Hilary White

Marie Stopes situation in Belfast ‘grim’ unless politicians act swiftly: SPUC

Hilary White
Hilary White
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BELFAST, October 12, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – If politicians and legal authorities do not move very swiftly, abortion will become a daily reality in Northern Ireland, whether the procedure remains a criminal code offense or not, pro-life activists have warned. Liam Gibson, development officer for the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children in Northern Ireland, told LifeSiteNews.com that the situation is “very grim.” He said that despite the law clearly prohibiting the killing of unborn children, the immensely wealthy international abortion machine could simply steamroller over the law.

But it seems as if there is little political will to act decisively. One official, whom Gibson declined to name, said that the government can do nothing until official statistics show a jump in the abortion rate, a process which can take two or three years.

Gibson and other pro-life activists fear that once the facility is opened and operating, scheduled for October 18th, it will have opened the legal floodgates.

Gibson said he believes the only hope is an immediate court injunction to stop the opening. Once Marie Stopes begins to operate, he fears, the process will be under way, and even if charges are laid the outcome will be inevitable.

“Even if there were a prosecution here,” he said, “and it were successful they could appeal all the way to England’s Supreme Court and that would be end of the abortion law in Northern Ireland.”

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Observers around the world were shocked when Marie Stopes, the international abortion giant, announced this week that it will be opening a shop front abortion facility in Belfast. They said they will offer chemical or “medical terminations” at a cost of £450. They have claimed in their press release that they will be acting “within the current legal framework for abortion” by offering abortions only within the first nine weeks of pregnancy.

Despite the claims by some news media and Marie Stopes, however, abortion in Northern Ireland is not legal.

The provisions of the UK’s Abortion Act 1967 were never fully applied to the province, and abortion remains an offense in the criminal code under the Offenses Against the Person Act of 1861 and the Infant Life Preservation Act. It is possible for doctors to avoid prosecution for abortion under strictly defined conditions. These exceptions permit doctors to make an intervention only if the mother’s life is threatened. Case law has established that such situations have to be serious impediments, a life-changing, totally permanent, or very long-term event.

Gibson said, however, that such circumstances “in a first world country are extremely rare”. Ectopic pregnancies, the only common life-threatening condition for which medical science is not yet able to offer an option that saves the life of the child, cannot be treated with chemical, or even surgical abortion. The removal of a fallopian tube that has been implanted by the embryo is not defined by medical science as an abortion.

How then did Marie Stopes simply decide to hang out their abortion shingle in Belfast? Gibson replied, “Everybody knows the law, the politicians and the pro-lifers, even the pro-abortionists know the law. Effectively they’re just ignoring it and going ahead anyway.”

“What people don’t understand about Marie Stopes,” he said, “is that they don’t pretend to be nice, law abiding people. These are people whose business it is to go into other countries and break the law. They have gone into African countries where abortion is illegal, and where no one wants abortion, and simply done it.”

“They’ve been talking about doing this for 20 years,” Gibson said. “Marie Stopes are used to getting a lot of heat and criticism and they’re not worried about it.

“Change the law by breaking it, is the method here,” he said.

One of the effects of Marie Stopes’ action, he said, has been to muddy the waters as to the true nature of the law, with the BBC and others claiming that abortion in Northern Ireland is not illegal after all, merely “tightly regulated.” That and Marie Stopes’ emphasis on offering abortions within nine weeks of conception is already creating confusion in the media some of whom are now claiming that abortion is legal in Northern Ireland up to nine weeks gestation.

Asked how Marie Stopes’ can claim that abortion within nine weeks is “within the law” in Northern Ireland, Gibson said he has no idea, and assumed it was simply an arbitrary date set by their own protocols. “They have done a very good job of seizing control of the situation with the media.”

The problem facing Northern Irish politicians and legal authorities, Gibson said, is due in part to the nature of the criminal justice system, which is designed to punish offenses, not prevent crime: “It’s not great at protecting someone from the aggressor.” Police, he said, will be reluctant to act until it can be shown that Marie Stopes has strayed outside the law. But by then it will be too late.

Precious Life has contacted police in Belfast but was only asked to inform police when they planned to hold demonstrations. “So, their interest,” Gibson said, “is not in the fact that Marie Stopes intends to commit criminal acts, but in policing the pro-life protesters.”

Gibson said that he has been informed that the office of the Attorney General for Northern Ireland – that has jurisdiction over civil and criminal matters that fall within the devolved powers of the Northern Ireland Assembly – is “looking into the matter.” Gibson said that although the AG does not normally receive members of the public directly, he has hopes that John Larkin, QC will be open to suggestions from pro-life Members of the Legislative Assembly.

Pro-life activists in Belfast fear a replay of the situation in Canada where Dr. Henry Morgentaler took the same route by opening illegal abortion facilities in Montreal, Toronto, and other cities, daring the authorities to prosecute him. In the end, Morgentaler was arrested and prosecuted. The final result, after decades of legal battles, was the Supreme Court of Canada overturning the law in 1988.

The court ruled that Parliament must introduce a new law regarding abortion that would withstand constitutional challenge but no government since then has had the will to do so. To this day, Canada remains the only country in the world with no abortion law whatever.

The situation in Belfast closely parallels that of Canada’s in the late 1960s, when Morgentaler started conducting abortions illegally in Montreal. At that time, abortion in Canada was a criminal act and was also allowed only in the rare, medically determined cases in which continuing a pregnancy threatened the life of the mother.

Far from being convicted of the mass murder of thousands of unborn children under the law, Dr. Morgentaler was exonerated and lionized as a hero of “women’s rights,” finally being awarded the Order of Canada in 2008 in a country that had been staunchly pro-life and nearly 50 percent Catholic.

As a registered charity, Marie Stopes International UK had a declared income of £145 million last year, mostly in fees and grants from government bodies. They handle much of the abortion business for the National Health Service along with other groups like the British Pregnancy Advisory Service. Their deep pockets have enabled them to go into countries where abortion is illegal, including the Republic of Ireland, and establish political beachheads, promoting the pro-abortion and contraceptive ideologies through sympathetic media, and lobbying politicians. The pro-life group Precious Life has said they will be presenting evidence to the Attorney General that Marie Stopes officials have admitted to doing clandestine abortions in African countries where the practice remains illegal.

“It looks very much like there’s no way of stopping them if they’re determined. I’ve been speaking to politicians, but it looks as if no one will try to stop it.”

“Pro-life politicians are in shock and do not seem to be acting decisively,” he said. “The whole thing is so crazy that I think the politicians are simply saying ‘I never thought this could happen. How can they get away with it?’ It makes nonsense of the political process.”

“It looks very grim,” he added.

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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.
Jonathon van Maren Jonathon van Maren Follow Jonathon

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. 

You can also donate by phone or mail. We would love to hear from you!

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