John Jalsevac

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Two women are behind legalized abortion in America: now both of them want it reversed

John Jalsevac
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Jane Roe and Mary Doe, the two plaintiffs in the two cases the legalized abortion in the U.S., both became passionate pro-lifers and want their cases reversed.

Note: Since the original publication of this article, Sandra Cano has passed away, in September of 2014. 

In the debate over abortion in the United States, two women’s names appear more frequently than any others: Jane Roe and Mary Doe, the plaintiffs in the companion 1973 Supreme Court cases that legalized abortion in the country.

As the 40th anniversary of those two cases - Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton - approaches later this month, news media is already filling up with retrospectives from leaders on both sides of the issue about the past 40 years and the state of the abortion debate.

In the midst of this flurry of media coverage a woman named Sandro Cano has quietly issued a media release on a Christian newswire service calling for the two Supreme Court cases to be overturned. This in itself might seem unremarkable, until you learn Cano’s other name: Mary Doe.

Yes, that Mary Doe.

Sandra Cano is none other than the plaintiff in Doe v. Bolton, the lesser known of the two Supreme Court cases that opened the floodgates of abortion in the U.S.

In 1970, a 22-year-old Cano was pregnant with her fourth child, after having lost custody of two of her children and adopting out the third. Abortion was illegal in Georgia, the state where Cano was living, except in extreme circumstances, but lawyers argued that she should be allowed to abort. In a decision released on the same day as Roe v. Wade, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed.

While the better known Roe v. Wade struck down all state restrictions on abortion pre-viability, Doe v. Bolton extended the right to abort through all nine months of pregnancy.

But Cano has since claimed that the whole foundation of Doe v. Bolton was a lie: that she never actually wanted nor requested an abortion and that she was tricked into signing an affidavit about abortion in the process of filing for divorce from her husband and seeking to regain custody of her other children.

According to Cano she actually fled the state when her mother and lawyer tried to force her into getting an abortion.

In 2003, Cano launched legal proceedings to try to overturn the case that bears her name. “I was nothing but a symbol in Doe v. Bolton with my experience and circumstances discounted and misrepresented,” she wrote in an affidavit at the time.

But while her attempt to have the case reheard failed, this hasn’t stopped her from working to overturn the case in other ways. In her statement this week, Cano reiterated her belief that she was “fraudulently used by the Court system to bring abortion to America.”

“No one should have a right to kill their children. No mother should ever want to do so,” she said, describing her case as a “covenant with death.”

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Meanwhile, another women, Norma McCorvey, briefly captured headlines during last year’s election cycle when she released a pro-life ad featuring graphic pictures of aborted children and accusing President Obama of “killing babies” by his support for abortion.

Most won’t recognize McCorvey’s real name, but will instantly recognize her pseudonym: Jane Roe. Yes, that Jane Roe.

Though McCorvey worked as an abortion activist for years after Roe v. Wade was handed down, she announced a conversion to the pro-life cause in the mid 1990s. The conversion came after the pro-life group Operation Rescue moved in next door to the abortion clinic where she worked, and she came personally to know several pro-life leaders.

“I was persuaded by feminist attorneys to lie; to say that I was raped, and needed an abortion,” Norma stated in last year’s ad. “It was all a lie.”

“Since then, over 50 million babies have been murdered. I will take this burden to my grave,” she said.

In 2003, Norma filed to re-open Roe v. Wade, a petition that was dismissed. Much like Sandra, however, Norma continues to speak out about her involvement in the case.

“I'm 100 percent sold out to Jesus and 100 percent pro-life,” Norma writes in a testimony published on her website. "No exceptions. No compromise."

To many it will come as a shock that neither of the two women whose names are practically synonymous with legal abortion in America actually had an abortion, and that both are now both passionately pro-life and have dedicated their lives to trying to overturn the cases that bear their names.

That very few know about Norma and Sandra is thanks no doubt in part to the silence of abortion activists and a largely liberal and pro-abortion mainstream media, for whom the defection of the pair is an embarassment to be swept under the rug - especially given the women's unflattering descriptions of the deceptive techniques abortion activists used to get them on board in the first place.

Both of the women were young, uneducated, poor, and ripe for exploitation at the time they became the center of a national firestorm. And both of them say that their cases were based upon outright lies: in Norma's case, the lie that she had been raped, and in Sandra's case, that she ever wanted an abortion in the first place. These are facts that are best kept quiet if Roe v. Wade is to stand.

