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Full Text of Cherie Blair Speech at Angelicum: Sticks to Support for Contraception, Dodges Abortion

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By Hilary White, Rome Correspondent, and John Jalsevac

ROME, December 17, 2008 (LifeSiteNews.com) – In the lead-up to Cherie Blair’s lecture at the Angelicum last week, pro-life Catholics from around the world contacted the university asking that Mrs. Blair’s appearance be cancelled, due to her public admissions of dissent from key areas of Catholic teaching. In what some pro-life leaders have called a “carefully stage-managed” piece of damage control, however, Mrs. Blair in her lecture made a series of statements presented as assurance of her adherence to Catholic teaching on abortion. (To read the complete lecture, see: http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2008/dec/08121705.html To read the complete text of the question and answer session see: http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2008/dec/08121706.html.

Some of these statements were welcomed by pro-life advocates, albeit with reservations, such as her condemnation of sex-selective abortions in India, a problem that she said the Church should be more vocal in opposing, as well as her positive statements about a reportedly decreasing abortion rate for children diagnosed in utero with Down syndrome. 

Despite some assertions to the contrary, however, Blair failed to assuage the concerns of her pro-life critics, as she did not at any point renounce or in any way explain her well-documented support for some of the world’s largest and most extreme abortion organisations, nor did she at any point denounce abortion as such as a moral evil. 

Moreover, claims by a professor of moral theology at the university that Mrs. Blair is “in line” with the teaching of the Church were refuted by Mrs. Blair’s own speech, in which she openly admitted that she does not agree with Catholic teaching on artificial contraception. Indeed, in the question and answer session, Blair took to task pro-life groups and individuals who objected to her appearance at the university for stifling the "debate" over artificial contraception, despite the fact that contraception has been definitely condemned by the Church as a grave moral evil. 

In the question period following her speech, Mrs. Blair was enthusiastically praised by a priest and professor of moral theology at the Angelicum, Fr. Bruce Williams, who asserted that in light of her “admirably fearless” comments, it is “crystal clear” that she is “in line” with Catholic teaching.

Fr. Williams said that the contentions by pro-life leaders that Mrs. Blair is pro-abortion and a dissenter from Catholic teaching were “rash, if not outright calumnious.” Fr. Williams said, “The way you came across was decisively contrary to the way you have been depicted recently by a number of websites.”

During her lecture, however, and despite Fr. Williams’ assertion, Mrs. Blair made no clear statement that abortion was “morally repugnant” (as Fr. Williams claimed) and carefully omitted any mention of her ongoing support for International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), the U.K.‘s Family Planning Association (FPA), the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and other organizations whose agenda includes global abortion-on-demand.

Rather than condemning abortion outright, Blair instead condemned the “wide and indiscriminate” use of abortion due to the fact that it poses the problem of sex-selective abortions, resulting in lopsided boy-girl ratios.

“We almost all accept that human life in all its forms is sacred.  For some of us, this is a matter of religious faith,” she said. “While I am on record as having had difficulties with the current teaching on responsible parenthood, I do recognize that much of what Paul VI predicted could happen in Humane Vitae as a result of what could happen as a result of wide and indiscriminate use of abortion, has been born out in particular in relation to baby girls as the birth ratios of boys to girls in some countries.”

In her speech Mrs. Blair heavily criticised the Catholic Church, accusing it of having come only lately into line with the secular world’s dedication to human rights, including women’s rights.

Blair criticised what she characterised as the Church’s “hostility” to the modern secular human rights movement and accused it of having hesitated to follow the movement out of “fear of the unknown.”“It would be nice to say that the Church was at the fore-front of this long journey [of the development of human rights law] but it hasn’t always been the case.”

The Church “still did not uncritically embrace the secularization of human rights,” until the 1960s, she said.

Blair also claimed that the Church has been subject to the prejudices of society in failing to install women into positions of authority. The argument is a common one of the feminist movement that presses for the ordination of women to the priesthood, although Blair’s views on female ordination are unclear.

