Ben Johnson

Tens of thousands flock to regional Marches for Life

Ben Johnson
Ben Johnson

WASHINGTON, D.C., January 21, 2013, ( – Although the national March for Life is still days away, tens of thousands of pro-life activists across the nation protested the killing of the unborn this weekend.

State and local marches drew crowds from the hundreds to more than 10,000 at capitol buildings, public venues, and courthouses in virtually every metropolis and hamlet in the United States.

Between 8,000 and 10,000 pro-lifers gathered in Dallas on Saturday in anticipation of the 40th anniversary of the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision on January 22, 1973.

“Abortion’s days are numbered,” said David Bereit, 40 Days for Life founder, at the Missouri Capitol. “There won’t be an 80th anniversary, or a 60th anniversary.”

Some 5,000 rallied in Lincoln, Nebraska, on Saturday – a cohort that included Governor Dave Heineman, Lt. Gov. Rick Sheehy, and Congressmen Jeff Fortenberry and Lee Terry.

Another 4,000 met at the Louisiana state capitol in Baton Rouge – including U.S. Senator David Vitter.

Members of Congress like Rep. Chris Smith of New Jersey and Rep. Diane Black spoke at the Tennessee Capitol.

Pastor Jim Garlow organized a March for Life in San Diego that was 3,000-strong. (Note: Watch for LifeSiteNews' firsthand coverage.)

Thousands more marched through the streets of Little Rock, as pedestrians carrying signs silently spooled out over endless city blocks.

“Twenty-five years ago, this could have been the city that was the death of me,” said Angela Martinez-Balderaz, a 25-year-old woman at the Dallas event.

"It's very encouraging to know that we are young and we can still make an impact, and I just want to go out and spread love," said Angie Schreiner of the Flagler College Catholic Fellowship, as she met with fellow Floridians.

The reasons for attending were as wide-ranging as the number of people participating.

“When you look at the ultrasound and see that baby from the very beginning of conception, what can you do? You can't kill. You know it's against God's law,” said Sally Horner in St. Augustine.

Not every participant cited religion as a motivation. Tom Healey, 78, was a professor of biology who has worked at SUNY Plattsburgh. “I understand when life begins — life begins at conception, that’s a matter of certainty,” he told Pittsburgh media.

Others cited their own personal – and often heartbreaking – stories of abortion.

In Knoxville, Tennessee, Lisa Morris remembered an abortion she had 33 years ago, before the ubiquitous use of ultrasounds. “There's not a day that goes by that I don't regret that decision," she said. "It's not that I have not felt forgiveness, but the consequence remains.” She is now active in 40 Days for Life and Silent No More.

(Click "like" if you want to end abortion! )

Carol Rybacki had an abortion 43 years ago. “My problem didn't end with an abortion; it was only the beginning,” she told a crowd of 400 in Palatine, Illinois – an event headlined by Joe Scheidler, national director of the Pro-Life Action League.

Their stories were “a challenge to me as a man to think about more how I can protect my sisters and friends that I have around me as a man,” said Russ Polhemus.

They challenged large and growing crowds – of 600 in Cheyenne, Wyoming; 500 in Cincinnati; 300 in Yakima, Washington. One of the Washingtonians said the Holocaust of 70 years ago is still remembered. “Don’t let this modern-day Holocaust continue,” she implored.

In tiny Putnam County, Ohio, more than 100 people showed up. Last year, the Diocese of Toledo took 13 buses of Ohioans to the national march in Washington, D.C.

In Santa Cruz, a pro-abortion rally drew 60 people. Keynote speaker Lupe Rodriguez, the public affairs director of Planned Parenthood Mar Monte said the $850 fee is too low. “We have less and less providers, and they're getting reimbursed at the rates of the 1980s. This is potentially really devastating.”

Jeanne Monahan, who is organizing the national March for Life, told OneNewsNow she expects this year's march to set another attendance record. Some expect the participants to exceed the number of people who attended President Barack Obama's second inauguration.

