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Catholic colleges sending record number of students to the March for Life

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January 24, 2013 (CNS) - Participation by several faithful Catholic colleges and universities in the Washington, D.C., March for Life is expected to reach an all-time high this year. Total student participation by schools featured in The Cardinal Newman Society’s Newman Guide will surpass 2,000 this year.

As in years past, the entire Christendom College student body, as well as faculty, staff members, and families will join the March.  Christendom expects that more than 400 people affiliated with the College will attend. Christendom cancels classes at its Front Royal, Va., campus for the day to allow students to participate.

The College has attended the March for Life annually since its founding 35 years ago. Christendom students have been invited to carry the lead banner and flags in 1984, 1998, 2009, and 2012.

Senior Chris Roberts said he finds it “refreshing” that the College cancels classes.

“It really highlights Christendom’s dedication to the Church’s teaching on the sanctity of life – even in a culture of death,” said Roberts. “We are able to reinvigorate ourselves for the fight.”

Benedictine College, in Atchison, Kan., is sending a record number of students to this year’s March. The College had to add a seventh bus so that interested students could take the 48-hour round-trip ride to attend. They’ll be attending with their President, Stephen D. Minnis, and the new Abbot of St. Benedict’s Abbey, Abbot James Albers, OSB. The College has been participating in the march for 28 years.

“I organized the trip my sophomore year; we usually went with Kansans for Life,” said Abbot Albers, who graduated from Benedictine College in 1994. “Back then, 15 to 20 students going was a good number.”

This year, more than 350 will be attending.

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“Benedictine College has the largest group attending from the greatest distance away,” said Minnis, who has attended the March since becoming president in 2004. “Now, about 20 percent of our student body is willing to take that long…trip…in support of life. I am constantly amazed and pleased by our students.”

Franciscan University of Steubenville (FUS) also has seven busloads of students attending. Prior to the March, the students will be attending the Solemn Mass for Life at 7:30 a.m. at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, followed by the Youth Rally and Mass for Life at the Verizon Center. FUS catechetics professor, Robert Rice, is hosting the Youth Rally.

As he has every year since becoming president in 2000, Father Terence Henry, T.O.R., will lead the Franciscan contingent, 800 strong, under the emerald Franciscan University banner that proclaims, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you… Before you were born, I dedicated you…” (Jer. 1:5).

“When you see thousands of pro-life youth flooding stadiums, churches, and streets of Washington, D.C., it gives you hope,” adds Grace Daigler, a junior social work major and vice president of Franciscan University’s Students for Life.

Given its location, The Catholic University of America is involved in the March in a variety of ways. While classes are not cancelled, organizers expect approximately 500 CUA students to attend. In addition, the university will continue its custom of hosting teen marchers from out-of-town. More than 1,200 teens will camp out in the Ramond A. DuFour Athletic Center the evening before the March. Approximately 200 CUA students have volunteered to serve as hosts for the visitors. They help with hospitality, register visitors, serve meals, chaperone, and lay out sleeping bags.

The National Prayer Vigil for Life and vigil Mass begins at the nearby Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception’s Great Upper Church at 6:30 p.m. on Jan. 24. The student volunteers also lead teams in the DuFour Center in the Rosary for Life. Beginning at 10 p.m. on Jan. 24, Catholic University is hosting all-night Eucharistic adoration, as well as opportunities for the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

More than 17% of the student body at Ave Maria University in Naples, Fla., plan to attend. Approximately 150 students, administrators, and staff are taking three buses to participate in the March. Many others are driving or flying independently.

“I’m proud of our over 150 Ave Maria students, faculty and staff members who will travel over 1,000 miles… to participate in the March for Life,” said President Jim Towey. “Our students know how important it is for them to march as witnesses to the sanctity of life from the moment of conception through natural death.”

Last year’s trip nearly didn’t happen. The chartered bus cancelled the trip. With only hours to go before their departure, students raised $20,000 to hire an Orlando-based bus to take them to the 2012 March.

Mount St. Mary’s University is bringing more than 280 people on five buses. That number includes at least 110 students, more than 170 seminarians, and several faculty members.

Mount St. Mary’s junior, Justin Wykowski said that attending the March gives him hope.

“It’s arguably one of the most powerful ways to further the cause against abortion. Some people drive 40-plus hours just to march; I can do one,” said Wykowski. “It gives me hope. To look down from the top of Capitol Hill and see tens of thousands of people waving signs in the blistering cold is simply breathtaking. We are not alone in this fight. Not even close.”

Aquinas College in Nashville, Tenn., is sending its largest contingent ever to Washington, D.C., for the March. The College allowed students to attend the March without counting it as an absence, and similarly, for faculty or staff without being forced to use a vacation day.

Aquinas students, faculty, and staff spent two afternoons earlier this week placing 3,000 crosses on the front lawn to memorialize the 3,000 children lost every day to abortion.

Approximately 30 students from DeSales University are attending in conjunction with the Catholic Newman Center at Lehigh University.

St. Gregory’s University in Shawnee, Ok., is sending 14 students along with Fr. Nicholas Ast, OSB, vice president for mission and identity and university chaplain.

“By participating in the March for Life, our students give a prophetic witness to the truth that all human life is sacred,” said Fr. Ast. “Indeed, the presence of so many young people at the march every year is a sign that a new generation has embraced the Gospel of Life.”

“Every year I make an effort to attend the March for Life, either in my hometown or in Washington D.C., as an exercise of my American right to peaceful protest and my duty as a citizen, and even just as a human being, to protect the rights and lives of others,” said Gabriela Weigel, a junior at St. Gregory’s University. “It is important for me to attend because action is what provokes change, and as a young person it is my place to be the new energy and vitality in the Pro-Life movement, and to display to our secular society a love for all its members, especially the unborn, elderly and disabled.”

Students from colleges far from Washington are participating in their own local demonstrations supporting life. One-third of the student body from Wyoming Catholic College braved that state’s winter weather to participate in the Wyoming March for Life in Cheyenne.

Students from John Paul the Great Catholic University helped plan and lead the inaugural Walk for Life San Diego on Jan. 19. Senior Timmerie Millington was a key organizer of the event. About 3,000 walkers participated.

Thomas Aquinas College, in Santa Paula, Ca., is sending two-thirds of the College’s student body to San Francisco for the Jan. 26 Walk for Life West Coast. The College has participated every year since the Walk first began in 2005. The more than 200 students, faculty, and staff attending make up one of the largest groups in the Walk.

Students will begin the 550-mile round-trip journey Friday after classes. Students are staying at Saints Peter and Paul Church in San Francisco’s Little Italy, where the Salesian fathers have offered them space to sleep in the parish’s two gymnasia. Students will participate in all-night Eucharistic adoration, culminating in a Holy Hour in honor of the Unborn Child Jesus from 6:00 a.m. to 7:00 a.m. on Saturday morning. Later that morning, the students will attend the Walk for Life Mass at St. Mary’s Cathedral, celebrated by Archdiocese of San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone. Following the Mass is the two-mile Walk, beginning in Justin Herman Plaza, through Fisherman’s Wharf, and concluding with a rally in Marina Green.

Numerous TAC students have been asked to take on leadership roles in the event, including directing walkers, assisting visiting dignitaries, and bolstering security along the route. A delegation of the College’s women have been given the honor of leading the marchers through the city, carrying an “Abortion Hurts Women” banner.

Reprinted with permission from the Cardinal Newman Society.



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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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