Celia Wolf-Devine

How dare you as a man…

Celia Wolf-Devine
By Celia Wolf-Devine

To read part I of this series outlining basic pro-life arguments, click here.

December 10, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) - There is a popular pro-choice cartoon showing some old men in judges’ robes, obviously pregnant. One of them says to another “maybe we should rethink our position on abortion.” People who argue this way assume what is plainly not the case, that all women take a pro-choice position on abortion. But even apart from this fact, there are many reasons why men as well as women need to confront the moral issue of abortion.

Certainly the experience of pregnancy and childbirth is unique to women. And although a man can try to understand empathetically, both the joys and the pains women go through remain a closed book to them. The wonderful sense of heightened life that comes with feeling that there is a new life within you, the first experience of the baby’s motion and the unique sort of intimacy that develops during pregnancy are things men can’t experience just as much as the morning sickness, the discomforts of late pregnancy, and the violent pains of childbirth are. But this proves nothing at all about whether men are entitled to make moral judgments about abortion.

First of all, as shown in my previous article, abortion destroys a living human being. We each began life in a woman’s womb and can therefore say for every abortion “it might have been me.” By virtue of our shared humanity, we all have an obligation to come to the defense of innocent and helpless human beings. If we saw an infant about to be run over by a truck, our duty to rescue it would be obvious. Abortions are morally similar, but they are performed in special facilities by people in white coats. The distinctively human features of the embryo or fetus are downplayed and hushed up. But they are there for anyone who chooses to look.

Second, for every pregnancy there is one man who has a particularly strong obligation to protect the new life – namely the father. The embryo didn’t just fall out of the sky or arrive via a stork; it came into existence as a result of an action performed by both of the parents. Parents have an obligation to care for their children – to protect and nurture them. Once pregnancy has occurred they are already parents; the time for “reproductive choice” has passed. Their son or daughter may be still tiny and immature, but it is there, and they are obligated to care for it.

The impact of abortion on fathers, especially, has been hushed up in order to make it look like abortion concerns only the woman who should therefore have the freedom to terminate the pregnancy. A number of men (in addition to aborted unborn males) are damaged by abortion and not just the father. The grandfathers, uncles and brothers of the aborted individual can be scarred for life as well. But the father is most deeply affected. The effect is immediately felt when the woman gets an abortion against the father’s wishes. There is a certain pride in being able to make a new life spring into being. A mystery and sense of power – whether or not the pregnancy was desired or intended. When the father tries to protect his baby and she goes ahead with the abortion anyway, feelings of rage and powerlessness flow naturally. (I was once on a radio talk show abortion debate in San Francisco, whose host was going through this sort of anger and powerlessness but felt too intimidated by aggressive feminists to say so on the air.) In destroying a man’s baby the woman is rejecting him on a deep level, and abortion usually terminates the relationship between the parents, even if the man went along with it willingly.

If the man pressured her into an abortion, severe guilt is likely to result at some point. (A friend of mine working on a suicide prevention hotline received a call from such a man.) And even if the woman insists on the abortion and the man feels relief at the time, feelings of grief and shame often surface many years later (as happened to a friend of mine in his late forties after his son died prematurely). A man who marries a post abortive woman will have heavy emotional baggage to deal with even if he had nothing to do with the abortion, and a woman’s capacity to bond with subsequent children can be seriously compromised by an earlier abortion.

In short, the poisonous ripple effect that spreads out from the violence of abortion touches the lives of many people, and not just the woman. Men as well as women can look at what is destroyed in an abortion and reflect about this in light of moral principles, and take a searching look at the consequences that result from abortion for those directly affected by it and for society as a whole.

Note: Celia Wolf-Devine is an extensively published author and lecturer in Philosophy. She, along with her husband Phil Devine are co-authors of a book on Abortion published by Oxford University Press.

