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January 18, 2019


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Knights of Columbus donates 1,000th ultrasound machine to pro-life pregnancy center

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By Calvin Freiburger

MANASSAS, Virginia, January 18, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Among the Knights of Columbus’ many charitable activities is a program to donate ultrasound machines to pregnancy centers working to give women alternatives to abortion, and the Catholic fraternal organization recently reached a major milestone in that project.

Launched in 2009, the Knights’ “In His Image” program provides matching grants to crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs) across the nation to either purchase new ultrasound machines or replace old ones, according to the program’s webpage, as well as provides assistance in setting up equipment. Ultrasound machines cost an average of $30,000 apiece.

“No aspect of changes in the Pregnancy Resource Center movement has had a more significant impact on their life-saving work than the addition of ultrasound technology,” the page says. “Industry sources report that over 90 percent of expectant mothers considering abortion choose life after they meet their baby via ultrasound.”

This month, the Knights announced that they have donated their thousandth machine, Catholic News Agency reports, with the recipient being the recently-opened Mother of Mercy Free Medical Clinic in Manassas, Virginia. Supreme Knight Carl Anderson, Bishop Michael Burbidge of Arlington, and officials of Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Arlington all took part in a January 14 event to celebrate the milestone.

The Arlington Catholic Herald details how Mother of Mercy was previously the site of the Amethyst Health Center for Women abortion facility, but closed in 2015 and the property was later purchased by the local Catholic BVM Foundation. Catholic Charities helped complete the former abortion site’s transformation.

Mother of Mercy offers prenatal care, adoption assistance, a post-abortion ministry, and more at no cost. It averages up to 70 patients a week and has 209 registered volunteers, including primary care physicians, nurse practitioners, cardiologists, an obstetrician, a pulmonologist, an orthopedic doctor, a chiropractor, and a pharmacist.

“The only way I can describe it is that it changed me in the blink of an eye,” said an Indiana resident named Lauren, who decided to keep her unplanned baby after viewing a Knights-sponsored ultrasound. “The moment I saw my child on the big screen in front of me, I knew I was going to be a mom. It did not matter what I had thought before — all that mattered was loving my child and caring about her safety. I saw her little feet and little arms. I heard her heartbeat as I watched her in front of me.”

The Knights of Columbus are now responsible for at least one ultrasound machine in every U.S. state, as well as in Puerto Rico, Brazil, Canada, Jamaica, Peru, and Africa. But Anderson remains mindful that “there are still many more milestones ahead of us in the lives of thousands of vulnerable unborn children. Our Ultrasound Initiative must continue to expand into every community where it is needed.”

“We want to do everything we can to promote the gospel of life, but ultimately it’s entrusting our work and our intentions to the Lord,” said Bishop Burbidge, who blessed the ultrasound machine as well as the center’s expansion. “It’s ultimately his work and upon his grace that we must depend.”

The Knights of Columbus have also been in the national spotlight for the last few weeks after a pair of Democrat senators questioned a judicial nominee's membership in the Catholic group. The U.S. Senate unanimously approved a resolution Wednesday affirming that membership does not disqualify individuals from federal office.

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VICTORY: Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals rules against Planned Parenthood in Texas case

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By Martin Barillas

NEW ORLEANS, January 18, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) -- A three-judge panel of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a lower court injunction that prevented the state of Texas from stripping Planned Parenthood's abortion services from its Medicaid program.

Judge Edith H. Jones wrote that the district court issuing the injunction improperly overruled Texas’ determination to strip $3.1 million in funding from the abortion provider. Planned Parenthood has been litigating to retain its funding.

The panel mentioned that the aforementioned figure is a “smidgen” of revenue of the $57 million and more that Planned Parenthood’s affiliates earn each year.

After the ruling, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton stated Thursday evening: “The Fifth Circuit’s ruling shows that the district court applied the wrong legal standard,” adding, “Planned Parenthood’s reprehensible conduct, captured in undercover videos, proves that it is not a ‘qualified’ provider under the Medicaid Act, so we are confident we will ultimately prevail.”

The ruling counters claims by the abortion provider and the media that undercover videos, recorded in 2015 and featuring Planned Parenthood associates talking about the harvesting of organs from aborted babies, were “selectively edited.” The court also affirmed that the Planned Parenthood associates did indeed circumvent ethical and legal guidelines in pursuing organs taken from unborn babies.

One of the videos shows that a senior director of medical services claimed that Planned Parenthood was "doing a little better than" breaking even with harvested human organs, despite the fact that federal law prohibits profiting from donated fetal tissue. It is also illegal to perform so-called partial birth abortions.

In 2016, the inspector general of the state department of health moved to restrict state funds. Planned Parenthood then filed an injunction.

When pro-life activist David Daleiden and and his Center for Medical Progress (CMP) released the tapes, Planned Parenthood and its media defenders asserted that the videos were heavily doctored. For example, Slate declared, "Second Heavily Edited Planned Parenthood Attack Video Is Also a Big Bust,” and leftist Mother Jones magazine declared, "(A) little-known anti-abortion activist ignited a firestorm by releasing ... selectively edited videos."

Planned Parenthood got help from Fusion GPS -- an opposition research firm tied to Democrats -- to review four of the eight videos released by Daleiden. The firm’s report appeared to largely endorse Planned Parenthood’s contention that the videos were edited. The report was also widely cited by media.

The ruling was significant for its several rebukes directed at Planned Parenthood. Two key quotes from the Fifth Circuit's decision:

  • “(T)he record reflects that OIG (Office of Inspector General) had submitted a report from a forensic firm concluding that the video was authentic and not deceptively edited. And the plaintiffs (Planned Parenthood) did not identify any particular omission or addition in the video footage.”

  • “(T)here is no question that the OIG here made factual findings after viewing the videos and related evidence. On the basis of the administrative record … the OIG determined that video discussions ‘centered on clinic processes and tissue packaging rather than the abortion procedure itself; the video featured repeated discussion about the position of the fetus in the uterus, the risk to the patient, and the patient’s pain tolerance.’ The OIG further concluded, based on the videos, that the Provider Plaintiffs at a minimum violated federal standards regarding fetal tissue research and standards of medical ethics by allowing doctors to alter abortion procedures to retrieve tissue for research purposes or allowing the researchers themselves to perform the procedures.”

One significant remark by the court included a depiction of the remains of a baby post-abortion that came from a graphic CMP video. An image showed the tiny arm of a baby. The court accused Planned Parenthood of violating federal law that prohibits partial birth abortions, mentioning a CMP video in which Planned Parenthood associate Dr. Tram Nguyen said doctors at an abortion facility could tear out an intact baby from its mother (thus breaking the law) so long as they sign a form that it was not their intent to do so. This allows medical researchers to obtain organs such as the liver or thymus.

Later in the opinion, the panel chided Planned Parenthood for failing to address Nguyen’s comments: “The plaintiffs’ briefing with regard to the substance of the discussions contained in the videos is curiously silent.”

The three-judge panel accused the lower judiciary of political motivations regarding abortion cases. Medicaid providers, such as Planned Parenthood, usually challenge termination in administrative form or state courts before going to a federal court. When federal judges allowed Planned Parenthood to go directly to federal court, the opinion said, they are engaging in favoritism based on ideology. “Had (Texas) terminated the Medicaid provider agreements of any other type of health care provider, the incongruity of allowing that provider to use patient litigation proxies to avoid administrative review and (reach) federal court would be obvious and unacceptable,” the ruling read.

While the Fifth Circuit concluded that precedent allows Planned Parenthood to proceed in federal court under the Medicaid statute, Jones urged the full Fifth Circuit to revisit that question. Texas did get a partial victory in the ruling, in which the trial court was found to have erroneously assessed Planned Parenthood’s request for an injunction. The panel removed the injunction and ordered the lower court judge to reconsider Planned Parenthood’s request under a different standard that may favor Texas.

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Professor denounces Catholic university for banning Ben Shapiro

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By Martin Barillas

SPOKANE, Washington, January 18, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – When pro-life conservative Ben Shapiro was denied permission to speak at Jesuit-run Gonzaga University, Professor Cornell Clayton of nearby Washington State University questioned the Jesuit institution’s devotion to freedom of speech and expression.

In an op-ed for Spokane’s Spokesman-Review, the professor wrote: “We should never prevent expression simply because we believe certain ideas are wrong, offensive, or heretical. Nor should protesters or hecklers be allowed to prevent speakers on campus.”

Clayton is the Thomas S. Foley Distinguished Professor of Government and director of the Thomas S. Foley Institute for Public Policy and Public Service at Washington State.

Shapiro, a conservative pundit and outspoken Jewish defender of preborn babies, has been assailed by progressive and anti-Semitic opponents for his conservative politics and stance on life issues. Gonzaga University recently kept Shapiro from speaking on campus, arguing that his  “appearances routinely draw protests that include extremely divisive and hateful speech and behavior, which is offensive to many people.”

Shapiro has denied the university’s rejection, vowing to speak there regardless. A similar attempt by Gonzaga to ban film-maker and author Dinesh D’Souza failed two years ago.

Clayton stated that while he believes some pundits, such as author Ann Coulter, media personality Milo Yiannopoulos, and Shapiro, are more interested in provoking responses than debate, he said institutions of higher learning should defend the right to free speech despite concerns over offending some students. “(A)ll universities, public and private, should recognize that suppressing ideas runs contrary to their core mission of promoting inquiry, discovery and the dissemination of knowledge,” Clayton wrote.

“The First Amendment prohibits public universities from restricting speech when it falls short of harassment, intimidation or threats of violence. Reasonable time, place and manner restrictions on speech are permitted, but these must be viewpoint neutral and aim at the orderly expression of ideas rather than suppression,” he continued.

“Private colleges do not face similar strictures under the First Amendment, but all universities, public and private, should recognize that suppressing ideas runs contrary to their core mission of promoting inquiry, discovery and the dissemination of knowledge. That mission requires unfettered thought and expression,” he added.

Writing that history has been marked by “individuals … who risked lives and careers to promote ideas considered absurd or heretical at the time but which later turned out to be true,” Clayton said it is nearly impossible to define ideas that should be censored. Universities, he wrote, should “make students safe for ideas, not ideas safe for students.”

Colleges and universities, Clayton wrote, can defend freedom of expression while not endorsing offensive messages. They can permit speakers to come on campus, but “should not support, financially or otherwise, speakers who seek to insult or offend rather than inform and educate. Campus leaders should speak out against hateful speech on and off campus … ”

“The way to defeat bad ideas is to engage them and counter them with better ones,” Clayton said in an allusion to the theory of the marketplace of ideas. “We should help student groups to understand the difference between free speech and effective speech … success is more likely to come through thoughtful and respectful dialogue than through offensive stunts and divisive rhetoric.”

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Report: Google employees complained word ‘family’ was homophobic in company presentation

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By Calvin Freiburger

January 18, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Some employees at internet giant Google find the mere mention of the word “family” to be a slight against homosexuals because they cannot procreate, according to private documents leaked this week to the Daily Caller.

On Tuesday, the Caller reported that an anonymous source provided documents detailing the backlash to a March 2017 company-wide presentation, which repeatedly used the word “family” to denote households with children. One employee reportedly stormed out of the presentation, then wrote a lengthy post explaining his displeasure.

“If you mean ‘children,' say ‘children;’ we have a perfectly good word for it. ‘Family friendly’ used as a synonym for ‘kid friendly’ means, to me, ‘you and yours don’t count as a family unless you have children.' And while kids may often be less aware of it, there are kids without families too, you know,” he explained, claiming that associating “family” with children “has a long-standing association with deeply homophobic organizations,” and to counter it “we must doggedly insist that family does not imply children.”

