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Irish health service approves patients flushing their aborted babies

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By Martin Barillas

DUBLIN, May 15, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — The Irish Health Service Executive (HSE) noted on its website five points for mothers to keep in mind after an abortion, including that they're welcome to flush “down the toilet” the remains of their babies.

The fifth of the points described on the website, titled “Pregnancy Remains,” notes that abortionists should explain available options for discarding the “pregnancy remains” of babies aborted between 9 and 12 weeks gestation. “This will be done in a sensitive manner. They will help you make a decision that is right for you.”

In cases where mothers do not decide on the destination of their baby’s remains, the hospital will “dispose of the remains,” according to the website. “If you have an abortion before 9 weeks of pregnancy, you can decide how to dispose of the remains. They can be flushed down the toilet or wrapped in tissue and disposed of as you wish.”

Irish pro-life campaigners reacted with shock to the news. “‘This will be done in a sensitive manner’ Oh! So that’s ok then, that they are being sensitive! That is the sickest, most vile statement I have ever read! How the hell do you flush human remains down the toilet in a sensitive manner? How can anyone even write that diabolical sentence?" wrote Mary Devereaux Lawlor in a social media post on Facebook.

Frank Bergin wrote on Facebook, “Beyond contempt. This needs to be highlighted far and wide, challenged and vigourously opposed. Not acceptable in any civilized society (of any faith or none) to be issued as governmental agency advice.” Gina Dortaigh wrote: “Can’t flush a baby wipe, but can flush a baby. The sick irony. Just horrific. No dignity, only contempt for these children.”

The Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) Act passed in December 2018, which followed a referendum that amended the Irish Constitution in May of that year. Currently,  abortion is permitted throughout the first twelve weeks of pregnancy. Afterwards, abortion is permitted where the mother’s life or health is at risk, or in cases of an abnormality in the baby. Abortion has been made available at Ireland’s public hospitals and through its socialized medical system since January 1, 2019.

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Nevada state senator Yvanna Cancela (D). AILA National via YouTube.
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Legislators move to make Nevada an abortion ‘free-for-all’ state with new law

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By Martin Barillas

LAS VEGAS, May 15, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Nevada faces the probable approval of a bill that would further liberalize state abortion law, eliminating informed consent provisions and age verification for minors.

Passed by voters in a 1990 referendum, current Nevada statutory law allows mothers to have a doctor-induced abortion within the first 24 weeks of pregnancy. After 24 weeks, abortion in the state is legal if the mother’s life or health is in danger. Violations of the law are punishable by up to 10 years in prison and/or a $10,000 fine. It would take another state referendum to reverse Nevada’s statute.

Under Senate Bill 179, also known as the Trust Nevada Women Act, abortionists would modify the Nevada statute (NRS 442.250) to remove penalties on illegal abortions and illegal providers. It would also eliminate requirements for abortionists to verify the age of mothers seeking abortion and the requirement that doctors obtain written consent that would preclude coercion by a third party. The bill would also remove criminal penalties for providers of abortion-inducing drugs and allow non-doctors to perform abortion procedures.

Abortion advocates in Nevada, as in other states such as New York, are anticipating the Supreme Court’s possible overturning of Roe v. Wade and are thus seeking to reinforce abortion in state statutes. According to The Nevada Independent, state senator Yvanna Cancela (D) claimed that the proposed new law will “clean up” Nevada’s “antiquated statutes” on abortion.

The bill is awaiting a vote by the full legislature, having been passed out of committee in both chambers. A vote is expected within a week.

During testimony before the state Senate Health and Human Services Committee in March, Cancela said, “In Nevada, unlike most states, should Roe v Wade be overturned, abortion would remain legal via statute.” Cancela introduced the bill. She also praised her predecessors who codified abortion in Nevada statutory law back in 1990. Advocates of S.B. 179 assert that it merely eliminates outdated language in state law regarding abortion.

An opponent of the bill, GOP senator Scott Hammond, said husbands should have the right to be notified if their wives are contemplating abortion. “As a father, you want to ask so it makes her think for a second about the consequences she’s undertaking. I think it’s really relevant, if not medically relevant. This is a highly charged event in somebody’s life.”

Sen. Cancela disagreed and likened a requirement for a wife to inform her husband about a contemplated abortion to requiring husbands to inform their wives about vasectomy.

In an interview with LifeSiteNews, Melissa Clement of Nevada Right to Life said she fears that eliminating the requirement for age verification could counter the fight against sex-trafficking and sexual abuse. Noting that there is no requirement for minors seeking abortion to obtain parental consent in Nevada, she said girls seeking abortion at a young age may be victims of sexual abuse that should be reported to authorities.

“We’re afraid that we’ll become a state with do-it-yourself home abortions,” Clement said. The bill would eliminate age verification by abortionists, Clement said, in a state that is known for child sex-trafficking. A recent study by Creighton University showed, for example, that approximately 1,500 women and girls are being sold for sex every hour in the Reno, Nevada, area. “This bill is a dream come true for child sex-traffickers,” Clement said.

The bill will soon go before the full Nevada assembly, Clement said, and will likely be approved by Gov. Steve Sisolak (D). “We need a miracle in our state,” Clement told LifeSiteNews, “because NARAL and Planned Parenthood spent millions of dollars on the elections and now the bill is coming due. They want an abortion free-for-all. I worry that our majority and Planned Parenthood bought-sold governor will provide that.”

Clement has argued in the past that the legislation should be known as the “Abortionist Protection Bill,” saying it eliminates safeguards currently in state law for women. Clement has also objected to changes to the informed consent procedure, saying it would place the burden on women to ask about risks rather than abortionists.

Citizens who wish to register their opinion with the Nevada legislature about the bill can do so here.

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Governor Kay Ivey signs strong pro-life law, May 15, 2019. Governor Kay Ivey / Twitter
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Alabama Governor signs law outlawing abortion, gives life sentence to abortion docs

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By Claire Chretien

Updated May 15, 2019 at 7:47 p.m. EST to include statements from CEC for Life.

ALABAMA, May 15, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Alabama Governor Kay Ivey signed into law today the strongest pro-life bill in the country, making almost all abortions illegal in the Yellowhammer state.

The law, the Alabama Human Life Protection Act, makes it a felony for doctors to commit abortions. Abortions are only allowed to “avert (a mother’s) death or serious risk of substantial physical impairment of a major bodily function.” The law makes committing an abortion a Class A felony – punishable by up to 99 years in prison – and attempting to commit an abortion a Class C felony.

“Today, I signed into law the Alabama Human Life Protection Act, a bill that was approved by overwhelming majorities in both chambers of the Legislature,” Gov. Ivey, a Republican, said. “To the bill’s many supporters, this legislation stands as a powerful testament to Alabamians’ deeply held belief that every life is precious and that every life is a sacred gift from God.”

“To all Alabamians, I assure you that we will continue to follow the rule of law,” she continued.

Ivey noted, “In all meaningful respects, this bill closely resembles an abortion ban that has been a part of Alabama law for well over 100 years. As today’s bill itself recognizes, that [long standing] abortion law has been rendered ‘unenforceable as a result of the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade.’”

“At least for the short term, this bill may similarly be unenforceable,” the governor acknowledged, but noted it may be the law that results in the overturning of Roe v. Wade, which imposed abortion on demand across the country.

“As citizens of this great country, we must always respect the authority of the U.S. Supreme Court even when we disagree with their decisions,” she said. “Many Americans, myself included, disagreed when Roe v. Wade was handed down in 1973. The sponsors of this bill believe that it is time, once again, for the U.S. Supreme Court to revisit this important matter, and they believe this act may bring about the best opportunity for this to occur.”

The state senate passed the Act last night 25-6, rejecting attempts to add exceptions for babies conceived in rape and incest.

Live Action founder and president Lila Rose called Ivey’s signing of the bill into law “an amazing step forward for human rights.”

“We are so thankful to have a governor who protects Life at every level and is willing to fight for the lives of preborn children to the very end, no matter how hard that fight may be,” Father Terry Gensemer, the Director of CEC for Life and an Alabama resident, told LifeSiteNews. 

“Alabama is now leading the nation with the most pro-life bill in history: an abortion ban from conception with no exceptions for rape and incest,” the pro-life group noted on its website. “That means every child – not just those conceived in perfect circumstances – is protected by law in our state.”

“This law also establishes criminal penalties for those performing abortions. This means we do not consider abortionists to be fine, upstanding citizens in Alabama,” CEC for Life continued. “We recognize them as criminals who are not welcome here. Their shoddy businesses are not welcome either. CEC For Life will continue to pray for their conversion, but we also celebrate a law that finally exposes the abortion industry for the criminal operation it has always been.”

Three abortion facilities are currently operating in Alabama – in Tuscaloosa, Montgomery, and Huntsville. The state’s two Planned Parenthood facilities are unable to commit abortions right now. The Birmingham Planned Parenthood is building a massive new facility off of a major highway there; the Mobile Planned Parenthood is apparently closed for renovations.

This is a developing story. LifeSiteNews will continue to post updates as they become available.

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Ambulance takes woman to hospital from Planned Parenthood after rally to protest Pa. rep’s bullying

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By Lisa Bourne

May 15, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) -- Shortly after 1,000-plus pro-life advocates gathered last Friday at a Philadelphia Planned Parenthood for a rally in answer to Democratic State Rep. Brian Simspro-abortion bullying of pro-life women, an ambulance arrived to transport someone at the abortion facility to the hospital.

The ambulance came to the Locust Street Planned Parenthood around 3 p.m. Friday, Operation Rescue reported, and emergency responders took a woman from the abortion facility to the ambulance in a wheelchair. The incident was captured on video.

That morning, pro-lifers had rallied there in response to Sims harassing a woman and three teenage girls in separate incidents last month as they prayed and demonstrated outside the Planned Parenthood. The Democrat lawmaker posted video on social media of himself confronting the woman and girls.

The video showed Sims continually berating the Catholic woman as she quietly prayed the rosary at the abortion facility, repeatedly calling her “shameful,” “disgusting,” “racist,” and an “old white lady.”

In the video of him harassing the young women, he calls them “a bunch of pseudo-Christian protesters who’ve been out here shaming young girls for being here,” and then offers “$100 to anybody who will identify these three.” He went on to harass a young pro-life man who was peacefully demonstrating outside the Planned Parenthood.

Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput, O.F.M. Cap., termed Sims’ verbal assault of the women, and in particular Sims’ offering his video viewers money if they doxxed the teen girls, “hateful” and “unbecoming of an elected official.”

Since the rally and other backlash associated with Sims’ actions, he has gone dark on social media and on Friday public access was blocked to his office building.

