Matthew Cullinan Hoffman

Outrage in Brazil as health ministry prepares to instruct women on how to perform illegal abortions

Matthew Cullinan Hoffman
Matthew Cullinan Hoffman
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BRAZIL, July 12, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - When Brazil’s lead presidential candidate Dilma Rousseff was confronted with her pro-abortion past during the 2010 elections, she protested and claimed that she was opposed to the killing of the unborn.

As her poll numbers fell and her election was jeopardized, Rousseff signed a public statement promising never to introduce legislation to legalize abortion or silence critics of homosexuality.  She went on to win the presidency by a twelve percent margin.

Pro-lifers are now crying foul as reports have begun to appear in the Brazilian media of plans on the part of the Rousseff administration to instruct women on how to perform chemical abortions, in the name of “reducing the damage caused by clandestine abortions.”

Women who wish to perform a “clandestine” abortion would inform the health ministry of their plans, and receive training on how to perform the abortions, and would even be given the drugs to do so, although they are currently illegal. They will then be given free access to post-abortion medical care at state expense, according to the reports.

Although the Rousseff administration has not yet confirmed or denied the reports, Rousseff’s pro-abortion Secretary of Women’s Policies, Eleonora Menicucci, recently told the Folha de Sao Paulo that it “is only a crime to practice abortion itself, but it’s the government’s understanding that it isn’t a crime to give guidance to women on how to carry out an abortion.”

Menicucci, a former Marxist activist who served time with President Rousseff while she was jailed for terrorism in the early 1970s, has publicly boasted of having performed multiple abortions on herself, as well has having received training on how to perform abortions in Colombia. Abortion is illegal in both Brazil and Colombia although it lacks a criminal penalty in a very small minority of cases.

The revelations have led to accusations by pro-lifers of Rousseff contradicting her claim of opposing abortion during the 2010 elections.

The South One division of the National Conference of Brazilian Bishops has issued a statement denouncing Rousseff’s about-face and asking her to fire her offending ministers.

Rousseff’s policy, they write, is to “create incentives for and to spread abortion, favoring the interests of international organizations that want to impose population control on developing countries, even if this brings the President to disrespect the will of the majority of the Brazilian people, which is against abortion, and to violate the most elemental rules of democracy.”

They call for “the immediate firing of Minister Eleonora Menicucci from the Secretariat for Women’s Policies” and the “immediate firing of the Secretary for Medical Attention of the Ministry of Health, Helvecio Magalhaes, who is coordinating the implantation of the new means to be taken by that Ministry.”

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LifeSiteNews staff

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Professor fails student because she won’t denounce Christian faith and morality

LifeSiteNews staff
By LifeSiteNews staff

Polk County, FL, May 6, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A sixteen-year-old, dual-enrolled student, “G.L.,” is the subject of religious intolerance by humanities professor Lance "L.J." Russum at Polk State College in Lakeland, Florida. Liberty Counsel has asked the dean to investigate the professor and his curriculum.

G.L. and her parents reached out to Liberty Counsel when Russum gave her four (4) straight zeros because she refused to conform to his personal worldviews of Marxism, Atheism, Feminism, and homosexuality. Professor Russum expressed blatant and pervasive anti-Christian bias throughout the class, such as the following essay question: “Why did Christianity, and its male gods, seek to silence these women [the nuns]?”

In other essays where G.L. refused to concede that Christianity was false, violent, or oppressive to women; that Martin Luther’s motivations for the Reformation were wholly secular; and that Michaelangelo’s sculptures and paintings communicated that “same-sex relationship is NOT A SIN,” Mr. Russum gave her a total of four straight zeros.

Russum’s classroom behavior is a reflection of his personal biases. Mr. Russum's Facebook profile pictures include Fidel Castro and Jesus Christ making an obscene gesture. The website “Rate my Professor” shows that G.L. is not the first student to be subjected to the professor’s viewpoint discrimination. His college email signature line includes a quote from a Marxist who praises Lenin, Stalin, the Khmer Rouge, and Adolf Hitler. These, along with the inappropriate course content, show that Professor Russum is seeking to impose his own values on students, in violation of the Constitution.

