Kevin Kukla

The real reason IVF is facing possible legalization in Costa Rica

Kevin Kukla
By Kevin Kukla

November 28, 2012 (HLIWorldWatch.org) - Costa Rica has fought admirably to preserve its pro-life laws and culture, but abortion advocates believe they have found a means to get around laws that defend unborn human life. Although abortion is not yet legal in Costa Rica, those who promote abortion are working to legalize in-vitro fertilization (IVF) as a means toward that end.

A court ruling is expected this week which may take Costa Rica off the list of the few countries that do not legally permit IVF, a process in which embryonic human beings are artificially created outside a mother’s womb, then surgically implanted in the hope that they survive until birth.

In March 2000, the Supreme Court in Costa Rica criminalized the practice of IVF. In 2010, however, 18 plaintiffs sued the government, arguing this ban violated their privacy. The Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR), a leading international pro-abortion organization, is behind the effort to legalize IVF in Costa Rica, and admits that its intentions go beyond this particular case:

In a case that could undermine women’s access to reproductive technologies, contraception and abortion across North, Central and South America— including the United States— the Center for Reproductive Rights today joined a legal battle against Costa Rica’s in-vitro fertilization ban. (emphasis added)

The Center for Reproductive Rights is attacking Costa Rica’s IVF laws as a means to push for greater access to abortion and contraception.  CRR believes that legalizing IVF in Costa Rica will have, what they consider, positive repercussions for other “reproductive health” issues in the pro-life nations of Latin America. They call laws against IVF a “personhood movement in disguise, similar to efforts in the U.S. to define a fertilized egg as a person.” And should the court uphold the ban, CRR says “a multitude of family planning technologies will be at risk, including … methods of contraception, like IUDs.” They also believe a ruling in Costa Rica’s favor would “make it even more difficult to fight the draconian abortion bans in places like Chile and El Salvador.”

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This technology remains opposed on moral grounds by the Catholic Church. Since IVF leads to the destruction of most of the embryos created in the process, there is a heated debate over its ethical status, although it has been accepted even by many Catholics who are unfamiliar with the nature of the IVF process and related Church teaching. It is unequivocally opposed by the Church on the grounds of both the massive destruction of human life (90 percent of the embryonic children involved do not survive the process) and the violation of the natural and exclusive procreative relationship between spouses. Further, IVF has been linked to severe health complications for women who undergo the process, and to serious health consequences for the few children who do survive until birth.

The Inter-American Court on Human Rights, a Washington, D.C.-based tribunal tasked with enforcing the American Convention on Human Rights (ACHR, of which Costa Rica is a signatory), heard testimony in September 2012 from the plaintiffs. The plaintiffs allege that their government’s laws prevent them from becoming pregnant, which caused some of their marriages to split, and other emotional harm.

The Costa Rican government has long held out against legalizing IVF but now faces the possibility that this tribunal could overturn the law of the land. Not only could Costa Rica be forced to legalize IVF, but it could also be forced to compensate the plaintiffs for “damages.” Attorneys for Costa Rica argue that its Constitution protects human life “300 days before birth.” Moreover, they contend that Article 4 of the ACHR protects human life from the moment of conception; therefore, their ban of IVF complies with the law.

If the court rules that Costa Rica must legalize IVF, lawmakers in the country will have to pass legislation allowing the procedure to take place, and also establish a regulatory framework for implementation.

The Catholic Church condemns IVF because it objectifies the human person, treating him as a commodity. As the Catholic bishops of Costa Rica stated in opposing a proposed IVF bill in 2011:

[T]he fruit of human generation from the first moment of its existence, that is, from the constitution of the zygote, calls for unconditional respect that is morally due to the human being in his corporal and spiritual totality.

If IVF does become legalized, it will be even more difficult for Costa Ricans to fight against the legalization of abortion, since the constitutional defense of unborn human life would be undermined by the decision.

Kevin Kukla is a freelance writer who resides in Irving, Texas.

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Lisa Bourne

‘You can’t have’ marriage equality ‘without polygamy’

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By Lisa Bourne

July 3, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – Motivated by the U.S. Supreme Court ruling legalizing homosexual “marriage,” a Montana polygamist has filed for a second marriage license, so he can be legally wed to two women at once.

"It's about marriage equality," said Nathan Collier, using homosexual advocates’ term to support marriage redefinition. "You can't have this without polygamy."

Collier, who has has appeared on the TLC reality show Sister Wives with his legal wife Victoria, and his second wife Christine, said he was inspired by the dissent in the Supreme Court decision.

The minority Supreme Court justices said in Friday’s ruling it would open the door to both polygamy and religious persecution.

“It is striking how much of the majority’s reasoning would apply with equal force to the claim of a fundamental right to plural marriage,” wrote Chief Justice John Roberts.

Collier and his wives applied for a second marriage license earlier this week at the Yellowstone County Courthouse in Billings, a report from the Salt Lake Tribune said.

Collier, who was excommunicated from the Mormon Church for polygamy, married Victoria in 2000 and had a religious wedding ceremony with Christine in 2007. The three have seven children between them and from previous relationships.

"My second wife Christine, who I'm not legally married to, she's put up with my crap for a lot of years. She deserves legitimacy," Collier said.

Yellowstone County officials initially denied the application before saying they would consult with the County Attorney and get him a final answer.

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Bigamy, the holding of multiple marriage licenses, is illegal all 50 states, but Collier plans to sue if his application is denied. Officials expect to have an answer for him next week.

While homosexual “marriage” supporters have long insisted legalization of same-sex unions would not lead to polygamy, pro-life and family advocates have warned all along it would be inevitable with the redefinition of marriage.

