Katy French

My mother’s adoption: a tale of two Texans

Katy French
By Katy French

July 9, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The New York Times recently published an opinion piece by Beth Matusoff Merfish, entitled “My Mother’s Abortion.”  I sure could relate to the story Merfish told – there are a lot of similarities between our mothers.  They were both college girls in Texas when they got pregnant in the pre-Roe v. Wade years.  Neither was ready to be a mom then, though they are both now celebrating 40+ years of marriage and motherhood.  They both later recounted their cautionary tales to shocked adolescent daughters as a warning about what not to do with the newfound freedom of high school (me) or college (Merfish).

That’s where the similarities end.  Both women passed on their core values to those daughters, values which were on full display in the absolute opposite way they responded to their youthful crisis pregnancies.  

Merfish writes that her mom was 20, engaged to her dad, 21, both co-eds at Texas’ “public Ivy,” the University of Texas at Austin.  My mother, Terry Cavnar French, was 18.  She couldn’t afford to go to an elite college, and instead, lived at home and worked her way through the local commuter college, the University of Houston.  She didn’t have a fiancé to lean on (the father was not in the picture), and was barely acknowledged by her dysfunctional parents.  Her ninth month was spent at a home run by Catholic Charities.

Merfish writes that her parents, though about to graduate from college and marry, were simply not ready to be parents.  They drove across states lines for an abortion.   My mother wasn’t ready to be a parent either.  She could have driven to another state, too.  Instead, she drove to college, sitting in traffic every morning with the windows rolled down to try to beat the Houston heat in those pre-air conditioning days.   Merfish writes that her parents were made to “feel like criminals” by the abortionist they visited.  My mom was made to feel morning sickness-induced nausea from traffic fumes during her commute, often pulling to the side of the road to throw up and then back on the road to class.

Merfish writes with pride about her mom’s choice to kill her brother or sister because he or she was a few years early for her parents’ taste.  Today, I’m writing with pride about my mom’s choice to save my brother’s life and give him a loving, intact family that could provide him the life he deserved.  Merfish’s mom had to endure the judgmental attitudes of the abortionist.  My mom had to endure months of morning sickness and ten hours of labor and delivery.  Then she endured the pain of letting another woman, a woman who was ready to be a mom, take her baby boy home. 

Merfish writes of the solidarity she felt with her mom while the two of them shouted down a Texas bill that would protect unborn babies who are old enough to recognize their mother’s voice, and would require unregulated Gosnell factories to meet the same hygiene standards as medical facilities in the state.  Today, I’m writing of the solidarity I felt when my mom and I recently prayed at the hospital bedside of my sister’s baby.  He had just been diagnosed with a genetic disease that would cripple and kill him in a few years.  If the diagnosis had come a few months earlier, when he was still in the womb, many physicians would have handed my sister an abortion referral along with the test result.  We later found out that the diagnosis was wrong.  Luckily for him, he has a family that celebrates his life instead of a family that celebrates the killing of children on the altar of Almighty Convenience. 

Merfish’s mom married her dad shortly after her abortion.  They finished college and went on to have better-timed children and, presumably, successful lives.  My mom later met a dashing grad student at that commuter college.  They married, graduated, had two daughters, successful careers, and are now approaching a secure retirement.  Choosing life, no matter how inconvenient, doesn’t have to end anyone’s chance at the American Dream. 

Merfish’s mom taught her that the right to kill an inconvenient child is sacred.  Merfish ends her piece in The New York Times with a call for more such “bravery.”  My mom taught me that every child, no matter the inconvenience, is sacred.  She made a heroic sacrifice to give my brother the life he deserved; she offered her suffering and sorrow to protect an innocent child’s rights instead of her own. Memo to The New York Times: that’s bravery worth celebrating. 

Katy French lives in Washington, D.C., where she is an epidemiologist who works on anti-malaria programs in Africa.

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Today’s chuckle: Rubio, Fiorina and Carson pardon a Thanksgiving turkey

Steve Jalsevac Steve Jalsevac Follow Steve
By Steve Jalsevac

A little bit of humour now and then is a good thing.

Happy Thanksgiving to all our American readers.

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Lianne Laurence


BREAKING: Europe’s top human rights court slaps down German ban on pro-life leafletting

Lianne Laurence
By Lianne Laurence

STRASBOURG, France, November 26, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – The European Court of Human Rights ruled Thursday that a German regional court violated a pro-life activist’s freedom of expression when it barred him from leafleting in front of an abortion center.

It further ruled the German court’s order that Klaus Gunter Annen not list the names of two abortion doctors on his website likewise violated the 64-year-old pro-life advocate’s right to freedom of expression.

The court’s November 26 decision is “a real moral victory,” says Gregor Puppinck, director of the Strasbourg-based European Center for Law and Justice, which intervened in Annen’s case. “It really upholds the freedom of speech for pro-life activists in Europe.”

Annen, a father of two from Weinam, a mid-sized city in the Rhine-Neckar triangle, has appealed to the Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights at least two times before, Puppinck told LifeSiteNews.

“This is the first time he made it,” he said, noting that this time around, Annen had support from the ECLJ and Alliance Defense Fund and the German Pro-life Federation (BVL). “I think he got more support, better arguments and so I think this helped.”

The court also ordered the German government to pay Annen costs of 13,696.87 EUR, or 14,530 USD.

Annen started distributing pamphlets outside a German abortion center ten years ago, ECLJ stated in a press release.

His leaflets contained the names and addresses of the two abortionists at the center, declared they were doing “unlawful abortions,” and stated in smaller print that, “the abortions were allowed by the German legislators and were not subject to criminal liability.”