“Even the sense, ‘suitable for the whole family,’ which you might think is unobjectionable, is totally wrong too. It only works if we have advance shared conception of what ‘the whole family’ is, and that is almost always used to mean a household with two adults, of opposite sex, in a romantic/sexual relationship, with two or more of their own children,” the post continued. “Use the word ‘family’ to mean a loving assemblage of people who may or may not live together and may or may not include people of any particular age. STOP using it to mean ‘children.' It’s offensive, inappropriate, homophobic, and wrong.”

The post reportedly received upvotes from approximately 100 Google employees, with several chiming in to agree.

“Thanks for writing this. So much yes,” one colleague said. “It smacks of the ‘family values’ agenda by the right wing, which is absolutely homophobic by its very definition,” another agreed. A number of the replies did not take offense at the “exclusionary” language on “homophobia” grounds, but found it offensive because it supposedly slighted them for being single and/or childless, or for excluding their pets.

“My family consists of me and several other trans feminine folks, some of whom I’m dating. We’re all supportive of each other and eventually aspire to live together,” another added. “Just because we aren’t a heterosexual couple with 2.5 kids, a white picket fence, and a dog doesn’t mean we’re not a family,” another employee added in agreement.”

At one point, Google vice president Pavni Diwanji even responded, conceding that “what we said at tgif might have caused concerns in the way we talked about families.” He asked the employees to help “get to a better state” and “teach us how to talk about it in inclusive way, if you feel like we are not doing it well.”

The dispute is the latest in a series of leaked private conversations that appear to show the dominant ideologies at Google are dramatically out of step with the country at large, despite publicly professing to offer completely nonpartisan services.

Previous Google scandals include analysis finding a heavy left-wing tilt to news sources, estimates that Google may have swung as many as 2.6 million votes to Hillary Clinton in 2016, partnership with the left-wing Southern Poverty Law Center for flagging "hate," and various leaked private communications, among other incidents.

Conservative commentator Dennis Prager is currently taking Google to court for placing more than 80 of his Prager University YouTube videos in "restricted mode," allegedly under false pretenses, and earlier this week the pro-life group Live Action saw one of its undercover investigation videos deleted for alleged "sexually provocative content." YouTube restored the video after Live Action publicly objected to and privately appealed its deletion.

The Daily Caller says Google did not respond to a request for comment on employees’ private revolt against the word “family.”

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Vice President Mike Pence and wife Karen speak at the March for Life Rally.
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VP Pence pledges pro-lifers with Trump administration’s support to ‘defend life’

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By Lisa Bourne

WASHINGTON, D.C., January 18, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and Second Lady Karen Pence surprised the March for Life Rally crowd Friday, with Vice President Pence reaffirming their pro-life commitment along with that of President Donald Trump.

Life is winning in the United States, Pence told the Rally crowd, and the Trump administration continues to stand with the pro-life community.

Karen Pence introduced her husband, telling pro-lifers it was a privilege to stand with them for life.

“Thank you for being here, for standing in the cold for something that you believe in,” she said, thanking them as well for their stories of courage, regret, forgiveness, starting over, hope, inspiration, and truth.

Vice President Pence received sizable applause after his wife’s introduction and throughout his address.

He said it was a joy to be with the pro-life crowd and he shared with them his admiration for his wife.

“She’s a mother, she’s an advocate for military families, she’s traveled across this country,” said Pence.

The crowd gave him an even bigger ovation when he said, “She’s even an art teacher in a Christian school” -- a quip about recent attacks on his wife for teaching at a Christian school, where morality is observed.

“And I couldn’t be more proud of our Second Lady, my wife Karen Pence!” he gushed to another round of applause.

Addressing March for Life Foundation president Jeanne Mancini, March board members, members of Congress, other fellow Americans, and “especially all of the great young people in this pro-life generation,” Pence said emphatically, “We’re the Pences, and we’re pro-life!”

Pence was also slated to address the March for Life Rose Dinner on Friday evening, a fundraiser for the event. He addressed last year’s March and spoke in 2017 as well at the March Rally, just after he and Trump took office, the first time a vice president of the United States had done so.

Trump called out the mainstream media for ignoring the March in an interview with ABC News just before the 2016 March for Life. He has tweeted support for the March and addressed the pro-life event last year via live stream, another first for a U.S. president.

Pence welcomed to the nation’s capital the pro-life pilgrims who had come this year from across the country for the largest pro-life event in the United States.

The pro-life community gathered to stand for life and for compassion, he said, “And we gather here because we believe as our founders did that we are all of us – born and unborn – endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights and first among these rights is the right to life.”  

Forty-six years ago this month, the majority in the Supreme Court turned its back on that right, said Pence, but in that moment a movement was born, one that is defined by compassion and love.

“A movement animated by faith and truth,” Pence continued. “And a movement that’s been winning hearts and minds every day since.”

“Because of all of you gathered here,” he added, “all those you represent, and all those who’ve gone before, we know in our heart of hearts that life is winning in America once again.”

The cause of life is winning through the compassion of caregivers and volunteers at pregnancy centers across the country, the vice president went on to say, and through the generosity of millions of adoptive families who open their hearts and their homes.

He also lauded and thanked the men and women who step forward to serve in public office and advance the cause of life from Washington, D.C., to statehouses across the country.

“And to all gathered here today, we urge you to stand strong,” Pence urged the pro-life crowd. “Be prepared to give a reason for the hope that you have. Be prepared to defend life, but do so with gentleness and respect.

“They will attack you,” the vice president said. “They will question your hearts to silence others, but don’t listen to them. Listen to the truth.”

Pence then evoked God to underscore the sanctity of human life, stating, “And know that He who said, 'Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,' also said I will never leave you or forsake you as you stand for His creation, as you stand for the right to life.”

Pro-life supporters can be confident that they do not stand alone, he said, pledging the continued support of the Trump administration.

“You are joined by tens of millions across this nation,” said Pence. “And know that you have an unwavering ally in this vice president, in our family, and you have a champion in the president of the United States of America, President Donald Trump.”  

He recounted Trump’s pro-life accomplishments since taking office two years ago. Among them are reinstituting the Mexico City Policy, keeping his promise on judicial appointments by appointing more conservative men and women to federal courts of appeals than any president in American history, and signing legislation to empower states to defund Planned Parenthood.

“The truth is President Donald Trump is the most pro-life president in American history,” said Pence. “An we are grateful for your support.”

While life is winning in America again, Pence said the gathering for the March for Life takes place because there is still much work to do, and he promised the administration’s continued backing.

“So we urge you to stand strong,” he said. “Stand with that love and compassion as you stand for life, and know that we will stand with you until that great day comes where we restore the sanctity of life to the center of American law.”

Pence concluded by introducing Trump’s recorded address, where the president promised to veto any legislation reaching his desk “that weakens the protection of human life.”

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Lila Rose to Tucker Carlson: If Dems run on unrestricted abortion, they will lose

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By Dorothy Cummings McLean

NEW YORK, January 18, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Pro-abortion extremism is going to keep the Democrats out of the White House, a leading pro-life activist told a Fox News host.

Lila Rose, founder and president of Live Action, a team of pro-life investigative journalists, told Tucker Carlson this week that the Democratic Party is "in lockstep with abortion extremists."

Carlson interviewed Rose as part of his commentary on a shocking video of "Shout Your Abortion" activist Amelia Bonow promoting abortion to children. Bonow described her abortion to children as being like a "really crappy dentist appointment" and told them that abortion was "all part of God's plan."

"[The Democrats] are going to lose every time if they continue to keep with the extremists on this, with the Amelia Bonows shouting their abortion, with the activists saying 'abortion through all nine months, late term abortion is great, paid for by the taxpayers,'" Rose said.

"The vast majority of Americans, poll after poll, want abortion restrictions. That's a fact, and the Democrats will lose on that."

Rose told Carlson that Bonow's video, published on a children's YouTube channel, was a "piece of propaganda." She explained that the "HiHo Kids" channel peddles transgenderism and other adult issues to children.

"There's other videos trying to get eight-year-olds, nine-year-olds, ten-year-olds to be comfortable with things that are harmful," she said.

Rose said that Amelia Bonow is a "wounded person" who is trying to justify her abortion and validate herself by talking about it to eight-year-olds.

"There's really only two paths that you can take [after] abortion," Rose said.

"Either you acknowledge [that] it takes a life, and you grieve that, and you heal from that, and that's what we hope for for women and men all over the country, or you stuff [down] the grief, you stuff [down] the truth about what abortion really did to that child," she continued.

"And then you go around like Amelia Bonow and try to get more women to have abortions. You try to legitimize it even to children. That's what's happening."

Carlson said promoting abortion, which is "clearly killing," as a positive act to children is something new.

"You wouldn't have seen anything like this ten years ago," he remarked.

Rose indicated that indoctrinating kids with lies about abortion is a sign of "desperation."

"I think it's the desperation of the pro-abortion movement right now," the Live Action president  told Carlson.

"They've lost, Tucker," she continued. "Science shows us when life begins. Life begins at the moment of conception. There's a unique individual human life, genetically distinct from the mother, [who] just needs time and nourishment to grow."

Abortion advocates can no longer justify abortions on lack of care provided to families facing crisis pregnancies, Rose added.

"We have thousands, now, of pregnancy and health centers, pro bono, providing care to mothers, young mothers, families and children, in the pro-life movement," she said.

"There's really no argument anymore, no justification anymore for why we need abortion in this country."

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California discriminated against pro-life pregnancy centers, Trump administration finds

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By Calvin Freiburger

January 18, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – California violated federal conscience law in enforcing its so-called Reproductive Freedom, Accountability, Comprehensive Care, and Transparency (FACT) Act against pro-life pregnancy centers, the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights (OCR) announced Friday.

Last summer the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the Reproductive FACT Act, which forced crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs) to provide written information advertising how to obtain abortions in the state at taxpayer expense, and required centers without medical licenses to post disclaimers that they do not offer medical services.

In November, a federal appeals court enjoined the state from enforcing the law against CPCs. Now, the Trump administration has found California in violation of the federal Weldon and Coats-Snowe amendments in addition to the Constitution, according to an OCR press release. The office undertook an independent investigation into the matter, leading to the first enforcement action of OCR’s new Conscience and Religious Freedom Division.

“The Weldon and Coats-Snowe Amendments prohibit state and local governments that receive certain federal funds from subjecting health care entities to discrimination on the basis that the health care entity does not perform or refer for abortions,” the office explains. Its investigation determined the statute unlawfully required “‘licensed covered facilities’ to refer for abortion,” and subjected “‘unlicensed covered facilities’ to discrimination by targeting them for burdensome and unnecessary notice requirements.”

The official Notice of Violation sent by OCR to California Attorney General Xavier Becerra says it considers the matter closed in light of the state’s agreement to abide by the earlier court injunction, but warns that future enforcement of the FACT Act would risk a “reopening of the complaints and further enforcement action by OCR.”

“We are pleased that the Supreme Court blocked California’s blatant discrimination against non-profits that give life-affirming options to women facing unplanned pregnancies,” OCR director Roger Severino said. “Our violation finding underscores not only that California must follow the Constitution, but that it also must respect federal conscience protection laws when it accepts federal funds.”

For his part, Becerra responded by calling the announcement an “empty claim” that “amounts to a political stunt on a day when President Trump’s trying to gin up his shrinking base,” the Washington Post reports. American Civil Liberties Union “reproductive freedom” deputy director Brigitte Amiri also questioned the timing of the announcement, given the case’s resolution months ago.

The Trump administration announced the creation of the new HHS conscience office last January, explaining that it would specialize in enforcing "laws and regulations that protect conscience and prohibit coercion on issues such as abortion and assisted suicide" and others in HHS-funded or conducted programs,” as well as protecting “the free exercise of religion and prohibit discrimination” in HHS programs.

