South Korea Catholic Church offers free delivery, shelter and financial support for single mothers
SOUTH KOREA, February 8, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – In an effort to promote a culture of life, the South Korean Catholic Bishops’ Conference (CBCK) has announced it will provide shelters and financial support for single mothers and free delivery for unmarried pregnant women in Catholic-run hospitals.
The initiative, called “New Life Project,” was inaugurated by the CBCK on February 7 at a Mass presided over by Bishop Gabriel Chang Bong-hun of Cheongju, president of the CBCK Committee for Bioethics.
“The Catholic Church teaches that human life begins from fertilization,” said Bishop Gabriel Chang Bong-hun of Cheongju. “Abortions and destruction of human embryos are grave crimes that destroy life.”
“We all should be the protectors of life by respecting and loving life and being proclaimers of the Gospel of life.”
The project seeks to encourage unwed pregnant women to have their babies through free delivery at hospitals, then accommodates the women following the birth of their child at 15 church and pro-life group shelters. It is funded by the continued financial support of the dioceses. In addition, the plan will also set up sex education for youth in Catholic schools and Sunday schools on preventing “unwanted pregnancy.”
Father Casimir Song Yul-sup, secretary of the Pro-life Activities, said the “New Life Project” would help many women. “Annually, some 4,000 single women have their babies and they are great mothers who protect life. This project is concrete action and will help them and many others greatly,” he said
Although South Korea’s Mother and Child Health Law only permits abortion when the mother’s health is in serious danger, or in cases of rape, incest or severe genetic disorder, abortion is rampant throughout the country. In the past the government has promoted population control by abortion, and it continues to turn a blind eye to the illegal abortion trade.
South Korea now has one of the highest abortion rates worldwide and the second-lowest birthrate. Official data from the Ministry of Health last year indicates that doctors perform 350,000 abortions per year, while they deliver on average of just 450,000 babies, meaning 43.7 percent of pregnancies end in abortion.
The Korean Ministry of Health made an unusual request of workers last week on South Korea’s “Family Day.” BBC reported that, worried about the drastically low birthrates, the Ministry of Health closed its doors early, sending home workers to spend time with their families and, hopefully, to make larger ones. They will do the same each month.
Other initiatives throughout the country illustrate a widespread dissatisfaction with abortion and an increased desire to make changes. Korean professors formed a group called the “Pro-life Professors’ Association” just last month. The group is a non-religious organization that includes professors of medicine, mathematics, law, bio-ethics, music, and philanthropy.
“We will try to promote the respect for life,” said Martin Nam Myeong-jin, chairperson of the association.
“Beyond the religions, the matter of life is very important and we will exercise our influential power in taking away the trend that makes light of life,” said Kim Joon-il, secretary of the association.
The group has asked the government to amend the Mother and Child Health Act so that the hundreds of thousands of illegal abortions will stop. The Pro-life Professors’ Association also plans to contribute scientific study to support the pro-life movement.
“It’s good to have such voluntary life movement organization. It will be a good help to the Church’s life movement,” said Father Casimir Song Yul-sup, secretary of Pro-life Activities.
Many Korean doctors led the way in the effort to put an end to the country’s abortion culture by organizing pro-life groups. The Korean Gynecological Physicians’ Association, or “Gynob,” has over 680 listed members and a group of 30 activists.
In a 2009 interview with Mercatornet, Seoul obstetrician and gynaecologist, Dr Sang-duk Shim said the group’s aim is to make working conditions for OB/GYNS better by eliminating abortions in the country.
“The goal of our movement is a Korea without abortions,” said Dr. Shim. “To be more specific, our immediate goal is to reduce the number of abortions to 100,000 cases within ten years - one-third of what it is today - and to eliminate all forms of abortion except when necessary to save the life of an expectant mother.”
Dr. Shim says that he has no religious convictions that drive his work, and that he is determined that abortion must stop both for the good of the country and for physicians. He has faced death-threats for his work.
“Medical doctors exist for the benefit of our patients. It is not the other way around,” said Dr. Shim. “This is a fact we cannot deny. While we may be sacrificing money and prestige at this present moment, things will get better in the future for our country. Our actions will certainly contribute to the improvement of medical environments as well as the promotion of women’s health in the days to come.”