Annen’s leaflets also stated that, “The murder of human beings in Auschwitz was unlawful, but the morally degraded NS State allowed the murder of innocent people and did not make it subject to criminal liability.” They referred to Annen’s website, www.babycaust.de, which listed a number of abortionists, including the two at the site he was leafleting.

In 2007, a German regional court barred Annen from pamphleteering in the vicinity of the abortion center, and ordered him to drop the name of the two abortion doctors from his website.

But the European Court of Human Rights ruled Thursday that the German courts had "failed to strike a fair balance between [Annen’s] right to freedom of expression and the doctor’s personality rights.”

The Court stated that, “there can be no doubt as to the acute sensitivity of the moral and ethical issues raised by the question of abortion or as to the importance of the public interest at stake.”

That means, stated ECLJ, that “freedom of expression in regard to abortion shall enjoy a full protection.”

ECLJ stated that the court noted Annen’s leaflets “made clear that the abortions performed in the clinic were not subject to criminal liability. Therefore, the statement that ‘unlawful abortions’ were being performed in the clinic was correct from a legal point of view.”

As for the Holocaust reference, the court stated that, “the applicant did not – at least not explicitly – equate abortion with the Holocaust.”  Rather, the reference was “a way of creating awareness of the more general fact that law might diverge from morality.”

The November 26 decision “is a quite good level of protection of freedom of speech for pro-life people,” observed Puppinck.

First, the European Court of Human Rights has permitted leafleting “in the direct proximate vicinity of the clinic, so there is no issue of zoning,” he told LifeSiteNews. “And second, the leaflets were mentioning the names of the doctors, and moreover, were mentioning the issue of the Holocaust, which made them quite strong leaflets.”

“And the court protected that.”

Annen has persevered in his pro-life awareness campaign through the years despite the restraints on his freedom.

“He did continue, and he did adapt,” Puppinck told LifeSiteNews. “He kept his freedom of speech as much as he could, but he continued to be sanctioned by the German authorities, and each time he went to the court of human rights. And this time, he won.”

ECLJ’s statement notes that “any party” has three months to appeal the November 26 decision.

However, as it stands, the European Court of Human Rights’s ruling affects “all the national courts,” noted Puppinck, and these will now “have to protect freedom of speech, recognize the freedom of speech for pro-lifers.”

“In the past, the courts have not always been very supportive of the freedom of speech of pro-life,” he said, so the ruling is “significant.”

As for Annen’s pro-life ministry, Pubbinck added: “He can continue to go and do, and I’m sure that he does, because he always did.”  

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Pete Baklinski Pete Baklinski Follow Pete

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‘Soft racism’: German Bishops’ website attributes African Catholics’ strong faith to simplemindedness

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By Pete Baklinski

GERMANY, November 26, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) --  The only reason the Catholic Church is growing in Africa is because the people have a “rather low level” of education and accept “simple answers to difficult questions” involving marriage and sexuality, posited an article on the official website of the German Bishops' Conference posted yesterday. The article targeted particularly Cardinal Robert Sarah of Guinea, the Vatican's prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and ardent defender of Catholic tradition.

First Things blogger Leroy Huizenga, who translated a portion of the article, criticized the article's view as “soft racism.”

In his article, titled “The Romantic, Poor Church,” Katholisch.de editor Björn Odendahl writes: 

So also in Africa. Of course the Church is growing there. It grows because the people are socially dependent and often have nothing else but their faith. It grows because the educational situation there is on average at a rather low level and the people accept simple answers to difficult questions (of faith) [sic]. Answers like those that Cardinal Sarah of Guinea provides. And even the growing number of priests is a result not only of missionary power but also a result of the fact that the priesthood is one of the few possibilities for social security on the dark continent.

Huizenga said that such an article has no place on a bishops’ conference website. 

“We all know that the German Bishops' Conference is one of the most progressive in the world. But it nevertheless beggars belief that such a statement would appear on the Conference's official website, with its lazy slander of African Christians and priests as poor and uneducated (Odendahl might as well have added ‘easy to command’) and its gratuitous swipe at Cardinal Sarah,” he wrote. 

“Natürlich progressives could never be guilty of such a sin and crime, but these words sure do suggest soft racism, the racism of elite white Western paternalism,” he added. 

African prelates have gained a solid reputation for being strong defenders of Catholic sexual morality because of their unwavering orthodox input into the recently concluded Synod on the Family in Rome. 

At one point during the Synod, Cardinal Robert Sarah urged Catholic leaders to recognize as the greatest modern enemies of the family what he called the twin “demonic” “apocalyptic beasts” of “the idolatry of Western freedom” and “Islamic fundamentalism.”

STORY: Cardinal Danneels warns African bishops to avoid ‘triumphalism’

“What Nazi-Fascism and Communism were in the 20th century, Western homosexual and abortion ideologies and Islamic fanaticism are today,” he said during his speech at the Synod last month. 

But African prelates’ adherence to orthodoxy has earned them enemies, especially from the camp of Western prelates bent on forming the Catholic Church in their own image and likeness, not according to Scripture, tradition, and the teaching magisterium of the Church. 

During last year’s Synod, German Cardinal Walter Kasper went as far as stating that the voice of African Catholics in the area of Church teaching on homosexuality should simply be dismissed.

African cardinals “should not tell us too much what we have to do,” he said in an October 2014 interview with ZENIT, adding that African countries are "very different, especially about gays.” 

Earlier this month Belgian Cardinal Godfried Danneels, instead of praising Africa for its vibrant and flourishing Catholicism, said that African prelates will one day have to look to Europe to get what he called “useful tips” on how to deal with “secularization” and “individualism.” 

The statement was criticized by one pro-family advocate as “patronizing of the worst kind” in light of the facts that numerous European churches are practically empty, vocations to the priesthood and religious life are stagnant, and the Catholic faith in Europe, especially in Belgium, is overall in decline.

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