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Cardinal Vincent Nichols in a 2015 interview with Salt and Light. Youtube
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Westminster’s Cdl. Nichols celebrates pro-LGBT Mass…again

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By Lisa Bourne

LONDON, England, January 18, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Cardinal Vincent Nichols, archbishop of Westminster, again celebrated a Mass welcoming LGBT Catholics, parents, and families recently.

The Mass was held last Sunday, January 13, on the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, according to an Independent Catholic News report, at the Church of the Immaculate Conception, on Farm Street in Mayfair, central London. 

The Jesuit parish, also known as Farm Street Church, has an LGBT outreach program, LGBT Catholics Westminster, formed in 2012 at the cardinal's direction, which includes sub groups for LGBT young adults and individuals identifying as "trans."

The cardinal first celebrated a Mass welcoming LGBT Catholics at the London Jesuit church in 2015.

Several years ago, Nichols rescinded permission for homosexual activists to hold the notorious Soho Masses, where the homosexual lifestyle had been promoted as morally acceptable for Catholics at another central London Church, Our Lady of the Assumption church.

The group was moved at that time to Immaculate Conception for Sunday evening meetings to "focus their efforts" on receiving "pastoral care." 

He welcomed a different previously banned pro-LGBT group back to his archdiocese in 2017.

Nichols, archbishop of Birmingham from 2000 to 2009, is the most senior Catholic bishop in England and Wales. Pope Francis raised him to the cardinalate in 2014.

Nichols apologized last November amid criticism and a national inquiry into the Church's sex abuse scandal for his failing to disclose a 1968 abuse allegation while bishop of Birmingham.

In 2014, the cardinal was critical of the final document of the Vatican's Extraordinary Synod on the family, because it did not "go far enough" in expressing the need to "respect, welcome and value" homosexuality.

During the interim between that synod and its follow-up in October 2015, Nichols rebuked some 500 English priests who had signed a letter professing fidelity to Church teaching on marriage and human sexuality and urging the subsequent synod to issue a "clear and firm proclamation" upholding Church teaching on marriage.

The two synods on the family were contentious for efforts from certain quarters to advance acceptance of Holy Communion for Catholics who are divorced and civilly remarried or living in otherwise non-marital unions. Nichols said the priests should not conduct synod debate in the press.

He has been supportive of the pope's controversial exhortation from the synods, Amoris Laetitia, along with supporting the pontiff's decision to now answer the dubia presented by four cardinals requesting clarification on the document's position on Church teaching.

Nichols was criticized in 2011 for his support of same-sex civil partnerships.

Last summer, Nichols contradicted Pope Francis and other Vatican officials, along with Catholics at all levels worldwide, in saying that Alder Hey Children's Hospital acted in Alfie Evans's best interests by ending his life.

In 2016, Nichols had directed priests to disregard the call from Cardinal Robert Sarah, head of the Congregation for Divine Worship, to return to the practice of celebrating Mass "ad orientem." 

Speaking after the January 13 LGBT Mass, the cardinal commended LGBT Catholics Westminster, the Independent Catholic News report said, as an important sign of welcome and inclusion within Westminster diocese, not only as individuals who are welcomed, but as an identifiable community that is at home within the Church.

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Dr. Kathi Aultman speaks at the March for Life in Washington D.C., Jan. 18, 2019.
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Former abortionist to March for Life: ‘A woman cannot kill her child and remain unscathed’

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By Dorothy Cummings McLean

Tell the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade. Sign the petition here.

WASHINGTON, D.C., January 18, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – A former abortionist told a massive crowd at the 46th March for Life in Washington, D.C. today that the pain of post-abortive women needs to be acknowledged.

"A woman cannot kill her child and remain unscathed," said Dr. Kathi Aultman. "There are millions of women in the United States who have had abortions. Some of you are here."

She added that post-abortive women are hurting and need pro-lifers' help and compassion.

"They need to hear that God wants to heal and restore them," she added.

Aultman's journey from abortionist to advocate for the unborn was one of many stages and hampered by her position as a doctor.

"I used to feel that abortion as a woman's right," said Dr. Kathi Aultman. "This belief became strengthened when I became pregnant and made the decision to have an abortion, a decision I terribly regretted later."

Aultman revealed that the medical establishment, especially medical departments involved in women's health, is deeply biased on the side of abortion.

"Medical students and residents are taught that abortion is a normal part of women's health care," she said. "The pro-life view is discouraged."

According to Aultman, it is difficult for pro-life students to get into medical school and residencies, especially obstetrics and gynecology (OBGYN).  Medical professors can lose their positions if they express pro-life opinions.

"ACOG, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, who should be the most pro-life, are staunchly pro-abortion," Aultman revealed. "All OBGYN residents are required to do abortions unless they opt out because of conscience. But that is discouraged, and we need to protect those civil rights."

Aultman said that she became a doctor to help people, and she was concerned for the women on whom she performed abortions, but she never considered what the baby was experiencing.

"If it was wanted, it was a baby. If it was unwanted, it was a 'fetus,'" she recalled.

The first time Aultman felt qualms about doing abortions was during her neo-natal rotations;  then she was trying to save babies of the same gestational age as the babies she was aborting. But it was the birth of her own daughter that stopped her from killing any more unborn children.

"I finally made the connection between 'fetus' and 'baby' and could no longer do abortions," the doctor said. "The fact that the baby was unwanted was no longer reason enough for it to be killed."

Aultman's conversion was far from complete, however. Believing the lie that having a baby out of wedlock inevitably destroyed a young woman's life, she continued to refer for abortions. However, the doctor's view changed when she noticed that young mothers thrived in comparison to their bereft sisters.

"I noticed that those who kept their babies did well in contrast to those who were dealing with the physical and psychological consequences of abortion," she said.

"My perspective was challenged as I watched children in my church who were almost aborted grow up."

Finally, friends shared literature with Aultman that brought her to a pro-life position. She advised her hearers that language can either hide or reveal the truth about unborn human life.

"It's much easier to accept 'terminating a pregnancy' than it is killing a baby," she observed.

"A pregnancy is not a person; it's the medical condition of the mother."

Aultman asked her listeners to "help people see that what's in the womb is a person with their own unique characteristics and potential, not just a blob of tissue."

Finally, she thanked the massive crowds for their activism.

"Thank you for protecting those who cannot protect themselves," Aultman said, "those who wouldn't have a chance to live if you did nothing."

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EXCLUSIVE: David Daleiden: Planned Parenthood likely in ‘chills’ over Supreme Court scrutiny

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By Calvin Freiburger

January 18, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – The United States Supreme Court will examine one aspect of Planned Parenthood’s ongoing scandal over the harvesting and sale of aborted baby parts, the leader of the group who first exposed the scandal detailed in an exclusive interview with LifeSiteNews.

In November, the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) filed a petition with the Supreme Court requesting that it dismiss Planned Parenthood’s lawsuit against CMP for recording the undercover videos in the first place. CMP argues that the suit ignores California’s Anti-SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation) laws that protect journalists from retaliation by public speakers.

Last week, CMP announced on Twitter that the Supreme Court has requested that Planned Parenthood respond to their petition, a development CMP founder David Daleiden elaborated on this week in an exclusive interview with LifeSiteNews’ Claire Chretien at the 2019 March for Life.

"Neither Planned Parenthood nor the National Abortion Federation has met their burden under the California anti-SLAPP law to show that this isn't just an attack on the First Amendment, that this is actually a substantial controversy at issue the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco,” Daleiden explained. “The Ninth Circuit appeals court on this anti-SLAPP issue twisted themselves into knots basically reversing all of their regular precedent on the California anti-SLAPP law in order to let Planned Parenthood's case go forward.”

He said Planned Parenthood was essentially attempting to “sue for defamation without admitting that they’re suing for defamation because, if they admit that then they have to prove whether or not the statements on the videos are true or false,” which would be difficult because “the video camera doesn’t lie.”

“So here the Supreme Court has now asked Planned Parenthood to respond directly to the claims that we're making to the Supreme Court,” Daleiden continued, “so that should keep Planned Parenthood tied up for the next couple of months here, and and I don't know what they're gonna say because they change their story daily on this issue.”

He added that the highest court in the nation deciding this was worth its attention “should send chills through the spines of everyone who works on Planned Parenthood's legal team.”

Daleiden also gave LifeSiteNews an update on CMP’s legal battle with the state of California, which was begun by state then Attorney General, now Senator, Kamala Harris. He stressed that prosecuting CMP’s undercover journalism was utterly inconsistent with other journalistic enterprises’ freedom to routinely engage in undercover recording without legal trouble.

“We're going to what's called the preliminary hearing starting on February 19th,” Daleiden explained, during which the Attorney General’s office would have to show “probable cause that these recordings somehow violated the California video recording law. In order to do that they've already said they're going to be calling all of the Planned Parenthood abortion doctors that your viewers and readers are so familiar with now to to the witness stand.”

This will be a positive development for pro-lifers for two reasons, he said: because abortion-industry personnel would be forced to either “admit their criminality under oath" or “commit perjury trying to cover it up,” and because some previously-censored undercover footage will be played for the first time in a forum accessible to the public and to the press.

Daleiden was in Washington, D.C. to speak at the March for Life Conference on the day before the annual march. In those remarks, he said the multiple federal investigations of Planned Parenthood and the Department of Health and Human Services’ reevaluation of fetal-tissue experiments were examples of “how the videos are continuing to have an impact and that impact is devastating to Planned Parenthood’s abortion business and the industry at-large.”

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UK’s Isle of Man to enact nation’s most extreme pro-abortion law

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By Society for the Protection of Unborn Children

January 18, 2019 (The Stream) – A bill which removes protections from unborn children and widens provision for abortion on the Isle of Man is set to be introduced into law.

Steve Rodan President of the Tynwald, the Island's Parliament, said the Abortion Reform Act had received Royal Assent, meaning that the UK's Ministry of Justice has given its approval.

The Abortion Reform Bill was introduced by Ramsey MHK Alex Allinson in a private members bill, and was passed late last year with unanimous support by members of the House of Keys. 

What has changed?

The Isle of Man – a self-governing region of the British Isles – until now had a more restrictive abortion regime than the rest of the UK, not generally allowing abortion for "social" reasons. Now, however, the law is in many ways more extreme than in England, Wales and Scotland.

A woman will now be able to request an abortion for any reason up to 14 weeks of pregnancy – the first time abortion on demand has formally been legalised in the UK. Abortion up to 24 weeks will be allowed under widely interpretable 'health' and 'social' grounds.

Introducing new abuses

The new law also worsens disability discrimination in the abortion law, introducing abortion for disability up to birth, and removing a requirement that two doctors consider whether the baby's disability might be cured or relieved over time.

The extreme bill also fully legalises previously restricted barbaric late-term abortion practices, such as causing the baby a fatal heart-attack through 'feticide', and tearing her apart using strong forceps through 'Dilation and Evacuation' (D&E). The requirement to protect and care for babies born alive during an abortion has also been removed.

Pro-lifers on the Isle of Man explain that "with the extreme Allinson Bill passed into law, we have imported the worst aspects of British abortion practice into our law, and actually introduce new abuses."

Sue Richardson, spokesperson for the HEAR campaign, said: "This is a dark and sad day for the Isle of Man, as we remove the sensible and civilised protections that existed in our own 1995 law, which while imperfect was light years ahead of the situation in the adjacent Island. We have further institutionalised injustice, inequality, and inhumanity into our laws, and the Island is a profoundly less gentle and special place as a consequence."

