An open letter to the students of St. Peter’s Catholic High school
“The so-called right to abortion has pitted mothers against their children and women against men. It has sown violence and discord at the heart of the most intimate human relationships. It has aggravated the derogation of the father’s role in an increasingly fatherless society. It has portrayed the greatest of gifts—a child—as a competitor, an intrusion, and an inconvenience.”
- Mother Teresa
Many of you have come to our website in the last few days to write comments defending your civics teacher, Mr. Searle, and to vent your frustration about the cancellation of this week’s trip to Ohio.
Firstly, it’s worth observing that at no point did LifeSiteNews.com call for the trip to be cancelled. It is unfortunate that one misguided decision to include a strong partisan element has scuttled what otherwise may have been a memorable educational experience. And secondly, we have never questioned Mr. Searle’s teaching abilities or character. Your comments have made it abundantly clear that Mr. Searle is a charismatic and well-liked teacher.
Quite simply, the controversy over this trip is about whether students at a Catholic high school should be travelling to support Barack Obama, the most extreme pro-abortion President in American history: the same President who has been strongly condemned by the country’s Catholic bishops for attacking freedoms of conscience and religion, especially those of Catholics.
When we first reported on the trip, we spoke to one mother who expressed concerns that Obama is pro-abortion. However, many of you have dismissed this mother’s concerns, arguing that the president’s views on this issue are irrelevant and that the purpose of the trip was not to “support abortion.” Some of you have even made the claim that one can be both Catholic and “pro-choice.” We can understand how you might have come to those views. But we regret that your Catholic schools have failed in their duty to equip you with the truth about abortion – the greatest civil rights issue facing our generation.
The Catholic Church teaches that abortion is murder. It does so not based upon some abstract theological argument, but rather on the basis of modern science, which demonstrates conclusively that human life begins at the moment of conception, and that from conception forward life is simply an ongoing process of development.
The greatest threat to “abortion rights” today is not the pro-life movement, but the widespread availability of the ultrasound, which has opened a window into the womb, exposing the undeniable truth that the preborn child is as human as any of us – and therefore possesses the basic human right not to be killed. Is it any wonder, then, that abortionists have gone to great lengths to make sure mothers do not see an ultrasound image of their child before undergoing an abortion?
Every year in Canada some 100,000 unborn children are killed through abortion. In the United States, the number is much higher. If indeed abortion is murder, then there is no more pressing issue facing us today, because no other issue involves such a massive loss of innocent human life.
As well, we must consider the welfare of the mothers of these babies, who are often pressured into abortions by unsympathetic boyfriends and husbands, and who are often traumatized as a result. Many fathers, too, have been negatively affected by abortion, especially in the heart-breaking circumstance when they have wished to keep and care for their child.
While Mr. Searle is a popular civics teacher, we humbly submit that he has failed in one important duty as a civics teacher at a Catholic school if he has not informed you about Mr. Obama’s positions on critical moral issues such as abortion.
Here are a few key facts that you should know about the sitting U.S. president:
→ Mr. Obama voted three times while a senator in the Illinois senate against a bill that would have protected babies born alive after failed abortions from being abandoned and left to die. The bill was introduced after a nurse at an Illinois hospital witnessed living babies being taken to a utility room in the hospital, and then left on a table to die. Obama expressed concerns that supporting the bill would somehow restrict legal abortion. However, even after an amendment was introduced to the bill, explicitly stating that the bill would in no way affect abortion rights, he still voted against it, effectively voting to protect infanticide. It may sound too horrific to be true, but unfortunately, it is. You can find out more here. A later federal version of the bill was passed with the overwhelming bi-partisan support of Republicans and Democrats – putting President Obama on the extreme fringe even of his officially pro-abortion party.
→ Mr. Obama opposed a federal ban on the so-called “partial-birth abortion” procedure. In a partial-birth abortion, a fully-formed baby is mostly born, with only his head still remaining in his mother’s birth canal. Scissors are then used to puncture a hole in the back of the skull, into which a suction device is inserted, which vacuums out the baby’s brains, killing the baby. The skull is then crushed and the body of the baby is removed and discarded. Even though numerous medical organizations testified that there is no conceivable medical reason for a partial-birth abortion, Obama opposed the legislation, saying it should include “exceptions” for the health of the mother.
→ Mr. Obama has also expressed support for so-called “late-term” abortions, in which fully-formed, living babies into the third trimester of pregnancy are literally ripped apart, limb-by-limb. You can read one former abortionist’s description of this process here. Be warned, the descriptions are gruesome, graphic, and heart-rending.
