Hilary White, Rome Correspondent


Pregnant rape victims need ‘compassion, not abortion’: N. Irish pro-life group

Hilary White, Rome Correspondent
Hilary White, Rome Correspondent

BELFAST, August 24, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – Pro-life organizations around the world are taking advantage of the opportunity opened this week by comments from U.S. Congressman Todd Akin on abortion for rape victims. In Northern Ireland another politician has sparked a mini-furor for saying that abortion “shouldn’t be the first option” for women who find themselves pregnant after rape, Jim Wells, a Member of the Legislative Assembly told BBC Radio.

Mr. Wells called pregnancy from rape a “tragic and difficult situation,” but said that abortion “shouldn’t be the first option.”

“Should he or she [the unborn child] be punished for what has happened by having their life terminated? No,” he said.

“In Northern Ireland, there are hundreds of married couples who would love to adopt children - a child, a baby - and who could give support in that situation,” he said.

The province’s leading pro-life campaign group, Precious Life, has expressed its support for Wells’ comment, saying, “The killing of an unborn child - even if conceived through rape - is wrong. Abortion cannot ‘undo’ a rape - it only kills the child.”

The “horrific” reality of rape, the organization said, “rightly evokes feelings of revulsion,” but that emotional response can “lead to illogical and unfounded judgments with regard to pregnancy as a result of rape.”

“In these cases, both the woman and her child are equally innocent victims of the rapist, and we have a moral obligation to do everything that we can to help both of them, without taking an innocent life,” Precious Life noted. “Rape victims need long term care and compassion not a ‘quick-fix’ solution of abortion.”

A spokesman for Wells’ party, the Democratic Unionist Party, appeared to distance the party from the MLA’s comments. A spokesman said today that, although the law does not allow abortion except in those rare cases where the mother’s life is threatened, pregnancy due to rape “may be included within this.”

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The Belfast Telegraph opined that his comments demonstrated an “alarming lack of tact,” and fellow MLA Anna Lo accused Wells of “living in the dark ages,” saying she was “sickened by the labeling that people who are opposed to abortion put on women who have had an abortion.”

Precious Life’s director, Bernadette Smyth, countered that it was Anna Lo and other pro-abortion campaigners “who are living in the dark ages and need to be updated on the latest medical science.” Three-dimensional imaging technology, she said, has eradicated any hope that the abortion movement had of denying the humanity of the unborn child.

Anna Lo has described the unborn child in a radio interview as a “little pea.”

“This is an insult to the thousands of women who are grieving over miscarriage,” said Smyth. “They are grieving for their child they lost - not a pea.”

Smyth said on Friday that the so-called “rape exception” is a red herring meant to distract from the main issue and hitch abortion-on-demand to public sympathy for rape victims.

“Pregnancies resulting from rape are extremely rare: less than one per cent of all pregnancies,” she said. “To justify thousands of abortions every year on the basis of the relatively few pregnancies resulting from rape would be ludicrous.”

Northern Ireland is governed buy the UK’s Abortion Act of 1967 that specifically exempts the province from legalizing abortion, due largely to the huge pro-life public sentiment. Moreover, Northern Irish law specifically recognizes the humanity of the unborn child.

Smyth pointed out that the act makes no reference to rape victims, still less to creating an exception for pregnancies due to rape.

“For those women who do find themselves in the tragic situation of pregnancy through rape, abortion is not a compassionate response,” Smyth continued. She cited research that shows abortions after rape “increase the physical and emotional turmoil of the woman rather than relieve it.”

Smyth cited a major clinical study of pregnant rape victims by Dr. Sandra Mahkorn in 1979 that revealed that 75 to 85 percent of the women chose against abortion.

“This evidence alone should cause people to pause and reflect on the presumption that abortion is best or even wanted for rape victims,” Smyth said.

“When a pregnancy is the result of rape we must be careful who gets the blame. Rape is never the fault of the child. The rapist is guilty and should be punished, not the innocent child,” Smyth added.


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Lisa Bourne

‘You can’t have’ marriage equality ‘without polygamy’

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By Lisa Bourne

July 3, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – Motivated by the U.S. Supreme Court ruling legalizing homosexual “marriage,” a Montana polygamist has filed for a second marriage license, so he can be legally wed to two women at once.

"It's about marriage equality," said Nathan Collier, using homosexual advocates’ term to support marriage redefinition. "You can't have this without polygamy."

Collier, who has has appeared on the TLC reality show Sister Wives with his legal wife Victoria, and his second wife Christine, said he was inspired by the dissent in the Supreme Court decision.

The minority Supreme Court justices said in Friday’s ruling it would open the door to both polygamy and religious persecution.

“It is striking how much of the majority’s reasoning would apply with equal force to the claim of a fundamental right to plural marriage,” wrote Chief Justice John Roberts.

Collier and his wives applied for a second marriage license earlier this week at the Yellowstone County Courthouse in Billings, a report from the Salt Lake Tribune said.

Collier, who was excommunicated from the Mormon Church for polygamy, married Victoria in 2000 and had a religious wedding ceremony with Christine in 2007. The three have seven children between them and from previous relationships.

"My second wife Christine, who I'm not legally married to, she's put up with my crap for a lot of years. She deserves legitimacy," Collier said.

Yellowstone County officials initially denied the application before saying they would consult with the County Attorney and get him a final answer.

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Bigamy, the holding of multiple marriage licenses, is illegal all 50 states, but Collier plans to sue if his application is denied. Officials expect to have an answer for him next week.

While homosexual “marriage” supporters have long insisted legalization of same-sex unions would not lead to polygamy, pro-life and family advocates have warned all along it would be inevitable with the redefinition of marriage.

