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‘I’m not a hero’: Chen Guangcheng, still in diplomatic limbo, phones Congressional hearing

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WASHINGTON, May 15, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - As Chinese forced-abortion opponent Chen Guanchcheng awaits a passport to freedom that some fear may never come, his supporters are pleading for continued media attention as the affair threatens to be swept under the diplomatic rug between the U.S. and China.

The extensive international media coverage of Chen’s plight was highlighted as a key factor in his safety at a Congressional hearing Tuesday. The hearing also highlighted how such coverage was critical for the woman who helped Chen escape, who said she believes beatings or worse were in store at the hands of officials who kidnapped her, had it not been for such exposure.

“I would earnestly ask them not to forget Mr. Chen and his family, and his extended family, and others like He Peirong, who are risking their security and their lives on his behalf,” said Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), who chaired the hearing.

Chen Guangcheng himself phoned in to the hearing according to schedule, repeating a dramatic scene earlier this month when he had called unexpectedly during a similar hearing.

He once again expressed serious concern for his extended family, especially for nephew Chen Kegui, who has been charged with “intentional homicide,” a charge the elder Chen called “completely trumped up” and “totally absurd.”  Chen corroborated reports that the charge pertains to his nephew’s attempt to defend himself and his mother and father, who were severely beaten by government officials who raided their home in connection with Chen’s escape. Chen also observed that his nephew did not kill, but only harmed the intruders.

Otherwise, Chen expressed his gratitude to his overseas friends and insisted that, “I’m not a hero.”

“I just do what my conscience asks me to do. I cannot be silent, I cannot be quiet when facing these evils against women and children, and so this is what I should do,” he said, as translated by ChinaAid president Bob Fu. “I cannot be silent when we see and face these kind of evils.”

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Rep. Chris Smith said in opening remarks that now, eleven days after Chen stepped out of the U.S. embassy he had fled to late last month, police continue to block his exit from the hospital as well as visits from friends, media, or U.S. diplomats. Although a passport application for Chen was supposedly received by China on Sunday, which would allow him to accept a U.S. offer for a university fellowship, no word on the application has been received since then.

Chen said that although U.S. officials have not been able to visit him in person, he has been able to speak with them “every day” remotely.

One testimony at the hearing may have elucidated part of Chen’s struggle: Wei Jingsheng, a former Chinese political prisoner and founding chair of the Overseas Chinese Democracy Coalition, said that he learned from his negotiations with Chinese officials that their government, which he called an “evil cult,” is “not whole, but composed of several interests groups.”

“The promises of one faction often become targets of other factions,” said Wei in translated remarks. “They are only restrained by their interests, [and] not bounded by their promises.”

Reggie Littlejohn of Women’s Rights Without Frontiers reported that Chen’s associate, He Peirong, is still safe after being released from police custody for her role in freeing Chen from his home imprisonment in Shandong province. Littlejohn described previous treatment against Ms. He by government officials, including incidents in 2011 in which she was kidnapped, robbed, struck on the face 30-40 times, and sexually assaulted.

“This kind of accommodation, of kowtowing to the Chinese Communist Party and trying to exercise quiet diplomacy is very ineffective, but it’s when you have transparent advocacy that people are protected,” said Littlejohn.

The hearing also focused on the brutality of the one-child policy that was the driving force of Chen’s advocacy: witnesses included one Chinese woman, Mei Shunping, who described being forced to abort five children, the ensuing marital stress that caused her husband to divorce her, and her attempted suicide.

Russ Carnahan, D-MO, said that Chen’s story “appears to mark a watershed moment for U.S.-China relations,” while Rep. Smith again pointed out the injustice of the one-child policy that Chen was dedicated to exposing.

“When you talk about that kind of abuse of women that is unprecedented in human history ... with barely a peep of dissent from the Obama administration and the EU ... it is a whitewash that has no comparison either,” said Smith.

“My hope is that we are in the process of a game-changing reappraisal of our deprioritization of human rights in China, where wittingly or unwittingly we have allowed this terrible crime of forced abortions and forced sterilizations as we looked askance and pretended it wasn’t happening.”



