Patrick Craine

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Canada’s pro-life movement unites behind motion on humanity of unborn

Patrick Craine
Patrick Craine

OTTAWA, Ontario, February 10, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Pro-life organizations across Canada are urging support for a historic motion tabled in Parliament Monday seeking to launch an inquiry into the humanity of the unborn.

The motion, by Tory MP Stephen Woodworth (Kitchener Centre), seeks to establish a special committee to consider when human life begins. Woodworth is calling for a re-examination of section 223 of the Criminal Code, which states that a child only becomes a “human being” once he or she has fully proceeded from the womb.

Jakki Jeffs, executive director of Alliance for Life Ontario, said she and her organization “applaud” Woodworth for “raising the appalling plight of children before birth and the lack of recognition let alone protection of their lives by our Canadian Criminal Code.”

“We feel that it is long overdue given the fact that the government was asked to look into such matters years ago,” said Natalie Hudson Sonnen, executive director of the national educational group LifeCanada.

“It is an international embarrassment that we are in this current situation,” she continued. “Most countries in the world have revisited the issue, but Canada remains mired in a political correctness that forbids us to discuss such issues.”

Abortion was decriminalized in Canada in 1969 with the passage of Pierre Trudeau’s Omnibus crime bill, which allowed a committee of doctors to approve the deadly procedure. The Supreme Court of Canada struck down that law in 1988, calling on Parliament to enact a new one.

But numerous attempts by pro-life MPs have been rebuffed. Prime Minister Stephen Harper, whose Conservative government took power in 2006 and currently holds a majority, has insisted he will “not permit anyone” to open the debate on abortion in Parliament.

Woodworth’s motion proposes to set up a committee to look at the medical evidence relating to the humanity of the unborn. It will need majority support from the House of Commons, and Woodworth expects an hour of debate in March and another hour in June.

Campaign Life Coalition has backed the motion and is urging its supporters to contact MPs and tell them to support the effort. “Campaign Life Coalition encourages the initiative of any MP who presents pro-life legislation,” said Jim Hughes, CLC’s president.

“It is about time women and men who disagree with the radical feminist agenda stand up and speak up about the need to respect the dignity of every human being at every stage of his or her existence. Our MPs need to hear from us,” said Michèle Boulva, director of the Catholic Organization for Life and Family, which was co-founded by the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Knights of Columbus.

(Get contact info for MPs here.)

Jane Richard, president of Kitchener Waterloo Right to Life, based in Woodworth’s area, said they have “great hope and determination” to support the motion.

“We are under no illusion that there will be an immediate law to make abortion illegal, in particular the first trimester, however this motion sets a precedent for getting to the fundamental principle of whether or not an preborn child is a person that has implications for the protection of life beyond the womb,” she said.

Justice Minister Rob Nicholson has opposed the motion, reiterating the Harper government’s stance against re-opening the abortion debate. Both the Opposition New Democrats and the Liberals have slammed it as an affront to “reproductive freedom.”

The reaction from the political class was no surprise, says Boulva. “Canadian society has accepted abortion as a so-called ‘right’,” she said. “We’ve been hiding our heads in the sand for decades, tragically choosing to ignore scientific facts regarding the beginning of human life.”

She said political leaders are even rejecting the simple request to examine the scientific evidence “because they are afraid of the backlash they might suffer from radical groups.”

Some pro-life groups have expressed concerns over Woodworth’s statements that he believes the unborn become human at some point before “complete birth,” suggesting a possible gestational approach. However these groups have also expressed confidence that, if conducted properly, the committee’s only possible conclusion will be that humanity begins at conception.

“Scientific evidence is clear that life begins at conception,” said Mary Ellen Douglas, CLC’s national organizer. “We trust Parliament will recognize and protect all human life from conception to natural death.”

Boulva noted that this was the clear opinion of Dr. Jérôme Lejeune, regarded as the father of modern genetics.

“From the moment of fertilization, that is from the earliest moment of biologic existence, the developing human being is alive, and entirely distinct from the mother who provides nourishment and protection,” he said. “From fertilization to old age, it is the same living human being who grows, develops, matures and eventually dies.  This particular human being, with his or her characteristics, is unique and therefore irreplaceable.”

Jeffs also expressed concern that the motion focuses specifically on “medical” evidence given that the Canadian Medical Association approves abortions up until 20 weeks.

