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January 24, 2020


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News

Liberals accuse Betsy DeVos of ‘ignorance’ for comparing abortion to slavery

'I'm reminded of President Abraham Lincoln. He, too, contended with the 'pro-choice' arguments of his day.'
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Education Secretary Betsy DeVos Gage Skidmore / Flickr
Calvin Freiburger By Calvin Freiburger

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By Calvin Freiburger

WASHINGTON, D.C., January 24, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — U.S. secretary of education Betsy DeVos is taking heat from her left-wing detractors this week over remarks comparing modern-day defenses of abortion to nineteenth-century defenses of slavery.

DeVos was speaking Wednesday evening to a group of students from Colorado Christian University, the Washington Times reports, who were at the nation’s capital to attend the 47th annual March for Life.

“I’m reminded of President Abraham Lincoln. He, too, contended with the ‘pro-choice’ arguments of his day,” DeVos said. “They suggested that a state’s ‘choice’ to be slave or to be free had no moral question in it. Well, President Lincoln reminded those pro-choicers that ‘there is a vast portion of the American people that do not look upon that matter as being this very little thing. They look upon it as a vast moral evil.’”

State and national Democrat leaders pounced on the statement as “woefully uneducated” and an “insult” to the descendants of slaves, while Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.), who is black, dared the education secretary to “say this to my face.”

“What an insult to the generations of Americans who still live with the scars of slavery and Jim Crow. What an insult to those who have fought valiantly to make abortion safe and legal in all 50 states,” Democratic National Committee CEO Seema Nanda and DNC Vice Chair and Louisiana Democrat Party chair Karen Carter Peterson said. “The secretary of education remains woefully uneducated on the history of our country. Her ignorance would be laughable if it weren’t so disturbing. As with so many issues she’s commented on before, Secretary Devos has once again failed a simple test of competence and character.”

In fact, the parallels between abortion and slavery extend well beyond the obvious. Both denied the equality and humanity of a certain class of people in order to violate their fundamental rights; both were sustained by intensely controversial Supreme Court rulings (Roe v. Wade; Dred Scott v. Sandford); and both even rested on similar arguments about personal freedom, America’s founding principles, and human progress.


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Tennessee gov promises ‘enhanced’ heartbeat bill to protect unborn babies

Gov. Bill Lee told the assembled media at the state capitol that his bill will be a 'monumental step forward in celebrating, cherishing and defending life.'
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Governor Bill Lee of Tennessee. Tennesseean / YouTube
Martin M. Barillas By Martin M. Barillas

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By Martin Barillas

NASHVILLE, January 24, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — Tennessee’s Gov. Bill Lee (R) touted a proposed “enhanced” bill that would add a number of protections for unborn babies whose fetal heartbeat can be detected, which normally occurs at around six weeks of gestation.

On Thursday, Gov. Lee told the assembled media at the state capitol that his yet to be introduced bill will be a “monumental step forward in celebrating, cherishing and defending life.”

Provisions in the bill will protect even babies conceived in rape and incest, which are conditions frequently cited by abortion advocates as sufficient reasons to end an unborn life. Also, pregnant mothers must be given access to an ultrasound of their child before deciding on an abortion.

The governor said abortionists would not be able to kill an unborn child upon detection of a fetal heartbeat, or if they become aware that a request for abortion is “motivated by sex, race or disability diagnosis of the child.” As for the importance of the ultrasound provision, Lee said, “We know that when a mother views her unborn child and hears a heartbeat, hearts and minds are changed.” Lee said the bill stems from his “commitment to defending the intrinsic dignity of all people.” Adding that Tennessee is joining other states in adding protections for unborn babies, Lee said he is proud that Tennessee is taking a stand in protecting life.

In 2019, similar legislation did not make its way out of the Senate. Lieutenant governor and state Senate speaker Randy McNally said he is confident, however, that the bill will be well received by his Senate colleagues and the state General Assembly. Both chambers have Republican majorities.

State rep. Susan Lynn (R) , who presides over the Finance, Ways and Means Committee, said, “Tennessee is a strongly pro-life state, and as a result, they have sent strongly pro-life leaders to represent them in this General Assembly. We have a long, proud history of protecting life." Among the pro-life legislative achievements she mentioned were provisions for parental consent, prohibition of coercion, and requirements for the proper disposition of fetal remains. “This bill is the next step in our long, hard-fought fight to restore the full right to life to the unborn,” she said.

Another such achievement was the 2014 Tennessee constitutional amendment — Amendment One — that declared that the state constitution does not guarantee the right to an abortion. Though challenged in court, Tennessee was ultimately the victor when the measure was upheld.

In other states, such as Georgia and Mississippi, similar legislation has been enacted but stymied by court challenges. Pro-life advocates hope that by taking these lawsuits to the U.S. Supreme Court, now dominated by Republican nominees, there will be a possibility of overturning the 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision that mandated abortion nationwide. “You can’t overturn Roe v. Wade without challenging the constitutionality of it,” said Sen. Mike Bell (R), according to Fox News.

Pro-abortion activists claim that the proposed bill is “blatantly unconstitutional” and an infringement of women’s rights. Democrat legislators slammed Gov. Lee, saying he is engaging in divisive and extreme politics.

The Tennessean reported that Ashley Coffield, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Tennessee and Northern Mississippi, said: “Do we want girls in Tennessee to have bright futures or do we want them to be fighting for basic health care they need to control their lives and plan their families?”

In 2019, the Catholic bishops of Tennessee recommended against legislative support for a similar heartbeat bill, even while they were “wholeheartedly” in sympathy with the sponsors of the legislation. Basing themselves on apparently prudential grounds, they were against the bill because similar legislation in other states had been passed, enacted, and then overturned by the courts, thus incurring considerable court costs for the state governments and delaying the pro-life cause.

They reasoned:

Instances like these remind us that we must be prudent and support other pro-life pieces of pro-life legislation that stand a better chance of being upheld in the courts and, possibly, become the vehicle that forces the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn Roe once and for all.

Given the unjust laws recently signed in New York and considered in Virginia, we pray urgent support will be given to the “Human Life Protection Act” being considered within the Legislature that would automatically ban abortions in Tennessee should the Roe vs. Wade Supreme Court decision be overturned.


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Trump admin backs Ohio law protecting babies with Down syndrome from abortion

Federal attorneys averred that the law protects unborn children from discrimination on the basis of disability.
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Governor Mike DeWine of Ohio. NBC4 Columbus / YouTube
Martin M. Barillas By Martin M. Barillas

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By Martin Barillas

CINCINNATI, January 24, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — In a filing before a federal appeals court, the Trump administration sided with Ohio regarding a state law that prohibits targeting babies with a diagnosis of Down syndrome for abortion.

In its filing before the 6th U.S. District Court in Cincinatti, the Department of Justice declared on Tuesday, “Nothing in Ohio’s law creates a substantial obstacle to women obtaining an abortion,” adding, “and nothing in the Constitution or Supreme Court precedent requires States to authorize medical providers to participate in abortions the providers know are based on Down syndrome.”

Lawyers for the federal government argued that the state’s Down syndrome law does not actually outlaw abortion but merely places restrictions on abortionists.

On behalf of Planned Parenthood and other abortion businesses, the initial lawsuit against the Buckeye State department of health and other officials was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union.

Federal attorneys averred an argument forwarded by Ohio Right to Life, which holds that the law protects unborn children from discrimination on the basis of disability, which is enshrined in other laws, including the federal Americans with Disabilities Act. The law was signed by Gov. Mike DeWine (R) and is among almost two dozen other laws protecting unborn children. DeWine signed into law protections for unborn babies, including prohibiting abortion once a fetal heartbeat can be detected, despite a veto by then-governor John Kasich.

Kasich signed the Antidiscrimination Law in 2017, which directs that an abortionist cannot “purposely perform or induce or attempt to perform or induce an abortion on a pregnant woman if” the abortionist “has knowledge that the pregnant woman is seeking the abortion” because of a Down syndrome diagnosis. The law shields women who seek such abortions from any liability. Abortionists peforming such abortions could face a fourth-degree felony and loss of their medical license and be held liable for damages under the law.

Before the law could take effect, however, the ACLU challenged it in court. The district court ruled against the enforcement of the Antidiscrimination Law. An appeal to the Sixth Circuit upheld the previous ruling. The dissenting judge would have upheld the Antidiscrimination Law as constitutional because there was “no evidence” that the law created a substantial obstacle to obtaining an abortion. The Sixth Circuit then voted to hear the case again before the full or “en banc” court.

Pro-abortion groups have placed the Ohio law into a category of restrictions they have dubbed “reason bans,” which they claim are attempts to persuade women to avoid abortion.

According to a release from the Department of Justice, Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband said, “Ohio’s Antidiscrimination Law affirms that people with Down syndrome have lives worth living and protecting. The law also protects the medical profession from harm to its integrity and protects women from abortion providers who may seek to pressure them into obtaining an abortion because of Down syndrome.”

Dreiband added, “The federal government has an interest in the equal dignity of those who live with disabilities. Nothing in the Constitution requires Ohio to authorize abortion providers to participate in abortions the providers know are based on Down syndrome.”

“The law also wards against the slippery slope to medical involvement in race- or sex-based abortions,” the DOJ press release said, while adding that the law “protects women” by separating them from “potentially coercive abortion providers who may seek to pressure them into obtaining an abortion because of Down syndrome.”

The Trump administration filing contends that the U.S. government has an interest in applying law that protects the disabled, including the Rehabilitation Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. It also enforces the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act, which protects against discrimination as to health insurance and employment on the basis of genetic information, including “of any fetus carried by [a] pregnant woman.”

Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Ohio, and North Dakota have restrictions on aborting babies diagnosed with Down syndrome. Four of those states are facing legal challenges. In November, Pennsylvania governor Tom Wolf (D) vetoed a similar proposal.


News

Trump energizes re-election campaign with new coalition of ‘pro-Life Voices for Trump’

The goal is to recruit and activate supporters with pro-life values.
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Martin M. Barillas By Martin M. Barillas

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By Martin Barillas

WASHINGTON, D.C., January 24, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) -- President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign announced the kickoff of its Pro-Life Voices for Trump coalition on the same day that hundreds of thousands of pro-life advocates flooded the streets of the nation’s capital for the annual March for Life.

The Trump campaign released a YouTube video today announcing the launch of Pro-Life Voices for Trump.

“Virtually every top Democrat lawmaker also now supports taxpayer-funded abortion right up to the moment of birth,” states a voiceover of Trump in the video. 

“These are living, feeling, beautiful babies who will never get the chance to share their love and their dreams with the world. It is wrong. It has to change. But this movement can only succeed with the heart and the soul and the prayer of the people. Let us work together to build a culture that cherishes innocent life,” he states. 

According to the campaign, the coalition is “dedicated to recruiting and activating Americans with pro-life values in support of President Trump's re-election.” 

Additionally, the national pro-life group Susan B. Anthony List (SBA List) announced that its president, Marjorie Dannenfelser, will serve as national co-chair of the coalition along with Fr. Frank Pavone of Priests for Life. Kristan Hawkins of Students for Life of America and others are also on the board.

Dannenfelser held the same role on the 2016 Trump campaign when, according to the SBA List website, she secured “groundbreaking commitments from then-candidate Trump in writing.” The 2020 coalition asserts that Trump’s re-election campaign is based on “Promises Made. Promises Kept.” In a statement released by the group, Dannenfelser said, “I am honored to be asked by President Trump to once again flex the muscle of the pro-life movement behind his re-election.”

"From appointing pro-life judges to defunding Planned Parenthood, President Trump's track record demonstrates he's the most pro-life President in history," she declared, according to Fox News. "While President Trump continues to protect innocent life every day and at every stage, 2020 Democrats stand in stark contrast and support extreme pro-abortion policies. Re-electing President Trump means keeping pro-life values in the White House."