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Today’s chuckle: Rubio, Fiorina and Carson pardon a Thanksgiving turkey

Steve Jalsevac Steve Jalsevac Follow Steve
By Steve Jalsevac

A little bit of humour now and then is a good thing.

Happy Thanksgiving to all our American readers.

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Lianne Laurence


BREAKING: Europe’s top human rights court slaps down German ban on pro-life leafletting

Lianne Laurence
By Lianne Laurence

STRASBOURG, France, November 26, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – The European Court of Human Rights ruled Thursday that a German regional court violated a pro-life activist’s freedom of expression when it barred him from leafleting in front of an abortion center.

It further ruled the German court’s order that Klaus Gunter Annen not list the names of two abortion doctors on his website likewise violated the 64-year-old pro-life advocate’s right to freedom of expression.

The court’s November 26 decision is “a real moral victory,” says Gregor Puppinck, director of the Strasbourg-based European Center for Law and Justice, which intervened in Annen’s case. “It really upholds the freedom of speech for pro-life activists in Europe.”

Annen, a father of two from Weinam, a mid-sized city in the Rhine-Neckar triangle, has appealed to the Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights at least two times before, Puppinck told LifeSiteNews.

“This is the first time he made it,” he said, noting that this time around, Annen had support from the ECLJ and Alliance Defense Fund and the German Pro-life Federation (BVL). “I think he got more support, better arguments and so I think this helped.”

The court also ordered the German government to pay Annen costs of 13,696.87 EUR, or 14,530 USD.

Annen started distributing pamphlets outside a German abortion center ten years ago, ECLJ stated in a press release.

His leaflets contained the names and addresses of the two abortionists at the center, declared they were doing “unlawful abortions,” and stated in smaller print that, “the abortions were allowed by the German legislators and were not subject to criminal liability.”

Annen’s leaflets also stated that, “The murder of human beings in Auschwitz was unlawful, but the morally degraded NS State allowed the murder of innocent people and did not make it subject to criminal liability.” They referred to Annen’s website, www.babycaust.de, which listed a number of abortionists, including the two at the site he was leafleting.

In 2007, a German regional court barred Annen from pamphleteering in the vicinity of the abortion center, and ordered him to drop the name of the two abortion doctors from his website.

But the European Court of Human Rights ruled Thursday that the German courts had "failed to strike a fair balance between [Annen’s] right to freedom of expression and the doctor’s personality rights.”

The Court stated that, “there can be no doubt as to the acute sensitivity of the moral and ethical issues raised by the question of abortion or as to the importance of the public interest at stake.”

That means, stated ECLJ, that “freedom of expression in regard to abortion shall enjoy a full protection.”

ECLJ stated that the court noted Annen’s leaflets “made clear that the abortions performed in the clinic were not subject to criminal liability. Therefore, the statement that ‘unlawful abortions’ were being performed in the clinic was correct from a legal point of view.”

As for the Holocaust reference, the court stated that, “the applicant did not – at least not explicitly – equate abortion with the Holocaust.”  Rather, the reference was “a way of creating awareness of the more general fact that law might diverge from morality.”

The November 26 decision “is a quite good level of protection of freedom of speech for pro-life people,” observed Puppinck.

First, the European Court of Human Rights has permitted leafleting “in the direct proximate vicinity of the clinic, so there is no issue of zoning,” he told LifeSiteNews. “And second, the leaflets were mentioning the names of the doctors, and moreover, were mentioning the issue of the Holocaust, which made them quite strong leaflets.”

“And the court protected that.”

Annen has persevered in his pro-life awareness campaign through the years despite the restraints on his freedom.

“He did continue, and he did adapt,” Puppinck told LifeSiteNews. “He kept his freedom of speech as much as he could, but he continued to be sanctioned by the German authorities, and each time he went to the court of human rights. And this time, he won.”

ECLJ’s statement notes that “any party” has three months to appeal the November 26 decision.