‘Little miracles’: Mom gives birth to naturally-conceived quintuplets after refusing ‘selective reduction’
AUSTRALIA, February 5, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) -- A 26-year-old Australian mom has given birth to five healthy babies, all conceived naturally, after refusing the doctor’s advice that she must abort three of them in order to give the remaining two a better chance at life.
“After my initial ultrasound I was told I could consider the selection method to give 2 babies the best chance in life,” wrote mom Kim Tucci in a Facebook post last September.
“I watched a YouTube video on the procedure and I cried. I could never do that! Was I selfish for not giving two the chance of 100% survival? All I knew is that I already love them and that every heart beat I heard I connect with them more. For me life starts when a heart starts beating and all I know for sure is that I will do whatever it takes to bring them into this world healthy,” she wrote.
Last Thursday Kim and her husband Vaughn welcomed the five new members into their family — one boy and four girls —increasing the number of their children from 3 to 8. The babies were born at 30 weeks, 10 weeks early, due to insufficient space in Kim’s womb. They weighed on average about 2.5 pounds.
The quintuplets’ story began last March, after Kim and Vaughn had been trying for six months to conceive just one more child for their family. Due to health complications, Kim wondered if she would ever become a mother again.
After what she thought was an extra long cycle, she decided to take a pregnancy test.
“I was feeling tired and a little nauseated and thought I would take a pregnancy test just to get the ‘what if’ out of my head. To my shock and utter excitement it was positive,” she wrote on a Facebook post.
The parents got the shock of their lives when doctors confirmed in an ultrasound examination that there was not one baby, but five.
“After a long wait for the ultrasound we finally went in. The sonographer told me there were multiple gestational sacks, but she could only see a heart beat in two. I was so excited! Twins!”
“I was moved to another machine for a clearer view and had the head doctor come in and double check the findings. She started to count, one, two, three, four, five. Did i hear that correctly? Five? My legs start to shake uncontrollably and all i can do is laugh. The sonographer then told me the term for five is ‘quintuplets,’” Kim wrote.
Even though Kim began to feel stretched to the limit with all those human lives growing inside her, she chose to focus on her babies, and not herself, referring to them as “my five little miracles.”
“It's getting harder as each day passes to push through the pain, every part of my body aches and sleeping is becoming very painful. No amount of pillows are helping support my back and belly. Sometimes I get so upset that I just want to throw my hands up and give in.”
“Sometimes my pelvis becomes so stiff I can barely walk and my hips feel like they are grinding away constantly. I'm finding it hard to eat as I basically have no room left in my stomach, and the way it is positioned it's pushed all the way back with the babies leaning against it.”
“My skin on my belly is so stretched its painful and hot to touch. It literally feels like I have hives! No amount of cream helps relieve the discomfort. I have a lot of stretch marks now. Dealing with such a huge change in my body is hard.”
“Is it all worth it? Yes!!!! I will keep pushing through,” she wrote in one Facebook post days before the babies were born.
The newborns' names are Keith, Ali, Penelope, Tiffany, and Beatrix. They were born at King Edward Memorial Hospital in Subiaco, Western Australia. Mother and babies are reported to be doing well.
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UN rights chief tells Catholic countries to legalize abortion over Zika virus: bishops and cardinal react
GENEVA, February 5, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) -- The United Nations, following the lead of international abortion activists, is now urging Latin American countries hit by the mosquito-borne Zika virus to lift restrictions on abortion for pregnant women who have contacted the virus and whose pre-born children may be at risk for birth defects, including having smaller than normal heads.
The UN human rights office said today that it is not enough for South American countries to urge women to postpone pregnancy without also offering them abortion as a final solution.
“How can they ask these women not to become pregnant, but not offer… the possibility to stop their pregnancies?” UN spokeswoman Cecile Pouilly told reporters.
UN human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein said that governments should make available contraception and abortion services.
“Laws and policies that restrict (women’s) access to these services must be urgently reviewed in line with human rights obligations in order to ensure the right to health for all in practice,” he said.
