John Westen

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Germany, the morning-after pill, and the Catholic Church: Media and scientific manipulation

John Westen
John Westen
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COLOGNE, Germany, February 7, 2013, (LifeSiteNews.com) - A drama has been unfolding in Germany over the last month that has seen the leading conservative prelate in the country, Cologne’s Cardinal Joachim Meisner, seem to suggest that it is permissible in Catholic hospitals to administer the morning-after pill (MAP) to rape victims. The Bishops of Germany will be discussing the matter further at their next plenary meeting later this month.

MEDIA MANIPULATION

The story begins with a hard case which was trumpeted with selective facts in the media, manipulating sentiments and causing a national uproar. Headlines which exploded across the country and internationally read “Rape victim turned away by Catholic hospitals.”

After a party, a young woman found herself on a park bench wondering how she got there. The use of a date rape drug was suspected, so the 25-year-old went to an emergency clinic and was prescribed the MAP. Since rape was suspected, she was sent to hospital for a gynecological examination and in the process two Catholic hospitals refused, referring her to alternative hospitals.

But leaving the story there without further explanation, as the mainstream media did, painted a false picture resulting in public outrage.

Sophia Kuby of European Dignity Watch revealed the full story. Catholic hospitals refer her elsewhere, because the Health Ministry insisted that those hospitals offering treatment for rape must provide the abortifacient MAP. Knowing that hospitals that administer MAP must perform their own exams, Catholic hospitals would rather spare already traumatized women from having to have multiple invasive exams. Thus, referring them to hospitals which would comply with the state mandate to offer abortifacient drugs was necessary.

The national outcry against the Church, which came thanks to misleading media reports, prompted multiple press releases from Cardinal Meisner and also other bishops in the country.

A January 22 release had the Cardinal apologizing, noting that Catholics were “deeply ashamed” and that the turning away of the rape victim should never have happened. He said Catholic hospitals should indeed offer care to rape victims, including the needed gynecological exams.

He added, however, that they could not cause the abortion of an already conceived child. He said he understood that such a stance is difficult to accept in the face of such difficult circumstances but that protection of human life is an absolute.

SCIENTIFIC MANIPULATION

second release from the Cardinal which seemed to give approval for Catholic hospitals to use MAPs for rape victims came after the Cardinal received misleading scientific advice. The Cardinal said he was informed that new research suggests conclusively that the method of action of MAP is not abortifacient – that it does not cause the already conceived embryo to be unable to implant in the uterus (a post-fertilization effect).

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However, the study he was presented with, was anything but objective. It was authored by a physician advisor to a pharmaceutical company that manufactures MAPs, as the author admits at the end of the paper. A physician who reviewed the paper for LifeSiteNews.com noted that, the review of the research focuses mainly on those studies which found no evidence for post-fertilization effects.

Adding to the confusion, was the abortion-backing German society of obstetricians/gynecologists, which pounced on the opportunity to “affirm” the Cardinal in his statement on the EC pills not being abortifacient.

There are however numerous other studies and even MAP manufacturers that admit that the MAPs do have post-fertilization effects – in other words -- are indeed abortifacient.

The most objective view of the situation admits that there are studies giving evidence both ways. Some suggest post-fertilization effects and some don't ,depending on the hormone used and the time administered.

This view comes not from pro-life activists but from the leading researcher in the area, James Trussell, in a review released only this month. Trussel is by no means a pro-life activist. He is an avid proponent of contraception, MAP included. In his recent review of the literature, Trussell summarizes: “To make an informed choice, women must know that [emergency contraception pills]… prevent pregnancy primarily by delaying or inhibiting ovulation and inhibiting fertilization, but may at times inhibit implantation of a fertilized egg in the endometrium.”

NO TO ABORTIFACIENTS, NOW AND ALWAYS

Despite the indication that administration of MAP may be possible, in that second release the Cardinal says plainly that no abortifacient (a drug having the possibility of causing the already conceived child not to be able to implant) may be used in Catholic hospitals even for cases of rape.

