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Judge blocks Iowa from cutting Planned Parenthood out of sex ed business

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By Calvin Freiburger

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DES MOINES, May 30, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — An Iowa judge has temporarily blocked the state from denying sex education grants to Planned Parenthood of the Heartland (PPH), pending a hearing on the merits of the case.

In early May, Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds signed an almost $2 billion budget for the 2020 fiscal year, which among other provisions excluded any organization involved in abortions from receiving state sex education grants, a change that stands to deprive PPH of just over $260,000.

“The HHS budget will continue to provide grants to organizations that provide Iowa students with sex education,” Republican state rep. Joel Fry explained. “We are continuing to provide the same level of funding as we have in the past, however, abortion providers will no longer be eligible for grants. We have consistently heard from Iowans that they do not want their hard-earned tax dollars used by organizations whose primary business model is providing abortions.”

The Iowa chapter of the left-wing American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a lawsuit to block the defunding, and Polk County District Court judge Joseph Seidlin temporarily barred it from taking effect Wednesday, The Gazette reports.

In his ruling, Seidlin ruled that while “favoring childbirth over abortion” could “certainly be a legitimate government interest,” such an interest is also “completely unserved by this legislation,” because the funds in question “have nothing to do with the issue of live birth or abortion,” and the “same prohibition on the use of grant money for abortion related reasons remains.”

He also rejected the state’s interest that teens “receive sexual education and teen pregnancy prevention programming from entities other than those for whom abortion represents a significant revenue stream” because, among more technical reasons, “what basis in fact could there be that providers of legal abortions have less scruples than anyone else?”

Seidlin concluded that “PPH is likely to succeed on the merits of its equal protection claim” and in the meantime would be harmed by “los[ing] the opportunity to obtain substantial annual grant money to continue to provide sexual education and teen pregnancy prevention programs under CAPP and PREP funding that it has been participating in for some time.”

In response to the decision, The Family Leader policy liaison Daniel Sunne wrote at the Des Moines Register that according to a report from the Obama-era U.S. Office of Adolescent Health, Planned Parenthood’s Teen Outreach Program in the Pacific Northwest found that, across six different Planned Parenthood affiliate partners, more than 3,500 students, and 87 schools, left students “significantly more likely than controls to have ever been pregnant or to have caused a pregnancy.”

“In fact, the only study I could find showing positive effects from a Planned Parenthood–led sex ed program was commissioned and paid for by the Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts,” Sunne wrote.

Pro-lifers further argue that Planned Parenthood cannot be trusted to oversee sex education, based on its record of curricula and resources that encourage underage sexual activity via topics such as condoms, BDSM, and anal and oral sex, and advice such as that losing virginity is “all about picking the right age for you” and how to procure birth control without parents’ knowledge. Pro-lifers also suspect that all of this is in service to Planned Parenthood’s profits, which present a fundamental conflict of interest when it comes to teaching children about sexual responsibility and restraint.

As for Planned Parenthood of the Heartland’s “scruples,” in 2016, a state auditor in neighboring Nebraska concluded that the organization illegally billed federal Title X family planning services, which are meant to fund contraception, STDs, and breast and cervical cancer screenings, for abortion procedures instead.

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Italy’s Matteo Salvini returning to European Union’s ‘Christian roots’: Cdl Mueller

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By Matthew Cullinan Hoffman

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ROME, May 30, 2019 (LifeSiteNews.com) — Italy’s rising political star, Matteo Salvini, has been refused audiences with Pope Francis and has been denounced as not being Christian by the pope’s allies for opposing free immigration to Italy. Paradoxically, he is also blasted by the Francis regime for using Christian symbolism during his rallies. However, Cardinal Gerhard Müller, Pope Francis former doctrine chief, says the Church should engage with Salvini and those who reject free immigration and believes that the politician is returning to the “Christian roots” of the European Union in his use of religious symbols.

In an interview published yesterday following the landslide victory of Salvini’s party in E.U. parliamentary elections, Müller denounced the attacks against Salvini by Pope Francis’s partisans as “amateurish” and inappropriate.

“An ecclesiastical authority cannot speak about theological issues in an amateurish way,” said Müller to Italy’s Corriere della sera newspaper. “And above all he must not meddle in politics when there is a democratically legitimated parliament and government, as in Italy. It would be better to talk to Salvini, discuss, or correct it when necessary.”

Regarding Salvini’s use of religious imagery in his political activities, Müller told the newspaper that he “did not like it” and thought it “should be avoided.” However, he added, “it’s worse if the bishops confuse issues regarding faith with those regarding politics. You can criticize those who don’t accept principles, but don’t close the doors to them.”

Noting that “there are countries that want to de-Christianize Italy and Europe,” Müller added that “Salvini has gone back to the patrons of the European Union, to its Christian roots.”

“I prefer those who speak of the Christian tradition to those who remove it. It’s absurd for collaborators of the Pope like [Fr. Antonio] Spadaro to act like political judges.”

Pope Francis’s allies attack Salvini, question his Christianity

Müller is referring to Fr. Antonio Spadaro’s recent statements denouncing Salvini for holding up a rosary while entrusting the European Union elections to the Blessed Virgin Mary and the patron saints of Europe. Spadaro is editor-in-chief of the Jesuit newspaper La Civiltà Cattolica and a close ally of Pope Francis.

During a rally in Rome’s Piazza Duomo on May 18, just prior to the elections, Salvini, who is Italy’s deputy prime minister, declared, “We entrust ourselves to the six patrons of Europe: to Saint Benedict of Nursia, to Saint Bridget of Sweden, to Saint Catherine of Sienna, to Saint Cyril and Methodius, and to Saint Teresa Benedict of the Cross (Edith Stein).” He held up the rosary and invoked “the Immaculate Heart of Mary, which I am sure will bring us to victory.”

Spadaro responded on his Facebook page, “Rosaries and crucifixes are used as signs of political value, but now in reverse: if previously God was given what would have been good to remain in the hands of Caesar, now it is Caesar who holds and wields what belongs to God.”

In a follow-up to his Facebook post, Spadaro added, “‘Do not take the name of God in vain’ asks us not to use the name of God for our own purposes. Critical conscience and discernment should help us to understand that it is not a political rallies the place to make litanies (and in the name of values that have nothing to do with the Gospel of Jesus).”

Spadaro continued, “However, it is clear that nationalist and sovereign identity must be based also on religion in order to impose itself. He [Salvini] found this method of religious instrumentalization (in Italy as elsewhere in the world, be clear: we are not original in this!) as suitable and uses it. The Christian conscience, in my opinion, should shake with indignation and humiliation in seeing itself trafficked and flattered in such a manner.”

Adding to the criticism by Francis proxies was the cardinal secretary of state Pietro Parolin, who told reporters, “I believe partisan politics divides, but God belongs to everyone. Invoking God for oneself is always very dangerous.”

Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, president of the European Bishops’ Conference, chimed in as well, telling La Stampa that particular groups cannot appropriate Christian values and that “acceptance and integration are essential values of the Gospel” and have “no color.”  Bishop Domenico Mogavero, who leads the judicial affairs panel of the Italian Bishops’ Conference, said, “Those who are with him [Salvini] cannot call themselves Christian because they have reneged on the commandment of love,” claiming that Salvini’s views are “inhuman, anti-historic views, diametrically opposed to the Gospel message.”

Müller blasted Mogavero’s comments in the Corriere della sera interview. “One can’t say that those who don’t share the reception of immigrants are not Christian. Clearly we must welcome immigrants, but not identify ourselves with a single policy.”

Pope Francis talks to Christian-persecuting Chinese but won’t talk to Salvini, Müller says

“People don’t understand, they are disoriented. When Salvini criticizes the Pope at the rally in Piazza Duomo, Milan, and there’s applause, where did we end up?” asked Müller, adding. “It’s strange that the Pope receives most lay people, and not Salvini. He talks with the Venezuelan regime, or with China that puts millions of Christians in re-education camps, destroys churches, persecutes Christians. But here in Italy we are not in China. You must speak to everyone in a spirit of brotherhood.”

As LifeSite has previously reported, Pope Francis has declined to meet with Salvini despite multiple attempts on the part of the latter to obtain an audience with the pontiff. However, Francis has met twice with the infamous Italian abortionist and radical leftist politician Emma Bonino, who boasts she has personally killed unborn children in illegal abortion facilities and continues to defend the practice of abortion, and has praised her publicly as a “forgotten great” for her work with refugees. Francis also gave an audience to the pro-abortion rock star “Bono” and has welcomed into the Vatican many advocates of abortion and population control such as Paul Ehrlich, John Bongaarts, and Jeffrey Sachs.

While denying he was attacking the pope, Müller noted that “years ago the Pope said about the future U.S. president, Donald Trump, that it was not Christian to build walls to repel immigrants,” Müller noted. “I think it was a mistake, like that of some German bishops, who deal more with politics than with faith.”

“Perhaps it also depends on the fact that the role of the Church has changed. But the Church must reconcile, not divide. But today, anyone who criticizes it is branded as an enemy of the Pope, and lay people who say different things are defined as non-Christians,” said Müller.

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A NICU nurse holds 'Saybie' Sharp Mary Birch Hospital / YouTube
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Born the weight of a large apple, ‘world’s smallest baby ever to survive’ leaves hospital

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By Claire Chretien
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PETITION: 'Dump Netflix' over their attack on unborn babies. Sign the petition here.

SAN DIEGO, California, May 30, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — The world’s smallest surviving micro-preemie, born at 23 weeks and three days and weighing “as much as a large apple,” has been discharged from Sharp Mary Birch Hospital after nearly five months in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).

The baby, nicknamed “Saybie,” is “the world’s smallest baby ever to survive,” according to the hospital. She’s now over five pounds. She was 245 grams (8.6 ounces, or just over half a pound) at birth.

Saybie’s family wished to remain anonymous but gave permission for Sharp Mary Birch to share her story.

The day Saybie was born “was the scariest day of my life,” her mother said in a video the hospital released. “I just felt very uncomfortable and I thought, ‘Maybe this is part of the pregnancy.’ They told me that I had pre-eclampsia. My blood pressure was very, very high — over 200.”

“Doctors said the preterm birth was necessary after they found that the baby was not gaining weight and her mother's life was at immediate risk,” the hospital said in a press release.

“I kept telling them that she’s not gonna survive…I’m only 23 weeks,” Saybie’s mom recalled. “They told my husband that he had about an hour with her, and that she was going to pass away. But that hour turned into two hours, which turned into a day, which turned into a week.”

“We do everything we know how to do as well as we can, and after that, it’s really up to our babies,” NICU nurse Spring Bridges said in the video. “Some really have the strength to go through what they have to go through and grow outside the womb.”

Any baby born before 28 weeks is considered a micro-preemie. These babies often have major medical challenges like brain bleeds and lung and heart issues. Saybie “experienced virtually none” of those problems, the hospital said. A neonatologist told the Washington Post Saybie had a 20-percent chance of survival.

Saybie was also “about half of the weight [of a] normal 23-weeker,” another nurse said in the video. “You could barely see her on the bed, she was so tiny.”

“She’s a miracle, that’s for sure,” another Sharp Mary Birch NICU nurse, Kim Norby, said.

In the U.S., healthy babies are regularly aborted well after 23 weeks of age and throughout the third trimester of pregnancy. There is no federal law restricting late-term abortion, even though some states limit it. (The federal partial-birth abortion ban merely addresses one method of late-term abortion.)

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Cardinal Pell Steve Jalsevac/ LifeSIte
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Cardinal Pell’s court appeal will be live-streamed from Australia

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By Martin Barillas

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MELBOURNE, Australia, May 30, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Cardinal George Pell’s appeal to the Victorian Supreme Court next Wednesday will be available for viewing worldwide from Australia via a livestream broadcast.

Cardinal Pell was convicted earlier this year on charges that he sexually abused two boys in the 1990s while he served as Archbishop of Melbourne. Presiding over the appeal will be Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Victoria Anne Ferguson, President of the Court of Appeal Justice Chris Maxwell and Justice Mark Weinberg.

The hearing is scheduled to be live-streamed from the court’s website throughout Wednesday, June 5 and into Thursday, June 6. During the hearing, a camera will be focused solely on the three justices of the Court of Appeal. Neither Pell nor the lawyers will be shown on camera.

Pell, who turns 78 in June, has served three months of his prison term and would not be eligible for parole until 2022.

The cardinal is expected to appear before the Court of Appeal, to whom the lawyers will appeal his conviction. Rather than being held in the Court of Appeal building, where seating is limited, the hearing will take place in one of the larger courtrooms in the Supreme Court building.

Barrister Bret Walker, who is leading Pell’s appeal, is expected to argue against the jury conviction. Pell’s lawyers have not yet filed an appeal of the sentence.

The judges will hear arguments that the verdict was unreasonable and that evidence presented by prosecutors was faulty. Pell’s lawyers are expected to say that the fact that he was not arraigned (asked to plead guilty or not guilty) before the jury was irregular. Instead, jurors were shown a video of Pell’s plea that was recorded at the original trial four months earlier.