As thousands cheered, President Trump addressed the March, saying,  "It is my profound honor to be the first president in history to attend the March for Life," Trump told the crowd in Washington. "Unborn children have never had a stronger defender in the White House. ... Every life brings love into this world. Every child brings joy to a family. Every person is worth protecting.”

Trump denounced the Democrat Party, saying, "When it comes to abortion, Democrats … have embraced the most radical and extreme positions taken and seen in this country for years and decades and you could even say for centuries." Trump accused Democrats of their support for "taxpayer-funded abortion all the way up until the moment of birth." Trump had previously addressed the March, but only remotely as did some of his Republican predecessors.

Dannenfelser was on the dais as Trump spoke, as were Dr. Alveda King -- the niece of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. -- and Republican members of Congress. Addressing the more than 100,000 marchers, Dannenfelser said, “It’s time to roll back Roe v. Wade and put the will of the people into the law, and that means protecting the unborn in the law. 

“Now, we know that victory is possible – but we also [know] that nothing is inevitable, so no one can afford to sit on the sidelines during this coming election.

Besides SBA List, Concerned Women for America (CWA) and Heritage Action are joining in an effort to motivate pro-life voters to go to the polls this fall. SBA List is ponying up $52 million to re-elect Trump and pro-life candidates.

Marking the anniversary of 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision allowing abortion earlier this week, Trump designated the day as the National Sanctity of Human Life Day. "Today, I call on the Congress to join me in protecting and defending the dignity of every human life, including those not yet born," Trump proclaimed Wednesday in anticipation of his speech before the participants of the March for Life.

"While President Trump continues to protect innocent life every day and at every stage, 2020 Democrats stand in stark contrast and support extreme pro-abortion policies. Re-electing President Trump means keeping pro-life values in the White House," Dannenfelser said while announcing Trump's coalition.

Apparently undaunted by the support for Trump that has galvanized pro-life groups, Planned Parenthood announced recently that it is dedicating $45 million to organize abortion advocates, pay for advertising, and support pro-abortion candidates this year. Several Congressional Democrats have recently said abortion rights form the bedrock of their party.


News

Canadian Conservative aspiring leadership candidate: abortion not health care, being ‘gay’ a choice

Pro-lifer Richard Décarie doesn't hide the fact that he's a true social conservative who's not afraid to stand up for his views.
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Canada Conservative Party leadership candidate Richard Décarie
Lianne Laurence By Lianne Laurence

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By Lianne Laurence

OTTAWA, January 24, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — An aspiring candidate for Canada’s Conservative Party leadership race sent shockwaves through the media this week and was denounced as “bigoted” by prominent people in his own party after stating on national television that being “gay” is a choice and that abortion is not health care.

But pro-life Quebecer Richard Décarie says people have expressed privately to him the views he is stating publicly, and that they deserve a voice in the Conservative Party.

A strategic communication consultant, Décarie was deputy chief of staff to Stephen Harper when the former prime minister was leader of Canada’s official opposition, and was chief of staff and senior adviser to Jean Charest when the latter was premier of Quebec. 

Décarie told Evan Solomon on CTV’s Power Play on Wednesday that he is planning to enter the race as a social conservative candidate. Former Tory leader Andrew Scheer “didn’t defend” his socially conservative views on same-sex “marriage” and abortion,“and that’s where the problem started.  … I think if you are a social conservative and it’s part of the Conservative spectrum, you need to address that,” he said.

Former Saskatchewan MP Brad Trost, an outspoken pro-life advocate who came fourth in the 2017 Tory leadership race, is chair of Décarie’s campaign.

Under the party’s stringent new rules, candidates must have the support of 3,000 people who have been party members for 21 days before they sign the candidate’s nomination papers, with 1,000 signatures due by February 27, and the rest by March 25. Candidates must also pay a $200,000 entry fee and a $100,000 compliance deposit.

Décarie told Solomon he would remove abortion from publicly funded health insurance plans because “it’s not health care.”

He also said that “my point of view is that marriage is exclusive to a man and a woman.”

When Solomon pressed him on the last point, Décarie commented, “I think ‘LGBTQ’ is a Liberal term. I don’t talk about people that way, I talk about persons, and I think we all need the full respect for being a human being.”

“Do you think (being homosexual), that’s a choice, or do you think it’s biological?” Solomon asked.

“I think it’s a choice,” Décarie said. “How people are behaving is one thing. I think government has a responsibility to encourage the traditional values we had in the past years. That’s the kind of so-con issues I would bring as a leader.”

Décarie must realize he is “off-side from his own party on this,” Solomon said. 

At a party convention in 2016, delegates voted 1,036-462 to delete a long-standing Conservative Party policy that defined marriage as a "union of one man and one woman.” 

But Décarie said he has spoken to many Canadians who share his views.

“When we discuss one-on-one, they tell you the reality of their own life,” he said. 

“I encounter a lot of discussion, where people were saying one thing publicly and another thing privately, so I think it’s important that we get a voice in that party that we are not hearing from, unfortunately.”

Décarie reiterated this the next day to Vassy Kapelos of CBC’s Power & Politics.

He reiterated, too, that abortion should be defunded.

Top-level Tories immediately repudiated Décarie’s views, with some opining that he should be banned from running for statements that Conservative strategist Korey Teneycke described as “nakedly bigoted.”

But Trost suggested that “a lot of people are concerned Richard is going to do well in the leadership race.”

Tories denouncing Décarie’s statements included MP Pierre Poilievre, who unexpectedly called off his leadership bid on Thursday, and declared candidate and presumed front-runner former Nova Scotia MP Peter MacKay, who tweeted: “Being gay is not a choice and nobody should be running for office on a platform to roll back hard-won rights.” 

Calgary MP Michelle Rempel Garner, rumoured to be considering a leadership run,  tweeted that she would not serve in a caucus under Décarie.

And Alberta MP Garnett Genuis, who has a pro-life voting record, dismissed Décarie on Twitter as unknown entity who has taken an “easy path to notoriety.”

Genuis also appeared on Power Play with declared candidate Ontario MP Marilyn Gladu to further weigh in on the matter.

Gladu opined that prospective candidates must “adhere to the party policy,” although she stated that “social conservatives have a place in the party,” and that “there’s nothing wrong with his opinions … it’s how we treat each other.”

“He’s not going to win, that’s the bottom line,” observed Genuis. 

As for same-sex “marriage,” Genuis said “in general” Conservative MPs “would support preserving the civil institution of marriage for all couples, heterosexual and homosexual couples,” even though they might “within their own faith traditions” have a “religious definition of marriage in this context (that) is something different.”

Décarie told CBC’s Kapelos that he’s taking things one step at a time.

“Let’s debate inside the party. If one-third of the party members agree with my position, we will see it through the campaign and that will be a debate in itself. After that, if I win, we will see where it will lead us as the official opposition,” he said.

Meanwhile, rookie Ontario MP Derek Sloan is another social conservative who announced this week that he plans to run for leadership, the National Post reported.

Campaign Life is urging Canadians to buy a Conservative Party membership by April 17 in order to be eligible to vote for the next leader.


News

Nick Sandmann posts photos of his return to March for Life

'I will never pass on an opportunity to March for Life!' says the teen.
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Credit: Nicholas Sandmann / Twitter
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By Lianne Laurence

WASHINGTON, D.C., January 24, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — Nick Sandmann, the Covington High School teen thrust into the center of an international incident at last year’s March for Life that catapulted him to fame, has returned to the scene.

Sandmann tweeted photos this afternoon of his day at the 47th March for Life:

Sandmann shot to fame as the youth in the MAGA hat filmed on video standing in front of Nathan Phillips as the Native American activist beat a drum close to his face. Sandmann stood with a slight smiling while his fellow classmates from a Catholic school in Kentucky stood in the background cheering.

Immediately, the press erupted with claims that the video demonstrated that Sandmann and his friends were harassing Phillips.

But additional extended video and firsthand accounts soon revealed that Phillips was the one who waded into the group waiting for its bus and decided to beat a drum inches from Sandmann’s face, while the boys had merely performed school chants in hopes of drowning out racist taunts from members of the Black Hebrew Israelites fringe group.

And as more video came to light, many journalists and other public figures quickly deleted their snap condemnations of the students, while some either tried to keep the original narrative alive or refused to unequivocally retract or apologize for their initial claims, leading to various lawsuits on behalf of the boys.

Sandmann filed defamation suits against the networks, including a $250 million suit against CNN for broadcasting into “millions of homes” the “idea that [Sandmann] was part of a mob...yelling racist slurs,” according to attorney L. Lin Wood. 

On January 7, the suit against CNN was settled for an as-yet-undisclosed sum.

Sandmann’s lawsuits against other individuals and media giants remain pending, including a $275 million suit against NBCUniversal and a $250 million suit against the Washington Post. 

“This case will be tried not one minute earlier or later than when it is ready,” Wood has declared. Sandmann’s legal team stresses that the dollar amounts are not sought for the teen’s sake but to deter the press from smearing others in the future.

Sandmann tweeted January 18:

Attorneys Robert Barnes and Kevin Murphy have also filed defamation suits on behalf of eight other Covington students, targeting Democrat Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Rep. Deb Haaland, CNN’s Ana Navarro, the New York Times’ Maggie Haberman, ABC News’s Matthew Dowd, ex-CNN personalities Kathy Griffin and Reza Aslan, Kentucky entrepreneur Adam Edelen, Princeton University’s Kevin Kruse, left-wing activist Shaun King, Mother Jones editor-in-chief Clara Jeffery, and Rewire editor-in-chief Jodi Jacobson.

Many people responded to Sandmann’s March for Life tweet with good wishes, such as “So happy you went! Good man, Nicholas,” and “Good for you!  You should have worn your MAGA hat too!”

LifeSiteNews Calvin Freiburger contributed to this report


News

WATCH: Pro-life women jump in front of pro-abortion ‘women’s march’ with stunning message

'We really stirred things up,' a Students for Life of America regional coordinator said.
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Students for Life of America crashed the Women's March in Washington on Saturday, Jan. 18. YouTube Screenshot
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By Paul Smeaton

WASHINGTON, D.C., January 24, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Students for Life of America (SFLA) has produced a video showing them crashing the pro-abortion “Women’s March” last week in Washington D.C., and at one point leading the march with pro-life signs while chanting pro-life slogans.

The group arrived at the march with banners calling for “equal rights for all women -- born and preborn” and chanted “abortion hurts women.”

Kate Maloney, SFLA northeast regional coordinator who attended the event and appears in the video, described the moment when the group crashed the Women’s March as “amazing.” 

“We really stirred things up … so many times people think that Planned Parenthood or, NARAL or the abortion agenda is something that is pro-woman and I'm here to tell you and the pro-life generation is here to tell you that it is not,” Maloney said. 

“Women don't need abortion to be liberated, or to be in a working world, or to be the same as men,” Maloney added. “That is insulting to me as a woman to think that abortion is somehow in any way a gift to me or to help me liberate myself. I would never want to liberate myself by decimating somebody else. That's not liberation, that's a lie. It's a lie that's been fed to women everywhere.”

SFLA president Kristan Hawkins said, “The Women’s March claims to stand for ‘ending violence’ yet supports the violence of abortion and ignores the convictions of more than half of all women who believe that women in the womb are important, too.” 

SFLA executive vice president Tina Whittington, who attended the event, said, “The Women’s March is a dying organization with mixed messages and no clarion call. Their radical leftist message shows just how out of touch they are with the rest of the country. While today’s event showcased a mixed bag of issues, the majority of the marchers shared their support of a radical abortion agenda, with many saying that they were fine with abortion through all nine months of pregnancy.”

