Ben Johnson

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Hundreds of thousands join record-breaking U.S. March for Life (93 PHOTOS: Updated)

Ben Johnson
Ben Johnson

WASHINGTON, D.C., January 25, 2013, (LifeSiteNews.com) – Huddled under winter coats and hats and scarves, hundreds of thousands of pro-life activists gathered on the Mall in Washington D.C. this morning to send a clear message to politicians in the Capitol, and the whole country: 40 years is too long, abortion must end! But despite the frigid January temperatures, the crowd, made up largely of teens and young adults, was boisterous, with many groups chanting pro-life slogans and singing hymns as they walked.

This year's March marked the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, since which an estimated 55 million babies have been killed by abortion in America.

While accurate estimates of the number of attendees at the march are hard to come by, organizers had said in the days leading up to the event that all signs pointed to a record-breaking crowd. Hotels in the D.C area sold out far in advance of when they normally do, and organizers installed two jumbotrons just to ensure that all marchers could get a glimpse of what was happening on the stage.

Last year's march was estimated at around 400,000 participants, likely putting this year's at the half million mark, or even beyond. The popularity of the event could be seen on social media, with the March for Life trending on Twitter for a time in the early afternoon, and Facebook exploding with photos and status updates from attendees. 

Before opening the march rally with an opening prayer, Cardinal Sean O'Malley announced to cheers that Pope Benedict had just tweeted his support for the marchers. "I join all those marching for life from afar, and pray that political leaders will protect the unborn and promote a culture of life," the pontiff tweeted from his @Pontifex account.

And while the chances of a national pro-life political victory seem as bleak as the weather on the overcast winter day, Rick Santorum, Rand Paul and the other activist and political leaders who addressed the crowd were certain they are on the right side of history.

“One day, we will be here and triumph, because love and truth always triumph,” said former Pennsylvania senator Santorum, who made a strong showing for the Republican presidential nomination last year.

Santorum spoke alongside his wife, Karen, and four of their children – but his speech revolved around his absent daughter Bella, who was born with Trisomy-18. “The response to this little girl and the struggles she was going through and who she was...was just amazing to us, and affirmed to us the goodness of the people in this country,” he said.

“We were encouraged to abort, because she would be saddled with disabilities and it would be better for her – but we all know death is never better,” he said, “What it's about is it would be easier for us.” “Bella is better for us, and we are better because of Bella.”

He asked anyone faced with the prospect of special needs children to “give them a chance. Welcome them in to your home.”

After leaving the campaign trail, Santorum founded the advocacy group Patriot Voices, which carried an enormous banner in today's march.

“This country is in search of truth, and they're not finding much of it in Washington, D.C.,” he said.

Those who love the unborn are instead making the world a better place through their own initiative. “Everyday [they] go out and open up their arms...and reach out their hands in love for little children,” Santorum observed.

The highest ranking public servant to address the crowd – Sen. Rand Paul, R-KY – had some philosophical questions about how our policies affect the soul of our country.

“Can a nation long endure that does not respect the sanctity of life? Can a nation conceived in liberty carry its head high if its denies protection the youngest and most vulnerable of its citizens?” he asked.

“I believe great nations and great civilizations spring from a people who have a moral compass. Our nation is adrift, adrift in a wilderness where right and wrong have become subservient to the hedonism of the moment,” he stated.

Polls show the vast majority of abortions occur – not for rape, incest, or maternal health – but out of personal convenience.

“I believe our country is in need of a revival,” Senator Paul said. “I believe our country is in need of a spiritual cleansing.”

The senator, like his father, credits his medical career with influencing his pro-life worldview, remembering days when he held one-pound babies in the palm of his hand.

“I defy [pro-abortion ideologues] to come to the neonatal nursery with me and look at these tiny little miracles and say, 'We're not going to protect that,'” he said.

Four other members of Congress addressed the crowd, a significantly lower number than in years past.

Rep. Diane Black, R-TN, promised to reintroduce H.R. 217, the Title X Abortion Provider Prohibition Act, which would bar U.S. family planning dollars from financing any organization that performs abortions. Former Congressman Mike Pence, who was elected governor of Indiana in November, encouraged her to take up the charge.

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House Speaker John Boehner addressed the gathering by video, promising he was busy at work “putting together a bipartisan pro-life majority and getting to work. In accordance with the will of the people, we will again work to pass the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, formally codifying the Hyde Amendment.”