In addition, Pell’s lawyers will argue that Judge Peter Kidd, who sentenced Pell, wrongly prevented Pell’s lawyers from introducing a graphic video to the jury during their closing arguments. Purportedly, the video shows how Pell, when vested in liturgical vestments, could not have easily abused the boys in question. Pell did not, however, take the stand to answer questions on that point.

Pell’s case was retried with a new jury after the original jury was dismissed when it failed to reach a unanimous verdict. In the new trial, the jury accepted prosecutors’ arguments that Pell had sexually assaulted two boys in a room in the cathedral in December 1996, and then again sexually assaulted one of the boys in a cathedral hallway the following year. Evidence was provided by one of the former rboys, now a man in his 30s. However, another alleged victim died in 2014 due to a heroin overdose.

Pell’s convictions would be annulled if the appeals court rules in his favor, thus allowing his release from prison. However, the judges may also call for a retrial.

Should Pell succeed in his appeal, it is likely that he may face additional days in court for a new trial on the charges. There are other civil suits underway against the Archdiocese of Melbourne. Two other men allege that Pell touched them inappropriately when they were boys.

Pell was one of the closest advisers to Pope Francis. If his conviction is upheld, he will face removal from the College of Cardinals and suppression of his priestly faculties, thus becoming one of the highest-ranking churchmen to face such a sanction.

Critics of Pell’s trial have suggested that some of the evidence was actually taken from an article in Rolling Stone magazine, which described in 2011 allegations of sexual abuse leveled at a priest in the United States.

LifeSiteNews calls on readers to unite in prayer for Cardinal Pell’s appeal.

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Last chance to apply for the Immaculata Fellowship!

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By LSN

May 30, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – There are just two days left to apply for the Immaculata Fellowship, the ten-month apprenticeship designed to build the next generation of leaders in the fight to restore Christian civilization. 

Immaculata Fellows will have the chance to learn the tools of leadership directly from some of the most effective pro-life, pro-family, and Catholic advocates alive today. You will connect with other youth who share your passion for the faith and the restoration of culture. 

The program opens in August with a week of prayer, training, and networking in Rome, and closes in May 2020 with Canada’s National March for Life in Ottawa and a special conference organized for the fellows. 

In the bosom of the Eternal City, the fellows will get to attend Mass with Cardinal Raymond Burke and take part in a closed-door Q&A with him at our annual Rome Youth Conference! 

LifeSite co-founder and editor-in-chief John-Henry Westen will be hosting a webinar Friday, May 31 at 3:00 p.m. EST to give more details on the fellowship and answer any questions you may have. Click here to register for the webinar. 

Continue reading below to learn how you can take part in this unique opportunity. 

What to Expect: 

During the Fellowship year, Immaculata Fellows will… 

  • Participate in monthly webcasts with top-level leaders; 

  • Study various books and publications and discuss them with the other fellows in a dedicated social networking group; 

  • Assist LifeSite in its media-focused mission by taking on a unique project in journalism, videography/photography, development, marketing, or research/data entry; 

  • And conduct monthly calls with a LifeSite staff mentor who will provide guidance in pursuing their calling, and assistance in completing their fellowship project. 

All Immaculata Fellows are expected to: 

  • Commit to starting or joining a local group or apostolate (Catholic, pro-life or pro-family) in order to encourage peers to activism; 

  • Obtain a priest as a spiritual director (we may be able to help find one if needed); 

  • And maintain a regular life of prayer and participation in the Sacraments (daily Mass and Rosary are highly encouraged). 

  • As fundraising is an integral part of apostolic work, fellows who are selected will be given some training in this area as well, and asked to help fundraise to cover the cost of flights, housing, meals, and materials. Fellows must also agree to have their photos and testimonials used in promotional materials. 

  • Besides the two trips in Fall 2019 and May 2020, fellows should expect to devote a few hours every week to the program.

Eligibility 

Candidates must: 

  • Be between the ages of 19 and 29; 

  • Be a practicing Catholic; 

  • Be able to devote at least a few hours to the fellowship every week; 

  • Commit to attending the kick-off event in Rome, and the send-off event in Ottawa; 

  • And be interested in pursuing a mission-driven career impacting life, family, faith and culture. 

How to Apply 

All candidates are required to submit: 

  • A resume; 

  • Responses to each of the application questions; 

  • A photo;

  • A 60-90 second (max) video introducing themselves and explaining their interest in the fellowship; 

  • And three reference letters, including one from a priest in good standing.

All applications must be submitted through our careers page on Bamboo here: https://lifesitenews.bamboohr.com/jobs/view.php?id=44. Please email the photo and video to [email protected] after submitting your application through Bamboo. 

If you have any difficulties with the application, please contact [email protected] 

The application deadline is June 1, 2019. We will select candidates to interview shortly thereafter. We expect to communicate our decision by July. 

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Leana Wen, Planned Parenthood Federation of American's new president
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WaPost calls out Planned Parenthood president for lie that ‘thousands’ of women died yearly pre-Roe

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By Lisa Bourne
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May 30, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – The Washington Post’s Fact Checker awarded Planned Parenthood president Dr. Leana Wen its highest standard rating for falsehoods for Wen’s repeated claims that “thousands of women died every year” from illegal abortion before Roe v. Wade.

Wen gets “Four Pinocchios,” the typically left-leaning Post reported, for using decades-old data that was largely uncertain and often estimated to make her claims.

It’s Fact Checker rating scale for normal cases of dubious claims ranges from One to Four Pinocchios, the first three levels ranging from such things as some shading of the facts to significant omissions or exaggerations to mostly false. There are arbitrary ratings for truth, flip-flopping and a Bottomless Pinocchio for serial award winners of Three or Four Pinocchios.

The criteria for Four Pinocchios simply states, “Whoppers.”

Upon the Post inquiring with Planned Parenthood about Wen’s claim, the abortion giant referred the newspaper to a 2014 policy statement from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) that contained a similar unsubstantiated claim, and ACOG subsequently referred the news outlet to data that was likewise “fuzzy.”

“Wen is a doctor, and the ACOG is made up of doctors,” the Post’s principal fact checker, Glenn Kessler, wrote. “They should know better than to peddle statistics based on data that predates the advent of antibiotics.”

“Even given the fuzzy nature of the data and estimates,” he continued, “there is no evidence that in the years immediately preceding the Supreme Court’s decision, thousands of women died every year in the United States from illegal abortions.”

Wen is the former Baltimore Health Commissioner and George Washington University physician who succeeded Cecile Richards at the helm of the nation’s largest abortion business in November 2018.

She made the claim that thousands of women die each year from abortion before Roe v. Wade three times recently - in March, April and May of this year.

“We face a real situation where Roe could be overturned,” Wen stated in an interview with Dallas ABC affiliate WFAA on March 6. “And we know what will happen, which is that women will die. Thousands of women died every year pre-Roe.”

On April 24, she tweeted, “Before Roe v. Wade, thousands of women died every year — and because of extreme attacks on safe, legal abortion care, this could happen again right here in America.”

Then in a May 22 MSNBC interview, Wen stated, “We’re not going to go back in time to a time before Roe when thousands of women died every year because they didn’t have access to essential health care.”

The 2014 ACOG policy statement that Planned Parenthood had referred the Fact Checker to said, “It is estimated that before 1973, 1.2 million U.S. women resorted to illegal abortion each year and that unsafe abortions caused as many as 5,000 annual deaths.”

There is no citation in the statement for the estimate, and no explanation for how it was calculated, even though other data is documented.

An ACOG spokeswoman referred the Fact Checker to a 1958 report that estimated the number of abortions annually in the United States to be between 200,000 and 1,200,000, hence the ACOG abortion figure estimate of 1.2 million, but had no mortality rates or explanation for the 5,000-death estimate. Subsequent information sent from ACOG to the Fact Checker was also absent any explanation for the figure.

Planned Parenthood sent along a 1936 study conducted by a gynecologist and noted abortion advocate that had an even higher annual mortality estimate of 8,000-10,000 that was “not a very rigorous calculation, based on a mix of theory and data from the United States and Germany.”

That same gynecologist had given an estimate of 15,000 five years earlier in another paper and then adjusted it down to 5,000 in 1942.

Individuals associated in various ways with Planned Parenthood had conducted the bulk of the various other historical studies cited in the report. These sources would be expected to be sympathetic to abortion advocacy.

Overall, the results indicated that the introduction of antibiotics and updated medical procedures began to make abortion less risky to the mother, and these along with other factors, including fewer pregnancies due to updated contraception methods, indicated a steep drop in deaths from abortion from the 1930s going forward.

Where there were 2,677 deaths from abortion in 1933, as one study estimated, there were 888 in 1945.

“Abortion is no longer a dangerous procedure,” the researcher for one of the reports wrote in 1959. “This applies not just to therapeutic abortions as performed in hospitals but also to so-called illegal abortions as done by physicians.

That researcher was Mary Steichen Calderone, a medical director for Planned Parenthood at the time.

“In 1957, there were only 260 deaths in the whole country attributed to abortions of any kind,” she went on. “In New York City in 1921, there were 144 abortion deaths, in 1951 there were only 15.”

Numbers come with the question of possible misreporting of deaths due to the stigma of abortion, but that was said to have receded in the 1960s as abortion came more to the forefront of the culture.

While abortion deaths may have been estimated in the thousands in the 1930s, another researcher said in 1969, and even if that were “approximately correct at the time,” the number by 1965 was likely under 1,000. The National Center for Health Statistics had listed 235 deaths from abortion that year.

That researcher, Christopher Tietze, and his wife, Sarah Lewit, were given Planned Parenthood’s highest honor in 1973, the Margaret Sanger Award, for their research, which included “identifying the effects of abortion policy on maternal health.”

By 1972, the year before Roe v. Wade was decided, the CDC had begun compiling data on abortion mortality. According to its figures, the number of deaths in the United States from legal abortions was 24 and from illegal abortions 39.

Stanley Henshaw, who from 1979 to 2013 researched abortion stats for the Guttmacher Institute, which supports Planned Parenthood’s mission, told the Fact Checker the figure of 5,000-10,000 deaths was reasonable for the 1930s. The officially recorded number of deaths from illegal induced abortion in the 1960s was below 300 per year, he said, and even taking unreported abortion deaths into account, “it is unlikely that the actual number was over 1,000.”

In its summation, the Fact Checker denounced Wen’s use of sloppy data, saying it only undercuts her cause.

“Wen’s repeated use of this number reminds us of the shoddy data used by human trafficking opponents,” the Post’s Kessler stated. “Unsafe abortion is certainly a serious issue, especially in countries with inadequate medical facilities. But advocates hurt their cause when they use figures that do not withstand scrutiny.”

“These numbers were debunked in 1969,” he added, “50 years ago - by a statistician celebrated by Planned Parenthood. There’s no reason to use them today.”

Thus, the Fact Checker report concluded, “Four Pinocchios.”

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WATCH: Canadian MPs give standing ovation to motion calling for abortion ‘for any reason’

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By Lianne Laurence

PETITION: 'Dump Netflix' over their attack on unborn babies. Sign the petition here.

OTTAWA, May 30, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — All of Canada’s MPs except the Conservatives gave a rousing standing ovation yesterday to a motion affirming a woman’s “right” to unrestricted abortion.

Bloc Quebecois MP Monique Pauze presented a motion that “the House of Commons reiterate that a woman's body belongs to her and her alone and recognize her freedom of choice on abortion for any reason.”

All Liberal, Green, Bloc Quebecois, NDP and Independent MPs in the House thereupon leapt to their feet to clap and cheer for more than two minutes, as Speaker Geoffrey Regan repeatedly called for order over the thunderous applause.

Conservative MPs, however, sat in silence. The only Conservative observed joining the ovation was Sylvie Boucher from Quebec, CTV reported.

Pauze said she believed her motion would get “unanimous consent,” but as it didn’t, it did not make it to the the floor for debate.

Campaign Life Coalition, Canada’s national pro-life, pro-family political lobby group, and largest pro-life association, denounced the MPs applauding unfettered access to abortion.

“Similar to the cheers and standing ovation that we recently saw in the New York legislature when that horrific abortion law was passed, the majority of the House of Commons celebrating and cheering for the so called ‘right’ to kill a child in the womb, regardless of reason, is shameful,” said Campaign Life vice president Matt Wojciechowski.

“May God have mercy on these politicians.”   

Moreover, Wednesday’s spectacle should serve as “wake-up call” to Canadians in the lead-up to October’s federal election, Wojciechowski told LifeSiteNews.

Pro-life advocates must “ensure that they only vote for pro-life candidates,” he said.

