Hilary White

Marie Stopes opens illegal abortion facility in Belfast

Hilary White
Hilary White
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BEFLAST, October 11, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – Pro-life people in Northern Ireland and around the world were shocked today at the announcement that international abortion giant Marie Stopes will open an abortion facility in Belfast, despite abortion remaining a criminal act in the province. In a surprise move, Marie Stopes revealed that on October 18th their Belfast outlet will begin offering early-term “medical” or chemical abortions as well as other “family planning” services like contraceptives. Pro-life advocates have called the move illegal and said it is nothing more than a political dodge intended to circumvent and ultimately overturn the law through the courts.

Marie Stopes is claiming that it will be acting within the law, which allows abortion in cases where it is “necessary to preserve the life of the woman or there is a risk of real and serious adverse effect on her physical or mental health, which is either long term or permanent”. They said they will offer chemical abortions to women up to the ninth week of pregnancy, as well as abortifacient “emergency contraceptives”.

Northern Ireland’s Health Minister Edwin Poots said, “This condition applies no less strongly before nine weeks than longer into the pregnancy.”

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The situation is being described by other pro-life observers as “critical” since Northern Ireland, together with the Republic of Ireland in the south, is one of the few places left in the Western world to hold out against full legalisation of abortion. As such the island has long been a target of some of the heaviest pressure from international pro-abortion campaigners and lobbyists. Several recent attempts have failed in Northern Ireland to bring in legalisation through the “back door” of medical guidelines and regulations.

Bernadette Smyth, the head of the province’s leading pro-life group Precious Life, told LifeSiteNews.com on the telephone that Marie Stopes claim that abortion is legal in N. Ireland up to the ninth week is “nonsense”. She was clear on one point, the facility will be acting illegally: “It will be an illegal abortion clinic.”

“These people just came in and set up a clinic,” Smyth said. “They’ve been working on this plan for apparently two years.”

Precious Life is “seeking legal advice” and has contacted the police and the Department of Public Prosecutions. They will be presenting evidence that Marie Stopes knows they are acting outside the law. Smyth related that Precious Life has proof that one of Marie Stopes’ African officials admitted at a conference in London that they commit illegal abortions in African countries that outlaw the procedure.

Asked if she thought that the Belfast facility is a political ploy to do an end run around the Legislative Assembly of Northern Ireland, she agreed.

“That’s what we’re worried about,” Smyth said, “that if we take an injunction against them, we won’t have any further arguments against them because the police will protect them.”

Although the facility’s location has been kept a secret, Smyth revealed that today pro-life activists have learned where it is. Smyth said, however, that public protests are not planned for the moment and Precious Life and other groups are focusing their efforts on contacting legal and parliamentary authorities.

She said the situation is “very similar” to that of the work of abortion pioneer Dr. Henry Morgentaler who in the late 1970s and early 80s forced the issue into Canada by openly operating illegal abortion facilities in Toronto while the procedure was still outlawed. By arresting Morgentaler and pursuing the case, prosecutors eventually played into the abortion movement’s hands, bringing the case into the courts that finally overturned the law without a democratic mandate.

Smyth said that her group has found support from the Attorney General for Northern Ireland, who is arguing on behalf of the Department of Health that the purpose of the law in Northern Ireland law “is to protect unborn children” not to give abortionists excuses to introduce early-term chemical abortions.

She denied claims that Marie Stopes is acting on behalf of women who need abortion in extreme medical circumstances. “There is no way that an abortion in the first nine weeks of pregnancy can possibly address any of the long term medical concerns for the mother”.

Marie Stopes is arguing that offering early-term chemical abortions before nine weeks falls within the letter of the law in Northern Ireland. But Smyth said that medical experts have advised her group that the only life-threatening situation early in pregnancy that normally results in the un-intended death of the unborn child is an ectopic pregnancy. This medical situation, however, is not possible to “treat” using chemical abortion techniques, or even surgical abortion techniques. The only treatment that will save the life of the mother is the surgical removal of the fallopian tube, which is not an abortion, and cannot be conducted in an abortion facility.

Recently, a meeting of obstetricians and other medical experts issued a statement saying that there is no “medical necessity” for abortion, as its proponents often claim.

LifeSiteNews.com spoke with Jim Hughes, the head of Canada’s Campaign Life Coalition, who was involved in the battles in the 1980s with Henry Morgentaler. Hughes, who also serves as the vice president of the International Pro-life Committee, said that Marie Stopes is clearly using the Morgentaler technique in Belfast.

“Break the law in order to change it,” he said. For decades, abortion campaigners tried to break Canada’s laws, but it was not until Morgentaler simply defied it, and was arrested and taken through the court system, that they finally won, and Canada’s law was thrown out.

