Kathleen Gilbert

‘Get over it’: children of anonymous sperm donors met with hostility, ridicule, say activists

Kathleen Gilbert
Kathleen Gilbert
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June 19, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - For children of anonymous sperm donors yearning for a connection to their biological father, the world can be an unwelcome place.

Instead of meeting compassion, many say that society treats their pain with a dismissive or even hostile attitude - a rift caused by lack of awareness as much as by the brute force of a $3.3 billion industry.

Alana, the child of a sperm donor and the activist behind AnonymousUs.org, says she realized the hard way what she was up against when she began her awareness campaign.

“I thought it would be so easy to arrive, state the obvious that children need their fathers, and everyone would be like, oh my God, thank you for reminding us!” she said in the documentary “Anonymous Father’s Day.” “But there is a huge monster of money and people desperate for children, who don’t want me to make it harder for them to buy and sell children.”

She said that she has often met with ridicule and vitriol from people who tell her to “just go the beach and get a puppy and run around and have fun, and just get over it,” and even recounted the horrifying words directed at a colleague, who was told, “too bad you weren’t the load your Dad flushed down the toilet.”

“People are extremely vicious,” she said.

Elizabeth Marquardt, director of the Center for Children and Families at the Institute for American Values, who authored a study on the subject, said that most children begin to ask who their father is at “about age three.”

People are normally encouraged to “share, if we have them, stories of loss or confusion” about our families, Marquardt noted, “but these people somehow are just supposed to be grateful to exist.”

Documentary creator Jennifer Lahl, who was also behind the film “Eggsploitation” on the practice of egg donation, told LifeSiteNews.com that she has also noticed peculiar hostility to those most victimized by the commoditization of children.

“Just from the work that I’ve been doing ... there’s a lot more sympathy toward [exploited] egg donors than towards donor-conceived children,” Lahl told LifeSiteNews.com at a screening of the latest documentary in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday.

“When I show ‘Eggsploitation,’ there’s an overwhelming, oh my gosh this is horrible, we shouldn’t do this to young women,” she said, “versus, when I show ‘Anonymous Father’s Day,’ it’s like, well, so what? We’ve all had bad upbringing experiences.” Lahl said the reactions of egg-donor children are harder to track because she said most “are never told” of their origins.

Another hurdle, according to Alana - a women’s studies major who says she was inappropriately ridiculed as a Christian extremist because of her advocacy - is the gay and lesbian community, who see sperm donation as “the cleanest method for them to have children.” Another major demographic, she said, was “older couples with money.”

“The fact that they’re willing to spend $100,000 for a kid is—money talks, and I can’t compete with that,” she said.

Lahl said she was hopeful that the LGBT community would be won over to oppose sperm donation once they heard the stories of children conceived in this way. “If we can educate gay men on the harms of fertility drugs, on the harms of these procedures to the women that they need, and the reality of the children’s needs and children’s right to know, then I’m hopeful that we’ll win them over,” she said.

Statistics from 1988, the latest official numbers available, placed sperm donor births at 30-60,000 per year in the United States. However, as records are in many places now minimal to nonexistent - sperm donors can even be found on Craigslist - the true number has become virtually impossible to track.

Barry Stevens, one of 500-1,000 half-siblings fathered by a fertility clinic owner in the U.K., said that many object by saying that people shouldn’t question how they were conceived because they wouldn’t otherwise exist.

“If that were true, then anyone who is the product of a rape would have to endorse rape,” he said. “It’s quite possible to be grateful for your life and question aspects of your conception.”

Stevens said he learned of his origin when he was 18, after his stepfather died suddenly in an accident.

“I’m one of the first produced by science, and not sex. There was no sexual act that produced me, except masturbation,” he said.

Stevens illustrated the “genealogical bewilderment” suffered by those like him by describing a scenario in which a couple gives birth at a hospital and asks to see their baby a few hours later.

“The nurse says, OK, we’ll bring you a baby. And the father says, well, of course, we want to see our baby.” The nurse responds, “Oh well, we don’t do that in this hospital. Don’t worry, everybody who comes here is very healthy, very intelligent, we’ll bring you just a random baby, but it will be perfectly healthy and it’ll love you and you will love it, everything will be fine. What could be wrong with that?

“And of course, there is something wrong with that,” he said.

“If it’s so important in that situation, why is it so hard to understand that it might be a little bit important to us?”


Click here for more information on Anonymous Father’s Day.

Click here for more information on Eggsploitation.

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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
The Editors

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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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