But according to Troy Newman of Operation Rescue, the pro-life movement could also do a better job of telling their own history and reminding people of the precarious foundation of abortion in America.

“Most of the pro-life movement is new,” Newman said in an interview with LifeSiteNews.com, “and the mistake of leaders like me is that we don’t talk much about” the history of the movement.

“I was with Norma when she converted to Christian, and then later to Roman Catholic,” said Newman. “I’ve been in contact with Sandra Cano. And it’s like because I know it, I don’t repeat it.”

The challenge of educating the younger generations was driven home by a Pew Research poll released this month that found that only 44 percent of people under 30 even know that Roe v. Wade dealt with abortion.

But according to Newman, it’s critical that people know the facts about Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton. “The foundation of Roe is cracking and crumbling all around us and the ones who prop it up do so artificially by ignoring the facts and the evidence,” he said.

“The abortion industry decided they know how to win on abortion, and that’s not to talk about abortion, and don’t talk about history. But when we look at the objective facts, like Sandra Cano and Norma McCorvey, so many others who were involved or had abortions, they’re against it now," he said.

“And the only way pro-aborts seem to be able to propagate it is to hide the ugly truth of abortion," he added. "Never talk about abortion. Don’t talk about those who converted, and don’t allow any intellectual discourse.”

The stories of Norma and Sandra are important, he said, because they demonstrate how "people that have had any experience with abortion or who have thought about it for any length of time, naturally become pro-life." 

"Sandra Cano and Norma McCorvey are no different," he said. "They’ve seen the terrible side effects of Roe v. Wade, and what it’s wrought on society. Countless seas of wounded poeople. The horrible tragedy of abortion." 



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Planned Parenthood closes rural Iowa abortion facility because of low business

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DUBUQUE, Iowa, May 3, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Planned Parenthood closed an Iowa abortion facility on Friday, noting low business that left the facility unsustainable from a financial standpoint.

Although Planned Parenthood of the Heartland announced in January that it planned to close the Dubuque, Iowa, office, pro-life sidewalk counselors were overjoyed on Friday to read the sign in the window that read: “Our office is closed, effective April 28, 2016.”

The office did not perform surgical abortions but did provide medication abortions to the community of about 58,000.

“Rejoice with us for the lives of unborn children saved!” Iowa Right to Life said in a statement after the closure.

As with numerous other closures, Planned Parenthood, which styles itself a provider of “care no matter what,” emphasized it was closing its doors to preserve its bottom line.

“After assessing the shifting health care landscape, changing demographics, and the challenges of operating in areas with low patient volumes, we made the tough decision to close the Dubuque Health Center,” the group said in an announcement. “This change allows us to expand hours and see more patients in Cedar Rapids, where there is unmet demand due to lack of clinician hours.”
“While we regret making this change, we know it is a necessary step in order to continue our mission to provide, promote and protect reproductive and sexual health through health services, education and advocacy. Patients have been notified, and if they wish, they can receive a broader array of services at our health center in Cedar Rapids, where we have expanded hours to accommodate more patient,” Planned Parenthood said.

American Life League’s vice president, Jim Sedlak, remembers speaking to the county right to life group nine years ago.

“I told them at the time that they needed to protest outside Planned Parenthood at least once a week,” he said. “They told me they would do better than that. Over the last eight years, these dedicated pro-lifers were outside Planned Parenthood every hour it was open. And now...it’s closed for good.”

That aligns with advice that David Bereit, the founder of 40 Days for Life, once told young people who wanted to know how to end abortion.

Be loving and compassionate, he said.

Your peaceful, loving presence out there flies in the face of all the stereotypes they want to throw onto us,” he added. “When you show them love instead of condemnation, when you show them peace and joy instead of anger and judgment, that will begin to break down the walls.”

Iowa Right to Life credited just such tactics with closing an office in Red Oak that performed webcam abortions. “Planned Parenthood shut down in Red Oak in large part because of the constant, prayerful presence outside their clinic,” the group said.

Upon hearing of the latest abortion facility shuttering, the Dubuque County Right to Life said that Planned Parenthood isn't the only group that will move its base of operations. “We will probably put our efforts in Cedar Rapids and will continue to spread the pro-life message,” said Executive Director Marian Bourek.