Pauze’s motion came as several American states are passing laws giving greater protection to the unborn child. Notably, Alabama passed legislation earlier this month that makes almost all abortions illegal in the state. Heartbeat bills that ban abortion after an unborn child’s heartbeat can be detected have either been passed or are in the process of being so in Georgia, Ohio, Kentucky, Missouri, Louisiana, and South Carolina.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau responded by accusing the United States of “backsliding on women’s rights” and said he will bring up abortion with American Vice President Mike Pence in their Thursday meeting on trade, CTV reported.

He also included the “conservative movements” in Canada in his denunciation.

"Obviously, I'm very concerned with the situation around the backsliding of women's rights that we’re seeing through conservative movements here in Canada, in the United States and around the world. I will have a broad conversation with the vice president," he said Wednesday.

Moreover, the Liberals have been fundraising on the abortion issue in the lead-up to Canada’s federal election in October, pointing to the 12 Conservative MPs who attended the National March for Life as evidence the Conservatives plan to change the status quo on abortion if elected.

Canada has had legal abortion for 50 years, and no law restricting abortion at all since 1988, when the Supreme Court struck down the Pierre Trudeau Liberal’s 1969 bill allowing abortion virtually on demand as unconstitutional.

Conservative leader Andrew Scheer, however, has repeatedly stated his party will not reopen the debate on abortion.

Wojciechowski said he hopes that will change.

Campaign Life was “encouraged to see the Conservatives did not engage in applauding the killing of children before birth” in the House on Wednesday, he told LifeSiteNews.

“At the same time, we urge Andrew Scheer and his Conservative leadership to stop cowering to the bullying and intimidation tactics of the radical left – who will never vote for them anyway,” added Wojciechowski.

“The abortion debate is here, it’s always been here. They can either continue to look the other way and ignore the almost 300 children killed before birth every day in Canada, or they can put an end to this 50 years of abortion on demand in Canada.”

Campaign Life Coalition tweeted Wednesday that abortion is very much a ballot-box issue.

Campaign Life has launched voteprolife.ca to help voters identify and help pro-life candidates running in the October 21 election.

For information on candidates in your riding, go here.

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Mike Pence in Ottawa, May 30, 2019. CPAC screen grab
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WATCH: VP Pence tells Trudeau that Trump admin will ‘always stand’ for sanctity of life

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By Lianne Laurence

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OTTAWA, May 30, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – American vice president Mike Pence told Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Thursday he was “proud to be part of a pro-life administration” and that the Trump administration will "always stand for the right to life" and "stand for the sanctity of life.”

Pence made the remarks after a reporter questioned him and Trudeau on abortion at a press conference in Ottawa, where the two men have been meeting to discuss ratifying the new United States Mexico Canada Agreement (USMCA) trade deal.

Trudeau declared before the meeting he would tell Pence during his first visit to Canada as vice president he believed the United States is “backsliding on women’s rights.”

Canada’s prime minister, who has made unfettered access to abortion the cornerstone of his foreign and domestic policy, has decried the multiple pro-life bills being passed at the state level in the United States.

And in the lead-up to Canada’s federal election in October, Trudeau and the Liberals have been stoking the abortion issue, positioning themselves as champions of women’s “right to choose,” and the Conservatives as a threat.

"Obviously, I'm very concerned with the situation around the backsliding of women's rights that we’re seeing through Conservative movements here in Canada, in the United States and around the world. I will have a broad conversation with the vice-president," Trudeau said Wednesday.

Trudeau confirmed at Thursday’s press conference he and Pence discussed abortion, along with a number of concerns such as China and Venezuela, during their closed-door sessions.

“I highlighted to the vice president that there was a significant amount of concern among Canadians on the new anti-choice laws being passed in America, a number of American states,” Trudeau said.

He also “highlighted” to Pence “that Canadians and indeed this government will always be a staunch defender of women’s rights and a woman’s right to choose,” Trudeau added.

“It was a cordial conversation but it is one on which we have very different perspectives,” he said.

Pence agreed that “one of the great things about the relationship between the United States and Canada is we’re able to be candid with one another,” but left no doubt as to his convictions.

“But let me be clear. I’m very proud to be part of a pro-life administration, and our administration has taken steps to stand for the sanctity of life at home and abroad,” Pence said.

“What we find troubling is the Democratic Party in our country, and even leaders around the country, supporting late-term abortion, even infanticide,” he added.

In what could be construed as a mild rebuke to Trudeau, Pence said the citizens of the United States and Canada will settle the issue within their respective countries.

“But those are debates within the United States, and I know that Canada will deal with those issues in a manner that the people of Canada determine most appropriate,” he said.

“But for President Trump, for me, for our administration, we’ll always stand for the right to life.”

When the reporter pressed Pence whether it angered him “to be sermoned by someone whose country it’s not happening in” the vice president said the conversation was  “very respectful” and that Trump “appreciates the relationship he has forged with Prime Minister Trudeau and so do I.”

“Look, friends can have difference of opinion and still be friends,” added Pence.

“I think what unites the United States and Canada is a shared commitment to freedom. It is a shared foundation of values and shared sacrifice through the generations, and it’s on that foundation that we will always stand,” he said.

Canada’s national pro-life, pro-family lobbying group Campaign Life Coalition praised Pence for his words.

“It’s extremely refreshing to see a conservative leader be unapologetic about his government’s support for the right to life,” said Campaign Life president Jeff Gunnarson.

“Additionally, Vice President Pence leaves it to the Canadian people to deal with these issues in a manner they deem most appropriate,” Gunnarson told LifeSiteNews.

Trudeau, on the other hand, “travels to the UN and around the world, dictating to developing nations on how they must liberalize their abortion laws,” he said.

Pence is to be lauded as a “great example for Christian politicians everywhere” and his success as a politician with known pro-life convictions “shows that men and women who stand on principle only increase their chance of election and re-election,” Gunnarson said.

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Judge hears arguments on whether to save license of last abortion center in Missouri

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By Calvin Freiburger

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ST. LOUIS, May 30, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – A judge heard an hour’s worth of oral arguments Thursday on whether to allow Missouri health officials to pull the abortion license of a scandal-plagued facility in St. Louis, the outcome of which could make Missouri the first state in America to be virtually abortion-free.

Reproductive Health Services of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region is fighting the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services over its annual license renewal, arguing that the state is trying to “intimidate” abortionists by making renewal contingent on interviewing them about patient complaints.

The abortion giant has filed a lawsuit St. Louis Circuit Court seeking a restraining order to preserve its license, without which it would have to stop committing abortions once its current license expires on Friday. It would remain open to offer non-abortion services.

"Missouri would be the first state in the country to go dark — without a health center that provides safe, legal abortion care," national Planned Parenthood CEO Leana Wen declared. "This is a world we haven't seen in nearly half a century."

Planned Parenthood Advocates of Missouri (PPAM), the state NARAL chapter, and the local chapter of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) organized an “emergency response” rally on Thursday morning in downtown St. Louis to protest an abortion shutdown.

"Planned Parenthood has been actively and knowingly violating state law on numerous occasions,” Republican Gov. Mike Parson said Wednesday at a press conference. "Regardless of if you support abortion or not, Planned Parenthood should be able to meet the basic standards of health care under the law. They should not receive any exceptions because they are one clinic."

Planned Parenthood officials accused Missouri of "weaponizing" the licensing process and haranguing the facility for complaints that have already been resolved, the Associated Press reported. State health officials expressed concerns about "at least one incident in which patient safety was gravely compromised” and "failed surgical abortions in which women remained pregnant," as well as an alleged violation of informed-consent requirements.

The facility’s two staff physicians already submitted to interviews, but health officials still want to interview five contract physicians regarding seven of the incidents flagged by inspectors. Planned Parenthood attorney Jamie Boyer claims the physicians refuse to speak with them on the grounds that their answers “could lead to criminal charges due to Missouri's restrictive abortion laws,” in the AP’s words.

"The facility has the ability to say, 'You guys have to cooperate,'" Assistant Attorney General John Sauer responded, arguing that the state’s desire to speak with the other physicians is reasonable.

Other serious concerns remain as to the safety of women who enter the facility’s doors. Operation Rescue noted that a total of 74 medical emergencies have been documented at the site over the past decade, including nine 911 calls between November 2016 and November 2018. During the past year, it has also failed to meet multiple safety requirements related to licensing and chemical abortions.

Circuit Judge Michael Stelzer is expected to reveal his decision sometime by tomorrow’s deadline, though exactly when is unknown. If the St. Louis facility is ultimately forced to stop committing abortions, the AP reported that next closest abortion facilities will be in Granite City, Illinois (10 miles from St. Louis) or Kansas City (260 miles from St. Louis).

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Catholic leaders who say hell is empty are basically calling Jesus ‘liar’

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By Lisa Bourne

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May 30, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – To suggest that hell is empty amounts to calling Jesus a liar, LifeSiteNews co-founder and editor-in-chief John-Henry Westen told a recent gathering of Catholic pro-life and family advocates in Rome. That hell contains human souls who have rejected God is established by the Lord in scripture and held by the Catholic faith since its beginning.

“Jesus himself says to us, “Broad is the road that leads to destruction and many there are that go there,” said Westen. “And he said, “Narrow is the road that leads to life and few there are that find it.” (Matthew 7:13-14)

Westen was answering a question at the Rome Life Forum — held earlier this month — about the Superior General of the Jesuit order having said the devil does not exist as well as reports of Pope Francis denying the existence of hell in favor of the annihilation of “lost souls.”

“In order to suggest that hell is empty you need to suggest that Jesus is a liar,” Westen stated.

The annual Rome Life Forum took place May 16-17 at the Pontifical University of St Thomas Aquinas (the Angelicum). Pro-life and family advocates and Catholics from across the world attended the event hosted by Voice of the Family and co-sponsored by LifeSiteNewsAssociazione Famiglia Domani (Italy), Family Life International New Zealand, and the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (UK).

Westen first clarified in the Q&A session on the subject of hell that Cardinal Raymond Burke, other bishops and priests had publicly corrected Jesuit Superior General Fr. Arturo Sosa Abascal’s 2017 comments saying the devil is a “symbolic figure” who doesn’t really exist. 

Regarding the pope’s statement about the existence of hell, the comments referenced were reportedly made in conversations with famous atheist author Eugenio Scalfari in the left-wing newspaper Scalfari founded La Repubblica

Francis has done a series of interviews with Scalfari, each resulting in controversy for what Scalfari reports the pope said, with the no hell narrative forming a pattern with Scalfari. The atheist author has reported in September 2014, March 2015, October 2017 and March 2018 that Francis had told him that there is no hell and unrepentant souls are not punished and instead annihilated. After Scalfari’s reports, the Vatican has typically had to issue some sort of clarification emphasizing that the quotes are not accurate. Scalfari admits the interviews are “reconstructions” from memory, that he takes no notes and does not use a recorder. 

In the March 2015 interview with Scalfari where he says the pope denied hell for lost souls, his article says:

“What happens to that lost soul? Will it be punished? And how? The response of Francis is distinct and clear: there is no punishment, but the annihilation of that soul. All the others will participate in the beatitude of living in the presence of the Father. The souls that are annihilated will not take part in that banquet; with the death of the body their journey is finished.”

Another Scalfari interview with Francis from March 2018 that has the pope denying the existence of hell was followed by the Vatican releasing a statement saying the text “should be considered as a faithful transcription of the words of the Holy Father” but never addressed the question of hell or the annihilation of souls. Nonetheless the media by-and-large stayed with the original narrative – leaving people to believe Scalfari’s report of what was said.

An October 2013 interview between Francis and Scalfari that had Francis saying that the “most serious” evils are “youth unemployment and the loneliness of the old” was pulled from the Vatican website due to Scalfari admitting his writings are reconstructed from memory.

Additionally from that interview, Francis was reported to have said that “proselytism is solemn nonsense,” and that “there is no Catholic God.”

One of the difficulties with those interviews, Westen explained to the Rome Life Forum, is that Scalfari doesn’t take notes, goes home, and then writes up what’s there. 

Complaints were lodged with the Vatican about them, he said, since the Vatican puts the Scalfari interviews on its website. The 2013 story came down for a period but was put back up, he said, there was no official correction from either the pope or the Holy See Press Office.

The other difficulty with the statement denying hell, continued Westen, is that in Francis’ exhortation Amoris Laetitia, there is a line in there that says, “no one is condemned forever, that’s not the logic of the Gospel.”

“That seems to corroborate what was said in the Scalfari interview,” Westen said. “And has anyone corrected that? Well, not specifically.” 

He said it’s very difficult for cardinals and bishops to correct the pope. 

“Their call is to ask for clarity,” Westen explained. “And that’s an act of love and charity, because the cardinals as collaborators of the Holy Father for the good of the Church have that responsibility from Christ to bring clarity. And the role of the pope is to bring unity to the Church.”

The cardinals have asked in love for clarity from the pope, he said, not in any way out of any kind of jealousy or hatred for the pope.

Westen said there are other reliable sources beyond Scripture that confirm lost souls do go to hell. 

“It was confirmed by Our Lady at Fatima when she showed the three children the vision of hell,” said Westen. “They saw people in hell!”

