Ben Johnson

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Pro-life leaders: 'We mourn the lost hope which Judge Bork represented'

Ben Johnson
Ben Johnson

Syndicated columnist Thomas Sowell gave an impassioned defense of Robert Bork at the 1987 hearings. He was confronted by then-Senator Joe Biden.

WASHINGTON, D.C., December 19, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) -  Upon learning that onetime Supreme Court nominee and legal scholar Robert Bork passed away today, the pro-life movement mourned the loss of his towering intellect – and pondered the unborn lives that might have been saved had he been confirmed 25 years ago.

Bork, 85, died Wednesday at Arlington’s Virginia Hospital Center of heart disease.

The Senate voted against Bork’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1987. The vacant seat was ultimately filled by Anthony Kennedy, now considered the court’s “swing vote.”

Kennedy became the pivotal vote in the plurality opinion partially upholding Roe v. Wade, 1992’s Planned Parenthood v. Casey ruling. 

Judge Bork expressed his opinion on two contentious issues – abortion and anti-sodomy laws – in 2003. Like many originalists he believed the federal government did not have a role in the issues which should be dealt with on a state to state basis. This opinion would have countered the 5-4 majority decision of Roe v. Wade.  “The Constitution has nothing in it that would prevent a state from allowing homosexual sodomy, from allowing abortion, or from disallowing homosexual sodomy and disallowing abortion. Those are topics simply not addressed by the Constitution,” he said. 

“The Constitution assumes that most of our laws will be made by the moral choice of the American people acting through their legislatures,” he said.

The pro-life movement has long believed Justice Bork could have led the court in overturning Roe v. Wade.

“We are not only saddened by the passing of Judge Bork as an amazing human being, but we mourn the lost hope which Judge Bork represented,” Troy Newman, president of Operation Rescue, told LifeSiteNews.com. “The past 40 years has seen too many lost children and far too many lost opportunities, like Judge Bork’s defeat, to stop the killing.”

“America has become an impoverished nation in so very many ways because of Judge Bork’s rejection from the Supreme Court,” Gerard Nadal, the Academic Dean of Holy Apostles College and Seminary in Cromwell, CT, told LifeSiteNews. “With more than 56 million citizens aborted, marriage redefined, and liberal educational policies and standards that have placed America dead last among the industrialized nations of the world,” Nadal said the state of American culture will stand as “Judge Bork’s great vindication.”

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins recalls that Bork was “a strong voice for the role of judges as constitutional interpreters rather than legislators. If other judges reflected his understanding of the modest, limited role of judging, I have no doubt that the American people would be freer.”

The future federal judge was born in Pittsburgh on March 1, 1927. After taking a break in his studies to serve in the Korean War, Bork graduated the University of Chicago Law School in 1953.

Bork taught at Yale Law School, where he became the nation’s foremost advocate of an originalist interpretation of the Constitution. Sometimes called strict constructionism, Bork’s views denied that the Constitution was open to ever-changing meanings discerned by the current Supreme Court justices, the view that gave rise to Roe v. Wade. At Yale Law, he taught a variety of future decision makers from across the political spectrum, including Bill and Hillary Clinton, Anita Hill, and John Bolton.

President Nixon appointed Bork Solicitor General of the United States in 1973, a post he held under President Ford until 1977. After a brief return to Yale, President Reagan appointed him to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in 1982.

When U.S. Supreme Court Justice Lewis Powell retired, Ronald Reagan nominated Bork for his seat on September 18, 1987.

The confirmation hearing marked a turning point in American political culture. While the Senate had rejected nominees Clement Haynsworth Jr. in 1969 and Harrold Carswell in 1970, neither man endured the vitriolic personal attacks unleashed against Robert Bork.

“Robert Bork’s America is a land in which women would be forced into back-alley abortions, blacks would sit at segregated lunch counters, rogue police could break down citizens’ doors in midnight raids, schoolchildren could not be taught about evolution, writers and artists could be censored at the whim of the government, and the doors of the federal courts would be shut on the fingers of millions of citizens for whom the judiciary is, and is often the only, protector of the individual rights that are the heart of our democracy,” Ted Kennedy bellowed from the well of the Senate.

“Judge Bork’s nomination to the Supreme Court exposed the ugly depths liberals will sink to advance their assault on our Constitution,” Paul E. Rondeau, executive director of the American Life League, told LifeSiteNews.com. The bruising hearings “will stand as an eternal reminder of the great personal sacrifice made by one man in defense of his country and culture.”

