Patrick Craine

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Pro-lifers accurately predicted devastating results of Trudeau’s Charter of Rights

Patrick Craine
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OTTAWA, Ontario, April 25, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - As many Canadians celebrated the 30th anniversary of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms last week, cultural conservatives across the country remembered it instead as the document that paved the way for unregulated abortion, same-sex “marriage” and, most recently in Ontario, legalized brothels.

Though the Charter contains no explicit right to abortion and no mention of “sexual orientation”, pro-lifers accurately predicted its devastating effects leading up to its passage on April 17, 1982 and campaigned hard against it despite opposition within their own ranks.

In a 2006 obituary for former Catholic Register editor Larry Henderson, the Globe and Mail reported that he had caused a “furor” by accepting paid ads in 1981 from Campaign Life that warned the Charter would result in abortion-on-demand and homosexual “marriage” and adoptions.

Last week, Campaign Life Coalition re-released a brief that they had put out in 1981 arguing that the unborn were excluded from the Charter’s protections. “With over 65,000 abortions each year in our hospitals the Charter cannot be considered as neutral on abortion,” it reads.

Gwen Landolt, the national vice president of REAL Women Canada, who served as Campaign Life’s legal counsel at the time, wrote another brief for them at the time warning that the Charter would lead to social issues being decided by judges rather than the legislature.

“Being a lawyer, I could see what was taking place, which was the transformation of the decision making power into the hands of the appointed court,” she told LifeSiteNews. “In other words anything Parliament passed was subject to review under the provisions of the Charter.”

“But I could see the wording was so broad, so vague,” she continued. “It means anything the judges wanted it to mean. So I knew what was going to happen - we were losing control. Parliament was losing control and by Parliament losing control, the public was losing any say in any of these issues of the day.”

Landolt said Campaign Life was extremely successful at lobbying politicians against the Charter, with people coming in from all over the country - to the point that Catholic MPs were concerned that their vote for the Charter would be a vote for abortion.

In fact, former Liberal and pro-life MP Garnet Bloomfield, who was one of only two Liberals who actually ended up voting against the Charter, told Landolt that at the party’s Wednesday caucus meetings Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau would express his frustration at the pro-life movement’s success.

“The pro-life movement started to be just a little cloud on the horizon and now it’s getting bigger and bigger and bigger like a huge storm cloud. It’s getting bigger all the time. We have to stop these pro-life people,” Trudeau would say, according to Landolt.

But, she said, the Charter’s success was unexpectedly guaranteed when Cardinal Emmett Carter of Toronto endorsed it - or ‘removed his opposition’ from it - after working quietly behind the scenes with Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, who had assured him that the Charter would not worsen the status of the unborn. Landolt said Trudeau had even given the Cardinal a verbal agreement that if the Supreme Court struck down the abortion law he would invoke the notwithstanding clause.

When they were first told of the Cardinal’s public endorsement, “the Catholic members of the Liberal caucus threw their papers in the air and said ‘hurray, now we can support it’,” explained Jim Hughes, national president of Campaign Life Coalition. “The many MPs who were very concerned about it now had this endorsement from Cardinal Carter.”

The previously successful, many months of intense pro-life lobbying efforts were derailed. Movement leaders were devastated, with many feeling deeply betrayed.

According to Hughes, the Cardinal eventually recognized his error, but too late. “He came back three days before the Charter passed and said Trudeau lied to him,” explained Hughes. “I guess he finally succumbed to all the material that we had sent him and he finally woke up and saw that it was wrong.”

Before the Charter passed, Progressive Conservative leader Joe Clark reluctantly allowed his caucus members to put forward a motion stating that the Charter would not apply to abortion and capital punishment - on the condition that if the motion were defeated, the entire caucus would support the Charter anyway.

When the Liberal majority defeated the motion, pro-life PC member Doug Roche opposed the Charter anyway, said Landolt.

But the pro-life fight continued even after the Queen gave her royal assent to the new Constitution on April 17, 1982.

In 1986, the late pro-life Progressive Conservative MP Gus Mitges proposed a motion to amend the Charter to include the unborn, which would have afforded them total protection under the law.  Most speakers in the debate spoke in favour of the motion, but it ultimately lost the vote 62-89 on June 2, 1987.

The motion’s chances were damaged by a very unexpected letter to the Members of Parliament from the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops.  As The Interim reported at the time, the CCCB wrote that while they supported the protection of life from conception, the bishops “do not want their position to be understood as necessarily endorsing the constitutional amendment recommended by Mr. Mitges as the most suitable means to implement this right to life of the foetus.”