To those who would argue for the use of abortifacients by suggesting embryos often fail to implant in nature without intervention, the Cardinal responds: “Termination of a human life by nature is called a natural phenomenon. Its deliberate imitation is called manslaughter.”

Should the action of the EC pills be purely contraceptive – preventing ovulation from occurring thus blocking conception – then Cardinal Meisner deems them acceptable for use in rape cases. “If a medication that hinders conception is used after a rape with the purpose of avoiding fertilization, then this is acceptable in my view,” he said.

The German bishops will be convening in a plenary session later this month, and the matter of MAPs is up for discussion. That discussion will no doubt be influenced by researchers with greater objectivity and also by consultation with Vatican guidelines on the matter.

An authoritative Vatican document on MAP was issued by the Pontifical Academy for Life (PAV) in 2000. That document condemned MAPs as akin to “chemical abortion” and “absolutely” unlawful.

The document was however questioned by theologians since it did not address the use of the MAP in cases of rape.

In 2008, LifeSiteNews interviewed the head of the PAV, and he confirmed the use of MAPs were not permissible even in cases of rape. Asked if there was an exception for rape cases in terms of Catholic hospitals being able to administer MAPs, Bishop Elio Sgreccia replied, "No. It is not able to prevent the rape. But it is able to eliminate the embryo.”

In the final analysis, no Catholic bishop would allow for MAP at Catholic hospitals if he believed it would have an abortifacient effect.

Even the chance of it causing an abortion would be enough to rule it out, because in a case where there is uncertainty in a matter of life and death, the Church teaches that one must err on the side of caution – the side of protecting life.

Red alert! Last call.

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Lisa Bourne

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Opposing gay ‘marriage’ may demand civil disobedience: Louisiana bishop

Lisa Bourne
By Lisa Bourne

LAFAYETTE, LA, June 29, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – The bishop of the Catholic diocese of Lafayette, Louisiana, is one of the nation’s Church leaders to come out strongly against the Supreme Court decision forcing all 50 states to recognize homosexual “marriage”.

Bishop Michael Jarrell reminded Catholics in a statement that the judiciary does not have the power to redefine marriage, and he opened the door to civil disobedience as a possible response to the June 26 Supreme Court ruling.

“Let me state very plainly that no human court has the authority to change what God has written into the law of creation,” Bishop Jarrell wrote in his statement. “This ruling is irreconcilable with the nature and definition of marriage as established by Divine Law.”

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“The marital covenant was established by God with its own proper nature and laws,” he continued.

Recognizing the tide of religious persecution across the country against those who hold the Biblical view of marriage, Bishop Jarrell addressed the issue of living one’s Catholic faith in light of the Supreme Court decision, and gave the green light to refuse to comply, even if it means breaking the law.

“I realize that this ruling will create conscience problems for many Catholics, especially those in public office,” Bishop Jarrell said. “In some cases civil disobedience may be a proper response.”

In an exercise of episcopal authority, the Lafayette prelate also issued a mandate that no representative of the diocese would enable homosexual “marriage” in the wake of the Supreme Court decision.

“No priest or deacon of this Diocese may participate in the civil solemnization or celebration of same-sex marriage,” he declared. “No Catholic facility or property, including but not limited to parishes, missions, chapels, meeting halls, Catholic educational, health or charitable institutions, or facilities belonging to benevolent orders may be used for the solemnization of same-sex marriage.”

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The bishop also cautioned against Catholics showing support for homosexual “marriage” by their presence at same-sex “wedding”.

“All Catholics are urged not to attend same-sex ceremonies,” he said.

The bishop said he hoped this October’s Ordinary Synod on the Family at the Vatican would address issues brought about by “the alteration of the traditional law about marriage.”

Bishop Jarrell also expressed deep sadness at the Supreme Court ruling, and said while Catholics have great respect for everyone as children of God, the justices’ decision had no legal or moral foundation.

“As Catholics we have a profound respect for the dignity of all God’s children,” he stated. “Nevertheless there is no basis in law or in nature for altering the traditional definition of marriage, established by God from the beginning.”