As of last week, Philadelphia district attorney Larry Krasner was reviewing a request from state Republican Party chairman Val DiGiorgio to open criminal investigations into Sims for “intimidation and harassment.”

The Locust Street Surgical Center in Philadelphia is Planned Parenthood’s largest abortion site in Pennsylvania. It has a health and safety record with the state that is shocking and ongoing, having failed 13 of its last 23 patient safety inspections.

According to documents from the Pennsylvania Department of Health, among the Planned Parenthood abortion facility’s inspection deficiencies are failing to report child sex abuse, failure to determine a physical status on all patients before anesthesia or surgery, failure to provide a safe and sanitary environment, improper storage of aborted babies’ remains, failure to report a serious incident affecting a patient, and no background checks on employees.

Pro-life advocates continue to call for the largest abortion business in the United States to be defunded of roughly half-billion dollars in annual taxpayer funding and for authorities to hold all abortion providers accountable for conditions at abortion facilities nationwide.

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Pro-abortion Alyssa Milano claims ‘we are all pro-life,’ defends ‘sex strike’ proposal

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By Calvin Freiburger

May 15, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Alyssa Milano, the far-left actress leading the Hollywood charge against Georgia’s newly enacted heartbeat law, appeared on Chris Cuomo’s CNN show Tuesday evening to continue her pro-abortion messaging efforts and defend one proposal that has garnered bipartisan mockery.

House Bill 481 forbids abortions once a fetal heartbeat can be detected except in cases of rape, incest, physical medical emergencies, and pregnancies deemed “medically futile.” If allowed to take effect, it will ban abortions in all other cases as early as six weeks into a pregnancy starting in January 2020. Republican Gov. Brian Kemp signed it into law on Tuesday, declaring Georgia a “state that values life” and “stand[s] up for those who are unable to speak for themselves.”

The film industry generates considerable jobs and revenue for the Peach State, leading Milano and dozens of other celebrities to threaten to boycott the state in hopes of scaring Georgians into rejecting the law, then punishing them for enacting it. A handful of smaller studios have since announced they’re refusing to film in Georgia, and Milano herself has called on women to take part in a “sex strike,” because “until women have legal control over our own bodies we just cannot risk pregnancy.”

In a Tuesday evening interview with Cuomo, Milano attempted to explain that the “sex strike” proposal was merely an attempt to shock people into paying attention.

“My purpose for sending out that tweet was simply, I felt like these bills were being ignored and sending out that tweet, look at me now, I’m on your show and we’re talking about women’s rights and how they’re being rolled back,” she said. “These bills are ridiculous. In Georgia, the heartbeat bill, basically criminalizing abortion after six weeks. Most women don’t know they’re pregnant before eight weeks. I was eight weeks before I found out.”

“These bills make sex and getting pregnant extremely dangerous for women,” she added.

Milano also declared that she doesn’t think “there's a human on the planet that is not pro-life” and “we are all pro-life,” reiterating the common talking point that “nobody wants to get an abortion, nobody.” In fact, pro-abortion activist efforts such as Shout Your Abortion are predicated on the idea that act of abortion itself, not merely its availability, is a source of pride that should be normalized.

“But there are circumstances that we cannot avoid” such as “mother’s health,” Milano said, despite the Georgia law containing exceptions for health and various other circumstances. “There’s just not being ready, you know, and what that means financially and for someone’s destiny. This is an economic issue. Just because there are women who don’t believe in abortion, don’t take away someone else’s right.” The pro-abortion Cuomo did not press her to explain why a preborn child’s rights should be taken away.

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Google prioritizes left-wing media sites in search results, new study finds

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By Calvin Freiburger

May 15, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Another study has once again confirmed what Google’s conservative critics have long alleged: that the world’s leading search engine tilts its news results heavily in favor of left-wing sources.

A new study by researchers at Northwestern University “presents an algorithm audit of the Google Top Stories box,” examining the results’ variety and ideological leanings, the Daily Mail reports. The researchers looked at the 6,302 articles that appeared in Google’s Top Stories box in November 2017, and found that CNN had the largest percentage of articles at 10%, followed by the New York Times at 6.5% and the Washington Post at 5.6%. From there, Fox News was fourth at just 3%.

The rest of the top twenty sources were all left-leaning organizations or publications, such as Politico, NPR, ABC News, NBC News, and the Huffington Post. No openly conservative news publisher, such as the Daily Caller, made the list.

“Results showed that Google Top Stories box impressions tend to have a more left-leaning than right-leaning inclination,” the study said. “This can also vary by search term, with 161 terms having an overall left-leaning score and 22 having a right-learning score. It is important to note that a baseline of news content on the internet provided by GDELT [a news aggregation system] showed that a left-leaning slant is the general tendency.”

The study found that 86% of results for the month came from a mere 20 websites, 62% of which were deemed “left-leaning.” Other analyses previously found those numbers to be even higher.

Last August, PJ Media’s Paula Bolyard conducted an experiment in which she performed a News search for “trump,” then categorized the results as “Left” or “Right” based on a media bias chart from journalist Sharyl Attkisson. Bolyard found that out of the first 100 results, CNN alone accounted for 21, the Washington Post for 11, and only five results came from right-leaning sources (Fox News and the Wall Street Journal).

The findings are only the latest revelations to undermine Google CEO Sundar Pichai’s repeated insistence that the company’s ubiquitous services are ideologically neutral. In April, documents revealed that Google manually manipulates search results and even maintains a blcaklist of conservative sites including The American Spectator and Conservative Tribune.

Numerous other leaked private conversations and documents appear to show that the staff’s dominant ideology is dramatically out of step with the country at large and that Google is willing to enforce those ideologies through its ostensibly neutral services and platforms.

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Federal judge reverses own ruling on Virginia law against non-doctors commiting abortions

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By Calvin Freiburger

RICHMOND, Virginia, May 15, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – In a rare reversal, the federal judge who struck down part of a decades-old Virginia requirement Monday that only licensed physicians could commit abortions in the first trimester has vacated his own order a week later, stating that more information is necessary to render a sound verdict.

The Virginia League for Planned Parenthood and a group of medical centers sued the state over the 1975 law last summer, arguing it and other abortion regulations were burdensome and medically unnecessary. Last week, U.S. District Judge Henry Hudson ruled in part against the law on the grounds that the rule was “unduly burdensome” in the first trimester but not later in pregnancy.

On Tuesday, however, Hudson vacated his own order, The Washington Post reported, and offered both sides the opportunity to make their case at trial next week.

“On further review, the Court is of the opinion that summary judgment was improvidently awarded,” he wrote. “Rather, on further consideration, whether the ‘Physicians-Only Law’ presents an undue burden to Virginia women who seek an abortion is a material fact that is genuinely in dispute.”

“Whatever the full explanation, we're thrilled that Judge Hudson took this extraordinary step to reverse his earlier decision that jeopardized women's health, nullified our laws, and provided another free pass to the abortion facilities,” the Family Foundation of Virginia responded in a statement. “Unfortunately, when we have an Attorney General who acts out of loyalty to a favored special interest instead of fidelity to the law, initial impressions of the court can become distorted. That seems to have played a role here.”

Undeterred, Center for Reproductive Rights lead attorney Jenny Ma told the Post that she would present at trial the “overwhelming evidence that medical professionals other than physicians can safely and effectively provide abortion care.”

Pro-lifers argue that relaxing the criteria for who can commit abortions will both increase the number of abortions in the state and put abortion-seeking women in greater danger by subjecting them to abortionists with less training or experience. Infamous Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell, for instance, delegated parts of the abortion process such as administering anesthesia to non-physician employees, one of whom was only 15 years old.

"Abortion through birth isn't enough for the abortion industry,” Family Foundation of Virginia president Virginia Cobb previously said. “Now it wants to increase its profit margin by not having to pay for doctors to do surgery."

Other questions over the law’s ultrasound and waiting period provisions are slated to be taken up on May 20.

Virginia’s government is currently presided over by Democrat Gov. Ralph Northam, one of the most infamously pro-abortion politicians in the country due to his defense of a bill that would have effectively allowed infanticide. But unfettered abortion on demand continues to receive pushback from Republican lawmakers, who last month blocked Northam’s budget proposal that would have restored taxpayer funding of abortion.

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Catholic girls’ prep school invokes Gospel to justify adding same-sex unions to alumnae magazine

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By Calvin Freiburger

WASHINGTON, D.C., May 15, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Georgetown Visitation Preparatory School, a Catholic girls’ high school in the nation’s capital, has spurred controversy by announcing it will begin highlighting same-sex “marriages” among other news in the school’s alumnae magazine.

“The Church is clear in its teaching on same-sex marriages. But, it is equally clear in its teaching that we are all children of God, that we each have dignity and are worthy of respect and love,” Sister Mary Berchmans, president emerita of the school, wrote in a letter early May, the Daily Caller reported. “As I have prayed over this contradiction, I keep returning to this choice: we can focus on Church teaching on gay marriage or we can focus on Church teaching on the Gospel commandment of love.

“We know from history – including very recent history – that the Church, in its humanity, makes mistakes,” she argued. “Yet, through the grace of God and the power of the Holy Spirit, it learns and grows. And so, we choose the Gospel commandment of love.”

The Archdiocese of Washington responded with a statement that it “was not made aware of the discussion of Catholic identity or the recent decision of the school to communicate the change for their alumni publication until after the letter announcing the decision was distributed to the wider Georgetown Visitation community,” WTOP reported. “Catholic Church teaching on marriage is clear, and it also does not conflict with the Gospel message of love.”

Catholic News Agency reported that the decision appears to be partly the result of discussions with a handful of pro-LGBT activists and homosexual alumnae who formed a private Facebook group called Georgetown Visitation Alumnae for Equity. In the group, members shared communications to Berchmans and retiring Head of School Dan Kerns, as well as a reply from the former.

One email to the two from a former student and “proudly gay alumna” complained about the magazine’s refusal to publish another student’s same-sex “wedding” announcement, and lectured the school that “when you talk about the teachings of the church, I want you to remember all of the teachings of the church.” The poster later shared a reply in which Berchmans said the school was working “towards a solution.”

CNA noted similar language between Berchmans’ announcement letter and the appeals to her. “I want you to remember to Live Jesus,” the poster told her (a phrase that’s “part of our Salesian charism and a deeply engrained part of who we are as a community of faith,” according to the school), and Berchmans went on to write that she had been “reflect(ing) upon what it means to Live Jesus in relationship with our LGBTQ alumnae.”