→ Recently top Obama aides were asked to name any abortion restrictions that the president supports. They could not think of a single one.
→ Earlier this year the Obama administration issued a new rule that requires nearly all employers to provide contraception, sterilizations and drugs that can cause early abortions to their employees free of charge. All of these things violate Catholic moral teaching. Since then, dozens of Catholic employers have sued the Obama administration. The U.S. bishops have strongly spoken out against the rule, calling it an unprecedented attack on freedom of religion in the United States. Despite the massive backlash from Catholics, Obama has continued to defend the rule, and refused to consider allowing those who object on moral grounds to opt out.
→ On his very first day in office, President Obama rescinded a rule called the Mexico City Policy, which forbade U.S. foreign aid money from going to groups that promote or perform abortions.
This is really only the tip of the iceberg of Mr. Obama’s abortion activism. During the current presidential campaign, the president has made abortion rights a central element of his platform, mentioning his support for abortion and the country’s #1 abortion provider, Planned Parenthood, wherever he goes.
In short, it is not possible to argue that Mr. Obama’s abortion support is simply one among many issues the president supports. It is an issue of life and death for millions of unborn babies, whose only crime was being conceived. One can try to argue that it’s ok to support a pro-abortion candidate despite his support for abortion (the Catholic Church would disagree), but certainly it is impossible for any voter or political activists with a moral conscience to simply ignore the issue as inconsequential.
As Pope Benedict said in 2006, abortion is “today’s gravest injustice.”
There are other issues as well that should be of grave concern to Catholics or any voter of good will, including Mr. Obama’s support for embryonic stem cell research, which exploits human life at its earliest stages, as well as his support for same-sex ‘marriage.’ Any discussion about political candidates in a Catholic school should include an analysis of the candidates’ stance on these issues.
We sincerely hope that Mr. Searle and other teachers at your school will renew their dedication to the school’s mission to impart an authentically Christian worldview to their students, equipping you to make a positive difference in a world that is all too hostile to the fundamental values of life, family, faith and freedom. And certainly we encourage you, students at a Catholic school, to spend some time researching the truth about abortion and other key moral issues.
The LifeSiteNews.com team
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Planned Parenthood closes rural Iowa abortion facility because of low business
DUBUQUE, Iowa, May 3, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Planned Parenthood closed an Iowa abortion facility on Friday, noting low business that left the facility unsustainable from a financial standpoint.
Although Planned Parenthood of the Heartland announced in January that it planned to close the Dubuque, Iowa, office, pro-life sidewalk counselors were overjoyed on Friday to read the sign in the window that read: “Our office is closed, effective April 28, 2016.”
The office did not perform surgical abortions but did provide medication abortions to the community of about 58,000.
“Rejoice with us for the lives of unborn children saved!” Iowa Right to Life said in a statement after the closure.
As with numerous other closures, Planned Parenthood, which styles itself a provider of “care no matter what,” emphasized it was closing its doors to preserve its bottom line.
“After assessing the shifting health care landscape, changing demographics, and the challenges of operating in areas with low patient volumes, we made the tough decision to close the Dubuque Health Center,” the group said in an announcement. “This change allows us to expand hours and see more patients in Cedar Rapids, where there is unmet demand due to lack of clinician hours.”
“While we regret making this change, we know it is a necessary step in order to continue our mission to provide, promote and protect reproductive and sexual health through health services, education and advocacy. Patients have been notified, and if they wish, they can receive a broader array of services at our health center in Cedar Rapids, where we have expanded hours to accommodate more patient,” Planned Parenthood said.
American Life League’s vice president, Jim Sedlak, remembers speaking to the county right to life group nine years ago.
“I told them at the time that they needed to protest outside Planned Parenthood at least once a week,” he said. “They told me they would do better than that. Over the last eight years, these dedicated pro-lifers were outside Planned Parenthood every hour it was open. And now...it’s closed for good.”
That aligns with advice that David Bereit, the founder of 40 Days for Life, once told young people who wanted to know how to end abortion.
Be loving and compassionate, he said.
“Your peaceful, loving presence out there flies in the face of all the stereotypes they want to throw onto us,” he added. “When you show them love instead of condemnation, when you show them peace and joy instead of anger and judgment, that will begin to break down the walls.”
