Elisa Sumanski

U.S. politics and the Culture of Death

Elisa Sumanski
By Elisa Sumanski

August 31, 2012 (HLIWorldWatch.org) - Election season is upon us, and politics is on everyone’s mind. There is always a lot at stake come election time: the direction of the country, the economy, wars and foreign affairs. For Catholics and pro-life activists, this year’s presidential election is especially crucial if we are to protect and maintain our constitutionally-guaranteed religious liberties, and win the fight for life around the world.

Politics in the United States has an enormous impact on the international effort to defend life from conception until natural death. For example, there is a direct connection between the person who sits in the White House and how much money the United States spends promoting abortion overseas.

One of the first things President Obama did when he took office in January 2009 was reverse the Bush administration policy that restricted federal funding for international organizations that promote or provide abortions. The Obama administration, in collusion with an anti-life Congress, has since been funneling an average of more than $45 million a year to the abortion-pushing United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). The Bush administration did not fund UNFPA at all.

If $45 million sounds like a lot, consider the nearly $600 million spent in 2010 alone on the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). USAID, under the Obama administration, pushes abortion and contraception around the world. These are just two examples of how your tax dollars are being spent, in the midst of serious domestic economic problems, to promote an anti-life agenda all over the world.

And this money has very real, very devastating effects – especially in the developing world. Human Life International (HLI) Kenya and other Kenyan pro-life organizations spent much of 2010 fighting against the ratification of a new constitution that would open the door for legalized abortion in this traditionally pro-life Eastern African nation. The old Kenyan constitution protected life from the moment of conception. Had the legalization of abortion not been so carefully hidden in its text, it is almost certain that the Kenyan people would have rejected the new constitution. According to a report from the U.S. Inspector General, the Obama administration spent over $23 million to support the new Kenyan constitution – money that went directly to pro-abortion groups engaged in lobbying and get-out-the-vote efforts. Additionally, Vice President Joe Biden and a string of congressmen visited Kenya in the months leading up to the vote, all in an effort to ensure that the referendum was adopted. The U.S. did not just tacitly support the legalization of abortion in Kenya, it aggressively lobbied for it. The United States bought abortion for Kenya with our tax dollars.

Unfortunately, the amount of money being spent to push the deadly sins of abortion and contraception on unsuspecting cultures is not our only concern. The current administration has also launched a direct assault on Catholics and our religious liberties. The now infamous mandate issued by the Department of Health and Human Services is a crystal clear example of the battle we are currently fighting. This mandate will force most Catholic institutions and all Catholic employers to provide health insurance coverage for contraception – which the Church defines as intrinsically evil!

We live in a country that was founded by settlers looking for religious freedom. But the Culture of Death has become so strongly entrenched in our nation that our leaders are poised to force us to violate our religious beliefs and to provide others with something we consider a great moral evil.

It should come as no surprise that anti-life activists have finally publicly set their sights on the Catholic Church. The Church has long been the loudest and often the only voice that cries out in opposition to the evils of the Culture of Death. Can you think of another institution, religious or otherwise, that has remained steadfast in its position on such life-issues as contraception, divorce and marriage? These aren’t merely political issues to discuss with our neighbors; they are true and absolute evils. And evil’s number one target will always be the Catholic Church, because the Church is the primary means of salvation for the world.

This evil has become so pervasive that society now considers contraception and abortion to be “healthcare” even though there are mounds of evidence that they can be very harmful to those who use them. Various forms of abortion and contraception have been linked to breast cancer(1), depression(2), and even death of the mother(3) (of course, in the case of abortion, there is always also the death of a child).

Even if our liberties were not under attack, we would have a moral obligation as Catholics to vote in November. We must always vote against the evils of the Culture of Death, and this year we must stand up for our own rights as well. Come Election Day, we are the voice of the Church.

Elisa Sumanski works at Human Life International (HLI), the world’s largest international pro-life and pro-family organization. A version of this article appeared in HLI’s official magazine FrontLines.


1. According to the National Cancer Institute, taking the pill seems to increase one’s risk of breast cancer, cervical cancer, and ovarian cancer.

2. The Alfred Psychiatry Research Centre studied 60 women, and found that those taking the pill containing both estrogen and progesterone were almost twice as likely to be depressed as those who did not.

3. Complications from abortion and abortion-inducing drugs like RU486 have caused thousands of deaths. Conversely, in Chile maternal deaths dropped 70% after abortion was banned.