A Georgetown Visitation spokesperson declared that feedback to the new policy has been “overwhelmingly and heartwarmingly positive,” but CNA noted that a member of the pro-LGBT Facebook group wrote that Berchmans was “struggling from the amount of negative pushback from members of the Visitation community,” and that one mother of a current student told CNA that many parents object but are afraid to speak out.

Another parent alleged that Georgetown Visitation students face pressure to support “so-called LGBTQ values,” such as the same-sex “marriage” of a teacher. “All the parents felt like we had to support this teachers ‘marriage,’ and we didn’t really know how to deal with it,” the parent said. “You worry about soft discrimination against the children...A’s become B’s very quickly, and you do not want to have a reputation as one of the ‘angry parents,’” another mother warned.

“It is far more comfortable to acquiesce in the wisdom of the age than to courageously rebel against it,” Father Carter Griffin lamented at the National Catholic Register. “And it is not compassionate to approve, even implicitly, sexual behavior that imperils the immortal souls of so many of our brothers and sisters.

“Sanctimonious allusions to love untethered to the truth of human flourishing, unmoored from virtue and holiness, do not help souls but rather lull them into a dangerous state of complacency,” he argued, “especially when such claims are advanced by those with greater responsibility, such as venerable religious sisters.”

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Ontario appeals court rules Christian doctors must participate in abortion, euthanasia

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By Lianne Laurence

TORONTO, May 15, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — An Ontario appeal court struck a blow against religious freedom today, ruling that the right of doctors to conscientiously object to participating in abortion and euthanasia is trumped by their patient’s right to equitable access to health care.

In a unanimous decision released Wednesday, the appeal judges upheld a divisional court’s January 2018 ruling that quashed a Charter challenge by Christian doctors to a College of Physicians and Surgeons (CPSO) policy.

The CPSO policy requires doctors who object to abortion, euthanasia, and other morally objectionable “medical services” to give patients seeking these services an “effective referral” that is, to an accessible colleague willing to do the act. 

The policy also requires that objecting doctors perform such “medical services” in unspecified emergency situations.

The 74-page appeal court decision, written by Ontario Chief Justice George Strathy, with Justices Sarah Pepall and J. Michal Fairburn concurring, agreed with the divisional court and dismissed the appeal.

The divisional court ruled the CPSO policy did violate the doctors’ Charter rights, but that the infringement was reasonable given the “pressing and substantial” governmental objective of ensuring patients’ “right to equitable access to health care.”

There is “compelling evidence” that “vulnerable patients” seeking euthanasia, abortion, “contraception and other aspects of sexual health care” will “suffer harm” if their family doctors refuse them an effective referral, wrote Strathy in Wednesday's appeal court judgement.

“One can reasonably anticipate that the loss of the personal support of a trusted physician would leave the patient with feelings of rejection, shame and stigma,” he wrote.

However, the appeal court explicitly ruled the CPSO policies are “not regulations” and that non-compliance with them “is not an act of professional misconduct.”

At the same time, the CPSO policies do “establish expectations of physicians’ behavior and ‘are intended to have normative force.’ As such, they may be used as evidence of professional standards in support of an allegation of professional misconduct,” wrote Strathy.

“This is a set-back for every Canadian who wants her or his conscience to be respected by government authority,” said John Carpay, lawyer and president of the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms, one of the intervenors in the case, in a press release.

The CPSO policy was challenged by three associations — the Canadian Physicians for Life (CPL), the Canadian Federation of Catholic Physicians’ Societies (CFCPS), the Christian Medical and Dental Society of Canada (CMDSC) — and five Christian doctors. The case was argued in Toronto over three days in June 2017.

There were nine intervenors: the then-Liberal government of Ontario (the Ford Ontario government dropped out in November), Dying with Dignity Canada, the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, the Catholic Bishops of Ontario, the Catholic Civil Rights League, the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedom, the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network, and the Canadian Professional Association for Transgender Health. 

The Christian doctors were represented by Albertos Polizogopoulos, who filed an appeal of the January 2018 ruling last May.

He argued the divisional court erred in law on 20 grounds, and in fact on at least 15 grounds, and that there was “neither evidence nor legal authority” for the court to conclude the Charter’s Section 7 “includes a right to equitable access to legal medical procedures.”

But the appeal court disagreed, tossing out Polizogopoulos’s appeal and upholding the divisional court’s finding that “physicians have no right to practice medicine, let alone a constitutionally-protected right to do so.”

Moreover, in Ontario, doctors “practice in a single-payer, publicly-funded health care system, which is structured around patient-centred care. In the case of conflict, the interests of patients come first, and physicians have a duty not to abandon their patients” (167), Strathy wrote.

He noted in his ruling that a pro-life doctor testified she would discuss abortion with a patient, point out that “the baby dies” and refer her to a pro-life counselling center.

Such a view “could reasonably be expected to have a deterrent and stigmatizing effect on the patient, impeding her access to the medical services she had requested,” he wrote.

The chief justice also referred to testimony of a Christian doctor who said she would tell a patient who wanted to transition to the opposite sex that such a transition was not in the patient’s best interests or in God’s plan.

This evidence demonstrates “how physicians’ religious objections can be a barrier to health care for marginalized groups. Such remarks could reasonably be expected to cause the patient stigma and shame,” Strathy wrote.

He quotes testimony of Dr. Barbara Bean of Toronto abortion center Choice in Health Clinic that the impact of physicians’ “moral and religious beliefs” causes “delay, trauma, shame and self-doubt” for their patients. 

Regarding the question of balancing the “salutary effects” of the policy against the imputed harm to doctors, he received “much assistance” from the brief of Dying With Dignity, a pro-euthanasia group that intervened in the case, Strathy wrote.

Dying With Dignity maintained patients seeking to be killed by a doctor should not have to “bear the burden of managing the consequences of physicians’  religious objections.”

“If a doctor is unwilling to take the less onerous step of structuring their practice in a manner that ensures their personal views do not stand in the way of their patients’ right to dignity, autonomy privacy and security of the person, then the more onerous requirement of transfer to a new specialty is a reasonable burden for that doctor to bear,” the group wrote.

The doctors’ groups decried the ruling in a Wednesday press conference.

“We are deeply disappointed that the Appeal Court upheld what we view to be a flawed and damaging position for the freedom of conscience and professional integrity of Ontario physicians,” CMDSC president Dr. Sheila Harding said.

The decision “doesn’t seem to make sense,” said Dr. Tim Lau, president of the CFCPS, noting that only 15 per cent of patients in Canada have access to palliative care, and people can “wait years” to see a psychiatrist.

“How can individual physicians be responsible for the provision of a whole system?” questioned Lau.

However, CPL is “encouraged” the appeal court “restrained the CPSO by ruling that an effective referral is not a medical referral. Furthermore, it ruled that not making an effective referral is not a matter for professional misconduct,” noted Nicole Scheidl, CPL executive director in a press statement.

Nevertheless, “failure to refer” could form the basis of a complaint to the CPSO, and “just the threat of a complaint from the College is extremely debilitating,” Larry Worthen, CMDSC spokesperson, said at the press conference. 

The policy may also deter pro-life individuals from becoming doctors in Ontario, Worthen said.

“The process is the punishment,” said Harding. “The concern here is not necessarily what a final outcome would be, so much as what the process would be, which could go on for months and months and months, and the burden that that would be on a physician caught in the crosshairs.” 

The doctors’ organizations have not yet decided if they would appeal the ruling, but that option is not off the table, they said at the conference.

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Cardinal Willem Eijk Olivier Figueras
Jeanne Smits, Paris correspondent


INTERVIEW: Dutch Cardinal Willem Eijk answers questions on crisis in Church, loss of faith

Jeanne Smits, Paris correspondent
By Jeanne Smits
Jeanne Smits interviews Cardinal Willem Eijk. Olivier Figueras

May 15, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Cardinal Willem Eijk, archbishop of Utrecht, is at present one of the most outspoken defenders of perennial Catholic teaching in the Church. He has repeatedly asked for “clarity” from Rome and especially from the Pope, be it regarding the interpretation of Amoris laetitia or other points such as intercommunion in the Catholic Mass for some Protestant faithful.

The Cardinal discusses in a wide-ranging interview with LifeSiteNews what he has done in his diocese to combat the German bishops' push for intercommunion, how the faith is being rediscovered and lived by a new generation in the Netherlands, how he is still seeking clarification from Pope Francis regarding confusion surrounding the Pope's Exhortation Amoris laetitia, how the rosary and Fatima plays an important role in his ministry, why he celebrates Mass ad orientem , and why shepherds have a duty to preach the faith in all its fullness and with clarity, including on topics such as the reality of hell for people who reject God. 

His Eminence received this reporter at his episcopal palace in Utrecht, Netherlands, answering LifeSite’s questions freely and from the abundance of his heart. Below is the full text of the interview.


LifeSite: Your Eminence, I was very struck by the article you published in the National Catholic Register and La Nuova Bussola Quotidiana May 2018. You first mentioned the suggestion that communion could be given to Protestant spouses of Catholic faithful. You pointed out the confusion that this would cause. The situation has evolved since then: have you had any information, for example, about couples who have asked to benefit from this possibility, or whether the suggestion is being implemented in some places?

Cardinal Eijk: I reacted to this document from the German Bishops’ Conference for a very specific reason. It so happens that in our diocese during the larger ceremonies, we have been drawing attention to the fact that only persons living in full communion with the Catholic Church can receive communion. The others can come forward, arms crossed on their breast, to receive a blessing. We further specify: “You can also simply stay in your place and unite with the Lord through silent prayer.” We have also included this text in ceremony booklets, for example for priestly ordinations or confirmations... In many places, we see that people take it into account. Everywhere we see people coming forward with their hands crossed on their breast; they are often Protestants married to Catholics. These people are very happy with this blessing. They appreciate very much to be able to come forward with others, and to receive something, too.

When the concept document setting out the proposal of the German Bishops’ Conference was made public by the media, my auxiliary bishops and I thought that this idea might well end up reaching our country. That is why I once again made it very clear what the Church teaches about intercommunion. That article went around the world: it appeared in English but also in Italian in La Nuova Bussola Quotidiana Christiana (1). It has allowed us to reach a large number of people.

In this article, I not only mentioned intercommunion but also the fact that two cardinals, whose names I did not give, had argued for the blessing of “so-called same-sex marriages”.

Following this German concept document on intercommunion, and because of this explicit plea by cardinals in favor of the blessing of homosexual relationships, I asked the Pope to create clarity, quite simply by recalling the documents of the Church’s magisterium.

Well, to date, the situation remains unchanged. There was no reaction, at least not in public. And that means that there is still a lot of confusion among Catholics about these issues. We can see this in many ways. And I deeply regret it, because I am in favor of clarity.