“Our students braved the cold to make sure that the one point of view not represented at the March would be heard – a voice speaking up for the 1,500 baby girls who are lost each day to the violence of abortion,” Whittington added. “If we want equal rights for women, we cannot forget the most vulnerable, those still in the womb.”


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Time-lapse video shows massive turnout for 2020 March for Life

How big was the crowd at the 2020 March for Life? Just watch.
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By LifeSiteNews staff

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By LifeSiteNews staff

WASHINGTON, D.C., January 24, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – A time-lapse video of the 2020 March for Life shows the enormous crowd of pro-lifers that poured into the nation's capital to protest abortion on January 24, 2020.

Getting an accurate count of so large a crowd is a harrowing prospect, but to get a sense of it Students for Life of America has put together a 58-second time-lapse video of the March from beginning to end.

See all of LifeSite's coverage of the March for Life 2020 here.


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Democrat Louisiana senator urges pro-lifers to unite to ‘fight for life’

‘In unity we must fight like we’ve never fought before,’ she said at the Washington D.C. March for Life.
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Louisiana state representative Katrina Jackson (D). EASSC / YouTube
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WASHINGTON, D.C., January 24, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — Louisiana Democrat state Sen. Katrina Jackson urged attendees at the March for Life to put aside partisan differences and unite in the fight to protect babies and mothers from abortion.

The 42-year-old African-American lawyer who has described abortion as a “modern-day genocide” also asserted that pro-life advocates are gaining ground.

“I tell people all the time that this decade will mark the major fight for life,” Jackson told the hundreds of thousands of cheering pro-lifers who packed the Washington Mall for the 47th annual March for Life on Friday.

“Because at this time we’re about to turn the situation around. I see the bands and the chains dropping off of Roe v Wade, I see people and babies born everywhere, I see us celebrating us life like never before,” she said.

“This is the decade that in unity we will fight for life.”

Jackson pointed to her state as an exemplar of bipartisan efforts to defend children in the womb.

Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards signed a fetal heartbeat bill into law in May that had been passed by bipartisan majorities in both chambers of the Louisiana legislature, including 17 Democrats in the House and seven in the Senate, one of these being Jackson.

Jackson also sponsored the Love Life Amendment that would put a referendum on Louisiana’s 2020 ballot to amend the state constitution to declare no constitutional right to abortion that was passed by the Senate in May, including votes from nine Democrats while five opposed.

Moreover, the Supreme Court is set to hear a pivotal case in March on the Louisiana’s Unsafe Abortion Protection Act.

The bill mandates basic health and safety standards for abortion facilities, notably that abortionists have admitting privileges at hospitals within a 30-mile radius of their facilities. It came into effect in 2014, but since then the abortion industry has obstructed its implementation by ongoing litigation.

In February, the Supreme Court ruled Louisiana could not enforce the law pending a future ruling on the merits of the case.

“Louisiana is the number one pro-life state and you know why? Because in Louisiana the majority of Democrats who are elected are pro-lifers,” Jackson said to enthusiastic cheers from the crowd.

“Every day that I walk into the state capitol, I am greeted by pro-lifers, regardless of who they are: black, white, Republican, Democrat, male or female,” she added. “Because we know that in unity we must fight for life, in unity we must fight like we’ve never fought before.”

“So Louisiana in this nation is fighting in unity for life, because it’s so important to let people know everywhere that the fight for life doesn’t have a partisan stance to it, but that we love babies,” Jackson said.

“So every day that we get up, we fight (for life), and every day that we pray, we pray (for life) and every day that we talk to our friends and our families, we fight (for life),” she said.

“Because life is the most important thing.”

Jackson has decried the disproportionate effect of abortion on black communities, telling NBC, "I think it mitigates our race’s voting power, it hurts our race’s power in the census. I really consider it to be modern-day genocide.”

In 2019, Americans United for Life rated Louisiana third in the nation among states as most favorable to unborn human life. In 2018, abortions fell to their lowest level in a decade in Louisiana.


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Cardinal Burke at March for Life Mass: ‘Remain faithful soldiers of Christ,’ ‘never give way to discouragement’

Burke expressed his hope that 'the laws of our nation may once again have their formation in the natural and moral law written by God on every human heart, a natural law which, by its first precept, teaches us to safeguard and promote all life.'
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Cardinal Raymond Burke at a Traditional Latin Mass the morning of the 2020 March for Life Jason Taylor / LifeSiteNews
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By Dorothy Cummings McLean

WASHINGTON, D.C., January 24, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) ― Cardinal Raymond Burke told Catholics attending Mass before the March for Life never to give up the fight for life.

Cardinal Burke made his remarks in a short but stirring homily during the Traditional Latin Mass he celebrated this morning at Holy Comforter-Saint Cyprian Roman Catholic Church. 

“Sometimes we can grow weary in the battle for the restoration of respect for human life,” Burke observed. 

“Sometimes we are tempted to say that our pro-life efforts are useless,” he continued. 

“It is then that we should recall the words St. Paul wrote to St. Timothy: ‘But as for you, man of God, shun all this; aim at righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. I charge you to keep the commandment unstained and free from reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ.’ [1 Timothy 6:11-12, 14].” 

The cardinal added, “We must never give way to discouragement. Our only concern should be to remain faithful soldiers of Christ, and with Christ, in advancing the Gospel of Life.” 

In the homily Burke noted that today is the Feast of Saint Timothy. He recalled that the saint had faced many challenges as a bishop, remaining “faithful, finally embracing a martyr’s death in order to be true to Our Lord and to the flock the Lord had entrusted to his pastoral care.” 

The cardinal prefaced these remarks with several intercessions. He prayed for “those who are under the threat of abortion” and those who are the “agents of procured abortion … especially that they, once they have understood the most grave evil of their deeds, also may understand even more the immeasurable mercy and love of God for them in Jesus Christ, inviting them to repent of their sins and make reparation by a life dedicated to the restoration of the respect for the inviolable dignity for every human life without boundary or exception.” 

Burke prayed also that “the legal protections for the right to life will be restored to all, and in a most special way for the innocent and defenseless unborn.” He asked also that “the laws of our nation may once again have their formation in the natural and moral law written by God on every human heart, a natural law which, by its first precept, teaches us to safeguard and promote all life.”

The cardinal mentioned in particular the “unjust provision” of the Supreme Court decision of January 22, 1973, which he prayed would be repealed. He asked in particular the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary under her title Our Lady of Guadalupe, patroness of the Americas.

“As Our Lady of Guadalupe was the star of the first evangelization of our continent, so may she be for us today the star of the new evangelization, above all of the teachings and living of the Gospel of Life,” Burke said. 

At the conclusion of his homily, the cardinal reminded his congregation that they must carry the cross daily in order to be Jesus’ “true disciples.”

“We put nothing before the love of Christ,” Burke added, recalling the words of the Lord: “So therefore, whoever of you does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple” [Luke 14:33].

“We are to give all to Christ and thereby give our all to our brothers and sisters, especially our innocent and defenseless unborn brothers and sisters,” he said. 

The Mass was organized by the Institute of Christ the King, on behalf of its young adult initiative "Sursum Corda," and hosted at the parish of popular blogger Msgr. Charles Pope. 

Tomorrow, Cardinal Burke will deliver the invocation at the National Pro-Life Summit (formerly the Students for Life of America conference).

Anthony Murdoch contributed to this report.

Correction: The article has been update to indicate that the Mass was organized by the Institute of Christ the King.


News

I am the face of ‘choice’: Women who survived being aborted give riveting testimony at March for Life

'Over a five day period, I soaked in a toxic salt solution being poisoned and scalded to death. But 42 years ago, God said, ‘No. Not this child’, and I was accidentally born alive.'
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Abortion survivor Melissa Ohden addresses the March for Life in Washington D.C., Jan. 24, 2020.
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WASHINGTON, D.C., January 24, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Two women who survived attempts on their lives as unborn babies testified at the March for Life to the dignity of their lives and the love they have experienced since they were aborted.   

Claire Culwell, a surviving twin, and Melissa Ohden, the founder of the Abortion Survivors Network, both addressed massive crowds on the National Mall before today’s march to the Supreme Court.

Culwell, who discovered only in 2009 that she had survived an abortion, told the story of her first meeting with her birth mother. 

“I am the surviving twin of a botched D & E dismemberment abortion,” Culwell said.  

“I found this out ten years ago when I met my birth mother after thanking [her] for giving me my life,” she continued. 

“She broke down into tears at this moment. She described her abortion that successfully aborted my twin. The pain in her eyes was something that I will never forget.”

Culwell said discovering she was an abortion survivor explained many things to her: “My physical complications because of my prematurity and being a twin--a surviving twin. My curiosity and longing for another sibling. My deep appreciation for being wanted by adoptive parents who stand here with me today.”

The young mother said that she had never thought that she would be affected by abortion until that moment. “And yet here I was looking my birth mother in the eye, finding out that I ― not only was I affected by abortion, but I had survived one. My life was a miracle,” she said. 

As the identical twin of a baby who didn’t survive the abortion, Culwell represents her, too. 

“I realized that there was a face, a name, a story with the unborn child and with the woman contemplating an abortion like my birth mother,” she said. 

“You see, when you look at my face, you see my twin. And when you look at my life, you see the almighty hand of God.”

Culwell was joined on stage by her adoptive parents and her own children.

Melissa Ohden, who survived abortion 42 years ago, spoke next. 

“Forty-seven years ago the Supreme Court handed down the decision meant to be my death sentence,” Ohden said. 

“Unfortunately in 1977, my biological mother had a saline infusion abortion forced upon her,” she continued.  

“Over a five day period, I soaked in a toxic salt solution being poisoned and scalded to death. But 42 years ago, God said, ‘No. Not this child’, and I was accidentally born alive.” 

The upbeat Ohden told her audience of all the people afterward who had said “Yes” to her survival and “Yes” to the question of loving her. 

“I am so blessed to have been loved into life by my adoptive parents, to be a wife and a mother to two amazing daughters, one of whom is here today,” she said.  

Ohden spoke of later being accepted by her birth mother and her birth mother’s family. She has forgiven them, and they are reconciled and love one another. 

“Abortion didn’t empower my birth mother,” Ohden said, contradicting the message of the abortion industry and its allies.   

“It certainly didn’t empower me. It didn’t empower my own daughters who never would have lived if that abortion [had] succeeded in ending my life.” 

The abortion survivor said that it is life that empowers. 

“Life is what has empowered each and every one of us,” she proclaimed.

“Life is what has allowed healing. Life is what brought forth love and forgiveness, and life is what allowed the pain of our family to be transformed into purpose. Life empowers us all.”

Culwell and Ohden both thanked the crowds for marching. Both emphasized that they were uniquely able to speak for aborted babies, having been aborted themselves. 

“I am more than a ‘choice,’” Ohden said. “I am more than someone else’s ‘reproductive right’. I am a human being, and so are the other survivors of abortion.”

Ohden said that the Abortion Survivors Network has worked with 300 people who have survived abortion. Stating that the world needed face “who abortion has affected”, she introduced a short film produced by “Faces of Choice.” In the video, Ohden and other survivors of abortion ask such questions as “Can you look me in the eye and tell me that I shouldn’t exist?” “That I should be dead?” and “That I deserved to die that day?” 

The survivors declare also, “I am the face of choice.” 


