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Abby Johnson: Yes, I oppose ALL abortions! But being pro-life doesn’t stop there

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By Abby Johnson
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July 21, 2011 (AbbyJohnson.org) - I get asked this question a lot. Am I really pro-life? Am I against abortion in all circumstances? Yes. Do I believe there are any exceptions for abortion? No. Do you want to make abortion illegal? Yes. But for me, it doesn’t stop there. Being “pro-life” means standing up for all life, valuing all life.

I am not one for labels, but in this case, I think they are important. I am pro-life. I believe in the protection of all life. I am against abortion, euthanasia, and the death penalty. I am pro-quality of life. I believe all children deserve quality health care. I don’t believe in reducing assistance benefits for those who are disabled or who have special needs. I am not simply anti-abortion. I abhor clinic violence. I have a genuine urgency to see every clinic worker and abortionist turn away from abortion. I do not believe harassment, violence, threats, or anything of the sort is the way we are to behave in this movement. Abortion is bad because is a terrible act of violence. Violence begets violence. If we simply turn to violence, we are no better than the abortionists themselves.

I am not just pro-birth. I believe in supporting a woman during and after pregnancy. It’s not just about “saving” the baby. It is about empowering the mother as well. I am not against abortion because it takes an innocent life, I am against abortion because it takes a life. Innocence has nothing to do with it. Their lives are not more valuable because they are innocent. They will not always be innocent…but their lives will still hold the same value. I think people use this whole “innocent” argument so they can justify the death penalty. But, I always say, if you have to justify something, it is probably wrong. When the death penalty is imposed, innocent people die. That has happened over and over again. Why? Because people are flawed. Only God should give and take life. That is the exact argument we give when we discuss abortion. I could go on and on about the death penalty, but that isn’t the point of this post. Maybe I will do that another time.

I recently talked to a woman who runs a group that assists women after they have their baby. Being pro-life is not just about assisting a woman during her pregnancy, it is helping her after the baby is born, too. If we are only interested in her giving birth to her child, then we need to simply consider ourselves pro-birth. If we are truly pro-life, then the woman’s needs continue far after her child is born.

Many pregnancy centers will assist the new mother will material support and even classes, but many times that is not enough. We need these moms to be self-sufficient, off government programs, skilled for jobs, educated, and able to stand on their own…and support a child. This is exactly what I discussed with the lovely women who run Teen Mother Choices International. We talked about the necessity of self-sufficiency for these moms. Almost all of their new moms rely on some sort of government assistance when they enter the program. This can be such a dangerous cycle. I honestly never had a really clear way to describe my feelings about governmental help until I talked about it with these women. It’s not about the money for me or taxes. I want people to get the help they need, no matter the monetary cost for me. But I knew there was something else that bothered me…I just couldn’t put my finger on it.

Scripture says the church is to care for the widows and orphans. Society has redefined the word “widow” to mean a woman whose husband has died. But the actual definition is a woman without a husband. There are many widows in our country, and the church is instructed to care for them. Many of these widows have children. These government programs have simply allowed the Church to ignore their duties and responsibilities. We have allowed the government to take care of these women (and do a poor job of it) instead of following our command to care for them. Now looked what has happened. We have cycles of poverty…women and children living in dangerous neighborhoods because they rely on this minimal standard of living…families who are uninsured…children who don’t have enough to eat. And, why? Because we haven’t done our jobs.

TMCI is changing that, and it is so beautiful to see. They are setting up support communities inside churches to help young mothers stop this cycle. The success is phenomenal. They have had hundreds of girls go through their program. They get them job training, take care of their medical needs by people in the church, help with childcare, help with education…and they do it with no government assistance. In fact, almost all of the young women who go through their program come out with stable jobs, education and training they need, parenting skills, money in savings accounts, medical care, and a church community they are a part of and thriving in…all without the use of government assistance. This is a model we should all be using and duplicating. I am so impressed by the work they are doing. I encourage you to look at their website. If you are a pregnancy center, they can come and help you. You can use their program. They will come in to your center and help you make this happen. It will totally change your center…and you clients. Please go to their website and check them out, www.teenmotherchoices.org.

The pro-life movement needs to be about collaboration; working together, finding out who does what best. We can’t all be the best at everything. TMCI is the very best at helping these young women get on their feet after they become mothers. We don’t want these young women to end up pregnant again within the next year after having a baby. The sad thing is that the statistics are not in their favor, unless they get the skills, support and training that they need. Let’s help them.