Pro-life leaders were once again bewildered and shocked by Canadian episcopal undermining of yet another very promising initiative to protect the lives of the unborn.

The effects of the Charter are still being felt across the country with its provisions brought to bear on social issues ranging from parental rights to euthanasia and much more.

In September, the Supreme Court of Canada approved drug injection sites by arguing that the federal government had violated the Charter’s protections of “life, liberty and security of the person” by targeting the Insite facility in Vancouver.

Landolt warned that in the coming years Canadians can expect the high court to rule on a slate of public policy issues that ought to be the proper domain of the elected legislature, including issues related to poverty, unemployment insurance, welfare, and mandatory minimum sentences for criminals.

“Nothing’s going to stop them now,” she said.

Canada’s abortion legislation was dramatically loosened in 1969 when Prime Minister Trudeau’s Liberals passed an Omnibus bill that allowed a committee of doctors to approve the deadly procedure. The changed law, with its loopholes, weak safeguards and resultant rubber stamping of most abortions soon led to a practical abortion-on-demand situation across the country.

It was that law which the Supreme Court struck down in 1988 by arguing that it violated women’s equality rights under section 7’s protection of the “security of the person.”

Though the Supreme Court ruling called on Parliament to enact a new law that would address the Court’s concerns, the Mulroney government introduced vastly weaker legislation than was necessary. Pro-life leaders warned that the bill would likely not prevent any abortions from taking place. It was dramatically defeated in a tie in the Senate after having passed in the House of Commons. The lack of any abortion legislation since then has left a legal vacuum on the issue for 24 years despite numerous attempts to introduce various types of abortion restriction bills.

Parliament is currently considering a motion by Kitchener MP Stephen Woodworth to launch a special committee to discuss when human life begins. In particular, Woodworth is calling for a re-examination of section 223 of the Criminal Code, which states that a child only becomes a “human being” once he or she has fully proceeded from the womb.

The motion is scheduled for debate on April 26.

See the March 14, 1981 Campaign Life ad warning about the dangers of the Charter.

See the second Campaign Life ad urging Ontario Premier Bill Davis to withdraw his support for the Charter.



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Planned Parenthood closes Iowa abortion facility because of low business

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DUBUQUE, Iowa, May 3, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Planned Parenthood closed an Iowa abortion facility on Friday, noting low business that left the facility unsustainable from a financial standpoint.

Although Planned Parenthood of the Heartland announced in January that it planned to close the Dubuque, Iowa, office, pro-life sidewalk counselors were overjoyed on Friday to read the sign in the window that read: “Our office is closed, effective April 28, 2016.”

The office did not perform surgical abortions but did provide medication abortions to the community of about 58,000.

“Rejoice with us for the lives of unborn children saved!” Iowa Right to Life said in a statement after the closure.

As with numerous other closures, Planned Parenthood, which styles itself a provider of “care no matter what,” emphasized it was closing its doors to preserve its bottom line.

“After assessing the shifting health care landscape, changing demographics, and the challenges of operating in areas with low patient volumes, we made the tough decision to close the Dubuque Health Center,” the group said in an announcement. “This change allows us to expand hours and see more patients in Cedar Rapids, where there is unmet demand due to lack of clinician hours.”
“While we regret making this change, we know it is a necessary step in order to continue our mission to provide, promote and protect reproductive and sexual health through health services, education and advocacy. Patients have been notified, and if they wish, they can receive a broader array of services at our health center in Cedar Rapids, where we have expanded hours to accommodate more patient,” Planned Parenthood said.

American Life League’s vice president, Jim Sedlak, remembers speaking to the county right to life group nine years ago.

“I told them at the time that they needed to protest outside Planned Parenthood at least once a week,” he said. “They told me they would do better than that. Over the last eight years, these dedicated pro-lifers were outside Planned Parenthood every hour it was open. And now...it’s closed for good.”

That aligns with advice that David Bereit, the founder of 40 Days for Life, once told young people who wanted to know how to end abortion.

Be loving and compassionate, he said.

Your peaceful, loving presence out there flies in the face of all the stereotypes they want to throw onto us,” he added. “When you show them love instead of condemnation, when you show them peace and joy instead of anger and judgment, that will begin to break down the walls.”

Iowa Right to Life credited just such tactics with closing an office in Red Oak that performed webcam abortions. “Planned Parenthood shut down in Red Oak in large part because of the constant, prayerful presence outside their clinic,” the group said.