LifeSite: You used extraordinarily strong words. You spoke of “apostasy inside the Church”. Could you explain what you meant by that?

Eijk: I quoted number 675 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Because there are cardinals who plead for the blessing of homosexual relationships, I referred to this paragraph of the Catechism as a warning. It states that shortly before Apocalypse, voices will rise within the Church itself, and even among the highest authorities of the Church who will express divergent opinions in relation to Catholic doctrine. I did this as a warning: let us be careful not to find ourselves in this situation. I must say that, to my surprise, Cardinal Müller took up this idea: on February 9 of this year, he published a statement on the fundamental elements of the Catholic faith, in which he also referred to number 675 (2). It is also remarkable that my interview and the full quotation were also taken up by Bishop Gänswein during the presentation of a book by Rod Dreher, The Benedict Option.

All this has reached many people and many have also started to think about it. In this way, I hope to get more and more people in the Church to open their mouths and create clarity, because many Catholics – but you know this as well as I do – are really confused.

LifeSite: Isn’t the problem today that many people in positions of authority say nothing? Is this silence not the great trial of our time?

Eijk: Yes, but I would add that, if this is indeed the duty of cardinals and bishops, priests, deacons, the laity and volunteers who work in parishes are not exempt from it. As a general rule, Catholics are shy about displaying their own faith in Christ and in the principles of the Church’s doctrine. Among Dutch Catholics, this timidity is even very strong. This is certainly due to the fact that in the centuries following the Reformation we were forced to remain silent: it was difficult for us to express any point of view openly. While we could celebrate our liturgy in underground churches, which allowed us to continue to proclaim our faith, we were obliged to do so with great caution, and this attitude continues to manifest itself among Catholics today. But it is a trend that can also be seen in other parts of the world. 

Even among parents... In their lives, children do not first meet a priest, but their parents. It is important that these parents should speak very explicitly to their children about Jesus, prayer, and the foundations of the faith.

We have here in Utrecht every Sunday at half-past twelve in the cathedral a mass in English, attended by a large number of foreigners. We see a whole swarm of young people who also bring their children – these young people often have families – so the mass is also very lively, because from time to time we see a child starting to run, scream, cry or whatever – all this really doesn’t matter. But these children, even if they do not understand what is being said, already see something of the respect shown by their parents, for example during the Eucharistic prayer during the consecration, when they remain in complete silence. Children see it, and what you see, what you learn from your parents as a child, you never forget. What we learn later, we sometimes forget… Hence the very great importance of this period for learning the faith. So I would like to call on all parents to truly transmit the faith to their children.

I must, of course, add that one of the causes of the problem is that parents themselves know little about their faith. I always say – and many priests strive to do so when offering preparation for baptism – that it is necessary to catechize the parents themselves when preparing their children for first communion and confirmation: it is necessary to involve the parents in some way. There must also be a catechesis program for parents.

I myself attended secondary school in Amsterdam in the second half of the 1960s; I started in 1965. The first two years, I received excellent catechesis. The problems started in 1967-68. Religious courses were still taught by priests, but everything was discussed except faith. These were debate sessions, we were allowed to smoke, we were discussing abortion and Che Guevara, and I don’t know what else – everything that was in the news at the time. Faith was no longer on the agenda. And that was fifty years ago. The generation of those who are now grandparents has already received relatively little faith-education. And then, what happened in the years that followed? So we are faced with a huge task.

LifeSite: You also asked the Pope in January 2018 to put an end to the confusion around Amoris laetitia and access to communion for divorced and remarried Catholics. Are you still asking for this clarification?

Eijk: Yes, most certainly. I wrote an article, shortly before the second Synod on the Family – I was present at both –, participating in a book written by eleven cardinals. I testified to the fact that the practice is extremely old in the Church, and that the doctrine itself has long been explicit, according to which a divorced person who remarries civilly cannot – because he or she is not in a proper disposition – receive communion, any more than he or she can receive absolution in that situation.

It so happens that Amoris laetitia does not literally say that divorced and civilly remarried persons whose first marriage has not been declared void can receive communion. It doesn’t go to that length. But on the basis of a few elements and a footnote, some people think they can deduce that it is possible, that it is allowed. And today we see some Bishops’ Conferences publishing documents to say that, if they have made a journey of accompaniment with a priest and have sought discernment with him, divorced and civilly remarried persons can receive communion at some point. Some Bishops’ Conferences have regulated things in this way, very many Bishops’ Conferences have not regulated anything at all, and other Bishops’ Conferences have said exactly the opposite. Well, what’s true in place A can’t be false in place B. This goes against one of the principles of philosophy, the principle of non-contradiction – what one learns as a seminarian at the very beginning of the philosophy course: it is one of the fundamental principles of logic, of thought. Yes, I think it is important that we make it clear, that people know where they stand.

LifeSite: But the Pope himself has supported the Bishops’ Conferences which chose the liberal interpretation.

Eijk: Yes, but he did so in a letter to the Bishops’ Conference in Buenos Aires. In fact, this Bishops’ Conference declared that following a journey of accompaniment and discernment with a priest, a possibility exists for a divorced and civilly remarried person to receive communion. In his letter, the Pope also says that this is the correct interpretation. However, a letter from a Pope to an episcopal conference is not part of the magisterium. This must be very clear. A distinction must therefore be made between, on the one hand, the opinion that the Pope may express at a given time and, on the other hand, his magisterium, namely the declarations that truly belong to his teaching authority, the magisterium as such. That statement is not one of them.

But all this does not create clarity. I think that the Pope must therefore create clarity, in terms of doctrine, by means of a declaration that can be said with certainty to belong to the Magisterium. I would say: to the ordinary or authentic magisterium. It goes without saying that these are not extraordinary dogmas or expressions, but simply expressions of the authentic Magisterium.

LifeSite: I hope it does not shock you when I should say this: as Catholics, we have a right to the truth from the Church. This is also what we ask of the Church at the time of our baptism. “What do you ask of God’s Church? - Faith.” As confused Catholics we often have the impression that many bishops and cardinals really act as if everything is fine and that there is no confusion. What is our role in this situation as lay people?

Eijk: First of all, I would like to point out that it is not only believers who are entitled to the truth, but all people. Jesus sent us to proclaim the Gospel in its entirety – including the passage where he affirms that marriage is one and indissoluble – to all of mankind. So everyone has a right to the proclamation of the Gospel. People have the right to at least have the opportunity to meet Christ and to get to know Him. So that means that we really need to have that concern.

What can you do as ordinary Catholics? Well, a lot, actually. First of all, there is prayer. Faith in the power of prayer is far too weak. Prayer is effective. Prayer has an extraordinary strength. It is above all Saint Alphonsus Liguori who has pointed this out very often in his spiritual writings, for example by saying that those who pray will never be lost.

There is also the reception of the sacraments. When celebrating the Eucharist – and even if I celebrate it in my private chapel – then I do so not only for myself or for the people who are present and who receive communion. I do this for the Church as a whole, for the dioceses, for the community of the faithful, and also for those who do not believe. And even for those who do not participate in the Eucharist and who would not even dream of doing so: we also pray for them. The sacrifice is offered for them too, and it has meaning for them. So I would really like to recommend daily mass to the laity. Also regular confession. And penance – in Advent and Lent, but also outside of these periods. There are many ways to do penance and it is really something you can do for others. You can also offer any sufferings that befall you, placing them, so to speak, on the paten, so that they may be assumed in the sacrifice of Christ. These sufferings can also be offered for the benefit of those who have landed in confusion, and a prayer can be added for these people to find faith.

Beyond that, it is extraordinarily important that we Catholics live our faith joyfully, with enthusiasm and courage. We must make it clear in public. It is also important that we should put our faith into practice: that we truly give our parish a diaconal face. People who know us as practicing Catholics must see from our behavior what Jesus asks of us, especially in the Sermon on the Mount, and we must put this into practice. That is what people expect from us.

Quite often, we hear people say: “I had this experience with Catholics, or that one, I saw a priest who crossed the line. Well, I don’t need that sort of faith any more.” That reaction may well be far-fetched, but sometimes people have been really shocked, and this has caused them to distance themselves from the faith and from the Church. In all this, we therefore bear an extraordinarily great responsibility. I cannot stress this enough.

It is also important for Catholics to be very well informed. When we are in confusion, there are ways: here, for example, we have many Internet sites, including foreign sites, diocesan publications, diocesan sites and their communiqués. We publish an electronic newsletter to which people can subscribe. All this makes it possible to be informed and there are many elements about the data of faith. And this is important: reading about faith, learning about faith helps to put an end to your own confusion and also allows you to help others to overcome their confusion.

LifeSite: You talked a lot about prayer. Do you have a particular connection with the Rosary and the requests of Our Lady of Fatima?

Eijk: In fact, I originally had a connection mainly with Our Lady of Lourdes. This has to do with the parish where I grew up, in Duivendrecht – a small village on the edge of Amsterdam. There was a priest who would spend about thirty years there and who arrived at the worst time of polarization within the Church in the Netherlands. He came to us in August 1969. I participated in his installation mass, and I built a very strong bond with him. For example, when I was a seminarian, I used to spend my holidays in the deacons’ rooms at his presbytery house, and I have fond memories of them. I also celebrated his funeral in 2012. He lived long enough to learn that I was going to be created cardinal, even if he did not join the creation ceremony because he died in the meantime. This priest took me to Lourdes - he was a real Lourdes-goer.

Later, as Bishop of Groningen, I joined several pilgrimages of that diocese, offering spiritual accompaniment. But it is above all the archdiocese where I am now that is marked by a very strong Marian spirituality: it is quite remarkable. Once every three years, we go on a great pilgrimage to Lourdes. Between 1,300 and 1,500 people participated: for our archdiocese, it is a significant group. Many seminarians have told me that they discovered their vocation in Lourdes. So you can see how much we owe to the Virgin Mary! Her intercession is incredibly fruitful...

I knew the Virgin Mary of Fatima, of course, thanks to my readings, especially regarding the application of the third secret of Fatima to the attack on Pope John Paul II in 1981. But my relationship with her became more intense in 2017: it was the hundredth anniversary of her apparition to the little shepherds in the vicinity of Fatima.

Also, on May 13, 2017, as bishops of the Netherlands, we consecrated our dioceses to the Most Holy Heart of Mary: we did so at the Basilica of Mary Star of the Sea in Maastricht. I was the one who gave the homily. And it was because of this homily that I had to immerse myself in the secrets of Fatima. And the first secret, about hell, well, I think it’s really a secret that remains highly relevant for our time. That’s our duty: to make sure, because we are in charge of announcing the Catholic faith, that people don’t end up in hell, and to warn them about it. In this regard, we can sincerely ask ourselves if we do this often enough. Because when we talk about hell, that often arouses many emotions. Yet I think we really have a duty to do so.