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BREAKING: Planned Parenthood shooting suspect surrenders, is in custody: police

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By John Jalsevac

Nov. 27, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) - Five hours after a single male shooter reportedly opened fire at a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood, chatter on police radio is indicating that the suspect has now been "detained."

"We have our suspect and he says he is alone," said police on the police radio channel. 

Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers also confirmed via Twitter shortly after 7:00 pm EST that the suspect was in custody.

The news comes almost exactly an hour after the start of a 6:00 pm. press conference in which Lt. Catherine Buckley had confirmed that a single shooter was still at large, and had exchanged gunfire with police moments before.

According to Lt. Buckley, four, and possibly five police officers have been shot since the first 911 call was received at 11:38 am local time today. An unknown number of civilians have also been shot.

Although initial reports had suggested that the shooting began outside the Planned Parenthood, possibly outside a nearby bank, Lt. Buckley said that in fact the incident began at the Planned Parenthood itself.

She said that the suspect had also brought unknown "items" with him to the Planned Parenthood. 

Pro-life groups have started responding to the news, urging caution in jumping to conclusions about the motivations of the shooter, while also condemning the use of violence in promoting the pro-life cause. 

"Information is very sketchy about the currently active shooting situation in Colorado Springs," said Pavone. "The Planned Parenthood was the address given in the initial call to the police, but we still do not know what connection, if any, the shooting has to do with Planned Parenthood or abortion.

"As leaders in the pro-life movement, we call for calm and pray for a peaceful resolution of this situation."

Troy Newman of Operation Rescue and Rev. Patrick J. Mahoney, Director of the Christian Defense Coalition, also issued statements.

"Operation Rescue unequivocally deplores and denounces all violence at abortion clinics and has a long history of working through peaceful channels to advocate on behalf of women and their babies," said Newman. "We express deep concern for everyone involved and are praying for the safety of those at the Planned Parenthood office and for law enforcement personnel. We pray this tragic situation can be quickly resolved without further injury to anyone."

"Although we don't know the reasons for the shooting near the Planned Parenthood in Colorado Springs today, the pro-life movement is praying for the safety of all involved and as a movement we have always unequivocally condemned all forms of violence at abortion clinics. We must continually as a nation stand against violence on all levels," said Rev. Patrick J. Mahoney, Director of the Christian Defense Coalition, based in Washington, D.C.


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Rubio says SCOTUS didn’t ‘settle’ marriage issue: ‘God’s rules always win’

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By Dustin Siggins

WASHINGTON, D.C., November 27, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) -- Surging GOP presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio, R-FL, says that "God's law" trumps the U.S. Supreme Court’s Obergefell decision imposing same-sex “marriage” nationwide.

The senator also told Christian Broadcast Network's David Brody that the Supreme Court's redefinition of marriage is not "settled," but instead "current law."

“No law is settled,” said Rubio. “Roe v. Wade is current law, but it doesn’t mean that we don’t continue to aspire to fix it, because we think it’s wrong.”

“If you live in a society where the government creates an avenue and a way for you to peacefully change the law, then you’re called to participate in that process to try to change it,” he explained, and "the proper place for that to be defined is at the state level, where marriage has always been regulated — not by the Supreme Court and not by the federal government.”

However, when laws conflict with religious beliefs, "God's rules always win," said Rubio.

“In essence, if we are ever ordered by a government authority to personally violate and sin — violate God’s law and sin — if we’re ordered to stop preaching the Gospel, if we’re ordered to perform a same-sex marriage as someone presiding over it, we are called to ignore that,” Rubio expounded. “We cannot abide by that because government is compelling us to sin.”

“I continue to believe that marriage law should be between one man and one woman," said the senator, who earlier in the fall was backed by billionaire GOP donor and same-sex "marriage" supporter Paul Singer.

Singer, who also backs looser immigration laws and a strong U.S.-Israel alliance, has long pushed for the GOP to change its position on marriage in part due to the sexual orientation of his son.

Despite Singer's support, Rubio's marriage stance has largely been consistent. He told Brody earlier in the year that "there isn't such a right" to same-sex "marriage."

"You have to have a ridiculous reading of the U.S. Constitution to reach the conclusion that people have a right to marry someone of the same sex."

Rubio also said religious liberty should be defended against LGBT activists he says "want to stigmatize, they want to ostracize anyone who disagrees with them as haters."