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Lisa Bourne

Catholic News Service gives platform to head of union that gave hundreds of millions to pro-abort politicians

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By Lisa Bourne

June 29, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – The news service of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has published an article by the head of an organization that has given hundreds of millions of dollars to elect pro-abortion politicians.

Americans should listen to Pope Francis, at least when it comes to his message on poverty and economics, according to Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO, an organization that has done arguably more to elect pro-abortion politicians than any other group in the last 50 years.

The union chief made his case in a June 22 guest column for Catholic News Service (CNS).

The AFL-CIO donated $200 million to Democratic politicians in 2008 alone.

LifeSiteNews contacted Catholic News Service about Trumka’s column in light of the AFL-CIO’s support for abortion, contraception, and homosexual “marriage," but CNS declined to comment.

On his way in the piece to pronouncing unity between the Church and big labor, Trumka touts Pope Francis’s recently reported high approval rating and the “newfound vigor” the Roman Catholic Church has added to its “traditional social doctrine” since his election.

“For much of the last century and more, the labor movement and the Catholic Church have stood together in solidarity for people who labor for a living,” he wrote in the CNS column. “Pope Francis lives and breathes this tradition.”

“Together, the Catholic Church and the labor movement stand for a new moral and political order,” he said.

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In his June 22 piece for Catholic News Service he wrote about helping to ease the pain and suffering for others as his reasons for praising Pope Francis.

“We believe in the duty to ease pain and to offer comfort to those who are suffering -- and not just with kind words, but with action,” Trumka opined. “That is why I am so heartened by our Holy Father Pope Francis.

Trumka, raised Catholic, writes his column for CNS with a Catholic voice, but the union he heads up supports contraception and homosexual “marriage”, along with abortion.

While the Church today holds The Dignity of Work and the Rights of Workers among its themes of Catholic Social Teaching, giving voice in the Bishops’ own news agency to the representative of an organization which has given hundreds of millions of dollars to pro-abortion politicians contradicts the USCCB’s very own document teaching on the need for Catholics to act in support of Catholic principles and policies in public life.

“The Catholic community and Catholic institutions should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles,” the USCCB’s Catholics in Political Life states. “They should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions.”

The nation’s top union also supports the so-called “free” birth control imposed as part of the HHS mandate, something many groups – including the USCCB itself – resisted being forced to provide.

“Women have fought hard for the right to safe, legal reproductive health services and the freedom to exercise that right,” the AFL-CIO Statement on Women's Access to Quality and Affordable Reproductive Health Care says. “The Affordable Care Act provides that women will receive preventative health care benefits, including FDA-approved methods of birth control, without co-pays or deductibles.”

Many of those forms of “birth control” may act as abortifacients.

The AFL-CIO’s support for abortion and birth control isn’t where the union’s advocacy for anti-Catholic initiatives stops. It encompasses homosexual activism as well.

Pride At Work is a nonprofit organization that represents LGBT union members and their “allies,” that “organizes mutual support between the organized Labor Movement and the LGBT Community to further social and economic justice.”

Pride at Work is an officially recognized constituency group of the AFL-CIO

The deeds of the AFL-CIO as an organization are not the sole illustration of how Trumka’s CNS appearance sends a conflicting message with regard to Church principles, but also statements embracing and advocating principles in direct contrast to the faith by the man himself.

“Working people believe in equality and fairness and that’s why we are happy to stand with millions of Americans and with President Obama in supporting marriage equality,” Trumka said in a statement supporting homosexual “marriage”.

When the federal Defense of Marriage Act and California’s Proposition 8 defending marriage were overturned, he said they never should have been adopted in the first place.

“The Defense of Marriage Act and California’s Proposition 8 were radical and divisive laws that never should have been,” Trumka said. “Now, we can begin to fully clear the dark legal cloud that has hung over our nation.”

Trumka employs a childhood anecdote to frame his article complete with violence against his grandfather on the part of the profit-focused mining company that “owned everything,” in his Pennsylvania hometown.

“Pope Francis speaks for the church I grew up in when he calls for an organized moral response to the injustices of modern capitalism,” stated Trumka, whose salary level is around $300,000 per year according to unionfacts.com.