The second secret referred to the political situation and concerned above all the 20th century: the end of the First World War, the Russian Revolution, and also the announcement, already, of the Second World War. Mary calls us to pray for peace. This prayer is just as relevant today, because we live in an extraordinarily insecure world. The arms race, the nuclear arms race, is threatening to resume. Of course, we have not known war in Europe since 1945, and we pray and hope that this will continue to be so, but we must always pray for it, because men are very unpredictable beings – including ourselves. I must say that during this homily I elaborated on the history of Our Lady of Fatima, that I also highlighted.

At the time, as Dutch bishops, we wondered if people would show up. But an hour before the ceremony began, the church was already packed to capacity. In fact, the reaction to this initiative was extremely positive.

As bishops, last year we took the initiative – now completed – to set up a Year of the Rosary. During this year all the bishops of the Netherlands, including my two auxiliary bishops, took part: we went to pray the Rosary with the faithful in various places in our dioceses, before or after Mass, as part of adoration or in other ways. I did it, for example, in the Basilica of the Holy Cross in Raalte: a huge, fantastically beautiful church, it looks like a cathedral. We were to say the Rosary at 6:30 p.m., followed by Mass at 7 p.m., on the occasion of All Saints’ Day. I thought to myself: such a solemn weekday mass in the Netherlands – it is a solemnity that we have long celebrated on the nearest Sunday and not on weekdays, and which has now been rescheduled to its exact date – how many faithful will it attract? Well, it really wasn’t bad at all. And what really surprised me, and even made me feel good, is that at 6:30 p.m., most of the faithful were already present, and that they actively said the Rosary. And I thought to myself: “So you too are used to saying the rosary!” And it was quite a big group. Therefore, the Rosary prayer is still alive in the Netherlands.

I also devoted an editorial to the Rosary in our diocesan magazine. I wrote: don’t you know how to pray? Well, just pick up your rosary. It is a very simple prayer. Everyone can learn it (because, let us be honest, it cannot even be said that every Dutch Catholic knows the Lord’s Prayer and the Hail Mary, even if many do still know them). But it is also a profound and meditative prayer. When we pray the whole Rosary, all the mysteries, we contemplate the whole life of Jesus Christ and end with the Assumption of Mary in heaven, body and soul, and her Crowning. In truth, we look at the life of Jesus, we contemplate it, we consider it with the eyes of Mary, which gives great added value to this meditation on the life of Jesus – with her own eyes, with her own help, with her intercession.

No one other than Mary can take us by the hand in prayer. She is the figure of the Church, says the Second Vatican Council. In fact, we should all be like her: her “Fiat” – “I am the handmaid of the Lord, may it be done to me according to your word” – is a “Fiat” that none of us can say simply because we are not free from original sin as she was. Once again, she is our most beautiful example, including in prayer, and that is why it is so good to pray in union with her.

Pope John Paul II said that for him it was the most beautiful prayer there is. He had many difficult moments in his life: the loss of his brother and father when he was still young; there was his captivity during the war; he was a forced laborer in the salt mines. Later, when he was a bishop in Poland, the KGB, the communists bugged his confessional. He was Pope – head of the Church for 27 years – during an extremely difficult period. And he said that throughout this time he prayed to Mary through the Rosary, and that he received extraordinary help from her. I also mentioned this in my editorial. I think we have a lot to learn from this Polish Pope on this subject.

LifeSite: How did the idea of the consecration of the Netherlands to the Most Holy Heart of Mary come about?

Eijk: It was discussed at the Bishops’ Conference. A number of bishops were very much in favor. Finally, all the bishops adopted it and also took part. So, it came about quite simply during the discussions of the Bishops’ Conference. When I travel to Rome as a bishop, people often think when they see me: “There goes a progressive!” Because we have... we had a reputation in the 1960s and 1970s for being an exceptionally progressive Bishops’ Conference. But we are no longer that at all. The proposal was made at the Bishops’ Conference, incidentally by one of my auxiliary bishops, and it was taken up by the other bishops.

LifeSite: What is the state of religious practice in the Netherlands, and of faith itself? This is basically the same question as the one relating to the Catechism: you said that many people who are now 50 or 60 years old do not know much about their faith. Has the way Catechism is taught to children been changed?

Eijk: Yes, there has been a turning point. As I said, the crisis broke out during the period when I was a student at a high school in Amsterdam, between 1965 and 1971. In 1965, all students at my Catholic high school still went to mass on Sundays with their parents. Moreover, it was something you didn’t argue about. In 1971, in the final year of high school, there were only two of us. So you see how quickly all this happened. A whole generation of young people was then willing to wage war on Sunday mornings to refuse to go to church. They decided en masse: “We will no longer go, we will walk out of the Church.” Don’t forget that these are today’s grandparents. They have not passed on the faith to their children, let alone their grandchildren. That is the situation we are facing. This situation is also revealed by the number of Catholics. In the year 2000, there were still more than 5 million Catholics in the Netherlands. By 2015, there were only 3.8 million of us left: you can see the rate at which the figure is falling. Older Catholics are dying; and now, more than 50 percent of the time, Catholic parents no longer have their children baptized. It is impossible that the number of faithful will not decrease. According to statistics, some 17 percent of Catholics attend church from time to time. It can be, for example, at a funeral, because you know the person, and of course you go. But if we look at the real participation in Sunday Mass, it has collapsed: it is currently between 4 and 5 percent.

When I became Bishop of Groningen, I received a visit from the Director of KASKI – a research institute of the University of Nijmegen which studies the statistics of Catholic practice: how often do people go to Mass, the number of baptisms and confirmations, etc... He has also been doing research for other Christian Churches for several decades. Well, this director came to meet me – it was at the end of 1999 or the beginning of 2000 – and he said to me: “I have to draw your attention to one thing, and it is an iron law: every 10 years, religious practice falls by 40 percent.” And it’s true. If I look, for example, at the number of candidates for confirmation in my diocese – I arrived here in 2008 and I have been Archbishop of Utrecht for 11 years – I can assure you that this number has been halved. And the same is true for first communicants, etc. It is a trend that can be followed without error.

We are becoming a small Church, but there are also signs of hope. And an important sign of this hope is this: when we see young Catholics going to church, they often commit themselves for the full 100 percent. They lead a life of personal prayer, they have a personal relationship with Christ, and often accept the totality of the Church’s teaching. Their number is not large, but perhaps they are the leaven of the future. That’s what I hope. And I also think it is important that we first restore the situation in the Church – that is, that the faithful know their faith again. We must ensure the proper formation of the small minority, the flock that remains: it must be imbued with faith and really have a personal relationship with Christ, for it is only when this has become a reality that we can truly devote ourselves once again to re-evangelization, which is our great mission. The Gospel, I think, is for everyone – but right now it is about putting our own house in order first.

LifeSite: Is there a good catechism method for young people in the Netherlands?

We use Youcat. I am aware of the criticisms surrounding it, particularly because at one point there was a mistake in translating it into a certain language – perhaps it was even a deliberate mistake, who knows? Thus, one of the translations stated that the Church authorized contraception in certain cases. It also states that all men are saved by Christ: this is the doctrine of universal salvation. Yes, it is true that Christ wants to save all men, but you have to open yourself up to it. So there is a condition attached to it, and salvation is therefore not automatic. You really have to choose Christ.

As bishops of the Netherlands – it was mostly the diocese of Roermond but people from our archdiocese also cooperated – we developed a formation course, Licht op je pad (“Light on your way”): it is a catechetical formation course that goes from 4 to 18 years old and can be used both in the parish and in school. Those who complete the whole journey are fully formed in the Catholic faith, I assure you. However, that is not so easy because you need to gather the young people.

Most parishes today prefer to provide for preparation for first communion and confirmation themselves, no longer entrusting this to the schools. To my great joy I can see, after some twenty years as a bishop, that during these twenty years the knowledge of the candidates for confirmation regarding this sacrament and what the Holy Spirit produces in them has grown deeper. I always meet the candidates, either here at the bishopric where I show them various elements of episcopal life, or at least before the celebration in the parish, and I speak with them. These discussions are always shorter in the parish – most of the time they have to come and tap me on the shoulder to remind me that I have to put on the vestments for the ceremony, because when a discussion is engaged we get more and more enthusiastic, and the children ask questions. These are often very good meetings. I notice that among the candidates who remain, the knowledge of faith has increased. We must not resign ourselves, we must simply hold on.

The priest who helped me on the path of my vocation – and to whom I therefore owe eternal gratitude – told me: “Wim, you have the duty to hold on: it is the virtue of perseverance.” He told me that most people can’t do it: “If you hold on, you’ll see that you’ll win.” He himself had to overcome, I don’t know how many, obstacles. He refused to take a salary, he lived in great poverty, together with his housekeeper, and that is how he was able to restore his church. He is the one who has kept it standing, and it is still there. It still prides itself in having many churchgoers and it is surrounded by a vivid community of faith. That is also thanks to the many immigrants who are much better believers than we Dutch people are.

I will never forget that. Keep going. Continue. Continue to proclaim the faith. 

And you can see that there is not only decline in the Church in the Netherlands. It is true that the numbers are decreasing, but I sometimes say: the quantity is constantly decreasing, but the quality is increasing. When I started as a priest myself in 1985, I was chaplain in Venlo Blerick: there were still busy churches, especially on Saturday nights at 7pm and Sunday mornings at 11am, but there were many people in attendance who did not agree with my sermons. This is no longer the case today. When I celebrate a parish mass on Sunday morning, the ceremony is often followed by coffee to meet the parishioners. It has become very rare for someone to tell me that they do not agree with what I have said. In fact, we see that there is much more unity. Thus, the community has become small, but it is also a stronger community. The person facing you is not someone who has resigned him — or herself — to doing nothing or who thinks, “What’s the point?” I am still in good spirits, I have an ardent faith, and I also always believe in the power of the Lord: He triumphs. Christus vincit. Not we, but He in us.

LifeSite: On the liturgical level, I have read that you have recently chosen to say Mass ad orientem in the chapel of the archbishop’s palace. Why?

Eijk: A journalist who often speaks critically about me has written derisively that it is not even ad orientem because in this chapel, the altar faces the northwest. Why were churches built ad orientem in the past? We turned to pray towards the east, where the Sun of Justice, Christ, arose. But in the end it doesn’t really make any difference: the church can also have a different direction. By the words ad orientem, we mean that we are celebrating Mass turned towards Christ. Someone else wrote critically that now I celebrate Mass by turning my back on the people. No, I do not celebrate Mass with my back to the people, I say it by turning my face towards Christ, towards the tabernacle, so that everyone in the church or chapel is turned towards Christ.