Stark warning

This legislation, in decriminalising abortion to 14 weeks, providing for buffer zones around abortion clinics, permitting barbaric violence on the unborn and dismissing concern for babies surviving abortion gives an insight into the ruthless nature of the pro-abortion movement. This cruel assault on babies and motherhood in the Isle of Man is a stark warning of the threats we face in the rest of the UK from the on-going abortion decriminalisation movement.

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

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Pro-life Senator announces new ‘pro-life caucus’ in US Senate at 2019 March for Life

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By Calvin Freiburger

WASHINGTON, D.C., January 18, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Pro-life Sen. Steve Daines appeared at the March for Life rally Friday to thank the tens of thousands of attendees for their dedication, to pledge to continue to advance the pro-life cause in Congress, and to announce the formation of a new Senate caucus specifically to represent pro-life interests.

“Thanks to each one of you for being here to show the world how strong and important the life movement really is,” the Montana Republican opened his remarks. “Let me tell you something, it’s not just the grandparents who are here, it’s the grandkids who are here today. It is especially great to see so many young people here, so many young faces in the crowd."

“You are leading this fight, and it is truly my privilege to stand with you, because this is a fight worth having,” he told the crowd’s younger members.

Daines touted the fact that he is the only member of Congress to hold a degree in chemical engineering, and welcomed any of his pro-abortion colleagues to attempt to debate him on the science of fetal development. “Life begins at conception,” he declared. “And because of that, every life must be valued and every life must be protected.”

The senator next expressed gratitude for the pro-life leadership of President Donald Trump, who addressed the March by video message minutes before, and claimed that during Trump’s first two years the Republican Congress had delivered the strongest pro-life results in history. As evidence, he cited 85 conservative federal judges appointed by the president so far, who would remain in office and continue to have an impact regardless of future elections.

“But our work doesn’t stop here, and ladies and gentlemen I have a very exciting announcement to share with you here today,” Daines said next. “I’m very proud to announce that I have founded the first-ever pro-life caucus in the United States Senate.” He pledged that this caucus would stand firmly against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s efforts to push a pro-abortion agenda, with President Trump’s continued pro-life efforts, “and most importantly with all of you.”

Daines elaborated on the caucus’ purpose and significance in an interview with National Review, though he did not yet say which senators would be joining it.

“We’re finally going to have in the Senate what the House has had for many years, so that the House and the Senate can work together on having a more strategic approach in how we’re going to move pro-life policies to the president’s desk,” he said. “We’ll keep the fight up on important legislation like the Pain-Capable Protection Act and the Born Alive Infant Protection Act. We’ll be looking for ways we can find some common agreement, for example on late-term abortion. That should be stopped. There’s no reason the Pain-Capable bill isn’t getting 60 votes. Public opinion is on our side there.”

Daines concluded his March for Life remarks with words of encouragement for the movement’s future.

“This is a battle that by God’s grace we are winning, starting with the hearts of every American, and it is a battle that we must win,” he said. “May God bless each one of you, and may God bless this great United States of America.”

LifeSiteNews will be covering the 2019 March for Life throughout the day. Readers can find a full list of events by clicking here, and watch the March live by clicking here.

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Chinese government to rewrite Bible to make it more Communist

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By Dorothy Cummings McLean

BEIJING, January 18, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – As it arrests Christian pastors, vandalizes or destroys Christians churches, and demands control over Christian leaders, the Chinese government is also altering Christian scriptures to suit its tastes.

In 2018, the Communist Chinese government embarked on a five-year plan to make Christianity more compatible to what it sees as authentic Chinese and socialist values. Stephen Mosher, author of Bully of Asia: Why China's Dream Is the New Threat to World Order, told LifeSiteNews that altering the Bible is part of this plan.

"It is part of a larger effort in China to sinicize all religions, at the same time bringing them into line with Communist ideology," Mosher said by email.

"So far, it is (1) no longer possible to buy a copy of the Bible online [in China], (2) existing copies of the Bible are being confiscated whenever the authorities come across them, and (3) there are new versions of all sacred texts – Christian, Buddhist, Muslim, etc. – that reinforce Communist ideology in the making," he continued.

Bob Fu, a Chinese Evangelical pastor, testified at the U.S. House of Representatives last year that one of the ways China hopes to make Christianity more "Chinese" is to retranslate the Old Testament and write new commentaries on the New Testament.

"The plan made it clear that 'Sinicization of Christianity' means to change 'Christianity in China' into 'Chinese Christianity,'" Fu told members of the House Foreign Affairs' Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations last September.

The scheme emphasizes that "the heart and soul of Christianity's Sinicization is to Sincize the Christian theology" and wants even to "re-translate the Bible or re-write biblical commentaries."

Fu said a retranslation would involve a summary of the Old Testament with Buddhist scripture and Confucian teachings.

The pastor told The Christian Post that there are official guidelines "that the new Bible should not look westernized and [should look] Chinese and reflect Chinese ethics of Confucianism and socialism."

"The Old Testament will be messed up. The New Testament will have new commentaries to interpret it."

The Chinese government's five-year plan officially began on February 1, 2018. Under the "reform," children are no longer allowed to attend Christian religious services. In a recent concordat with the Communist regime, Pope Francis agreed to recognize bishops from China's schismatic "Catholic Patriotic Association." An Asian Catholic newspaper has reported that the pontiff has even asked two faithful Catholic "underground" bishops to stand aside in favor of government-backed bishops.  

Pope Francis's overtures to China have come under strong criticism from Cardinal Joseph Zen, who is the former archbishop of Hong Kong, and other Catholic experts.

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‘We stand between America and the darkness,’ Ben Shapiro tells 2019 March for Life

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By Calvin Freiburger

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WASHINGTON, D.C., January 18, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – In addition to podcasting live from the 2019 March for Life, conservative commentator Ben Shapiro also delivered the first speech of the rally Friday to formally kick off the annual pro-life event.

"America was founded on the promise of God-given rights, chief among them the rights to life and liberty," Shapiro said. But while once America's children were her most prized group," then something happened. We decided to erase them [...] we lied to ourselves, and then we built walls around that lie."

"We pretended these were not human lives at all, but disposable balls of meat," he continued, after detailing multiple scientific truths of fetal development denied by the abortion lobby. "We told ourselves we were virtuous for our lie. We reversed good and evil."

Shapiro then cited Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's comment this week that pro-lifers are "not in line with where we are as a government and quite frankly where we are as a society."

"Maybe they're right. Maybe we today here are not in line with the rest of society," Shapiro said. "To which I say, good. So were the abolitionists. So were the civil rights marchers. So were the martyrs in Rome and the Jews in Egypt. Righteousness doesn't have to be popular; it just has to be righteous."

The conservative commentator then assured the crowd that, despite the mainstream media's best efforts, their stand for life would not be forgotten.

Our children slaughtered over the decades remember. They look at us from above, and they know that they meant something, that they do mean something so long as we keep them in our minds and in our hearts[.] ... Our children standing here with us today, they will remember too, and they will march until they no longer have to march. Our children yet unborn will remember, and they will thank us in our prayers.

And most of all, God. The God who built and preserves nations, who brings life and maintains it, who stands with those who suffer most at the hands of evil. He will remember us too. He will remember America and he will bless her. God will bless us, because we are the guardians of His most precious creations. We stand between America and the darkness, and we will march until that darkness is banished forever, and all of our children can stand together in the sunlight.

Shapiro's remarks follow an hour-long live podcast of his popular show earlier in the day, from the March for Life stage. During that podcast, he took the time to address a litany of common pro-abortion arguments, interviewed Vice President Mike Pence, and predicted that the pro-life movement would ultimately prevail.

LifeSiteNews will be covering the 2019 March for Life throughout the day. Readers can find a full list of events by clicking here and watch the March live by clicking here.

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Trump promises to veto any abortion legislation in March for Life address (FULL TEXT)

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By Dorothy Cummings McLean

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WASHINGTON, D.C., January 18, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – In a surprise appearance, President Donald Trump addressed pro-life advocates at the 2019 March for Life, telling them that "every life is worth protecting" and that he will veto any legislation that crosses his desk that "weakens the protection of human life."

"Today, I have signed a letter to Congress to make clear that if they send any legislation to my desk that weakens the protection of human life, I will issue a veto. And, we have the support to uphold those vetoes. Every child is a sacred gift from God," he said in a pre-recorded video message. 

Trump sent his message via large screens set up in the National Mall in Washington, D.C. for the March for Life Rally. 

“Today I am very proud to welcome tens of thousands of families, students, and people of all faiths and backgrounds to our nation’s capital for the 46th annual March for Life,” the President said.  

“This is a movement founded on love and grounded in the nobility and dignity of every human life,” he continued.  

“When we look into the eyes of a newborn child we see the beauty and the human soul and the majesty of God's creation. We know that every life has meaning and that every life is worth protecting. As President, I will always defend the first right of our Declaration of Independence, the right to life.”

The President then listed the actions his administration has taken to honor the sanctity of life and to work for the freedom of Americans not to have to commit or fund contraception and abortion against their consciences. 

“During my first week in office I reinstated the Mexico City policy,” Trump said. 

“We have taken bold action to protect the religious freedoms of doctors, nurses, and charities like the Little Sisters of the Poor,” he continued.

“We issued a new proposal to prohibit Title X taxpayer funding from going to any clinic that performs abortions. We are supporting the loving choice of adoption and foster care including through the support of faith-based adoption services.”

“And I am supporting the US Senate effort to make permanent the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits taxpayer funding for abortion in spending bills.”

The President then told the cheering crowds that he will veto any bills that threaten the unborn child. 

“Today I have signed a letter to Congress to make clear that if they send any legislation to my desk that weakens the protection of human life I will issue a veto,” he said.

“We have the support to uphold those vetoes. Every child is a sacred gift from God.”

Susan B. Anthony List (SBA List) President Marjorie Dannenfelser praised the President for his "bold message."

“Today President Trump sent a bold message to Nancy Pelosi that popular pro-life policies like the Hyde Amendment that save unborn children and protect taxpayers are here to stay, despite her extreme attacks,” she said

“A strong majority of Americans oppose taxpayer funding of abortion, domestically and abroad. President Trump is the most pro-life president our nation has seen and is keeping his promise to the pro-life Americans who swept him into office. Nancy Pelosi and House Democrats can continue pushing an extreme pro-abortion agenda at their own political peril,” she added. 

Trump heartily endorsed the theme of this year’s March for Life, “Each Person is Unique from Day One”, saying that it was “very important” and “so true.”

The President thanked the crowds, particularly the thousands of high schools and college students who traveled to the National Mall for the March and Rally. 

“I want to thank Americans who traveled all across the country to the March for Life, and I especially want to thank so many young people who give us hope for the future,” he said.

“Together we will work to save lives of unborn children so that they have a chance to live and to love,  to thrive and to dream, and to bless our nation and reach their full and glorious potential,” he continued.

“Thank you, and God bless you and your family, and God bless America.” 

President Trump’s message was introduced by Vice President Mike Pence and his wife Karen, who were surprise speakers at the Rally. 

“Donald Trump is the most pro-life president in American history,” the Vice-President stated. 

***

Full address of President Donald Trump to the 2019 March for Life. 

Today, I am very proud to welcome tens of thousands of families, students, and people of all faiths and backgrounds to our nation’s capital for the 46th annual March For Life. 

This is a movement founded on love and grounded in the nobility and dignity of every human life. 

When we look into the eyes of a newborn child we see the beauty in the human soul and the Majesty of God's creation. We know that every life has meaning and that every life is worth protecting. As President, I will always defend the first right of our Declaration of Independence, the right to life. 

During my first week in office, I reinstated the Mexico City policy. We have taken bold action to protect the religious freedoms of doctors, nurses, and charities, like the Little Sisters of the Poor. We issued a new proposal to prohibit Title X taxpayer funding from going to any clinic that performs abortions. We are supporting the loving choice of adoption and foster care, including through the support of faith-based adoption services. 