“Just as diversity between and within the sexes enriches human life and strengthens our civil society so to would it strengthen the Church if we could see more women in leadership roles within it," she said.

She then made the proposal: “There is no reason why these appointments should be exceptional and actually no reason why half all curia posts should not be filled by women.” 

The little praise Mrs. Blair did have for the Catholic Church’s record on human rights was for its activities in educating women in the developing world, which she said has had the effect of reducing birth rates. Quoting the Independent newspaper, Mrs. Blair said, “By being one of the leading providers of education across the developing world, the Church is making a powerful contribution to improving the lives of women, lifting them out of poverty and enabling them to reduce levels of child-birth, which can be, and is actually often dangerous to their health.” 

“History teaches us that improving the general economic situation and particularly improving women’s educational levels, gives women more power in society and helps them exercise more responsible fertility.” 

Neither did Mrs. Blair mention her support, in her capacity as a lawyer, of Britain’s homosexualist political movement. The years of her husband’s tenure as Prime Minister and leader of the Labour Party are known by life and family advocates and Catholics as the bleakest of Great Britain’s history, seeing more anti-life, anti-Christian and anti-family legislation installed than at any other time.

Mrs. Blair’s support for the openly anti-Catholic homosexualist political movement, so strongly supported by her husband’s administration, is long and well-documented.

This August, she told the Belfast Telegraph in an interview that she was “immensely proud” of her husband’s government for having installed homosexual “civil partnerships.”“It’s fantastic the way the country has accepted that,” she added.

In an interview with a Mumbai news service, she condemned opposition to the homosexualist political agenda saying, “It’s a personal tragedy to be condemned because of one’s lifestyle choices. It is high time everyone started judging people by their contributions and not their sexual inclinations.” Mrs. Blair also made headlines last year when she attended, and “gave away” her Parisian celebrity homosexual hairdresser, Andre Suard at his “gay wedding.”

In the same interview with MiDDay news service in Mumbai, when asked to identify her “biggest scandal” she replied, “Nothing beats the fact that I’m a Catholic who uses contraception. The Church does not allow it but women do it today and I wouldn’t want another baby.”

As of this writing, on the “Women of the World” page of her personal website, Mrs. Blair praises the work of the UN’s CEDAW (Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women) organisation as “the only human rights treaty which affirms the reproductive rights of women.” It is widely acknowledged that the phrase “reproductive rights” includes abortion on demand, and a major function of the CEDAW committee is to pressure national governments to legalise abortion or expand abortion “rights.”

To read a transcription of the complete Cherie Blair speech see:
 http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2008/dec/08121705.html

Read related LifeSiteNews.com coverage:

Pro-Abortion Cherie Blair to Speak at Prominent Pontifical University of St. Thomas in Rome
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2008/dec/08120205.html

Angelicum University Refuses to Believe Cherie Blair’s Pro-abortion and Anti-Family Reputation
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2008/dec/08120501.html

Cherie Blair Denies Pro-Abortion Label at Angelicum Lecture
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2008/dec/08121207.html

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Ben Johnson Ben Johnson Follow Ben

Kermit Gosnell considers himself a ‘martyr’: Gosnell filmmakers

Ben Johnson Ben Johnson Follow Ben
By Ben Johnson

HUNGTINGDON, PA, May 21, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Spending life in prison without parole for murdering several newborn babies, Kermit Gosnell spends his days listening to music and thinking of himself as a “martyr,” according to the makers of the forthcoming Kermit Gosnell film.

Producers Phelim McAleer, Ann McElhinney, and Magdalena Segeida interviewed Gosnell for hours at the State Correctional Institution at Huntingdon, Pennsylvania – and they came away saying the doctor is remorseless, self-pitying, and enjoying far more liberty than they thought would be granted to a mass murderer.

The producers visited the central Pennsylvania penitentiary and spoke to the the late-term abortionist up-close – a little too close, they say. McElhinney said Gosnell sat uncomfortably close to her throughout the multihour session.

