Chen: U.S. officials pressured me to leave Embassy
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BEIJING, CHINA, May 3, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Chen Guangcheng’s bid for freedom took a dramatic turn Thursday when the human rights activist directly pleaded with President Obama to bring him and his family home on Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s plane, after saying he was pressured to leave the U.S. Embassy by American officials this week.
“My fervent hope is that it would be possible for me and my family to leave for the U.S. on Hillary Clinton’s plane,” Chen told The Daily Beast‘s Melinda Liu, who said she spoke to Chen from his hospital bed in Beijing. Chen was being treated for broken bones in his foot after falling over a wall during his escape.
Clinton, who was present in Beijing on Wednesday and Thursday, said she had spoken with Chen and was pleased to facilitate his “stay and departure” in a way that “reflected his choices and our values.” Chen told Channel 4 that he had asked to see Clinton in person during his conversation with her.
Chen described how he was pressured by both American and Chinese officials to leave the Embassy to which the blind activist had barely managed to escape after 19 months of severe beatings, starvation, and imprisonment in his village home. He said Chinese officials had threatened his family.
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According to Liu, “Chen said he came under tremendous pressure from American officials—‘not those from the embassy but others’—to leave the diplomatic facility as quickly as possible.” He also said that it was a U.S. official who conveyed the threat of returning his wife to their home, still overrun by violent guards, if he did not comply.
Chen’s wife, whom he met at the hospital, told him she had been tied to a chair, beaten, and interrogated by Chinese guards following his escape.
“I had no information, I got no phone calls from friends, I was isolated,” said Chen, who was audibly distraught. “Then I heard about the threat that my wife would be sent back home to Shandong if I didn’t leave the embassy. So I left.”
State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland on Wednesday claimed that it was untrue that the U.S. conveyed threats to Chen about his wife, but also said that “U.S. interlocutors did make clear that if Chen elected to stay in the embassy, Chinese officials had indicated to us that his family would be returned to Shandong, and they would lose their opportunity to negotiate for reunification.”
Bob Fu, president of ChinaAid and a top advocate for Chen in the U.S., said in The Daily Beast‘s report that he was frustrated that a conference call with U.S. officials apparently whitewashed Chen’s situation.
“They summarized the situation, and it sounded like a beautiful, happy scene,” which “totally contradicts” Chen’s actual situation, said Fu.
“They said they’d send some photos of Chen ‘joyfully’ leaving the embassy,” he said.
Meanwhile, U.S. officials insist that much of the conflict was due to miscommunication, including initial reports from U.S. officials of Chen telling Clinton “I want to kiss you” being corrected to his actual meaning, “I want to see you.”
U.S. Ambassador Gary Locke told reporters that Chen had insisted on leaving the embassy to see his wife, although he was ready to house Chen for “years,” according to The Washington Post. The Post also reports that U.S. officials spoke to Chen by phone twice on Thursday.
But Fu, who says he spoke to a crying Chen over the phone, confirmed reports that Chen feels the U.S. had pressured him to leave the embassy.
“He said he was under enormous pressure to leave the embassy. Some people almost made him feel he was being a huge burden to the U.S.,” he said.
Lu also reports that hospital staff refused to feed Chen, his wife and his two young children, only bringing food late at night after friends contacted American officials for help.
Chen had initially expressed his intention to stay in China, but now has repeatedly stated that his “biggest wish” is to flee with his family to the United States.
“Please try to contact the embassy to send someone over here. I need your help, I’m absolutely, absolutely ready to fly out on Hillary Clinton’s plane. Please tell the embassy what I’m saying, Meiyuan,” Chen pleaded to Lu, using her Chinese name.
“I don’t know why the Americans didn’t answer my phone calls.”
The Post characterized spiriting Chen out of China on Clinton’s plane as “extremely difficult and extraordinarily unusual” as Chen lacked a visa and because Clinton planned to stop in India and Bangladesh. Fu notes that getting Chen and his familiy out of China would require “a diplomat push” on the part of the Obama administration to obtain passports.
Reggie Littlejohn of Women’s Rights Without Frontiers, a group deeply connected to Chen and his advocacy for forced-abortion victims in China, told LifeSiteNews.com that the situation had grown dire.
“Chen and his family are in danger,” Littlejohn told LSN in a brief e-mail. The human rights leader will be testifying before Congress this afternoon to plead on Chen’s behalf.
In public, Chinese officials had given assurances that the self-taught lawyer would be treated humanely and would be allowed to attend a university. Yet signs of Chinese enmity towards Chen are visible: a Channel 4 video report included footage of a Chinese man publicly holding an ostensibly pro-Chen sign before it was ripped out of his hands and the man whisked away by persons in uniform.
He Peirong, the young Chinese woman who spearheaded Chen’s escape into the U.S. Embassy late last month, vanished hours after news broke of the event. Friends still fear she is in the hands of the Communist Party, which has been known to torture or kill dissidents without trial.
‘Little miracles’: Mom gives birth to naturally-conceived quintuplets after refusing ‘selective reduction’
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
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’
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.
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.