And I am supporting the US Senate’s effort to make permanent the Hyde amendment, which prohibits taxpayer funding for abortion in spending bills. 

Today, I have signed a letter to Congress to make clear that if they send any legislation to my desk that weakens the protection of human life, I will issue a veto. And, we have the support to uphold those vetoes. Every child is a sacred gift from God.

As this year's March For Life theme says: “Each person is unique, from day one”

That's a very important phrase, ‘unique from day one.’ And so true.

I want to thank Americans who traveled all across the country to march for life. And, I especially want to thank so many young people who give us hope for the future. 

Together we will work to save lives of unborn children so that they have a chance to live and to love, to thrive and to dream, and to bless our nation and reach their full and glorious potential.

Thank you and God bless you and your family and God bless America.

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VP Pence tells Ben Shapiro that Trump admin will stand ‘against’ Democrats on abortion

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By Stephen Kokx

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WASHINGTON D.C., January 18, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Speaking with Ben Shapiro during a live taping of his podcast at this year’s March for Life, Vice President Mike Pence touted the Trump administration’s pro-life accomplishments and encouraged pro-life activists across the country to “make the case for life” but always with “love, and gentleness, and compassion.”

The five-minute phone conversation came as a surprise to the thousands of cheering pro-lifers gathered near the Washington Monument Friday morning. Shapiro, the featured speaker at this year’s march, was recording his podcast, “The Ben Shapiro Show,” in 37-degree weather while sitting at a desk on the event’s main stage. The theme of the show was “debunking pro-choice arguments all hour long.”

Pence thanked the young activist for supporting the pro-life cause while also praising the March for Life as an “extraordinarily important event.” The Supreme Court “turned its back on the unalienable right to life” with Roe. v Wade, Pence said, but the March for Life is where “generations of Americans have come together to say ‘no, we are going to put the sanctity of life back at the center of American law.’” And “this will be the generation that restores the right to life in America!”

Pence, who will speak at the March’s 37th annual Rose Dinner later this evening, touted the Trump administration’s accomplishments on abortion. Pence mentioned the re-institution of the Mexico City policy, the appointment of conservative judges, especially Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, and his tie-breaking vote on a bill in November 2017 that allowed states to defund Planned Parenthood. Pence told Shapiro, “we’ve got a record of extraordinary progress on the right to life.” President Trump is “the most pro-life president in American history.”

Shapiro asked the Indiana-born Pence what he believes are the chief threats to the right to life moving forward. “The Democratic Party, the party of abortion on demand, now has a majority [in the House of Representatives],” Pence said. But “I can promise you that our pro-life colleagues on Capitol Hill, and this pro-life president, will stand in the gap. We will uphold the Hyde Amendment and we will stand up for the right to life against all of their efforts.”

The brief interview concluded with Pence thanking attendees at the march. “It takes courage in this day and age to stand up for your values,” he said. “Continue to stand firm, to be prepared to give the reason for your devotion to life, for the hope that you have.”

“The progress that we have made in the last 46 years has been driven by the stand for the unalienable right to life that millions of Americans continue to take and have taken,” he said. “Continue to make the case for life but always make it with love, and gentleness and compassion, and when we continue to do that, I truly do believe, that we will once again restore the right to life to the center of American law.”

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Ben Shapiro smashes pro-abortion arguments at March for Life podcast

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By Calvin Freiburger

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WASHINGTON, D.C., January 18, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Festivities for the 2019 March for Life kicked off Friday with a live broadcast of “The Ben Shapiro Show,” which the popular conservative commentator devoted to an overview of the case against abortion and common “pro-choice” arguments.

After taking the stage to enthusiastic cheers, Shapiro noted that this was the first time both at the March and doing a full hour themed around a specific issue, then quoted several pro-abortion statements from former President Barack Obama, including that God should “bless” Planned Parenthood.

“I know the March for Life has gotten a lot of flack for allowing me to broadcast from this stage because I’m a political partisan, because I don’t hide the fact that I’m conservative,” he said. “But the fact is that the pro-life position does not have to be a partisan issue. The only reason that so many folks believe it to be a partisan issue is because, unfortunately, one party in this country has decided to embrace the full-on abortion-till-point-of-birth position.”

Shapiro went on to cite a Thursday Washington Post piece quoting Obama “faith outreach” strategist Michael Wear, who said involving Shapiro and President Donald Trump “doesn’t necessarily suggest that you’re too focused on broadening the tent [...] Democrats generally feel marginalized at the March for Life.”

The conservative talker noted that the March for Life welcomed pro-life Democrats such as Rep. Dan Lipinski of Illinois, and that it wasn’t pro-lifers’ fault most Democrats have taken their current position and abandoned their former stance of “safe, legal, and rare” (which Shapiro also criticized as morally incoherent).

Shapiro noted that mainstream press coverage of the March likely wouldn’t admit that the pro-life position was based on the “sheer, unadulterated science of human life,” preferring to frame it as simply a theological stance. He went on to explain fetal development with visual aids, then spent the bulk of his program dismantling common pro-abortion talking points.

The “viability” argument, that preborn babies don’t have a right to the life if they can’t live on their own “obviously doesn’t hold,” he said, because infants and many elderly are dependent on others, as well. As for the notion that the difficulty of parenting justifies abortion, Shapiro noted that raising children was difficult “because it’s the most important thing we do [...] there is nothing moral about the idea that you think you’ll be a bad parent so you get to kill the child.”

Shapiro also took aim at the “bodily autonomy” argument for an abortion, which likens pregnancy to an adult who’s been connected to a violinist against his will as a form of life support. Shapiro pointed out that in the hypothetical, the person is not responsible for the violinist’s plight whereas the pregnant woman directly caused the baby to be dependent on her body. Even in cases of rape, where the woman is not responsible, Shapiro added that “abortion is not just pulling a plug,” but more akin to killing the violinist with an ax.

Further, he noted that “what about rape cases” was not a “good-faith argument” from most abortion defenders, because even if pro-lifers agreed to make an exception their opponents would not then agree to ban non-rape abortions.

Other pro-abortion arguments debunked by Shapiro included the notion that a woman’s “health” should automatically justify killing a child, that women die without abortions (Shapiro reviewed the truth behind the Savita Halappanavar case in Ireland), and that legalizing abortion reduced crime rates.

Shapiro predicted the media would pretend he didn’t make any of these secular arguments for life, but went on to add that pro-lifers should also acknowledge there is a religious proposition at the root of the issue: the innate value of all human life.

Later in the show, Shapiro interviewed Vice President Mike Pence by phone, who touted the Trump administration’s pro-life actions such as reinstating and expanding the Mexico City Policy, and signing legislation to let states defund Planned Parenthood.

“I must tell you, Ben, your voice on the airwaves across the nation, your presence at this March for Life, the presence of this pro-life generation that will gather on the national mall today, gives us great, great confidence that this will be the generation that restores the right to life in America,” Pence said, pledging that in the meantime Senate Republicans would “stand in the gap” to block the machinations of the Democrat House of Representatives.

Near the end of his broadcast, Shapiro gave his own optimistic forecast, as well.

“I do think that in the end, our movement is going to win. I think that it will win because science is moving in the direction of our movement,” he said. “And I think that as more and more people search for meaning in their own lives, and they look for a purpose to existence, and they look for a rationale for getting up in the morning, they’re gonna recognize that their own lives matter.

“And if their lives matter, then so do everyone else’s lives. And those lives include the lives of the unborn.”

LifeSiteNews will be covering the 2019 March for Life throughout the day. Readers can find a full list of events by clicking here, and watch the March live by clicking here.

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African pro-life leader to US youth: ‘You will bring an end to…abortion’

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By Doug Mainwaring

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WASHINGTON, DC, January 18, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – In a stirring speech punctuated with cheers and applause, African pro-life leader Obianuju (Uju) Ekeocha told an arena packed with young people in Washinton D.C., “You are the pro-life generation, and you will bring an end to the crisis, the abomination, that is abortion.”

Speaking to the predawn crowd of thousands gathered for the annual Youth Rally and Mass for Life at Capitol One Arena, Ekeocha said, “We are here to end the human rights crisis that is abortion.”

Ekeocha explained that the history of humanity often is about one group of people abusing other groups of people, going so far as to incorporate that abuse into society’s laws.   

“We have seen it happen before in slavery.  We have seen it happen before during the holocaust,” said the Nigerian-born founder of Culture of Life Africa. “As an African, it’s actually something very close to my heart because we saw something similar during the Rwandan genocide.”

“But among us today there is a silent genocide happening,” explained Ekeocha, “and all of us here today have come to say, ‘We want to see an end to this genocide that is abortion.’”

“Laws come and go, but universal truths remain,” declared Ekeocha, who then proclaimed “Human life begins at conception without exception,” to thunderous applause and cheers.

The African pro-life leader said that when she moved to England after spending her young life in Nigeria where abortion was unheard of, she was shocked, and wondered, “who will bring about an end to this injustice?”

“The media is not with us.  Most of the powerful politicians around the world are not speaking up against this injustice. Most worldly people are not with us.  Hollywood is not with us.”

Since such powerful forces promote abortion, she realized that the only way to fight against the injustice was to become engaged in the battle herself, and to “fight it with everybody who is ready to fight it.”

She then encouraged the arena full of young people to look at those seated around them. She then said: “This is the pro-life army. We are the army that will end abortion. We are the pro-life generation.” 

Ekeocha pointed out that “more than 42 million of our brothers and sisters were killed in 2018” worldwide, but that media ignores the tragedy of the enormous human carnage.  

Because of the 42 million children who were killed, I would like to ask you to make a strong resolution that when you leave this March for Life,’ she said, “You then have to take the battle to your schools, to your friends, to your family.”

Ekeocha suggested asking friends, “Do you know what happened in 2018? Do you know that the number one cause of death in the year 2018?  It is abortion.”

“Pro-life is pro-science,” said Ekeocha. “We are pro-life, and anybody who is not pro-life is a ‘science denier.’”

“If we are really going to fight for human rights, we cannot have human rights until the life of every baby in the womb is protected in every culture in the world.” 

Speaking directly to the thousands of young women gathered at the event, Ekeocha pointed out that  the world tells women, “We need abortion to be free.  That in order to have a career and to advance we need abortion.  But here is the response we should have to that:

No one should ever have to advance herself with the blood of her baby. None of us should ever have to find success with the blood of our baby, and until abortion is completely abolished, women will never be completely free.   When you go home, look in the mirror and say, ‘We have got no one but us, and we are going to be the ones to end abortion.’ We will end abortion, because we are the pro-life generation. 

“Laws come and go, but universal truths remain. And what is the universal truth? Human life begins at conception without exception,” she said. 

Uju Ekeocha is the founder and president of Culture of Life Africa, an initiative dedicated to the promotion and defense of the African values of the sanctity of life, beauty of marriage, blessings of motherhood and the dignity of family life. Culture of Life Africa responds to the assaults on these values with the voices of pro-life and pro-family African women.

She has advised many African Members of Parliament, African United Nations delegates, Ambassadors and other decision makers on pro-life and pro-family issues. She has also worked closely with many African Religious Leaders to promote pro-life values in different countries. She has co-authored pro-life declarations with various African Catholic bishops conferences promoting the message of life in Africa.

Consistent with her love for the wonder of life, Uju is also a specialist biomedical scientist in Haematology, working at a Hospital in the United Kingdom. Prior to her current position, she was a Medical Laboratory Scientist at the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital. She holds a Masters degree in biomedical science from the University of East London and a Bachelor’s degree in microbiology from the University of Nigeria. Uju was born in southeast Nigeria, the youngest of six children, and has resided in the U.K. since 2006.