The March featured a bipartisan moment, as Congressman Dan Lipinski, an Illinois Democrat, spoke to the crowd in a recorded message.

“We mourn the 40th anniversary of a talking away of a most basic and essential right to our most vulnerable sisters and brothers,” he said. “There are legislative battles to be fought, and I will continue to fight them as a pro-life Democrat, because life should not be a partisan issue.”

Lipinski was the only Illinois Democrat to vote against ObamaCare in March 2010.

Democrats for Life of America had a breakfast Friday morning before the march, as well.

However, the March's close proximity to Barack Obama's second inauguration drew sometimes heated remarks on the part of speakers – and marchers.

The chairman of the House Pro-life Caucus, Chris Smith, R-NJ, gave a stirring speech that commemroated the “horrific legacy” of Roe v. Wade 40 years and 55 million abortions later – “a death toll that equates with the entire population of England.”

His speech directly challenged President Obama.

“Know this,” he said, addressing the president, “the pro-life movement is comprised of noble, caring, smart and selfless people. It is an extraordinarily powerful, non-violent, faith-filled human rights struggle that is growing in public support, intensity, commitment and hope.”

“And know this Mr. President: The pro-life movement is not only on the side of compassion, justice, and inclusion; we are on the right side of responsible science and of history.”

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Dustin Siggins Dustin Siggins Follow Dustin

Two Congressmen confirm: National 20-week ban on abortion will come up for a vote shortly

Dustin Siggins Dustin Siggins Follow Dustin
By Dustin Siggins

WASHINGTON, D.C., April 17, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A bill to end abortion in the United States after 20 weeks will move forward, and it will have the strong support of two leading pro-life Congressmen, the two Republicans told LifeSiteNews.com at the eighth annual Susan B. Anthony List Campaign for Life Summit on Thursday.

Rep. Chris Smith, R-NJ, told LifeSiteNews and the National Catholic Register that ongoing House discussions on H.R. 36, the "Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act," will result in a pro-life bill moving forward.

"Very good language" is being put together, Smith told The Register. He told LifeSiteNews that he fully anticipated being able to support the final bill, because the House Republican caucus "wouldn't have something that would be unsupportable. Our leadership is genuinely pro-life."

In 2013, the "Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act" easily passed through the House of Representatives, only to be stalled by a Democratic-controlled Senate. This year, an identical bill was halted by Rep. Renee Ellmers, R-NC, and other Republicans -- surprising and angering pro-life leaders who thought its passage was assured. That bill, H.R. 36, is now being rewritten so it can be voted on by the full House, though its final wording remains uncertain.

Some fear that the House leadership will modify the bill to mollify Ellmers. She and others objected that the bill allows women to abort a child after 20 weeks in the case of rape – but only if they report that rape to the authorities.

Pro-life activists say removing the reporting requirement would take abortionists at their word that the women whose children they abort claimed to be raped. Congresswoman Ellmers has publicly stated the House leadership is considering such a proposal.

Jill Stanek, who was recently arrested on Capitol Hill as part of a protest to encourage Republicans to pass H.R. 36, said that would be "a loophole big enough for a Mack truck."

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Congressman Smith said the bill will come to the floor shortly. "The commitment to this bill is ironclad; we just have to work out some details," Smith said.

He also noted that, while a vote on the 20-week ban has been delayed for nearly three months, "we did get the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act passed, and that would have been in the queue now, so we just reversed" the order of the two bills.

Congressman Smith spoke to both outlets shortly after participating in a panel at the Summit.

Another speaker was Rep. Steve King, R-IA, who also supports the 20-week ban.

"I can't think of what” language that is actively under consideration could make him rethink his support for the bill, King said. He also told attendees that the nation was moving in a direction of supporting life.

The outspoken Congressman declined to answer further, noting "that's asking me to anticipate an unknown hypothetical."

The annual Campaign for Life Summit and its related gala drew other high-profile speakers, including presidential candidate Senator Rand Paul, potential presidential hopeful Senator Lindsay Graham, and Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus.  

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"Someone who doesn’t flinch at the dismemberment of babies is not going to flinch at the dismemberment of some evangelical baker’s conscience."
Jonathon van Maren Jonathon van Maren Follow Jonathon

Pro-lifers are winning. So now they’re coming for our cupcakes?