“The next court cases coming will push for polygamy, as Chief Justice John Roberts acknowledged in his dissent,” said Penny Nance, president of Concerned Women for America, after the Supreme Court ruling. “The chief justice said “the argument for polygamy is actually stronger than that for ‘gay marriage.’ It’s only a matter of time.”

In a piece from the Washington Times, LifeSiteNews Editor-in-Chief and the co-founder of Voice of the Family John-Henry Westen stated the move toward legal polygamy is “just the next step in unraveling how Americans view marriage.”

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Chris Christie: Clerks must perform same-sex ‘marriages’ regardless of their religious beliefs

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By Ben Johnson

TRENTON, NJ, July 3, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – Chris Christie is not known for nuance. This time, he has turned his fiery personality loose on county clerks and other officials who have religious objections to performing same-sex “marriages.”

In a tone usually reserved for busting teachers' unions, Christie told clerks who hold traditional values, “You took the job, and you took the oath.” He would offer no exemption for an individual whose conscience would not allow him to participate in a union the vast majority of the world's religions deem sinful.

“When you go back and re-read the oath it doesn’t give you an out. You have to do it,” he said.

He told a reporter that there “might” be “individual circumstances” that “merit some examination, but none that come immediately to mind for me.”

“I think for folks who are in the government world, they kind of have to do their job, whether you agree with the law or you don’t,” the pugnacious governor said.

Since the Supreme Court voted 5-4 to legalize homosexual “marriage” last Friday, elected officials have grappled with how to safeguard the rights of those who have deeply held religious beliefs that would not allow them to participate in such a ceremony.

Christie's response differs markedly from other GOP hopefuls' responses to the Supreme Court ruling. Mike Huckabee, for instance, has specifically said that clerks should have conscience rights. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal signed an executive order granting such rights and ordered clerks to wait until a pending court case was fully adjudicated before any clerk issues a marriage license to a homosexual couple.

Christie gave up a legal appeal after a superior court judge struck down his state's voter-approved constitutional marriage protection amendment. New Jersey is the only state where such a low court overturned the will of the voters.

The decision to ignore conscience rights adds to the growing number of Christie's positions that give conservatives pause.

The natural locus of support for a Christie 2016 presidential run is the Republican's socially liberal donor class, for personal as well as political reasons. His wife works on Wall Street, and some of the GOP's high-dollar donors – including Paul Singer – have courted Christie for years.

However, this year Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, and to a lesser degree Scott Walker have eclipsed Christie as the preferred candidates of the boardroom donors – who sometimes prefer Democrats to Republicans.

Christie also used language during a speech before the Republican Jewish Coalition last year, which concerned some major GOP donors.

Christie is reportedly spending this weekend with Mitt Romney and his family at Romney's New Hampshire home. Romney declined to enter the 2016 race himself and may be able to open his donor list to Christie's struggling campaign.

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After having a girl with Down syndrome, this couple adopted two more

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By Ben Johnson

LINO LAKE, MN, July 3, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – For most people, having five biological children would have been enough. In fact, for many Americans, large families are treated as a scandal or a burden.

But one family made the decision, not just to have a large family, but to give a home to some of the most vulnerable children in the world: Girls born overseas with Down syndrome.

Lee and Karen Shervheim love all seven of their children, biological or otherwise. Undeterred by having twin boys – Daniel and Andrew, 18 – they had Sam four years later.

They now have three daughters who are all 11 years old. All three have Down syndrome.

And two of them are adopted.

About the time their eight-year-old son, David, was born, Lee and Karen decided to adopt a child with Down syndrome to be a companion to their daughter, Annie.

They made the further unexpected choice to adopt a child from Eastern Europe with the help of Reece's Rainbow, which helps parents adopt children with Down syndrome.

“Between my wife and I, we couldn’t get it out of our heads,” Lee told the Quad City Press. “So many children need families and we knew we could potentially do something about it.”

After originally deciding to adopt Katie, they spent six weeks in Kiev, visiting an orphanage in nearby Kharkov. While there, they decided they may have room in their heart, and their home, for another child.

When they saw a picture of Emie striking the same pose as their biological daughter in one of their photographs, they knew they would come home with two children.

Both girls were the same age as their Annie. She would not lack for companionship, as they worried.

Lee said after the Ukrainian government – finally – completed the paperwork, they returned to the United States, when the real challenges began.

“The unvarnished truth,” Lee told the Press, is that adopting the Russian-speaking special needs children “was really disruptive to our family. They came with so many issues that we had not anticipated.”

After teaching them sign language and appropriate behavior, they moved to Lino Lake, Minnesota and found a new support group in Eagle Brook Church. There they found personal assistance and spiritual solace.

Every year in the past seven years has been better and better, they say.

“I think my girls can do almost anything they want to do,” he said, “and that’s what I want to help them become.”

The family's devotion is fueled by their faith, and it informs the sense of humor Lee showed in a tweet during the 2014 midterm elections:

It takes a special person to believe in the potential of the “mentally retarded,” as they were once labeled. Today, 90 percent of all babies diagnosed with Down syndrome in the womb will be aborted. The percentage is higher in some countries. Some have even spoken of "a world without people with Down syndrome."

Their God, and their experience, tell them that every child has infinite worth and potential, Lee told local media, and he would encourage anyone to follow his footsteps and adopt a Down syndrome child – or two.

“The message is that it really doesn’t matter where you started or where you came from,” Lee said. “There are endless opportunities for everyone, whether they have disabilities or not. They deserve a shot.”


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