“We have just come back from Pennsylvania where we were the first journalists to sit down in prison to interview Gosnell,” the producers said in a mass email to their supporters. “The two hours we spent interviewing the former abortion doctor were two of the most disturbing hours of our journalistic careers.”

“The interview was one of the creepiest we have ever conducted,” the mass email continued.

Gosnell, they recounted, “is thought to have murdered hundreds if not thousands of babies in a 30 year killing spree.” Yet he has access to music, a subject he discussed at length. At one point, McElhinney said, Gosnell burst out into song.

Ann McElhinney told The Daily Signal, “I’m amazed at how pleasant his life is, the freedoms he has.”

Far from having repented of his crimes, Gosnell continues to justify his actions, they said.

“In his own version of the story, he’s a martyr – he’s part of a hounded class,” McElhinney said.

That assessment corroborates the views of others who interviewed the onetime proprietor of the “house of horrors,” where newborn babies had their spines severed, untrained staff administered fatal doses of drugs to poor women, and aborted fetal remains were found stuffed into every available crevice.

In September 2013, Steve Volk interviewed Gosnell for Philadelphia Magazine. Gosnell, he wrote, “sees himself as having performed a noble function in society.”

"It's not as if he feels guilty about what he did,” Volk said. "He believes he was a soldier at war with poverty.”

By plying his trade in poverty-stricken West Philadelphia, in a majority minority neighborhood, Gosnell believed he helped reduce the city's low income population.

“In this larger spiritual sense, he believes he was performing a service for people,” Volk said.

After his conviction, Gosnell sought to work with Hillary Clinton's embattled charity, the Clinton Global Initiative or the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation on issues of "prison and justice reform.”

"He believes that he gained insight into what it's like to be pushed into the system, without the capacity to explain himself," Volk said.

Gosnell's self-confidence has seldom been questioned, from the dismissive way he treated police who searched his home – playing Chopin on the piano as they searched his flea-ridden basement – to the way he carried himself in court. Defense attorney Jack McMahon had also told reporters after the guilty verdict that the mass murderer “truly believes in himself.”

Click "like" if you are PRO-LIFE!

The filmmakers, who have produced several right-of-center documentaries, plan to make a big budget, big screen film about Gosnell's life. They continue to raise funds for their efforts at GosnellMovie.com.

But they may need a breather after encountering Gosnell himself.

“I’m still recovering, actually,” McElhinney told the Signal.

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Josh Duggar apologizes, admits ‘wrongdoing’ as young teen amid molestation accusations; resigns from FRC

By John-Henry Westen

Editor's Note: This is a developing story.

Update (May 22 9:54 a.m.): The Family Research Council's statement has been added below.

May 21, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – In response to allegations in the media that he molested minor girls when he was in his early teens, Josh Duggar has admitted in a public statement that he acted "inexcusably" at the time, and has resigned from his position at the Family Research Council.

A 2006 police report leaked to the media states that Josh was investigated for sex offenses, including "forcible fondling" against five minors.

According to the report, the first allegations surfaced in March 2002, the same month he turned 14. At the time the family dealt with the allegations internally. A year later, however, when further allegations were made, the family sent Josh to work with a family friend for three months, after which his father took Josh to see a state trooper.

According to the report, the trooper gave Josh a "stern talk" about what would happen if he "continued such behavior," but no formal action was taken at the time.

The issue emerged again in 2006, after a family friend had written details about the allegations in letter and placed it in a book, which was subsequently loaned out. This resulted in a call being placed to a child abuse hotline, which in turn led to a formal investigation being opened. By this point, however, the statute of limitations had expired, and as there had been no new allegations or evidence that the abuse was ongoing, the case was dropped.

Although Josh was never charged, his now-wife, Anna, says that he confessed his actions to her and her parents two years before he asked her to marry him.

"I would do anything to go back to those teen years and take different actions," he said in a statement today. "In my life today, I am so very thankful for God’s grace, mercy and redemption."

