matter who is selected to be the Reith lecturer.  

Looking down the list of past Reith lecturers, who have included Bertrand Russell, Edmund Leach, Jeffrey Sachs, Ian Kennedy, and Grayson Perry, one notices how often those promoting sexual liberation, population control, and post-Hippocratic medicine have been given centre stage. In contrast, voices defending marriage and the family, the poor who want to have children, and the genuine goals of medicine scarcely get a look in.

Tragic life

Sumption, who is a talented and accomplished lawyer and mediaeval historian, follows in the tradition of BBC lecturers undermining traditional legal and moral precepts with an authoritative and powerful voice. His topic for the first lecture was law’s empire and the way it has expanded as people seek to reduce personal risk. It was in the course of discussing these issues that he ended up answering a question concerning assisted suicide, in a way that gave a glimpse of the moral thinking underlying his approach to human dignity itself.

Sumption’s history

Back in the 1970s, Sumption wrote speeches for the Conservative minister Sir Keith Joseph, a right-wing ideologue beloved of the group that went on to be known as ‘Thatcherites’. In 1974, Joseph told an audience, in the context of talking about poor unmarried mothers:

The balance of our population, our human stock is threatened[.] … Some are of low intelligence, most of low educational attainment. They are unlikely to be able to give children the stable emotional background, the consistent combination of love and firmness which are more important than riches. They are producing problem children, the future unmarried mothers, delinquents, denizens of our borstals, sub-normal educational establishments, prisons, hostels for drifters….A high proportion of these births are a tragedy for the mother, the child and for us… If we do nothing, the nation moves towards degeneration, however much resources we pour into preventative work and the over-burdened educational system.

Sir Keith went on to propose increasing provision of birth control for these unfortunates. These words, it later transpired, were put together by Sumption. Sumption was later to act for Tony Blair’s government in the Hutton Enquiry, generally recognised as a whitewash of the government’s now largely acknowledged lies that got Britain into the Iraq War. His relentless attacks on journalists who had had the temerity to point out these lies helped achieve the outcome Blair’s deeply corrupt government desired against the BBC.

Dignity

Lawyers, of all people, should be aware of the truth enunciated by the anti-utopian thinker Aurel Kolnai:

The equality of the rights of men is grounded on their equal (and exclusive) capacity to be subjects of law, and this is inseparable from their being in some sense equal as a matter of fact.

Kolnai explains:

[T]he concept of human equality is not merely a formal, comparative one, but it is rooted in the very concept of man. The mutual relation between two men is morally and metaphysically relevant only because the solitary existence of a single man is relevant too…For the moral, even, for the most part, the intellectual and material existence of men, is inseparable from the element of equality...a real dawn of awareness and development as a person is possible only within a community, and community, as the reciprocity of personal beings, immediately raises the problem of equality. Equality, in a word, is a requirement not of the satisfaction of our sense of symmetry, but of the precious and ensured existence of human personality.

Recall Sumption, with his claim that “a high proportion of these births are a tragedy for the mother, the child and for us”. In proposing solutions that hardly respect the dignity of women, and any offspring born despite our sterilising efforts, he reveals himself to be an enemy of equality — understood not in some utopian sense, but simply in a sense referring to basic human dignity. 

Sumption’s remarks at the Reith lectures follow this trajectory. For, while he is alive to the problems that exist with regard to abuse of laws permitting assisted suicide (and the evidence by now is overwhelming to anyone with eyes to see), he himself very publicly and prominently recommends breaking the law in this area in certain circumstances. As the social historian Ann Farmer has pointed out, Sumption would doubtless treat much more severely someone who did not believe in a moral obligation to obey the law when it comes to taking someone’s property as opposed to someone’s life.

The assumption seems to be that when it comes to certain lives (but presumably not others), a family can act virtuously (“courageous friends and families have helped people to die”) in assisting people to kill themselves. How might we judge, though, which lives are worthy of self-termination? No matter: Some individuals have some kind of moral right to self-terminate when they are no longer satisfied with their lives in a particular condition. Whether their lives are seen as having no value or as having a value ‘outweighed’ by the burden of their illness, life itself, at least in some situations, is treated as just another thing about which the person can decide.

As David Velleman has pointed out, while we can understand that persons may have special insight into their own preferences, when it comes to the value and dignity of their own lives, there is no reason to assume that they have a special insight, for we are talking about something the value of which is beyond them, something which needs to be lived up to rather than treated as just another cost or benefit — namely, the dignity of being a member of the human race and the dignity of possessing a human nature that is ‘you’ in an individuated sense.

