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100+ ‘moderate’ Republicans back pro-abort Democrat over pro-life stalwart in Kansas gov. race

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By Dustin Siggins

One of the nation's most pro-life governors is facing growing opposition from his own party -- and some of that opposition has backed a pro-abortion candidate to replace him.

More than 100 self-described “moderate Republicans” have thrown their support behind a pro-abortion Democrat against an embattled pro-life Republican Governor Sam Brownback of Kansas, saying economic matters are of greater importance than abortion.

The 100 Republicans have endorsed Paul Davis, a supporter of abortion and the top Democrat in the state House. Critics have focused their ire on what they say is an irresponsible approach to the state budget -- Brownback's tax cuts are being blamed for revenues that are $300 million below projections -- as well as education budget cuts.

Brownback has a record of pro-life support going back more than a decade.

As Senator, Brownback supported overturning Roe v. Wade, and stood against taxpayer funding for abortion. In 2007, he voted in favor of an amendment that would have prevented federal grants from going to most organizations that conduct abortions for reasons other than to save the life of the mother.

During a brief campaign for the GOP presidential nomination in 2008, Brownback accused candidate Mitt Romney of being soft on the issue of abortion.

Since entering the governor's office in January 2011, Brownback has worked to make Kansas the first state to defund Planned Parenthood, and has passed numerous other abortion restrictions. Among these restrictions are two that were signed just months after he entered the governor's mansion: A bill that limited abortions after 22 weeks' gestation because of fetal pain, and another that required consent from both parents before a minor could have an abortion. He also compared abortion to slavery in his 2014 “State of the State” address.

Davis, on the other hand, has a record of supporting pro-abortion legislation as a member of the State House. In 2007, he opposed a measure that would have made it a crime to harm an unborn child under certain circumstances, and defined an unborn child as a human from the point of conception. According to Vote Smart, the pro-life legislation passed the House with such overwhelming support that it was eventually signed by then-governor Kathleen Sebelius, a supporter of abortion.

Sebelius, who was the Obama cabinet secretary responsible for implementing the HHS Mandate of the Affordable Care Act, has joined Davis at least once on the campaign trail. Sebelius is a prominent Catholic supporter of abortion whose bishop has banned her from receiving Communion. As governor, Sebelius was closely associated with scandal related to abortion clinics in her state, and she vetoed a bill that would have limited late-term abortions in Kansas.

Davis also appears to disagree with Brownback on marriage. While the incumbent is a public supporter of marriage, Davis has been at odds with marriage groups in the past, such as when he voted against a bill earlier this year that would protect religious freedom by individuals, groups, and businesses. That bill passed the House, but was held up in the Senate. Brownback supported a similar bill in 2012.

Governor Brownback “has been the real deal, working to advance both economic and social conservatism,” Family Research Council Vice President of Government Affairs David Christensen told LifeSiteNews. “A number of the Republicans in Kansas attacking the governor are Republican-In-Name-Only, and it would be a huge mistake for the GOP to ignore the factually real strides made on behalf of tax cuts, increased numbers of jobs, and increased funding of education, as well as the advances made on social issues.”

“One example is Governor Brownback’s leadership in creating the Midwest Stem Cell Therapy Center, a serious model for governors across the country to copy,” Christensen said. “It promotes ethical ways to advance science and produce treatments for Americans suffering from so many diseases, and is already treating patients for serious conditions.”

Brownback's troubles with other Republicans can be traced at least as far back as mid-2012. At the time, fiscally and socially conservative groups helped oust several moderate Republicans, which led to the tax and pro-life policies enacted in 2012 and afterward. However, the budget deficit combined with a bond rating drop by Moody's Investors Service left critics outraged.

Jim Yonally, chairman of the anti-Brownback group Traditional Republicans for Common Sense, told LifeSiteNews his group is made up of “former legislators or state party officials.” He told LifeSiteNews that while the organization has not endorsed Davis, “many of our members, as individuals, have.

“As for the topic of abortion, we have never discussed it,” said Yonally.

“It's not that we don't care about abortion. It's just that we think there are more pressing issues in Kansas,” he said, citing “a fair tax system,” educational funding, and the political appointment process as “our major challenges.”

Wint Winters of Republicans for Kansas Values, which is also publicly critical of Brownback, told LifeSiteNews that “the issue of pro-life or pro-choice is not really a defining issue for Kansans.” He said that there are 10 issues as to why his group stands with Davis, and “none of them relate to abortion.”

“The abortion issue is important to the people of Kansas, and to certain members of our group, but that's not what brought this group together. What brought this group together is concern about taxes and the budget,” he said.

Most of the 100 backers are no longer elected officials, including some have been ousted since Brownback entered office. Kansas.com reports that the Executive Director of the GOP in Kansas, Clay Barker, called the support for Davis “sour grapes.”

A Rasmussen poll conducted last week showed Davis leading Brownback by 10 points, with support from 30 percent of Republicans and 20 percent of self-described conservatives. The race has been categorized as “Safe Democrat” by Rasmussen.

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Brownback supporters note that the U.S. Congress' Joint Economic Committee shows that as of June 2014, Kansas' unemployment rate was 4.9 percent, well below the national average of 6.1 percent that month. But critics such as the editorial board of the The Kansas City Star, point to how Kansas' job growth has been poor compared to other states. 

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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
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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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