Patrick Craine


Ottawa Catholic teachers get coverage for contraception

Patrick Craine
Patrick Craine

OTTAWA, Ontario, May 2, 2012 ( – As bishops across the United States rise up against the Obama administration’s contraception mandate, one Catholic School Board in Ottawa has admitted that its health plan for employees covers contraceptives, including drugs that can act as abortifacients, like the birth control pill.

“We cover any medication that’s prescribed by an Ontario doctor. We don’t know what they are prescribing for,” said Mardi de Kemp, the communications officer for the Ottawa school board.

The revelation, which first surfaced on the SoCon or Bust blog, has many of the city’s Catholic parents up in arms.

“It’s difficult for parents to understand why the OCSB would knowingly pay for contraceptives and abortifacients,” said Andy Pocrnic, head of Concerned Catholic Parents of Ottawa.

The documentation for the school board’s health plan, available online, says it covers all “drugs, serums, vaccines and injectables that either legally require a prescription or are only available by prescription.” It also specifies that diaphragms and IUDs are not covered.

Asked to confirm that the drug coverage includes contraceptives, de Kemp said, “Any medication available in Ontario, then it would be covered in their plan.”

“Anything that the doctor would prescribe for the health of the patient, we would not know what it was and it would be covered by their insurance,” she added.

The issue of insurance coverage for contraceptives has risen to the fore in the last couple months after President Obama’s administration issued a mandate requiring employers to cover contraception, sterilizations, and abortion-inducing drugs as “preventive care.”

The move sparked a universal backlash by America’s bishops who were joined by leaders from numerous other faiths in declaring it an unprecedented attack on religious freedom. Protests have been held across the country and it is poised to become a major election issue leading into the November 2012 presidential contest.

Last month, Cardinal Raymond Burke, head of the Vatican’s Apostolic Signatura, said Catholic employers who provide an insurance plan that covers contraceptives are “cooperating” in the employees’ sin.

“It is not only a matter of what we call ‘material cooperation’ in the sense that the employer by giving this insurance benefit is materially providing for the contraception,” he explained in an interview with Thomas McKenna, President of Catholic Action for Faith and Family. “It is also ‘formal cooperation’ because he is knowingly and deliberately doing this, making this available to people. There is no way to justify it. It is simply wrong.”

The controversy has also prompted re-examinations of the practice in certain quarters of the Church.

For example, as Bishop Salvatore Cordileone lodged his objection to Obama’s mandate in February, he announced at the same time that he had recently learned the Catholic hospitals and charitable agencies in his diocese were covering contraceptives under a California state law. He pledged they would be taking the necessary steps to correct the situation “in a way that fully respects our moral principles.”

In her interview with LifeSiteNews, de Kemp said she does not know whether there was ever a discussion at the Ottawa Catholic School Board about whether or not to provide the controversial coverage.

Asked if the school board is concerned that covering an employee’s contraception would be cooperating in violating Catholic teaching, she said, “A staff person’s medical history is their private concern. As an employer, we are not in the loop on what they are seeing the doctor for.”

Pocrnic said parents are “hoping this is a mistake that will be fixed by the trustees and administration now that it’s been brought to their attention.”

“To do otherwise would make parents question why they even bother to call themselves a Catholic school board,” he added.

Contact Information:

Julian Hanlon
Director of Education, Ottawa Catholic School Board
Phone: 613-224-4455 ext 2272
Fax: 613-228-4158
Email: [email protected]

For trustees, click here.

Archbishop Terrence Prendergast
1247 Kilborn Place
Ottawa, Ontario K1H 6K9
Phone: 613-738-5025
Fax: 613-738-0130
E-mail: [email protected]

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Pete Baklinski Pete Baklinski Follow Pete

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Revolt over plan to tax churches forces Canadian city to back down

Pete Baklinski Pete Baklinski Follow Pete
By Pete Baklinski

LANGLEY, British Columbia, November 25, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) -- The city council in Langley, British Columbia, unanimously decided Monday to revoke its plan to raise $82,000 by taxing eight local churches. The decision came after an uprising of Protestants, Anglicans, and Catholics descended upon the meeting and demand that the plan be canceled.

“The council made a decision not to proceed with this initiative,” Don Adams, a member of Langley’s St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, told LifeSiteNews.

Adams said that about 100 protesters from local churches and various community groups that would be affected by the City’s plan attended the meeting to state their opposition. About 15 different presentations were made focusing on how losing the tax exemption would cripple programs and outreach, even forcing some churches to close.

“Everyone spoke against it,” he said. “When the Council voted against it, everyone stood up and clapped. It was overwhelming.”

On September 28, Langley Council approved a strategy to tax properties that had previously been exempt in order to “reduce the tax burden for the general taxpayers.” The plan was to go into effect in 2017.