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Ted Cruz confronted by mom who supports aborting disabled babies…just like hers

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MARION, Indiana, May 3, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Senator Ted Cruz was met on the campaign trail by a mother who strongly opposed a state pro-life law that would have protected children with birth conditions – like her own.

Andrea DeBruler, a 41-year-old nurse, confronted the presidential hopeful in the city of Marion as Cruz campaigned with Gov. Mike Pence.

DeBruler first asked Cruz, then Pence, about House Bill 1337, which bans abortions performed due to the child's race, sex, or disability, such as Down syndome.

DeBruler held up a picture of her daughter, Jania, who was born with cerebral palsy. “This was a choice,” she said.

She asked Sen. Cruz if he supported the bill, which made Indiana the second state in the nation to ban abortion for Down syndrome, after North Dakota.

“I'm not Governor Pence,” he replied. “But I'll tell you this: I believe in protecting human life.”

Pence, who endorsed Cruz in today's make-or-break Indiana primary, listened to her objections.

“I'm not here as a Republican, I'm not here as a Democrat. I'm here as a woman, a woman with choices, choices that you guys should not make,” DeBruler said.

After hearing that she felt many families lacked sufficient resources to care for children, especially in an area like Marion, Gov. Pence offered to connect her with social services.

“God bless her,” he said, looking at Jania's picture, “and God bless you.”

Though it may be unusual to encounter a woman arguing for the right to abort her own child, the governor handled it calmly. Pence had specifically reflected on “precious moments” he spent with “families of children with disabilities, especially those raising children with Down syndrome” when he signed the bill into law in March.

"We are truly thankful for the passage of this historic legislation by the Indiana House and applaud the new civil rights protections this bill creates for unborn children, as well as the new provisions this bill establishes for the humane final disposition of aborted babies," Indiana Right to Life President Mike Fichter said at the time.

DeBruler told the UK media outlet The Independent that H.B. 1337 “means you can no longer have an abortion based on deformity. I’m against this law, because I think it should be a woman’s choice” to abort for any reason.

Congressional Democrats made similar statements during hearings last month for Rep. Trent Franks' federal Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act (PRENDA), with Congressman John Conyers saying the bill is “patently unconstitutional,” because a woman has the right to abort a child before viability for any reason.

Both leading contenders for the Democratic nomination expressed their displeasure with the law, which protects unborn children from racial or sexual discrimination, as well as discrimination on the basis of an inborn trait like mental capacity.

When Gov. Pence signed the law, Sen. Bernie Sanders tweeted:

Hillary Clinton later said, “I commend the women of this state, young and old, for standing up against this governor and this legislature.”

DeBruler told The Independent, despite her comment about not being a Democrat or a Republican, she is in fact a Democrat and will vote for Hillary Clinton in today's primary. 



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This year, as Notre Dame prepares to confer an honor on Vice President Joe Biden, the silence from the Catholic hierarchy is deafening. Drop of Light / Shutterstock.com
Phil Lawler

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The moral challenge to Cardinal Wuerl in pending Notre Dame outrage

Phil Lawler

Ask Notre Dame not to honor pro-abortion Vice President Joe Biden. Sign the petition!

May 3, 2016 (CatholicCulture) -- In 2009, when the University of Notre Dame invited President Barack Obama to deliver a commencement address, dozens of American bishops lodged loud public protests. Yet this year, as Notre Dame prepares to confer an even greater honor on Vice President Joe Biden (together with former House Speaker John Boehner), the silence from the hierarchy is deafening.

Back in 2009, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Houston said that Notre Dame’s invitation to President Obama was “very disappointing,”, while then-Archbishop Timothy Dolan termed it a “big mistake.” The late Bishop John D’Arcy, then leader of the Indiana diocese in which the university is located, spoke of “the terrible breach which has taken place between Notre Dame and the Church.” For the first time in his 25 years of service to the Fort Wayne-South Bend diocese, Bishop D’Arcy declined to attend the Notre Dame commencement exercises; instead he addressed a protest rally organized by pro-life students, faculty, alumni, and staff.

These prelates and others explained their dismay by referring to the statement “Catholics in Political Life,” released in 2004 by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops. In that document, the bishops reflected on the need to maintain a consistent public witness in defense of human life, and therefore to distance themselves from public officials who support legal abortion. The statement set forth a clear policy that Catholic institutions should not give public honors to “pro-choice” politicians:

The Catholic community and Catholic institutions should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles. They should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions.