Jonathon van Maren Jonathon van Maren Follow Jonathon
By Jonathon van Maren

As I travel across Canada (and at times the United States) speaking on abortion and various facets of the Culture of Death, one of the things I hear often is a hopelessness, a despair that the West is being flattened by the juggernaut of the Sexual Revolution. There is a feeling among many people that the restriction of religious liberty, the continued legality of abortion, and the redefinition of marriage are inevitable.

This is, of course, one of the most prominent and successful strategies of the Sexual Revolutionaries—create an aura of inevitability while concurrently demonizing all those who oppose their new and mangled “progress” as Neanderthals on the cusp of being left behind by History. That inevitability becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, because many people don’t realize that the various battles in the Sexual Revolution actually all correlate to one another—that what we are seeing now is the end game of an incredibly vast and well-planned cultural project.

It is because we miss many of these connections that we often cannot see, with clarity, how the culture wars are actually unfolding. I read with great interest a recent column by Rev. Douglas Wilson, eloquently titled “With stirrups raised to Molech.”

“We are now much occupied with the issues swirling around same sex mirage,” he writes, “but we need to take great care not to get distracted. Why have the homosexual activists gone all in on this issue? Why is their prosecutorial zeal so adamant? We went, in just a matter of months, from ‘let’s let individual states’ decide on this, to federal judges striking down state statutes, followed up hard by official harassment of florists, bakers, and photographers. Why the anger, and why the savage over-reach? And do they really think we couldn’t remember all the things they were assuring us of this time last year?”

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It’s a compelling question, and one that I’ve heard many Christians puzzling over recently. Why do the advocates of the Sexual Revolution despise those who disagree with them so viciously? It is partly because their cultural project does not, as they claim, consist of “living and let live.” It is about compulsory acceptance of any and all sexual behaviors, with tax-payer funding for the rubbers and pills they need to ensure all such behaviors remain sterile, and extermination crews to suction, poison, and dismember any inconvenient fetuses that may come into being as the result of casual coitus.

The ancient mantra “the State has no business in the bedrooms of the nation” has long been abandoned—the emboldened Sexual Revolutionaries now demand that politicians show up at their exhibitionist parades of public indecency, force schools to impose their so-called “morally neutral” view of sexuality on children, and force into silence those who still hold to traditional values.

Rev. Wilson, however, thinks that this loud and vicious war on conscience may be about even more than that. The pro-life cause, he notes, has been very successful in the Unites States. The abortion rate is the lowest it has been since 1973. Hundreds of pro-life laws are passing on the state level. The abortion industry has been successfully stigmatized. True, the successes are, for pro-lifers, often too feeble and not nearly adequate enough in the face of such unrestrained bloodshed. Nevertheless, the momentum has turned against the Sexual Revolutionaries who have championed abortion for decades—their shock and anger at the strength of the pro-life movement evident in pro-abortion signs at rallies that read, “I can’t believe I still have to protest this s**t.”

It is because of the pro-life movement’s success, Wilson muses, that the Sexual Revolutionaries may be coming at us with such fury. “If a nation has slaughtered 50 million infants,” he writes, “they are not going to suddenly get a sense of decency over you and your cupcakes. Now this explains their lack of proportion, and their refusal to acknowledge the rights of florists. Someone who doesn’t flinch at the dismemberment of babies is not going to flinch at the dismemberment of some evangelical baker’s conscience. This reveals their distorted priorities, of course, but it also might be revealing a strategy. Is the homosexual lobby doing this because they are freaking out over their losses on the pro-life front? And are they doing so in a way intended to distract us away from an issue where we are slowly, gradually, inexorably, winning?”

It’s a fascinating perspective. It’s true—and has always been true historically—that when one group of human beings is classified as nonhuman by a society as nonhuman and subsequently butchered, the whole of society is degraded. No nation and no culture can collectively and systematically kill so many human beings without a correlating hardening of the conscience. But on the pro-life front, there has been decades of fierce resistance, hundreds of incremental victories, and a renewed energy among the upcoming generation of activists. For the Sexual Revolutionaries who thought the battle was over when Roe v. Wade was announced in 1973, this must be a bitter pill to swallow indeed.