Liberty Counsel has demanded (1) a full and independent review of Mr. Russum’s behavior and course content; (2) appropriate grading of G.L’s four “zero” assignments by a different professor; (3) a written apology; and (4) assurances that future courses taught by Mr. Russum, if any, will be free from such unlawful discrimination.

“Mr. Russum should not be permitted to use his position to punish students who do not conform to his anti-Christian views,” said Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel. “G.L.’s parents asked Polk State College to review this matter, but it refused, so Liberty Counsel is stepping in to help. According to its website, the college’s core values are service, integrity, knowledge, diversity, and leadership. No student should be subjected to such outrageous bias and outright hostility to their values by a professor. Being a professor is not open season to belittle and punish students merely because they do not subscribe to the professor's radical opinions.” 

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Carl H. Esbeck

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How forcing gay ‘marriage’ on America would provoke hostility to religion and limit free speech

Carl H. Esbeck
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May 6, 2015 (ThePublicDiscourse.com) -- Among the many friends-of-the-court briefs in support of the states in the current same-sex marriage litigation, three especially noteworthy briefs have been filed by religious organizations, public speakers, and scholars concerned about religious liberty and free speech. The ecumenical breadth and numerical strength they represent is impressive. One expresses the combined views of the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE), the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (“Mormons” or LDS), the Missouri Synod of the Lutheran Church, the Christian Legal Society, and several denominations affiliated with Evangelical Protestantism. A second brief was filed by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Together, these groups represent the religious affiliations of more than 130 million Americans—approximately 40 percent of the country.

The Protestant/LDS brief (which I worked on) and the Catholic bishops’ brief raise similar themes. The signers of both briefs reject the notion that support for man-woman marriage is founded on animus and that the marriage laws can be struck down on that basis. They also warn that elevating sexual orientation to a protected class or same-sex marriage to a fundamental right would impede religious liberty.

third brief, filed by religious organizations, public speakers, and scholars concerned about free speech, explains the ways in which those who do not agree with same-sex marriage have been actively silenced or chilled in speaking their views. Given the importance of the freedom of speech to political and religious minorities, this is especially disturbing.

Religious Support for Man-Woman Marriage Is Not Based on Animus

Support for marriage is not founded on bigotry, hatred, or irrational prejudice.

The Protestant/LDS brief explains that their support for man-woman marriage is based on affirming the importance of traditional marriage (as opposed to vilifying homosexuals), combined with centuries of practical experience counseling with and ministering to intact and broken families, single mothers, and functionally fatherless children. Man-woman marriage is central to the history of the church, personal identity, and lived faith of millions of religious Americans.

Similarly, the Catholic bishops’ brief declares that their support for the legal definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman is based upon love, justice, and concern for the common good. No other institution joins together persons with the natural ability to have children and unite any children of the union with their own mother and father.

Ultimately, the briefs argue that convictions supporting traditional marriage express truths that religious believers and faith communities have held for centuries about the positive value of man-woman marriage. These beliefs predate any conception of homosexuals as a discrete and insular minority, much less same-sex marriage. The notion that traditional marriage laws exist for the purpose of harming gays and lesbians is empirically false.

Further, state laws defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman are not invalid simply because they overlap with, or are informed by, religious or moral viewpoints. Many of the most significant social and political movements in our nation’s history were motivated by religious and moral considerations. Indeed, advocacy to redefine marriage to include two people of the same sex is itself motivated by arguments that, however flawed in our view, have religious and moral roots.

Traditional Marriage Laws Cannot Be Struck Down on the Basis of Animus

Marriage laws cannot be held invalid under the Fourteenth Amendment, and particularly not on the basis of animus.

As the Protestant/LDS brief explains, the animus doctrine is extremely limited in scope. It is applicable only when the sole purpose of a statute is to harm a group, as evinced by an unprecedented departure from ordinary governing standards. Marriage amendments and statutes—which merely codify the definition of marriage that until a decade ago existed continuously and ubiquitously since before the Founding, and which advance many governmental interests unrelated to anti-gay animus—do not qualify as such a departure under Supreme Court precedent.