Are we pro-life, anti-abortion, pro-birth…I hope you are pro-life. I hope your concern for this movement doesn’t stop once the child is born. Let’s make a difference for the future and help break this cycle. Go check out TMCI and find out how you can get involved. Honestly, I am not a person who is easily impressed, but these women with TMCI have completely blown me away with their method. And the results speak for themselves. Maybe you can bring TMCI to your community…to your pregnancy center…to your church. You won’t be disappointed.

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Indiana Gov. Mike Pence signs the state's Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
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Indiana faces backlash as it becomes 20th state to protect religious liberty

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By Ben Johnson

INDIANAPOLIS, IN, March 27, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – On Thursday, Indiana became the 20th state to prevent the government from forcing people of faith to violate their religious beliefs in business or the public square.

Gov. Mike Pence signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (SB 101) into law, saying the freedom of religion is a preeminent American value.

“The Constitution of the United States and the Indiana Constitution both provide strong recognition of the freedom of religion, but today, many people of faith feel their religious liberty is under attack by government action,” Pence said.

Gov. Pence, a possible dark horse candidate for president in 2016, cited court cases brought by religious organizations and employers, including Catholic universities, against the HHS mandate. “One need look no further than the recent litigation concerning the Affordable Care Act. A private business and our own University of Notre Dame had to file lawsuits challenging provisions that required them to offer insurance coverage in violation of their religious views.”

The new law could also prevent Christian business owners from being compelled to bake a cake or take photographs of a same-sex "marriage" ceremony, if doing so violates their faith. In recent years, business owners have seen an increased level of prosecution for denying such services, despite their religious and moral beliefs.

The state's pro-life organization applauded Pence for his stance. "Indiana's pro-life community is grateful to Gov. Mike Pence for signing the Religious Freedom Restoration Act into law,” said Indiana Right to Life's president and CEO Mike Fichter. “This bill will give pro-lifers a necessary legal recourse if they are pressured to support abortion against their deeply-held religious beliefs.”

“RFRA is an important bill to protect the religious freedom of Hoosiers who believe the right to life comes from God, not government,” he said.

The state RFRA is based on the federal bill introduced by Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-NY, and signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1993. The Supreme Court cited the federal law when it ruled that Hobby Lobby had the right to refuse to fund abortion-inducing drugs, if doing so violated its owners' sincerely held religious beliefs.

In signing the measure – similar to the one Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed – Pence and the state of Indiana have faced a torrent of venom from opponents of the bill, who claim it grants a “right to discriminate” and raises the spectre of segregation.

"They've basically said, as long as your religion tells you to, it's OK to discriminate against people," said Sarah Warbelow, legal director of the Human Rights Campaign, a national homosexual pressure group.

The Disciples of Christ, a liberal Protestant denomination based in the state capital, has said it will move its 2017 annual convention if the RFRA became state law. The NCAA warned the bill's adoption “might affect future events” in the Hoosier state.

Pence denied such concerns, saying, "This bill is not about discrimination, and if I thought it legalized discrimination in any way I would've vetoed it."

The bill's supporters say that, under the Obama administration, it is Christians who are most likely to suffer discrimination.

"Originally RFRA laws were intended to protect small religious groups from undue burdens on practicing their faith in public life,” said Mark Tooley, president of the Institute on Religion and Democracy. “It was not imagined there would come a day when laws might seek to jail or financially destroy nuns, rabbis or Christian camp counselors who prefer to abstain from the next wave of sexual and gender experimentation. And there's always a next wave.”

The bill's supporters note that it does not end the government's right to coerce people of faith into violating their conscience in every situation. However, it requires that doing so has to serve a compelling government interest and the government must use the least restrictive means possible. “There will be times when a state or federal government can show it has a compelling reason for burdening religious expression – to ensure public safety, for instance,” said Sarah Torre, an expert at the Heritage Foundation. “But Religious Freedom Restoration Acts set a high bar for the government to meet in order to restrict religious freedom.”

Restricting the ability of government to interfere in people's private decisions, especially their religious decisions, is the very purpose of the Constitution, its supporters say.

"Religious freedom is the cornerstone of all liberty for all people,” Tooley said. “Deny or reduce it, and there are no ultimate limits on the state's power to coerce."

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Fight pornography. Beat pornography. And join the ranks of those who support their fellow men and women still fighting.
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Porn is transforming our men from protectors into predators. Fight back.

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By Jonathon van Maren

Since I’ve gotten involved in anti-pornography work, I’ve met countless men who struggle, fight, or have beaten pornography. Each person seems to deal with the guilt and shame that accompanies porn use in a different way—some deny that it’s “all that bad,” others pretend that they could “stop whenever they want,” many insist that “everyone is doing it,” and most, when pressed, admit to a deep sense of self-loathing.

One worry surfaces often in conversation: What do my past or current struggles with pornography say about me as a man? Can I ever move past this and have a meaningful and fulfilling relationship?