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Lisa Bourne

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‘Prominent’ Catholics attacking Archbishop Cordileone are big donors to Pelosi and pro-abort Democrats

Lisa Bourne
By Lisa Bourne

Note: To sign a petition supporting Archbishop Cordileone, click here

SAN FRANCISCO, CA, April 17, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) -- Big donors to the Democrat Party and pro-abortion Nancy Pelosi are among those publicly harassing San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone for protecting Catholic identity in the area’s Catholic high schools.

A big-ticket full-page ad ran April 16 in the San Francisco Chronicle attacking the archbishop and calling Pope Francis to oust him for his efforts to reinforce Catholic principles in the schools.

A number of prominent San Francisco-area residents identifying as Catholic are signatories of the ad, and several are wealthy donors to Democrat entities and pro-abortion politicians, Catholic Vote reports.

Federal Election Commission records indicate Charles Geschke, Adobe Systems chairman and previous head of the Board of Trustees at the University of San Francisco, gave more than $240,000 to Democrat groups, as well as $2,300 to Nancy Pelosi and $4,000 to John Kerry, both politicians who claim to be Catholic but support abortion and homosexual “marriage.”

Also on the list is political consultant and businessman Clint Reilly, who gave nearly $60,000 to Democrat organizations, along with $5,000 to Barack Obama, whose administration vehemently promotes abortion and homosexual “marriage” and has continually opposed religious liberty. Reilly gave $4,600 to Pelosi as well.

Another individual in the ad attacking the archbishop who also gave big campaign donations to California pro-abort Democrats was Lou Giraudo, a former city commissioner and business executive who contributed more than $24,000 to Nancy Pelosi, $6,000 to Dianne Feinstein and $4,300 to Barbara Boxer.

Nancy Pelosi herself challenged the archbishop for his stance on Catholic teaching last year when she tried to pressure him out of speaking at the March for Marriage in Washington D.C., claiming the event was “venom masquerading as virtue.”

The archbishop responded in a letter that he was obliged “as a bishop, to proclaim the truth—the whole truth—about the human person and God’s will for our flourishing ... especially the truth about marriage as the conjugal union of husband and wife.”

The April 16 ad attacking Archbishop Cordileone was the latest in an ongoing assault since the archbishop took steps in February to strengthen Catholic identity in the schools and clarify for faculty and staff in handbooks and contract language the long-standing expectation that they uphold Church principles. 

It said Archbishop Cordileone has “fostered an atmosphere of division and intolerance” and called on Pope Francis to remove him.

“Holy Father, Please Provide Us With a Leader True to Our Values and Your Namesake,” the ad said. “Please Replace Archbishop Cordileone.”

The Confraternity of Catholic Clergy (CCC), a national association for priests and deacons, condemned Archbishop Cordileone’s harassers in a statement, saying the archbishop “teaches in conformity to the Catechism of the Catholic Church.”

“The character assassination and uncharitable venom being cast upon a bishop merely defending the doctrines of his religion is appalling and repugnant,” the CCC said. 

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“It is totally inappropriate, improper and unjust for the media and others to vilify and brutally attack him when he is doing precisely what an ordained minister and pastor of souls is obligated to do,” the group stated, “namely, speak the truth in season and out of season.”

Those behind the attack ad said the proposed handbook language was mean-spirited, and that they were “committed Catholics inspired by Vatican II,” who “believe in the traditions of conscience, respect and inclusion upon which our Catholic faith was founded.”

The Archdiocese of San Francisco denounced the ad upon its release, saying it was a misrepresentation of Catholic teaching and the nature of the teacher contract, and a misrepresentation of the spirit of the Archbishop.

“The greatest misrepresentation of all is that the signers presume to speak for “the Catholic Community of San Francisco,” the archdiocese responded. “They do not.”

The CCC pointed out that just as physicians are expected to be faithful to the Hippocratic Oath, bishops, priests, and deacons are expected to be faithful to the Church, its teachings and its authority, “since their objective is the salvation of souls, not a popularity contest.” 

In openly declaring their support for Archbishop Cordileone, the group urged the media and others to show “prudence, civility, and fair-mindedness” toward those with whom they disagree.

“He took an oath to be faithful to the Gospel,” the Confraternity stated of Archbishop Cordileone, “and in the words of the disciples in the New Testament, ‘better to obey God than men.’”

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