John Westen

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400,000 March for Life in DC with great joy

John Westen
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** See also the LifeSiteNews feature March for Life Photos pages** .

WASHINGTON, DC, January 25, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Following the rally at the National Mall Monday, the 38th annual March for Life commenced, with an estimated 400,000 marchers making their way to the Supreme Court.  The massive crowd, noticeably larger than last year’s record crowd and composed of a majority of youth under age 25, seemed more jubilant than ever in their celebration of life.

Competing chants from one group to another could be heard throughout. “We love babies yes we do, we love babies how about you,” was echoed from side to side along the route.  There was one group in particular, however, who most would concede were the chant champions.  With yellow hats, yellow sweat shirts and yellow balloons reading “LIFE,” 162 youth from St. John Cantius parish in Chicago, Illinois, filled one of the steps of the Senate office building at the top of the hill leading toward the Supreme Court. 

Fr. Jim Isaacson, a priest from the parish, told LifeSiteNews the secret of the group’s success as chant champions ... practice.  Prior even to the 14-hour bus ride to Washington, the group practiced and even composed their own chants.  Adding to their power was that a full third of the group is involved in choirs.  Jumping, chanting, singing, and dancing, this troupe enlivened the hundreds of thousands of passers-by with voices, which Fr. Isaacson admitted may find themselves somewhat strained at next Sunday’s Mass.

Another group of 21 youth traveled from Springfield, Illinois on a 19-hour bus ride, which Stephanie Kayton told LSN was “absolutely worth it.”

The Archdiocese of Omaha was represented by some 350 youth, 325 of whom traveled by bus for 24 hours straight.  Ann-Marie Bowen of Nebraskans United for Life flew down with another 25.  Fr. Cook, the pro-life director for the Archdiocese told LSN that after the march the youth were headed for meetings with their local Congressmen.

Ohio Right to Life boasted of “tens of thousands” of Ohioans at the DC March for Life.  Nearly one tenth of the Ohio delegation consists of students and friends at Franciscan University of Steubenville.  The state pro-life group also noted that “Ohio’s own, John Boehner, United States Speaker of the House, recently stated he would prioritize legislation that would permanently prohibit taxpayer funding of abortion across federal programs.”

Front Royal, Virginia’s Christendom College was out again in full force at the march. Junior Christine Nussio was impressed by the number of pro-lifers who attended.

“I am blown away by the numbers-and some of them come from very far away to spend one day showing the nation where they stand on issues of life,” she said.

The numbers also amazed Sophomore Jacinta Ferri. “It seemed like a larger crowd than last year-it was really exciting,” she said.

A native of Canada, Ferri said that before coming to Christendom, she attended the March for Life in Ottawa where the crowd is not as large. “Being in the larger crowd gets you more pumped-up for the cause,” she said. “It’s really reassuring to see so many people.”

Long after most marchers had dispersed, a group of young people remained across the street from the Supreme Court, heads bowed in solemn prayer.  Their sign “ByznTeens for Life” signified that they were Byzantine Catholics known for their intense and lengthy prayers.  Rachel Pawluszka, 16, one of the ByzanTeens, told LifeSiteNews that the best thing about the March for her was meeting so many others, even those of different religious backgrounds, who all share the love and reverence for life.

Nellie Gray, the leader of the March for Life noted from the stage before the departure of the March that she could not even see the end of the marchers stretched out before her.  At the Rose Dinner after the march Gray noted that it was the largest march in her memory.

See related articles:
* 5 Cardinals, 39 Bishops, 10,000 faithful pack basilica for Vigil for Life Mass
* Coming and going: filling the U.S. national basilica and Metro with pro-life youth
* ‘World’s largest’ student pro-life conference equips, energizes young pro-life vanguard
* Nearly 50% of top colleges’ health plans cover abortion: Students for Life
* Obama pledges abortion support on 38th Roe v. Wade anniversary
* GOP House Leader at March for Life: permanent ban on taxpayer funding of abortion top priority
* Post-abortive mothers share stories of grief, redemption on Supreme Court steps
* Pro-life texting campaign launched at Life Marches
* March for Life Photos - How many were in the march?
* Rep. Michele Bachmann: Life is ‘not a sidebar issue’
* Some March for Life fun facts and a few thoughts on media blackouts
* $600,000 awarded to pro-life heroes at ‘perfect’ Life Prizes ceremony
* Back from Washington



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A photo of Kim Tucci at 25 weeks gestation Erin Elizabeth Photography
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‘Little miracles’: Mom gives birth to naturally-conceived quintuplets after refusing ‘selective reduction’

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An ultrasound of the five different compartments, each with its own baby, inside Kim's womb.