Aside from this, the whole notion of human dignity, demanding of moral respect, is concerned with a particular nature constituting who we are regardless of our present condition. How does one lose this, other than by ceasing to be a member of the human species? Insofar as one is a member of the human species, one has this rational kind of nature which is the ground of our moral importance, an importance not separable from that nature. And while some will object that human dignity and the value of human life are not quite one and the same, it seems quite anomalous to say that someone is very important morally but that his very existence in the world should be neither valued nor protected.  Certainly, it seems anomalous to claim that it is precisely because of a concern for ‘human dignity’ that one is self-terminating (i.e., that one’s very existence in the world is now somehow an affront to one’s own dignity).

Sumption, in 1974,  regarded certain lives — those of an underclass — as “tragic” for “us” as well as for their “owners” (unbeknownst perhaps to those owners). Now he condemns a group, supported by their “brave” families and friends, to deliberate extinction on account of their suicidal preferences (and, presumably, their medical condition). Clearly, the judge has not begun to understand the nature of human dignity, which amounts to something rather more fundamental than our preferences or those of other people. After all, at the basis of both love and justice is the idea that at very least, we can all say, looking at each other: “It is good that you exist”.

Increasingly, we see assisted suicide legalised in state after state in the U.S. Those with similar or worse attitudes to human dignity than Sumption’s are making decisions which further entrench the idea of lives not worthy of life. The Oregon Death with Dignity Act (note how the meaning of the word ‘dignity’ has shifted) has served as a paradigm for other legislatures in the U.S. and elsewhere. In Oregon, as Professor John Keown has explained, “the two most frequent reasons for assessing PAS [Physician Assisted Suicide] have consistently been ‘existential’ loss of autonomy and an inability to participate in activities that make life enjoyable. Moreover, concern about being a burden on others has motivated up to a half.” (The latter concern is, moreover, rising.)

In other words, the felt loss of certain capacities, as well as feelings of being inconvenient to others, drives people to undermine their own dignity by ending their lives with the full encouragement of the state. Rather than seeing the moral significance of their capacities, full or diminished, as deriving from their inherent value or dignity as human beings, they are encouraged to see things the other way around or at least, to seek their own destruction as bearers of insufficient value. As this attitude spreads from state to state, it is important to remember that while dignity ultimately comes from above, dignity is the one defence we have against elites who would undermine the claims following from its recognition.

Dr Anthony McCarthy is director of research at SPUC, author of Ethical Sex: Sexual Choices and Their Nature and Meaning (Fidelity Press, 2016), and editor of Abortion Matters (Philos Publications, 2018).

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REAL Women of Canada staff

Opinion ,

Ontario bill threatens to criminalize Christian speech as ‘hate’

REAL Women of Canada staff
By REAL Women of Canada staff

May 9, 2019 (REAL Women of Canada) — On March 20, 2019, Bill 84 was introduced in the Ontario Legislature. It is a Private Member's Bill, introduced by York Centre MPP Roman Baber.

The bill passed second reading at the end of April, and is now before the Standing Committee on Justice Policy.

The bill is entitled Prohibiting Hate-Promoting Demonstrations at Queen's Park Act, 2019.

The bill provides that no demonstration, rally or other activity that, in the opinion of the Speaker, is likely to promote hatred against any identifiable group, shall be permitted on the legislative grounds.

"Hate" is Always Unacceptable

No reasonable or rational person accepts or agrees with the deliberate spread of "hate". It is unacceptable in a civilized society.

The problem with this bill, however, lies in the fact that the definition of "hate" is uncertain under Canadian law. As a result, unfortunately, the use of the word "hate" can be a useful tool for some to prevent differing views from being expressed. That is, the word "hate" can be used to silence opposing views expressed when, in fact, the views are simply a reasonable expression of belief.