But Brazil’s bishops strongly asserted yesterday that efforts should be made to eradicate the virus, not the people who may be infected by it.
The disease is “no justification whatsoever to promote abortion,” they said in a statement, adding that it is not morally acceptable to promote abortion “in the cases of microcephaly, as, unfortunately, some groups are proposing to the Supreme Federal Court, in a total lack of respect for the gift of life.”
Honduras Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga has also come out strongly against the notion of “therapeutic abortions” as a response to the problem. Unlike Brazil where abortion is legal in the case of rape or health of the mother, abortion remains entirely illegal in Honduras.
“We should never talk about ‘therapeutic’ abortion,” the cardinal said in a homily at a February 3 Mass in Suyap. “Therapeutic abortion doesn’t exist. Therapeutic means curing, and abortion cures nothing. It takes innocent lives,” he said.
While the World Health Organization (WHO) declared an international public health emergency February 1 on account of concerns over the virus, critics have pointed out, however, that not one death as resulted from the virus. Even on WHO’s own website the virus is described in mild terms.
“It causes mild fever and rash. Other symptoms include muscle pain, joint pain, headache, pain behind the eyes and conjunctivitis. Zika virus disease is usually mild, with symptoms lasting only a few days,” the website states. “To date, there have been no reported deaths associated with Zika virus,” it added.
Critics suspect that the crisis is being manipulated to advance an anti-human agenda on the pre-born.
“Is Zika, actually, a hideous virus that threatens to spread uncontrollably across the world creating an army of disabled children with tiny heads and low IQ’s? Or might this be a willful misinterpretation of the scarce data to manipulate public opinion and legislatures?” wrote pro-life critic Mei-Li Garcia earlier this week.
“It becomes very clear that the publicity surrounding this story has a very little to do with medicine and a lot to do with a convenient crisis that is being used by those pushing for the legalization of abortion around the world,” she wrote.
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Hillary’s litmus test for Supreme Court picks: They must ‘preserve Roe v. Wade’
DERRY, NH, February 5, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) - Hillary Clinton has a litmus test for Supreme Court nominees - several, in fact. At a Democratic event on Wednesday, Clinton unveiled her criteria in selecting a judge for the nation's highest court.
“I do have a litmus test, I have a bunch of litmus tests," she said.
"We’ve got to make sure to preserve Roe v. Wade, not let it be nibbled away or repealed,” she said.
That echoes her recent call to arms speech before Planned Parenthood last month, when she stated that taxpayers must fund abortion-on-demand in order to uphold the "right" of choice.
“We have to preserve marriage equality,” Clinton said, referring to last summer's Obergefell v. Hodges case, a 5-4 ruling that redefined marriage nationwide. “We have to go further to end discrimination against the LGBT community."
Her views differentiate her from the Republican front runners. Ted Cruz has called the court's marriage ruling "fundamentally illegitimate," and Donald Trump told Fox News Sunday this week that he would "be very strong on putting certain judges on the bench that I think maybe could change things." Marco Rubio has said he won't "concede" the issue to the one-vote majority.
All Republican presidential hopefuls say they are pro-life and will defund Planned Parenthood.
Her husband, Bill Clinton, raised the makeup of the Supreme Court early last month in New Hampshire, saying it receives "almost no attention" as a campaign issue.
On Wednesday, Hillary said "the next president could get as many as three appointments. It’s one of the many reasons why we can’t turn the White House over to the Republicans again.”
Clinton said her judicial appointees must also reverse the Citizens United ruling on campaign finance and oppose a recent decision striking down a portion of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. In 2013's Shelby County v. Holder, justices struck down Section 4(b) of the act, which said that certain states and jurisdictions had to obtain permission from the federal government before changing their voting laws.
At one time, most politicians frowned upon any "litmus test" for judicial nominees, emphasizing the independence of the third branch of government. "I don't believe in litmus tests," Jeb Bush told Chuck Todd last November.
But with the rise of an activist judiciary in the middle of the 20th century, constitutionalists have sought to rein in the power of the bench.