By giving President Obama an honorary degree and offering him an opportunity to speak at graduation, Notre Dame clearly violated that policy. University officials could offer only garbled partial defenses, claiming that they were honoring Obama not because he supports unrestricted abortion, but because he is President of the United States.

This year the university cannot offer even that lame defense of the decision to award the Laetare Medal to Vice President Biden. Unlike Obama, Biden is a Catholic, and by granting him this award the university is explicitly saying that the Vice President has “illustrated the ideals of the Church and enriched the heritage of humanity.” In other words, Notre Dame is honoring Vice President Biden as a Catholic political leader despite his unwavering support for abortion and same-sex marriage.

Give credit to Bishop Kevin Rhoades, the current leader of the Fort Wayne-South Bend diocese, for raising a lonely voice of protest. “I believe it is wrong for Notre Dame to honor any ‘pro-choice’ public official with the Laetare Medal, even if he/she has other positive accomplishments in public service,” Bishop Rhoades said. But if any other bishops have joined him in that rebuke to Notre Dame, I must have missed their public announcements.

Some observers, of liberal political sympathies, have argued that it is wrong to honor John Boehner, too, because the former Speaker disagreed with the US bishops’ stand on immigration. This is a tired old argument, conflating disagreement with the bishops on a prudential political decision with defiance of Church teaching on a fundamental moral principle. But it is noteworthy that Notre Dame officials saw fit to make a joint award, no doubt in a cynical effort to dodge political criticism by choosing one honoree from each side of the political spectrum.

“We live in a toxic political environment where poisonous invective and partisan gamesmanship pass for political leadership,” said Father John Jenkins, the president of Notre Dame, in announcing the Laetare Award recipients. (Notice the pre-emptive suggestion that those who criticize the school’s choices may be engaged in “poisonous invective.”) He went on to make a tortured argument that although Notre Dame is honoring two politicians, it is not honoring them for what they have done in their political careers:

In recognizing both men, Notre Dame is not endorsing the policy positions of either, but celebrating two lives dedicated to keeping our democratic institutions working for the common good through dialogue focused on the issues and responsible compromise.

By now we all know the familiar dodges. The politician claims to oppose abortion personally, but to feel a delicate reticence about imposing his views on others. He says that we must be willing to compromise (even on life-and-death decisions). He insists that he is not “pro-abortion” but “pro-choice.”

That last bubble of rhetoric was unceremoniously burst by Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington, DC, when he celebrated Mass at Georgetown after Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richard had delivered a lecture there. “The word ‘choice’ is a smokescreen,” he said, “behind which those killing unborn children take refuge. Every chance you get, blow that smoke away!”

Now Cardinal Wuerl himself has a chance to “blow that smoke away.” As things stand, he is scheduled to celebrate Mass at the Notre Dame commencement, and to receive an honorary degree. He could pull out; he could absent himself from the ceremonies, to ensure that he does not become part of an event that pays homage to a “pro-choice” Catholic politician.

And there is a precedent. Back in 2009, the Harvard legal scholar (and former US ambassador to the Holy See) Mary Ann Glendon was chosen to receive the Laetare Award. But when she learned that President Obama would be speaking, she announced her decision to decline the award. Clearly annoyed that her presence might be used to quiet the critics of the honor for Obama, Ambassador Glendon wrote that she did not want to be used as a counterweight, nor did she see the Notre Dame commencement as an appropriate venue for a genteel debate about legal abortion:

A commencement, however, is supposed to be a joyous day for the graduates and their families. It is not the right place, nor is a brief acceptance speech the right vehicle, for engagement with the very serious problems raised by Notre Dame’s decision—in disregard of the settled position of the U.S. bishops—to honor a prominent and uncompromising opponent of the Church’s position on issues involving fundamental principles of justice.

Could Cardinal Wuerl do this year what Ambassador Glendon did in 2009? Even at this late date, his withdrawal would send a powerful message of support for the right to life: an unmistakable rebuke to politicians who hide behind the smokescreen that the cardinal himself identified. To be sure, if he did withdraw, the cardinal would be caught in an avalanche of public criticism; he would suffer for his public witness. But there is a reason why cardinals wear red.

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at CatholicCulture.org. Reprinted with permission from Catholic Culture.



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