This concern is based on actual experience. Canadians have already experienced the contempt shown by the Supreme Court of Canada towards Section 2 of the Charter of Rights which provides for freedom of opinion, expression and religion. In the Trinity Western Christian University case (2018), a private Christian university's moral covenant was deemed hateful and discriminating. In the Bill Whatcott case (2013), the Supreme Court of Canada concluded that the effects of an expression used, not the communicator's intent, are what is relevant. The court went on to conclude that "truthful statements and sincerely held beliefs do not affect the finding of "hate". Mr. Whatcott merely expressed in his pamphlet the well-established facts about homosexuality which the court held to be "hateful". It is worth noting that the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal, presumably consisting of equally learned judges, had previously concluded that the pamphlet was not hateful. The Supreme Court of Canada prides itself on being a "progressive" court and has an established bias as evidenced in a series of decisions that have struck down laws based on traditional values. There is little likelihood that the court will protect tradition-based groups if they are denied the right to demonstrate at the provincial legislature.

There is a consensus in Canada, for example, that anti-Semitism and any other discrimination on the basis of faith, whether Christian, Islamic, Sikh or Hindu, is indeed vile and "hateful". (B'nai B'rith Canada, on its 2018 annual audit, reports a 16.5% increase in incidents from the previous year.) There is also a consensus in Canada that discrimination on the basis of race is equally unacceptable.

But there are other applications of the word "hate" which are problematic. For example, it has been well established that the LGBT community demands unquestioning acceptance of its agenda and insists that any opposition to it be silenced. This is done by discrediting those holding opposing opinions by describing them as "hateful," "bigoted," or "homophobic".

No Individual Should Determine Meaning of "Hate"

No single individual should have the legal right to define "hate" and ban expressions of speech or demonstrations, especially on the grounds of the Provincial Legislature which is a public place, presumably owned and operated on behalf of the citizens.

It is especially a concern that this right to define "hate" is given to the Speaker under Bill 84, an elected member of the legislature, and a member of a political party represented within that legislature. This raises the possibility that political considerations, rather than consideration of the right to free speech, may be a factor in the Speaker's decision to deny approval for the demonstrations. In short, such a decision may be influenced by how the decision may affect his political party. Moreover, the responsibility of the Speaker is to settle matters of Parliamentary procedures and to maintain decorum within the legislature. The determination whether a group promotes hate is far removed from these responsibilities.

The Speaker should not be placed in such a controversial position, enabling him/her to curtail free speech which is a fundamental freedom under the Charter. Such power given to the Speaker is an affront to democracy and extremely dangerous. If this bill is passed, it will create an alarming precedent for other provinces, with a further curtailment of free speech across this country.

In short, this bill may cause countless harm to our fundamental freedoms of free speech, opinion and expression. This bill, as written, is unacceptable. It is harmful to our democracy.

Please write immediately to the following individuals, raising strong objections to Bill 84:

Ontario Premier, Doug Ford

Premier's Office
Room 281
Legislative Building, Queen's Park
Toronto, ON M7A 1A1

[email protected]

Attorney General, Caroline Mulroney

Ministry of the Attorney General
11th Floor
720 Bay St.
Toronto, ON M7A 2S9

[email protected]

Your Provincial Member of Parliament

Published with permission from REAL Women of Canada.

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Jean-Marie Elie Setbon
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A strange and moving story of a Jewish convert to Catholicism

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By Dr. Peter Kwasniewski
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May 9, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – When a theologically articulate French rabbi decides to write up an account of his journey to Christ, taking us along as a companion, you have a very special book: From the Kippah to the Cross, by Jean-Marie Elie Setbon (originally published in French in 2013 and then in English by Ignatius Press in 2015).

The story is truly remarkable. Not raised as an observant Jew, though he went to a Jewish school as an adolescent, Setbon was passionately attracted to Christ from an early age. He was drawn to the crucifix in particular, and even got hold of one and hid it in his room until it was discovered. He was terrified of the consequences but relieved when those who found it decided it was left over from past tenants.

Setbon tells of his struggles as he matures and lives as a married man with the two attractions: Jesus and Jewish orthodoxy. At a certain point he went to live in Israel. He committed himself fully to being trained as an ultra-Orthodox rabbi. “This religious double life may appear shocking. It was true; I was carrying two identities within myself. But it was more like a spiritual struggle than duplicity or betrayal” (p. 70). The greatest strength of the book lies in showing the reader what it looks like on the inside of Jewish thought and life. It remains a world that is very closed off to the average Christian of today, living in a heavily secular world, far from Jewish enclaves.