“The medical profession has become a major threat to life and health,” she said. “The science of embryology has confirmed when an individual human life begins and we remain hopeful if Mr Woodworth’s motion passes that experts from all relevant disciplines will have the opportunity to present their evidence.”

To send a letter of support to Stephen Woodworth:

Stephen Woodworth
Room 334, Confederation Building
House of Commons
Ottawa ON K1A 0A6
Telephone: 613-995-8913
Fax: 613-996-7329
Email: [email protected]

Other contact information:

Prime Minister Stephen Harper
[email protected]

Get contact info for all MPs here.

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Lisa Bourne

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Pressure mounts as Catholic Relief Services fails to act on VP in gay ‘marriage’

Lisa Bourne
By Lisa Bourne
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Rick Estridge, Catholic Relief Services' Vice President of Overseas Finance, is in a same-sex "marriage," public records show. Twitter

BALTIMORE, MD, April 24, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) -- Nearly a week after news broke that a Catholic Relief Services vice president had contracted a homosexual “marriage” while also publicly promoting homosexuality on social media in conflict with Church teaching, the US Bishops international relief agency has taken no apparent steps to address the matter and is also not talking.

CRS Vice President of Overseas Finance Rick Estridge entered into a homosexual “marriage” in Maryland the same month in 2013 that he was promoted by CRS to vice president, public records show.

Despite repeated efforts at a response, CRS has not acknowledged LifeSiteNews’ inquiries during the week. And the agency told ChurchMilitant.com Thursday that no action had been taken beyond discussion of the situation and CRS would have no further comment.

"Nothing has changed,” CRS Senior Manager for Communications Tom said. “No further statement will be made."

LifeSiteNews first contacted CRS for a response prior to the April 20 release of the report and did not receive a reply, however Estridge’s Facebook and LinkeIn profiles were then removed just prior to the report’s release.

CRS also did not acknowledge LifeSiteNews’ follow-up inquiry later in the week.

“Having an executive who publicly celebrates a moral abomination shows the ineffectiveness of CRS' Catholic identity training,” Lepanto Institute President Michael Hichborn told LifeSiteNews. “How many others who hate Catholic moral teaching work at CRS?”

CRS did admit it was aware Estridge was in a “same-sex civil marriage” to Catholic News Agency (CNA) Monday afternoon, and confirmed he was VP of Overseas Finance and had been with CRS for 16 years.

“At this point we are in deliberations on this matter,” Price told CNA that day.

ChurchMilitant.com also reported that according to its sources, it was a well-known fact at CRS headquarters in Baltimore that Estridge was in a homosexual “marriage.” 

“There is no way CRS didn't know one of its executives entered into a mock-marriage until we broke the story,” Hichborn said. “The implication is clear; CRS top brass had no problem with having an executive so deliberately flouting Catholic moral teaching.”

“The big question is,” Hichborn continued, “what other morally repugnant matters is CRS comfortable with?”

While the wait continues for the Bishops’ relief organization to address the matter, those behind the report and other critics of prior instances of CRS involvement in programs and groups that violate Church principles continue to call for a thorough and independent review of the agency programs and personnel.

“How long should it take to call an employee into your office, tell him that his behavior is incompatible with the mission of the organization, and ask for his resignation?” asked Population Research Institute President Steven Mosher. “About thirty minutes, I would say.”

“The Catholic identity of CRS is at stake,” Hichborn stated. “If CRS does nothing, then there is no way faithful Catholics can trust the integrity of CRS's programs or desire to make its Catholicity preeminent.” 

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Thousands of marriage activists gathered in D.C. June 19, 2014 for the 2nd March for Marriage. Dustin Siggins / LifeSiteNews.com
The Editors

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Watch the March for Marriage online—only at LifeSiteNews

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WASHINGTON, D.C., April 24, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) -- At noon on Saturday, the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) and dozens of cosponsors, coalition partners, and speakers will launch the third annual March for Marriage. Thousands of people are expected to take place in this important event to show the support real marriage has among the American people.

As the sole media sponsor of the March, LifeSiteNews is proud to exclusively livestream the March. Click here to see the rally at noon Eastern Time near the U.S. Capitol, and the March to the Supreme Court at 1:00 Eastern Time.

And don't forget to pray that God's Will is done on Tuesday, when the Supreme Court hears arguments about marriage!

