Thaddeus Baklinski

CTV sting operation tries to catch crisis pregnancy centre giving misinformation

Thaddeus Baklinski
Thaddeus Baklinski
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VANCOUVER, January 18, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - On December 15th, 2011, CTV News in British Columbia launched a sting operation against the South Fraser Pregnancy Options Centre in Surrey, BC, with the what Executive Director Laura Lansink said was “the hope that our peer-counselor would give false or biased information.”

The Pregnancy Options centres are associated with the Canadian Association of Pregnancy Support Services (CAPSS), a national, non-political, registered Christian charity, committed to equipping pregnancy support services.

CTV sent a woman, named only as “Sheila,” to the Surrey Options centre posing as a legitimate client in distress because of an unplanned pregnancy and asking for help.

Ms Lansink said in a press release that a volunteer peer-counselor was able to see “Sheila” immediately and spent close to an hour talking through the woman’s concerns as well helping her to understand her choices.

“What this peer-counselor didn’t know, however, was that the woman had actually been sent by CTV News and that the woman was secretly recording the entire session,” Ms Lansink said, pointing out that “Sheila” had agreed to, and signed, an agreement of services which says in part: “please turn off all devices with recording capabilities prior to the session. POC Staff and Volunteers do NOT consent to any recorded conversations.”

CTV reports that the volunteer peer-counselor “asked ‘Sheila’ about her background, the circumstances of the pregnancy, and if she had been abused. They offered referrals to hospitals for any sexually transmitted diseases and said that she was not alone struggling with a tough decision.”

The volunteer peer-counselor also referred “Sheila” to a brochure produced by the Canadian Association of Pregnancy Support Services that discusses fetal development, adoption and the risks associated with abortion.

Ms Lansink stated that the CAPSS brochure is an up to date and accurate compilation of medical research that was reviewed and proofread by 25 professional counselors, physicians, and medical researchers across Canada before going to print.

Ms Lansink revealed that on January 5, Mr. Jon Woodward of CTV News called the Centre, saying that he had received a ‘complaint’ from a client who believed the Centre had given her false medical information regarding the risks of abortion.

“In a subsequent phone call he however admitted that it was not a client with a complaint. Instead this person had been sent from CTV News to the Centre with a hidden camera with the intent of exposing our organization for providing supposedly false information,” Ms Lansink said.

Ms Lansink noted that Woodward was given a copy of the CAPSS brochure, “yet he has let us know that he ‘disbelieves’ the studies, research, and information that the brochure cites.”

The CTV report on the sting was aired January 17, reporting that “staff welcomed Sheila and seemed genuinely concerned about her well-being.” However, the report went on to focus on the allegation that crisis pregnancy centres give misinformation.

For example, despite the Options Centre’s clear statement that they are not a medical facility and do not perform or refer for abortions, CTV reported that “Sheila” “pressed (the volunteer peer-counselor) on where an abortion would be available,” then quoted Greg Smith, director of a “sexual health” and abortion referral centre, saying “patients have come to him complaining that rather than being given objective advice, they were steered away from abortion.”

“We hear from time to time that people who have gone to those centres come out enraged,” CTV News reported Smith as saying. “They feel they were given a bait and switch.”

CTV News cited Dr. Wendy Norman of B.C. Women’s Hospital saying that infection after abortion “was uncommon in North American hospitals – about one in every 200 cases,” that uterine perforations ranged “between three in 1,000 to one in 10,000 cases,” and that infertility from abortion “is a mark of an illegal abortion.”

“Abortions performed by physicians and accredited health professionals have been shown indisputably to not have these long term effects,” Norman is quoted to have said.

However, studies carried out in the U.S. and Canada contradict Dr. Norman’s assertions that infection after abortion are about one-half of one percent, and can in fact range up to 17 percent. An American study of the psychological responses of women after abortion also discovered that seventeen per cent of the participants reported physical complications such as bleeding or pelvic infection after their first-trimester abortion. (Major B, et al. Psychological responses of women after first-trimester abortion. Archives of General Psychiatry 2000 August 57(8):777-84, p. 780.)

Information available from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports 386 deaths from legal abortion in the U.S. between 1973 and 2004. In 2006, the most recent year for which data were available, six women were reported to have died as a result of complications from known legal induced abortions. No reported deaths were associated with known illegal induced abortions. Physical complications mentioned in the CDC report include cervical lacerations and injury, uterine perforations, bleeding, hemorrhage, serious infection, pain, and incomplete abortion in which the fetal remains are left inside the woman’s body.

The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Saskatchewan issued revised guidelines in 2011 that outline the numerous risks of abortion and the duty of the counseling physician or abortionist to inform any woman contemplating abortion of these risks.

The guidelines state that information provided to women should include not only the “precise nature” of the abortion procedure, but also “the known immediate risks.” The document gives as examples of the immediate risks “uterine perforation, infection, hemorrhage.”

Physicians should also inform women of the “known long-term risks,” including “impact on future fertility, incidence of future spontaneous abortions, ectopic pregnancy and premature birth” as well as “the known psychological risks.”