What triggered it all was actually a very practical reason. The chapel is neo-Gothic, but the auxiliary altar that was installed in the 1960s was a Renaissance table – for the art connoisseur, it was obvious that it was not in its place. I must also say that this altar was quite low, which is not practical for the celebrant, especially as we get older. I now have bifocal glasses, and reading has become complicated. It’s awkward.

So there was a reason related to art history, an artistic reason to say that the auxiliary altar didn’t “fit”; a practical reason: it was too low; and there was also a third reason. The high altar of the chapel is decorated with a very beautiful engraved wooden panel representing the holy bishops of Utrecht: Willibrord and others. It is an altar that existed before this building became the archbishop’s palace – the chapel was built on that occasion. You know that in the Netherlands since 1853 it was possible to have an episcopal hierarchy again, but the Archbishop of Utrecht still had to keep a low profile, stay a little under the radar because it was a fairly orthodox Protestant city. He did not have an archbishop’s palace but lived in the residence of the priest of the cathedral. These days we still find the room where he lived, including his box bed. There he had a private chapel where this high altar was located. The auxiliary altar, which does not correspond to it at all, blocked the view of this high altar, with its beautiful panels, for the faithful. So these were a series of practical reasons why we would prefer to celebrate at the main altar.

I must say that I did it several months before the chapel was put into work for its restoration, and that it really suited me very well. Together with the people, we are truly turned towards Christ. I no longer celebrate with my back turned to Christ but looking at Christ, who is present under the sacrament of the Eucharist in the tabernacle. For me, this could be done everywhere, but this is obviously something that cannot be imposed because the Second Vatican Council authorized the presence of an auxiliary altar, and there are also practical reasons: in some churches it would be impossible. But I find it very beautiful to celebrate in this way. I find it enriching.

LifeSite: Do you think there is a link between the culture of death and the death of the cultus?

Eijk: Yes, this link certainly exists. Why did the Netherlands secularize so quickly, to the point of being at the forefront of European countries in this respect? This is the result of the growth of prosperity – a real comet trajectory during the 1960s. And what was the result? Successful people have come to be able to live without depending on others, they can become individualistic, and that’s what happened. We live in a hyper-individualistic culture. People do little together, unless it is necessary, for example in a sports association or when it takes several people to defend a collective interest. But for the rest, we rely heavily on ourselves; that’s a very strong trend in our country.

So what happens to the young individualist? He puts himself on a pedestal and sees others as people around him, nothing more; he must distinguish himself from others – he not only has the right to do so, but in fact the duty. And he also does this by choosing his religious convictions, his life vision, his set of ethical values. In practice, the truth is that most people simply let themselves be led by public opinion, by what they see in the media or on social networks or in advertising. But the idea is to feel autonomous.

Such an autonomous individualist has no need for someone who transcends him.

He does not need it in society – the State – and that is how some forgo civil marriage and just live together, justifying it by saying: “It is our relationship, why would anyone else have anything to do with it?” This is a consequence of individualism.

Individualism has also led us to push God to the margins, if we have not become total atheists already. Most Dutch people today no longer believe in a personal God. And if you do not believe in a personal God who is a creator, and who is, in fact, Father to us all, neither do you believe that man was created in the image and likeness of God. Autonomous individualists believe that they themselves have the right to control their own lives and deaths – through euthanasia, assisted suicide – because they no longer need all that, not to mention a God. The rise of individualism, the disappearance of the Christian faith or at least its weakening, in the very large numbers of people, are certainly linked to the appearance of the culture of death. That’s an absolute certainty, there is a direct link.

LifeSite: Some Catholics are tempted to turn to other Christian churches – the Orthodox Church for example – because of the situation of confusion in the Catholic Church. This is the case, for example, with Rod Dreher. How can we fight against this, for ourselves and for others?

Eijk: This also happened among Dutch Catholics, not in a massive way, but it happened. In the Netherlands, the Pentecostal movement grew strongly until about 1995. Many Catholics joined. I once had a visit from a man who explained to me that he was once a Catholic, before joining the Liberated Reformed Church. 3 “I’ll also tell you why. In my parish, they had never talked about Jesus or the meaning of faith for 15 years, and at one point I realized that they were talking about it in the Liberated Reformed Church, and that is why I went there,” he told me. It is a Church that has been in serious crisis for about fifteen years and in my opinion, this man will certainly have been encountering new difficulties.

The Catholic parish he used to attend was very progressive. In my opinion, there was talk of doing good to others, the emphasis was on “diaconal action,” but practically nothing was being said about Jesus. Nor was there any discussion of the essence of the Catholic faith: it was ignored. This man was deprived of his faith. It is obviously very sad that a person has given up his Catholic faith to join an Orthodox Protestant group, because it speaks of Christ. But to be honest, I understand it to some extent. Obviously, what he did is forbidden, it’s something that’s not done, and objectively, leaving the Catholic Church is a sin. But once again, I believe that the Lord considers this with great mercy because He knows well that we who must proclaim the faith in Jesus Christ are often not up to the task.

Fortunately, things are better now thanks to the new generation of priests. But the thought remains very present in our minds: shouldn’t I be even more explicit? Even clearer? This seems to me to be of singular importance.

There are also Catholics, often more common people, who have received visits from Jehovah’s Witnesses. These take the Bible literally: they are people who go door-to-door and therefore also end up with Catholics who are in a state of confusion. These Catholics can come to think: “Hey, that’s the true faith! At last we are hearing again what we were taught at home in the past!” That there are also differences, either they don’t realize it or they think: “Well, all this may well be true because it corresponds more to our faith than what we hear in church.” Yes, there have been cases. I think that this trend is no longer very strong today, but it was true not so long ago, from the 1960s to the 1990s.

LifeSite: In response to the current situation of confusion, how do you think the Church could be reformed today? How can the authority remedy this?

Eijk: The Pope is the principle of the unity of the whole Church; the Bishop is the principle of the unity of faith and the way the faith is lived out in his own diocese. This is where clarity must first be made: through the Pope and bishops. We bishops lead our priests, we appoint them, we are responsible for their formation. These are very great responsibilities, but we must assume them. We must take care of the good formation of new priests. And even of priests who are already in place! We give them priestly formation courses. These are all opportunities that we as bishops must seize to ensure that there are good priests, clear priests, who proclaim the Gospel in a solid and reliable way.

I must say that the current generation of priests is already doing a lot to explain faith – as I said, this is something I have seen in current candidates for confirmation, who are much more aware of what this sacrament means than twenty years ago. And that is already a very big step forward.

The liturgy is more and more often celebrated according to the altar missal, even though the Netherlands used to be the epicenter of experimental liturgy. During the second half of the 1960s, the ultimate goal was to improvise the whole Mass, and we had even begun to make changes to the liturgy before the Second Vatican Council started.

It all started with us. Let us hope that the Netherlands can also be a bit of a starting point for recovery. I think we are on the right path, but we could do a lot more!


(1): and in French on the site

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Photograph of 26-week-old baby in womb. Lennart Nilsson
Calvin Freiburger

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Govt.-funded lab seeks to buy ‘fresh’ aborted baby heart, pancreas from almost anyone

Calvin Freiburger
Calvin Freiburger

IRVINE, May 15, 2019 (Center for Medical Progress) – The Center for Medical Progress (CMP), the citizen journalism organization responsible for the undercover video series exposing Planned Parenthood's sale of aborted baby body parts, revealed today that over the past month, government-funded researchers at University of California San Diego (UCSD) have sought to purchase hearts and pancreases from aborted fetuses from CMP.

CMP is a well-known citizen journalism organization that advocates against the commercial exploitation of aborted fetal body parts. The Frazer Laboratory at UC San Diego runs in part with NIH grants—but the NIH spending database does not classify the Frazer grant money as related to human fetal tissue experimentation.

In April, UCSD's Frazer Laboratory emailed CMP "searching for human fetal pancreas from 4-5 donors." CMP investigative journalists then engaged in an email dialogue with the Frazer Laboratory to learn more about the Lab's demand for fetal body parts from abortions. While never promising to provide fetal tissue, CMP asked the Frazer Lab for more details about the project and probed the Lab's engagement with the market in aborted fetal organs and tissues.

Startlingly, while asking for body parts from first trimester aborted fetuses, the Lab also wrote that fetuses up to six months "should be compatible with our experimental design." When informed that the "market price" for fresh fetal organs was $500 to $750 per specimen, the Frazer Lab was not fazed, replying "please let me consult the pricing with Prof. Frazer. We are indeed in contact with a few other organizations in California however it is critical for us to find a reputable and reliable source which could provide the samples." The Lab continued, "we will most certainly choose the option of the fastest possible delivery of fresh (not frozen) samples."

Later in April, the Lab left multiple voicemails for CMP seeking to discuss options for ordering aborted fetal body parts. By then the Frazer Lab had increased its request, writing, "Also, would like to ask for heart specimens from 3 donors (ideally pancreas and heart specimens from the same donors)."

CMP Project Lead David Daleiden notes, "Government-funded laboratories are so greedy for fresh aborted baby body parts that they will try to buy them from anybody—without even bothering to check who they are emailing."

Daleiden continues, "Even as the Department of Health and Human Services continues an agency-wide audit of fetal experimentation and the U.S. Department of Justice investigates the sale of aborted fetal tissue at Planned Parenthood and their business partners, government-funded researchers do not seem to have curtailed their appetite for aborted baby body parts one bit. It is far past time for HHS to end the barbaric practice of taxpayer-funded fetal experimentation, and for the Department of Justice to do their job and hold Planned Parenthood and other baby body parts traffickers accountable to the law."

Learn more about CMP at

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Strongest anti-abortion law in USA passes Alabama Senate, heads to governor’s desk

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By Calvin Freiburger

MONTGOMERY, May 15, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Legislation to ban the vast majority of abortions is on its way to Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey’s desk, after clearing its final hurdle in the state Senate Tuesday evening.

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 Act passed the state House 74-3 last month, but hit a snag last week in the Senate when fighting erupted over an amendment to add rape and incest exceptions, which Collins warned would dilute the bill’s argument that “the baby in the womb is a person.” Republican Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh moved to delay a vote on the measure to let tensions cool over the weekend.

Last night, the state Senate voted 25-6 to pass the Act, NBC News reports—without the additional exceptions.

Democrat Senate Minority Leader Bobby Singleton put forth the rape/incest amendment, which four Republicans broke ranks to support. But it ultimately failed, leading Singleton to launch into a tirade about pro-life lawmakers having "raped the state of Alabama with this bill."