Bork, who relished intellectual combat, gave as good as he received. On October 23, his nomination went down to defeat by a vote of 52-43, with Republican Senators such as Bob Packwood and Arlen Specter voting nay, while two Democrats voted to confirm.

So heated was the treatment the judge received that character assassination received a new name: “Borking.” The tactics would be revived against future justice Clarence Thomas.

After Bork’s defeat, Reagan nominated Harvard professor Douglas Ginsburg, who withdrew his nomination after admitting he had smoked marijuana. Justice Anthony Kennedy ultimately filled the vacancy. 

Bork resigned his judgeship in 1988 over his treatment. He turned his intellectual might into a force for the Founder’s views of the Constitution through books, including Slouching Toward Gomorrah, and as a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) and Ave Maria Law School.

“Rarely does one meet a towering intellect – someone who presents the hardest issues in a way which reveals their true substance. Judge Bork was such a man,” Americans United for Life President and CEO, Dr. Charmaine Yoest said. “In my acquaintance with him, I found him to be generous with both his time and wisdom, truly sharing his gift with the world.”

“Judge Bork’s scholarly philosophy of originalism gave influence and renewed life to the constitutional intent of our forefathers,” Rondeau told LifeSiteNews.

Although his hearings pivoted around divisive social issues such as abortion, Bork made a significant contribution to antitrust law. Michael H. Schill, a law professor at the University of Chicago, said Bork’s “legacy to the world of law and economics, and to antitrust law, cannot be overstated.” 

Former Reagan administration Attorney General Edwin Meese called Bork “one of our nation’s greatest legal minds,” who “leaves a lasting legacy of scholarly excellence and integrity.”

Outgoing Heritage Foundation President Ed Feulner regards the judge as “a titan in the legal field.”

Although he appreciated a fixed precedent, Bork changed his mind on one vital point: He converted to Catholicism in 2003.

“His brilliant legal mind also saw the truth of Christianity, and in his later years Judge Bork grew closer in his relationship with Jesus,” Tony Perkins said. “His deep faith and trust in God is an example for all of us.”

Judge Robert Bork is survived by his wife, Mary Ellen – whom Perkins notes is “a fellow champion of the sanctity for human life” – as well as three children from his first marriage, Ellen, Robert, and Charles; and two grandchildren.

All original quotations for this article were gathered by John-Henry Westen.

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Sofia Vazquez-Mellado

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11-year-old in Uruguay refuses to abort after rape

Sofia Vazquez-Mellado
By Sofia Vazquez-Mellado

MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay, May 25, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – An 11-year-old girl in Uruguay is making headlines for refusing to abort after being raped by a 41-year-old relative. Pro-abortion organizations in the country are using the case to ask for a broadening in the law, which allows for abortion up until 12 weeks gestation, 14 weeks in cases of rape, and up to 9 months when the life or health of the mother are at risk or when the baby is “unviable.”

Local media report that the girl, who is 18 weeks pregnant, lived with her abuser for over a year prior to the pregnancy. Her mother is now asking authorities to make her abort, but according to the local newspaper La Diaria, a team of psychiatrists from Uruguay’s Child and Adolescent Institute (INAU) has said that “the girl’s position has been confirmed without a doubt: she wishes to be a mother.”

According to her relatives, the girl suffers from a mild mental incapacity, although she is not considered handicapped.

In a press conference, Susana Muñiz, president for the Association of State Health Services and former minister of health, said: “An 11-year-old girl obviously has a body not prepared to be pregnant, with a very small uterus.”

However, according to Monica Silva, head of the INAU’s Health Division, “There is no risk to the life of the girl nor that of the baby. We cannot force her to abort.”

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“Even if her mother wants it, it would be inhuman to force her to abort,” continued Silva. “The fact that there was a rape doesn’t allow me to force her to abort. This [aborting] may seem like a protection of her rights but it is against the girl’s will.”

Nevertheless, a press release “demanding” that the girl abort “immediately” was issued by several pro-abortion NGOs soon after, on May 12. “The hypocritical and bureaucratic system allows for her rights to be undermined without considering the cost this will bring to the girl,” it read.