Descriptions from the Fatima apparitions even distinguished who the demons in hell were, he continued.

And Sister Lucia, in an interview from the 1950’s with Father Riccardo Lombardi, and author who’d written a book questioning the existence of hell, and in the interview when he asked her about the possibility of an empty hell, Sister Lucia told him, “No Father, many are in hell.” 

Sister Lucia had affirmed three times for the priest, Westen said, using the same term as Jesus to quantify the souls in hell, “many.” 

Jesus said something else on the question, Westen pointed out, when speaking to his apostles about Judas, saying, “Better were it for him had he not been born.” 

“If anyone commits a mortal sin – they’re hell-bound,” stated Westen. “If they repent, they’re heaven-bound.”

“If you’re heaven-bound, it can’t be better for you had you not been born,” he said. “So again, you (would) make Jesus a liar.”

“So the answer to, has it been corrected is - It’s been corrected since the beginning,” Westen said.

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Disney chief says Georgia filming would be ‘difficult’ if heartbeat law takes effect

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By Calvin Freiburger

PETITION: 'Dump Netflix' over their attack on unborn babies. Sign the petition here.

May 30, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Disney co-CEO Bob Iger said Wednesday it would be “very difficult” to continue filming in Georgia if the state’s law protecting preborn babies with detectable heartbeats takes effect, framing his comments around the assumed pro-abortion biases of the entertainment giant’s employees.

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 earlier this month, declaring Georgia a “state that values life” and “stand(s) up for those who are unable to speak for themselves."

The film industry generates substantial jobs and revenue for the Peach State, leading dozens of other celebrities to threaten to boycott to punish Georgians for enacting it. A handful of smaller studios have announced they’re refusing to film in Georgia, while prominent creators J.J. Abrams and Jordan Peele have said they’ll donate profits from an upcoming project in Georgia to pro-abortion organizations. Director Ron Howard and the streaming service Netflix have also threatened to boycott if the law survives a legal challenge.

On Wednesday, Iger told Reuters that it would be “very difficult” and not “practical” for Disney to keep filming in Georgia if the law takes effect, because “many people who work for us will not want to work there, and we will have to heed their wishes in that regard. Right now we are watching it very carefully.” Disney currently owns the enormous Star Wars and Marvel Cinematic Universe franchises, the latter of which have filmed several entries in Georgia.

With Iger framing the choice as a question of practicality and employees’ assumed wishes rather than an ideological statement, some are speculating that he is trying to mollify pro-abortion demands without committing to sacrificing Georgia’s lucrative tax breaks, based on the calculation that the law will be struck down and Disney won’t have to follow through on the threat.

Regardless, pro-lifers are calling out Disney for building their business on children’s entertainment while opposing basic protections for children with beating hearts:

Most of Hollywood’s biggest studios are holding their fire for the moment. The Motion Picture Association of America, which represents Warner Bros., Paramount, Sony, and Universal in addition to Disney and Netflix, has said only that it will “continue to monitor developments.” Comedian Tyler Perry, who has a 330-acre studio in Atlanta, has declined to comment because, according to a Hollywood Reporter source, “he likes to stay way below the radar."

Pro-life leaders are remaining defiant. U.S. Sen. David Perdue (R-GA) emphasized that despite Hollywood’s threats, the Peach State has once again been “rated for the sixth year in the row as the best state in the country in which to do business” by the trade publication Site Selection.

“We’re elected to do what’s right – and standing up for precious life is always the right thing to do,” Gov. Kemp said. “We are the party of freedom and opportunity. We value and protect innocent life — even though that makes C-list celebrities squawk.”

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Pro-life leaders denounce Netflix’s threat to boycott Georgia over pro-life law

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By Calvin Freiburger

PETITION: 'Dump Netflix' over their attack on unborn babies. Sign the petition here.

May 30, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Netflix has become the latest, and arguably the biggest, entertainment name threatening to boycott Georgia over its recently-enacted heartbeat law, provoking several pro-lifers to threaten their own boycott of the streaming service.

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 earlier this month, declaring Georgia a “state that values life” and “stand(s) up for those who are unable to speak for themselves."

The film industry generates substantial jobs and revenue for the Peach State, leading dozens of other celebrities to threaten to boycott to punish Georgians for enacting it. A handful of smaller studios have announced they’re refusing to film in Georgia, while prominent creators J.J. Abrams and Jordan Peele have said they’ll donate profits from an upcoming project in Georgia to pro-abortion organizations. Director Ron Howard has also threatened to boycott if the law survives a legal challenge.

On Tuesday, Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos told Fox News that if the heartbeat law was to take effect, “we’d rethink our entire investment in Georgia,” and in the meantime “will work with the ACLU and others to fight it in court.” Numerous pro-life leaders, activists, and commenters have spoken out in response.

“Whatever happened to the tolerant left? Is there no room for people who peacefully and respectfully voice their opposition to the loss of nearly one million innocent lives each year?” Focus on the Family president Jim Daly asked in a statement to LifeSiteNews. “When it comes to Netflix’s threat to boycott our friends in Georgia, the company’s tagline – ‘See What’s Next’ – seems to work both ways. To the company’s executives: Go ahead and turn your back on the good, decent and hardworking people of the Peach State – and we’ll see what’s next for a company that relies on the hard earned income of those of us who believe every life is precious and deserving of protection under law.”

“Quite frankly, I see this as more bluster from business just as we saw in North Carolina — all the companies threatening to pull out. Look, bottom line is they're in it for the money," Family Research Council president Tony Perkins said Tuesday on his radio show. “If you still have a subscription to Netflix – I got rid of mine because the content is becoming increasingly objectionable; that's beyond their conduct as a business – contact them."

“I think that Georgians and pro-life advocates canceling their Netflix subscriptions can do Netflix far more harm than Netflix boycotting Georgia,” Iowa pro-family activist Shane Vander Hart wrote. “I don’t care if a company is neutral on an issue I care about, but I do care when they work against me.”

Many pro-lifers, including the Personhood Alliance, Radiance Foundation founder Ryan Bomberger, and American Principles Project government affairs director Jon Schweppe, have taken to Twitter to announce they’re canceling their subscriptions and/or urging others to do the same:

“We have gone from citizens boycotting corporations to corporations boycotting the citizenry,” First Things senior editor Matthew Schmitz observed:

LifeSiteNews’ Joe Bissonnette noted that while “corporate boycotting may seem vanishingly insignificant against a behemoth like Netflix,” the “pursuit of market share is so fine-tuned that corporations do pay attention to the butterfly effect;” and that Christians and other pro-family viewers already had abundant reasons to drop the service over amoral and sexualized content.

Most of Hollywood’s biggest studios are holding their fire, at least for the moment. The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), which represents Disney, Warner Bros., Paramount, Sony, Universal, and Netflix, has said only that it will “continue to monitor developments.” Comedian Tyler Perry, who has a 330-acre studio in Atlanta, has declined to comment because, according to a Hollywood Reporter source, “he likes to stay way below the radar."

PETITION: Call to "Dump Netflix" over their attack on the pro-life movement. Sign the petition here.

The Washington Post noted that the most recent fiscal year enjoyed $2.7 billion in direct spending on the filming of Hollywood blockbusters such as the Marvel Studios films and popular series such as The Walking Dead. Georgia is particularly lucrative to filmmakers thanks to the substantial tax credits it offers.

State pro-life leaders are remaining defiant. U.S. Sen. David Perdue (R-Georgia) emphasized that despite Hollywood’s threats, the Peach State has once again been “rated for the sixth year in the row as the best state in the country in which to do business” by the trade publication Site Selection.

“We’re elected to do what’s right – and standing up for precious life is always the right thing to do,” Gov. Kemp said. “We are the party of freedom and opportunity. We value and protect innocent life — even though that makes C-list celebrities squawk.”

Pro-lifers can cancel their Netflix subscriptions by clicking here.

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Abortion rate in Scotland hits ten-year high

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By Society for the Protection of Unborn Children

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May 30, 2019 (Society for the Protection of Unborn Children) — The number of abortions carried out in Scotland has reached its highest point in a decade, official statistics reveal. The data released today by NHS Scotland exposed the troubling spike in abortion rates, and has confirmed that 13,286 unborn babies were aborted in 2018 — an 8.9% rise from the 2017 statistics.

The Breakdown

The 2018 statistics reveal that:

  • 13,286 pregnant women aged 15–44 had an abortion, a rate of 12.9 per 1,000.
  • There was an increase of 1,074 abortions from the previous year. 
  • The highest abortion rate was amongst women aged 20-24 years, a rate of 21.3 per 1000.
  • Around a third of abortions were carried out in the mother's home through DIY abortion.
  • 11,482 unborn babies were killed by chemical abortion, and 1,848 by surgical abortion. 
  • 159 unborn babies were killed following diagnosis of a suspected disability.
  • Women from the most deprived areas accessed abortion services twice as often as women from the least deprived areas. 
  • In the past five years, the number of abortions has risen within all age groups of women except those under 20.

Disturbing Government Measures

Despite the soaring figures now reaching a ten-year high, the report commentary reveals, "It is not yet clear exactly which factors have led to the apparent increase in termination."

What is evident in the report is that the Scottish Government's dangerous DIY abortion policy has accounted for just under a third of all Scottish abortions. The policy, introduced in 2018 and legally challenged twice by SPUC Scotland, allows women to self- administer the abortion drug, misoprostol, at home without any medical supervision or assistance.

The report also exposes the Scottish Government's failure to support women throughout the country's most deprived regions.

SPUC Scotland Communications and Campaigns Director Michael Robinson said: "Women deserve better than abortion and the right to life must be defended for every person. Abortion rates for women in the most deprived areas in Scotland remain nearly twice as high as those from the least deprived areas. Society promotes abortion as a quick and easy fix for women facing unwanted pregnancy, but many post-abortive women will tell you that they had no choice at all. These rising figures reflect that tragedy. These women deserve support and care to help them with their pregnancy, free from coercion."

Catastrophic Failure

Mr Robinson continued: "This year's figures show a devastating increase in abortion numbers. The statistics reveal a catastrophic failure of the Scottish government's policy on abortion. We now have a ten-year high on abortion meaning 255 abortions every week. We know that every abortion has a devastating impact on so many people. It is inconceivable that so many abortions are not impacting on the already dreadful state of mental health in Scotland.

"The Scottish Government seem to be investing in creating more misery for the people of Scotland due to their failed policies and determination to increase the ease with which women can have abortions, even when that means carrying out abortions in their own homes.

"In 2018, nearly 30% of medical abortions involved self-administration of misoprostol or 'DIY' abortion. At SPUC we still maintain that 'DIY' abortion can be detrimental to the mental and physical well-being of women in our country. Women should not be facing the mental anguish that accompanies 'DIY' abortions, nor any abortion for that matter."

Published with permission from the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children.

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Dem candidate Pete Buttigieg claims late-term abortions are ‘hypothetical’

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PETITION: 'Dump Netflix' over their attack on unborn babies. Sign the petition here.

May 30, 2019 (Live Action News) — The 2020 Democratic presidential candidates thus far have all taken a position supporting abortion without limit. At the federal level, abortion is legal in the United States up to nine months of pregnancy. While some states have enacted prohibitions on abortion — including restricting the procedure after a certain point in pregnancy — other states permit abortions without exception.

Mayor Pete Buttigieg called abortion a "national right" and an "American freedom" during the recent Fox News Presidential Town hall. Host Chris Wallace asked Buttigieg, "[D]o you believe — at any point in pregnancy — whether it's at six weeks or eight weeks or 24 weeks or whenever — that there should be any limit on a woman's right to have an abortion?"

Buttigieg responded, "I trust women to draw the line when it's their own bodies." He then proceeded to downplay the number of late-term abortions done annually, first calling them "hypothetical," and then when Wallace corrected him, downplaying and inaccurately representing the percentage of late-term abortions among all abortions in the United States.

Buttigieg: "You know, I think that the dialogue has gotten so caught up on where you draw the line that we've gotten away from the fundamental question of who gets to draw the line? And I trust women to draw the line when it's their own bodies."

Wallace: "So... just to be clear... you're saying that you would be okay with a woman well into the third trimester deciding to abort her pregnancy?"

Buttigieg then suggested that late-term abortions were "hypothetical."

Wallace disagreed, noting, "It's not hypothetical. There's 6,000 women a year who get abortions in the third trimester." Wallace appeared to be quoting data published by the CDC (more on those numbers later).

Buttigieg dismissed the numbers: "That's right, representing less than one percent of the cases..."

But according to the most recent data reported to the CDC in 2015, abortions committed at 21 weeks gestation or greater represent approximately 1.3 percent of all reported abortions. This 1.3% statistic is also quoted by Guttmacher, which gathers more comprehensive abortion data. The fact is, abortionists control the abortion data on later abortions and only a small number of states even require abortion data by gestation. And therefore, these numbers are not definitive.

