Karen Dudek

‘It gives me the chills’: Planned Parenthood aborts plans to open a mega-clinic

Karen Dudek
By Karen Dudek
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June 28, 2012 (LiveActionNews.org) - In what pro-life leaders are calling a “huge victory for life,” Planned Parenthood has settled a lawsuit and quietly put the 17,050-square-foot building it purchased in Auburn Hills, Michigan back on the market for sale.

Pro-lifers are cautiously jubilant. “We prevailed in what was set before us,” said Dr. Monica Miller, director of Citizens for a Pro-Life Society (CPLS), who spearheaded the opposition against Planned Parenthood of Mid and South Michigan (PPMSM). “There will be no abortions out of there but we are watching to see if they are still looking for other places to open a clinic in Oakland County.”

PPMSM announced that they intended to open a “full-service” clinic in Oakland County in April of 2010. In November of the same year, they purchased the prime property on N. Opdyke Road, local to several high schools, colleges, and universities. From that location, they could also target the African-American population in nearby Pontiac.

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Upon hearing the news, pro-life activists and citizens in Auburn Hills began with swift and furious opposition, calling the situation a community crisis. Concerted efforts united Christian leaders, churches, and pro-life groups: Citizens for a Pro-life Society, Central Oakland Right to Life, Crossroads Pregnancy Center, Lifespan/RTL, Nurses for Life, Heartfelt Family Services, Real Estate for Life, and pro-life attorneys, who held organizational meetings and used their individual skills to delve into the problem.

The community petitioned and gathered 10,850 signatures and presented them to the Auburn Hills City Council and to Washington, D.C. CPLS organized a steady stream of protest rallies with speakers that drew hundreds to the site.

Residents promised to boycott any local contractors who would agree to develop the empty building. Lastly, but most of all, they called for prayer.

Believing that prayer was something that everyone could do, Miller said, “We need your prayers! Everyone should be praying daily and fervently that this abortion clinic will not open! Pray to stop the killing. Pray for the vulnerable women, the abandoned and lonely unborn child who wants to live. Pray that funds will be cut to Planned Parenthood[.]”

The fruit of all this effort and what appears to have won the day was a legal battle that began after Real Estate for Life founder Dave Theisen discovered a covenant deed restriction limiting the property to office, retail, or restaurant use only. The owners of the property, practicing Hindus, tried to enforce the deed restriction, causing PPMSM to file a lawsuit.

The building remained undeveloped while the judicial process played out. In the courtroom, Judge James Alexander decided that more time was needed before deciding on whether Planned Parenthood could call itself a “medical office” as a type of office under the restriction or whether Defense Attorney James Carey could define what a medical office means. Alexander ultimately ruled in favor of Planned Parenthood, but not until more than a year had passed from the time the land had been purchased.

Planned Parenthood lost hundreds of thousands on the property in the meantime. After 18 months of fighting to develop the empty building into an abortion mega-clinic, Planned Parenthood has settled the lawsuit, agreeing that they will never perform abortions at the site.

Details of the settlement are confidential, and Lori Lamerand, CEO of Mid and South Michigan Planned Parenthood, never admitted that they were in a financial bind, but rather claimed that the organization had decided not to waste money on “frivolous litigation.” Lamerand insists in the Oakland Press that PPMSM is content with the settlement. “Even though the lower court agreed that we had every right to operate a medical office on the site, we’ve decided that we are not going to spend more time and money litigating their baseless claims,” she said. “Instead, we will focus upon providing critical health care services. We have not wavered in our commitment to opening more centers in Oakland County.”

Attorney James Carey said that in the settlement, Planned Parenthood and the hotel owners agreed to amend the restrictive covenant so that no abortion services will be permitted on the property.

This is something you can do in real estate, says attorney and pro-life leader Rebecca Kiessling. “Property owners, you can keep an abortion clinic from opening. Stipulate it in your deed. Add the words, ‘in perpetuity’ and an abortion may never been performed on your property!”

Kiessling is happy with the outcome of the Auburn Hills battle. “It is a great victory! It gives me the chills!” she said. She gives credit to many people coming together and using their “skill sets” – particularly Theisen for his research and Carey, who offered his work pro bono. “This was OUR community that was being targeted,” he said.

Added Brenda Savage of Birth Choice Pregnancy Center, “Our prayers are answered! … to see this change is a reward that must be recognized for what it is: God is encouraging all of us to keep alive the mission to respect all life from conception to natural death … and to do so peacefully … it is a joy to be associated with so many caring and dedicated individuals.”

Dr. Miller wants to encourage others who may be caught up in a similar battle. “Be encouraged!” she says. “Don’t be defeatist but act! Trust in God, be vigilant and stop them!”

Reprinted with permission from LiveActionNews.org

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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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