News

Scalise rallies March for Life to help force vote to protect born-alive babies

The House Minority Whip is attempting to do an end-run around Speaker Nancy Pelosi's obstruction of the legislation and urged the crowd to pressure their representatives to support the bill.
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House Minority Whip Steve Scalise addresses the March for Life in Washington, D.C., Jan. 24, 2020.
Calvin Freiburger By Calvin Freiburger

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WASHINGTON, D.C., January 24, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – House Minority Whip Steve Scalise was among the pro-life lawmakers to address the annual March for Life on Friday, taking the opportunity to share with the crowd how they could help House Republicans overcome Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s obstruction of legislation to ban infanticide.

“God has a plan for all of you as well,” said Scalise, who represents Louisiana’s first Congressional district. “That’s why you’re here marching for life.”

He explained the importance of the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act (BAASPA), which would require abortionists to transfer infants who survive abortions to hospitals, where they would be given the same degree of care as any wanted newborn. The 2002 Born-Alive Infants Protection Act (BAIPA) recognizes such babies as human beings with human rights, but doesn’t define how specifically to handle them.

In late February, the U.S. Senate voted 53-44 in favor of the bill, falling short of the 60 votes necessary to overcome the current filibuster rules and pass. All but three Senate Democrats opposed the bill, including every senator currently running for president. House Democrats have repeatedly blocked BAASPA from receiving a vote.

“We’ve asked now over 80 times to bring that bill to the floor and (Pelosi has) blocked it every single time,” Scalise said. “But I filed a discharge petition. This is a seldom-used legislative tool to go around Speaker Pelosi and force a vote on the Born-Alive Survivors Act.”

To succeed, the petition requires 218 signatures, of which it currently has 204, including every House Republican and three Democrats.

“Now this should be a bipartisan issue,” Scalise said. “This should be an easy bill to get to the floor ... there are a lot of people out there who ran for office saying they would be pro-life. You are not pro-life if you don’t sign the discharge petition.”

He asked the attendees to look up whether their representatives have signed yet on this tracker, and to call and urge them to do so if not.

“We are not just going to march for life,” Scalise declared. “We are going to march for life and we are going to win this fight.”

Only five Democrats voted to support BAASPA when it was first introduced in 2015, and the number of pro-life House Democrats has decreased since then.

Readers can click here to read, sign, and share the LifeSiteNews petition urging the House to vote on the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act. Readers can also follow LifeSiteNews’ continuing coverage of the 47th annual March for Life by clicking here.


News

Here are just some of the awesome signs we saw at the 2020 March for Life

Baby Yoda signs were a big hit this year.
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Canadians including pro-life hero and prisoner of conscience Mary Wagner (far left) at the US March for Life
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WASHINGTON, D.C., January 24, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – At the 47th annual March for Life, marchers carried signs thanking President Trump, incorporating popular culture, sharing the pro-life message in general, and representing schools and pro-life clubs.

Here are some of them. All photos are by LifeSiteNews (with the exception of embedded social media posts) unless otherwise specified. 

The theme of this year's March for Life was Life Empowers: Pro-Life is Pro-Woman.

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

❤️❤️❤️ this! #marchforlife #whywemarch #prolifegeneration #prolife

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Trump ‘most pro-life president we’ve ever had’: Focus on the Family president at March for Life

'I think we just heard why we in the Christian, pro-life community support President Trump,' said Daly in comments made after President Trump spoke at the March for Life.
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Jim Daly addressing the March for Life in Washington D.C., Jan. 24, 2020.
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WASHINGTON, D.C., January 24, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Jim Daly, president and CEO of U.S. pro-family group Focus on the Family, told attendees of today’s March for Life rally in Washington that President Trump “is the most pro-life president we’ve ever had.”

Daly recalled being telephoned recently by a New York Times reporter who said “how can you Jim, as a Christian, support President Trump?”

Daly told the rally attendees that he responded to the question by asking the reporter: “did you ever ask that question of President Obama’s supporters? No, of course not.”

Trump had addressed the March for Life rally just moments before and Daly told the crowd “I think we just heard why we in the Christian, pro-life community support President Trump. He is the most pro-life president we have ever had. It’s great! It’s great!”

Trump became the first sitting president to address the March for Life in person, telling hundreds of thousands of pro-life marchers that he was “proud to stand with you” to “protect the right of every child, born and unborn, to fulfill their God-given potential.”

“All of us here today understand an eternal truth: every child is a precious and sacred gift from God,” Trump said. “Together we must cherish and defend the sanctity and dignity of human life. When we hold a newborn in our arms, we know the boundless love a child brings to a family.”

Trump’s appearance is the latest demonstration of his support for the pro-life cause, and a reminder of how far the former celebrity businessman has come since his conversion from conventional New York liberal to Republican political candidate.

Trump is considered by many veteran pro-life activists to be the most pro-life president in history. 

As president, Trump has reinstated and expanded the ban on foreign aid to abortion-involved groups (including International Planned Parenthood Federation), banned groups that commit or refer abortions from Title X family planning funds, overturned Obama-era regulations that barred states from defunding Planned Parenthood, and issued rules protecting Americans from being forced to subsidize abortion in government-mandated health insurance plans. 

The president has also forcefully denounced abortion, calling attention to Democrats’ opposition to anti-infanticide legislation and calling on Congress to send him a ban on late-term abortion to sign. Most of his judicial nominees have pleased pro-lifers, as well.

In addition, the administration has consistently worked to defend life and oppose abortion at the United Nations, from resisting pro-abortion agenda items and resolution language to affirming that abortion isn’t a human right and promoting abstinence education.

This year, Trump declared January 22, the anniversary of the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision imposing abortion on demand across the country, to be “National Sanctity of Human Life Day.”

In a proclamation issued this week,  Trump declared that “every person — the born and unborn, the poor, the downcast, the disabled, the infirm, and the elderly — has inherent value” and said that the U.S. “proudly and strongly reaffirms our commitment to protect the precious gift of life at every stage, from conception to natural death.”

Daly also referred in his speech to an event held in Times Square, New York, last where a live 4-D ultrasound of Abby Johnson’s unborn child was displayed on giant screens in the square, where he claimed that a group of protestors from The Black Lives Matter group, had joined the pro-life event after hearing that “more black children were killed in New York City by Planned Parenthood, than were born last year.”

Daly also told the crowd about a new broadcast he has been working on with Abby Johnson and two other former Planned Parenthood employees. Daly told the crowd that the former Planned Parentood employees had been required to meet monthly quotas for abortion. “I want America to hear this”, he said. “Monthly quotas on the number of abortions! And by the twentieth of the month if they were down the women working in the clinic were told to accelerate getting women to abort their babies. Is that horrible? That’s why we stand in the pro-life movement, for the baby and for the woman.”


News

FULL TEXT: President Trump’s historic 2020 March for Life speech

'Unborn children have never had a stronger defender in the White House.'
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Tell the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade. Sign the petition here.

WASHINGTON, D.C., January 24, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Below is the text of President Donald Trump's address to the 2020 March for Life. This is the first time any U.S. president has attended the march, which is the largest annual human rights demonstration in the world.

REMARKS BY PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP AT 2020 MARCH FOR LIFE

Thank you very much and thank you, Jeanne. It is my profound honor to be the first president in history to attend the March for Life. [applause] We are here for a very simple reason: to defend the right of every child, born and unborn, to fulfill their God-given potential. [applause] 

For 47 years, Americans of all backgrounds have traveled from across the country to stand for life.  

And today as President of the United States, I am truly proud to stand with you. [applause]

I want to welcome tens of thousands – this is a tremendous turnout – tens of thousands of high school and college students who took long bus rides to be here in our nation's capital. And to make you feel even better, there are tens of thousands of people outside that we passed on the way in. If anybody would like to give up their spot, we can work it out.

We have a tremendous group of people outside. Thousands and thousands wanted to get in. This is some great success. [applause]

Young people are the heart of the March for Life. And it’s your generation that is making America the pro-family, pro-life nation. [applause]

The life movement is led by strong women, amazing faith leaders, and brave students who carry on the legacy of pioneers before us who fought to raise the conscience of our nation and uphold the rights of our citizens. You embrace mothers with care and compassion. You are empowered by prayer and motivated by your unselfish love. You are grateful and we are so grateful ­­– these are incredible people – to be joined by Secretary Alex Azar and Kellyanne Conway. [applause]

And thanks also to Senators Mike Lee and James Lankford who are here. Thank you, fellas. And Representatives Steve Scalise, Chris Smith, Ralph Abraham, Warren Davidson, Bob Latta, John Joyce, Lloyd Smucker, Brian Fitzpatrick, and Brad Wenstrup. Thank you all. I have to say – and I look at it, and I see it exactly – we have many more politicians in the audience. But if you don't mind, I won’t introduce them all.

All of us here understand an eternal truth: Every child is a precious and sacred gift from God. [applause] Together, we must protect, cherish, and defend the dignity and the sanctity of every human life. [applause]

When we see the image of a baby in the womb, we glimpse the majesty of God's creation. [applause] When we hold a newborn in our arms, we know the endless love that each child brings to a family. When we watch a child grow, we see the splendor that radiates from each human soul. One life changes the world – from my family, and I can tell you, I send love, and I send great, great love – and from the first day in office, I have taken historic action to support America’s families and to protect the unborn. [applause]

And during my first week in office, I reinstated and expanded the Mexico City Policy and we issued a landmark pro-life rule to govern the use of Title X taxpayer funding. I notified Congress that I would veto any legislation that weakens pro-life policy or that encourages the destruction of human life. [applause]

At the United Nations, I made clear that global bureaucrats have no business attacking the sovereignty of nations that protect innocent life. [applause] Unborn children have never had a stronger defender in the White House. [applause]

As the Bible tells us, each person is wonderfully made. [applause]

We have taken decisive action to protect the religious liberty – so important – religious liberty has been under attack all over the world and frankly, very strongly attacked in our nation. You see it better than anyone. But we are stopping it. And we’re taking care of doctors, nurses, teachers, and groups like the Little Sisters of the Poor. [applause]

We are preserving faith-based adoption and to uphold our founding documents, we have appointed 187 federal judges, who apply the Constitution as written, including two phenomenal supreme court justices – Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh. [applause]

We are protecting pro-life students’ rights to free speech on college campuses. And if universities want federal taxpayer dollars, then they must uphold your First Amendment right to speak your mind. And if they don't, they pay a very big financial penalty, which they will not be willing to pay. [applause]

Sadly, the far left is working to erase our God-given rights, shut down faith-based charities, ban religious leaders from the public square, and silence Americans who believe in the sanctity of life. They are coming after me because I am fighting for you and we are fighting for those who have no voice. And we will win because we know how to win. [applause] We all know how to win. We all know how to win. You’ve been winning for a long time. You’ve been winning for a long time.

Together, we are the voice for the voiceless. When it comes to abortion – and you know this, you’ve seen what’s happened – Democrats have embraced the most radical and extreme positions taken and seen in this country for years and decades, and you can even say, for centuries.

Nearly every top Democrat in congress now supports taxpayer-funded abortion all the way up until the moment of birth. Last year, lawmakers in New York cheered with delight upon the passage of legislation that would allow a baby to be ripped from the mother's womb right up until delivery.

Then, we had the case of the Democrat governor in the state of Virginia, the commonwealth of Virginia. And we love the commonwealth of Virginia, but what is going on in Virginia? What is going on? The governor stated that he would execute a baby after birth. You remember that.