Upon hearing of the latest abortion facility shuttering, the Dubuque County Right to Life said that Planned Parenthood isn't the only group that will move its base of operations. “We will probably put our efforts in Cedar Rapids and will continue to spread the pro-life message,” said Executive Director Marian Bourek.



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Ted Cruz confronted by mom who supports aborting disabled babies…just like hers

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MARION, Indiana, May 3, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Senator Ted Cruz was met on the campaign trail by a mother who strongly opposed a state pro-life law that would have protected children with birth conditions – like her own.

Andrea DeBruler, a 41-year-old nurse, confronted the presidential hopeful in the city of Marion as Cruz campaigned with Gov. Mike Pence.

DeBruler first asked Cruz, then Pence, about House Bill 1337, which bans abortions performed due to the child's race, sex, or disability, such as Down syndome.

DeBruler held up a picture of her daughter, Jania, who was born with cerebral palsy. “This was a choice,” she said.

She asked Sen. Cruz if he supported the bill, which made Indiana the second state in the nation to ban abortion for Down syndrome, after North Dakota.

“I'm not Governor Pence,” he replied. “But I'll tell you this: I believe in protecting human life.”

Pence, who endorsed Cruz in today's make-or-break Indiana primary, listened to her objections.

“I'm not here as a Republican, I'm not here as a Democrat. I'm here as a woman, a woman with choices, choices that you guys should not make,” DeBruler said.

After hearing that she felt many families lacked sufficient resources to care for children, especially in an area like Marion, Gov. Pence offered to connect her with social services.

“God bless her,” he said, looking at Jania's picture, “and God bless you.”

Though it may be unusual to encounter a woman arguing for the right to abort her own child, the governor handled it calmly. Pence had specifically reflected on “precious moments” he spent with “families of children with disabilities, especially those raising children with Down syndrome” when he signed the bill into law in March.

"We are truly thankful for the passage of this historic legislation by the Indiana House and applaud the new civil rights protections this bill creates for unborn children, as well as the new provisions this bill establishes for the humane final disposition of aborted babies," Indiana Right to Life President Mike Fichter said at the time.

DeBruler told the UK media outlet The Independent that H.B. 1337 “means you can no longer have an abortion based on deformity. I’m against this law, because I think it should be a woman’s choice” to abort for any reason.

Congressional Democrats made similar statements during hearings last month for Rep. Trent Franks' federal Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act (PRENDA), with Congressman John Conyers saying the bill is “patently unconstitutional,” because a woman has the right to abort a child before viability for any reason.

Both leading contenders for the Democratic nomination expressed their displeasure with the law, which protects unborn children from racial or sexual discrimination, as well as discrimination on the basis of an inborn trait like mental capacity.

When Gov. Pence signed the law, Sen. Bernie Sanders tweeted:

Hillary Clinton later said, “I commend the women of this state, young and old, for standing up against this governor and this legislature.”

DeBruler told The Independent, despite her comment about not being a Democrat or a Republican, she is in fact a Democrat and will vote for Hillary Clinton in today's primary. 



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This year, as Notre Dame prepares to confer an honor on Vice President Joe Biden, the silence from the Catholic hierarchy is deafening. Drop of Light / Shutterstock.com
Phil Lawler

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The moral challenge to Cardinal Wuerl in pending Notre Dame outrage

Phil Lawler

Ask Notre Dame not to honor pro-abortion Vice President Joe Biden. Sign the petition!

May 3, 2016 (CatholicCulture) -- In 2009, when the University of Notre Dame invited President Barack Obama to deliver a commencement address, dozens of American bishops lodged loud public protests. Yet this year, as Notre Dame prepares to confer an even greater honor on Vice President Joe Biden (together with former House Speaker John Boehner), the silence from the hierarchy is deafening.

Back in 2009, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Houston said that Notre Dame’s invitation to President Obama was “very disappointing,”, while then-Archbishop Timothy Dolan termed it a “big mistake.” The late Bishop John D’Arcy, then leader of the Indiana diocese in which the university is located, spoke of “the terrible breach which has taken place between Notre Dame and the Church.” For the first time in his 25 years of service to the Fort Wayne-South Bend diocese, Bishop D’Arcy declined to attend the Notre Dame commencement exercises; instead he addressed a protest rally organized by pro-life students, faculty, alumni, and staff.