A 2009 study by Jessica Dolle et al. of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center revealed that U.S. National Cancer Institute researcher Dr. Louise Brinton, well known for claiming that it was “well established” that “abortion is not associated with increased breast cancer risk,” had reversed her position and now admits that abortion and oral contraceptives raise breast cancer risks. The study found an admission from Dr. Brinton and her colleagues that abortion raises breast cancer risk by 40%.

In an update received by LifeSiteNews, Laura Lansink said that while many supporters of the South Fraser Pregnancy Options Centre had suggested she file a formal complaint regarding the tactics used by CTV News, she indicated that this was not a course the crisis pregnancy centre intends to follow.

“At this point we won’t be taking any further action as we want to keep our focus and our energies on what we do best…  each day helping the woman that comes to us for help when she has nowhere else to turn,” Ms Lansink said.

For more information visit the South Fraser Pregnancy Options Centre website here.

To contact CTV News British Columbia:
Jon Woodward, ctvbc.ca
Suite 300, 750 Burrard St.
Vancouver, B.C. V6Z 1X5
Phone: 604 609-6333
Email: [email protected]

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Indiana Gov. Mike Pence signs the state's Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
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Indiana faces backlash as it becomes 20th state to protect religious liberty

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By Ben Johnson

INDIANAPOLIS, IN, March 27, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – On Thursday, Indiana became the 20th state to prevent the government from forcing people of faith to violate their religious beliefs in business or the public square.

Gov. Mike Pence signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (SB 101) into law, saying the freedom of religion is a preeminent American value.

“The Constitution of the United States and the Indiana Constitution both provide strong recognition of the freedom of religion, but today, many people of faith feel their religious liberty is under attack by government action,” Pence said.

Gov. Pence, a possible dark horse candidate for president in 2016, cited court cases brought by religious organizations and employers, including Catholic universities, against the HHS mandate. “One need look no further than the recent litigation concerning the Affordable Care Act. A private business and our own University of Notre Dame had to file lawsuits challenging provisions that required them to offer insurance coverage in violation of their religious views.”

The new law could also prevent Christian business owners from being compelled to bake a cake or take photographs of a same-sex "marriage" ceremony, if doing so violates their faith. In recent years, business owners have seen an increased level of prosecution for denying such services, despite their religious and moral beliefs.

The state's pro-life organization applauded Pence for his stance. "Indiana's pro-life community is grateful to Gov. Mike Pence for signing the Religious Freedom Restoration Act into law,” said Indiana Right to Life's president and CEO Mike Fichter. “This bill will give pro-lifers a necessary legal recourse if they are pressured to support abortion against their deeply-held religious beliefs.”

“RFRA is an important bill to protect the religious freedom of Hoosiers who believe the right to life comes from God, not government,” he said.

The state RFRA is based on the federal bill introduced by Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-NY, and signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1993. The Supreme Court cited the federal law when it ruled that Hobby Lobby had the right to refuse to fund abortion-inducing drugs, if doing so violated its owners' sincerely held religious beliefs.

In signing the measure – similar to the one Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed – Pence and the state of Indiana have faced a torrent of venom from opponents of the bill, who claim it grants a “right to discriminate” and raises the spectre of segregation.

"They've basically said, as long as your religion tells you to, it's OK to discriminate against people," said Sarah Warbelow, legal director of the Human Rights Campaign, a national homosexual pressure group.

The Disciples of Christ, a liberal Protestant denomination based in the state capital, has said it will move its 2017 annual convention if the RFRA became state law. The NCAA warned the bill's adoption “might affect future events” in the Hoosier state.

Pence denied such concerns, saying, "This bill is not about discrimination, and if I thought it legalized discrimination in any way I would've vetoed it."

The bill's supporters say that, under the Obama administration, it is Christians who are most likely to suffer discrimination.

"Originally RFRA laws were intended to protect small religious groups from undue burdens on practicing their faith in public life,” said Mark Tooley, president of the Institute on Religion and Democracy. “It was not imagined there would come a day when laws might seek to jail or financially destroy nuns, rabbis or Christian camp counselors who prefer to abstain from the next wave of sexual and gender experimentation. And there's always a next wave.”

The bill's supporters note that it does not end the government's right to coerce people of faith into violating their conscience in every situation. However, it requires that doing so has to serve a compelling government interest and the government must use the least restrictive means possible. “There will be times when a state or federal government can show it has a compelling reason for burdening religious expression – to ensure public safety, for instance,” said Sarah Torre, an expert at the Heritage Foundation. “But Religious Freedom Restoration Acts set a high bar for the government to meet in order to restrict religious freedom.”

Restricting the ability of government to interfere in people's private decisions, especially their religious decisions, is the very purpose of the Constitution, its supporters say.

"Religious freedom is the cornerstone of all liberty for all people,” Tooley said. “Deny or reduce it, and there are no ultimate limits on the state's power to coerce."

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Fight pornography. Beat pornography. And join the ranks of those who support their fellow men and women still fighting.
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Porn is transforming our men from protectors into predators. Fight back.