Senate Democrats even blocked legislation that would give medical care to babies who survive attempted abortions. And that’s why I’ve called on Congress – two of our great senators here, so many of our congressmen here – I called upon them to defend the dignity of life and to pass legislation prohibiting late-term abortion of children who can feel pain in their mother's womb. [applause]

This year, the March for Life is celebrating the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment, which forever enshrined women's rights to vote in the United States and given by the United States constitution. Such a big event. Today, millions of extraordinary women across America are using the power of their votes to fight for the right and all of their rights as given in the Declaration of Independence – it’s the right to life. [applause]

To all the women here today, your devotion and your leadership uplifts our entire nation and we thank you for that. The tens of thousands of Americans gathered today not only stand for life – it’s really here that they stand for it so proudly together. And I want to thank everybody for that. You stand for life each and every day. You provide housing, education, jobs, and medical care to the women that you serve. You find loving families for children in need of a forever home. You host baby showers for expecting moms. You make – you just make it your life's mission to help spread God's grace.

And to all the moms here today, we celebrate you and we declare that mothers are heroes. [applause] Your strength, devotion, and drive is what powers our nation. Because of you, our country has been blessed with amazing souls who have changed the course of human history.

We cannot know what our citizens yet unborn will achieve. The dreams they will imagine. The masterpieces they will create. The discoveries they will make. But we know this: every life brings love into this world. Every child brings joy to a family. Every person is worth protecting.

And above all, we know that every human soul is divine and every human life, born and unborn, is made in the holy image of Almighty God. [applause]

Together, we will defend this truth all across our magnificent land. We will set free the dreams of our people. And with determined hope, we look forward to all of the blessings that will come from the beauty, talent, purpose, nobility, and grace of every American child.

I want to thank you. This is a very special moment. It’s so great to represent you. I love you all. [applause] And I say with a true passion, thank you, God bless you, and God bless America. Thank you all. Thank you. [applause]

Watch some reactions on the ground at the March for Life to President Trump's historic speech:

RELATED: Trump at 2020 March for Life: ‘Unborn children have never had a stronger defender in White House’


News

Trump at 2020 March for Life: ‘Unborn children have never had a stronger defender in White House’

'Mothers are heroes,' and pro-lifers 'just make it your life’s mission to help spread God’s grace,' he said.
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Calvin Freiburger By Calvin Freiburger

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By Calvin Freiburger

WASHINGTON, D.C., January 24, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Donald Trump made history Friday by becoming the first sitting president to address the March for Life in person, telling hundreds of thousands of pro-lifers he was “proud to stand with you” to “protect the right of every child, born and unborn, to fulfill their God-given potential.”

“Young people are the heart of the march for life and it’s your generation that’s making America the pro-family, pro-life nation,” the president said, thanking students for making the trip and pro-life activists for "embrac[ing] mothers with care and compassion. You’re powered by prayer and motivated by pure, unselfish love."

READ: Full transcript of President Trump’s historic 2020 March for Life speech

“All of us here today understand an eternal truth: every child is a precious and sacred gift from God,” Trump said. “Together we must cherish and defend the sanctity and dignity of human life. When we hold a newborn in our arms, we know the boundless love a child brings to a family.”

Trump discussed the actions he has taken through his first term, and declared that "unborn children have never had a stronger defender in the White House." He said the pro-life movement was acutely affected by the Left’s war on religious liberty, but pledged his administration would continue to defend religious speech and faith-based organizations. "The far left is working to erase our God-given rights," he said. "They’re coming after me because I’m fighting for you."

“Together we are the voice for the voiceless,” he went on. “Democrats have embraced the most radical and extreme positions we’ve seen in decades” on the issue, citing Congressional Democrats’ support for late-term abortion and opposition to mandating medical care for newborns that survive abortions.

“To all the women here today, your devotion uplifts our entire nation and we thank you for that,” the president said. "To all of the moms here today, we celebrate you and we declare that mothers are heroes. Every person is worth protecting and we know that every human soul is divine and every human life born and unborn is made in the holy image of almighty God."

Pro-lifers “just make it your life’s mission to help spread God’s grace,” he added, with their efforts to provide aid to pregnant women and help children put up for adoption “find their forever home.”

"We cannot know what our citizens yet unborn will achieve," the president told the crowd. "But we know this: every life brings love into this world, every child brings joy to a family. Every person is worth protecting."

Watch some reactions on the ground at the March for Life to President Trump's historic speech:

While presidents Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush expressed their support for the March for Life with phone messages, Trump became the first president to deliver live remarks (albeit remotely, from the White House) to the event in 2018.

Trump’s appearance is the latest demonstration of his support for the pro-life cause, and a reminder of how far the former celebrity businessman has come since his conversion from conventional New York liberal to Republican political candidate.

Trump is considered by many veteran pro-life activists to be the most pro-life president in history. 

As president, Trump has reinstated and expanded the ban on foreign aid to abortion-involved groups (including International Planned Parenthood Federation), banned groups that commit or refer abortions from Title X family planning funds, overturned Obama-era regulations that barred states from defunding Planned Parenthood, and issued rules protecting Americans from being forced to subsidize abortion in government-mandated health insurance plans. 

The president has also forcefully denounced abortion, calling attention to Democrats’ opposition to anti-infanticide legislation and calling on Congress to send him a ban on late-term abortion to sign. Most of his judicial nominees have pleased pro-lifers, as well.

In addition, the administration has consistently worked to defend life and oppose abortion at the United Nations, from resisting pro-abortion agenda items and resolution language to affirming that abortion isn’t a human right and promoting abstinence education.

This year, Trump declared January 22, the anniversary of the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision imposing abortion on demand across the country, to be “National Sanctity of Human Life Day.”

In a proclamation issued this week,  Trump declared that “every person — the born and unborn, the poor, the downcast, the disabled, the infirm, and the elderly — has inherent value” and said that the U.S. “proudly and strongly reaffirms our commitment to protect the precious gift of life at every stage, from conception to natural death.”

While President Trump addressed the March, his Vice President Mike Pence is meeting with Pope Francis at the Vatican, highlighting the administration’s alliance with the Catholic Church in matters of life and religious freedom.


News

14 abortion survivors put a face to ‘choice’ in new TV ad launched at March for Life

'Abortion advocates need to look these survivors in the eye and come to terms with the fact that they are human, that their lives matter'
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An abortion survivor in the 'Faces of Choice' TV ad. Faces of Choice / Youtube
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WASHINGTON, D.C., January 24, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – An ad created for mainstream television featuring 14 survivors of attempted abortion was revealed on the main stage during the Washington D.C. March for Life today as well as along the main route on jumbotrons.

The ad campaign, titled Faces of Choice, is designed to raise awareness of the survivors of abortion who all univocally make it clear that they are persons and not a "choice."

“Faces of Choice was birthed to bring awareness to a demographic of survivors that has gone largely unnoticed: those who were aborted, but survived,” said Lyric Gillett, Faces of Choice executive director.

“I am convinced that the key to changing the cultural conversation about abortion is within the voices of the survivors. The idea behind this initiative is that every great civil rights or humanitarian movement of our era has had an actual face of a survivor attached to it, giving it meaning outside of a nebulous concept.”

Featured in the ad are abortion survivors Dr. Imre Téglásy (1952, Hungary); Paula Page (02/24/54); Miriam “Penny” Hopper (11/29/55); Denisha Workizer (7/11/76); Melissa Ohden (8/29/77); Jennifer Millbourn (9/02/78); Jennifer Callender (7/18/80); Claire Culwell (3/06/88); Hope Hoffman (8/12/91); Josiah Presley (10/07/95); Asiimwe Ronald Williams (9/25/97, Uganda); Dona Marie Mendoza (Philippines); Jaylin Schoch (8/15/03); and Zechariah Hagan (10/20/13), who was one of the first abortion pill reversal survivors.

Melissa Ohden, founder of the Abortion Survivors Network, introduced the ad from the March for Life's main stage after her keynote speech.

“Through The Abortion Survivors Network, we have been connecting and supporting survivors for the last eight years, but this project, Faces of Choice, is the first media project we’ve been a part of that includes survivors from around the world. We can’t think of a more important time to come together and challenge the world to face the ‘choice’ of abortion and encourage people to ultimately find healing and create a culture of life,” she said in a press release. 

Gillett said that the ad campaign seeks to "make an ad that showed the many faces of survivors of abortion, to put a face to the ‘choice’ of ending life.”

“As much as the abortion industry wants to destigmatize the decision to end a pregnancy, we want to show the lives that were spared despite the death sentence imposed upon them. We often seek to separate the humanity from things that make us uneasy, but when a victim – a  survivor – stares you in the eye and tells you their story, a paradigm shift takes place that cannot be conveniently forgotten, and which has the power to change everything. We have thousands of survivors of abortion in the United States, alone; more than enough survivors to attach an actual face to the misnomer of ‘choice.’"

Babies who survive abortion became mainstream news last year when New York and Virginia passed laws that specifically allowed abortion until the moment of birth, with Virginia Governor Ralph Northam stating that those babies who survived the process could be left to die, if that's what the mother wanted.

“Abortion advocates need to look these survivors in the eye and come to terms with the fact that they are human, that their lives matter, and that choice is more than a word: it’s a person,” said Gillett. 

Distribution for the ad is not yet determined. 

“Our team has worked for months to have a shorter version of the ad run during the 2020 Super Bowl but the network refused to give us a clear answer,” said Gillett. “We are currently looking at other options and outlets and are in talks with various networks.”


News

BREAKING: Trump admin announces action against California for forcing churches to fund abortions

'We are putting California on notice that it must stop forcing people of good will to subsidize the taking of human life, not only because it’s the moral thing to do, but because it’s the law.'
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Claire Chretien By Claire Chretien

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By Claire Chretien

January 24, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – The Trump administration’s Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced today that California is violating federal law by trying to force churches to pay for abortions.

The announcement comes the morning of the 47th annual March for Life, at which President Donald Trump is slated to speak. He will be the first U.S. president to ever attend the march, which is the largest human rights demonstration in the world.

A lengthy legal battle has been underway since 2014, when California enacted regulations forcing all employers to pay for health insurance plans that cover elective abortions, regardless of religious or moral objections to funding abortion deaths. Under these regulations, all abortions are considered “basic health care” and “medically necessary.”

Churches were not even informed when abortion coverage was added to their health plans, according to Alliance Defending Freedom. 

The HHS Office for Civil Rights announced that it issued a Notice of Violation to the state of California, formally notifying the Golden State that it cannot impose universal abortion coverage mandates on health insurance plans and issuers in violation of federal conscience laws.  

California has deprived over 28,000 people of plans that did not cover elective abortion, but now must cover abortion due to California’s mandate, according to HHS.

“With this Notice, OCR requests that California inform OCR, within thirty days, whether California will continue to enforce its requirement that all health plans cover elective abortions, or whether it will agree to take corrective action and remedy the effect of its discriminatory conduct,” HHS said in a press release.

It warned:

If, after 30 days, OCR does not receive sufficient assurance that California will come into compliance with federal law, OCR will forward the Notice of Violation and the evidence supporting OCR’s findings in this matter to the HHS funding components from which California receives funding for appropriate action under applicable grants and contracts regulations. This action may ultimately result in limitations on continued receipt of certain HHS funds.

Notably, last year, the Supreme Court of California ruled against the Missionary Guadalupanas of the Holy Spirit, an apostolate that helps the poor, saying their health insurance plans must fund abortions. The Supreme Court of California upheld the pro-abortion regulation by reinterpretting a 1974 law to mean that abortion is “medically necessary.” 

But OCR has sided with the Missionaries, who along with Skyline Wesleyan Church had appealed to OCR for help. 

OCR cited the Weldon Amendment, which prohibits federal agencies and programs, as well as state and local governments that receive LHHS funding from discriminating against health care professionals, health care facilities, health insurance plans, and other health care entities “on the basis that the health care entity does not provide, pay for, provide coverage of, or refer for abortions” without any exceptions. The Weldon Amendment, like the Hyde Amendment, is renewed annually.

The Weldon Amendment was renewed last month as part of the December government spending bills.