"You don’t care anything about babies for real. You just kicked them in the stomach and you aborted them yourselves," he declared. “You just aborted the state of Alabama and all of you should be put in jail for this abortion you just laid on Alabama."

Democrat state Sen. Vivian Figures introduced two other amendments, one to force lawmakers who voted “yes” to pay the state’s legal bills for defending the law and one to criminalize vasectomies. Both were rejected.

"This bill's purpose is to hopefully get to the Supreme Court and have them revisit the actual decision, which was, is the baby in a womb a person?" Collins told NBC on Tuesday. "And we believe technology and science shows that it is. You can see that baby tissue develop all the way through now."

“The governor intends to withhold comment until she has had a chance to thoroughly review the final version of the bill that passed,” a spokeswoman for Ivey, a Republican, said Tuesday according to the Associated Press. Collins said she expects Ivey to ultimately sign the bill into law, at which point the left-wing American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Alabama has vowed to file a lawsuit to stop it.

"Alabama’s new abortion restrictions reflect the common sense reality that all abortions can only be successful if they end the life of a human being,” 40 Days for Life president Shawn Carney said. “These new protections simply confirm what science and reason tell us about our most vulnerable Americans. The unborn should not be discriminated against but protected and given natural human rights. This is a great day for Alabama and America.”

During the legislative debate over the Alabama Human Life Protection Act, 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.” Last week he announced a primary challenge to Democrat U.S. Sen. Doug Jones, a fellow pro-abortion Democrat.

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Calvin Freiburger

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Developers of ‘Star Wars’ sequels, ‘Twilight Zone’ reboot launch project to fund pro-abortion orgs

Calvin Freiburger
By Calvin Freiburger

May 15, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – While other Hollywood actors and creators have called for boycotting Georgia to protest its new law protecting babies with detectable heartbeats, the minds behind the latest iterations of some of America’s most iconic science-fiction franchises are instead donating profits from an upcoming series filming in the Peach State to pro-abortion organizations.

The production companies of J.J. Abrams, who rebooted the Star Trek films starting in 2009 and is the director of two films of the third Star Wars trilogy, and Jordan Peele, who is currently helming a CBS All Access reboot of Rod Serling’s anthology series The Twilight Zone, are developing a new HBO series called Lovecraft Country, based on a horror novel inspired by the works of H.P. Lovecraft.

The new show was set to film in Georgia and will continue to do so, but Fox News reported that Peele’s Monkeypaw Productions and Abrams’ Bad Robot Productions have announced they will protest the state’s newly-enacted heartbeat law by donating all of their episode fees to two groups: the Georgia chapter of the left-wing American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which is suing to block the law, and Fair Fight Georgia, an “election reform” organization launched by Democrat Stacey Abrams on the false premise that the Georgia governor’s race was stolen from her.

“In a few weeks we start shooting our new show, ‘Lovecraft Country,’ and will do so standing shoulder to shoulder with the women of Georgia,” the companies declared in a statement. “Governor Kemp’s ‘Fetal Heartbeat’ Abortion Law is an unconstitutional effort to further restrict women and their health providers from making private medical decisions on their terms. Make no mistake, this is an attack aimed squarely and purposely at women.”

In fact, the Georgia law contains far more exceptions that most heartbeat laws to be proposed or enacted over the past year, with exceptions for cases of rape, incest, and pregnancies deemed “medically futile” (in addition to an exception for physical threats to a mother’s life, which is standard for pro-life legislation). If allowed to take effect, it will ban abortions in all other cases as early as six weeks into a pregnancy starting in January 2020.

Abrams and Peele follow protests by dozens of celebrities and the Writers Guild of America threatening to boycott the state in hopes of impacting the considerable jobs and revenue filmmaking generates for Georgia’s economy. A handful of smaller studios have since announced they’re refusing to film in Georgia, and far-left actress Alyssa Milano is calling for women to take part in a “sex strike,” because “until women have legal control over our own bodies we just cannot risk pregnancy.”

Abrams’ third Star Trek film, Star Trek Beyond, caused some controversy for depicting Hikaru Sulu in a same-sex “marriage,” a decision criticized by original Sulu actor George Takei despite Takei himself being an outspoken homosexual activist. Left-wing politics have so dominated Peele’s Twilight Zone that even some liberal sites have criticized it for being heavy-handed. The reboot is a stark contrast from Serling’s original series, whose social commentary focused more on questions of human nature and contained numerous affirmations of faith and human dignity.

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Police issue arrest warrant for Alabama woman who assaulted pro-life protester

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By Lisa Bourne

EDITOR'S NOTE: The suspect was arrested and released on Wednesday night by Huntsville Police after being charged with third-degree aggravated assault.

May 15, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — The woman who assaulted a pro-life supporter outside the Alabama Women’s Center in Huntsville just over a week ago has been identified, with a warrant issued for her arrest.

Mary Baggett had some hesitation in signing the complaint against the woman who struck her in front of the abortion facility as Baggett demonstrated in defense of life there on Friday, May 3.

But the Huntsville abortion abolitionist said that while she feels bad for the woman who struck and injured her, she is concerned over the escalating violence that pro-abortion individuals are exacting upon pro-life advocates and felt she needed to do what she could about it.

“I just felt I needed to do it for all the other Christians who are going out to the abortion mills,” Baggett told LifeSiteNews.

“They’re escalating things,” Baggett said of abortion supporters.

“I know a lot of people get hurt trying to rescue babies,” she said. “I just can’t believe the things that are happening to people.”

Baggett referenced the recent assault of a Created Equal team member by a pro-abortion woman at University of North Carolina Chapel Hill and another pro-life advocate assaulted outside an abortion facility in Texas in January.

Baggett and her son were outside the Alabama Women’s Center that Friday at the same time that another pro-life young man and woman were there, and Baggett caught the assault on video.

The female assailant and another man were leaving the abortion facility parking lot in their respective cars when they began to verbally challenge the four pro-life supporters.

After some back and forth primarily with the male driver and the other young pro-life man, the assailant left her car and approached the pro-life group. She hollered angrily that they did not have permission to record her.

After trying to confront the young pro-life man, the assailant charged Baggett and struck her, knocking her phone from her hands.

The assailant took Baggett’s phone and ran back to her car. Baggett followed, telling her to return the phone. The woman eventually threw Baggett’s phone into the grass before leaving in her car.

Both of Baggett’s hands were hurt, she said, as were her feet and back. She was treated at the scene by emergency services, the police came, and she filed a report. When she signed the complaint Monday of this week, her hand was still bruised, and the charge was upgraded from harassment/simple assault to assault in the third degree.

Baggett told LifeSiteNews she was expecting something that day — and that she felt compelled to film for her protection and that of her son.

The week before, she said, the 300-plus-pound husband of one of the facility’s escorts approached Baggett outside the abortion facility in a threatening manner, coming within 10 feet or so. He spoke angrily to Baggett following Baggett having earlier questioned the abortion facility escort about her encouragement of abortion while herself being a mother.

“He just had a murderous look in his eyes,” Baggett recalled.

When she took out her phone to record him, he jumped in his car and left.

The police told her when they came that since the man did not threaten her or have a weapon, it did not consist of assault, therefore he could not be charged.

In both instances, Baggett said, abortion facility escorts had spoken to the aggressor just prior to the hostile exchange.

Based upon that experience, she’s convinced that the abortion facility staff is trying to frighten her and others away from demonstrating outside the facility.

Baggett said as well that at least two staffers or escorts from the abortion facility witnessed the assault on her and also filmed the incident.

LifeSiteNews did not hear back from the Alabama Women’s Center on an inquiry into its policy of its staff and volunteers engaging or encouraging others to engage with pro-life demonstrators.

The mainstream media underreport pro-abortion violence and harassment against pro-life people and groups, despite these incidents having occurred somewhat regularly for some time. At the same time, the abortion lobby attempts to paint pro-lifers as violent, with the help of a willing media establishment and dubious industry reports.

A sampling of recent and otherwise notable examples illustrates the pattern.

In the days immediately before the May 3 assault on Baggett in front of the Huntsville, Alabama, abortion facility, Pennsylvania Democratic state representative Brian Sims verbally assaulted a Catholic woman praying the rosary outside a Philadelphia Planned Parenthood. Sims posted video on social media of himself doing so and had also posted video of himself harassing three teen pro-life girls, their mother, and another young man outside the same Planned Parenthood, offering money to anyone who would dox the minor girls.

Last month, a pro-life woman was assaulted by a woman leaving a Louisville, Kentucky, abortion facility, resulting in the pro-life woman suffering a broken thighbone and a bleeding head wound.

In Fort Worth, Texas, in January, a man repeatedly punched a young pro-life man in the face — the attacker also asking the pro-life young man if he wanted to die, referencing his family as well.

Last October during the Life Chain in Toronto, Canada, a man kicked a pro-life woman in the shoulder after she began filming him vandalizing the property of pro-lifers at the event.

Alabama is one of several states where lawmakers have been working to advance pro-life legislation amid other states’ passing of radical abortion expansion laws, both sides with an eye on the possibility of Roe v. Wade being revisited at the Supreme Court.

Personhood Alabama filed a wrongful suit against Alabama Women’s Center in February on behalf of a father whose child was aborted at the facility despite his appeals to his girlfriend to keep their child, arguing that the unborn child is a legal person under state law.

Baggett consented to an interview about her attack in the local media, though she worried about doing it, because she thought the incident would be twisted in favor of the abortion facility and also expose her to more pro-abortion vitriol.

“I knew I was risking something by going on the news,” she told LifeSiteNews. “I’ve seen people talk about my death on Facebook.”

She agreed to it to help expose the abortion facility, thinking that if even one person could be convinced to help the unborn because the interview, it would be worth the risk.

The interview had not aired as of press time.

Baggett had been able to give police the license plate of the man who had challenged them from his car before the assault, and authorities were able to eventually identify the woman who assaulted her.

She debated signing the complaint for the assailant’s arrest.

Baggett told LifeSiteNews she feels bad for the woman and has no malice toward her. And while the violence is escalating, she said it could have been a lot worse for her. However, she said she felt she owed it to the others who perform pro-life outreach who perform outreach to abortion-vulnerable people outside these facilities.

“I feel like I’d be doing a disservice to all our brothers and sisters who are doing this to not hold people to account,” Baggett said.

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LifeSiteNews staff


Why Trump’s alliance with Evangelicals actually does make sense

LifeSiteNews staff
By LifeSiteNews staff

May 15, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Lord Conrad Black is most well-known for being the former publisher of The London Daily Telegraph, The Spectator, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Jerusalem Post, and the founder of Canada’s National Post. As a commentator on both TV and radio, he has been one of the primary defenders of President Donald Trump.  