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Lisa Bourne Lisa Bourne Follow Lisa

News,

Google censors video evidence of Planned Parenthood aiding sex trafficking of young girl

Lisa Bourne Lisa Bourne Follow Lisa
By Lisa Bourne

ARLINGTON, Virginia, January 18, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – YouTube removed a Live Action video showing a Planned Parenthood manager aiding in what she thought was sex trafficking of a minor earlier this week. While the video was later restored after the group complained, the pro-life group remains concerned about recent suppression of pro-life videos through the platform’s search function.

“Planned Parenthood is required by law to report child sexual abuse, but it routinely covers up these crimes,” Live Action had said via Twitter, sharing the video shot at the Perth Amboy, NJ Planned Parenthood. “On this #HumanTraffickingAwarenessMonth, watch as a Planned Parenthood manager aids a child sex trafficking ring.”

YouTube removed the video Monday morning for violating its Community Guidelines, after which Live Action and its founder and resident Lila Rose, took to Twitter to let followers know.

“YouTube just removed one of our investigative videos exposing Planned Parenthood aiding and abetting the sex trafficking of young girl, saying it violated “Community Guidelines,” Rose tweeted, sharing excerpts of the video. “Some of the footage they removed here.”

The abbreviated video clips shared by Rose open with the Live Action undercover “pimp” informing the Planned Parenthood staffer, “We’re involved in sex work, all right? Some of them are young, some are like 15, 14.”

“Minors are always accepted without parental consent,” the abortion employee assured the pimp.

“The only thing that you do have to be careful is, if they are a minor we are obligated, if we hear any certain information to kind of report,” the Planned Parenthood manager said. “Fourteen and under we have to report.”

“Fourteen and under,” the Live Action individual posing as a young prostitute asked to clarify. “That includes being 14.”

“Yeah, 14 and you know, once they get to 15 then there’s a little bit more play room,” answered the abortion employee. “So as long as they just lie and say, “Oh he’s 15, 16. You know as along as they don’t say “14” and as long as it’s not too much of an age gap then we just kind of like, then we just kind of play it stu[pid]."

The Planned Parenthood manager was then shown referring girls 14 and under for abortion at another abortion facility, telling them it was because the other facility was less stringent than Planned Parenthood.

“You never got this from me,” she stated. “Just to make all of our lives easier. If they’re 14 and under, just send them right there if they need an abortion.”

“Here’s the thing too,” she continued, “if they’re minors, just tell them to put down that they’re students.”

“Yeah, just kinda play along that they’re students,” Planned Parenthood’s staffer added. “You know we want to make it look as legit as possible.”

After the prostitute and pimp asked for advice on what the underage prostitutes can do to make money after an abortion until it’s okay for them to begin being sexually active again, Planned Parenthood’s manager replied, “Waist up, waist up. Or just be that extra action walking by.”

Love Action tweeted regarding YouTube’s removal of the video, “On this #HumanTraffickingAwarenessMonth, YouTube has chosen to delete our uncut camera footage of this video showing a Planned Parenthood manager aiding a child sex trafficking ring. Unacceptable, @YouTube.”

The pro-life group followed up with screenshots, “YouTube deleted our undercover video without warning or reason, rejected our appeal and warned us that 'additional strikes' may prompt termination of our account.”

Later Monday afternoon YouTube responded to Rose’s tweet on the video’s removal, saying, “Confirmed that this was a mistake on our end – the video is now reinstated. Apologies for the frustration this may have caused.”

Live Action tweeted “Great news! The video has been reinstated. Thank you, @Google, for correcting this matter.”

And Rose noted how getting the word out makes a difference, tweeting, “@YouTube has now reinstated our video and removed the strikes from our account. Thank you for everyone’s support in the spreading the word about this - publicizing YouTube’s actions DO help.”

Though this was good news, it comes along with word via a leaked document that Google regularly intervenes manually on search results for certain topics on YouTube, recently pushing pro-life videos out of its top ten search for “abortion” after a Slate writer complained.

Live Action’s media contact Alison Centofante told LifeSiteNews, “While we are happy this video was reinstated, we are concerned with YouTube's recent decision to suppress pro-life videos.”

The term “abortion” was added to a blacklist file for “controversial YouTube queries,” Breitbart reports, consisting of search terms that YouTube considers sensitive.

The search result intervention downranking pro-life videos was conducted after the Slate writer complained on a Friday afternoon in December and before YouTube even responded to her Monday Morning. And it occurred despite the claim made under oath before Congress earlier this month by Google CEO Sundar Pichai that his company does not “manually intervene on any search result.”

Google-owned YouTube has tried to constrain multiple conservative groups, including Dennis Prager’s Prager University, in favor of left-leaning organizations.

Live Action has faced YouTube censorship in the past, along with suppression from Twitter.

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News,

How to watch March for Life 2019 LIVE

LifeSiteNews.com
By LSN

Tell the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade. Sign the petition here.

WASHINGTON, D.C., January 18, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Today, marchers will gather on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., for a series of speeches and music before marching to the Supreme Court building, where Roe v. Wade forced all 50 states to allow abortion in 1973. 

EWTN is offering live coverage of the 2019 March for Life starting at 9:00 a.m.

You can also watch the live stream here

March for Life events include:

  • 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. Ben Shapiro Live Podcast
  • 11:00 a.m. – 11:45 a.m. Musical opening with Sidewalk Prophets
  • 12:00 p.m. Rally Program
  • 1:00 p.m. March up Constitution Avenue to Supreme Court and Capitol Building
  • The March for Life Rally will take place at noon at 12th St. on the National Mall, in between Madison Drive and Jefferson Drive. Following the Rally, the March will begin on Constitution Avenue between 12th and 14th Streets at approximately 1:00 pm.

Click here for full list of events surrounding the 2019 March for Life.

The theme of this year’s march is “Unique from Day One,” to emphasize the settled biological fact that the pre-born are living, complete, and distinct human beings starting at fertilization.

“Science is on the side of life,” the March for Life Defense & Education Fund declares. “Life, in its most vulnerable form, should be protected. That, in essence, is why we march. We march to end abortion, with the vision of a world where the beauty, dignity, and uniqueness of every human life are valued and protected.”

Speakers for the March include Sen. Steve Daines of Montana; Reps. Chris Smith of New Jersey and Dan Lipinski of Illinois; Louisiana state Rep. Katrina Jackson; conservative commentator Ben Shapiro; And Then There Were None founder and former Planned Parenthood insider Abby Johnson; Martin Luther King’s niece Dr. Alveda King of Priests for Life; American College of Obstetricians & Gynecologists fellow Dr. Kathi Aultman; Princeton Pro-Life president Ally Cavazos; Carl Anderson of the Knights of Columbus; and Archbishop Joseph Naumann of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Further details about the events and speakers can be found at the 2019 March for Life’s official website.

LifeSiteNews will be closely covering the March for Life and bring you all the important developments as they unfold. Find a full list of our coverage here.

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Phil Lawler

Opinion, ,

What do the bishops have to lose by encouraging McCarrick to repent?

Phil Lawler
By Phil Lawler

January 18, 2019 (CatholicCulture.org) – The statement from Archishop Vigano, pleading with McCarrick to make a public act of repentance, was a dramatic – and sadly rare – display of bold pastoral leadership.

God bless Bishop Strickland for joining in that plea. I hope and pray that other American bishops will follow suit. But please, bishops, act now. You're running out of time.

This morning, by chance (or was it by chance?), I found myself reading from the sermons of St. Claude de la Colombiere. Speaking about true repentance for sin, St. Claude tells this striking story:

We read, in the History of the Councils of Toledo, that a bishop of Braga, named Potamius – venerable for his age, famous in all of Spain for his virtue and above all for the zeal with which he had spoken out several times against the immodest – having himself fallen, by a strange weakness, in a secret act of fornication, was touched so deeply by it that he never could stop himself from venting his grief. But what occasion did he take – God of heaven! – in order to relieve himself? Gentlemen, this was in the council where he himself presided! This council was composed of fifty bishops, of a great number of abbots, of doctors, and of other ecclesiastics. This was in the presence of an assembly so numerous and so illustrious that this great man, this public protector of chastity, prostrated himself on the ground, confessed his incontinence aloud, everyone trembling at this spectacle and unable to understand what such urgent motive could have led him to endure willingly such a horrible embarrassment.

Now try to imagine a similar scene, played out at a meeting of the US bishops' conference. Try to imagine a prelate – it doesn't have to be McCarrick; there are surely other candidates – breaking into the agenda with an anguished confession of grief over his grave sins.

You can't, can you? And that's the problem.

It's easy to envision our bishops apologizing. They've done quite a lot of that, actually. It's easy to imagine them issuing another statement about clerical abuse, or approving another set of policies and procedures. But it's nearly impossible to imagine a bishop making a public confession of sin – of sin, not errors in judgment. And it's equally difficult to imagine other bishops sitting silently to such a confession, offering their prayerful support. That sort of thing is definitely not on the agenda when our bishops gather for their annual meetings.

Bear in mind that the US bishops recently finished a week-long spiritual retreat. If ever there was a ripe time for dramatic conversion, that time is now. Yet as I write, to the best of my knowledge, only Bishop Strickland has joined Archbishop Vigano in urging McCarrick to repent. Most of our shepherds are content, apparently, to let the canonical process grind away.

And that process should grind away, of course. But McCarrick's canonical trial is only a part of the story. There's also a soul at stake, as Archbishop Vigano reminds us. A public confession from McCarrick – or even a public plea for that confession, made by many of his colleagues – would demonstrate that Catholic bishops believe what they profess. The absence of a confession, and the silence of the hierarchy, raises an insidious doubt: Do our bishops really believe that sin is worse than death, that damnation is worse that public humiliation?

Ironically, a dose of public humiliation might be just what the American hierarchy needs to restore its tattered credibility. Heaven knows our bishops have been humiliated, and will inevitably be even further humiliated, by the steady pounding of scandals. But to date all of the humiliation has been imposed upon the bishops, rather than accepted voluntarily. We are still waiting for the first bishop to admit his failings without the prompting of newspaper headlines and criminal investigations. If just one bishop came clean – not offering excuses and explanations, but giving the details of his misbehavior and taking full responsibility – that public act would that a tremendous, cathartic effect. It could well prompt other prelates to take the same cleansing step, and bring a tide of renewal to the hierarchy.

Archbishop Vigano made just this argument in his appeal to McCarrick:

You, paradoxically, have at your disposal an immense offer of great hope for you from the Lord Jesus; you are in a position to do great good for the Church. In fact, you are now in a position to do something that has become more important for the Church than all of the good things you did for her throughout your entire life. A public repentance on your part would bring a significant measure of healing to a gravely wounded and suffering Church. Are you willing to offer her that gift?

Ordinarily the Catholic Church does not expect sinners to make public confessions. But when the sins cause public scandal, some public reparation is necessary. And in this case there is another factor:

We already know!

We know that McCarrick pursued seminarians and other young men. We know that many other bishops were aware of his misconduct and nevertheless allowed him to act as their spokesman. We know that many bishops have lied to their people, protected predators, blamed victims. So how much dignity would a brave prelate lose, if he admitted to what we already know?

Instead, we have the unedifying spectacle of bishops clinging to the shredded rags of their reputations. Cardinal Wuerl, caught out in a public lie (which most people had recognized as a lie in the first place), now makes pathetic excuses. Why doesn't he admit to his dishonesty? We already know!

For that matter why don't other American bishops call upon Cardinal Wuerl to drop the pretenses? Why do they allow him to cause this pointless embarrassment for their entire hierarchy? Have they learned nothing at all from the scandal caused by his predecessor – and by their failure to confront that problem?