Iowa Right to Life credited just such tactics with closing an office in Red Oak that performed webcam abortions. “Planned Parenthood shut down in Red Oak in large part because of the constant, prayerful presence outside their clinic,” the group said.
Upon hearing of the latest abortion facility shuttering, the Dubuque County Right to Life said that Planned Parenthood isn't the only group that will move its base of operations. “We will probably put our efforts in Cedar Rapids and will continue to spread the pro-life message,” said Executive Director Marian Bourek.
Ted Cruz confronted by mom who supports aborting disabled babies…just like hers
MARION, Indiana, May 3, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Senator Ted Cruz was met on the campaign trail by a mother who strongly opposed a state pro-life law that would have protected children with birth conditions – like her own.
Andrea DeBruler, a 41-year-old nurse, confronted the presidential hopeful in the city of Marion as Cruz campaigned with Gov. Mike Pence.
DeBruler first asked Cruz, then Pence, about House Bill 1337, which bans abortions performed due to the child's race, sex, or disability, such as Down syndome.
DeBruler held up a picture of her daughter, Jania, who was born with cerebral palsy. “This was a choice,” she said.
She asked Sen. Cruz if he supported the bill, which made Indiana the second state in the nation to ban abortion for Down syndrome, after North Dakota.
“I'm not Governor Pence,” he replied. “But I'll tell you this: I believe in protecting human life.”
Pence, who endorsed Cruz in today's make-or-break Indiana primary, listened to her objections.
“I'm not here as a Republican, I'm not here as a Democrat. I'm here as a woman, a woman with choices, choices that you guys should not make,” DeBruler said.
After hearing that she felt many families lacked sufficient resources to care for children, especially in an area like Marion, Gov. Pence offered to connect her with social services.
“God bless her,” he said, looking at Jania's picture, “and God bless you.”
Though it may be unusual to encounter a woman arguing for the right to abort her own child, the governor handled it calmly. Pence had specifically reflected on “precious moments” he spent with “families of children with disabilities, especially those raising children with Down syndrome” when he signed the bill into law in March.
"We are truly thankful for the passage of this historic legislation by the Indiana House and applaud the new civil rights protections this bill creates for unborn children, as well as the new provisions this bill establishes for the humane final disposition of aborted babies," Indiana Right to Life President Mike Fichter said at the time.
DeBruler told the UK media outlet The Independent that H.B. 1337 “means you can no longer have an abortion based on deformity. I’m against this law, because I think it should be a woman’s choice” to abort for any reason.
Congressional Democrats made similar statements during hearings last month for Rep. Trent Franks' federal Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act (PRENDA), with Congressman John Conyers saying the bill is “patently unconstitutional,” because a woman has the right to abort a child before viability for any reason.
Both leading contenders for the Democratic nomination expressed their displeasure with the law, which protects unborn children from racial or sexual discrimination, as well as discrimination on the basis of an inborn trait like mental capacity.
When Gov. Pence signed the law, Sen. Bernie Sanders tweeted:
The decision to have an abortion is for a woman to make, not the Governor of Indiana. https://t.co/1VOroXS2br— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) March 24, 2016
Hillary Clinton later said, “I commend the women of this state, young and old, for standing up against this governor and this legislature.”
DeBruler told The Independent, despite her comment about not being a Democrat or a Republican, she is in fact a Democrat and will vote for Hillary Clinton in today's primary.
The moral challenge to Cardinal Wuerl in pending Notre Dame outrage
May 3, 2016 (CatholicCulture) -- In 2009, when the University of Notre Dame invited President Barack Obama to deliver a commencement address, dozens of American bishops lodged loud public protests. Yet this year, as Notre Dame prepares to confer an even greater honor on Vice President Joe Biden (together with former House Speaker John Boehner), the silence from the hierarchy is deafening.
Back in 2009, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Houston said that Notre Dame’s invitation to President Obama was “very disappointing,”, while then-Archbishop Timothy Dolan termed it a “big mistake.” The late Bishop John D’Arcy, then leader of the Indiana diocese in which the university is located, spoke of “the terrible breach which has taken place between Notre Dame and the Church.” For the first time in his 25 years of service to the Fort Wayne-South Bend diocese, Bishop D’Arcy declined to attend the Notre Dame commencement exercises; instead he addressed a protest rally organized by pro-life students, faculty, alumni, and staff.
