Strengthen family to avert social collapse: new report
OTTAWA, Ontario, February 8, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Data released this week from the 2011 Canadian census shows an encouraging “small increase” in the country’s overall fertility rate - a rate that has seen an upward trend since 2003, rising from 1.53 to the current rate of about 1.7. The replacement level birth rate is 2.1 children per woman.
As demographers celebrate the small uptick in the fertility rate, a Canadian marriage and family think tank is raising awareness that a sustainable birth rate and a flourishing economy goes hand-in-hand with stable marriage.
“Anyway you slice it, a healthy society that has enough people to support its elders needs to have the replacement rate of 2.1,” said Andrea Mrozek to LifeSiteNews. Mrozek is the manager of research and communications at the Institute for Marriage and Family Canada (IMFC).
Despite the uptick in the country’s Total Fertility Rate (TFR), Mrozek called Canadian demographics “troubling,” pointing out that it remains at a level that is “not sustainable.”
“We don’t have people to support our parents and grandparents,” she said.
Mrozek pointed to research co-sponsored by the IMFC where an a panel of experts in economics, demographics, and social structures found that “the long-term fortunes of the modern economy rise and fall with the family.”
The report, titled “The sustainable demographic dividend: What do marriage and fertility have to do with the economy?” highlighted the foreboding problem faced by western societies including Canada of an increasing elderly population as the productive working-age population stagnates or shrinks.
Data from Statistics Canada has indicated that within a decade there will be more Canadians over the age of 65 than under the age of 15.
“The lesson here is that nations wishing to enjoy robust economic growth and viable welfare states over the long-term must maintain fertility rates high enough to avoid shrinking workforces and rapidly aging populations,” the authors of the report related.
One aspect of the problem the authors make clear is that it is not simply the quantity of the up-and-coming generation that is essential to economic growth, but also the quality of that generation.
The authors found that children reared outside of an intact family are “significantly less likely to acquire the human and social capital they need to become well-adjusted, productive workers.”
The authors found that “divorce, non-marital childbearing, and delayed or foregone marriage” allows for a large numbers of children and adults to “spend a major portion of their lives outside of an intact, married family.” The authors highlighted recent statistics that show that more than one in three children in western countries are born outside of a stable marriage.
“Our research suggests that large sectors of the modern economy are more likely to flourish when men and women marry and have children,” they said.
To avert a future social collapse the authors are calling on businesses, government, civil society, and ordinary citizens to “strengthen the family.” They have proposed a number of suggestions and family policies that they say are “appropriate” measures to inject new life into an aging society.
One measure calls for the government to “honour work-family ideals of all women” by recognizing “diversity among women” and focusing not only on the needs of working mothers but on needs of home-centered mothers.
Another measure calls for the government to “support marriage and responsible parenthood”.
“There are limits to what any government can or should do to promote marriage as an institution. Nonetheless, public policy should stop penalizing marriage and should also support initiatives to educate the public about the benefits of marriage and the hazards of single parenthood. This is no different in kind from government efforts to educate the public about the benefits of properly installed car seats for children or the hazards of smoking.”
A further measure calls for a “clean up” of the culture.
“Television and other global media, as we’ve already seen, appear to have played a big role in driving birth and marriage rates down. From pop stars’ efforts to push the sexual envelope, to Hollywood films, violent video games, and ubiquitous Internet pornography, the global media sends a strong message to young people around the world that a family-centered way of life is passé.”
As a final measure, the authors call for political authorities to “respect the role of religion as a prenatal force.”
“Childlessness and small families are increasingly common among secularists. Meanwhile, in Europe and the Americas, as well as in Israel, the rest of the Middle East, and beyond, there is a strong correlation between adherence to orthodox Christian, Islamic, or Judaic religious values and larger, stable families.”
“In recognition of the contribution that religion makes to family life and fertility, governments should not persecute people of faith for holding or expressing views that are informed by religious tradition, including ones that buck progressive or nationalist sensibilities.”
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‘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.
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.
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.