Our bishops are in trouble, and they know it. They know that the faithful are confused and angry. They know that they have lost the confidence of the public. But even the "good bishops" don't know how to address the problem. They have not yet come to grips with the systematic corruption within the hierarchy.

When I speak of "systematic" corruption, I do not mean that every bishop is corrupt. I mean that the bishops as a group have shown themselves unwilling or unable to police their own ranks. A prescient article that appeared in the November 2000 issue of Catholic World Report, under the byline of Father Paul Shaughnessy, SJ, offered an admirable explanation of what this sort of corruption entails:

The principal reason why the action necessary to solve the gay problem won't be taken is that the episcopacy in the United States is corrupt, and the same is true of the majority of religious orders. In calling them "corrupt" I mean that these institutions have lost the capacity to mend themselves on their own initiative and by their own resources, that they are unable to uncover and expel their own miscreants.

It is important to stress that this is a sociological claim, not a moral one. If we examine any trust-invested agency at any given point in its history, whether that agency be a police force, a military unit, or a religious community, we might find that, say, out of every hundred men, five are scoundrels, five are heroes, and the rest are neither one nor the other: ordinarily upright men who live with a mixture of moral timidity and moral courage. When the institution is healthy, the gutsier few set the overall tone, and the less courageous but tractable majority works along with these men to minimize misbehavior; more importantly, the healthy institution is able to identify its own rotten apples and remove them before the institution itself is enfeebled.

However, when an institution becomes corrupt, its guiding spirit mysteriously shifts away from the morally intrepid few, and with that shift the institution becomes more interested in protecting itself against outside critics than in tackling the problem members who subvert its mission. For example, when we say a certain police force is corrupt, we don't usually mean that every policeman is on the take – perhaps only five out of a hundred actually accept bribes – rather we mean that this police force can no longer diagnose and cure its own problems, and consequently if reform is to take place an outside agency has to be brought in to make the changes.

Right now it seems the most likely path toward reform in the Church is the intervention of an "outside agency" – government authority. But that route could lead to disaster; our political leaders are not friendly to the cause of Catholicism, and a healthy Church always fights against the imposition of political control. If only a "morally intrepid few" bishops, here and in Rome, could call for and make public acts of repentance, we might yet avoid that danger. But time is running out.

Published with permission from CatholicCulture.org.

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John Zmirak

Opinion, ,

LA archdiocese conference is so liberal, McCarrick should be the keynote speaker

John Zmirak
By John Zmirak

January 18, 2019 (The Stream) – I'll never forget my mom, explaining in her Hell's Kitchen New York accent, why my older sister couldn't go to Woodstock: "Oh no. That's how the Nazis got started. First you corrupt the youth. The next thing you know, whaddaya you got? World War II. No way."

And if I knew someone young and impressionable, that's what I'd tell him about the Los Angeles Religious Education Conference. "Oh no, that's how the Khmer Rouge got started, son..."

"Come on down, it's not excessively Catholic. In fact, faithful Catholics come to protest it every year!"

Every year, LA-REC (pronounced "la WRECK") is a massive hootenanny and cash-cow for the leftist elements that have hijacked the U.S. Catholic Church. Don't take it from me. Here's the quote which the LA-REC's organizers themselves chose for the home page of their website:

"Some people go to Tibet, Bali, or India for spiritual rejuvenation or enlightenment. Others take to the deserts in the Americas or the mountains in the Andes. I head to Orange County, California. For nearly a decade, I have joined thousands of other Catholics for a weekend of workshops, liturgies (I love hearing my favorite gospel singer!), and camaraderie. I call it visiting the Catholic planet. Don't let the name fool you; you don't have to be a Catholic schoolteacher or catechist to take part or even a staunch Catholic. In fact, the LA Congress has conservative Catholic protesters every year taking issue with the multicultural liturgies and/or the messages of inclusiveness. I consider this one of the highlights of every year and I've made it a family tradition bringing along my mother and now my daughter."

– Julie C., San Leandro, CA

Could it be any clearer than that? "Come on down, it's not excessively Catholic. In fact, faithful Catholics come to protest it every year!"

Thirsting for Politics

Now I would never avoid even a humble Polish dumpling shop based on a single Yelp review. (Though I might if it promised "food poisoning!" and the owners had put it on their home page.) Let's dig a little deeper, shall we? What's the theme of the conference? There are two, one for kids and one for adults.

The Youth theme is "Trust! God's Gotchu." Using a cutesy piece of illiteracy for an educational conference isn't really...reassuring. And the chirpy little bilingual barber shop song that LA-REC apparently commissioned to pound home this theme sends shivers down my old spine. (Don't listen with food in your mouth.)

Let's move on to the Adult theme. No, no that's not what I meant. Get your mind out of the gutter. Still, the theme is a doozy: "Thirsting for Justice" | "Sed de Justicia" | "Khát Khao Công Lý."

There we go. Not only does the conference promise that its real theme will be politics. It does so in three languages, in a nod to multiculturalism. Not much real use, of course, since most of the site is in English, and none of it is in Vietnamese. But I give LA-REC some points for virtue-signaling. Not a full 10 out of 10, since the site lacks any phrases at all in Mayan or Aztec languages. Nor is there a single session in Turkish or Arabic...

Cardinal Cover-Up Wants to Talk to the Teens

Which Church leaders did the LA-REC choose to address the "thirst for justice?" One of them seems fitting, since he ought to be a fugitive from justice, Cardinal Roger Mahony. Remember him? He's the prelate who oversaw the worst cover-up of sex abuse in the entire United States. As LifeSiteNews reported:

Mahony, archbishop of Los Angeles from 1985 to 2011 and a cardinal since 1991, was found to have deliberately hid his knowledge of priests in his archdiocese guilty of committing sex crimes with youth, transferring the offenders after they had had counseling, enabling them to repeat their crimes.

The details, contained in some 12,000 pages that the LA archdiocese was court-ordered to release, led Mahony's successor Archbishop Jose Gomez to term them as "brutal and painful," and take the unprecedented step in 2013 of barring Mahony from administrative or public duties in the archdiocese.

But now the diocese has invited Mahony into a room full of as an authority on young people – and given him a microphone to appear as an honored speaker. At least the topic won't be something like "Jacuzzis with the Pastor: A new form of spiritual direction."

Still Using Immigrants as Human Shields

No, it will be the favorite politicized topic which Mahony has beaten like a tin drum for decades: boosting immigration, legal or illegal. Indeed, Mahony used his popularity among Latino voters (legal or illegal) in California to scare off prosecutors who would gleefully have sent him to prison for massive sex abuse cover-ups. The title of Mahony's talk, in case you're thinking of going and throwing peanuts, is "Connecting Junior High and High School Students with the Volatile Immigration Issues."

In the wake of the exposure that Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington, D.C., has been lying for more than a decade about what he knew of ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick's sex abuse of teenagers and seminarians, I must say that it disappoints me to see Mahony honored at LA-REC as a speaker.

It would be much more honest and forthright of the Los Angeles Archdiocese to feature Archbishop McCarrick himself. I would really like to hear what he has to say about the state of our Church and how it got there. Who knew about his Harvey Weinstein-style sexual predations upon seminarians, and when they knew it.

And you must admit, the question and answer period would be (as the young folks say) "lit."

Published with permission from The Stream.

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Jeanne Smits, Paris correspondent

Opinion, , ,

Do Vatican’s new guidelines on hysterectomy open a door to contraception and abortion?

Jeanne Smits, Paris correspondent
By Jeanne Smits

ANALYSIS

January 18, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) -- The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith published earlier this month its Response to a number of dubia (“doubts”) concerning the removal of a woman's uterus. Its very controversial text deems hysterectomy to be morally acceptable when that organ is “no longer” capable of carrying an unborn child up to the point of viability because, according to the CDF, such an operation “does not regard sterilization.” A more apt translation of the Italian text would read “because it is not sterilization.”

The Response was signed December 10, 2018, by the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Luis Ladaria, and approved by Pope Francis, who ordered it to be published, thus making it part of the Magisterium to which Catholics “owe religious submission of will and intellect.” It is not, however, infallible.

The text is very problematic because it adopts a visibly different solution to a former Response of the CDF in 1993 in not unrelated cases, and even more so because it in fact rests on skewed definitions of the words “procreation” and “sterilization.” It recalls that in the 1993 Response – which it clearly reaffirms – hysterectomy was declared acceptable “when there is a grave and present danger to the life or health of the mother” but “illicit” when the objective is to “make impossible an eventual pregnancy which can pose some risk for the mother” – even death, in fact – because the first intention of the act is sterilization.

The 2018 Response presents itself as dealing with a very different situation. It reads as follows:

Question: When the uterus is found to be irreversibly in such a state that it is no longer suitable for procreation and medical experts have reached the certainty that an eventual pregnancy will bring about a spontaneous abortion before the fetus is able to arrive at a viable state, is it licit to remove it (hysterectomy)?

Response: Yes, because it does not regard sterilization.”

It is accompanied by an illustrative note mentioning “Some extreme cases.” “Here it is not a question of difficulty, or of risks of greater or lesser importance, but of a couple for which it is not possible to procreate.”

On those grounds, it proclaims:

“The precise object of sterilization is to impede the functioning of the reproductive organs, and the malice of sterilization consists in the refusal of children: it is an act against the bonum prolis. On the contrary, in the case considered in the question, it is known that the reproductive organs are not capable of protecting a conceived child up to viability, namely, they are not capable of fulfilling their natural procreative function. The objective of the procreative process is to bring a baby into the world, but here the birth of a living fetus is not biologically possible. Therefore, we are not dealing with a defective, or risky, functioning of the reproductive organs, but we are faced here with a situation in which the natural end of bringing a living child into the world is not attainable.”

This is strange reasoning indeed, insofar as the removal of the uterus is well and truly performed in order to “impede the functioning of the reproductive organs,” precisely because they are still capable of hosting conception (and of allowing the unborn child to live for a time at least). Deliberately preventing that from happening in itself constitutes sterilization.

The way the CDF gets around this obstacle is by a saying the “malice of sterilization consists in the refusal of children” – that is, children who are brought into the world by birth and then brought up by their parents. This is presented as “the objective of the procreative process.” In the absence of a perspective of giving birth to a “viable” child, capable of remaining alive outside the womb, this “procreative process” is considered not to exist.

The Illustrative Note accompanying the Response confirms this when it says:

“The medical procedure should not be judged as being against procreation, because we find ourselves within an objective context in which neither procreation, nor as a consequence, an anti-procreative action, are possible. Removing a reproductive organ incapable of bringing a pregnancy to term should not therefore be qualified as direct sterilization, which is and remains intrinsically illicit as an end and as a means.”

The classic definition of procreation is here destroyed by a stroke of the pen. “Engendering” or “begetting” a new human being means allowing it to come into existence through the encounter of the male and the female reproductive cells that once united, become a unique and irreplaceable human being endowed with an immortal soul. Intentionally preventing conception through contraceptive means or by sterilization is contrary to divine law, it is this prevention that constitutes the evil of refusing life – of refusing procreation whose objective, from the Catholic point of view, is to increase the numbers of the elect: procreating human beings who are called to become saints in heaven.

The recent Response, if read logically, appears to consider a conceived child who is not viable as not being the fruit of the true procreation, as if it did not have intrinsic human dignity and as if it were not called to enjoy immortal life. It is especially disturbing in the new context created by the international theological commission saying infants who die without baptism can, through the effect of God’s mercy, enter into the kingdom of heaven.