In addition to his recent biography of Trump, he’s written authoritative biographies on Franklin Roosevelt and Richard Nixon, who he also knew personally.  

In this episode of The Van Maren Show, Jonathon Van Maren and Black have a conversation specifically about Donald Trump, starting with the most obvious question, “What made you write a biography about President Donald J. Trump?” (Listen below.) 

Black moves between talking about Trump’s personal life and his political one. He even answers questions about the unique alliance between American Evangelicals and Trump, a man whose personal life wouldn't suggest that he's an obvious Christian ally.

“I think they see him as a good president for them. He is. He is in communities comparatively opposed to abortion.” Lord Black went on to say that, “Trump is an unwavering upholder, at least in contest with the Democrats, of basically any religious person of the Judeo-Christian faith.” 

During the course of the discussion, you’ll get a brief look into Donald Trump’s background that influences his conservative-center political views, why he decided to run for president, and the political field he’s navigating currently.  

Lord Conrad Black does mention toward the end of the conversation that there are plans for a reprint of the biography, “Donald J. Trump, A President Like No Other” that will be published as the United States gets closer to the election.  

The Van Maren Show is hosted on numerous platforms, including Spotify, SoundCloud, YouTube, iTunes, and Google Play.

For a full listing of episodes, and to subscribe to various channels, visit our webpage here.

To receive weekly emails when a new episode is uploaded, click here.

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Seth Drayer

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Today’s violent pro-abortion students are tomorrow’s violent pro-abortion politicians

Seth Drayer
By Seth Drayer

May 15, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Democratic Pennsylvania state representative Brian Sims is facing a media maelstrom for verbal attacks on peaceful pro-life women. He is no outlier. Attacks faced by Created Equal, the pro-life organization of which I am vice president, signal that Sims may be a harbinger if violent politically liberal students follow his path to power.

Just weeks before Sims broadcast himself berating a pro-life woman, Jillian Ward, a pro-abortion student at University of North Carolina, was arrested for assaulting a member of our team using dialogue and pictures of aborted fetuses to change opinion on campus.

Like Sims, Ward is committed to political liberalism. But unlike Sims, she is not in power — yet.

Watching footage of the incident, the irony is evident as Ward shouts, “You’re a terrible person!” — to someone she has just assaulted. However, it is easier to miss that she is a social justice warrior whose articles call the liberal-minded to action. “You are in a position of power; use your powers for good,” she writes.

Whether Ward considers assaulting someone with a view different from her own using her powers for good is unclear. What is evident is that this liberal thinker recently set down her pen to make a fist.

And she is not alone. Just months prior, Thomas Metcalf, student at Indiana University, was arrested for stealing and vandalizing Created Equal’s signs. With black spray paint, he blackened the eyes of fetuses already dismembered.

Metcalf, like Ward, is rising within the ranks of the political Left. Before condemning the position of Created Equal team members — demonstrating that his violence was an effort to silence political opponents — this member of the Young Democratic Socialists of America roused a liberal rally, shouting, “Donald Trump is not the one in power! We are the one in power!”

And, in a truth-is-stranger-than-fiction incident, the year before Metcalf met our team, Ian Ramos of Texas State University pummeled Created Equal signs with his fists and feet. It was later discovered he was studying “nonviolent social resistance.” The irony is underscored with the blood of preborn babies falling victim to his ideology.

On Twitter, Ramos explained, “I engaged my rage” and called on others to do similarly:

[Pro-life activists] try and provoke us emotionally and what do they expect? ... So yeah, I hope I was able to inspire a few of you all out there. ... Engage the opposition.

The thread connecting Ward, Metcalf, Ramos, and others responsible for increasing attacks on pro-lifers trails back to their political leaders. Last fall, Hillary Clinton declared, “[Y]ou cannot be civil with a political party that wants to destroy what you stand for[.]”

Former U.S. attorney general Eric Holder simultaneously dispensed with Michelle Obama’s “When they go low, we go high” mantra, instead saying, “No. No. When they go low, we kick them.”

Attacks on pro-life groups are the fruit of liberal students following directives from above. The critical question for democracy is, what will happen if these students are given mantles of power in the wider culture?

We saw the result recently live on Twitter with Brian Sims. If his actions are tolerated, more will follow.

And yet there may be a glimmer of hope — if we can take UNC student Jillian Ward at her word. In “Why Social Justice Advocates Should Own Up to Their Mistakes,” she writes:

It’s unrealistic to assume you will never make an error in your social justice work, so the best thing you can do is own up to your mistakes when they arise and strive to do better.

If Ward means what she writes, she will admit it was wrong to assault Created Equal.

If she were to do that, to unclench her fist and pick her pen back up not only to apologize, but also to call on other social justice warriors to return to civility, perhaps there would be reason to hope for a renaissance of respect in political dialogue.

As it currently stands, we are in for a perilous future — in which violent liberal students become violent liberal leaders of tomorrow.

Seth Drayer is the Vice President of Created Equal, a pro-life organization leading youth to engage the culture on behalf of preborn humans.

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Jonathon Van Maren Jonathon Van Maren Follow Jonathon

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Weak ‘conservative’ party drops candidate for sharing pro-life, pro-family LifeSite articles

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By Jonathon Van Maren
Screenshot of Michael Normore's Facebook share of LifeSite article.

May 15, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – It is always amusing to me that Canadian left-wingers enjoy referring to Stephen Harper as an arch-conservative, a man so right-wing his very name is apparently supposed to send shivers down the progressive spine. In reality, his primary impact on the political landscape was one progressives should be thanking him for. It was Stephen Harper’s aggressive silencing of social conservatives and his repeated insistence that such issues are untouchable that has persuaded center-right parties across Canada that electoral victory is only possible when social conservatives—who have proven time and time again to be one of the most active and invested factions of the conservative coalition—are kept in the tent but off the platform.

As Pierre Lemieux’s leadership campaign proved, there are many social conservative policies that would enjoy broad support throughout the Canadian electorate. The vast majority of new Canadians are very socially conservative on issues like abortion, euthanasia, and parental rights, among others. The primary reason progressives don’t mind an enormous influx of people like these is because they know conservatives will not campaign in immigrant communities on these issues, and that a dozen years of public school will largely eliminate any socially conservative tendencies the parents have passed down to the children. In fact, a recent poll by Public Square Research with over 1,500 respondents found that Canada is a country that would be considerably more amenable to socially conservative policies than Harper and Trudeau would have us believe:

  • Only 2% of Canadians support sex-selection abortions (which are legal and usually target girl babies).
  • Only 8% of Canadians support late abortions after 6 months of pregnancy.
  • Only 16% (less than 2 in 10 Canadians) said all abortions are acceptable, no matter what the reason, which is the current policy in Canada.
  • Only 20% find abortion acceptable after 3 months, whereas the status quo allows abortion throughout all nine months.
  • Only 11% find abortion acceptable if the baby interferes with the woman’s future plans, but this is often the justification for abortion.
  • Only 4% find abortion acceptable when a woman has already had previous abortions.

But Canadian conservative politicians remain convinced that because Stephen Harper brought them power after decades in the political wilderness, any issue that might be controversial must be sacrificed on the altar of expediency with all of the requisite cowardice necessary to make this happen. Consider the particularly pathetic Tory leader of Newfoundland and Labrador, Ches Crosbie, who in the words of the CBC “says a candidate with staunch conservative views won’t be a member of his party after the May 16 election,” even if he gets elected. 

And why? The PC leader had asked candidate Michael Normore to keep quiet about his social views during the election, and Normore by all accounts did just that. When reporters brought up Normore’s pro-life and pro-marriage stances, Crosbie initially stated that “I think that he’s a fine candidate and will represent the constituents of that district on the issues that are truly important to them. The fact that he has conservative views on those issues…there are others like him out there, and since it’s a democracy, we have to respect that we have people representative of the full spectrum of opinion.” 

Despite these words, Crosbie’s political spine wilted immediately when he was presented with social media posts from 2015 that had Normore sharing articles from (such as this one here) and saying that he opposes abortion. These were from four years ago, and Crosbie already knew about Normore’s beliefs, but no matter. Normore was dropped from the PC slate, and Crosbie also hastened to release a statement ensuring voters that they held precisely the same views as their political opponents, lest anyone should think the election was about an actual choice: “The PC Party fully supports the right of a woman to autonomy over her body, same-sex couples, and the right of partners to marry without regard to gender or gender identity.” 

Across the country, political leaders identifying as conservative seem more concerned about the journalists on Twitter, the hacks at the CBC, and proving that they are identical to the Liberals on social issues than they are about the views of their own voters—or hundreds of thousands of potential voters. The Harper Effect has both Andrew Scheer and Jason Kenney, who are both staunch social conservatives, swearing up and down that they won’t act on their views. Doug Ford, who has spent his entire career conspicuously scorning the taste-makers of the Toronto Star, hastened to assure his frazzled progressive enemies that the PC MPPs who spoke at the Toronto March for Life did not speak for his party. And now Crosbie has just given every conservative in Newfoundland a good reason to stay at home, since he is certainly worthless to anyone actually holding conservative views.

Before the actual views of Canadians can be expressed in legislation, the Harper Effect will have to be broken. As long as politicians feel that their principles are the price they must pay for power, irrespective of what the polling data actually says about public opinion, social conservatives will be largely marginalized and repudiated. We must stop believing in the myth of Stephen Harper as a conservative titan, and start recognizing that his legacy was profoundly damaging to genuine Canadian conservatism.

Jonathon’s new podcast, The Van Maren Show, is dedicated to telling the stories of the pro-life and pro-family movement. In his latest episode, he interviews John Barros, a dedicated defender of the unborn who has prayed outside an abortion facility through the last nine years, in spite of suffering from cancer and a recent stroke, and helped saved thousands of lives. You can subscribe here and listen to the episode below: 


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Episode 17: Why Trump’s alliance with Evangelicals actually does make sense

By Jonathon Van Maren Follow Jonathon
By Jonathon Van Maren

Lord Conrad Black is most well-known for being the former publisher of The London Daily Telegraph, The Spectator, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Jerusalem Post, and the founder of Canada’s National Post. Aa commentator on both TV and radio, he has been one of the primary defenders of President Donald Trump.

In addition to his recent biography of Trump, he’s written authoritative biographies on Franklin Roosevelt and Richard Nixon, who he also knew personally.

In this episode of The Van Maren Show, Jonathon van Maren and Black have a conversation specifically about Donald Trump, starting with the most obvious question, “What made you write a biography about President Donald J. Trump?"

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