Trumka has been implicated in encouraging intimidation and deception to advance union goals, according to a report from the National Legal and Policy Center.

Trumka has also been accused of legitimizing violence. During a multi-state coal miners’ strike organized by the United Mine Workers in 1993, Trumka, as union president, ordered more than 17,000 miners to walk off the job, and explicitly told strikers to "kick the s--- out of" employees and mine operators defying union demands.

Homes were vandalized, shots were fired at a mine office, and power was cut to one mine, temporarily trapping 93 miners underground.

A non-union contractor, Eddie York, was murdered by a union member, shot in the back of the head as he drove past strikers at a West Virginia work site. Those trying to rescue the victim were attacked by a group of union members. The union member who shot the contractor went to jail, but no one else was disciplined for what took place.

Trumka told Virginian-Pilot in September 1993 regarding the incident, “I’m saying if you strike a match and you put your finger in it, you’re likely to get burned.”

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Supreme Court suspends Texas law that would have closed half of its abortion facilities

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By Ben Johnson

WASHINGTON, D.C., June 29, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – About half of the abortion facilities in Texas got a reprieve from the Supreme Court on its last day in session.

Justices ruled 5-4 that, right now, the state of Texas may not enforce health protection laws that would have put all but nine of the state's abortion offices out of business. The court's conservative bloc – Chief Justice John Roberts, joined by Justices Scalia, Thomas, and Alito – objected, but Anthony Kennedy cast the decisive vote with the court's liberals.

At issue is whether the state may require abortionists to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals and require abortion facilities to meet the same health and safety codes as other ambulatory surgical centers.

The temporary stay of Senate Bill 5 lasts until the justices decide whether they will hear an appeal from the abortion industry, which argues the law's provisions would unduly restrict a woman's access to abortion-on-demand.

“The U.S. Supreme Court was swayed, not for the first time in a week, by illogical arguments,” said Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America. “By actively lobbying against common sense regulations that would make sure women have access to ‘safe, legal and rare’ abortions, Planned Parenthood and their allies are making a mockery of women’s health care.”

“The abortion industry cares only for their bottom line, and women and their prenatal children are merely dollar signs in their business cycle,” Hawkins said.

"Women and babies are being denied protections with the Supreme Court blocking pro-life legislation,” said Lila Rose of Live Action. “Contrary to what big abortion organizations would have us believe, the possible closure of abortion facilities is due to the refusal of these corporations to adhere to sensible and ordinary medical precautions. We look forward to the day that both the legislature and the Courts use their power to protect the most vulnerable among us."

State pro-life leaders regret the loopholes that they say put women's health at risk.

“Unfortunately, women who do not have abortions at any of the nine operating ambulatory surgical centers that perform abortions will continue to be subjected to substandard medical care,” said Joe Pojman, Ph.D., executive director of Texas Alliance for Life.

The ruling does not permanently enjoin the state. It does not even guarantee justices will hear the case.

Should they decline, the law will go into effect in its entirety.

Last October, the Supreme Court allowed Texas to implement these measures while the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals considered its decision in a 6-3 verdict. However, it added that the state must allow abortion facilities in El Paso and McAllen to operate subpar operations, defying greater protections for women, because closing those facilities would require women to drive a great distance to the next nearest abortion facility.

Earlier this month, a three-panel judge of the appeals court, based in New Orleans, upheld the health regulations. All three judges had been appointed by President George W. Bush.

Had the full requirements gone into effect, half of all the remaining abortion facilities in Texas would have closed.

The left-wing website ThinkProgress worried, if the High Court upheld the decision, it would mean that “Roe v. Wade is almost entirely dead.”

Today, representatives of the abortion lobby felt relief. "Our Constitution rightly protects women from laws that would create barriers to safe and legal abortion care, but Texas politicians have tried to sneak around the Constitution with sham regulations designed to close clinics’ doors," said Nancy Northup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a pro-life Republican, vowed to “continue to fight for higher-quality health care standards for women while protecting our most vulnerable – the unborn.”

“I’m confident the Supreme Court will ultimately uphold this law,” he added.

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