“The pro-life movement is a movement of love,” Carol Tobias, president of National Right to Life. “Everything we do is to help people who we don't know and we won't meet.”  

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Today’s chuckle: Rubio, Fiorina and Carson pardon a Thanksgiving turkey

Steve Jalsevac Steve Jalsevac Follow Steve
By Steve Jalsevac

A little bit of humour now and then is a good thing.

Happy Thanksgiving to all our American readers.

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Building of the European Court of Human Rights.
Lianne Laurence


BREAKING: Europe’s top human rights court slaps down German ban on pro-life leafletting

Lianne Laurence
By Lianne Laurence

STRASBOURG, France, November 26, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – The European Court of Human Rights ruled Thursday that a German regional court violated a pro-life activist’s freedom of expression when it barred him from leafleting in front of an abortion center.

It further ruled the German court’s order that Klaus Gunter Annen not list the names of two abortion doctors on his website likewise violated the 64-year-old pro-life advocate’s right to freedom of expression.

The court’s November 26 decision is “a real moral victory,” says Gregor Puppinck, director of the Strasbourg-based European Center for Law and Justice, which intervened in Annen’s case. “It really upholds the freedom of speech for pro-life activists in Europe.”

Annen, a father of two from Weinam, a mid-sized city in the Rhine-Neckar triangle, has appealed to the Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights at least two times before, Puppinck told LifeSiteNews.

“This is the first time he made it,” he said, noting that this time around, Annen had support from the ECLJ and Alliance Defense Fund and the German Pro-life Federation (BVL). “I think he got more support, better arguments and so I think this helped.”

The court also ordered the German government to pay Annen costs of 13,696.87 EUR, or 14,530 USD.

Annen started distributing pamphlets outside a German abortion center ten years ago, ECLJ stated in a press release.

His leaflets contained the names and addresses of the two abortionists at the center, declared they were doing “unlawful abortions,” and stated in smaller print that, “the abortions were allowed by the German legislators and were not subject to criminal liability.”

Annen’s leaflets also stated that, “The murder of human beings in Auschwitz was unlawful, but the morally degraded NS State allowed the murder of innocent people and did not make it subject to criminal liability.” They referred to Annen’s website,, which listed a number of abortionists, including the two at the site he was leafleting.

In 2007, a German regional court barred Annen from pamphleteering in the vicinity of the abortion center, and ordered him to drop the name of the two abortion doctors from his website.

But the European Court of Human Rights ruled Thursday that the German courts had "failed to strike a fair balance between [Annen’s] right to freedom of expression and the doctor’s personality rights.”

The Court stated that, “there can be no doubt as to the acute sensitivity of the moral and ethical issues raised by the question of abortion or as to the importance of the public interest at stake.”

That means, stated ECLJ, that “freedom of expression in regard to abortion shall enjoy a full protection.”

ECLJ stated that the court noted Annen’s leaflets “made clear that the abortions performed in the clinic were not subject to criminal liability. Therefore, the statement that ‘unlawful abortions’ were being performed in the clinic was correct from a legal point of view.”

As for the Holocaust reference, the court stated that, “the applicant did not – at least not explicitly – equate abortion with the Holocaust.”  Rather, the reference was “a way of creating awareness of the more general fact that law might diverge from morality.”

The November 26 decision “is a quite good level of protection of freedom of speech for pro-life people,” observed Puppinck.

First, the European Court of Human Rights has permitted leafleting “in the direct proximate vicinity of the clinic, so there is no issue of zoning,” he told LifeSiteNews. “And second, the leaflets were mentioning the names of the doctors, and moreover, were mentioning the issue of the Holocaust, which made them quite strong leaflets.”

“And the court protected that.”

Annen has persevered in his pro-life awareness campaign through the years despite the restraints on his freedom.

“He did continue, and he did adapt,” Puppinck told LifeSiteNews. “He kept his freedom of speech as much as he could, but he continued to be sanctioned by the German authorities, and each time he went to the court of human rights. And this time, he won.”