I want to address this question just briefly, since I’ve encountered it so many times.

First, however, I’ve written before how I at times dislike the language of “struggling” with pornography or pornography “addiction,” not because they aren’t accurate but because too often they are used as an excuse rather than an explanation. It is true, many do in fact “struggle” with what can legitimately be considered an addiction, but when this language is used to describe an interminable battle with no end (and I’ve met dozens of men for whom this is the case), then I prefer we use terminology like “fighting my porn habit.” A semantic debate, certainly, but one I think is important. We need to stop struggling with porn and start fighting it.

Secondly, pornography does do devastating things to one’s sense of masculinity. We know this. Pornography enslaves men by the millions, perverting their role as protector and defender of the more vulnerable and turning them into sexual cannibals, consuming those they see on-screen to satisfy their sexual appetites.

What often starts as mere curiosity or an accidental encounter can turn into something that invades the mind and twists even the most basic attractions. I’ve met porn users who can’t believe the types of things they want to watch. They haven’t simply been using porn. Porn has actively reshaped them into something they don’t recognize and don’t like. 

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Porn is this generation’s great assault on masculinity and the role of men in society. It is essential that we win this battle for the sake of society’s survival. Contrary to what the gender-bending and family-morphing progressive elites claim, good husbands and good fathers and good church leaders are necessary for a healthy society. But pornography is destroying marriages, creating distant and disconnected fathers, and, metaphoricaclly castrating men, hindering their ability and desire to make a positive difference in the society around us.

So, with this sobering set of facts in mind let’s return to the question: what do pornography struggles, past and present, say about a man?

The proper way to respond is with everything that is good about masculinity. We have to fight pornography as men have fought countless evils throughout the ages. We need to fight pornography to protect women, and wives, and children, and our society at large. This is how pornography threatens society, by castrating men, and turning them from protectors into predators. Rooting out the evil in our own lives allows us to better fulfill the role we are called to perform in the lives of others. Battling our own demons enables us to battle the wider cultural demons. Every day without porn is another bit of virtue built. Virtue is not something you’re born with. Virtues are habits that you build. And one day without porn is the first step towards the virtue of being porn-free.

Many men ask me if men who have had past porn addictions are cut out for being in a relationship or working in the pro-life movement or in other areas where we are called to protect and defend the weak and vulnerable. And the answer to that is an unequivocal yes. Our society needs men who know what it means to fight battles and win. Our society needs men who can say that they fought porn and they beat porn, because their families and their friends were too important to risk. Our society needs men who rose to the challenge that the evils of their generation threw at them, and became better men as the result. And our society needs men who can help their friends and their sons and those around them fight the plague of pornography and free themselves from it, too—and who can understand better and offer encouragement more relevant than someone who has fought and been freed themselves?

So the answer to men is yes. Fight pornography. Beat pornography. And join the ranks of those who support their fellow men and women still fighting. Lend them support and encouragement. We cannot change the fact that porn has left an enormous path of destruction in its wake. But we can change the fact that too many people aren’t fighting it. We can change our own involvement. And we can rise to the challenge and face this threat to masculinity with all that is good about masculinity.

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Red Alert!

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By John-Henry Westen

I don’t like having to do this, but we have always found it best to be totally upfront with our readers: our Spring fundraising campaign is now worrying us! 

You see, with just 6 days remaining, we have only raised 30% of our goal, with $125,000 still left to raise. That is a long ways to go yet.

We have no choice but to reach our minimum goal of $175,000 if we are going to be able to continue serving the 5+ million readers who rely on us every month for investigative and groundbreaking news reports on life, faith and family issues.

Every year, LifeSite readership continues to grow by leaps and bounds. This year, we are again experiencing record-breaking interest, with over 6 million people visiting our website last month alone!

This unprecedented growth in turn creates its own demand for increased staff and resources, as we struggle to serve these millions of new readers.

And especially keep this in mind. As many more people read LifeSite, our mission of bringing about cultural change gets boosted. Our ultimate goal has always been to educate and activate the public to take well-informed, needed actions.

Another upside to our huge growth in readers is that it should be that much easier to reach our goal. To put it simply: if each person who read this one email donated whatever they could (even just $10) we would easily surpass our goal! 

Today, I hope you will join the many heroes who keep this ship afloat, and enable us to proclaim the truth through our reporting to tens of millions of people every year!

Your donations to LifeSite cause major things to happen! We see that every day and it is very exciting. Please join with us in making a cultural impact with a donation of ANY AMOUNT right now. 

You can also donate by phone or mail. We would love to hear from you!

Thank you so much for your support. 

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