Peter Baklinski

Canadian judge who struck down assisted suicide law was pro-abortion feminist activist

Peter Baklinski
Peter Baklinski
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VANCOUVER, British Columbia, June 20, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Last week, Justice Lynn Smith issued a decision striking down Canada’s law that prohibits assisted suicide as “unconstitutional.” What many do not know is that Justice Smith has a history of advocating for an anti-life agenda that long precedes her career in the judiciary.

Cecilia Forsyth, national president of REAL Women of Canada, says that given her background, Justice Smith’s decision is “not surprising”.

“She formerly held the position of President of the legal arm of the feminist organization, The Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF),” Forsyth pointed out in a press release two days ago. “Entirely consistent with her liberal ideology, she struck down the restraints placed on the protection of the lives of vulnerable patients.”

Smith’s “liberal ideology” can be traced back at least 20 years. In 1991, she intervened in a Supreme Court of Canada appeal as the lead attorney for LEAF on behalf of two midwives who were convicted in a lower court of “criminal negligence” for their part in the death of a baby that died during delivery.

The case naturally raised the issue of the legal status of the unborn baby.

At that time, Smith successfully argued that a “foetus is not a ‘person’” within the meaning of the Criminal Code on the basis that “such a result would be inconsistent with the goal of sexual equality in the law.”

In her defense Smith argued that the midwives only harmed the mother, who survived, and not the baby, since “the fetus cannot be treated as legally autonomous from her as it is ‘in and of the mother’ until fully born.”

The attitude of pro-abortion Canadians, which is encapsulated in the oft-heard feministic refrain “my body, my choice”, is rooted in arguments such as the one advanced by Smith in this case.

“The legal status of the feotus—even of a full-term feotus—cannot be addressed without addressing the legal status of the woman in whose body it is,” Smith argued.

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Smith urged the Court that to “enhance women’s equality (rather than further entrench their inequality)” the Criminal Code must be interpreted so that “the status of the foetus is not considered apart from the woman who carries it.”

“[T]he feotus is not a ‘person’ within the meaning of section 203 of the Criminal Code, or any other kind of entity separate from the woman in whose body it is,” she said.

The Supreme Court followed Smith’s logic and ruled that an unborn baby is not a person for the purposes of the Criminal Code. The midwives were acquitted of the charge.

Opponents of assisted suicide, such as Alex Schadenberg from the Euthanasia Prevention Collation, point out that just as Smith’s focus on women’s rights blinded her to the humanity of the unborn baby, her focus on the autonomy of the individual has blinded her to the injustice of assisted suicide, which ultimately amounts to legalized murder.

“Remove the euphemism and assisted suicide is homicide,” wrote Toronto Star columnist Rosie DiManno on Monday. “Justifiable? B.C. Supreme Court Justice Lynn Smith thinks so, with an alarming landmark interpretation of the Canadian Charter that would allow the extinguishing of lives.”

DiManno lambasted Smith’s manipulation of Section 7 of the Charter — the right to life, liberty and security — that allowed her to arrive at the pro-death verdict.

“It is radical inside-out rationalizing to turn right to life into right to death, with a tortured reading of the Charter to bless approval of murder in some circumstances,” said DiManno

“The judge may be an exceptionally wise person with a brilliant legal mind, but she displayed a shockingly poor grasp of some basic premises when challenging a government lawyer’s argument that life is sacrosanct and the state cannot condone the taking of a life. ‘But (the state) sends young men off to war,’ Justice Smith countered. That is an absurd analogy, seriously undermining Smith’s tall forehead bona fides.”

Margaret Dore, president of Choice is an Illusion, accused Justice Smith of using “double-speak” to arrive at her verdict.

“The opinion is … written in double-speak, which means to say one thing and to mean another, sometimes the opposite,” Dore said. “Most centrally, the opinion bases the plaintiff’s ‘right to die’ on her ‘right to life’ in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. These are opposite concepts.”

Cecilia Forsyth of REAL Women of Canada believes that Justice Smith has been “blinded by her ideological beliefs” and that she has “obviously either been unwilling or unable to grasp the long-range ramifications of her decision.”

Forsyth predicts a grim future, if the ruling is not overturned, where premature death will become the only visible horizon for the elderly and infirm.

“With the legalization of assisted suicide, patients will be made extremely vulnerable if they guiltily try to hold onto their lives despite concerns about their family. Our aging population, coupled with our already failing health care system, will only exacerbate the problems of gravely ill individuals.”

Dr. Will Johnston, chair of the Euthanasia Prevention Collation in British Columbia agrees with Forsyth’s concerns.

“Most elder abuse is hidden from view - and if we can’t detect the abuse now, how are we going to do it when the stakes are raised?” he said.

“I have seen how easily influenced older people can be, and how inadequate are our national strategies against suicide. The present decision, which should be immediately appealed and corrected, is a huge step backwards, a blow to public safety, and would force changes in public policy which would do more harm than good.” 

The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition is calling on Canadians to urge Justice Minister Rob Nicholson to launch an appeal to the B.C. Court of Appeals.

Contact Information:

The Honourable Robert Douglas Nicholson
Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada
284 Wellington Street
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0H8

E-mail: [email protected]

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

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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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