HHS noted this is not the first time California has been found to be violating federal statutes protecting freedom of conscience: “In January 2019, OCR found that California violated the Weldon and Coats-Snowe Amendments when it subjected pregnancy resource centers in the state to potential fines and discrimination for refusing to post notices referring for free or low-cost abortions.”

“Once again, President Trump’s administration is delivering on his promise to protect human life and all Americans’ freedom of conscience,” said HHS Secretary Alex Azar. “Under President Trump, HHS has been vigorously enforcing the statutes Congress passed to protect Americans’ consciences and institutionalizing these protections within the department’s civil rights work.”

Azar spoke at the Family Research Council’s annual ProLifeCon digital summit this morning, as he did last year.

“No one in America should be forced to pay for or cover other people’s abortions,” said Roger Severino, Director of OCR. “We are putting California on notice that it must stop forcing people of good will to subsidize the taking of human life, not only because it’s the moral thing to do, but because it’s the law.”  

In August 2019, OCR also found that the Univesity of Vermont Medical Center (UVMC) violated federal law by forcing a nurse to commit an abortion. HHS said it “repeatedly” sought cooperation from UVMMC, but it “refused” to change its policies, provide relevant documents, or produce witnesses. 

UVMC was given 30 days to verify whether it will change its policies to comply with federal law and grant rules. Otherwise, it was informed, the case would be referred to HHS’s Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) for potential revocation of federal funds.


News

Pope Francis meets Mike Pence at Vatican as Trump attends March for Life

The meeting highlighted the Trump administration’s alliance with the Catholic Church in matters of life and religious freedom.
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Courtesy: Vatican Press Pool
Diane Montagna By Diane Montagna

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By Diane Montagna

ROME, January 24, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — Pope Francis welcomed U.S. vice president Mike Pence to the Vatican on Friday, in a meeting that highlighted the Trump administration’s alliance with the Catholic Church in matters of life and religious freedom.

Pence’s visit to the Vatican coincides with U.S. president Donald Trump’s presence at the January 24 March or Life in Washington, D.C., the first time a U.S. president has attended the event. 

“I wanted to extend the warmest greetings on behalf of President Donald Trump who so enjoyed his visit here,” the vice president told Pope Francis through an interpreter during the visit. 

In May 2017, just six months after his election, President Trump visited the Vatican with First Lady Melania Trump, other members of the Trump family, and members of his new administration. Trump’s 2017 audience with Pope Francis focused on their joint commitment to life and freedom of religion and conscience.   

The Holy See Press Office did not release a statement on today’s meeting between Pope Francis and Mike Pence, as its policy is to reserve such statements for visits by heads of state. However, videos from today’s visit, which took place in the papal library of the Apostolic Palace, show a cordial meeting between the two.

The vice president was accompanied during the visit by Second Lady Karen Pence, U.S. ambassador to the Holy See Callista Gingrich, former U.S. speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, and members of his office staff. 

The vice president’s visit to the Vatican also comes just days after President Trump declared January 22, the anniversary of the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision imposing abortion on demand across the country, to be “National Sanctity of Human Life Day.” 

Pence stopped in Rome on his way back to the United States from Jerusalem, where he attended the Fifth World Holocaust Forum, which marked the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz and International Holocaust Remembrance Day. 

His visit to the Vatican comes one week after the U.S. religious freedom ambassador, Sam Brownback, traveled to Rome for the launch of the January 14–15 “Abrahamic Faiths Initiative,” hosted at the residence of Callista Gingrich. The symposium brought together Christian, Jewish, and Muslim leaders in Rome “to increase support for religious freedom around the world,” Gingrich said at the launch. 

The symposium was inspired by the 2018 document on “Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together,” a joint statement signed in Abu Dhabi last February by Pope Francis and the grand imam of Al-Azhar. 

The document provoked controversy for stating that “[t]he pluralism and the diversity of religions, color, sex, race and language are willed by God in His wisdom, through which He created human beings.”

Allies to Catholics on life and religious freedom

President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence have been strong allies to Catholics on issues of life and religious freedom. 

At the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast in 2017, shortly after the election, Vice President Pence assured attendees that the Trump administration will defend the unborn and religious freedom. 

Trump “stands without apology for the sanctity of human life,” said Pence. “President Trump stands with the most vulnerable: the aged, the infirm, and the unborn.”

Pence, a baptized Catholic who now identifies as evangelical, spoke fondly of his Catholic childhood and told diplomats, members of Congress, and Catholic priests and prelates at the annual gathering that being among them felt like “coming home.” 

Highlighting President Trump’s commitment to religious freedom at home and abroad, Pence assured them that “protecting and promoting religious freedom is a foreign policy priority for this administration.”

In September 2019, President Trump became the first U.S. president to host a United Nations meeting on religious freedom, telling the international body that America “stands with believers in every country who ask only for the freedom to live according to the faith that is within their own hearts.”

Joined at the U.N. meeting by Vice President Mike Pence, U.S. secretary of state Mike Pompeo, and various government officials and religious leaders, the president used his remarks to detail his administration’s efforts to promote religious liberty abroad and raise awareness of persecution.

Citing deadly recent attacks on Catholics, Jews, and Muslims, President Trump said: “These evil attacks are a wound on all humanity.”

Trump has also taken a strong stance against abortion from the time he was a candidate.

Confronting Hillary Clinton about the reality of partial-birth abortion during a 2016 debate, Trump said, “[R]ipping the baby from the womb in the ninth month … is not okay.”

As president, Trump has reinstated and expanded the ban on foreign aid to abortion-involved groups (including International Planned Parenthood Federation), banned groups that commit or refer abortions from Title X family planning funds, overturned Obama-era regulations that barred states from defunding Planned Parenthood, and issued rules protecting Americans from being forced to subsidize abortion in government-mandated health insurance plans. 

The president has also forcefully denounced abortion, calling attention to Democrats’ opposition to anti-infanticide legislation and calling on Congress to send him a ban on late-term abortion to sign. Most of his judicial nominees have pleased pro-lifers.

In addition, the administration has consistently worked to defend life and oppose abortion at the United Nations, from resisting pro-abortion agenda items and resolution language to affirming that abortion isn’t a human right and promoting abstinence education.

Watch LifeSite’s full coverage of the 2020 March for Life.


News

Watch President Trump’s full speech at 2020 March for Life

President Donald Trump is the first U.S. president to attend and speak at the event. 
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The White House
By LifeSiteNews.com

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By LSN

WASHINGTON, D.C., January 24, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — Pro-life activists from countless backgrounds across the United States are marching the streets of Washington, D.C. today for the annual March for Life, where President Donald Trump became the first U.S. president to attend and speak at the event. 

President Trump addressed the March for Life rally at 12:15 P.M.

Here is President Trump's full speech:

Read the transcript of the president's full speech here.

You can watch a replay of EWTN's live coverage of the entire March for Life right here:

Wednesday was the 47th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision, which, along with its sister case Doe v. Bolton, imposed abortion on demand across the nation in 1973. At least 60 million preborn children have been slaughtered over the last 47 years.

The theme of this year’s March is Life Empowers: Pro-Life is Pro-Woman.


News

Abortion is the top priority at the ballot box, U.S. Bishop tells March for Life

'The protection of the unborn remains the preeminent priority,' Archbishop Joseph Naumann told Vigil Mass for Life on Thursday.
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Lianne Laurence By Lianne Laurence

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By Lianne Laurence

WASHINGTON, D.C., January 24, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — The American bishops and Pope Francis both affirm that the “preeminent priority” for Catholics when voting is the protection of the child in the womb, said Archbishop Joseph Naumann in his homily for Thursday’s vigil Mass for the March for Life.

His statement drew a spontaneous burst of applause from hundreds who packed in the Basilica Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington on the eve of the march, which marks the Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v Wade ruling legalizing abortion in the United States.

The archbishop of Kansas City, Kansas, and chairman of the USCCB’s committee on pro-life activities, Naumann said the bishops approved a document in November that provides “guidance to Catholics as they exercise their responsibility as voters.”

And while Catholics must consider “many important societal issues with great moral significance,” such as immigration reform, care for refugees and the poor, health care, religious liberty, and the “care for creation," the bishops “affirmed that the protection of the unborn remains the preeminent priority,” Naumann said, to a burst of applause.

Watch Archbishop Naumann's full homily:

The bishops’ document cited Pope St. John Paul II’s “landmark and prophetic” encyclical The Gospel of Life, issued 25 years ago this March 25, the feast of the Annunciation, he said.

The sainted pontiff noted that the “vast array of threats to human life” included poverty, the arms trade, drugs, and the promotion of “certain forms of sexual activity,” but “spoke clearly that special attention should be given to the issues of abortion and euthanasia,” Naumann observed.

St. John Paul stated three reasons why the protection of the unborn must be a priority.

First, current laws “exalt abortion as a positive good and a right”; second, abortion “attacks human life at the time of its greatest frailty,” and finally, abortion’s “personal and societal consequences are more serious because they are carried out in the very heart of and with the complicity of the family,” which “by its very nature is called to be the sanctuary of life.”

Moreover, the “sheer number” of those killed by abortion “elevates its importance compared to other threats to life,” Naumann said.

Since 1973, 61 million unborn children have been killed by abortion and each had a father and mother “who’ve been starved by the death of their child.”

Naumann also related that when he and bishops from Iowa, Missouri, and Nebraska met with Pope Francis one week ago for their ad limina visit, “I told him that we received some criticism, even being accused of insulting the pope.”

The pope “appeared stunned,” and asked why.

“And I said because we called the protection of the unborn a ‘preeminent priority,’ and his immediate response was, ‘It is a preeminent priority’. Pope Francis said if we do not defend life, no other rights matter,” Naumann said.

“God and 14 other bishops are my witnesses that Pope Francis was passionate in the support of the Church’s pro-life efforts. My friends, the successor of Peter has our backs,” added the archbishop, to applause.

The Holy Father was also “aware of this March for Life” and “delighted” at the expected large numbers, and “ordered” Naumann to “please tell the pilgrims at the March for Life and the entire pro-life community, the pope is with you, he is praying for you, he supports you, he encourages you to persevere.” 

Pope Francis has stoked confusion in past on the priority of the pro-life issue in voting, contradicting previous popes by seeming to place abortion on a level with prudential issues such as immigration.

Throughout his pontificate, he has prioritized lobbying world leaders on climate change, immigration, and other issues while failing to intervene on non-negotiable moral issues such as abortion and same-sex “marriage.”

According to Naumann, Pope Francis was “thrilled” with the USCCB initiative to mark the 25th anniversary of the Gospel of Life: “Walking with Moms In Need: A year of Service,” Naumann said.

This initiative will encourage every Catholic parish in the United States, which number well over 17,000, to consider what “practical steps” they can take to help mothers facing difficult pregnancies, Naumann said.

Many women who choose abortion are “young, poor and unmarried, and “moms in need are best reached at the local level,” he said. 

“Pope Francis reminds us parish called to be islands of mercy in the midst of the sea of indifference.”

He noted that Pope John Paul in the Gospel of Life “cautioned us about he termed ‘an extremely serious and mortal danger that of confusion between good and evil, precisely in relation to the fundamental right to life.”

The saint wrote that “this moral confusion results in part from a distorted notion of freedom, of freedom that is untethered from truth,” Naumann said. 

“Freedom separated from truth in the end creates a tyrant state that allows and even encourages the disposal of life when it is weakest.”

This is evident in the United States, where, since the 47 years since Roe v Wade, “the killing of one’s child is exalted as heroic and brave,” and Americans live in an “ethically topsy-turvy twilight zone” in which abortion is “now hailed as the cornerstone of human rights,” Nauman said.

But “in these early days of 2020 there are signs of hope,” he added. 