The author lives in suspension, caught between his longing for Jesus and his training, his identity as a Jew; as he says at one point—in a Pascalian moment—his heart against his reason (p. 125). He sought, as he says many times, a one-on-one relationship with God, which he did not feel he was obtaining within Judaism (see pp. 58, 85, 145). As time went on, he received mystical illuminations that settled him at last on accepting baptism, which for him was the fulfillment of a lifetime’s searching and longing.

Along the way, he makes some trenchant observations about the current religious scene. For example: “There is no question that [interreligious] dialogue is better than beating each other up. But if the exchange passes over in silence what is contentious, it serves no purpose. In dialogue, each participant, Christian as well as Jew, must stand up for what he believes and not betray himself in order to please or be appealing to the other” (p. 57). He praises a Catholic priest (pp. 96–97) who was able to listen to his ideas calmly and joyfully, not trying to hit him over the head with the truth. He complains at a different point about a Scripture scholar who considered himself such a master of St. Paul’s writings that he could not enter into any kind of debate or constructive dispute. Setbon interestingly notes that disputatio or formalized debate is a normal part of Jewish thought and life, and that Catholic theologians at their best have practiced this same flexible and truth-oriented way of argumentation, since no one possesses a complete understanding of the truth (see pp. 97–98, 113).

The last section, on the differences between Judaism and Christianity, is very illuminating. He says quite strikingly: “Mother Teresas do not exist in Judaism” (p. 140). Serving the neighbor, while obviously not absent from any of the great religious traditions, is uniquely emphasized in Christianity, so much so that it is synonymous with it (p. 141). He says that Christianity is a religion of daily forgiveness, not the once-yearly forgiveness represented by Yom Kippur; he has found the floodgates of mercy opened to him (p. 138). While admitting that the God of Moses and the God of Jesus is one and the same, he also points to the astonishing difference that Jesus, God’s human face, makes in our very conception of God (p. 146). His points here have relevance also to Islam. Setbon writes:

The idea of a God who loved me first before I did anything at all for Him is unfamiliar to Jews, even if He did reveal Himself in places in the Bible. In Judaism, for God to love me, I must conform to the letter of the Law, and the more I practice the Law the more I am loved by God. It is quid pro quo. For that matter, there are Christians who are stuck on that idea. They have not integrated Jesus’ good news that God loves us a father loves his children. With the Christian God, I have discovered another God, a God who loves me for what I am—which does not of course excuse me from leading a moral life since moral rules are the school of love…. Once you are living in love, external laws no longer need to be applied; you have already internalized them. (pp. 146–47)

There is, however, a serious flaw in the book that I would be remiss not to mention. Setbon narrates twice that he went up to receive Holy Communion, repeatedly as a child (pp. 33–34) and again as an adult (p. 106), prior to being baptized into Christ and His Church. That he had a fascination with Christ cannot be gainsaid, and it is possible (especially given the atrocious state of preaching and liturgy today) that he was personally unaware that a non-Christian should not go up for Communion for any reason. Baptism is the gateway to all the sacraments, conferring on the baptized the right to receive other sacraments fruitfully. It is, strictly speaking, a sacrilege to receive any sacrament without being baptized.

However, neither the author nor Ignatius Press furnishes so much as a parenthetical remark or footnote to point out that Setbon should not have done this. We are living in an era of rampant confusion about who may or may not go forward to receive the Body and Blood of Jesus. Pro-abortion politicians think themselves entitled to it, since they no longer acknowledge any obligation to hold the Catholic faith. Tourists have been caught at St. Peter’s Basilica taking hosts away as souvenirs. Pseudo-mysticism is rife: “I just felt I should do it…” A Catholic publisher owes it to its readership to state clearly that no matter how strong an emotional attraction may be felt towards the Eucharist, only baptized Catholics are permitted to receive the Lord—and this, by divine law, not by a changeable human regulation.

Apart from this flaw, there is much in the book to delight in, to be puzzled by, to think about further. In many ways, it is an exemplary religious autobiography and a model of serious interreligious dialogue.

Given the official discouragement from the Vatican of conversions of Jews to Catholicism—a trend that began as early as the middle of the 20th century when the Good Friday prayer for the Jews was targeted for change—it is always a welcome sign of fidelity to God’s grace, and of the power of His new and eternal covenant, when Jews actually do convert and become observant Catholics, thus inaugurating their journey to the Promised Land won for us by the Messiah.