Anna said she was "surprised" when Josh had voluntarily admitted what he had done to her and her parents two years before proposing to her. "I was surprised at his openness and humility and at the same time didn't know why he was sharing it," she wrote today. "For Josh he wanted not just me but my parents to know who he really was -- even every difficult past mistakes."

"I want to say thank you to those who took time over a decade ago to help Josh in a time of crisis," she added. "If it weren't for your help I would not be here as his wife — celebrating 6 1/2 years of marriage to a man who knows how to be a gentleman and treat a girl right."

LifeSiteNews is continuing to investigate this developing story. Following are the Duggar family’s statements responding to media reports about the incidents.

From Jim Bob and Michelle:

Back 12 years ago our family went through one of the most difficult times of our lives. When Josh was a young teenager, he made some very bad mistakes and we were shocked. We had tried to teach him right from wrong. That dark and difficult time caused us to seek God like never before.

Even though we would never choose to go through something so terrible, each one of our family members drew closer to God. We pray that as people watch our lives they see that we are not a perfect family. We have challenges and struggles everyday.

It is one of the reasons we treasure our faith so much because God’s kindness and goodness and forgiveness are extended to us — even though we are so undeserving. We hope somehow the story of our journey — the good times and the difficult times — cause you to see the kindness of God and learn that He can bring you through anything.

From Josh:

Twelve years ago, as a young teenager I acted inexcusably for which I am extremely sorry and deeply regret. I hurt others, including my family and close friends. I confessed this to my parents who took several steps to help me address the situation. 

We spoke with the authorities where I confessed my wrongdoing and my parents arranged for me and those affected by my actions to receive counseling. I understood that if I continued down this wrong road that I would end up ruining my life. I sought forgiveness from those I had wronged and asked Christ to forgive me and come into my life.

I would do anything to go back to those teen years and take different actions. In my life today, I am so very thankful for God’s grace, mercy and redemption.

From Anna:

I can imagine the shock many of you are going through reading this. I remember feeling that same shock. It was not at the point of engagement, or after we were married - it was two years before Josh asked me to marry him.

When my family and I first visited the Duggar Home, Josh shared his past teenage mistakes. I was surprised at his openness and humility and at the same time didn't know why he was sharing it. For Josh he wanted not just me but my parents to know who he really was -- even every difficult past mistakes.

At that point and over the next two years, Josh shared how the counseling he received changed his life as he continued to do what he was taught. And when you, our sweet fans, first met me when Josh asked me to marry him... I was able to say, "Yes" knowing who Josh really is - someone who had gone down a wrong path and had humbled himself before God and those whom he had offended. Someone who had received the help needed to change the direction of his life and do what is right.

I want to say thank you to those who took time over a decade ago to help Josh in a time of crisis. Your investment changed his life from going down the wrong path to doing what is right. If it weren't for your help I would not be here as his wife — celebrating 6 1/2 years of marriage to a man who knows how to be a gentleman and treat a girl right. Thank you to all of you who tirelessly work with children in crisis, you are changing lives and I am forever grateful for all of you.

Family Research Council statement:

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins released the following statement regarding the resignation of Josh Duggar:

"Today Josh Duggar made the decision to resign his position as a result of previously unknown information becoming public concerning events that occurred during his teenage years.

"Josh believes that the situation will make it difficult for him to be effective in his current work.  We believe this is the best decision for Josh and his family at this time.  We will be praying for everyone involved," concluded Perkins.

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Albert Heringa's sense of duty ‘justly’ carried more weight than the legal prohibition of the act, the Dutch appeals court said. VARA video screenshot
Jeanne Smits, Paris correspondent

Dutch court acquits man who euthanized his mother after doctor refused

Jeanne Smits, Paris correspondent
By Jeanne Smits

May 21, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) -- A Dutch appeals court acquitted a 74-year-old man earlier this month of the murder of his mother in 2008, because he acted in an “emergency situation”: the woman wanted euthanasia and had not obtained it from her family doctor.