At the same time, the Response suggests that there are other solutions:

“Furthermore, the response to the question does not state that the decision to undergo a hysterectomy is always the best one, but that only in the above-mentioned conditions is such a decision morally licit, without, therefore, excluding other options (for example, recourse to infertile periods or total abstinence). It is the decision of the spouses, in dialogue with doctors and their spiritual guide, to choose the path to follow, applying the general criteria of the gradualness of medical intervention to their case and to their circumstances.”

This is another case of presenting a correct solution – “recourse to infertile periods or total abstinence” – together with an unacceptable one, as if they were so many “options” open to couples with regard to their personal problems, principles giving way to situation ethics.

Whatever the reasons behind this Response, its implications give cause for concern. For instance, if it is correct, why should spouses who cannot hope to give birth to a viable child be expected not to contracept? Why should it not at some point be licit to eliminate a nonviable fetus?

According to Dr. Philip Schepens MD, member of the Pontifical Academy for Life from 1995 to 2017, member of its Board until 2004 and Secretary-General of the World Federation of Doctors who respect Human Life, and currently a member of the board of the John-Paul II Academy of Life and Family, the Response of the CDF on hysterectomy is “is unnecessary and at the same time unnecessarily creates confusion.”

Having approved our reasoning above, he added these comments:

“The doctrine of the Church is clear regarding sterilization: that which directly impedes fertilization during sexual intercourse or renders the reproductive organs, both male and female, improper for reproduction, violates the divine commandment: ‘Be fertile and multiply.’”

Hysterectomy can be licit in some cases though, Schepens explained: “On the other hand, a procedure, surgical or otherwise, that renders procreation impossible, but that is carried out with the primary objective of fighting an illness in that person, is permissible provided that it is not sterilization that sought after, but healing that illness. If the procedure has the effect of sterilizing, as a secondary, non-sought after effect, it is morally permissible, according to the ‘double effect’ doctrine.”

As a medical doctor, Schepens went on to clarify: “Miscarriage, just like sterility, is not an illness but can be the consequence of one or more illnesses. Among those most often affecting women, we can mention uterine cancer or cervical cancer, the presence of benign myoma of the uterus and endometriosis. Concerning the two last-mentioned illnesses, a complication that often requires hysterectomy is metrorrhagia, that is, heavy bleeding that can happen at any moment and that in the long run can have very adverse consequences for the health and even the life of the woman. Not a single gynecologist, Catholic or otherwise, would refuse hysterectomy in that case, if other less burdensome solutions are incapable of restoring health.”

Dr. Schepens also quoted incompetence of the cervix as a possible cause of repeated miscarriages: in this case, as the fetus grows, it weighs upon the cervix that cannot resist and lets the fetus leave the womb. He said many techniques exist to remedy this condition that “hardly ever requires hysterectomy or sterilization.”

“Sterilization by ligature of the Fallopian tubes in order preventively to avoid miscarriage is in my opinion as a doctor never permissible, because ‘always’ and ‘never’ do not exist in medicine, and a woman cannot be held responsible for an unwanted miscarriage. In the case of serious endometriosis – and I personally know of more than one case – certain women have ended up by giving birth to a normal child, having gone through miscarriages before and sometimes after that event. This risk can lead to couple to decide to resort to birth regulation by natural methods (NFP)”, he added.

Schepens also recalled that from the moment of conception, the human zygote exists as an individual organism, distinct from its two parents: “Its very early stage of development takes nothing away from its biologically demonstrable status of a human being, distinct from all others,” he explained.

Jeanne Smits is a member of the John Paul II Academy for Human Life and Family.

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Monica Showalter

Opinion, ,

Why is the Vatican defending Venezuela’s illegitimate president?

Monica Showalter
By Monica Showalter

January 18, 2019 (American Thinker) – In the wake of Venezuela's President Nicolás Maduro swearing himself into office after a fraudulent election, the global consensus is that the regime ruling in Caracas is illegitimate. It's so bad that the news accounts call the Maduro regime "isolated."

Brazil, led by President Jair Bolsonaro, not only refused to recognize the regime, but openly recognized the constitutionally mandated succession of the Venezuelan National Assembly's leader, Juan Guaidó. That's who's president to his country. Other nations, such as Paraguay, cut ties to the regime and pulled their envoys. The United States and Canada have come close to recognizing Guaidó as Venezuela's president, too, with secretary of state Mike Pompeo and national security adviser John Bolton (and Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau) openly calling the regime "illegitimate." All eyes are now on whether President Trump will make recognition of Guaidó official, which I think he will.

At his Jan. 10 inaugural, Maduro was indeed isolated, with just the pitiful support of socialist hellholes Nicaragua, Cuba, and Bolivia. Nobody else could stomach it.

Well, with one sorry exception: the Vatican.

According to an Agencia EFE report published in the Argentine newspaper Clarín, they actually showed the flag for Maduro, giving him that patina of legitimacy as everyone else decent stayed away and now are getting flak for it.

Here's the link to the account, which is Spanish-only, and here's a Google Translate passage with some tweaks and clarifications from me. I haven't seen this published anywhere else:

After the [local bishops from the] church of Venezuela lambasted Nicolás Maduro by calling him "illegitimate and immoral" on the eve of his inauguration, the Vatican sent a representative to the Venezuelan president's [swearing in] on Thursday, in a clear sign of support for the Chavista leader, leaving more than one of them surprised. This Monday, the Holy See came out to give explanations. And it justified the presence of the [Vatican] envoy [by] saying that the institution "aims to promote the common good, protect peace and ensure respect for human dignity."

The new (interim) spokesman of the Vatican, Alessandro Gisotti, explained in a note that "the Holy See maintains diplomatic relations with the Venezuelan State, its diplomatic activity is aimed at promoting the common good, protecting peace and guaranteeing respect for human dignity."

Therefore, the statement adds, "the Holy See has decided to be represented at the inauguration ceremony of the Presidency, by the head of business ad interim of the Apostolic Nunciature of Caracas (George Koovakod)."

This, at this point, is pure Mr. Magoo, and some miserable spin control.

That culpable blindness has pretty well been how the Vatican has done business with Venezuela since Pope Francis took the reins in 2013. Under his leadership, the Vatican tried and failed to negotiate a "peace settlement" with the Maduro regime about three years ago. It was junk diplomacy, then, because it came after Venezuela's opposition had tried to do the same thing in good faith for at least ten years. By then, the protests had grown massive and uncontrollable. Coming in after all that and pretending to be the peacemaker as if nothing had ever happened led to exactly the failure Venezuela's democrats said would happen. This was a totalitarian regime, and it was determined to hold power no matter what.

It was around this time that people were starting to murmur about getting a Pinochet of their own, given the regime's implacability, which the Vatican seemed to think it could march into and turn around. Of course, it failed.

Now the revolution has reached a different stage, and there seems to be a pincer move from both the U.S. and Brazil to oust Maduro by recognizing a new president. It's a delicate, dangerous operation, as the recent arbitrary arrest of Guaidó by Cuban agents a couple days ago demonstrated. This, after all, is a revolution, and it's been on "simmer" for about 20 years, but recent events suggest it's begun to move to "boil."

Yet there the Vatican was, standing up and showing the flag for the Chavista status quo, which seems to be a hallmark of Pope Francis's papacy, in defiance of the warnings of the country's own bishops, who have joined the country's democrats.

Look at it this way: can you imagine Pope John Paul II sending in his diplomats to legitimize the military dictatorship of Gen. Wojciech Jaruzelski while it was in its showdown with Solidarity? Pope John Paul was with the democrats all along, and as they won freedom with the fall of the Berlin Wall and the Velvet Revolution, the Vatican in the end played a pivotal role for freedom. Poland, as a matter of fact, is one of the few countries in Europe where Catholicism is still significantly practiced.

No such luck in Venezuela. The battle lines have been drawn, and the first Latin pope and his Vatican bureaucrats have picked the bad guy, the ruling dictatorship, over the suffering people, all in the phony name of preserving peace, something whose potential came and went years ago.

Coming right on the heels of a recent scandal of a Vatican news site "congratulating" the Cuban Castro regime for 60 years of oppression, including oppression of the Catholic Church, one wonders what its real alliances are.

Venezuela is a hellhole regime at war with its own people, and it's eventually going to fall.

It's amazing that the Vatican is choosing to try to prop it up instead of supporting the people – and in defiance of the international community. Siding with Venezuela's democrats ought to be a slam-dunk for them, particularly with the diplomatic cover. All an outsider can ask in the wake of the Holy See's decision is, what do they stand for? At a historic critical juncture, they made their choice, and they chose poorly.

Published with permission from the American Thinker.

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Calvin Freiburger Calvin Freiburger Follow Calvin

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This March for Life, let’s vow to demand more than show votes from our ‘pro-life’ politicians

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By Calvin Freiburger

Tell the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade. Sign the petition here.

January 18, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – It’s that time of year again. All pro-life eyes are on the March for Life, Washington, D.C. is teeming with speeches and events, and of course, Republicans have pro-life bills to hold votes on….votes that nobody on either side actually believes will do anything.

That’s not the bill authors’ fault, of course. The party of abortion-on-demand now controls the House of Representatives, and no amount of good intentions can force good laws through it to the president’s desk. And there is some PR value in keeping pro-life policies in the public eye and forcing pro-aborts to put their opposition on the record.

But let’s not overstate the value of show votes, or let them make up for the two years Republicans had, and wasted, to pass pro-life laws for real.

As we’ve discussed repeatedly over the past year, multiple important pro-life bills passed the House but died in the Senate, primarily because Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and other GOP senators had zero interest in repealing or modifying the constitutionally-baseless rule that ordinary legislation needs 60 votes, or even just using the existing rules to get around the filibuster. Senate leaders also showed zero interest in either pressuring the Senate’s two pro-abortion Republicans to follow the GOP platform or replacing them.

(Of course, Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski wouldn’t have been as much of a problem had McConnell not helped lose a seat Republicans had held for the previous 25 years...seeing a pattern here?)

After the November midterms should have given the do-nothing GOP a wakeup call, they passed on their one last chance to defund Planned Parenthood during the lame-duck session, and chose to rubber-stamp another establishmentarian House leader instead of pro-life reformer Jim Jordan (meanwhile, most of the Right is too busy sharing “Cocaine Mitch” memes to even consider the need for new Senate leadership).

So forgive us if we don’t exactly jump for joy when our elected champions put in the bare minimum necessary to look busy during the week when more pro-life eyes than usual are set on the town where they work.

And with all due respect to the pro-life groups we quoted yesterday hailing the taxpayer funding show vote as some sort of heroic stand, the deadly combo of gushing praise for modest gestures and near-total silence on everything else listed above is a massive part of why the pattern persists.

As Donald Trump and Nancy Pelosi fight over the southern border wall Trump promised voters he’d start building, more than a few people have understandably started wondering why the GOP has never drawn a similar line in the sand against abortion:

Far rarer, though, are acknowledgments of the obvious answer: because the pro-life movement has never forced Republicans to. The GOP wasn’t going to shut down the government over illegal immigration, either; Trump was prepared to once again sign one of the usual swamp budgets, but reversed course at the last minute when conservatives revolted loudly enough to make him fear the political consequences.

Enough Republicans finally started fearing conservatives enough to fight on something. Whether they’re fighting the right way or will keep their nerve is another question for another day, but the key takeaway for us is that the GOP doesn’t fear pro-lifers in the same way. And why should they? When’s the last time we’ve given them a reason to?

It’s too late to do anything about that for the next two years, but now is the time for our movement to do some serious, top-to-bottom self-examination – what our near-term goals are, how we measure progress, how we decide what’s good enough from our politicians, and whether we’re willing to change tactics when we keep failing to get results.

Every year, the imagery from the March for Life powerfully illustrates just how many people are behind us, and how passionate they are. This year, let’s figure out how to channel all of that energy into a voice the people elected to stop the killing can’t ignore anymore.

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