These prelates and others explained their dismay by referring to the statement “Catholics in Political Life,” released in 2004 by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops. In that document, the bishops reflected on the need to maintain a consistent public witness in defense of human life, and therefore to distance themselves from public officials who support legal abortion. The statement set forth a clear policy that Catholic institutions should not give public honors to “pro-choice” politicians:
The Catholic community and Catholic institutions should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles. They should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions.
By giving President Obama an honorary degree and offering him an opportunity to speak at graduation, Notre Dame clearly violated that policy. University officials could offer only garbled partial defenses, claiming that they were honoring Obama not because he supports unrestricted abortion, but because he is President of the United States.
This year the university cannot offer even that lame defense of the decision to award the Laetare Medal to Vice President Biden. Unlike Obama, Biden is a Catholic, and by granting him this award the university is explicitly saying that the Vice President has “illustrated the ideals of the Church and enriched the heritage of humanity.” In other words, Notre Dame is honoring Vice President Biden as a Catholic political leader despite his unwavering support for abortion and same-sex marriage.
Give credit to Bishop Kevin Rhoades, the current leader of the Fort Wayne-South Bend diocese, for raising a lonely voice of protest. “I believe it is wrong for Notre Dame to honor any ‘pro-choice’ public official with the Laetare Medal, even if he/she has other positive accomplishments in public service,” Bishop Rhoades said. But if any other bishops have joined him in that rebuke to Notre Dame, I must have missed their public announcements.
Some observers, of liberal political sympathies, have argued that it is wrong to honor John Boehner, too, because the former Speaker disagreed with the US bishops’ stand on immigration. This is a tired old argument, conflating disagreement with the bishops on a prudential political decision with defiance of Church teaching on a fundamental moral principle. But it is noteworthy that Notre Dame officials saw fit to make a joint award, no doubt in a cynical effort to dodge political criticism by choosing one honoree from each side of the political spectrum.
“We live in a toxic political environment where poisonous invective and partisan gamesmanship pass for political leadership,” said Father John Jenkins, the president of Notre Dame, in announcing the Laetare Award recipients. (Notice the pre-emptive suggestion that those who criticize the school’s choices may be engaged in “poisonous invective.”) He went on to make a tortured argument that although Notre Dame is honoring two politicians, it is not honoring them for what they have done in their political careers:
In recognizing both men, Notre Dame is not endorsing the policy positions of either, but celebrating two lives dedicated to keeping our democratic institutions working for the common good through dialogue focused on the issues and responsible compromise.
By now we all know the familiar dodges. The politician claims to oppose abortion personally, but to feel a delicate reticence about imposing his views on others. He says that we must be willing to compromise (even on life-and-death decisions). He insists that he is not “pro-abortion” but “pro-choice.”
That last bubble of rhetoric was unceremoniously burst by Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington, DC, when he celebrated Mass at Georgetown after Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richard had delivered a lecture there. “The word ‘choice’ is a smokescreen,” he said, “behind which those killing unborn children take refuge. Every chance you get, blow that smoke away!”
Now Cardinal Wuerl himself has a chance to “blow that smoke away.” As things stand, he is scheduled to celebrate Mass at the Notre Dame commencement, and to receive an honorary degree. He could pull out; he could absent himself from the ceremonies, to ensure that he does not become part of an event that pays homage to a “pro-choice” Catholic politician.
And there is a precedent. Back in 2009, the Harvard legal scholar (and former US ambassador to the Holy See) Mary Ann Glendon was chosen to receive the Laetare Award. But when she learned that President Obama would be speaking, she announced her decision to decline the award. Clearly annoyed that her presence might be used to quiet the critics of the honor for Obama, Ambassador Glendon wrote that she did not want to be used as a counterweight, nor did she see the Notre Dame commencement as an appropriate venue for a genteel debate about legal abortion:
A commencement, however, is supposed to be a joyous day for the graduates and their families. It is not the right place, nor is a brief acceptance speech the right vehicle, for engagement with the very serious problems raised by Notre Dame’s decision—in disregard of the settled position of the U.S. bishops—to honor a prominent and uncompromising opponent of the Church’s position on issues involving fundamental principles of justice.
Could Cardinal Wuerl do this year what Ambassador Glendon did in 2009? Even at this late date, his withdrawal would send a powerful message of support for the right to life: an unmistakable rebuke to politicians who hide behind the smokescreen that the cardinal himself identified. To be sure, if he did withdraw, the cardinal would be caught in an avalanche of public criticism; he would suffer for his public witness. But there is a reason why cardinals wear red.
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