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Cardinal Mueller: ‘There has never been an ordained female diaconate’

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By Maike Hickson

May 9, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Cardinal Gerhard Müller, the former Prefect of the Congregation for Doctrine of the Faith, insists that in the history of the Catholic Church, “there has never been an ordained female diaconate (except a blessing, in part, similar to the minor orders and to the sub-diaconate).”

This statement, given to LifeSiteNews, has now been confirmed by some of Pope Francis' words on the findings of his female deacon commission that had submitted its findings to the Pope back in the summer of 2018.

Cardinal Müller told LifeSiteNews that he has “collected and reviewed all the sources for this topic” and that he has also presented his findings in three different books: Priesthood and Diaconate (San Francisco, 2002); Frauen in der Kirche (Women in the Church – Würzburg 2001), and Der Empfänger des Weihesakramentes. Quellen zur Lehre und Praxis der Kirche, nur Männern das Weihesakrament zu spenden (The Recipient of the Sacrament of Holy Orders. Sourceas concerning the teaching and practice of the Church, to administer only to men the Sacrament of Holy Orders – Würzburg 1999).  

LifeSiteNews had reached out to Cardinal Müller in light of the comments made by Professor Peter Hünermann, who is a proponent of the female diaconate and who recently told LifeSiteNews that the recent commission on the female diaconate had found that “there is no historical evidence that in the patristics women were ordained as deacons.”

Cardinal Müller, in his own comments, points to the “character of the Sacrament of Holy Orders as a representation of Christ Himself as the Bridegroom,” thus excluding women from the Sacrament of Holy Orders.

“For people like Professor Hünermann and others, the diaconate is only the first step to the sacramental priesthood,” the German prelate explains, “that is why individual historical documents are being bent until they fit.”

“It is sad,” he said. “There is no sign of any broad tradition in the Universal Church of a sacramental [female] diaconate.”

Already early in his work as the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Müller had made it clear that a female diaconate is not possible. In 2013, he said: “The Sacrament of Holy Orders, in the steps bishop-priest-deacon can, according to the Church's teaching, only validly be received by a man.” Female deacons existed in certain regions in the history of the Church, he then added, but they “did not receive the Sacrament of Holy Orders in its real sense.” Their role was, for example, to visit women, something that was impossible for a priest to do.

In 2001, the German prelate spoke about the Church Fathers and showed that they always rejected the idea of ordaining female deacons: “All important Church Fathers explicitly rejected as heretical the practice of a few communities separated from the Church to admit women to the diaconate and to the priesthood.”

Having been a member of the Vatican commission that studied the history of the diaconate under the leadership of then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Müller has dealt with this topic for many years and has always come to the same conclusions. Female ordination is not possible. In 2016, when Pope Francis decided to set up yet another study commission on the female diaconate, Cardinal Müller had pointed out that there had already been such a commission which worked within the International Theological Commission. After a ten-year period of studying the topic, the commission published its own report in 2002.

The report stated at the time:

With regard to the ordination of women to the diaconate, it should be noted that two important indications emerge from what has been said up to this point:

1. The deaconesses mentioned in the tradition of the ancient Church – as evidenced by the rite of institution and the functions they exercised – were not purely and simply equivalent to the deacons;

2. The unity of the sacrament of Holy Orders, in the clear distinction between the ministries of the bishop and the priests on the one hand and the diaconal ministry on the other, is strongly underlined by ecclesial tradition, especially in the teaching of the Magisterium.

Now, for the first time, Pope Francis himself revealed the findings of the female deacon commission that he had established in 2016 and which had submitted its final report in the summer of 2018. At an in-flight press conference on his recent return from a May 5-7 apostolic visit to Bulgaria and Macedonia on Tuesday, the Pope said that, according to the commission, “the formulae of ordination for the [female] diaconate found until now are not the same as for the male diaconate and are more similar to what today would be the abbatial blessing of an abbess.” “There were deaconesses in the beginning,” he added, but the question is whether “it was a sacramental ordination or not.” “What is fundamental,” the Pope explained, “is that there is no certainty that there was ordination with the same form and finality as male ordination.” He further explained, saying:

They [the female deacons] helped, for example, in the liturgy of baptism, which was by immersion. When they baptized a woman the deaconess assisted. They also assisted for the anointing of the woman’s body. Then a document came out that showed the deaconess was called by the bishop when there was a marital dispute, for the dissolution of the marriage or the divorce or separation. When the woman accused her husband of having hit her, the deaconesses were sent by the bishop to look at her body for bruises, and so they testified for judgment.