The decision is a surprising one, even in the Netherlands, and will probably be followed by an appeal from the public prosecutor, who has already published a communiqué reminding the public that euthanasia and assisted suicide “are and remain, in the eyes of the prosecutor, exclusively to be performed by a doctor.”

As it stands, the decision marks a new step down the slippery slope of euthanasia. The decision justifies an act of euthanasia contrary to the letter of the law on the grounds that the accused, Albert Heringa, was careful to act in compliance with the law’s provisions.

Albert Heringa acted in accordance with his conscience of his own duty and he was right to do so, ruled the Arnhem-Leeuwarden appeals court, because his sense of duty “justly” carried more weight than the legal prohibition of the act, which in theory can only be decriminalized when performed by a medical doctor under strict conditions.

The accused said he was “very happy” about the decision. The Netherlands Right to Die Society (NVVE) hailed it as “a step in the direction we want to follow.” “Many people who consider their life complete wish to be helped by loved ones,” said its spokeswoman, Fiona Zonneveld.

The judges did not take into account the fact that Albert Heringa’s mother, “Moek,” was deemed ineligible for euthanasia by her doctor.

In 2008, Moek was 99. She had no grave illness; she was just old and blind and did not feel like living any longer, calling her suffering “unbearable” and “without hope of improvement.” When her doctor refused euthanasia on those grounds, she turned to her son who decided to help his mother die.

He was later to explain that his mother started hoarding her medication in order to kill herself through an overdose. The pills she was taking would not have been able to bring about her death, he argued, but would have made her health much worse. This was confirmed during the subsequent judicial enquiry.

Heringa decided to go to work “transparently,” filming his every gesture in view of the killing of his mother. He used an overdose of his own malaria pills together with sleeping pills and anti-emetics to poison her. The films were later used to illustrate a documentary on “Moek’s last wish,” which was aired in 2010 on Dutch TV. The appeals court judges took this “transparency” into account in their decision to acquit him.

The public prosecution was not so lax. Despite the “rectitude” of Heringa’s intention, it accused the man of not having acted in compliance with the law. In 2013, he was judged guilty but exempted from punishment. The prosecution appealed that decision, demanding a three months suspended prison sentence in order to underscore the illegality of his actions. But the Arnhem-Leeuwarden appeals court went even further than the first judges in exonerating him completely.

They invoked the euthanasia law, which decriminalizes euthanasia when no other “reasonable solution” is available to alleviate a patient’s suffering and thus avoid euthanasia, but in this case they equated the potential “reasonable solution” with the ability to find a doctor who would be willing to perform the act, as if euthanasia were a patient right. Heringa could not find one, therefore he was justified in taking the law in his own hands, the judgment says in substance.

This marks a double revolution. Firstly, the court overlooked the legal requirement that a doctor should perform euthanasia, and no one else. Secondly, it justified euthanasia on a woman who was simply “tired of living,” a situation for which the euthanasia law definitely does not provide.

But this is just another element of the Pandora’s box that was opened when the Netherlands legalized euthanasia in 2002. Increasingly, regional control commissions, which verify all declared acts of euthanasia retrospectively, have cleared “mercy-killings” of elderly people who had multiple complaints but no single life-threatening disease. “Intolerable suffering” is being interpreted more and more widely. In Heringa’s case, it is simply his mother’s plea for euthanasia that justified the act in the eyes of the court.

The court even went so far as to say that Heringa would have had to live with a “sense of guilt until the end of his life” had he not taken measures to end his mother’s life.

In 2011, the Dutch medical association KNMG changed its position on “intolerable suffering,” declaring that “unbearable and hopeless” suffering can result from other causes than physical illness. Also, the End of Life Clinic founded in 2012 caters to euthanasia requests that have been refused by patients’ family doctors on conscientious or medical grounds. Would Heringa have found a doctor willing to perform euthanasia on his mother in this new situation?

Whatever the answer to that question – and no one will ever know – the fact of his acquittal is a definite sign that euthanasia is being treated more and more as a right and an acceptable option in the Netherlands. It is also good news for unscrupulous family members who might find it expedient to push their relatives towards the grave.

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