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Ben Johnson Ben Johnson Follow Ben

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Hillary Clinton: ‘Religious beliefs’ against abortion ‘have to be changed’

Ben Johnson Ben Johnson Follow Ben
By Ben Johnson

NEW YORK CITY, April 24, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Speaking to an influential gathering in New York City on Thursday, Hillary Clinton declared that “religious beliefs” that condemn "reproductive rights," “have to be changed.”

“Yes, we've cut the maternal mortality rate in half, but far too many women are still denied critical access to reproductive health,” Hillary told the Women in the World Summit yesterday.

Liberal politicians use “reproductive health” as a blanket term that includes abortion. However, Hillary's reference echoes National Organization for Women (NOW) president Terry O’Neill's op-ed from last May that called abortion “an essential measure to prevent the heartbreak of infant mortality.”

The Democratic presidential hopeful added that governments should throw the power of state coercion behind the effort to redefine traditional religious dogmas.

“Rights have to exist in practice, not just on paper. Laws have to be backed up with resources, and political will,” she said. “Deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs, and structural biases have to be changed.”

The line received rousing applause at the feminist conference, hosted in Manhattan's Lincoln Center by Tina Brown.

She also cited religious-based objections to the HHS mandate, funding Planned Parenthood, and the homosexual and transgender agenda as obstacles that the government must defeat.

“America moves ahead when all women are guaranteed the right to make their own health care choices, not when those choices are taken away by an employer like Hobby Lobby,” she said. The Supreme Court ruled last year that closely held corporations had the right to opt out of the provision of ObamaCare requiring them to provide abortion-inducing drugs, contraceptives, and sterilization to employees with no co-pay – a mandate that violates the teachings of the Catholic Church and other Christian bodies.

Clinton lamented that “there are those who offer themselves as leaders...who would defund the country's leading provider of family planning,” Planned Parenthood, “and want to let health insurance companies once again charge women just because of our gender.”

“We move forward when gay and transgender women are embraced...not fired from good jobs because of who they love or who they are,” she added.

It is not the first time the former first lady had said that liberal social policies should displace religious views. In a December 2011 speech in Geneva, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said perhaps the “most challenging issue arises when people cite religious or cultural values as a reason to violate or not to protect the human rights of LGBT citizens.” These objections, she said, are “not unlike the justification offered for violent practices towards women like honor killings, widow burning, or female genital mutilation.”

While opinions on homosexuality are “still evolving,” in time “we came to learn that no [religious] practice or tradition trumps the human rights that belong to all of us.”

Her views, if outside the American political mainstream, have been supported by the United Nations. The UN Population Fund stated in its 2012 annual report that religious objections to abortion-inducing drugs had to be overcome. According to the UNFPA report, “‘duty-bearers’ (governments and others)” have a responsibility to assure that all forms of contraception – including sterilization and abortion-inducing ‘emergency contraception’ – are viewed as acceptable – “But if they are not acceptable for cultural, religious or other reasons, they will not be used.”

Two years later, the United Nations' Committee on the Rights of the Child instructed the Vatican last February that the Catholic Church should amend canon law “relating to abortion with a view to identifying circumstances under which access to abortion services may be permitted.”

At Thursday's speech, Hillary called the legal, state-enforced implementation of feminist politics “the great unfinished business of the 21st century,” which must be accomplished “not just for women but for everyone — and not just in far away countries but right here in the United States.”

“These are not just women's fights. These have to be America's fights and the world's fights,” she said. “There's still much to be done in our own country, much more to be done around the world, but I'm confident and optimistic that if we get to work, we will get it done together.”

American critics called Clinton's suggestion that a nation founded upon freedom of religion begin using state force to change religious practices unprecedented.

“Never before have we seen a presidential candidate be this bold about directly confronting the Catholic Church's teachings on abortion,” said Bill Donohue of the Catholic League.

“In one sense, this shows just how extreme the pro-abortion caucus actually is,” Ed Morrissey writes at HotAir.com. “Running for president on the basis of promising to use the power of government to change 'deep seated cultural codes [and] religious beliefs' might be the most honest progressive slogan in history.”

He hoped that, now that she had called for governments to change religious doctrines, “voters will now see the real Hillary Clinton, the one who dismisses their faith just the same as Obama did, and this time publicly rather than in a private fundraiser.”

Donohue asked Hillary “to take the next step and tell us exactly what she plans to do about delivering on her pledge. Not only would practicing Catholics like to know, so would Evangelicals, Orthodox Jews, Muslims, and all those who value life from conception to natural death.”

You may watch Hillary's speech below.

Her comments on religion begin at approximately 9:00. 

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