Of about 30 properties that were currently receiving tax exemption, the first to be considered for the removal of the exemption were churches. While the provincial government has declared that land beneath buildings used for public worship is statutorily exempt from property taxation, the municipality has the power to tax the land surrounding the building, such as parking lots, playgrounds, and grass areas.

Despite admitting that the churches provide a “benefit to society,” the city nevertheless voted 5-2 on September 28 — Mayor Ted Schaffer voted against it with councillor Rudy Storteboom — to begin taxing the churches as well as a few other non-profit organizations.

The responses from the churches submitted to the City Council was heartbreaking. The letters are available on the City’s website.

Stuart Allan, People Warden at St. Andrew’s Anglican Church of Canada in Langley, wrote to the Council that he was “surprised and somewhat shocked” to receive a letter indicating that the church’s tax exemption status was in jeopardy.

“Historically, in Canada, churches have not been taxed by the local, provincial or federal governments for the very good reason that churches are nonprofit and provide community services that are often not able to be provided by others.”

“Without exaggeration, if the City of Langley were to move forward with the proposal to reduce or eliminate Saint Andrew’s property tax exemption the additional tax burden would force us to close our doors and cease operation,” the letter stated. “This would result in the elimination of the Anglican Church in the City of Langley, all the services it provides and the nonprofit groups who rely on us would have to find other space, likely at a cost they would have difficulty managing.”

Writing on behalf of St. Joseph’s Catholic Parish located in Langley, the Archdiocese of Vancouver stated that services provided by the parish — including religious worship, education for pre-school and elementary children, women’s groups, men’s groups, and youth groups — would cost the city more than almost $40,000 that the parish would lose annually if it started being taxed.

“I think if I were to cost out the value of all the above services for the City of Langley to provide, the cost will outweigh the property exemption amount by a significant amount,” the letter written by the Archdiocese’s Director of Finances Francis Wong, stated.

The City of Langley’s director of corporate services, Darrin Leite, told LifeSiteNews that it is “reasonable” to assume that the delegations proved effective.

“After last night’s meeting, the motion was on the agenda and there was a number of delegations that spoke to council. When it came time for council to make a vote on the motion, it never got a seconder,” he said.

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Fr. Mark Hodges

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VIDEO: Expert says China will continue forced abortions, sterilizations

Fr. Mark Hodges
By Fr. Mark Hodges

IRONDALE, Alabama, November 25, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – An expert on China says the country's move from the infamous "one-child per family" policy of forced abortion and sterilization to a "two-child" policy will leave the status quo largely intact.

Human rights activist Reggie Littlejohn, an expert on China and the president of Women's Rights Without Frontiers, spoke with Raymond Arroyo of Eternal Word Television Network's The World Over show about China's new policy of allowing families two children.

Littlejohn said that the change from a one-child to a two-child policy is motivated not by human rights, but by demographics. "It is not that the Chinese communist party has suddenly grown a all. It is that they are facing a threefold demographic disaster."

First of all, Ms. Littlejohn said, China "doesn't have enough women, because of their gendercide."

"The core of the policy is not that they allow one child or two children, but is that they are setting a limit, and enforcing it through forced sterilization, forced contraception, and a whole web of surveillance of women, monitoring women's menstrual cycles and their fertility," Littlejohn explained. "All of that coercion will remain the same under a two-child policy."

"A two-child policy carries all of the [same] terrible and appalling methods of abortion as the one child policy," Ms. Littlejohn explained. "It's just that they start killing after two, instead of after one."

Littlejohn went on to say that China's demographic problems resulting from 40 years of gendercide will not be fixed by the new two-child allowance. "Even if China were to completely abolish their policy right now, and allow to everybody to have as many kids as they want to have, it's going to take twenty years for the women to grow to the point where they can marry, and everybody to the point where they can be workers," she said.

She said that the Chinese have "dug themselves in a hole that they can't get out of."  Arroyo pointed out that there are 33 million more men than women in China today.

Littlejohn does not expect gendercide to decrease immediately. "What I think is going to happen," Littlejohn said, "is couples who have a boy are going to stop at one," because of the high expense of having children in China. "And those who have a girl first are going to continue to abort a second daughter, because they still want to have a son."

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When Arroyo pointed out that government statistics say 350 billion dollars since 1980 were levied in fines against those who tried to defy China's one-child policy, Littlejohn responded, "That's why I don't think China will ever abandon its policy: it's a huge money-maker for them." She noted that local officials determine the amount of fines and line their pockets with the cash.

She pointed out that five years ago, the Chinese government admitted that over four hundred million babies in the womb have been killed – and that number is far greater today.

Littlejohn pointed out that any Chinese citizen who dares to tell the truth about the communist policy is persecuted. "People who get their stories to the West – not only do they have to endure the trauma of the forced abortion itself, but they have to endure trauma [against] themselves and their families from the Chinese Communist Party for seeing them before the world."