However, as it stands, the European Court of Human Rights’s ruling affects “all the national courts,” noted Puppinck, and these will now “have to protect freedom of speech, recognize the freedom of speech for pro-lifers.”

“In the past, the courts have not always been very supportive of the freedom of speech of pro-life,” he said, so the ruling is “significant.”

As for Annen’s pro-life ministry, Pubbinck added: “He can continue to go and do, and I’m sure that he does, because he always did.”  

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A vibrant church in Africa. Pierre-Yves Babelon / Shutterstock.com
Pete Baklinski Pete Baklinski Follow Pete

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‘Soft racism’: German Bishops’ website attributes African Catholics’ strong faith to simplemindedness

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By Pete Baklinski

GERMANY, November 26, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) --  The only reason the Catholic Church is growing in Africa is because the people have a “rather low level” of education and accept “simple answers to difficult questions” involving marriage and sexuality, posited an article on the official website of the German Bishops' Conference posted yesterday. The article targeted particularly Cardinal Robert Sarah of Guinea, the Vatican's prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and ardent defender of Catholic tradition.

First Things blogger Leroy Huizenga, who translated a portion of the article, criticized the article's view as “soft racism.”

In his article, titled “The Romantic, Poor Church,” Katholisch.de editor Björn Odendahl writes: 

So also in Africa. Of course the Church is growing there. It grows because the people are socially dependent and often have nothing else but their faith. It grows because the educational situation there is on average at a rather low level and the people accept simple answers to difficult questions (of faith) [sic]. Answers like those that Cardinal Sarah of Guinea provides. And even the growing number of priests is a result not only of missionary power but also a result of the fact that the priesthood is one of the few possibilities for social security on the dark continent.

Huizenga said that such an article has no place on a bishops’ conference website. 

“We all know that the German Bishops' Conference is one of the most progressive in the world. But it nevertheless beggars belief that such a statement would appear on the Conference's official website, with its lazy slander of African Christians and priests as poor and uneducated (Odendahl might as well have added ‘easy to command’) and its gratuitous swipe at Cardinal Sarah,” he wrote. 

“Natürlich progressives could never be guilty of such a sin and crime, but these words sure do suggest soft racism, the racism of elite white Western paternalism,” he added. 

African prelates have gained a solid reputation for being strong defenders of Catholic sexual morality because of their unwavering orthodox input into the recently concluded Synod on the Family in Rome. 

At one point during the Synod, Cardinal Robert Sarah urged Catholic leaders to recognize as the greatest modern enemies of the family what he called the twin “demonic” “apocalyptic beasts” of “the idolatry of Western freedom” and “Islamic fundamentalism.”

STORY: Cardinal Danneels warns African bishops to avoid ‘triumphalism’

“What Nazi-Fascism and Communism were in the 20th century, Western homosexual and abortion ideologies and Islamic fanaticism are today,” he said during his speech at the Synod last month. 

But African prelates’ adherence to orthodoxy has earned them enemies, especially from the camp of Western prelates bent on forming the Catholic Church in their own image and likeness, not according to Scripture, tradition, and the teaching magisterium of the Church. 

During last year’s Synod, German Cardinal Walter Kasper went as far as stating that the voice of African Catholics in the area of Church teaching on homosexuality should simply be dismissed.

African cardinals “should not tell us too much what we have to do,” he said in an October 2014 interview with ZENIT, adding that African countries are "very different, especially about gays.” 

Earlier this month Belgian Cardinal Godfried Danneels, instead of praising Africa for its vibrant and flourishing Catholicism, said that African prelates will one day have to look to Europe to get what he called “useful tips” on how to deal with “secularization” and “individualism.” 

The statement was criticized by one pro-family advocate as “patronizing of the worst kind” in light of the facts that numerous European churches are practically empty, vocations to the priesthood and religious life are stagnant, and the Catholic faith in Europe, especially in Belgium, is overall in decline.

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