However, although reporting agencies do not break down gestational data beyond 21 weeks, the numbers are far from insignificant. They represent:

  • 5,597 late abortions in 2015 (CDC)
  • 12,040 late abortions in 2014 (Guttmacher)

That 1.3% represents thousands of human beings.

Would Buttigieg diminish a 1.3% statistic if it represented the number of Americans killed by "gun violence" every year? This is an issue Buttgieg claims he is concerned about.

The CDC's National Vital Statistics Reports on deaths reveal there were 2,712,630 resident deaths registered in the United States in 2015. Guess what the data shows:

  • A total of 36,252 persons died from injury by firearms for all reasons (intentional, unintentional, suicide, etc.) including legal interventions and war, representing 1.3 percent of all reported deaths in the United States.
  • A total of 33,171 persons died of alcohol-induced causes, representing 1.2 percent of all reported deaths in the United States.
  • A total of 44,193 persons died of Intentional self-harm (suicide), representing 1.6 percent of all reported deaths in the United States.

In other words, deaths from firearms, alcohol-induced causes and suicide represent a similar percentage of all deaths to reported later abortions.

Would any pro-abortion candidate — including Mayor Pete — consider these percentages insignificant in those cases?

Buttigieg then went on to repeat additional debunked talking points on the reasons women have late abortions:

So, let's put ourselves in the shoes of a woman in that situation. If it's that late in your pregnancy, that means almost by definition you've been expecting to carry it to term. We're talking about women who have perhaps chosen a name. Women who have purchased a crib. Families that then get the most devastating medical news of their lifetime. Something about the health or the life of the mother that forces them to make an impossible, unthinkable choice.

And the bottom line is as horrible as that choice is, uh, that woman — that family — they may seek spiritual guidance. They may seek medical guidance. But that decision is not going to be made any better medically or morally because the government is dictating how that decision should be made.

Mayor Pete is incorrect about reasons for late abortions. According to a study published on Guttmacher's website, the reasons women gave for why they obtained later abortions included "raising children alone, were depressed or using illicit substances, were in conflict with a male partner or experiencing domestic violence, had trouble deciding and then had access problems, or were young and nulliparous."

Live Action News previously documented:

  • Abortion training lectures from the University of California, San Francisco, claim women who abort later in pregnancy do NOT do so for primarily health reasons.
  • Abortion staffers testify to having witnessed late abortions committed for non medical reasons.
  • Abortion providers admit late abortions are committed on healthy babies.
  • Live Action's undercover cameras captured chilling admissions of abortionists committing late-term abortions for non-medical reasons.
  • Undercover recordings by Abortion Free New Mexico and Priests for Life captured a late-term abortion facility staffer telling a "healthy woman posing as 25 weeks pregnant" that they would "euthanize the fetus."
  • Others calling late-term abortion facilities have recorded casual reasons for scheduling later abortions.
  • An unearthed media report revealed that the abortion industry has commonly deceived the media and public on reasons and numbers of gruesome later abortion procedures.
  • Babies are sometimes born alive during later abortions.

These abortions are far from "moral" and are committed in the most grisly way, many by dismembering children limb from torso — as demonstrated in this video narrated by former abortionist Anthony Levatino:

Polls repeatedly show that Americans disapprove of abortions later in pregnancy. The fact remains, while Buttigieg is in agreement with the Democratic Party position of abortion on demand, he is out of step with the American public.

Published with permission from Live Action News.

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Conservatives who want to oust Trump must support these liberal positions

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By Thomas

PETITION: 'Dump Netflix' over their attack on unborn babies. Sign the petition here.

May 30, 2019 (American Thinker) — An online friend who must remain anonymous has been musing about what those ostensible conservatives who despise President Trump must now approve of, if they seek to defeat his re-election bid, and thereby hand the presidency to the Democrats' nominee.

This is the implicit set of values and goals that they must now embrace:

1) Abortion on demand is a good thing;

2) Infanticide is a good thing;

3) Letting Iran get a nuclear bomb is a good thing;

4) Higher tax rates are a good thing;

5) More regulation on businesses, big and small, is a good thing;

6) Restricting gas, oil, and coal exploration and extraction is a good thing;

7) Open borders is a good thing;

8) China stealing our intellectual property is a good thing;

9) Turning over a significant amount of our uranium supply to Russia is a good thing;

10) Turning our back on Israel is a good thing;

11) Socialization of our health care is a good thing;

12) Repealing the religious protections of the First Amendment is a good thing;

13) Repealing the speech protections of the First Amendment is a good thing; and

14) Repealing the assembly protections of the First Amendment is a good thing.

My friend asks:

So, Bill Kristol, have I left anything out?

Published with permission from the American Thinker.

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Phil Lawler

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Contradictions in Pope Francis’s remarks on sex abuse are frustrating reporters

Phil Lawler
By Phil Lawler

PETITION: 'Dump Netflix' over their attack on unborn babies. Sign the petition here.

May 30, 2019 (CatholicCulture.org) — In his latest interview Pope Francis says that he does not remember whether or not Archbishop Vigano told him about Theodore McCarrick's sexual misconduct. He also insists that he knew "nothing, obviously, nothing, nothing" about McCarrick's misconduct. Those two claims do not sit comfortably side by side.

If you told me that you studied French in high school, I might not recall that fact five years later; it wouldn't stand out in my mind. But if you told me that you had wrestled a grizzly bear, whether or not I believed you, I would certainly remember the claim. Is the Pope suggesting that the news Archbishop Vigano says he conveyed — that a cardinal-archbishop had been bedding seminarians, and had been ordered by the previous Pontiff to retire from public life — would not have made a lasting impression?

Yet even that outlandish suggestion is not enough to bring the Pope's two claims into a workable alignment. Because if Archbishop Vigano had informed him, then even if the Pope somehow forgot, he could not truthfully say that he knew "nothing" about the McCarrick scandal.

Archbishop Vigano, not mincing words, made his own position perfectly clear in responding to the new papal interview: "What the Pope said about not knowing anything is a lie."

So once again we find ourselves asking: Is Archbishop Vigano's testimony credible? Back in September, when most of the dust had settled after the first explosion of the McCarrick scandal, I summarized the available evidence and found that it weighed heavily in the archbishop's favor. (Defenders of Pope Francis have preferred not to examine that evidence, instead questioning Archbishop Vigano's motives.) Pope Francis, for his part, had refused to discuss the Vigano testimony, until during this new interview, Valentina Alazraki of the Mexican Televisa network told him that his silence had become burdensome to reporters, and he proceeded to unburden himself.

Coincidentally (or was it a coincidence?), on the same day that the Televisa interview was made public, important new evidence emerged, supplied by a cleric who could not easily be described as an enemy of the Pontiff. Msgr. Anthony Figueiredo, a former secretary to McCarrick, professed his "unswerving affection, loyalty, and support for Pope Francis," even as he released a raft of information confirming important elements of the Vigano testimony. Msgr. Figueiredo revealed:

  • that in August 2008, McCarrick had received instructions from the Vatican, ordering him to remove himself from public life;
  • that McCarrick had acknowledged the disciplinary action and promised not to make any further public appearances;
  • that copies of the relevant correspondence should be readily available in the files of the Vatican's Congregation for Bishops and those of the apostolic nuncio in Washington;
  • that the restrictions on McCarrick were known to Cardinal Wuerl, his successor in Washington, and to Cardinal Bertone, the Vatican Secretary of State, among others;
  • that McCarrick had been forbidden to travel to Rome; and
  • that in spite of the Vatican restrictions, and despite his promise, McCarrick had continued to make public appearances, had visited Rome, and had acted as a Vatican representative to China, to Iran and Iraq, and elsewhere.

The Figueiredo files do not directly address the question of whether Archbishop Vigano told Pope Francis about the restrictions on McCarrick. But they do make it clear that the disciplinary action was a serious matter: the sort of topic that an apostolic nuncio (Vigano) would likely have discussed with a Pontiff (Francis) visiting the city where McCarrick lived.

But Pope Francis says that he does not remember such a conversation. Notice, again, that he does not deny that the conversation took place; he merely says that he does not recall it. That claim strains credibility — as does the claim of the Vatican press office that, in a transcript of the interview, the Pope's professed lapse of memory was omitted until reporters called attention to the omission. (A summary article on the interview, posted on the Vatican News service, barely touches on the McCarrick affair, and does not mention the memory lapse.)

In the course of the Televisa interview Pope Francis makes other assertions that should raise the eyebrows of skeptic reporters. He says that he brought the Argentine Bishop Gustavo Zanchetta to Rome, relieving him of his pastoral duties, because "the clergy didn't feel well treated by him" — not because of the abuse allegations that emerged later. He described criticisms of Cardinal Oscar Maradiaga, the chairman of the Council of Cardinals, as "calumnies" — the same claim that he made eighteen months ago about the criticism of Chilean Bishop Juan Barros, and was eventually forced to retract — while also making the much less convincing statement that "there is nothing certain" against the Honduran cardinal. And when asked about a notorious conversation with an Argentine divorcee, in which he reportedly encouraged her to receive Communion despite an illicit new marriage, the Pope again says that he does not recall the conversation, "but I must surely have said to her, 'Look, in Amoris Laetitia there is that, which you must do." (As Chris Altieri pointed out in Catholic World ReportAmoris Laetitia was not promulgated until two years after the reported conversation.)

However, the most revealing section of the Televisa interview is the Pope's explanation of why he has remained silent, until now, about the Vigano testimony. He explains that rather than defending himself, he chose to rely on reporters to make his case for him:

And that's what you did, because you did the work, that was great, and I was very careful to say things weren't there but then, three or four months later, a judge in Milan said them when he was convicted.

The Pope's mention of the "judge in Milan" is a reference to Archbishop Vigano's legal dispute with his brother, an unfortunate matter that has absolutely no bearing on the archbishop's claims about the McCarrick scandal. Is Pope Francis revealing that he relied on the mass media to do his dirty work for him, to dig up unflattering information about his accuser, to deflect attention from the evidence? Pope Francis says that he never read Vigano's testimony in full — but he describes the archbishop's criticism as "viciousness" and seems, in one particularly confused sentence, to be implying that Vigano was paid to attack him. Thus even as he compares himself to Jesus, as the innocent and silent victim, the Pontiff launches his own vicious attack on the character of his accuser.

Archbishop Vigano, in his original bombshell testimony, said that Pope Francis was aware of, and chose to ignore, the charges against McCarrick. It is surely relevant, then, that in his own newly released testimony, Msgr. Figueiredo says that he made his evidence public only after attempting unsuccessfully, since last September, to bring that evidence to the attention of Pope Francis and other Vatican officials.

Ironically, Msgr. Figueiredo reveals that his decision to go public with his correspondence was encouraged — indirectly — by Pope Francis. In releasing his new motu proprio, Vos Estis Lux Mundi, the Pope stressed that a cover-up of abuse is itself a canonical crime, and urged anyone with information of a cover-up to come forward. So Msgr. Figueiredo came forward. "It is my hope," he wrote, "that my openness will encourage and help other priests, religious, and seminarians, who have found themselves trapped in similar abuses of authority and cover up by bishops and superiors." Amen to that.

Published with permission from CatholicCulture.org.

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Linda Harvey

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Ohio drag queen program for kids shut down after families, taxpayers rise up

Linda Harvey
By Linda Harvey

PETITION: 'Dump Netflix' over their attack on unborn babies. Sign the petition here.

May 30, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — The “Drag 101” event for teens at the Delaware (Ohio) County Library will not take place, at least not at the library, according to an announcement from the library director.

It’s been moved to a local comic book store, where concerned citizens hope it will not be well attended by children, and that any minors who attend will be  accompanied by adults.  That was not the original goal of the “teens only” event at the Orange branch of the Delaware Library.  Only after public outcry did the library director announce that one adult would be allowed to accompany a minor to the event.

The library director is citing safety concerns and alleged threats, a claim that is highly doubtful and would never be encouraged or supported by any conservative Ohio group, including ours.

The positive outcome is that this depravity — a male who poses as a female “drag queen” to instruct impressionable youth to follow his deplorable example — has been widely publicized, and central Ohio kids now know that a large segment of the community stands against it. And this behind-the-scenes corruption no longer carries the seeming endorsement of county government and taxpayers.

It is very likely that similar events, along with the outrageous “Drag Queen Story Hours,” are occurring at local libraries across the country, and many people plan to investigate these situations at the local level.

How did the shutdown happen? Largely because of the big heart and child-protective actions of Melissa Ackison, Ohio senate candidate, who “outed” this event in the first place and did near constant radio and social media publicity alongside Ohio Value Voters. OVV did radio interviews as well with numerous social media and email alerts. Others who got the word out were state representative Andrew Brenner, Elizabeth Johnston (the Activist Mommy), and many local churches.

But unfortunately, the work to hold this library accountable is not done. Mission America sent a letter to the Delaware library board of trustees, Delaware county commissioners, and judges on the Court of Common Pleas, highlighting this event and also the outrageous pro-homosexual, pro-“transgender” promotion on the Delaware library teen page.