The definition of marriage distinguishes and specially supports certain forms of conduct that further society’s interests. Both briefs affirm, based on long experience, that a home with a mother and a father is the optimal environment for raising children, an ideal that state law properly encourages and promotes. Given the unique capacity for reproduction of the male-female couple and the unique value of homes with a mother and a father, it is reasonable and just for a state to treat the union of one man and one woman as having a public value that is absent from other intimate sexual relationships.

The Catholic bishops’ brief points out that more than a quarter of the nation’s children currently live with only one birth parent. Government support for a marital bond between the biological mother and father of a child reduces, or prevents further increases in, the incidence of single parenthood and the consequent burdens it places on the custodial parent (usually the mother) and government welfare programs.

While the law may not draw classifications based on mere thoughts, beliefs, or inclinations, it can and routinely does distinguish between types of conduct and aids those it finds most in need of protection and support. Confining marriage to man-woman unions does not imply hatred toward the many other intimate arrangements that the law permits but does not endorse. The right to be left alone does not entail a right to public affirmation and support for one’s intimate relationships.

Recognizing a Right to Same-Sex Marriage Would Impede Religious Liberty

A Supreme Court ruling declaring a constitutional right to same-sex marriage would have a disastrous impact on religious liberty.

As the Protestant/LDS brief explains, a decision declaring state marriage laws void for animus would disparage those religious organizations and persons who believe deeply in marriage. Such a decision would stigmatize them as bigots akin to racists. That stigma would impede their full participation in democratic life, as their beliefs concerning marriage, family, and sexuality are placed beyond the constitutional pale. Because religious people cannot renounce their scriptural beliefs, a finding of animus would consign believers to second-class status as citizens whose doctrines about vital aspects of society are deemed presumptively illegitimate. The misattribution of animus would deprive believers and faith communities of their rights to the free exercise of religion, free speech, and democratic participation. Assaults on religious liberty, already under pressure, would intensify.

Likewise, a ruling that sexual orientation is a suspect class entitled to heightened scrutiny would harm religious liberty. Judicial suspicion would quickly follow, directed at laws but also at the religious beliefs and practices of religious organizations and believers themselves. If the Court were to declare sexual orientation a suspect class, claims soon would arise urging that the government has a compelling interest in barring sexual orientation discrimination so as to justify the suppression of religious practices in the private sector concerning employment and charitable services. Because scriptural beliefs regarding marriage, family, and sexuality are central to religious institutions and the religious way of life, recognizing sexual orientation as a suspect class would generate countless new conflicts.

Indeed, a constitutional right to same-sex marriage under any theory would generate tensions with religious freedom and related interests across a wide array of religious, educational, charitable, and cultural fronts. As the Catholic bishops’ brief warns, because marriage so pervades civil and social life, redefining marriage as a matter of constitutional law would soon create extensive church-state conflicts. Where states have redefined marriage, conflicts between new claims of equal treatment with claims of religious liberty have already arisen. A Supreme Court ruling imposing same-sex marriage on the country would needlessly embroil the judiciary in conflicts between church and state for generations to come.

Directly or not, a Court ruling creating a right to same-sex marriage would convey what Justice Kennedy has decried as “hostility toward religion . . . inconsistent with our history and our precedents.”

Constitutionalizing Same-Sex Marriage Would Weaken Free Speech

Religious freedom aside, the ability to speak freely is fundamental to both personal dignity and the strength of a self-governing republic. As Justice Kennedy has observed:

At the heart of the First Amendment lies the principle that each person should decide for him or herself the ideas and beliefs deserving of expression, consideration, and adherence. Our political system and cultural life rest upon this ideal.

Often, speech, religion, and political issues are intertwined. Where would the nation be if the abolitionists, deeply convicted by their faith, had been silenced in their quest to change hearts and minds over slavery? Where would we be if the Reverend Martin Luther King, and others like him, had not been able to speak freely from Black Church heritage on human dignity and liberty?

Click "like" if you want to defend true marriage.

It is commonplace for there to be a moral dimension to issues in the public square. To countenance politically correct moral views but to dismiss less popular moral views as being driven by animus simply because they stem from religious principles is a double standard. Free speech protections are all the more crucial for those willing to dissent from the views most dominant in our culture.