AUSTRALIA, February 5, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) -- A 26-year-old Australian mom has given birth to five healthy babies, all conceived naturally, after refusing the doctor’s advice that she must abort three of them in order to give the remaining two a better chance at life. 

“After my initial ultrasound I was told I could consider the selection method to give 2 babies the best chance in life,” wrote mom Kim Tucci in a Facebook post last September. 

“I watched a YouTube video on the procedure and I cried. I could never do that! Was I selfish for not giving two the chance of 100% survival? All I knew is that I already love them and that every heart beat I heard I connect with them more. For me life starts when a heart starts beating and all I know for sure is that I will do whatever it takes to bring them into this world healthy,” she wrote. 

Last Thursday Kim and her husband Vaughn welcomed the five new members into their family — one boy and four girls —increasing the number of their children from 3 to 8. The babies were born at 30 weeks, 10 weeks early, due to insufficient space in Kim’s womb. They weighed on average about 2.5 pounds. 

The quintuplets’ story began last March, after Kim and Vaughn had been trying for six months to conceive just one more child for their family. Due to health complications, Kim wondered if she would ever become a mother again. 

After what she thought was an extra long cycle, she decided to take a pregnancy test. 

“I was feeling tired and a little nauseated and thought I would take a pregnancy test just to get the ‘what if’ out of my head. To my shock and utter excitement it was positive,” she wrote on a Facebook post.

The parents got the shock of their lives when doctors confirmed in an ultrasound examination that there was not one baby, but five. 

“After a long wait for the ultrasound we finally went in. The sonographer told me there were multiple gestational sacks, but she could only see a heart beat in two. I was so excited! Twins!”

“I was moved to another machine for a clearer view and had the head doctor come in and double check the findings. She started to count, one, two, three, four, five. Did i hear that correctly? Five? My legs start to shake uncontrollably and all i can do is laugh. The sonographer then told me the term for five is ‘quintuplets,’” Kim wrote.

Even though Kim began to feel stretched to the limit with all those human lives growing inside her, she chose to focus on her babies, and not herself, referring to them as “my five little miracles.” 

“It's getting harder as each day passes to push through the pain, every part of my body aches and sleeping is becoming very painful. No amount of pillows are helping support my back and belly. Sometimes I get so upset that I just want to throw my hands up and give in.”

“Sometimes my pelvis becomes so stiff I can barely walk and my hips feel like they are grinding away constantly. I'm finding it hard to eat as I basically have no room left in my stomach, and the way it is positioned it's pushed all the way back with the babies leaning against it.” 

“My skin on my belly is so stretched its painful and hot to touch. It literally feels like I have hives! No amount of cream helps relieve the discomfort. I have a lot of stretch marks now. Dealing with such a huge change in my body is hard.” 

“Is it all worth it? Yes!!!! I will keep pushing through,” she wrote in one Facebook post days before the babies were born. 

The newborns' names are Keith, Ali, Penelope, Tiffany, and Beatrix. They were born at King Edward Memorial Hospital in Subiaco, Western Australia. Mother and babies are reported to be doing well. 



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UN rights chief tells Catholic countries to legalize abortion over Zika virus: bishops and cardinal react

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GENEVA, February 5, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) -- The United Nations, following the lead of international abortion activists, is now urging Latin American countries hit by the mosquito-borne Zika virus to lift restrictions on abortion for pregnant women who have contacted the virus and whose pre-born children may be at risk for birth defects, including having smaller than normal heads. 

The UN human rights office said today that it is not enough for South American countries to urge women to postpone pregnancy without also offering them abortion as a final solution. 

“How can they ask these women not to become pregnant, but not offer… the possibility to stop their pregnancies?” UN spokeswoman Cecile Pouilly told reporters. 

UN human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein said that governments should make available contraception and abortion services.