One page is called “LGBTQIA” and features one-sided promotion of links to child corruption groups like GLSEN, the Human Rights Campaign, and others, all of whom would lead children into high-risk, dangerous sexual behavior.

It’s a totally one-sided, inaccurate, medically compromising picture for any adolescent who visits this page.  There is no conservative viewpoint of caution on this taxpayer-funded site.

Another page for teens is called “In Case You Need It” and features books about homosexuality, transgenderism, suicide, mindfulness (meditation), teen sexuality, and self-harming actions like cutting.

It’s unlikely that Delaware County parents want the library to bypass their involvement and become the psychologists for their minor children.

These books and resources highlight extremely controversial and emotionally charged issues (mostly communicated with substantial inaccuracies). Yet the library seems determined to circumvent parent and counselor input. Again, the library management has exhibited deplorably poor judgment. All the staff involved in this travesty should be fired.

Here’s what I also said in a letter to county officials: “Are you willing to be legally accountable to the parents of a child who may be misled into tragedy by these questionable ‘resources’ and end up suing the library and the county?” And I cited the Centers for Disease Control’s research showing a high correlation between youth risk behaviors and “gay, lesbian,” and “bisexual”  or “transgender” identities.

Every community needs to determine to what level its own local libraries are engaged in similar deviant programs and controversial content on their sites. Such pro-homosexual “resources” directed to children are a public health and moral outrage and, minus parental oversight, can constitute child endangerment.

Linda Harvey is president of Mission America.

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Annette Jalsevac

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I was pro-life and Catholic with an unplanned pregnancy. Here’s what I learned

Annette Jalsevac
By Annette Jalsevac

PETITION: 'Dump Netflix' over their attack on unborn babies. Sign the petition here.

May 30, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — This is a VERY long, deeply personal overview of my opinion and experiences with abortion. I expect few people to read it all, or even a small portion, for that matter, but for those who do, I am deeply grateful. 

With abortion in the news of late in light of recent attempts to tighten laws in the U.S., I feel the need to share my personal perspective and correct some misconceptions. This isn't easy for me, because I know I'll probably lose friends and anger people I care about. Please know that if you are my friend but you disagree with me entirely, I will still love you. I've read so much misinformation and deceitful propaganda recently stemming from the abortion-rights lobby that I'm obliged to speak out now before I pull out my hair or start banging my head against the wall.

Many of you may already know that I'm unabashedly and unreservedly opposed to abortion. I'll never apologize for this. I believe the living being in the womb is a valuable person from the beginning of his or her life (conception) and deserves the same legal protection afforded to those living outside the womb. 

I have many pro-choice friends whom I know to be good, compassionate individuals. I respect those who seek truth and knowledge and who care about events that shape our world. I can respect others who disagree with me, but I'd be lying if I claimed to respect someone's opinion that abortion is acceptable. Remember, I see the unborn child as a human being (a scientific fact), deserving the same right to life as every other human (a philosophical, or moral position), so with this in mind it would be irrational for me to approve of the direct killing of an unborn child for any reason.

Science teaches us that a new human life with entirely unique DNA comes into existence at conception when the sperm penetrates the egg, forming a new organism with cells that begin to multiply. The new zygote organically develops into an embryo, then a fetus, then an infant, a toddler, a teenager, and so on. It's the same person from day one, whether in or outside the womb. My 16-year-old son Justin was my child from the moment his life began at conception; he didn't magically become Justin at 12 weeks gestation, birth, or some other random moment designated by an arbitrary definition of personhood. 

My recognition of the scientific facts about life in the womb, and my growing cognizance of the strategy by pro-choice activists to dehumanize the unborn through lies and euphemisms — a necessity to justify their commitment to unfettered abortion rights — prompted my decision to work as an activist, organizer, and media spokesperson in the pro-life movement for over ten years back in the '80s and '90s. 

During this time I came to know a great many generous, compassionate, self-sacrificing, and highly intelligent people, who like me wanted to curb the violent demise of innocent unborn children, and assist women facing unplanned pregnancies, knowing many of them were unable to cope with the intense pressure placed on them by boyfriends and/or family members to abort against their will. Our goal was not to control women's bodies or to advance some sort of ancient patriarchal civilization; it was simply to help form a less violent, more loving society by protecting the lives of the smallest, most innocent and vulnerable among us, and to preserve the dignity of pregnant women who deserve options respecting their unique power to grow and nurture new life. Many of my pro-life associates (as pro-lifers do today) adopted unwanted and handicapped babies, fostered countless children, took single pregnant women into their homes, embraced grieving women who regretted their abortions, and were also involved in a host of other charitable activities.

As I grew more involved with the pro-life cause, my mother revealed something shocking to me: that she and my dad had planned to abort me, having been very poor at the time and already parenting six other children. How strange it was to learn that my life's work at that time was dedicated to preventing a procedure that nearly ended my own life. I'm uncertain why they never went through with it — abortion wasn't legal at the time, but there were still doctors who would do them. I presume my mother's faith proved stronger than the desire to be rid of me. Tragically, my two-year old sister was hit by a car and died six weeks before I was born. Imagine the expansive guilt and sorrow my parents would have had to live with if they had followed through on aborting me. My parents named me Annette after my sister who died.

As those gifted by the Creator with the powerful ability to grow, give birth to, and nurture new lives, women are endowed with a particular strength that sets us apart from men. This should be celebrated! I consider it lamentable and regressive to insist we can only fulfill our goals, find equality, and live with dignity by having the right to inflict violence on the tiny, vulnerable humans growing inside us. Widespread availability of abortion often causes women with an unplanned pregnancy to feel that abortion is their only choice, not necessarily because it's their desire, but because it's what our culture promotes and expects. We are taught that it's actually irresponsible to give birth to a child who may be poor, or fatherless, who will cost taxpayers money, or who may interrupt our education or affect our income and job performance. 

Men and women, but mostly men, are affected by the abortion culture by carelessly pursuing frequent casual sex. Numerous sexual encounters with or without birth control, which often fails, and the refusal to mentally connect sex with the possibility of procreation, does as a matter of course lead to many unintended pregnancies; but these can be quickly dealt with by the convenience of abortion. An interesting statistic is that even among committed couples who go through an abortion, over 50% will break up not long after, attributing the relationship's demise to the abortion experience.

I am one of those women who has experienced an unintended, indeed a crisis pregnancy. In my early 40s, after just one foolish encounter with a "friend," I became pregnant. When I gazed upon that white stick that indicated a positive result, I was stunned and grew frantic. Already a single mother, involved with the youth ministry at my church, financially deficient, living with my parents, and dealing with a host of health problems rooted in Fibromyalgia, I was a very poor candidate for new motherhood. I was also very embarrassed. After absorbing this shocking news, the father of my unborn child took me for a nice walk along the beach and informed me that he and his parents had a good discussion in which they decided the best solution for everyone involved was for me to have an abortion. I just shook my head, and I think I may have even laughed, confronting the stupidity of this scenario wherein a man who knew I was a pro-life Catholic had decided, along with his parents, that I needed to have an abortion. Enough said about him.

Immediately upon learning of the pregnancy, I went to see my parish priest at the time, desperate for wisdom and consolation. He was entirely supportive and was happy to inform me he had just spoken to a couple at our church whom I knew personally and admired and was informed they were unable to conceive and were looking to adopt. On the spot I knew that God had plans for the little one inside me, and it would involve asking this amazing couple to raise my child as their own. 

For a variety of personal reasons, I chose to keep this pregnancy hidden from most people I knew, including some family members. It was a difficult and lonely time even though my parents were very sympathetic and helpful. I found strength and comfort in knowing I was doing God's will and that my "crisis" would bring others joy while giving my daughter the father and mother I wanted her to have and which I firmly believed God had chosen.

On January 20, 2005, with only the adoptive mother and my doctor in attendance, I gave birth to a perfect little girl. I was blessed with a relatively easy delivery. I stayed at the hospital for another hour or so, held my daughter briefly and wept, handed her over to her new mother, and went home.

During those few hours in the hospital, the joy of bringing a new child into the world was overshadowed by feelings of a gut-wrenching loneliness and loss. But this is often what love entails, isn't it? And that's exactly what the choice NOT to abort is — it's the choice to LOVE. 

The surrendering of my baby that day wasn't heroic, as some have suggested to me, because the thought of abortion never crossed my mind, nor could I have lived with myself if I had resorted to that irreversible decision. It was simply a difficult experience I endured with the grace of God and the strength innate to every woman. The months of fear, loneliness, and sadness quickly transformed into feelings of gratitude and even a bit of self-satisfaction in the knowledge I did something really hard, came through it unscarred, and I gave people I cared about the best gift ever: a new baby. What I want other women to know is that if I could do this, they can, too

My biological daughter is now a happy, kind, generous, intelligent, faithful, artistic, musically talented young woman who's brought so much joy to her adoptive parents and the two younger sisters who came along after (funny how that happens so often). I don't for one moment regret the event that led to her conception, birth, and adoption. God can transform any of our sins or crises into something meaningful and even magnificent if we let Him.

I will wind down by telling you that I never judge a woman who has had an abortion. Yes, I believe that what she did was wrong, but I'm not capable of knowing the state of her soul. More than anything, I feel compassion for women who felt compelled to make this terrible choice.

Lastly, if you managed to get through this letter, perhaps one of the longest ones ever written, you'll realize that there is much that is missing pertaining to the issue of abortion. That would take a book. If anyone wants to ask me any questions or challenge me, please feel free to do so here or by messaging me. Also, if you know anyone who is suffering as the result of an abortion or who is pregnant and needs assistance, please contact me, and I'll do my best to get her or him (men can suffer too after an abortion experience) the help that is available through a network of pro-life organizations with mandates to tackle these problems.

Thanks for reading. I hope we're all still friends. 

Love,

Annette

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Canon law expert predicts married priests in the West after Amazon Synod

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By Maike Hickson

PETITION: 'Dump Netflix' over their attack on unborn babies. Sign the petition here.

May 30, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Thomas Schüller, a German canon law expert and university professor, predicts that the upcoming Amazon Synod will ask for married priests for the Amazon region, after which the German bishops will also “for sure” ask for them.

“This [Amazon Synod] will encourage the bishops’ conferences and the regions of the Universal Church — which are also affected by the lack of priests — to make a similar request while at the same time honoring a freely chosen celibacy.” Rome would “surely examine such a request with a benevolent attitude,” he explains.

The German professor predicts married priests in Germany as well.

Speaking with the diocesan online newspaper Kirche und Leben, the professor from Münster argues that the majority of German bishops have already shown interest in the introduction of married priests in Germany.

Schüller expects that the Amazon Synod this fall will make a decision in favor of married priests for the West (Leute-Priester — “people’s priests”) in the face of the lack of priests in Latin America generally. He says: “As an answer to the lack of priests in Latin America, there will be People's Priests.” These new priests would be “married men with an experience of marriage and family life who would  fulfill their priestly duties on the weekends.”

This new model of the married priest seems to assume that the priest has a civil profession during the week and thus sustains his family.

When asked as to whether these married priests – the viri probati – will really come, Schüller responded with the words: “for sure!” This introduction after the Amazon synod will then encourage the German bishops to ask for the same in Germany.

“The overwhelming majority of the German bishops,” Schüller said, “have already positioned themselves to be in favor of it [married priesthood]. Why should they not send such a request to Rome?”

In any event, the German professor is of the opinion that regional bishops’ conferences should be able to go their own ways. He presented his ideas at a May 24–25 conference in Münster, in the presence of Bishop Franz-Josef Overbeck, who recently announced that after the Amazon Synod, “nothing will be the same as before” in the Church. Professor Thomas Sternberg, the head of the German Committee of German Catholics (ZdK), a strong proponent of liberal Church reforms, was present as well.

Professor Hermann Josef Pottmeyer was also among the speakers at that conference. He is an opponent of papal centralism and of a “preconciliar ecclesiology” and stated in 2010 with regard to the role of the pope: “In other words, the bishop of Rome should normally make no decrees and no decisions affecting the universal church without formally [first] inviting the participation of the local churches and their bishops. Further, the local churches and their regional associations or bishops’ conferences should decide any regulations that do not threaten the unity of the whole Church.”

Pottmeyer was also one of the speakers at a seminar dedicated to the theme “The Reform and the Reforms of the Church and in the Church,” organized by Father Antonio Spadaro, S.J., a papal confidant. The seminar had taken place before the second Family Synod in 2015 and aroused suspicion due to its secret character.

Professor Schüller stated in his interview in light of the conference on the role of the national bishops’ conferences that “it is important to maintain unity in the essential matters, but at the same time to make possible a plurality which nevertheless is Catholic.”

As an example, he mentioned the admission of Protestant spouses of Catholics to Holy Communion. This question is more important in Germany than in Italy, where there are barely any Protestants. “Why, in such cases, should a national bishops’ conference not go down its own path?”