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‘Little miracles’: Mom gives birth to naturally-conceived quintuplets after refusing ‘selective reduction’

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An ultrasound of the five different compartments, each with its own baby, inside Kim's womb.

AUSTRALIA, February 5, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) -- A 26-year-old Australian mom has given birth to five healthy babies, all conceived naturally, after refusing the doctor’s advice that she must abort three of them in order to give the remaining two a better chance at life. 

“After my initial ultrasound I was told I could consider the selection method to give 2 babies the best chance in life,” wrote mom Kim Tucci in a Facebook post last September. 

“I watched a YouTube video on the procedure and I cried. I could never do that! Was I selfish for not giving two the chance of 100% survival? All I knew is that I already love them and that every heart beat I heard I connect with them more. For me life starts when a heart starts beating and all I know for sure is that I will do whatever it takes to bring them into this world healthy,” she wrote. 

Last Thursday Kim and her husband Vaughn welcomed the five new members into their family — one boy and four girls —increasing the number of their children from 3 to 8. The babies were born at 30 weeks, 10 weeks early, due to insufficient space in Kim’s womb. They weighed on average about 2.5 pounds. 

The quintuplets’ story began last March, after Kim and Vaughn had been trying for six months to conceive just one more child for their family. Due to health complications, Kim wondered if she would ever become a mother again. 

After what she thought was an extra long cycle, she decided to take a pregnancy test. 

“I was feeling tired and a little nauseated and thought I would take a pregnancy test just to get the ‘what if’ out of my head. To my shock and utter excitement it was positive,” she wrote on a Facebook post.

The parents got the shock of their lives when doctors confirmed in an ultrasound examination that there was not one baby, but five. 

“After a long wait for the ultrasound we finally went in. The sonographer told me there were multiple gestational sacks, but she could only see a heart beat in two. I was so excited! Twins!”

“I was moved to another machine for a clearer view and had the head doctor come in and double check the findings. She started to count, one, two, three, four, five. Did i hear that correctly? Five? My legs start to shake uncontrollably and all i can do is laugh. The sonographer then told me the term for five is ‘quintuplets,’” Kim wrote.

Even though Kim began to feel stretched to the limit with all those human lives growing inside her, she chose to focus on her babies, and not herself, referring to them as “my five little miracles.” 

“It's getting harder as each day passes to push through the pain, every part of my body aches and sleeping is becoming very painful. No amount of pillows are helping support my back and belly. Sometimes I get so upset that I just want to throw my hands up and give in.”

“Sometimes my pelvis becomes so stiff I can barely walk and my hips feel like they are grinding away constantly. I'm finding it hard to eat as I basically have no room left in my stomach, and the way it is positioned it's pushed all the way back with the babies leaning against it.” 

“My skin on my belly is so stretched its painful and hot to touch. It literally feels like I have hives! No amount of cream helps relieve the discomfort. I have a lot of stretch marks now. Dealing with such a huge change in my body is hard.” 

“Is it all worth it? Yes!!!! I will keep pushing through,” she wrote in one Facebook post days before the babies were born. 

The newborns' names are Keith, Ali, Penelope, Tiffany, and Beatrix. They were born at King Edward Memorial Hospital in Subiaco, Western Australia. Mother and babies are reported to be doing well. 



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UN rights chief tells Catholic countries to legalize abortion over Zika virus: bishops and cardinal react

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GENEVA, February 5, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) -- The United Nations, following the lead of international abortion activists, is now urging Latin American countries hit by the mosquito-borne Zika virus to lift restrictions on abortion for pregnant women who have contacted the virus and whose pre-born children may be at risk for birth defects, including having smaller than normal heads. 

The UN human rights office said today that it is not enough for South American countries to urge women to postpone pregnancy without also offering them abortion as a final solution. 

“How can they ask these women not to become pregnant, but not offer… the possibility to stop their pregnancies?” UN spokeswoman Cecile Pouilly told reporters. 

UN human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein said that governments should make available contraception and abortion services.

“Laws and policies that restrict (women’s) access to these services must be urgently reviewed in line with human rights obligations in order to ensure the right to health for all in practice,” he said.

