Kirsten Andersen

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‘I feel very strongly about this issue’: Marco Rubio to introduce 20-week abortion ban in Senate

Kirsten Andersen
Kirsten Andersen
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WASHINGTON, D.C., July 26, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – After several weeks of speculation, Senator Marco Rubio, R-FL, confirmed this week that he wants to introduce a bill banning abortions nationwide after 20 weeks, when experts say unborn children can feel pain.

“I feel very strongly about this issue,” Rubio said. “And I’d like to be the lead sponsor on it if we can find language that we can unify people behind.”

Congressman Trent Franks, R-AZ, who authored the House version of the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, told LifeSiteNews.com earlier this month that Rubio planned to introduce the Senate version but asked it be kept off the record until Rubio made a public announcement.

Rubio explained the legislation had been delayed due to the fact that he and his colleagues want to be sure the legislation’s wording is constitutionally bulletproof before introducing it.

“What we have among pro-life supporters in the Senate is a difference of opinion about: Which constitutionally enumerated power is this flowing under?” Rubio told Politico. “We just have not yet been able to come to a consensus on that.” Under law, Senate bills must specify which constitutional provision authorizes it.

The senator also left room for the possibility that someone else may eventually take the lead in championing the legislation.

“If someone else would like to do it instead of me, I’m more than happy to consider it,” Rubio said. “But I’d like to be the lead sponsor.”

Rubio, who is expected to be a top contender for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016, had been expected to announce his intention to sponsor the bill since three weeks ago, when he told press outlets that he had agreed to do it.

If Rubio is going to introduce the bill, now would seem an opportune time. A recent Washington Post-ABC News poll showed that more than half of Americans support restricting abortion after 20 weeks. In January, Gallup found that 64 percent of Americans believe abortion should be illegal after the first trimester, and 80 percent believe it should be outlawed in the third trimester.

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It’s likely internal debate over the bill’s language will center on whether to include controversial exceptions for rape, incest, birth defects, and/or the health of the mother.

Franks’ bill was originally introduced with only an exception to save the mother’s life, but under intense media scrutiny and outcry from abortion supporters, it was amended to include exceptions for rape and incest before it passed the House in June.

Pro-abortion critics of the proposed ban argue that excluding such exceptions amounts to forcing victims of crimes or illness to give birth against their will. But pro-life legislators and activists say that the ban doesn’t go into effect until five months into a woman’s pregnancy, giving her ample time to make such a decision.

And a growing number of people conceived in rape and incest have been speaking out against the so-called “rape exception,” arguing that children like them don’t deserve the death penalty for their fathers’ crimes.

Despite popular support for more restrictions, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-NV, has said any legislation to limit abortion will be dead on arrival in the Democrat-controlled Senate.

“The majority leader’s opposition to this puts him outside the mainstream of the American public,” Rubio said on Wednesday. “They love to cite polls all the time — and well, I don’t live by polls — but polls indicate that the vast majority of Americans believe that after 20 weeks, abortion should be limited.”

Americans’ awareness of late term abortion has heightened after the recent “House of Horrors” murder trial that saw abortionist Kermit Gosnell sentenced to three consecutive life terms in prison for severing the spines of babies who survived late term abortion procedures at his filthy West Philadelphia clinic.

Around the same time, the pro-life activist group Live Action released a series of undercover videos exposing late-term abortionists and their staff telling patients to flush live babies down the toilet and vowing not to provide lifesaving care to babies born alive after botched abortions.

According to Florida-based political analyst Jeff Henderson, “in calling for moving the abortion ban from 24 weeks to 20 weeks, Rubio has his finger on the pulse of the American electorate.”

Writing for the Sunshine State News, Henderson said Rubio should jump on the opportunity to be a hero on what he believes is a winning issue.

“Since a majority of Americans are with Rubio on this issue, it’s a chance to use one of Democrats’ favorite tactics against them and paint them as out of touch and extremists on the issue,” Henderson wrote. “Rubio would be wise to play up his stance here as much as he can in the months to come and into the 2016 election.”

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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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Ben Johnson Ben Johnson Follow Ben

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Hillary Clinton: ‘Religious beliefs’ against abortion ‘have to be changed’

Ben Johnson Ben Johnson Follow Ben
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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