Denise J. Hunnell, MD

Feeling the heat, abortion industry attacks pro-life crisis pregnancy centers

Denise J. Hunnell, MD
By Denise Hunnell MD
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November 18, 2011 (HLIAmerica.org) - The abortion industry is clearly feeling the heat. Planned Parenthood has been defunded in several states, workers from the infamous Kermit Gosnell abortion facility have pleaded guilty to murder, and the Commonwealth of Virginia is providing a model for other states with newly enacted and strict standards for abortion clinics.

The North Carolina chapter of National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL) Pro Choice has responded to this pressure with a report lambasting crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs) in the Tar Heel State. In its press release, NARAL claims to have conducted an undercover investigation of 66 of the 122 CPCs in North Carolina. The actual report reveals that this “investigation” involved visiting only 27 of the centers, while the rest of the information was gleaned from 47 CPC web sites and from 40 phone calls. This small sample size would be enough to question the usefulness of any conclusions, but as it turns out, there are bigger problems in the report than its very limited scope.

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NARAL’s criticisms are four-fold. First, they object to the assertion made by CPCs that abortion is linked to breast cancer, claiming in response that the National Cancer Institute (NCI) states that there is no association between breast cancer and abortion based on a 2003 report.

Those who have closely followed research in the area of breast cancer must be stunned by NARAL’s blithe dismissal of a huge and growing body of evidence, based on a single, highly controversial report. Prominent biologist and endocrinologist Joel Brind analyzed numerous studies in 1996 and 2005, and reported:

The findings concluded that an abortion elevates a women’s overall risk of developing breast cancer by 30 percent. The results were ‘remarkably consistent’ across population, ethnic, dietary, socioeconomic, and lifestyle factors.

When Doctor Brind was barred from participating in the National Cancer Institute’s 2003 workshop, he charged that only scientists who denied a link between breast cancer and abortion were allowed to participate. His assertions, which were initially dismissed, gained credence in 2009 when the chairperson of the NCI workshop, Dr. Louise Brinton, published a paper in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention, which concluded that the risk of a highly aggressive form of breast cancer increases by forty percent after a woman has an abortion. Even more surprising, two of the papers she used to support her findings had been rejected for consideration by the 2003 NCI workshop.

Clearly, NARAL is grasping at straws by basing its response on a report that has been so thoroughly discredited by the very person who chaired the workshop that led to the report.

Secondly, NARAL alleges that workers at crisis pregnancy centers warned women about “post-abortion stress syndrome,” a diagnosis not recognized by national psychological associations. While “post-abortion stress syndrome” may not be an officially recognized psychological diagnosis, there is ample evidence that abortion is linked to subsequent severe mental health problems. In September, 2011, Professor Priscilla Coleman published a paper in the British Journal of Psychiatry demonstrating tremendous increases in the risk of substance abuse, suicidal behaviors, and depression in women who had abortions. Is NARAL really suggesting that this scientifically-based information on the mental health risks of abortion should be hidden from women?

The third concern NARAL voices is that crisis pregnancy centers do ultrasounds, yet have no medical staff present. The report cites with alarm that “92% of the CPCs studied (61 of 66 CPCs) had no medical professionals on staff” and “35% (23 CPCs) provide ultrasounds on site.” In addition, NARAL is appalled that “Only 24% (16 CPCs) disclosed that they are not medical facilities.” As with the previous two charges, NARAL’s curious selection of facts and concerns raises more questions about their motives. The ultrasounds done by CPCs are not offered as diagnostic procedures; they merely give a mother a visual image of the child she carries in her womb. They are not used to assess the health of either the mother or the baby, and are given free of charge. Crisis pregnancy center volunteers may also help a woman accurately utilize an over-the-counter pregnancy test. Surely NARAL is not suggesting that licensed medical personnel must be present to offer a test that the FDA says any woman can do without medical supervision. This is in stark contrast to abortion clinics, where ultrasounds and other laboratory tests are sold as medical services, and therefore, should be performed by medical personnel. Further, if NARAL’s concern for the health and safety of women is so great, why does it oppose regulations that require abortion clinics to meet the same medical standards as other medical facilities?

CPCs are not intended to be medical clinics. They are centers of emotional and material support for women who are pregnant and are considering making a life-changing, and life-ending, decision. CPCs should not be required to publicly disclose they are not a medical facility any more than Planned Parenthood should be required to disclose it does not provide free diapers and maternity clothes.

The final charge by NARAL against CPCs is that they make religious arguments against abortion. In fact, the NARAL report considers it objectionable that CPCs encourage women to avoid sexual activity outside of marriage! They express outrage that “More than half of the 66 CPCs (59%) investigated are affiliated with Christian organizations and many use biblically-based arguments to encourage people to refrain from sex until marriage.” In some cases this may be true, but so what? Many crisis pregnancy centers are outreach ministries of religious groups. The First Amendment protects the speech of crisis pregnancy workers when they offer faith-based reasons to oppose abortion. It is unconscionable to suggest that such speech be silenced.

The word hypocrisy barely begins to describe NARAL Pro-Choice of North Carolina’s grossly misleading report, as it tries to paint crisis pregnancy centers as purveyors of inaccurate information. It is NARAL who offers half-truths and questionable-at-best information in its attack on the not-for-profit challengers of the abortion industry. In going after CPCs, NARAL seeks to take away alternatives to abortion. The attack fails ultimately because it cannot rely on truth to make its case, Unlike NARAL, crisis pregnancy centers care about the physical, emotional, and spiritual health of women. They want women to have the whole truth about abortion and to see the wisdom and beauty of choosing life.

Denise Hunnell, MD, is a Fellow of HLI America, an educational initiative of Human Life International. She writes for HLI America’s Truth and Charity Forum.

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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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