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Hundreds of Thousands Join 37th March for Life

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LifeSiteNews.com

By John-Henry Westen

WASHINGTON, January 23, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Weather reports in the days leading up to Friday’s March for Life warned of rain and snow; however, spirits were high and the weather good on the day of the event, with no snow or rain falling and temperatures remaining bearable.  A sea of youth dominated the massive crowd, one of the largest – if not the largest - in the history of the 37 years of the annual March for Life.

Organizer Nellie Gray told the press that the numbers of marchers this year far exceeded last year, which was estimated at well over 300,000.  That sentiment was echoed by many long-time March for Life participants.

The morning prior to the March was filled with activities around the D.C. area, with tens of thousands in attendance at major events.  The Verizon Centre was filled to capacity for the official 11 a.m. Mass. 

A Human Life International (HLI) ‘mini’-conference also was well attended. The world’s largest pro-life organization packed their hotel conference room, treating guests to bagels and coffee and the experiences of HLI leaders from around the globe.  A short address by this reporter and a final talk by HLI President Fr. Tom Euteneuer concluded the event, after which participants joined the hundreds of thousands gathering for the march.

All along the route hundreds of banners from high schools, colleges, religious orders, and pro-life groups, could be seen leading their companies, with several marching bands keeping a lively cadence throughout the throng.

 

While pro-lifers marched by the hundreds of thousands, less than a dozen pro-abortion supporters stood before the Supreme Court with signs. Reading the CNN coverage, however, one would be led to believe the numbers were equal.

NPR similarly understated to an extreme degree the disparity between the pro-life and pro-abortion forces, admitting only that there were a “smaller number of pro-choice demonstrators.”  Notably missing was the fact that the pro-abortion demonstrators were outnumbered about 20,000 to 1, or more.

The Washington Post was more accurate, but still off by a factor of at least 10.  “Tens of thousands of abortion opponents marched through the cold Friday in the annual March for Life,” reported the Post, adding, “Few counter-demonstrators were visible along the route, but some gathered in front of the Supreme Court.”

USA Today gave a feel for the massive pro-life presence at the March reporting that “120 buses of abortion protesters from southwestern Pennsylvania” alone took part.

Even in the midst of such extreme bias from the mainstream media, however, it was easy to pinpoint the most outlandish report – from Newsweek.  The report by Krista Gesaman suggested that what was missing from the march were young women.

But far from missing, young women were in fact the dominant demographic at this 37th March for Life.

Congressman Chris Smith addressed the marchers prior to the commencement of the event, pointing to what he believes is the motivation for this year’s massive turnout.  He noted that “with healthcare plans trying to begin using taxpayer dollars fund abortions for the first time since the 1970s via forcing insurance coverage, the U.S. is looking at the single greatest expansion of abortion since the tragic Roe v Wade court ruling 37 years ago.”

Smith pointed out that in his first year in office, President Obama has moved swiftly to: allow the use of U.S. taxpayers money to fund abortion groups all over the word by rescinding the Mexico City Policy; enable China’s coercive population control program by funding the United Nations Population Fund; and roll back restrictions on funding for human embryo-destroying stem cell experimentation. Obama is also in the process of altering federal regulations to roll back the nation’s existing conscience protection laws that protect the rights and freedoms of healthcare providers (such as Catholic hospitals, physicians and nurses) who are opposed to performing abortions on personal or moral grounds.

However, Smith went on to say, embodying the spirit of the pro-life movement: "President Obama — the abortion president — should know this: even though you have unleashed the full might and power of your administration in the ignoble promotion of abortion on demand both in the United States and around the world, especially in Africa and Latin America, we do pray and fast for you, even as we tenaciously fight your anti-life policies.”

Note: More reports about the 37th annual March for Life will follow in the coming days.

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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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