These prelates and others explained their dismay by referring to the statement “Catholics in Political Life,” released in 2004 by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops. In that document, the bishops reflected on the need to maintain a consistent public witness in defense of human life, and therefore to distance themselves from public officials who support legal abortion. The statement set forth a clear policy that Catholic institutions should not give public honors to “pro-choice” politicians:

The Catholic community and Catholic institutions should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles. They should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions.

By giving President Obama an honorary degree and offering him an opportunity to speak at graduation, Notre Dame clearly violated that policy. University officials could offer only garbled partial defenses, claiming that they were honoring Obama not because he supports unrestricted abortion, but because he is President of the United States.

This year the university cannot offer even that lame defense of the decision to award the Laetare Medal to Vice President Biden. Unlike Obama, Biden is a Catholic, and by granting him this award the university is explicitly saying that the Vice President has “illustrated the ideals of the Church and enriched the heritage of humanity.” In other words, Notre Dame is honoring Vice President Biden as a Catholic political leader despite his unwavering support for abortion and same-sex marriage.

Give credit to Bishop Kevin Rhoades, the current leader of the Fort Wayne-South Bend diocese, for raising a lonely voice of protest. “I believe it is wrong for Notre Dame to honor any ‘pro-choice’ public official with the Laetare Medal, even if he/she has other positive accomplishments in public service,” Bishop Rhoades said. But if any other bishops have joined him in that rebuke to Notre Dame, I must have missed their public announcements.

Some observers, of liberal political sympathies, have argued that it is wrong to honor John Boehner, too, because the former Speaker disagreed with the US bishops’ stand on immigration. This is a tired old argument, conflating disagreement with the bishops on a prudential political decision with defiance of Church teaching on a fundamental moral principle. But it is noteworthy that Notre Dame officials saw fit to make a joint award, no doubt in a cynical effort to dodge political criticism by choosing one honoree from each side of the political spectrum.

“We live in a toxic political environment where poisonous invective and partisan gamesmanship pass for political leadership,” said Father John Jenkins, the president of Notre Dame, in announcing the Laetare Award recipients. (Notice the pre-emptive suggestion that those who criticize the school’s choices may be engaged in “poisonous invective.”) He went on to make a tortured argument that although Notre Dame is honoring two politicians, it is not honoring them for what they have done in their political careers:

In recognizing both men, Notre Dame is not endorsing the policy positions of either, but celebrating two lives dedicated to keeping our democratic institutions working for the common good through dialogue focused on the issues and responsible compromise.

By now we all know the familiar dodges. The politician claims to oppose abortion personally, but to feel a delicate reticence about imposing his views on others. He says that we must be willing to compromise (even on life-and-death decisions). He insists that he is not “pro-abortion” but “pro-choice.”

That last bubble of rhetoric was unceremoniously burst by Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington, DC, when he celebrated Mass at Georgetown after Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richard had delivered a lecture there. “The word ‘choice’ is a smokescreen,” he said, “behind which those killing unborn children take refuge. Every chance you get, blow that smoke away!”

Now Cardinal Wuerl himself has a chance to “blow that smoke away.” As things stand, he is scheduled to celebrate Mass at the Notre Dame commencement, and to receive an honorary degree. He could pull out; he could absent himself from the ceremonies, to ensure that he does not become part of an event that pays homage to a “pro-choice” Catholic politician.

And there is a precedent. Back in 2009, the Harvard legal scholar (and former US ambassador to the Holy See) Mary Ann Glendon was chosen to receive the Laetare Award. But when she learned that President Obama would be speaking, she announced her decision to decline the award. Clearly annoyed that her presence might be used to quiet the critics of the honor for Obama, Ambassador Glendon wrote that she did not want to be used as a counterweight, nor did she see the Notre Dame commencement as an appropriate venue for a genteel debate about legal abortion:

A commencement, however, is supposed to be a joyous day for the graduates and their families. It is not the right place, nor is a brief acceptance speech the right vehicle, for engagement with the very serious problems raised by Notre Dame’s decision—in disregard of the settled position of the U.S. bishops—to honor a prominent and uncompromising opponent of the Church’s position on issues involving fundamental principles of justice.

Could Cardinal Wuerl do this year what Ambassador Glendon did in 2009? Even at this late date, his withdrawal would send a powerful message of support for the right to life: an unmistakable rebuke to politicians who hide behind the smokescreen that the cardinal himself identified. To be sure, if he did withdraw, the cardinal would be caught in an avalanche of public criticism; he would suffer for his public witness. But there is a reason why cardinals wear red.

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at CatholicCulture.org. Reprinted with permission from Catholic Culture.



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