"Thank God for Ted Cruz, also for Marco Rubio, and for Congressman Chris Smith – all three of those have come out with very, very powerful statements saying basically that the two-child policy does not fix any of the problems with the one-child policy," Littlejohn said. "I'm so glad that they ... are getting the truth out there."

Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz spoke against China's policy earlier this month. "In America, we should stand with victims of oppression," he said. "These are horrific acts of brutality. They are inhumane. They are contrary not only to American values, but to human rights across the globe, and they are carried out as a matter of policy."

Rep. Chris Smith and Sen. Marco Rubio have also issued statements cautioning that China's move to a two-child policy will not end brutal, coercive population control.  

Rep. Smith, chairman of the House subcommittee that oversees human rights and chairman of the Congressional-Executive China Commission, held a hearing entitled "China's One-Child Policy: The Government's Massive Crime Against Women and Unborn Babies." Smith explained, "The policy has directly contributed to what is accurately described as gendercide – the deliberate extermination of a girl, born or unborn, simply because she happens to be female."

In October, Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio criticized China's two-child policy. "The policy is still repressive," Rubio explained. "The fact remains that when couples conceive a third child, the Chinese government will force them to eliminate him or her, by any means necessary."

Rubio concluded, "A two-child policy is as indefensible and inhumane as a one-child policy, and it would be a mistake to assume this change in any way reflects a newfound respect for human rights by Beijing. The U.S. must continue advocating for the complete elimination of government-forced population planning."

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Steve Weatherbe

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Irish children’s minister joins call for nation to abandon pro-life constitution

Steve Weatherbe
By Steve Weatherbe

DUBLIN, November 25, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – Ireland's health minister has joined the chorus of feminist groups calling for a referendum to repeal the country's 30-year-old Eighth Amendment, a part of the Constitution, which allows abortion only when the mother's life is directly threatened.

Children's Minister Dr. James Reilly told the Sunday Independent that despite the reluctance of the major parties (including his own Fine Gael) to support a referendum, the public wants it. "We have had more than 30 years on this and we really need political leadership on this issue. I think it is quite clear from opinion polls that the vast majority of people are way ahead of politicians on this."

Reilly said women carrying unborn babies with fatal abnormalities should be allowed to have abortions, regardless of whether delivery poses a risk to their lives or health.

But Cora Sherlock, the head of the Prolife Campaign, told LifeSiteNews, "It is not something the people really want; it is not coming from the grassroots, but from a few pressure groups like Amnesty International. The people of Ireland have always had a heart for the unborn."

Pro-abortion activist Sinead Kennedy of the Repeal the Eighth Coalition said every politician should declare his or her position. "We would like to see political parties in the run up to the election [expected in spring] come out and declare that this will be [a] red-line issue for any participation in government."

In fact, in September, Ireland's Taoiseach, or prime minister, Enda Kenny, said his government, if re-elected, will hold a referendum on the Eighth Amendment only if a workable alternative is advanced at the same time.

Sherlock noted that despite an "aggressive campaign" from Amnesty Ireland and its uncritical promotion by the news media, popular support for the referendum is waning. A poll published by the Sunday Independent on Nov. 22 showed 56% in favor of the referendum, down 10% from June, with 22% opposed.

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Support for abortion in specific cases is also down: in cases of fatal abnormalities in the unborn baby, support for abortion is down 9% to 55%; when the mother threatens suicide, it is down 4% to 68%; and when there is a long-term threat to the mother's health, support is down 5% to 64%.

"I think it is going down because people are becoming aware of the Planned Parenthood stories from the U.S., and of Kermit Gosnell," Sherlock said, in reference to the videos showing America's leading abortion provider trafficking in body parts from aborted babies, and to the abortionist convicted of multiple murders of babies who survived his botched abortions only to be executed by him and his staff afterwards. "The news media don't like to cover those stories, but the social media has a mind of its own," she added.

Last year, several government ministers declared that the people of Ireland had "no appetite" or "little appetite" for a referendum; however, they might vote if it were held anyway. They promised there would be no referendum before the 2016 election and even warned against making it an election issue, which was the case in 1983 with the referendum that put Amendment Eight in the Constitution in the first place.

The Eighth Amendment declares the unborn child's life as equal to, and equally worthy of protection as, the life of the mother. The vagueness of this formula led the current government to pass a law two years ago allowing abortion when the mother's life is at risk, including at risk by suicide, right up to the day of a child's birth.

Popular opinion still opposed abortion as late as 2007, but by 2012, support for abortion had risen to 85%. Lately, Amnesty International has lent its reputation to the push for a referendum, leading Sherlock to predict, "Amnesty will be the loser when the hypocrisy of a so-called human rights group attacking the unborn becomes evident and when people see that they are only willing to talk about teenage pregnancy, but not about the unborn, not about the Planned Parenthood videos nor Kermit Gosnell, and about how these go hand in hand with abortion on request."


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