Another theologian, the Austrian professor Paul Zulehner, earlier argued for this kind of approach. He is a proponent of married priests and even claimed, in a January 2018 interview, that there will be “first married priests” and then “female priests.” In this 2018 interview, he stressed that there is taking place in Rome a change of attitude and that Rome wishes now to learn from the local bishops’ conferences.

He then told the Austrian newspaper Kurier: “Before there will be female priests, there will take place an opening up of the Catholic ecclesiastical office [the priesthood] to the married [in the Latin rite]. I guess that the Latin American bishops will decide this at the Synod for the Pan-Amazon Region in 2019. The pope probably will back them up. This will then put others under pressure to follow the example of the Latin Americans. This way, the Church will change.”

Speaking about the change of attitude in Rome under Pope Francis, Zulehner explained that “now the bishops’ conferences are being asked to decide about things which are important for us and then to inform the Vatican and then the Pope can say: Do it exactly that way!”

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Buttigieg’s ‘brother-in-law’: Campaign is lying about family rejecting my gay brother

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By Doug Mainwaring

PETITION: 'Dump Netflix' over their attack on unborn babies. Sign the petition here.

May 30, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – The oh-so-carefully crafted image of heartland conservatism and normalcy of gay Democratic presidential candidate Mayor Pete Buttigieg now has a few chinks in it.        

Buttigieg’s “brother-in-law,” Rhyan Glezman, has accused the campaign of misrepresenting the truth about his brother Chasten’s upbringing for the sake of political gain.

When the Washington Post published a fawning Style section article about Chasten Buttigieg earlier this month, it was meant to engender warm fuzzy feelings concerning the nation’s first openly gay presidential candidate and his “spouse.” Chasten was presented as having been raised in a poor family, hostile to his homosexuality. The Post told a familiar Horatio Alger tale of overcoming severe obstacles to rise to the sudden celebrity status he now enjoys – the sort of story that is familiar and irresistible to most Americans.

“His story represents both an American archetype and a modern phenomenon,” declared the Post.

But parts of it evidently were more American fairytale than anything else, resulting in a nightmare for Glezman.    

Chasten’s older brother told the Washington Examiner that Chasten is playing the “victim card” for political gain. As a result, Glezman, a pastor in rural Michigan, received hate mail and death threats.  

According to the Washington Post, after Chasten told his family that he was homosexual following his high school graduation, “A stalemate took hold of the house. There was a lot of silence, Chasten says, but he remembers hearing one of his brothers utter, ‘No brother of mine …’”

And so, “Chasten packed his bags. ‘I felt like I just could not be there. So, I left.’”

The story went on to imply that Chasten endured homelessness after leaving home.

Yet that’s not at all how his brother remembers it.

“A mayor from a small city and his husband, a child who grew up with nothing and his parents kicked him out...it makes a perfect political story for the campaign,” Glezman told the Washington Examiner.

“He went away,” Glezman said. “He was struggling for a time. But there was nothing on the family end that said he had to leave.”

Glezman was angered by Chasten’s suggestion that their family was poor and that he went without as he was growing up.

“The story makes it look as if he came from nothing, a poor family,” said Glezman. “Chasten had everything, from cell phones paid for, car insurance paid for.”

So now one has to wonder how much of the masterfully painted portrait of the Buttigiegs is actually true.  

The gay candidate who “just seems so gosh-darned Midwest wholesome,” of whom the the Los Angeles Times says has a “Mr. Rogers haircut and Howdy Doody grin,” and who appeared on a TIME magazine cover as a contemporary Norman Rockwell/Grant Wood slice of Americana, may not be that at all.  

The Washington Examiner account continues:

Glezman was not prepared for the reaction to the Washington Post story and how what he views as a lie spread like wildfire online. Hateful missives arrived by email and text. Vitriol was posted on Facebook and Twitter. “There was one that said I should go out to the woodshed and kill myself,” he said.

It was all part of a public discourse, Glezman believes that frequently writes off principled Christians as bigots. “I believe for me, as a Christian, we’re the people being shunned, people being silenced, and a lot of the liberal side of things are becoming the bigots to Christianity and faith,” he said. “They are becoming the intolerant side.”

It will be interesting to watch what the Buttigiegs do during “pride” month, which begins in a few days. The campaign is already selling “LGBTQ Pride Month” merchandise, with proceeds going to organizations advancing transgenderism.

That carefully cultivated midwestern wholesomeness may soon clash with campaign appearances amid scantily clad men.    

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Signs that Roe’s fall may be as sudden and dramatic as fall of Berlin Wall

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PETITION: 'Dump Netflix' over their attack on unborn babies. Sign the petition here.

May 30, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Think of the fall of the Berlin Wall.  Almost nobody dared dream that such a thing could happen.  The Eastern-European countries which had been surrendered to the Soviet Union at Yalta were freed, and remain free today.  The Soviet Union no longer exists, though it has been replaced by a still belligerent Russia. 

Before 1989, almost no one would have thought the collapse of the Soviet Empire was possible. But it happened. 

The Soviet Bear was exhausted and hopeless, while the West had three great champions in President Ronald Reagan, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and Pope John Paul II.  Freedom was on the march, and oppressed peoples behind the Iron Curtain saw the light and dared to let it awaken hope. And the hope was so infectious that their jailors let them go.  The Berlin Wall fell without a shot being fired.

On Tuesday, the first Mass reading was Acts 16:22-34.  It begins in terrifying defeat, not at the hands of the Pharisees or the Romans, but even worse, at the hands of the people: 

“The crowd in Philippi joined in the attack on Paul and Silas, and the magistrates had them stripped and ordered them to be beaten with rods.  After inflicting many blows on them, they threw them into prison and instructed the jailer to guard them securely.”

But then, at the darkest point, miraculous light: 

“About midnight, while Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God as the prisoners listened, there was suddenly such a severe earthquake that the foundations of the jail shook; all the doors flew open and the chains of all were pulled loose.”

Like the Soviet Army in ’89, the jailer was utterly confounded. But then he was redeemed: 

“When the jailer woke up and saw the prison doors wide open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself…But Paul shouted out in a loud voice, ‘Do not harm yourself; we are all here.”. He asked for a light and rushed in and, trembling with fear, fell down before Paul and Silas. Then he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

The demise of the 1973 U.S. abortion decision Roe v. Wade may well be as dramatic as the fall of the Berlin Wall or the earthquake that freed Paul and Silas.  It may happen very soon, and it must take place on two fronts; legal and cultural. 

Now that there is a conservative majority on the Supreme Court, a strong test case will reveal that Roe v. Wade was poorly decided and is bad law. This is in the works, as laws to challenge Roe v. Wade have passed or are currently being passed in Alabama, Georgia, Ohio, Kentucky, Mississippi and a dozen other states. 

As Syndicated Columnist Rich Lowry writes, Roe v. Wade is “judicially wrought social legislation pretending to the status of constitutional law.”  

To quote Lowry at length: 

Justice Blackmun’s opinion provides essentially no reasoning in support of its holding,” a former Blackmun clerk, Edward Lazarus, has written. “And in the almost 30 years since Roe’s announcement, no one has produced a convincing defense of Roe on its own terms.

That’s because none is possible. The court in Roe purported to find the constitutional right to abortion in the 14th Amendment, which says that no state can “deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.

This passage has no obvious or even subtle connection to legalized abortion (in fact, abortion laws were being tightened in the 19th century when the amendment passed). No matter. According to Blackmun, abortion is so central to liberty that no restriction on it can stand constitutional scrutiny.

He is at pains to deny that unborn children are “persons in the whole sense.” As evidence, he points to clauses in the Constitution about persons that don’t have “prenatal application,” e.g., the requirement that persons must be 35 or older to run for president.

This is too stupid for words. Just because clauses like this refer to adults doesn’t mean that minors, or unborn children, don’t have rights.

The second necessary piece is an overt popular revulsion at the cultural fruits of Roe v. Wade. Though there are few external signs right now, I believe there is latent exhaustion and even disgust with the fallout from the Sexual Revolution and fruits of Roe v. Wade, and this will emerge suddenly and with shocking force. 

Every American lives under the dark cloud of abortion culture. If you were born after Roe v. Wade in 1973, you have a deep sub-conscious awareness that you could have been aborted. This matters because it means you began like a slave, a person who was not recognized as a person. You live today only because your mother opted not to abort you. Your very being is a contingent good, dependent upon the caprice of your mother. Every person since Roe v. Wade exists within this existential crisis, where your mother, the source of life could have been the source of death had she so chosen. This has created a pervasive sense of distrust and meaninglessness, compounded by the lonely realization that we walk among the ghosts of our aborted brothers and sisters.

Those born since the legalization of abortion have rightly been described as “the survivor generation”.  To this we must add a strong emphasis on the psychological burden of survivor guilt.  As often happens, many of those burdened by survivor guilt have themselves gone on to become perpetrators, and act out the very injustice they endured. Much about us is a miniature reflection of a broader inherited architecture of meaning, even if that architecture is deeply flawed.

We live within a deep cognitive dissonance. Diametrically opposed ideas are at war within us. And cognitive dissonance seeks resolution. On the one hand, being itself is ordered towards the good.  We naturally take in oxygen, hydration and nutrition, we restore ourselves with rest, we care for ourselves and seek those things which make life pleasant. But at the same time, we live at odds with the perpetuation of being. We actively justify the deliberate, legal killing of babies.  

We have internalized the principle of progress, which can be summed up as “newer is better”.  We have commodified ourselves and constantly seek to re-package ourselves as next year’s model.  Our children are an existential threat because they are the newer model who would supplant us. As a result, we are deeply sick.  This is revealed in what we find entertaining. The shows which mirror our souls feature mindless violence, boring pornography and a fascination with an impending zombie apocalypse in which the undead will exact their revenge.

We are sickened by our desperate condition and huge numbers medicate with anti-depressants and/or go on to commit suicide.  And now, in the advanced stages of degeneracy we each look out from our private hell and watch the walls of the culture close in upon us.

Core liberal principles of freedom of speech and equal opportunity are deeply threatened by the culture which has emerged from Roe v. Wade. Legalized killing of children in the womb is so unnatural, and such a fundamental injustice, that it has thoroughly disoriented us. The moral blind spot created by legalized abortion has prevented us from seeing basic truths about the intrinsic significance of the sexual act, the inviolability of marriage, the truth that marriage realizes the complimentarity between a man and a woman, the binary reality of maleness and femaleness and the unchangeable fixity of maleness and femaleness. And now, our blindness to these truths has resulted in enslavement to lies. 

The question is, have we hit bottom? And if we have, is there a way up? Maybe it is unjustified wish-projection, but I think we have and there is.  

It may not be apparent in the broader culture, and it certainly looks like the Millennials are marching to the left, but I’ve noticed big changes in Generation Z, the high school students I teach. Four years ago, when Bruce Jenner announced his transition to become Caitlyn, there was the sudden appearance of imitators in high schools and universities everywhere.  They enjoyed an automatic social cachet for the audacity of their existential transformations.  These were mostly kids who had been invisible, now wearing the mantle of the avant-garde. But that social capital has all but evaporated.  Those who posture as transgendered no longer enjoy attention. There are far fewer of those extreme manifestations. And there is a breathtaking, politically incorrect awakening.  Just in the past couple of years, there seems to be a grassroots restoration. In every class, there are significant numbers of students who are fans of Jordan Peterson, Ben Shapiro, and Steven Crowder.  

Of course, small signs of recovery observed and reported anecdotally does not a movement make.  But sometimes really big changes happen with little or no warning.

What caused the fall of the collapse of communism?  What prompted the jailer to free Paul and Silas and convert to Christianity?  Will we see a similarly miraculous liberation from Roe v. Wade

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Douglas Murray Triggernometry / Youtube screen grab
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Prominent gay atheist: Transgenderism is a ‘lie’. Agreeing to it demoralizes you

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By Jonathon Van Maren

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May 30, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – British journalist and author Douglas Murray is easily one of the most insightful, incisive, and intelligent commentators on culture today. His last book, The Strange Death of Europe, is a fascinating analysis of the migrant crisis of 2015, the vanishing European identity, and the spiritual vacuum that Islam is now increasingly occupying. Despite the fact that he is an atheist of sorts, he is genuinely grappling with the reality that without God, our human rights—and indeed all of our rights—are suddenly rooted in nothing at all, and has bluntly stated that a return to Christianity might well be necessary if atheists continue to fail at providing a solid framework for reality. 

Murray has a way of encapsulating issues both uniquely and succinctly, and in a recent conversation he had with the two hosts of the podcast Triggernometry, the chat wandered over to the subject of today’s dogmas and taboos. It’s funny, Murray observed with a wry grin, that the progressives don’t seem to realize that they are now the dogmatists. And then one of the hosts posed him a what is a rather dangerous question in today’s media climate: “What do you think is one of the great lies of our age that we haven’t addressed yet?”

