Hilary White

Pro-life group’s graphic display censored by foes, attacked by friends

Hilary White
Hilary White
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ROME, November 9, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – The pioneering pro-life demonstration group Abort67 is making waves all over Britain with its photographic displays of aborted children, and they are being attacked by friend and foe alike for their troubles.

Fresh from their resounding court victories after being arrested last year for displaying the images in Brighton, Abort67 has moved on to a national platform with new groups forming around the country. Organisers have said that the publicity surrounding their case, including close coverage from the BBC and several national newspapers, was worth the trouble of the arrest and court case.

But not everyone in the pro-life community is pleased with the success of the graphic images strategy. After Abort67’s appearance at their campus, Bristol University Students for Life published an op-ed condemning and distancing themselves from the other group and the use of graphic images. The Students for Life mandate, they say, is the correct way to address the life issues, “from a secular and non-judgemental perspective”.

“Abort 67 and Bristol Students for Life both oppose abortion. That is where the similarities end,” the Bristol students’ group wrote.

“We shall be respectful, accepting and acting with the utmost tolerance towards both the society members, and members of the public regardless of background, opinion and creed”. The group says they have “unanimously rejected” the use of graphic images, saying they “do not feel it is appropriate or useful to cause great distress or alarm to others”.

Bristol Students for Life say they make the case with debate and argument and that they are willing to “engage with” opponents, so that “emotive and graphic pictures are not needed.” The group, however, condemned the arrest of Abort67 activists last year, saying they are “dismayed at the attitude of some British police officers” and that “protest cannot be a criminal offence in a liberal society”.

The Students for Life are thought to be reacting defensively to demonstrate their liberal credentials in the face of a counter-demonstration staged by the University’s students’ union (UBU). While Abort67 brought their graphic image display to campus the officially “pro-choice” UBU set up a banner in front of the graphic abortion display that read, “This union is pro choice”. University student’s unions around the Western world have a long track record of acting against campus pro-life groups and individuals who step out of line and make a strong case against abortion.

But Student’s for Life’s desire to distance themselves from such a high profile and highly successful activist group is not being well received by everyone associated with them. Rhoslyn Thomas, a former Bristol University student and organiser of Bristol Students for Life, told LifeSiteNews.com, “We were much more tolerant and sensible when I was there.” She was on the group’s organising committee for the academic year 2011-2012.

She responded to the accusations of her former classmates that the use of graphic images is counterproductive, saying that before Abort67 started using them, no one in Britain was giving abortion a second thought.

“If it upsets people then they are thinking about what abortion is, aren’t they? We’re upset by a lot of images, things that have happened in the past, like the Hiroshima bombing. Those are horrific pictures, but no one says we shouldn’t see them because it’s upsetting. But we know from that picture that it was wrong and how many people were hurt and killed by it.

“For some reason [the Bristol pro-life students] think people shouldn’t be forcefully reminded of abortion. But if you do nothing but talk about it, people might think it was just one issue among many. But when you see it, it’s much harder to say that it is just a ‘woman’s right to choose,’ because it’s such a horrible reality.”

She added a plea for civility and tolerance to her former classmates, saying that there needs to be a united front among the pro-life movement, or at least one of mutual respect. “Even if they disagree with Abort67, you can always find a way to disagree respectfully,” she said.

“Particularly other pro-life people whom you know have good intentions, and who have saved women from abortions. They’re not breaking the law, and they’re not hurting anyone, in fact they’re helping people.”

Pro-abortion groups have also reacted with outrage at the presence of Abort67 on Monday at historic King’s College, Cambridge. A group of students there brought home-made placards and stood in front of the Abort67 photos. Later King’s students brought out a flower pattern sheet to cover the photo display and disrupt conversations with passersby.

Similar actions were taken by pro-abortion counter-protesters at Abort67 demonstrations in Nottingham and Sussex.

The Huffington Post reported that students at Sussex University felt “distressed and intimidated” by the presence of the photo images and complained to each other on Twitter. The Student Rights group at Sussex said Abort67’s demonstration, held in late October, was “deeply concerning”.

“Students have a right to express pro-life views, but the detrimental impact that Abort67’s intrusive demonstrations have on students wellbeing, as well as on campus cohesion, should mean that they have no place on our campuses.”

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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.

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

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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