“Despite a biased secular media, decades persistent pro-life educational efforts have resulted in our nation’s youth being more pro-life than their parents,” he said, to sustained applause.


News

Hundreds of thousands protest abortion, hear Trump speak at March for Life

Donald Trump is the first U.S. president to attend the March for Life in person.
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Pro-life activists attend the 2015 annual March for Life in Washington, D.C. American Life League

By Claire Chretien

WASHINGTON, D.C., January 24, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — Pro-life activists from countless backgrounds across the United States marched the streets of Washington, D.C. today for the annual March for Life, where President Donald Trump became the first U.S. president to attend and speak at the event.

Wednesday was the 47th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision, which, along with its sister case Doe v. Bolton, imposed abortion on demand across the nation in 1973. At least 60 million preborn children have been slaughtered over the last 47 years. The theme of this year’s march is “Life Empowers: Pro-Life is Pro-Woman.”

Trump’s appearance was announced Wednesday evening. 

“See you on Friday...Big Crowd!” he tweeted. Trump previously addressed marchers via recorded or live video message. Vice President Mike Pence spoke from the March for Life stage last year. Today, Pence is occupied meeting Pope Francis at the Vatican.

In addition to President Trump, speakers at Friday’s March included abortion survivors Claire Culwell and Melissa Ohden, U.S. rep. Chris Smith of New Jersey, Louisiana state senator Katrina Jackson, Focus on the Family’s Jim Daly, Susan B. Anthony (SBA) List head Marjorie Dannenfelser, Pastor David Platt of McLean Bible Church in D.C., and more.

“We’ve come a long way from ‘safe, legal, and rare’ to ‘shout your abortion,’” March for Life president Jeanne Mancini said. “We know this message about women and abortion is both deceptive and hurtful.”

The 2020 March for Life is the pinnacle of a week of activism in the nation’s capital.

On Tuesday evening, Trump declared this year’s anniversary of Roe v. Wade to be “Sanctity of Life Day.” The contenders for the 2020 Democrat presidential nomination, meanwhile, marked the occasion by promising to appoint pro-abortion judges and force American taxpayers to fund unrestricted abortion.

The days leading up to the march were packed with pro-life events and announcements.

On Wednesday, pro-life activists were arrested during a sit-in at U.S. House speaker Nancy Pelosi (R-Calif.)’s office, where they were protesting her refusal to allow a vote on anti-infanticide legislation. That day, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) also granted the state of Texas a Medicaid waiver to fund the Healthy Texas Women program, which does not include abortion businesses like Planned Parenthood. This reversed the Obama administration’s decision to deny a similar waiver to the state in 2013.

On Thursday, priests and pro-life activists protested at Washington, D.C.’s massive Planned Parenthood facility next to an elementary school in the city’s northeast quadrant. The March for Life conference also took place Thursday, as did the annual Vigil Mass for Life at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.

SBA List, which is spending over $52 million to re-elect Trump and pro-life senators, released a new ad contrasting the abortion extremism of the Democrat party with the record of “the most pro-life president in history.” It was also announced that SBA List president Marjorie Dannenfelser will lead the “Pro-Life Voices for Trump” coalition.

On the eve of the March for Life, 18 U.S. senators and 41 representatives released a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo asking him to address a loophole in the Mexico City Policy (now called Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance), which bans global health assistance dollars to foreign nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) that commit or promote abortions. Currently, the only pro-abortion NGOs banned from receiving foreign aid are international ones. NGOs that are incorporated in the U.S. may commit and promote abortions abroad. 

Another notable presence in Washington, D.C. during this March for Life is His Eminence Cardinal Raymond Burke, who this morning will offer a Pontifical Low Mass before the march and on Saturday will deliver the invocation at the National Pro-Life Summit (formerly the Students for Life of America conference). Burke, one of the foremost defenders of Catholic orthodoxy, condemned abortion killing in an appearance on Fox News Thursday evening.

LifeSiteNews is closely covering the March for Life.


News

Satanic black Mass in Virginia to be countered by Catholic rosary vigil, Holy Hour

The Norfolk black Mass comes two months after a similar sacrilegious event in Houston in November.
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Lianne Laurence By Lianne Laurence

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By Lianne Laurence

NORFOLK, January 23, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — Catholics in Virginia have organized a Holy Hour and Rosary Rally of Reparation in response to a Satanic “black Mass” scheduled to take place at a Norfolk punk rock/goth bar on Saturday.

Catholic News Agency reports that St. Benedict’s Parish in Chesapeake will host the holy hour, while the rosary vigil, organized by America Needs Fatima, will be held eight miles away outside the Pourhouse bar during Satanic Norfolk’s black mass and “un-baptism” ritual on January 25.

“We’re holding the Holy Hour at our parish to combat the attacks on the Holy Mother Church and the Holy Mass,” a St. Benedict Parish employee told CNA.

“This is our way of fighting back,” she said.

The Catholic response to the sacrilegious ritual was announced on the Facebook page for Eucharistia, “a eucharistic procession through the Hampton Roads area of southern Virginia,” CNA reported.

The Diocese of Richmond is also encouraging Catholics to pray and be diligent in protecting the Eucharist, director of communications Deborah Cox told CNA.

“We support the efforts of Father Eric Ayers, who is the dean of the Norfolk Deanery, and our other local pastors who are offering prayers, a Holy Hour(s) of Adoration and rosaries at our parishes as a result of this private, Norfolk business holding such an event,” Cox said in a statement to CNA.

“We ask for all the faithful in the area to pray for the conversion of hearts of the individuals holding such an event and to continue to be attentive at safeguarding the Holy Eucharist.”

The black Mass is a blasphemous mockery of Catholic liturgy during which “one adores and exalts Satan,” and “the words and external signs of the Eucharistic liturgy are used, but always in a contrary sense, in order to manifest opposition to God,” former Vatican chief exorcist Father Gabriele Amorth wrote in An Exorcist Explains the Demonic.

The Satanic ritual typically involves the desecration of a consecrated Host, which the Catholic Church teaches is the literal body, blood, soul, and divinity of Jesus Christ.

Satanic Norfolk says it has obtained consecrated Hosts, according to a Facebook post hosted by Kate Cobas that invites people to “[j]oin us as we boldly cast off lingering indoctrination of past religious beliefs.”

“Consecrated communion wafers were kindly donated for this blasphemous event,” the post said. Cobas also tweeted that she gave “a few consecrated communion wafers to the dog,” who “spat them out.”

It is not clear where she claims to have obtained the consecrated Hosts.

In 2014, when registered sex offender Adam Daniels said he had a consecrated Host to desecrate at a black Mass at the Oklahoma Civic Center, Archbishop Paul Coakley obtained a restraining order against him on the grounds the Host had been stolen. The Satanic group’s attorney then returned the Host to a Catholic priest.

However, whether Daniels actually returned the Host can’t be certain, because Satanists by definition can’t be trusted, exorcist Fr. Chad Ripperger told LifeSiteNews in an earlier interview.

“What they say is unreliable to begin with, because their father is the father of lies, Satan,” he said.

The Norfolk black Mass will include an “unbaptism” ritual, according to another Facebook page, and be followed by performances by “some ferocious, badass black metal bands.”

The Catholic Church teaches that “baptism is permanent and can not be reversed,” CNA pointed out.

The Norfolk black Mass comes two months after a similar sacrilegious event at Houston’s Brash brewery in November.

About 200 Catholics and at least one priest from more than five parishes in the Houston metro area and the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property (TFP) prayed the rosary outside the brewery in the afternoon, while a smaller group stayed on to midnight to make reparation and pray as the black Mass took place.

The organizing Satanic Temple of Houston proclaimed on Facebook afterward that the “consecrated host was defiled, destroyed, and swept into the trash where it belongs.”

In August, seven priests and about 150 lay people prayed outside a heavy metal bar in Ottawa during a black Mass simulation, which Satanic Temple of Ottawa organizers said did not involve using a consecrated Host, while Archbishop Terrence Prendergast, who condemned the ritual as “vile” and “hateful,” led a vigil in the nearby cathedral.

Exorcists warn that there is significant spiritual peril in attending such a blasphemous ritual, even one that does not involve desecration of a sacred Host.

Monsignor Patrick Brankin, an exorcist in the diocese of Tulsa, Oklahoma, told Aleteia in commenting on the black Mass in Oklahoma that there would be “a real strong possibility” that those attending, “especially if they’re in the state of sin,” would “walk out possessed.”

That was echoed by Fr. Ripperger.

Because Satan does exist, it doesn’t matter if those attending the black Mass “actually believe if he’s real or not,” he told LifeSiteNews.

“If they do the particular ritual which will actually invoke him, he will possibly, God permitting, show up, or it will have an effect on the spiritual level independent” of what the Satanists believe or don’t believe.


Opinion

Even pro-lifers suspicious of Trump have to admire his March for Life speech

It is undeniable that on the issues dear to the hearts of life and family leaders, Trump has been consistent.
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Jonathon Van Maren By Jonathon Van Maren

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By Jonathon Van Maren

January 24, 2020 (The Bridgehead) — Regular readers of this blog will know that I have many reservations about President Donald J. Trump, and that I have had them since he arrived on the national scene. I believe, as Timothy Carney eloquently noted over in the Washington Examiner this week, that pro-lifers should gratefully accept the president’s efforts on behalf of pre-born children — and his Administration’s list of pro-life accomplishments is very impressive — without attempting to defend his character, which is a different thing entirely. Trump is many things, but I do believe that it would be damaging for the movement if he were to become the face or the figurehead.

But it is undeniable that on the issues dear to the hearts of life and family leaders, Trump has been consistent — and even pro-active. Many pro-lifers have consistently assured me that Trump’s change of heart on abortion, which I had been highly suspicious of (his story simply didn’t seem true to me based on the countless conversations I’ve had with people about abortion) is real. Father Frank Pavone of Priests for Life told me that he has had several personal conversations with the president on the issue, and that his pro-life convictions are genuine. So have several others who have spoken with Trump directly. Some have provided details about Trump’s conversion on the issue that I can’t share, but that I do find persuasive.

All of that aside, it was simply extraordinary to see the president of the United States of America walk out onstage at the March for Life — the first time the commander-in-chief of the world’s most powerful nation has ever done so. I watched it live earlier today, and it was surreal. I’ve been to the March for Life before (most recently when Vice President Mike Pence was the Administration’s representative), but to see the bullet-proof glass, the giddy faces of the crowd as the president endorsed their years of thankless labor, and the looks of disbelief shared by older activists who had received decades of scorn for their fight against abortion was incredible. This was their president thanking them for doing pro-life work that is so controversial it can  receive backlash even from their own churches. It might be hard for those outside of the pro-life movement to understand, but for many pro-life veterans, it was very moving to hear the president’s words.

I’m fully aware of the cynical interpretations of this. Yes, it is an election year. Yes, an impeachment trial is currently underway in the Senate. Yes, Trump is rallying his base as he feels the heat. All of those things are true, and I’m sure all of them contributed to the Administration’s decision to put the president on-stage at the March for Life. But that doesn’t change the fact that his speech was fully backed up by his record. His promises to the movement have not been empty promises, regardless of what you think of his pro-life conversion story or his character. His speech to the roaring crowd of pro-lifers was magnificent, and one of the reasons their enthusiasm was so palpable is that their president was speaking their language and supporting their life-saving work. That’s not nothing. That’s something.

In fact, to the many babies saved by this Administration’s policies, it is everything.

* * *

Watch the speech:

 

Published with permission from The Bridgehead.