“Who will take charge now to stop the undermining of her rights and protect her health and her life? How much longer do we need to wait before somebody decides responsibly on the interruption of that pregnancy?” it concluded.

In her interview, Silva also said the girl’s parents “never visited, with exception of one of the six siblings she has.”

 “The best that could happen would be to ensure that she has a ‘welcoming family,’ that would receive the girl with her baby,” continued Silva. “I doubt we can achieve that because it’s hard to find families who want this challenge.”

The girl remains under INAU’s care and her abuser has been imprisoned.

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Steve Weatherbe

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Christian jeweller made gay couples’ rings but still got targeted by gay lobby

Steve Weatherbe
By Steve Weatherbe

MOUNT PEARL, Newfoundland, May 25, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) –While North Americans are used to reading about Christian business people being fined and excoriated for refusing to cater to homosexual weddings, Newfoundland has added a novel twist: there a Christian jeweller has been punished financially and deluged with hate mail even though he did do business with a homosexual couple.

Nicole White and Pam Renouf liked the service they got from Esau Jardon of Today’s Jewellers in Mount Pearl, Newfoundland and Labrador, who took their deposit and proceeded to design and build them two engagement rings. They even recommended the store to friends.

But by the time one friend went there, the Mexican-born Jardon had put up a sign in his shop window marking Mother’s Day—and his strong, traditional Christian beliefs: “The Sanctity of Marriage IS UNDER ATTACK; Help Keep Marriage Between Man & Woman,” it read.

The friend went ballistic. Her picture of the sign went viral. The couple went back on their deal and back to the store, demanding their deposit. Today’s Jewellers’ Facebook page was so deluged with hundreds of hateful emails and many threats that Jardon and his brother, who is his business partner, have to shut it down.

LifeSiteNews asked White if Jardon had been punished enough. “Omigod, yes,” she responded. “Way, way too much.” But earlier she explained to a local newspaper why the couple cancelled their order. “The ring symbolizes love, and just knowing that that’s the sign that they have up there — every time I look at my ring, yes, I’ll think of us, clearly, but also everything we went through. So I don’t want my ring from there anymore. I just want my refund.”

At first, she reported, “They just said that that's their beliefs, and they think they can put up whatever they want. I just said it was very disrespectful, it's very unprofessional and I wanted a refund,” White said. “I have no issues with them believing in what they believe in. I think everyone's entitled to their own opinion. But I don't think they should put their personal beliefs inside their business.”

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Jardon, at first, was loath to return it, lest this be seen as an apology for his beliefs. Reached in Toronto, he told the St. John’s Telegram, “When I walk on Church Street in Toronto, where I am right now, and I see [LGBT rainbow flags], and I see a lot of signs and a lot of things on public property, I don't have a problem with them. I accept it. I chose to come to Canada... and we accept the whole package... I don't discriminate against that, nor do I come and tell them to take them down. For the same reason, I ask to have the same respect in return, especially when it's in my own business.”

But what is sauce for the gander is not sauce for the geese, or for the LGBT community that crowded onto the bandwagon, or for the CBC which was all too ready to label the jeweller’s sign “homophobic.”

However, some have offered support and sympathy. Rod Dreher, blogging at The American Conservative, observed that only so-called sexual minorities expected this kind of treatment. “Is a fundamentalist Christian permitted to send her osso buco back to the kitchen if she discovers that homosexual hands cooked it? Of course not. Some delicate snowflakes are more delicate than others.”

Referring to recent decisions by courts and human rights tribunals against Christian vendors who refused to serve homosexuals, Dreher concluded on an ironic note. The pressure on Jardon to return the deposit marked “the next phase in the March of Progress. You must not only bake the cake, or arrange the flowers, or make the ring, you must hold the correct opinion when you do it.”

Jardon defends his right to his own opinion. “One of the reasons my family chose to move to Canada was the rights that it offered, the freedom of religion and freedom of speech, both of which at the time seemed to be very limited in Mexico,” he said.

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Canadians headed to the ballot box for the fall federal election should remember the right to life is 'the most basic thing in society,' the archbishop tells LifeSiteNews. Pete Baklinski / LifeSiteNews
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Exclusive: Clinging to Christ will help those struggling with sexual identity, says Montreal’s archbishop

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By Pete Baklinski

OTTAWA, May 25, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) -- Montreal’s archbishop, Christian Lépine, weighed in on what the Catholic Church actually has to offer people struggling with the biological sex they were born with, telling LifeSiteNews in an exclusive interview that it’s no mistake that God creates the human person as male or female and that every person must look for their identity within a “view of God.”