“They are obviously doing an end run around the democratic rights of the people of Northern Ireland. I’m appalled to hear it,” Hughes said. He added that if it succeeds in Northern Ireland, it will show a way forward for activists in other countries. Ireland, he said, is a “key situation” for the pro-life movement around the world.

But Hughes said that he does not anticipate the ploy will succeed as it did in Canada. “I’m most encouraged by the actions of the people of Northern Ireland to keep abortion out,” he told LifeSiteNews.

Multiple polls have shown that the public in the province has no interest in bringing in the full provisions of the UK’s Abortion Act 1967. Demand for travel to the UK for abortion has fallen 36 per cent in the last 15 years in both the Republic and in Northern Ireland.

Hughes said, “I fully expect that the politicians would have the courage to ensure the law is enforced.”

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Indiana Gov. Mike Pence signs the state's Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
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Indiana faces backlash as it becomes 20th state to protect religious liberty

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By Ben Johnson

INDIANAPOLIS, IN, March 27, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – On Thursday, Indiana became the 20th state to prevent the government from forcing people of faith to violate their religious beliefs in business or the public square.

Gov. Mike Pence signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (SB 101) into law, saying the freedom of religion is a preeminent American value.

“The Constitution of the United States and the Indiana Constitution both provide strong recognition of the freedom of religion, but today, many people of faith feel their religious liberty is under attack by government action,” Pence said.

Gov. Pence, a possible dark horse candidate for president in 2016, cited court cases brought by religious organizations and employers, including Catholic universities, against the HHS mandate. “One need look no further than the recent litigation concerning the Affordable Care Act. A private business and our own University of Notre Dame had to file lawsuits challenging provisions that required them to offer insurance coverage in violation of their religious views.”

The new law could also prevent Christian business owners from being compelled to bake a cake or take photographs of a same-sex "marriage" ceremony, if doing so violates their faith. In recent years, business owners have seen an increased level of prosecution for denying such services, despite their religious and moral beliefs.

The state's pro-life organization applauded Pence for his stance. "Indiana's pro-life community is grateful to Gov. Mike Pence for signing the Religious Freedom Restoration Act into law,” said Indiana Right to Life's president and CEO Mike Fichter. “This bill will give pro-lifers a necessary legal recourse if they are pressured to support abortion against their deeply-held religious beliefs.”

“RFRA is an important bill to protect the religious freedom of Hoosiers who believe the right to life comes from God, not government,” he said.

The state RFRA is based on the federal bill introduced by Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-NY, and signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1993. The Supreme Court cited the federal law when it ruled that Hobby Lobby had the right to refuse to fund abortion-inducing drugs, if doing so violated its owners' sincerely held religious beliefs.

In signing the measure – similar to the one Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed – Pence and the state of Indiana have faced a torrent of venom from opponents of the bill, who claim it grants a “right to discriminate” and raises the spectre of segregation.

"They've basically said, as long as your religion tells you to, it's OK to discriminate against people," said Sarah Warbelow, legal director of the Human Rights Campaign, a national homosexual pressure group.

The Disciples of Christ, a liberal Protestant denomination based in the state capital, has said it will move its 2017 annual convention if the RFRA became state law. The NCAA warned the bill's adoption “might affect future events” in the Hoosier state.

Pence denied such concerns, saying, "This bill is not about discrimination, and if I thought it legalized discrimination in any way I would've vetoed it."

The bill's supporters say that, under the Obama administration, it is Christians who are most likely to suffer discrimination.

"Originally RFRA laws were intended to protect small religious groups from undue burdens on practicing their faith in public life,” said Mark Tooley, president of the Institute on Religion and Democracy. “It was not imagined there would come a day when laws might seek to jail or financially destroy nuns, rabbis or Christian camp counselors who prefer to abstain from the next wave of sexual and gender experimentation. And there's always a next wave.”

The bill's supporters note that it does not end the government's right to coerce people of faith into violating their conscience in every situation. However, it requires that doing so has to serve a compelling government interest and the government must use the least restrictive means possible. “There will be times when a state or federal government can show it has a compelling reason for burdening religious expression – to ensure public safety, for instance,” said Sarah Torre, an expert at the Heritage Foundation. “But Religious Freedom Restoration Acts set a high bar for the government to meet in order to restrict religious freedom.”

Restricting the ability of government to interfere in people's private decisions, especially their religious decisions, is the very purpose of the Constitution, its supporters say.

"Religious freedom is the cornerstone of all liberty for all people,” Tooley said. “Deny or reduce it, and there are no ultimate limits on the state's power to coerce."

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Fight pornography. Beat pornography. And join the ranks of those who support their fellow men and women still fighting.
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Porn is transforming our men from protectors into predators. Fight back.

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By Jonathon van Maren

Since I’ve gotten involved in anti-pornography work, I’ve met countless men who struggle, fight, or have beaten pornography. Each person seems to deal with the guilt and shame that accompanies porn use in a different way—some deny that it’s “all that bad,” others pretend that they could “stop whenever they want,” many insist that “everyone is doing it,” and most, when pressed, admit to a deep sense of self-loathing.