Opinion

Nicholas Sandmann put mainstream media on notice to behave at March for Life

Thank God for Nicholas Sandmann and for his lawyers.
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By Phil Lawler

By Phil Lawler
Phil Lawler
By Phil Lawler

January 24, 2020 (CatholicCulture.org) — Thank God for Nicholas Sandmann and for his lawyers. Thanks to them, thousands of pro-lifers were a bit safer when they participated in the March for Life this week.

Sandmann, you will recall, is the teenager from Covington Catholic high school in Kentucky, who was the focal point of a nationwide campaign of vilification — a frightening phenomenon reminiscent of the “two-minute hate” in Orwell’s 1984 — after last year’s March. The young man himself had done absolutely nothing wrong. He stood his ground, smiling a bit nervously to defuse tensions, as leftist agitators sought a confrontation, chanting in his face. But the leftists controlled the narrative (as they always do, thanks to sympathetic friends in the mainstream media), and the Covington Catholic boys were blamed for provoking the people who had, in fact, tried unsuccessfully to provoke them.

The confrontation itself was a minor thing. But the media circus that followed was astonishing. Reporters and commentators filled the airwaves and cyberspace with demands that the Covington Catholic teens be punished. And much more. There were calls to “dox” them, to assault them, to bar them from colleges. In short the media set out to destroy the lives of these young men.

Worse, many respectable pro-life leaders, evidently intimidated by the ferocity of the media campaign, joined in the chorus of condemnation, denouncing the behavior of the Covington Catholic boys without taking the time to establish the facts. Their own bishop deserted these young men in their time of need, as did the leadership of the March for Life itself. (Later they issued new statements, acknowledging that they had spoken too soon — but falling well short of anything that I would characterize as a proper apology for their appalling betrayal.) The world turned against a handful of teenagers who had done nothing more than run afoul of the mass media.

What was the lesson to be drawn from this incident? At the time, in the early aftermath of last year’s March for Life, it seemed that the leftist agitators had won a sweeping victory. They could disrupt a pro-life rally, shifting the focus of public attention to the alleged misbehavior of the pro-lifers rather than the slaughter of unborn children. It seemed inevitable that pro-abortion activists would flood the streets of Washington this year, ready to provoke new confrontations and generate stories similar to the Covington Catholic narrative.

But then Nicholas Sandmann sued. His lawyers worked to hold media outlets accountable for defaming the young man. And earlier this month we learned that Sandmann had reached an out-of-court settlement with CNN, one of the more egregious purveyors of the false narrative. So as this year’s March began, reporters were on notice that they cannot indulge in reckless character assassination. The leftists might still have been out in force this week, doing their best to disrupt the March. But at least now the mainstream media will be aware that if they choose to promote the “two-minute hate,” that decision could prove costly.

Published with permission from CatholicCulture.org.


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Western governments persecute Christians, too, in subtle but real ways

Think simply about what it means to suffer for the Faith, for the truth.
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Joseph Shaw By Joseph Shaw

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By Dr. Joseph Shaw

January 24, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — Are Christians in the West being persecuted? To some, it seems ridiculous to say so, smacking of paranoia, and even an insult to those being genuinely persecuted in Africa and Asia. But persecution need not be equally serious everywhere. Persecution comes in relatively mild and relatively fierce forms. It also tends to come and go over time. Life under undeniable historic persecutions went on, sometimes to a surprising extent: a priest was ordained in the Nazi concentration camp at Dachau. Being persecuted is not the same as being killed.

If the term “persecution” is distracting us, think simply about what it means to suffer for the Faith, for the truth. Suffering for the Faith, or the prospect of suffering for it if one does certain things, shapes the lives of those living under persecution. They must choose whether and when to pay the price of suffering, or take the risk of suffering, in order to receive the sacraments or to speak the truth, or whether to hold back, to allow certain possibilities to be closed off, perhaps permanently.

One might find Christians in Muslim countries, for example, who live a reasonably comfortable life, but there are things they cannot do and cannot say. In Joseph Fadelle’s The Price to Pay: A Muslim Risks All to Follow Christ, he encountered Christians in Baghdad under Saddam Hussein who needed great courage even to talk to him about the Faith. Receiving converts, even quietly, is next to impossible for the historic Christian churches in many majority-Muslim countries. If word got out, local Muslims would burn the church down, and the secular authorities would decline to intervene or investigate. This, indeed, regularly happens in India, not because things are worse, but because things are a bit better: there, the Church still does receive converts.

This an important point to recognise. The level of religious violence, or other forms of active persecution, in a society is a function of two factors: the willingness of some to inflict it and the willingness of others to risk it. A society where there is no violence or conflict may be one in which no one would inflict it, or it may be one where no one would risk it. If Catholics are sufficiently well trained by their persecutors that they never step out of line, everything will be peaceful, although in practice, exactly what is allowed and what is not may need to be affirmed by making a public example of insufficiently deferential believers from time to time.

This week in Britain, a candidate for the leadership of the Labour Party, Rebecca Long-Bailey, has been excoriated for voicing her support for restricting the availability of abortion. In the context of a leadership contest, of course, any chance remark from years ago may be mined for potentially embarrassing content, and the resulting outrage from opponents may be synthetic. Nevertheless, having been attacked not only by her left-wing opponents, but by the supposedly conservative Daily Telegraph, Long-Bailey, a Catholic, has got the message. Having suggested that unrestricted abortion up to 24 weeks is wrong — many liberal Western countries are more restrictive — she now claims she is ‘by no means suggesting we need to restrict our abortion laws further’. The point has been made. Pro-life candidates need not apply for public office.

Further down the political scale, another pro-life Catholic woman was in the news this week, a trainee midwife. A student at the University of Nottingham, Julia Rynkiewicz made the mistake of becoming president of Students for Life. This group has had to threaten legal action in order to be allowed a stall among other student societies in the annual ‘Freshers’ Fair’; as a result of taking part in the Fair, Rynkiewicz was denounced by a lecturer and her ‘fitness to practise’ investigated by the university, as if taking seriously the value of the unborn might be a handicap to a midwife. Like the attempt to prevent Students for Life from taking part in the Fair, the suggestion that Rynkiewicz’s views made her unfit for her chosen profession were a legal nonsense and thrown out. But the process is the punishment. She was suspended from her course during the ‘investigation’ and will take an extra year to graduate, with her funding cut off in the meantime.

You don’t have to be in the legal wrong to be punished. You just have to disagree with the liberal orthodoxy. Rynkiewicz is to be commended for displaying more backbone than Long-Bailey, but who wants to be the next person to test the system? Who wants to go on the record as ‘anti-trans’ or ‘homophobic’, by repeating, for example, the relevant sections of the Catechism of the Catholic Church? (Sections 2333 and 2357, for example.) What kind of an evangelisation of the culture can there be if the public profession of the Faith is impossible?

Catholics are cowed. We engage in self-censorship, we don’t rock the boat, we keep our heads below the parapet. It is when there is no need of a bloody persecution that we know that our enemies have won.


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Every newly created child should be a sign of hope to the world. That’s why pro-lifers march today

'Everyone who is strongly pro-life has a moment that made them feel this way. What’s yours?'
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Jonathon Van Maren By Jonathon Van Maren

Jonathon Van Maren By Jonathon Van Maren
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By Jonathon Van Maren

January 24, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – To many outsiders looking in, today’s March for Life in Washington, D.C. seems to be a strange and foreign event. Hundreds of thousands of people, many of them young, from every walk of life, faith background, and corner of the country, will show up in the nation’s capital during one of the coldest months of the year to demand protection for human life in the womb, driven by a passion that many Americans on the other side of the ideological divide find nearly impossible to understand. Many of my friends will be there today, and I wish I was with them.

So why are so many people so passionate about an issue that the abortion movement thought would die almost fifty years ago? Yesterday, Ben Domenech, publisher of The Federalist, posed a question on Twitter that helped to answer that question: “Everyone who is strongly pro-life has a moment that made them feel this way. What’s yours?” Thousands of answers to that question promptly followed. Domenech’s own response was viscerally powerful:

I knew I was pro-life from a young age. But when I was 12, I read Whittaker Chamber's book, WITNESS. If you haven't read it, the chapter THE CHILD is the fulcrum of the whole thing:

“For one of us to have a child,” my brother had said “would be a crime against nature.” I longed for children. But I agreed with my brother. There had been enough misery in our time. What selfish right had I to perpetuate it? And what right had any man and woman to bring children into the 20th-century world? As a Communist, I took it for granted children were out of the question. Abortion, which now fills me with physical horror, I then regarded, like all Communists, as a mere physical manipulation.

One day, early in 1933, my wife told me she believed she had conceived. No man can hear from his wife, especially for the first time, that she is carrying his child, without a physical jolt of joy and pride. I felt it. But so sunk were we in that life that it was only a passing joy, and was succeeded by a merely momentary sadness that we would not have the child. We discussed the matter, and my wife said that she must go at once for a physical check and to arrange for the abortion.

When my wife came back…she was quiet and noncommittal. The doctor had said there was a child. My wife went about preparing supper. “What else did she say?” I asked. “She said that I am in good physical shape to have a baby.”

My wife went on silently working. 

Very slowly, the truth dawned on me. 

“Do you mean,” I asked, “that you want to have the child?”

My wife came over to me, took my hands and burst into tears. 

“Dear heart,” she said in a pleading voice, “we couldn’t do that awful thing to a little baby, not to a little baby, dear heart.”

A wild joy swept me. Reason, the agony of my family, the Communist Party and its theories, the wars and revolutions of the 20th century, crumbled at the touch of the child.

And that sums it all up, does it not? The arrival of a newborn child is hope itself, perhaps even more so when the world around her seems to be darkening. I didn’t truly understand this until my daughter was born, but it is true. A child gives you a reason to fight harder for the things you love, to create a safe home for her to have a childhood, and to bear whatever burden you must to ensure that for a few precious years, she might live carefree. Yes, the world is often an ugly place. But that reality means that a little child creates a contrast so vivid than even those who do not like children cannot help but smile when they hear a baby’s giggle or see a huge, unfeigned smile of unrestrained joy.

In the thousands of responses to Domenech’s question were many heartbreaking stories, too, of women who found out too late what abortion really was and grieve their missing babies even when their missing offspring would have long moved into adulthood. And over and over again, people said that it was seeing what abortion actually is that changed their mind. Seeing the reality of severed limbs, broken skulls, and hideously beautiful little faces cut from their bodies is enough to change someone’s life. It certainly changed mine.

I wasn’t planning to join the pro-life movement fulltime when I headed off to university to study history. Nobody really plans to join the pro-life movement—as Scott Klusendorf once said, it is more like you are summoned into it. One of my professors mentioned abortion during a history of religion class, and it occurred to me that I had no idea how to make the pro-life case. I went up to the library, googled the word, and watched a video of a baby getting pulled apart by an abortionist wielding metal tools. It was as if someone had closed a fist around my insides and then squeezed and twisted. I will never forget it.

That is why hundreds of thousands of people will march today: For those 3,000 little children that will be brutally killed today, and every day, until we end the killing and restore protection for every human being, regardless of age. That is why so many people will not stop staffing crisis pregnancy centers, and counseling outside of abortion clinics, and doing street outreach, and flooding social media with the pro-life message, and volunteering for candidates who promise to stand up for the pre-born. We have seen what abortion is, and what it has done to human beings just like us. We have seen their faces, and we cannot forget them.

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 speaks with Dr. Charles Murray about why America has fallen apart and what we need to do about it. Dr. Murray first became well known in 1984 with the publication of Losing Ground, a piece which is credited with being the intellectual foundation for the Welfare Reform Act. Murray is a New York Times bestseller, political researcher and scholar, and the F.A. Hayek Emeritus Chair in Culture Studies at the American Enterprise Institute.

You can subscribe here and listen to the episode below: 


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