There are many of them, Murray, who is openly homosexual, replied thoughtfully, “But they all have one thing in common, which is that society is demanding that you agree to something that is not possible to agree to and keep your self esteem, or at least be able to look at yourself in the mirror. The most obvious one is everything to do with gender and sex. That’s why trans keeps tripping people up.”

After all, he pointed out, it is actually “such a small issue, such a minority of a minority issue, but it keeps tripping people up because they don’t want to say the thing they’re being told to say, which is that there is no difference between men and women and that we can migrate between the sexes and that our bodies are like pieces of Lego—you can just stick bits on to it and if you don’t like it you can take it off again. Because there is something demoralizing about agreeing to lie.”

This, of course, is why Jordan Peterson became so famous: Because he simply declined to play along.

I’d never considered that aspect of the transgender phenomenon before: The demoralizing nature of the demands. The idea that an adult with common sense would be forced to affirm the idea that a man can get pregnant, or that a woman could have a penis, or that someone who is very obviously a biological male is actually a biological female is somehow humiliating. That is partially what made the case of Graham Spiers, a Scottish construction worker who was arrested, fined, and berated for laughing at a biological man dressed as a woman, so repulsive: The degrading nature of it all.  

“This is different, by the way, [from] custom or politeness,” Murray continued. “We should all aspire to be polite and decent to people, but being invited to engage in a lie ends up demoralizing you. You know, [in] communist countries…those who travelled a lot behind the Iron Curtain or lived behind it often commented on the needless things they were persuaded to agree to lie about. People often wondered: Why am I being made to agree to this next implausible thing? And the answer really was: Because it’ll demoralize you further, and it’ll make you less willing even than you were before to think of yourself as an individual with any worth. So that’s the plan.”

Murray is careful not to be conspiratorial about what is unfolding: “I don’t say that that’s organized, I think it’s subtle that people slip into it. I think in our own society we have to be really careful. I like heretics, I like dissidents, I like people who say the thing no one else will say—I admire it. And I think we have to be really careful as a society that we don’t slip into it, on that issue, on gender, on sex, sexuality, indeed. That we don’t slip into a load of untruths which will basically just demoralize us. Because the truth is energizing.”

As usual, Murray is precisely right. When we as a culture are forced to play along with something that we know is not true—and more than that, something which is often simply ridiculous, it degrades and demoralizes us all. The totalitarian instincts of the transgender crowd are rooted in the fact that many of them know that they cannot actually persuade much of the public of their premises, and so instead the public must be forced to accept them or pay the price. That is a very dangerous road, and one that is in our power to avoid.

We simply must refuse to obey, and refuse to play along. 

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 Jeffrey McCall about how he left the LGBT lifestyle. McCall is one of many who are standing up to share their stories of leaving that life behind and moving ahead in the grace of God. In episode 19 of The Van Maren Show, McCall talks about the moment he decided to literally throw his transgender identity into a dumpster and walk away forever. You can subscribe here and listen to the episode below: 

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Cardinal Pedro Barreto. Vatican News Español via YouTube
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As Amazon Synod approaches, Vatican’s claims about environment deserve scrutiny

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By Steven Mosher

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Editor’s Note: Steve Mosher has written a two-part series on the upcoming Amazonian Synod. Part I, below, addresses certain scientific claims about the Amazon made by the synod organizers, chiefly Cardinal Barreto. Part II will address the cardinal’s new proposals — purportedly based on lessons learned from the indigenous peoples of the Amazon — on how the Church can achieve gender equality, alleviate the priest shortage, and use environmentally appropriate matter in the celebration of the Eucharist.


May 30, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Preparations are in full swing for the Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops in the Amazon Basin, set to take place from October 6 to 27, 2019. The synod will reflect on the theme: “The Amazon: New Paths for the Church and for an Integral Ecology.”

That “new path,” the Preparatory Document for the Pan-Amazonian Synod says, involves “Listening to indigenous peoples and to all the communities living in the Amazonia ... [and] is of vital importance for the universal Church.”

But the real import of the upcoming synod, in the view of its organizers, extends well beyond the Amazon and even beyond the Church itself. As they put it, the synod will transcend “the strictly ecclesial-Amazonian sphere, because it focuses on ... the future of the entire planet.”

Now, a reasonable person might ask what 300,000 hunter-gatherers living a primitive existence in the vast Amazonian rain forest have to teach the Catholic Church. And how will this knowledge really play a decisive role in our planetary future, as the document suggests?

Fortunately for the curious, Cardinal Barreto of Huancayo has lately given us a detailed outline of how listening to the Amazonian indigenous will save not only the Catholic Church, but the planet itself.

Barreto’s expectations for the meeting presumably closely parallel those of Pope Francis. A Jesuit himself, Barreto is known to be close to the pope. Not only that, but as vice president of the Pan-Amazonian Ecclesial Network (REPAM), he has played a leading role in organizing the synod.

So what does the cardinal have to tell us?

Sounding not very different from your typical left-leaning environmentalist, the cardinal advises us to listen to the “cries” of the land; to care for creation; and, specifically, to protect the Amazonian rainforest.

“It’s a very important region for the life of the planet and the future of humanity,” Barreto said. Already one-fifth of the rain forest has been lost to deforestation, he went on. This is the “green lung” of the planet, he explained, so called because it produces much of the world’s oxygen. The vitality of the region is being seriously threatened by “economic interests.”

The cardinal went on to suggest that the deforestation of the “world’s lung” would be equivalent to a human being losing a lung, comparing it to Pope Francis losing part of one lung as a young man. “What happened to the pope is happening to the Amazon,” he said, insisting that the stripping of the forest “must be stopped” if the Amazon is to survive.

Apocalyptic statements like the above — always couched in highly charged terms like “saving the rainforest” and “green lung of the planet” — are often bandied about by the environmentally “woke.” They are uncritically accepted by many. But are they true?

In other words, does Cardinal Barreto know what he is talking about?

It is true that, of the original 7.5 million square kilometers of rainforest, about 20 percent has been cleared of its original vegetation. The land is not simply clear-cut and abandoned, however. It is used for other productive purposes, like growing food crops and grazing animals.

Moreover, given the year-round growing season in the tropics, deforestation is hardly a one-way street. Indeed, any tract of farmland or grassland left untended immediately starts reverting to rainforest. This means there is a lot of re-forestation going on each year in the tropics as well.

How much re-forestation? The New York Times has reported, “By one estimate, for every acre of rain forest cut down each year, more than 50 acres of new forest are growing in the tropics[.]”

In other words, someone needs to tell Barreto that the rainforests of the world are doing just fine.

His claim that much of the world’s oxygen comes from the Amazon is equally bogus. As a onetime marine biologist, I can say with relative certainly that 70% of the oxygen in the atmosphere is produced by marine plants, particularly those single-celled plants we call phytoplankton.

So, if only 30% of the Earth’s oxygen is produced on land, what percentage of this is attributable to the Amazon? Hardly any, it turns out. Since any organic matter produced by old growth rainforest decays almost immediately, nearly all of the oxygen that the plants produce is reabsorbed.

That means that the Amazon is a kind of “sink” — in the scientific sense — for oxygen. While a great deal is produced there through photosynthesis, very little escapes the basin. Rainforests in general contribute little net oxygen to the atmosphere.

If you want to know what land areas contribute the most net oxygen to the atmosphere, look to the Russian taiga, the boreal forests of Canada, and the world’s grasslands.

These are the real “lungs of the earth,” not the Amazon. And they are in no danger of disappearing.

Breathless warnings about impending environmental collapse have long been a staple of radical green propaganda.

What is new is that leading prelates of the Catholic Church are joining the doomsday chorus.

I am merely a layman and a convert, but it seems to me that the leaders of the Catholic Church should expend their time and energy saving souls, rather than preaching what is patent scientific nonsense.

Steven W. Mosher is the President of the Population Research Institute and the author of Bully of Asia: Why China’s “Dream” is the New Threat to World Order.

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Pope Leo XIII around 1898.
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Leo XIII: A strong pope who still challenges the modern world

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By Dr. Peter Kwasniewski

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May 30, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — In my last article, I looked at a number of Pope Leo XIII’s masterful social encyclicals, which he issued in order to offer guidance to the Church in her delicate and difficult dealings with modern nation-states and modern economic situations. Leo was grappling with the emergence of a thoroughly secularized way of life and worldview, severed from the Christian past and obsessed with the pursuit of worldly “progress.” He was among the first to size up the full magnitude of the change that was taking place as the Western world threw off the Redeemer’s sweet yoke to run after fashionable -isms like liberalism, materialism, and consumerism, which promised ever expanding freedom while achieving little more than the gradual destruction of the natural and supernatural institutions that console and delight man during his sojourn on earth.

Here I shall briefly comment on several magnificent encyclicals that reward our careful study today. They would make an excellent syllabus for a parish reading group or a book club. Their clarity, strength, and relative brevity set the highest possible bar for papal magisterial documents and, often with breathtaking timeliness, demonstrate the weaknesses and errors into which more recent papacies have drifted.

In his encyclical on Christian matrimony, Arcanum Divinae (1880), Leo XIII speaks of the Creator’s original intention for marriage and the family and offers a forceful critique of the novel theories and liberal legislation that were just beginning to undermine the family at that time. Read from our vantage almost 150 years later, we can see how precisely accurate were all of the pope’s predictions about the deleterious effects of such ideas and laws. More importantly, the pope beautifully develops the positive side of his subject. This encyclical single-handedly inaugurated modern Catholic teaching on marriage and family.

One of the first acts of Leo XIII’s pontificate was the promulgation of “On the Restoration of Christian Philosophy,” more familiarly known as Aeterni Patris (1879). The unfinished business of the First Vatican Council, which had been suspended late in 1870 by the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian War, included a thorough review and reform of Catholic studies in philosophy and theology. This Leo himself took up, drawing on his own experience of the systematic power, synthetic genius, and timeless relevance of St. Thomas Aquinas. Aeterni Patris was, as it were, the Magna Charta of the movement of Thomistic restoration, or better, invigoration. The encyclical is notable for its grand tour of Christian intellectual history and its balanced but decisive accolades for Aquinas.

Again, it was in keeping with the First Vatican Council’s effort to articulate the harmony of faith and reason and to respond to the haughty spirit of historical-critical reductionism that Leo XIII issued his encyclical on the study of Holy Scripture, Providentissimus Deus (1893). Leo’s encyclical robustly proclaims the divine inspiration, inerrancy, and infallibility of the sacred writings, reaffirming and explaining traditional Catholic doctrine on the dual authorship, divine and human, of the books of Scripture; the consequent guarantee of freedom from all error; the unbreakable connection among Scripture, Tradition, and Magisterium; and the various senses of Scripture discerned by the Fathers of the Church.

In 1896, Leo XIII brought out his encyclical Satis Cognitum, on the unity of the Church, which covers the fundamentals of ecclesiology so well that Pope Paul VI in his inaugural encyclical Ecclesiam Suam (1964) drew special attention to it as a key source for upcoming discussions at the Second Vatican Council. Leo’s encyclical focuses squarely on the question: did Jesus Christ really intend to found a church — a visible and hierarchically structured body of believers on earth, charged with the mission of carrying His Gospel and extending the effects of His redemption to the ends of the earth? The pope succinctly marshals scriptural evidence, the testimony of Tradition, and rational arguments to bring home his conclusions about the uniqueness and unicity of the Church of Christ with its episcopal structure. In all my years of studying ecclesiology and apologetics, I have not seen any presentation of these themes that is as direct, uncluttered, elegant, and inspiring as Leo XIII’s.

Although each of the nearly one hundred encyclicals promulgated by Leo XIII offers insightful commentary on the modern situation and good advice for Catholics, there are three from around the turn of the twentieth century that have struck me for years as emblematic of this pope’s acute theological vision, uplifting religious fervor, and bold cultural critique: Annum Sacrum on consecration to the Sacred Heart (1899), Tametsi Futura on Jesus Christ the Redeemer of mankind (1900), and Mirae Caritatis on the Holy Eucharist (1902).

Each speaks of the immense love of God given to us in Christ Jesus, the mercy extended to us castaways of Adam’s shipwreck, the divine truth in which alone our minds can find peace amid the storms of ever more bewildering and contradictory philosophies of life. The pope is not content merely to assert that such is our dire condition and such our salvation; he spells it out step by step: here is where the false philosophies will lead you, Modern Man, and here is how God can rescue you from the pit of destruction that grows with your neglect and contempt of His Good News. I must say that it would have been beneficial had the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council been asked to study these prior to their arrival in Rome in 1962. It would have given them a much needed dose of realism, a reinvigoration of their sensus Catholicus, and models of brevity and depth.

In this trio of encyclicals, Leo XIII issues an impassioned plea for conversion, beginning with the Church herself and moving outward in concentric circles to embrace all mankind. And, like all the popes before and after him, Leo beckons us to gather around the most sublime of all sacred mysteries on earth: the Holy Eucharist, the Body and Blood of our Redeemer, and to let It gather us into one Church, one Body, full of the lifeblood that heals the fallen sons of Adam.

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