One worry surfaces often in conversation: What do my past or current struggles with pornography say about me as a man? Can I ever move past this and have a meaningful and fulfilling relationship?

I want to address this question just briefly, since I’ve encountered it so many times.

First, however, I’ve written before how I at times dislike the language of “struggling” with pornography or pornography “addiction,” not because they aren’t accurate but because too often they are used as an excuse rather than an explanation. It is true, many do in fact “struggle” with what can legitimately be considered an addiction, but when this language is used to describe an interminable battle with no end (and I’ve met dozens of men for whom this is the case), then I prefer we use terminology like “fighting my porn habit.” A semantic debate, certainly, but one I think is important. We need to stop struggling with porn and start fighting it.

Secondly, pornography does do devastating things to one’s sense of masculinity. We know this. Pornography enslaves men by the millions, perverting their role as protector and defender of the more vulnerable and turning them into sexual cannibals, consuming those they see on-screen to satisfy their sexual appetites.

What often starts as mere curiosity or an accidental encounter can turn into something that invades the mind and twists even the most basic attractions. I’ve met porn users who can’t believe the types of things they want to watch. They haven’t simply been using porn. Porn has actively reshaped them into something they don’t recognize and don’t like. 

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Porn is this generation’s great assault on masculinity and the role of men in society. It is essential that we win this battle for the sake of society’s survival. Contrary to what the gender-bending and family-morphing progressive elites claim, good husbands and good fathers and good church leaders are necessary for a healthy society. But pornography is destroying marriages, creating distant and disconnected fathers, and, metaphoricaclly castrating men, hindering their ability and desire to make a positive difference in the society around us.

So, with this sobering set of facts in mind let’s return to the question: what do pornography struggles, past and present, say about a man?

The proper way to respond is with everything that is good about masculinity. We have to fight pornography as men have fought countless evils throughout the ages. We need to fight pornography to protect women, and wives, and children, and our society at large. This is how pornography threatens society, by castrating men, and turning them from protectors into predators. Rooting out the evil in our own lives allows us to better fulfill the role we are called to perform in the lives of others. Battling our own demons enables us to battle the wider cultural demons. Every day without porn is another bit of virtue built. Virtue is not something you’re born with. Virtues are habits that you build. And one day without porn is the first step towards the virtue of being porn-free.

Many men ask me if men who have had past porn addictions are cut out for being in a relationship or working in the pro-life movement or in other areas where we are called to protect and defend the weak and vulnerable. And the answer to that is an unequivocal yes. Our society needs men who know what it means to fight battles and win. Our society needs men who can say that they fought porn and they beat porn, because their families and their friends were too important to risk. Our society needs men who rose to the challenge that the evils of their generation threw at them, and became better men as the result. And our society needs men who can help their friends and their sons and those around them fight the plague of pornography and free themselves from it, too—and who can understand better and offer encouragement more relevant than someone who has fought and been freed themselves?

So the answer to men is yes. Fight pornography. Beat pornography. And join the ranks of those who support their fellow men and women still fighting. Lend them support and encouragement. We cannot change the fact that porn has left an enormous path of destruction in its wake. But we can change the fact that too many people aren’t fighting it. We can change our own involvement. And we can rise to the challenge and face this threat to masculinity with all that is good about masculinity.

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Red Alert!

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By John-Henry Westen

I don’t like having to do this, but we have always found it best to be totally upfront with our readers: our Spring fundraising campaign is now worrying us! 

You see, with just 6 days remaining, we have only raised 30% of our goal, with $125,000 still left to raise. That is a long ways to go yet.

We have no choice but to reach our minimum goal of $175,000 if we are going to be able to continue serving the 5+ million readers who rely on us every month for investigative and groundbreaking news reports on life, faith and family issues.

Every year, LifeSite readership continues to grow by leaps and bounds. This year, we are again experiencing record-breaking interest, with over 6 million people visiting our website last month alone!

This unprecedented growth in turn creates its own demand for increased staff and resources, as we struggle to serve these millions of new readers.

And especially keep this in mind. As many more people read LifeSite, our mission of bringing about cultural change gets boosted. Our ultimate goal has always been to educate and activate the public to take well-informed, needed actions.

Another upside to our huge growth in readers is that it should be that much easier to reach our goal. To put it simply: if each person who read this one email donated whatever they could (even just $10) we would easily surpass our goal! 

Today, I hope you will join the many heroes who keep this ship afloat, and enable us to proclaim the truth through our reporting to tens of millions of people every year!

Your donations to LifeSite cause major things to happen! We see that every day and it is very exciting. Please join with us in making a cultural impact with a donation of ANY AMOUNT right now. 

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