Thaddeus Baklinski

Polish pro-lifers arrested for displaying graphic abortion posters

Thaddeus Baklinski
Thaddeus Baklinski
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POLAND, August 13, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Pro-life advocates in Poland have been arrested on two different occasions recently for displaying signs depicting babies who have been killed by abortion.

Mariusz Dzierżawski, founder of the Warsaw-based PRO Foundation and one of Poland’s most prominent and active pro-life leaders, told LifeSiteNews he and a fellow PRO Foundation member were arrested at a music festival on August 2. They were gathering petition signatures for total protection of the unborn in Poland and displaying a pro-life poster showing Hitler, pictures of aborted babies, and a child with Down syndrome.

Abortion is illegal in Poland except to save a mother’s life and health, in the case of rape or incest, or when a fetal disease or deformation is diagnosed.

Dzierżawski said the incident occurred at the Polish Woodstock Festival (Przystanek Woodstock), held in the western Polish city of Kostrzyn. The PRO Foundation has for many years set up a display of graphic abortion pictures at the event in order to promote discussion among attendees.

He noted that one woman, after viewing the pictures of aborted babies, said to him, “This is a very good place to discuss abortion because people are having fun here and certainly some of the girls will get pregnant afterwards….  They should be reminded to think about what they are doing and to be responsible.”

The two pro-lifers were hustled into a police van and their poster was confiscated, Dzierżawski said, adding that the police arrested them even though their display at the music festival was legal.

Dzierżawski said that Polish law does not require them to obtain a permit to set up their display in a public space such as this music festival, and the city authorities had been properly informed.  He said police acted after an unnamed person reported that indecent material was being shown.

“The PRO Foundation has been to court six times for showing the truth about abortion,” Dzierżawski said, “and all of the previous lawsuits were resolved in favor of the Foundation.”

“The police apprehended us under an absurd charge of presenting indecent images in public - a charge dismissed in courts on multiple occasions so far,” Dzierżawski told LifeSiteNews.

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“The police are currently trying to make it seem like they never actually apprehended us, but only apprehended the banner we were holding, for further explanation. Their aim was to stop our rally.”

Dzierżawski said that he has filed a complain for “unlawful apprehension” and are “going to file a notification on suspicion of committing a criminal offense by the police officers who pre-empted a legal assembly.”

“Recently we have organized scores of pro-life exhibitions and rallies. The abortionists simply can’t stand it. They are trying to stop us using the police. We are facing an assault on free speech and the freedom of public debate. We are going to defend this freedom,” Dzierżawski said.

A retired judge told Razem TV, a Catholic internet TV service in Poland, that he believes the action of the police against the pro-lifers was illegal.

“In my opinion the police violated elementary rules of the legal order, when they shut down the pro-life exhibition,” said Wiesław Johan, retired judge of the Polish Constitutional Tribunal. “The police are to ensure order and safety for us, the citizens. The way the police acted there, was, in my opinion, against the law. Everybody has the right to protest, everybody has the right to partake in an assembly, everybody has the right to express their views. I am not making this up, these rules come from the Polish Constitution.”

He added that he hopes that protests condemning what the police did will cause the authorities to take appropriate action towards the police officers who “broke the law that day.”

In another incident that took place on August 7, a member of the PRO Foundation was arrested and charged with “showing indecent pictures in public” for organizing a graphic abortion picture exhibit in Warsaw.

An exhibit titled “Choose Life,” which uses the graphic abortion posters of the U.S. based Center for Bioethical Reform, which had been set up at a Catholic church in the Ursynów district of Warsaw, had been vandalized repeatedly, according to organizer Kinga Małecka-Prybyło.

However, when she complained to police, Mrs. Małecka-Prybyło said she herself was charged with “causing a public scandal by arranging for the placement of obscene advertisements containing pictures showing images of human fetuses and their fragments, in violation of art. 51 § 1 and in connection with art. 141 of code violations.”

Mrs. Małecka-Prybyło explained that she told the police that the “Choose Life” display was an educational exhibit that had already been shown in 300 different locations in Poland.

She said she also informed police of the six previous failed court attempts by pro-abortionists to silence the exhibit in their complaints against the Pro Foundation and the “Choose Life” display. She said that though the images are dreadful, “how else can this horrible deed be shown for what it is?”

In an interview with LifeSiteNews, Mrs. Małecka-Prybyło said it is troubling that the police are being used to silence the freedom of expression of pro-lifers by using laws enacted to fight pornography.

“It worries me a lot that charges have brought against those who are fighting to protect the weakest. And that the laws which the police are citing against us today have been instituted to protect the public space from pornography. These laws are now being used to gag people fighting for the basic human right - the right to life,” Mrs. Małecka-Prybyło said.

“Anti-abortion exhibitions provoke meaningful thoughts and debates. I hope that many people will wake up and see that we are facing a great threat to our civil liberties, including the freedom to express your views.”

Asked what she thinks about the argument that seeing graphic abortion pictures is harmful to children, Mrs. Małecka-Prybyło said, “As a mother, I think that the ‘Choose Life’ exhibition of graphic abortion pictures is a great opportunity to provoke deep and important discussions with children of all ages about the value of human life. Children who learn early on, from their parents, that human life is sacred, inviolable and must be protected from conception - will not, in the future, yield to false rhetoric about the ‘choice’ to decide about somebody else’s life.

“Even the youngest children need to see their parents’ clear and unambiguous position on these issues, and they need serious conversations with us. If you approach this subject like this, the children will surprise you with their maturity and simple reasoning on the value of life. My 3-year old son understood perfectly that some children’s lives are in danger and that it’s extremely important that we protect the babies living under their mother’s hearts, especially those, who are ill. I think we should talk to our children about life issues as early as possible, before somebody else reaches them with a completely different message.”

In an extraordinary interview with (http://razem.tv/) Razem TV, Mrs. Małecka-Prybyło’s son Maksymilian, who is now five years old, offered these insights about the pictures in the “Choose Life” exhibition. He has been helping his mom set up the graphic abortion pictures since he was three.

Question: What do you think about those pictures?

Maksymilian: I think that you really need to keep doing those exhibitions, or else it will start all over again. It is almost good now, but it will be much worse if they’re not here.

Q: But these are not pictures that children like, right? Do you like those pictures?

Maksymilian: No. But I already understand that this is evil. I didn’t understand it some time ago, but the time has come now that I do understand it.

Q: Are you interested in those issues?

Maksymilian: Yes, a little.

Q: Why?

Maksymilian: I don’t understand what this whole abortion is for. At all.

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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.
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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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