“The teachings of the Church as such, its most basic one, is that we’re made in the image of God. That's always the starting point. And when you lose track of that — that you're made in the image of God — then somehow you come to lose trust in who you are as a human being, and you know less of who you are, and you don't know anymore who you are, and you [find yourself] looking for your own identity outside of a view of God,” Lépine told LifeSiteNews last week one day prior to the annual National March for Life that drew an estimated 25,000 pro-life advocates.

Following the first book of the Bible, where it is stated that God created human beings as “male and female,” the Catholic Church has always taught, and continues to teach, that the male/female binary is God’s plan for mankind.

As the book of Genesis (1:27) states: “God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him, male and female he created them.”

The Catechism of the Catholic Church stresses that recognizing and preserving the male/female sexual difference is necessary for a healthy society.

“Everyone, man and woman, should acknowledge and accept his sexual identity. Physical, moral, and spiritual difference and complementarity are oriented toward the goods of marriage and the flourishing of family life. The harmony of the couple and of society depends in part on the way in which the complementarity, needs, and mutual support between the sexes are lived out,” the Catechism states.

Lépine said that anytime questions about sexual identity arise for the faithful, “we must go back to the basics,” namely that “every human is created in the image of God, and of course, biblically, every human being exists as a woman or as a man.”

The archbishop’s words are foreign to mainstream notions of so-called ‘gender fluidity’ where male/female difference is construed as a social construct and ultimately as a personal choice.

Lépine acknowledged that some people suffer when it comes to accepting their own sexual identity as either a male or female based on biological characteristics.

“Sometimes people have sufferings about their own desires, or about their own sense of identity, or about the fact that masculinity and femininity exists, or about the fact that you as ‘human being’ [exist] as a male or female, as a man or as a woman.”

He called the male/female binary “a reality that is part of the [human] experience,” adding that it is also “taught in the Bible.”

Lépine stressed that the Church does not leave people “looking for a meaning in their lives and their own sense of identity” to struggle on their own, but offers them many helps and aids, including a clear anthropology on the nature of the human person.

“As Christians, we have the Bible to help people. We have Jesus Christ to help people. We have faith in God to help people. So, going back, [we must be] conscious that we are made in the image of God. And our own sexuality — what is the meaning of being a man or woman — is related to our vocation to love. And, every human being as such, made in the image of God — being a man or woman — is called to love.”

“So, how [are we] to help [such] people? You can talk about things theoretically, which is one thing. But also, we have to be conscious of people who live through situations where they're looking for their own identity and we need, I think, the Bible and faith to help them.”

Fluid notions of gender have been criticized by Pope Francis on at least three occasions, and prior to this, by Pope Benedict XVI.

“Gender theory is an error of the human mind that leads to so much confusion," Pope Francis told young people during his voyage to Naples, Italy last March.

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In his 2012 Christmas greeting, Pope Benedict condemned gender theory as a “profound falsehood” since it denies the male and female sex as a “given element of nature.” According to Benedict, instead of acknowledging that God created people male and female, gender theory posits the existence of sexual social constructions that people can decide to conform to or not.

“The profound falsehood of this theory and of the anthropological revolution contained within it is obvious. People dispute the idea that they have a nature, given by their bodily identity, that serves as a defining element of the human being. They deny their nature and decide that it is not something previously given to them, but that they make it for themselves.”

“When the freedom to be creative becomes the freedom to create oneself, then necessarily the Maker himself is denied and ultimately man too is stripped of his dignity as a creature of God, as the image of God at the core of his being,” Benedict concluded. “The defence of the family is about man himself. And it becomes clear that when God is denied, human dignity also disappears,” he said.

Earlier in the interview, Lépine spoke about the need to “promote relentlessly life and respect for life” in the face of the country’s top court setting the legal stage for allowing doctors to end the lives of their patients under the pretext of compassion and mercy.

“You don't take care of someone when you suppress the life of someone, because you're not solving a problem. You're suppressing the person. It doesn't work,” he said.

Referring to the upcoming federal election this fall, the archbishop called “life and the right-to-life and dignity of the person” an “important subject, because it's the most basic thing in society.” 

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