“The next court cases coming will push for polygamy, as Chief Justice John Roberts acknowledged in his dissent,” said Penny Nance, president of Concerned Women for America, after the Supreme Court ruling. “The chief justice said “the argument for polygamy is actually stronger than that for ‘gay marriage.’ It’s only a matter of time.”

In a piece from the Washington Times, LifeSiteNews Editor-in-Chief and the co-founder of Voice of the Family John-Henry Westen stated the move toward legal polygamy is “just the next step in unraveling how Americans view marriage.”

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Chris Christie: Clerks must perform same-sex ‘marriages’ regardless of their religious beliefs

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By Ben Johnson

TRENTON, NJ, July 3, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – Chris Christie is not known for nuance. This time, he has turned his fiery personality loose on county clerks and other officials who have religious objections to performing same-sex “marriages.”

In a tone usually reserved for busting teachers' unions, Christie told clerks who hold traditional values, “You took the job, and you took the oath.” He would offer no exemption for an individual whose conscience would not allow him to participate in a union the vast majority of the world's religions deem sinful.

“When you go back and re-read the oath it doesn’t give you an out. You have to do it,” he said.

He told a reporter that there “might” be “individual circumstances” that “merit some examination, but none that come immediately to mind for me.”

“I think for folks who are in the government world, they kind of have to do their job, whether you agree with the law or you don’t,” the pugnacious governor said.

Since the Supreme Court voted 5-4 to legalize homosexual “marriage” last Friday, elected officials have grappled with how to safeguard the rights of those who have deeply held religious beliefs that would not allow them to participate in such a ceremony.

Christie's response differs markedly from other GOP hopefuls' responses to the Supreme Court ruling. Mike Huckabee, for instance, has specifically said that clerks should have conscience rights. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal signed an executive order granting such rights and ordered clerks to wait until a pending court case was fully adjudicated before any clerk issues a marriage license to a homosexual couple.

Christie gave up a legal appeal after a superior court judge struck down his state's voter-approved constitutional marriage protection amendment. New Jersey is the only state where such a low court overturned the will of the voters.

The decision to ignore conscience rights adds to the growing number of Christie's positions that give conservatives pause.

The natural locus of support for a Christie 2016 presidential run is the Republican's socially liberal donor class, for personal as well as political reasons. His wife works on Wall Street, and some of the GOP's high-dollar donors – including Paul Singer – have courted Christie for years.

However, this year Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, and to a lesser degree Scott Walker have eclipsed Christie as the preferred candidates of the boardroom donors – who sometimes prefer Democrats to Republicans.

Christie also used language during a speech before the Republican Jewish Coalition last year, which concerned some major GOP donors.

Christie is reportedly spending this weekend with Mitt Romney and his family at Romney's New Hampshire home. Romney declined to enter the 2016 race himself and may be able to open his donor list to Christie's struggling campaign.

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After having a girl with Down syndrome, this couple adopted two more

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By Ben Johnson

LINO LAKE, MN, July 3, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – For most people, having five biological children would have been enough. In fact, for many Americans, large families are treated as a scandal or a burden.

But one family made the decision, not just to have a large family, but to give a home to some of the most vulnerable children in the world: Girls born overseas with Down syndrome.

Lee and Karen Shervheim love all seven of their children, biological or otherwise. Undeterred by having twin boys – Daniel and Andrew, 18 – they had Sam four years later.

They now have three daughters who are all 11 years old. All three have Down syndrome.

And two of them are adopted.

About the time their eight-year-old son, David, was born, Lee and Karen decided to adopt a child with Down syndrome to be a companion to their daughter, Annie.

They made the further unexpected choice to adopt a child from Eastern Europe with the help of Reece's Rainbow, which helps parents adopt children with Down syndrome.

“Between my wife and I, we couldn’t get it out of our heads,” Lee told the Quad City Press. “So many children need families and we knew we could potentially do something about it.”

After originally deciding to adopt Katie, they spent six weeks in Kiev, visiting an orphanage in nearby Kharkov. While there, they decided they may have room in their heart, and their home, for another child.

When they saw a picture of Emie striking the same pose as their biological daughter in one of their photographs, they knew they would come home with two children.

Both girls were the same age as their Annie. She would not lack for companionship, as they worried.

Lee said after the Ukrainian government – finally – completed the paperwork, they returned to the United States, when the real challenges began.

“The unvarnished truth,” Lee told the Press, is that adopting the Russian-speaking special needs children “was really disruptive to our family. They came with so many issues that we had not anticipated.”

After teaching them sign language and appropriate behavior, they moved to Lino Lake, Minnesota and found a new support group in Eagle Brook Church. There they found personal assistance and spiritual solace.

Every year in the past seven years has been better and better, they say.

“I think my girls can do almost anything they want to do,” he said, “and that’s what I want to help them become.”

The family's devotion is fueled by their faith, and it informs the sense of humor Lee showed in a tweet during the 2014 midterm elections:

It takes a special person to believe in the potential of the “mentally retarded,” as they were once labeled. Today, 90 percent of all babies diagnosed with Down syndrome in the womb will be aborted. The percentage is higher in some countries. Some have even spoken of "a world without people with Down syndrome."

Their God, and their experience, tell them that every child has infinite worth and potential, Lee told local media, and he would encourage anyone to follow his footsteps and adopt a Down syndrome child – or two.

“The message is that it really doesn’t matter where you started or where you came from,” Lee said. “There are endless opportunities for everyone, whether they have disabilities or not. They deserve a shot.”

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