But Brazil’s bishops strongly asserted yesterday that efforts should be made to eradicate the virus, not the people who may be infected by it. 

The disease is “no justification whatsoever to promote abortion,” they said in a statement, adding that it is not morally acceptable to promote abortion “in the cases of microcephaly, as, unfortunately, some groups are proposing to the Supreme Federal Court, in a total lack of respect for the gift of life.”

Honduras Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga has also come out strongly against the notion of “therapeutic abortions” as a response to the problem. Unlike Brazil where abortion is legal in the case of rape or health of the mother, abortion remains entirely illegal in Honduras.

“We should never talk about ‘therapeutic’ abortion,” the cardinal said in a homily at a February 3 Mass in Suyap. “Therapeutic abortion doesn’t exist. Therapeutic means curing, and abortion cures nothing. It takes innocent lives,” he said. 

While the World Health Organization (WHO) declared an international public health emergency February 1 on account of concerns over the virus, critics have pointed out, however, that not one death as resulted from the virus. Even on WHO’s own website the virus is described in mild terms. 

“It causes mild fever and rash. Other symptoms include muscle pain, joint pain, headache, pain behind the eyes and conjunctivitis. Zika virus disease is usually mild, with symptoms lasting only a few days,” the website states. “To date, there have been no reported deaths associated with Zika virus,” it added. 

Critics suspect that the crisis is being manipulated to advance an anti-human agenda on the pre-born. 

“Is Zika, actually, a hideous virus that threatens to spread uncontrollably across the world creating an army of disabled children with tiny heads and low IQ’s? Or might this be a willful misinterpretation of the scarce data to manipulate public opinion and legislatures?” wrote pro-life critic Mei-Li Garcia earlier this week.

“It becomes very clear that the publicity surrounding this story has a very little to do with medicine and a lot to do with a convenient crisis that is being used by those pushing for the legalization of abortion around the world,” she wrote.



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Hillary’s litmus test for Supreme Court picks: They must ‘preserve Roe v. Wade’

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DERRY, NH, February 5, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) - Hillary Clinton has a litmus test for Supreme Court nominees - several, in fact. At a Democratic event on Wednesday, Clinton unveiled her criteria in selecting a judge for the nation's highest court.

“I do have a litmus test, I have a bunch of litmus tests," she said.

"We’ve got to make sure to preserve Roe v. Wade, not let it be nibbled away or repealed,” she said.

There have been over 58,000,000 abortions since the 1973 court ruling legalizing abortion in all 50 states, according to National Right to Life.

That echoes her recent call to arms speech before Planned Parenthood last month, when she stated that taxpayers must fund abortion-on-demand in order to uphold the "right" of choice.

“We have to preserve marriage equality,” Clinton said, referring to last summer's Obergefell v. Hodges case, a 5-4 ruling that redefined marriage nationwide. “We have to go further to end discrimination against the LGBT community."

Her views differentiate her from the Republican front runners. Ted Cruz has called the court's marriage ruling "fundamentally illegitimate," and Donald Trump told Fox News Sunday this week that he would "be very strong on putting certain judges on the bench that I think maybe could change things." Marco Rubio has said he won't "concede" the issue to the one-vote majority.

All Republican presidential hopefuls say they are pro-life and will defund Planned Parenthood.

Her husband, Bill Clinton, raised the makeup of the Supreme Court early last month in New Hampshire, saying it receives "almost no attention" as a campaign issue.

On Wednesday, Hillary said "the next president could get as many as three appointments. It’s one of the many reasons why we can’t turn the White House over to the Republicans again.”

Clinton said her judicial appointees must also reverse the Citizens United ruling on campaign finance and oppose a recent decision striking down a portion of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. In 2013's Shelby County v. Holder, justices struck down Section 4(b) of the act, which said that certain states and jurisdictions had to obtain permission from the federal government before changing their voting laws.

At one time, most politicians frowned upon any "litmus test" for judicial nominees, emphasizing the independence of the third branch of government. "I don't believe in litmus tests," Jeb Bush told Chuck Todd last November.

But with the rise of an activist judiciary in the middle of the 20th century, constitutionalists have sought to rein in the power of the bench.



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