Thus, Pope Francis' commission appears to have come, in important aspects, to the same conclusion as the previous commission of 2002, and also as Cardinal Müller's own research has shown it. However, the Pope somewhat vaguely added that the members still had some disagreements about this question and that they would thus individually continue their own research.

We will see what Pope Francis will tell the International Union of (female) Superiors General, who three years ago asked him to appoint a commission to study the question of female deacons, when he meets them on May 10.

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Democrats bullying teenage girls, butchering science to defend abortion

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By Jonathon Van Maren

SIGN THE PETITION: Pennsylvania lawmaker must resign for attacking pro-lifers. Sign the petition here.

May 9, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — The actions of Democratic state representative Brian Sims of Pennsylvania, a self-described gay progressive abortion-supporter, have attracted new attention to the virulent abortion extremism of the Democratic Party this week. Sims filmed himself harassing an elderly pro-life woman praying outside a Planned Parenthood abortion clinic in Philadelphia, and then another video was exposed where he filmed two teen girls — ages 13 and 15 — and offered his viewers up to $100 to dox them, interspersing that creepy and repulsive display with shouting at them about their skin color and religion. There have been calls for his resignation, but Sims has thus far been defiant. In return, Planned Parenthood has lauded him as a pro-choice champion.

But Sims has had a lot of help in shining the spotlight on the Democratic Party’s ugly fixation with defending abortion, no matter what the cost.

On Monday night, CNN host Chris Cuomo — brother of New York governor and late-term abortion enthusiast Andrew Cuomo — hosted what evolved into a fiery exchange between former presidential candidate Rick Santorum and Democratic politician Christine Quinn. When Santorum pointed out that the child developing within the womb of the mother is obviously a human being, Cuomo began barking his response, eyes flashing angrily, demanding to know why Santorum didn’t “believe in the Supreme Court.” Quinn leapt in and claimed, bizarrely, that “when a woman is pregnant, that is not a human being inside of her. It is part of her body.”

That, of course, is simply untrue, and every embryology textbook in the country could provide Quinn with the correct information. Cuomo was more cold-blooded about the whole thing, admitting that obviously, a new and unique human life begins at conception but noting that these human beings are not currently recognized as persons under the law. He’s right, of course, but Cuomo perhaps missed the irony of claiming to be a progressive while championing the age-old tactic of separating a human being from legal personhood status in order to facilitate widespread victimization. In the meantime, he let his guest babble on and embarrass herself by managing to butcher the science while defending butchering babies.

Two days later, socialist media star and New York Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted her disapproval of a “heartbeat bill” in Georgia, which would ban abortion after the baby’s heartbeat can be detected (the heart begins to beat as early as 21 days). Ocasio-Cortez’s confusing take on this was to note: “‘6 weeks pregnant’=2 weeks late on your period. Most of the men writing these bills don’t know the first thing about a woman’s body outside of the things they want from it. It’s relatively common for a woman to have a late period + not be pregnant. So this is a backdoor ban.” CNN, of course, reported on this bewildering nonsense without stopping to ask what in the world Ocasio-Cortez is talking about.

“Six weeks pregnant” is “2 weeks late on your period” much like “8 weeks pregnant” is “4 weeks late on your period.” The point is that after conception occurs, a new human being has come into existence. Obviously, a bill designed to protect babies in the womb would be irrelevant to a woman who has a late period but is not pregnant, so I have no idea what Ocasio-Cortez is talking about. To be fair, it seems extremely unlikely that she does, either. Equally strange is her claim that the heartbeat bill is a “backdoor ban” when, in fact, the bill is pretty transparent about what it is trying to accomplish: ban abortion after fetal heartbeat can be detected. No back doors necessary: That’s right in the bill. If Ocasio-Cortez had bothered to read it, she might have discovered some interesting things about embryology.

Abortion is shaping up to be a major issue in the upcoming presidential election. The Democratic Party appears to be bought and paid for by the abortion industry, with dead-eyed Democrats refusing even to pass protections for children who survive abortion attempts. The Democrats have never met an abortion they weren’t willing to defend, and there’s not a single corpse in the dumpsters behind Planned Parenthood they won’t champion. And that is why, despite all the faults of the Republican Party and President Donald J. Trump — and they are both numerous and serious — Democrats are telling those who oppose killing innocent and vulnerable human beings that they really have no choice.

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