Rebecca Oas, Ph.D.

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Transcript: ICPD Global Youth Forum on “Families, youth-rights and well-being (including sexuality)”

Rebecca Oas, Ph.D.
By Rebecca Oas Ph.D.

NEW YORK, December 6, 2012, (C-FAM.org)—Following the plenary session (also discussed here) on the topic of “Families, youth-rights and well-being (including sexuality),” recommendations were compiled for inclusion in the International Conference on Population and Development’s (ICPD) Global Youth Forum’s outcome document and presented to the forum.  The recommendations are as follows:

Financing and accountability: Governments should make a political and financial commitment to ensure that sexual and reproductive health and rights policies are prioritized for budgetary allocation and are equally accessible for all young people. Governments must be transparent in the implementation of these policies and programs on sexual and reproductive health and rights.

Sexual rights: Governments must fund and develop, in equal partnership with young people and health care providers, policies laws and programs that recognize, promote, and protect young people’s sexual rights as human rights (Footnote 1).  This must be developed in accordance with the principles of human rights, nondiscrimination, respect, equality, and inclusivity, with a gendered, multicultural, and secular approach.  Governments together with other stakeholders should guarantee an environment free from all forms of harmful traditional practices and psychological, physical, and sexual violence, including gender-based violence, violence against women, bullying in the home, school, workplace, and community, sexual coercion, and female genital mutilation, amongst others.  Support must be provided for victims of violence, including free counseling services and legal redress. Cultural and religious barriers, such as parental and spousal consent, and early and forced marriages, should never prevent access to family planning, safe and legal abortion, and other reproductive health services, recognizing that young people have autonomy over their own bodies, pleasures, and desires.

Legal protection: Governments must ensure that international and national laws, regulations, and policies remove obstacles and barriers, including requirements for parental and spousal notification and consent, and age of consent for sexual and reproductive health services, that infringe on the sexual and reproductive health and rights of adolescents and youth.  Governments must repeal laws and regulations that permit violence and/or discrimination against young people, especially those who are marginalized, including laws that limit same-sex marriage and criminalize young people living with HIV, and LGBTQI.  Governments should, with multi-stakeholder involvement, promote and implement laws, policies, and programs that eliminate harmful practices such as early forced marriage, rape, sexual and gender-based violence, female genital mutilation, honor killings, and all other forms of violence against adolescent girls and young women.  Governments should decriminalize abortion and create and implement policies and programs that ensure that young women have access to safe and legal abortion, pre- and post-abortion services, without mandatory waiting periods, requirements for parental and spousal notification and/or consent, or age of consent.

Sexual and reproductive health services and comprehensive sexuality education: Governments should ensure that every young person, including LGBTQI young people, have equal access to the full range of evidence- and right-based, youth-friendly sexual and reproductive health services and comprehensive sexuality education that is respectful of young people’s rights to informed consent.  Services should be confidential, accessible, and include a full range of safe, effective, affordable methods of modern contraception and family planning services and commodities including pre- and post-natal care, amongst others.  Comprehensive sexuality education should be developed in partnership with young people and include information on sexual orientation and gender identities that is free of religious intolerance.

Families: The concept of family is constantly evolving, and governments must recognize this by adapting legal, policy, and pragmatic frameworks that embrace every form of family (Footnote 2). Governments should ensure the right of everyone to form a family, regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity.

Footnotes:

[1]  With reference to the WHO working definition of sexual rights, the Yogyakarta Principles, and sexual rights in the IPPF declaration. (see below)

[2] Forms of families include, but are not limited to: single parenthood, same-sex couples, traditional temporarily separated, displaced, child-led, or -headed, divorced, cohabitating, fostered, grandparents raising children, couples without children, migrants, extended families, and LGBTQI.

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Further notes:

The WHO working definition of sexual rights is:

“Sexual rights embrace human rights that are already recognized in national laws, international human rights documents and other consensus statements. They include the right of all persons, free of coercion, discrimination and violence, to:

the highest attainable standard of health in relation to sexuality, including access t sexual and reproductive health care services;
seek, receive and impart information in relation to sexuality;
sexuality education;
respect for bodily integrity;
choice of partner;
decide to be sexually active or not;
consensual sexual relations;
consensual marriage; and
pursue a satisfying, safe and pleasurable sexual life.”

From the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) website:

IPPF endorses the definition of sexual rights agreed at the Fourth World Conference on Women, which stated that: “The human rights of women include their right to have control over and decide freely and responsibly on matters related to their sexuality, including sexual and reproductive health, free of coercion, discrimination and violence. Equal relationships between women and men in matters of sexual relations and reproduction, including full respect for the integrity of the person, require mutual respect, consent and shared responsibility for sexual behaviour and its consequences.”

C-FAM’s discussion of the problems with the Yogyakarta Principles can be found here.

Reprinted from C-FAM.org.

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Lisa Bourne

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

Lisa Bourne
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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