Patrick Craine

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Baby Joseph airlifted to U.S. hospital

Patrick Craine

To join a Facebook page in support of the parents of Joseph Maraachli, click here.

St. LOUIS, Missouri, March 14, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – After weeks of legal battles and searching for a hospital willing to take over his care, Baby Joseph Maraachli was airlifted Sunday night to a children’s hospital in St. Louis, Missouri.

Joseph and his father, Moe Maraachli, were joined on the specially-equipped air ambulance by Fr. Frank Pavone, national director of the U.S.-based Priests for Life.  The organization paid for the flight, and will foot Joseph’s U.S. medical bills and the cost of his family’s accommodations.

Doctors at Cardinal Glennon Children’s Medical Center are now evaluating his condition and developing a treatment plan.  The hospital is expected to make an announcement by Tuesday morning about their treatment plan for Joseph.

“If there is a chance this boy can live, we have to explore every option,” said Fr. Pavone in a Fox News report.  “Now that we have won the battle against the medical bureaucracy in Canada, the real work of saving Baby Joseph can begin.”

Joseph suffers from a severe neurological disorder, but his specific condition remains undiagnosed.  The Maraachli’s daughter Zina died from similar complications eight years ago.  In that case the family took her home after doctors performed a tracheostomy.  They now want the same for Joseph.

Joseph’s previous hospital, London Health Sciences Centre, which refused to perform the tracheostomy and had sought to remove his ventilator against his parents’ wishes, defended their care of Joseph again in a press release Monday.  They insisted he was taken from the hospital “despite the strongest possible medical advice.”

The hospital complained that their doctors and staff “were targeted by well-organized social media feeds and directly via email with personal threats, threats to their families, innuendoes and falsehoods.”

The family had hired a new Canadian lawyer last week, Claudio Martini, who was planning to appeal the February 17th decision by Ontario Superior Court Justice Helen Rady backing the London doctors’ decision to take Joseph off life support.

Justice Rady’s decision was based on doctors’ testimony that he is in a permanent vegetative state with no brain stem reflex.  But the family has contested that claim, pointing to footage showing him flailing and reacting to tickling.

A new video just released by Priests for Life shows Father Pavone interacting with Baby Joseph Maraachli in his hospital room.

The video, shot today, shows the baby moving his hands and rolling in his bed. The hospital in Ontario where he had been a patient since October, declared that the baby was in a persistent vegetative state, but doctors at Cardinal Glennon have told Father Pavone that he is primarily breathing on his own and is responding to touch.

After the Superior Court ruling, the hospital had appeared set to remove Joseph’s ventilator on February 21st.  The move was delayed, however, when the family hired expert lawyer Mark Handelman with the financial backing of Canada’s Euthanasia Prevention Coalition.  Handelman was later replaced by Martini.

Alex Schadenberg, executive director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, has warned that Ontario is creating a system where doctors are authorized to force life and death decisions on patients.

In a blog post Monday, he said the case emphasizes the need to reform a legal system in the province that “is loaded against families.”  When there’s a disagreement between doctors and patients, hospitals have “unlimited financial resources” to hire a top lawyer with expertise in this area of law, he explained, while families often hire a lawyer from legal aid or one who lacks experience in the area.

“The law has a natural inequality that has resulted in a plethora of precedent setting cases that support the role of the doctor/hospital to make medical decisions against the wishes of the family. This needs to change,” he wrote.  “If doctors/hospitals have access to huge legal budgets that are in fact, tax payers money, in order to fight families who are simply attempting to make medical care decisions on behalf of family members, then the system should also pay the cost for the family.”

Dr. Paul Byrne, a fifty-year veteran in the field of neonatology based in Ohio, who has said that Joseph should have had a tracheostomy “a long time ago,” told LifeSiteNews Monday that this issue shouldn’t be turned into a debate about the American health care system versus the Canadian system.  Instead, he said it highlights the need for “medicine that’s based on the Creator and the specialness of the person.”

“It’s medicine that is in accord with the Hippocratic oath, which very few doctors take any more, versus medicine that is not true medicine, but is actually part of the culture of death,” he explained.  “It’s medicine that’s with God versus medicine that’s without God.”

“They make the person be like a machine, like an automobile that has parts,” he said.  That’s not what the person is.  When the automobile gets too much wrong with it, it goes to a junk yard.”

“They decided that baby Joseph was not worthwhile and to do a tracheostomy was futile, and therefore they weren’t going to do it,” he added.

To join a Facebook page in support of the parents of Joseph Maraachli, click here.



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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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