Patrick Craine

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M312 debate: Woodworth passionate; Libs, NDP freak out over even discussing personhood

Patrick Craine
Patrick Craine
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OTTAWA, Sept. 21, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Canada’s Parliament debated MP Stephen Woodworth’s pro-life motion Friday afternoon, with opponents expressing incredulity that the subject was even raised and supporters pleading for an honest discussion.

The motion, which seeks to set up a special committee to re-examine the humanity of the unborn, moves to a decisive vote on Sept. 26th.

The motion’s opponents, representing the New Democrats and Liberals, largely focused on characterizing it as a “backdoor” attempt to ban abortion.

New Democrat Irene Mathyssen (London-Fanshawe) said she was “offended” by the motion, and described it as a “slap in the face” to women. Massimo Pacetti (Saint-Leonard—Saint Michel, Lib) expressed “astonishment” that Parliament was debating the issue, and said, “it’s a shame that we’re wasting debate on this.” And Sylvain Chicoine (Châteauguay—Saint-Constant, NDP) said he was speaking “with great disappointment” about a motion that seeks “to break down the social peace in our country.”

But Woodworth, in one of the most passionate speeches of the afternoon, pleaded for an honest discussion, pointing out that Canada “was founded on the promise that two founding nations in conflict could reconcile their differences peaceably.”

Motion 312 proposes to re-examine section 223 of Canada’s Criminal Code, which stipulates that a child only becomes a human being once he or she has fully proceeded from the womb. The committee would be charged with examining the medical evidence with a view to assessing the humanity of the unborn child.

It is opposed by all of the party leaders, including Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who has repeatedly pledged that he will oppose and vote against any effort to re-open debate on abortion.

According Woodworth, “it would fulfill our shared vision of Canada to allow, despite extreme and intransigent opposition, a mere study about human rights even if modern evidence might cause some to question our laws.”

“Or will Parliament reject those Canadian ideals? Is THAT what Parliament has come to?” he asked.

“The sweep of history for 400 years has brought ever greater recognition of the inherent worth and dignity of every human being.  That bedrock foundation anchors Canada’s essential character,” he continued.

In her address, Mathyssen pledged that the New Democratic Party will “actively fight” any motion or bill that threatens Canada’s abortion regime. Noting that the vast majority of abortions occur in the first trimester, she insisted that “a fertilized egg is not a class of people,” and passing the motion would “directly place Canada on the regressive path to banning abortion.”

Pacetti criticized Woodworth’s tactic of seeking to study section 223 when it’s clear that he actually disagrees with it. “If he truly believes [section 223] is archaic, the member … should seek to amend this section” instead of forming a committee, said Pacetti. “Why doesn’t he just propose the change … instead of pretending he is neutral?”

He said recognizing legal personhood for the unborn “would jeopardize the status of abortion in Canada,” and would result in a slippery slope. “Where would this assault on the rights of women end?” he asked.

Conservative Mark Warawa (Langley) said he was “saddened” by the falsehoods uttered about Woodworth since he proposed the motion, calling him “a man of integrity, a man of logic.” He said it is “important that people in this House not exaggerate, not turn to rhetoric,” adding that he is “saddened that the rhetoric is so strong at times.”

“The question that goes to my heart is: Why is Canada out of sync with the rest of the world? Why does Canada have legislation that’s on par with North Korea?” he said, noting that Canada has no legislation protecting children until the moment of complete birth.

“A child whose little toe is still in the birth canal has not fully proceeded from his mother’s body,” he noted. “Why does our law take such an unusual position?”

“Any parent knows that a child is there,” he added. “Let’s protect women’s rights, children’s rights, adult’s rights, all human rights.”

Conservative Stella Ambler (Mississauga South) insisted “the only thing Motion 312 does is to propose a study,” and said the fact that there are differing views on the issue “is even more reason” that Parliament needs to “show leadership.”

She rebuked opponents for mischaracterizing Supreme Court decisions as though they had “settled” the issue, noting that the high court has repeatedly said it’s Parliament’s responsibility. She pointed in particular the opinion of Justice Bertha Wilson in R. v. Morgentaler, where the feminist judge recommended “almost exactly the study” proposed by M-312.

Conservative David Anderson, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources, said he had received communications from numerous young women supporting the motion, and noted that this is a “rebuke” to Mathyssen’s charge that the motion is an attack on women.

“Do Canadians believe that a child transforms from a non-human to a human being at the moment of complete birth?” he asked. “We need to recognize that a majority of Canadians believe that human life begins long before a person is born.”

If the child becomes a child before complete birth, he said, then section 223 is “actually a law that dehumanizes and excludes a whole class of human beings from legal protection.”

“Is that an honest and acceptable law?” he asked.

Campaign Life Coalition, the political arm of Canada’s pro-life movement, issued a press release immediately after the debate condemning the motion’s opponents as “cowardly.”

“Motion 312 calls for parliament to evaluate an outdated 400-year-old law that denies modern scientific evidence that proves that life begins at conception,” said Jim Hughes, president of Campaign Life Coalition. “Those who oppose this motion are anti-science, anti-debate extremists who refuse to accept modern day facts. What a bunch of Neanderthals.”

CLC joins Woodworth in finding it ironic that opponents of his motion criticize him for wanting to return to the dark ages when they themselves are defending an outdated 400-year-old law.

“The human being in every stage of life is deserving of basic human rights,” said Mary Ellen Douglas, Campaign Life Coalition National Organizer. “Those who oppose a discussion on this fundamental issue are discriminating against a whole group of human beings based on age and development.”

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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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