This concern is not just abstract worry. It stems from real-life events:

  • 19-year Marine Corps and Navy veteran chaplain was removed from the promotion list and detached for cause (essentially terminated) for privately expressing support for traditional marriage.
  • An Atlanta Fire Chief authored a book in which he briefly stated his religious view that marriage should only be between one man and woman, for which he was suspended and then terminated despite no evidence of discrimination by him while at work.
  • District Health Director for the State of Georgia was fired after state officials reviewed his sermons as a lay pastor that marriage should be reserved for the union of one man and one woman.
  • A Missouri university student who refused on religious grounds to complete a class assignment requiring her to write a letter to her state legislator lobbying for same-sex adoption rights was charged by the university with misconduct, questioned by the Departmental Ethics Committee at length, and informed that her degree may be withheld.

And there are more such stories. Thus, it is not surprising that fifty-eight supporters of same-sex marriage as a matter of policy released a public statement expressing their concern for the free speech rights of those opposed to same-sex marriage. A ruling that same-sex marriage is protected by the Constitution will exponentially magnify the current pressure by federal agencies through policies, manuals, and training materials that will impose speech codes on employees, silencing or chilling those who are out of step.

The Constitution marks a wiser course—that is, leaving the people free to decide the great marriage debate through their state democratic institutions. Allowing all citizens an equal voice in shaping their common destiny is the only way the diverse views of a highly diverse people can be respected on this matter of political, social, and religious importance. Respect for the principle of equal citizenship and equal participation in the democratic process is the only way that the contemporary controversy over same-sex marriage can be resolved without inflicting harm on millions of religious believers and their institutions.

Carl H. Esbeck is the R.B. Price Professor of Law Emeritus at the University of Missouri. Reprinted with permission from The Witherspoon Institute

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Andrea Rodil

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Activists exploit 10-year-old pregnant rape victim to legalize abortion in Paraguay

Andrea Rodil
By Andrea Rodil

ASUNCION, Paraguay, May 6, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) -- "10 Year Old Paraguayan Girl Pregnant by Rape": A headline like this will undoubtedly shock and paralyze most people. As the mother of a girl of 12 who lives in Paraguay I cannot even begin to imagine what I would feel in my heart if something like this happened to my daughter.

A few days ago, the media in Paraguay reported headlines just like this.  A 10 year old girl had been taken to the emergency room of a hospital in Asuncion complaining of abdominal pain and an unexplained increase in the size of her belly.  After several tests, the doctors came to a conclusion: the girl was pregnant.

In 2014, the girl's mother had reported the man she lived with to the police, accusing him of 'groping' her daughter who was then only nine years old. Police began investigating the case, but soon the mother withdrew the accusation, assuring the police that it was all a misunderstanding. The mother continued to live with the man, and now a year later, her little daughter is 23 weeks pregnant. It is now believed that the girl was subjected to constant abuse and that her mother knew, or at least suspected what was happening.

In this terrible case there are two victims and many culprits.  Obviously, the victims are the young girl and her baby.  I have mixed feelings about the mother of the little girl.  As a woman, I would not put all the blame upon the girl's mother, for I am convinced that the violence experienced by the girl was probably also suffered and feared by the girl's mother.  However, as a mother myself, I also know that I would fight tooth and nail against anyone who tried to hurt one of my children. I would in fact gladly give my life to defend them.

One cannot forgive the actions -- or in this case -- the inaction of the mother who failed to protect her daughter - and the mother is currently imprisoned for her complicity in the abuse.  The police stated that for more than a year the girl's mother knew her daughter was abused by her partner and she let it continue. 

Meanwhile, the principal perpetrator, the man who raped and impregnated the 10-year-old girl, is on the run, having absconded the moment the case became public.

Faced with such tragedies, our society is nevertheless left to deal with a situation that is more common than one can imagine.  According to the Paraguayan Ministry of Health, in 2014 there were 684 cases of pregnancies of girls between 10 and 14 years. This data reveals the magnitude of the problem.

Now, what is to be done with the pregnant young girl?