“Laws and policies that restrict (women’s) access to these services must be urgently reviewed in line with human rights obligations in order to ensure the right to health for all in practice,” he said.

But Brazil’s bishops strongly asserted yesterday that efforts should be made to eradicate the virus, not the people who may be infected by it. 

The disease is “no justification whatsoever to promote abortion,” they said in a statement, adding that it is not morally acceptable to promote abortion “in the cases of microcephaly, as, unfortunately, some groups are proposing to the Supreme Federal Court, in a total lack of respect for the gift of life.”

Honduras Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga has also come out strongly against the notion of “therapeutic abortions” as a response to the problem. Unlike Brazil where abortion is legal in the case of rape or health of the mother, abortion remains entirely illegal in Honduras.

“We should never talk about ‘therapeutic’ abortion,” the cardinal said in a homily at a February 3 Mass in Suyap. “Therapeutic abortion doesn’t exist. Therapeutic means curing, and abortion cures nothing. It takes innocent lives,” he said. 

While the World Health Organization (WHO) declared an international public health emergency February 1 on account of concerns over the virus, critics have pointed out, however, that not one death as resulted from the virus. Even on WHO’s own website the virus is described in mild terms. 

“It causes mild fever and rash. Other symptoms include muscle pain, joint pain, headache, pain behind the eyes and conjunctivitis. Zika virus disease is usually mild, with symptoms lasting only a few days,” the website states. “To date, there have been no reported deaths associated with Zika virus,” it added. 

Critics suspect that the crisis is being manipulated to advance an anti-human agenda on the pre-born. 

“Is Zika, actually, a hideous virus that threatens to spread uncontrollably across the world creating an army of disabled children with tiny heads and low IQ’s? Or might this be a willful misinterpretation of the scarce data to manipulate public opinion and legislatures?” wrote pro-life critic Mei-Li Garcia earlier this week.

“It becomes very clear that the publicity surrounding this story has a very little to do with medicine and a lot to do with a convenient crisis that is being used by those pushing for the legalization of abortion around the world,” she wrote.



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Hillary’s litmus test for Supreme Court picks: They must ‘preserve Roe v. Wade’

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DERRY, NH, February 5, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) - Hillary Clinton has a litmus test for Supreme Court nominees - several, in fact. At a Democratic event on Wednesday, Clinton unveiled her criteria in selecting a judge for the nation's highest court.

“I do have a litmus test, I have a bunch of litmus tests," she said.

"We’ve got to make sure to preserve Roe v. Wade, not let it be nibbled away or repealed,” she said.

There have been over 58,000,000 abortions since the 1973 court ruling legalizing abortion in all 50 states, according to National Right to Life.

That echoes her recent call to arms speech before Planned Parenthood last month, when she stated that taxpayers must fund abortion-on-demand in order to uphold the "right" of choice.

“We have to preserve marriage equality,” Clinton said, referring to last summer's Obergefell v. Hodges case, a 5-4 ruling that redefined marriage nationwide. “We have to go further to end discrimination against the LGBT community."

Her views differentiate her from the Republican front runners. Ted Cruz has called the court's marriage ruling "fundamentally illegitimate," and Donald Trump told Fox News Sunday this week that he would "be very strong on putting certain judges on the bench that I think maybe could change things." Marco Rubio has said he won't "concede" the issue to the one-vote majority.

All Republican presidential hopefuls say they are pro-life and will defund Planned Parenthood.

Her husband, Bill Clinton, raised the makeup of the Supreme Court early last month in New Hampshire, saying it receives "almost no attention" as a campaign issue.

On Wednesday, Hillary said "the next president could get as many as three appointments. It’s one of the many reasons why we can’t turn the White House over to the Republicans again.”

Clinton said her judicial appointees must also reverse the Citizens United ruling on campaign finance and oppose a recent decision striking down a portion of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. In 2013's Shelby County v. Holder, justices struck down Section 4(b) of the act, which said that certain states and jurisdictions had to obtain permission from the federal government before changing their voting laws.

At one time, most politicians frowned upon any "litmus test" for judicial nominees, emphasizing the independence of the third branch of government. "I don't believe in litmus tests," Jeb Bush told Chuck Todd last November.

But with the rise of an activist judiciary in the middle of the 20th century, constitutionalists have sought to rein in the power of the bench.



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