ECLJ’s statement notes that “any party” has three months to appeal the November 26 decision.

However, as it stands, the European Court of Human Rights’s ruling affects “all the national courts,” noted Puppinck, and these will now “have to protect freedom of speech, recognize the freedom of speech for pro-lifers.”

“In the past, the courts have not always been very supportive of the freedom of speech of pro-life,” he said, so the ruling is “significant.”

As for Annen’s pro-life ministry, Pubbinck added: “He can continue to go and do, and I’m sure that he does, because he always did.”  

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A vibrant church in Africa. Pierre-Yves Babelon /
Pete Baklinski Pete Baklinski Follow Pete

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‘Soft racism’: German Bishops’ website attributes African Catholics’ strong faith to simplemindedness

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By Pete Baklinski

GERMANY, November 26, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) --  The only reason the Catholic Church is growing in Africa is because the people have a “rather low level” of education and accept “simple answers to difficult questions” involving marriage and sexuality, posited an article on the official website of the German Bishops' Conference posted yesterday. The article targeted particularly Cardinal Robert Sarah of Guinea, the Vatican's prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and ardent defender of Catholic tradition.

First Things blogger Leroy Huizenga, who translated a portion of the article, criticized the article's view as “soft racism.”

In his article, titled “The Romantic, Poor Church,” editor Björn Odendahl writes: 

So also in Africa. Of course the Church is growing there. It grows because the people are socially dependent and often have nothing else but their faith. It grows because the educational situation there is on average at a rather low level and the people accept simple answers to difficult questions (of faith) [sic]. Answers like those that Cardinal Sarah of Guinea provides. And even the growing number of priests is a result not only of missionary power but also a result of the fact that the priesthood is one of the few possibilities for social security on the dark continent.

Huizenga said that such an article has no place on a bishops’ conference website. 

“We all know that the German Bishops' Conference is one of the most progressive in the world. But it nevertheless beggars belief that such a statement would appear on the Conference's official website, with its lazy slander of African Christians and priests as poor and uneducated (Odendahl might as well have added ‘easy to command’) and its gratuitous swipe at Cardinal Sarah,” he wrote. 

“Natürlich progressives could never be guilty of such a sin and crime, but these words sure do suggest soft racism, the racism of elite white Western paternalism,” he added. 

African prelates have gained a solid reputation for being strong defenders of Catholic sexual morality because of their unwavering orthodox input into the recently concluded Synod on the Family in Rome. 

At one point during the Synod, Cardinal Robert Sarah urged Catholic leaders to recognize as the greatest modern enemies of the family what he called the twin “demonic” “apocalyptic beasts” of “the idolatry of Western freedom” and “Islamic fundamentalism.”

STORY: Cardinal Danneels warns African bishops to avoid ‘triumphalism’

“What Nazi-Fascism and Communism were in the 20th century, Western homosexual and abortion ideologies and Islamic fanaticism are today,” he said during his speech at the Synod last month. 

But African prelates’ adherence to orthodoxy has earned them enemies, especially from the camp of Western prelates bent on forming the Catholic Church in their own image and likeness, not according to Scripture, tradition, and the teaching magisterium of the Church. 

During last year’s Synod, German Cardinal Walter Kasper went as far as stating that the voice of African Catholics in the area of Church teaching on homosexuality should simply be dismissed.

African cardinals “should not tell us too much what we have to do,” he said in an October 2014 interview with ZENIT, adding that African countries are "very different, especially about gays.” 

Earlier this month Belgian Cardinal Godfried Danneels, instead of praising Africa for its vibrant and flourishing Catholicism, said that African prelates will one day have to look to Europe to get what he called “useful tips” on how to deal with “secularization” and “individualism.” 

The statement was criticized by one pro-family advocate as “patronizing of the worst kind” in light of the facts that numerous European churches are practically empty, vocations to the priesthood and religious life are stagnant, and the Catholic faith in Europe, especially in Belgium, is overall in decline.

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