Amnesty International is using this case to call for the legalization of abortion and it has mounted an intense lobbying campaign with the Paraguayan government to pressure them into aborting the 27 week old child.  They are calling for "the legal interruption of pregnancy" in order to protect the health of the little girl.

The abortion advocates' campaign repeats the mantra that the state must act "as soon as possible to protect all human rights of girls, starting with the right to life, health and physical and psychological integrity, in the short, medium and long term.” They say that they defend the "right to choose".

I wonder if Amnesty International activists are really concerned with the little girl? For it seems that they what they are really doing is using her, using her tragic circumstance to advance their own agenda. 

Do they not realize what they propose as a solution is simply to commit a further injustice? Do they not perceive that two wrongs don't make a right? Do they not realize that the one they are punishing with death is the weakest and most innocent of the parties involved?

Click "like" if you are PRO-LIFE!

Article 4 of the Constitution of the Republic of Paraguay is clear in stating that the state must protect life from the moment of conception. In this case, both the 10-year-old girl who has been abused, and the baby she carries in her womb, have the right to demand that the State act to protect their lives.  Both should have access to all the necessary medical efforts needed to attend to them; both are victims and deserve all the support of society and the state. 

The value of a life is not defined by age, stage of development, or the circumstances under which one was conceived.  All life is valuable in itself. The authorities have a moral obligation and a constitutional duty to protect them and give them the care necessary to save both.

Although Amnesty international states that abortion is necessary in order to save the life and health of the little girl, at this moment, thankfully, her life is not in danger. The doctor who is monitoring the little girl, Dolores Castellanos, has confirmed that the pregnancy is developing without affecting the health of the infant or the little girl.  However, media propaganda unleashed around the case insists that the young girl will die if she is allowed to reach full term.

To their great credit, the government has been cautious and resilient, and Health Minister Antonio Barrios has not succumbed to the international abortion lobby's pressure. He has stated that the government has applied strict measures to protect the child and the baby.

Moreover, many Paraguayan non-profit organizations and other institutions have stepped up and offered to help with comprehensive care such as counseling, material and financial short and long-term support, continual support, but most importantly with support that takes into consideration the life of both children, the young mother and her baby.  Yet others, like Amnesty International, are not offering comprehensive care for the victims, and instead are just taking advantage of the situation to try to establish a precedent for the legalization of abortion in order to eventually enact laws that violate the right to life.

While comprehensive and compassionate care for the young girl and her baby are laudable, it is only putting out one fire which unfortunately will break out again. More must be done to address the roots of the tragedy that this girl and so many other children like her have to suffer.

Instead of abortion, it is time for the government to enact substantive solutions to child abuse. It should legislate to promote comprehensive educational programs to prevent child abuse in the first place; it should promote a culture of appreciation and care for children, not create an even more calloused society that tolerates the murder of children as a solution.  We have to protect all of our children, born and preborn, for they are the future face of society.

But above all, we must realize that the best answer we have to child abuse has always been right in front of our eyes.  It is such an obvious solution that it seems unbelievable that so many 'experts' would not see it: we must strengthen the family headed by a father and a mother.  The family is the most basic non-profit organization, and the one with the greatest public purposes.  It is focused on the health of the individual and is the only true foundation of society.

The little girl who is pregnant today comes from a family that is the picture of dysfunction. The mother, who had a low-income job, had three children by three different fathers: a 13 year old, the little girl of 10 who is pregnant, and an 8-year-old boy.  Let's tackle the underlying roots of the problem.

There is no better investment for the government than public policies that strengthen, protect, and promote marriage and the family as irreplaceable social capital, especially when there are young children involved.  Society at large must embrace a culture that recognizes and values the family and all its members as a treasure to be cared for and preserved.

What this little girl and others like her have experienced is impossible to erase. They were robbed of their childhood innocence.  The abuse to which she was subjected will leave an indelible imprint in her memory and on her soul.  It requires our support and care.  But thinking that killing the baby in her womb is somehow going to help her is a grave mistake.  It will not ease, but on the contrary, will increase the harmful aftermath of the experience.  Violence cannot be erased with more violence.

As my grandmother told me: "As much as it may anger me when a nice plate is chipped, I will never think that the solution is to smash the rest of the china."

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