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By Jonathon van Maren

Since I’ve gotten involved in anti-pornography work, I’ve met countless men who struggle, fight, or have beaten pornography. Each person seems to deal with the guilt and shame that accompanies porn use in a different way—some deny that it’s “all that bad,” others pretend that they could “stop whenever they want,” many insist that “everyone is doing it,” and most, when pressed, admit to a deep sense of self-loathing.

One worry surfaces often in conversation: What do my past or current struggles with pornography say about me as a man? Can I ever move past this and have a meaningful and fulfilling relationship?

I want to address this question just briefly, since I’ve encountered it so many times.

First, however, I’ve written before how I at times dislike the language of “struggling” with pornography or pornography “addiction,” not because they aren’t accurate but because too often they are used as an excuse rather than an explanation. It is true, many do in fact “struggle” with what can legitimately be considered an addiction, but when this language is used to describe an interminable battle with no end (and I’ve met dozens of men for whom this is the case), then I prefer we use terminology like “fighting my porn habit.” A semantic debate, certainly, but one I think is important. We need to stop struggling with porn and start fighting it.

Secondly, pornography does do devastating things to one’s sense of masculinity. We know this. Pornography enslaves men by the millions, perverting their role as protector and defender of the more vulnerable and turning them into sexual cannibals, consuming those they see on-screen to satisfy their sexual appetites.

What often starts as mere curiosity or an accidental encounter can turn into something that invades the mind and twists even the most basic attractions. I’ve met porn users who can’t believe the types of things they want to watch. They haven’t simply been using porn. Porn has actively reshaped them into something they don’t recognize and don’t like. 

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Porn is this generation’s great assault on masculinity and the role of men in society. It is essential that we win this battle for the sake of society’s survival. Contrary to what the gender-bending and family-morphing progressive elites claim, good husbands and good fathers and good church leaders are necessary for a healthy society. But pornography is destroying marriages, creating distant and disconnected fathers, and, metaphoricaclly castrating men, hindering their ability and desire to make a positive difference in the society around us.

So, with this sobering set of facts in mind let’s return to the question: what do pornography struggles, past and present, say about a man?

The proper way to respond is with everything that is good about masculinity. We have to fight pornography as men have fought countless evils throughout the ages. We need to fight pornography to protect women, and wives, and children, and our society at large. This is how pornography threatens society, by castrating men, and turning them from protectors into predators. Rooting out the evil in our own lives allows us to better fulfill the role we are called to perform in the lives of others. Battling our own demons enables us to battle the wider cultural demons. Every day without porn is another bit of virtue built. Virtue is not something you’re born with. Virtues are habits that you build. And one day without porn is the first step towards the virtue of being porn-free.

Many men ask me if men who have had past porn addictions are cut out for being in a relationship or working in the pro-life movement or in other areas where we are called to protect and defend the weak and vulnerable. And the answer to that is an unequivocal yes. Our society needs men who know what it means to fight battles and win. Our society needs men who can say that they fought porn and they beat porn, because their families and their friends were too important to risk. Our society needs men who rose to the challenge that the evils of their generation threw at them, and became better men as the result. And our society needs men who can help their friends and their sons and those around them fight the plague of pornography and free themselves from it, too—and who can understand better and offer encouragement more relevant than someone who has fought and been freed themselves?

So the answer to men is yes. Fight pornography. Beat pornography. And join the ranks of those who support their fellow men and women still fighting. Lend them support and encouragement. We cannot change the fact that porn has left an enormous path of destruction in its wake. But we can change the fact that too many people aren’t fighting it. We can change our own involvement. And we can rise to the challenge and face this threat to masculinity with all that is good about masculinity.

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Red Alert!

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By John-Henry Westen

I don’t like having to do this, but we have always found it best to be totally upfront with our readers: our Spring fundraising campaign is now worrying us! 

You see, with just 6 days remaining, we have only raised 30% of our goal, with $125,000 still left to raise. That is a long ways to go yet.

We have no choice but to reach our minimum goal of $175,000 if we are going to be able to continue serving the 5+ million readers who rely on us every month for investigative and groundbreaking news reports on life, faith and family issues.

Every year, LifeSite readership continues to grow by leaps and bounds. This year, we are again experiencing record-breaking interest, with over 6 million people visiting our website last month alone!

This unprecedented growth in turn creates its own demand for increased staff and resources, as we struggle to serve these millions of new readers.

And especially keep this in mind. As many more people read LifeSite, our mission of bringing about cultural change gets boosted. Our ultimate goal has always been to educate and activate the public to take well-informed, needed actions.

Another upside to our huge growth in readers is that it should be that much easier to reach our goal. To put it simply: if each person who read this one email donated whatever they could (even just $10) we would easily surpass our goal! 

Today, I hope you will join the many heroes who keep this ship afloat, and enable us to proclaim the truth through our reporting to tens of millions of people every year!

Your donations to LifeSite cause major things to happen! We see that every day and it is very exciting. Please join with us in making a cultural impact with a donation of ANY AMOUNT right now. 

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