"I believe, as do a significant percentage of Americans, that the institution of marriage, an institution that existed before government, that existed before laws, that institution should remain in our laws recognized as the union of one man and one woman," he said.

Rubio also hired social conservative leader Eric Teetsel as his director of faith outreach this month.

However, things have not been entirely smooth for Rubio on marriage. Social conservatives were concerned when the executive director of the LGBT-focused Log Cabin Republicans told Reuters in the spring that the Catholic senator is "not as adamantly opposed to all things LGBT as some of his statements suggest."

The LGBT activist group had meetings with Rubio's office "going back some time," though the senator himself never attended those meetings. Rubio has publicly said that he would attend the homosexual "wedding" of a gay loved one, and also that he believed "that sexual preference is something that people are born with," as opposed to being a choice.

Additionally, days after the Supreme Court redefined marriage, Rubio said that he disagreed with the decision but that "we live in a republic and must abide by the law."

"I believe that marriage, as the key to strong family life, is the most important institution in our society and should be between one man and one woman," he said. "People who disagree with the traditional definition of marriage have the right to change their state laws. That is the right of our people, not the right of the unelected judges or justices of the Supreme Court. This decision short-circuits the political process that has been underway on the state level for years.

Rubio also said at the time that "it must be a priority of the next president to nominate judges and justices committed to applying the Constitution as written and originally understood…"

“I firmly believe the question of same sex marriage is a question of the definition of an institution, not the dignity of a human being. Every American has the right to pursue happiness as they see fit. Not every American has to agree on every issue, but all of us do have to share our country. A large number of Americans will continue to believe in traditional marriage, and a large number of Americans will be pleased with the Court’s decision today. In the years ahead, it is my hope that each side will respect the dignity of the other.”

The Florida senator said in July that he opposed a constitutional marriage amendment to the U.S. Constitution to leave marriage up to the states because that would involve the federal government in state marriage policies.

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Former The View star Sherri Shepherd and then-husband Lamar Sally in 2010 s_bukley / Shutterstock.com
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Court orders Sherri Shepherd to pay child support for surrogate son she abandoned

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By Steve Weatherbe

November 27, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) -- Sherri Shepherd, a Hollywood celebrity who co-hosted the popular talk show The View for seven years, has lost a maternity suit launched by her ex-husband Lamar Sally, forcing her to pay him alimony and child support for their one-year surrogate son LJ. The decision follows an unseemly fight which pro-life blogger Cassy Fiano says has exposed how surrogacy results in “commodifying” the unborn.

Shepherd, a co-host of the View from 2007 to 2014, met Sally, a screenwriter, in 2010 and they married a year later. Because her eggs were not viable, they arranged a surrogate mother in Pennsylvania to bear them a baby conceived in vitro using Sally’s sperm and a donated egg.

But the marriage soured in mid-term about the time Shepherd lost her job with The View. According to one tabloid explanation, she was worried he would contribute little to parenting responsibilities.  Sally filed for separation in 2014, Shepherd filed for divorce a few days, then Sally sued for sole custody, then alimony and child support.

Earlier this year she told PEOPLE she had gone along with the surrogacy to prevent the breakup of the marriage and had not really wanted the child.

Shepherd, an avowed Christian who once denied evolution on The View and a successful comic actor on Broadway, TV, and in film since the mid-90s, didn’t want anything to do with LJ, as Lamar named the boy, who after all carried none of her genes. She refused to be at bedside for the birth, and refused to let her name be put on the birth certificate and to shoulder any responsibility for LJ’s support.

But in April the Pennsylvania Court of Common Pleas, and now the state’s Superior Court, ruled that Shepherd’s name must go on the birth certificate and she must pay Sally alimony and child support.

“The ultimate outcome is that this baby has two parents and the parents are Lamar Sally and Sherri Shepherd,” Shepherd’s lawyer Tiffany Palmer said.

As for the father, Sally told PEOPLE, “I'm glad it's finally over. I'm glad the judges saw through all the lies that she put out there, and the negative media attention. If she won't be there for L.J. emotionally, I'll be parent enough for the both of us.”

But Shepherd said, “I am appealing the ruling that happened,” though in the meantime, Sally will “get his settlement every month. There’s nothing I can do.”

Commented Fiano in Live Action News, “What’s so sickening about this case is that this little boy, whose life was created in a test tube, was treated as nothing more than a commodity…Saying that you don’t want a baby but will engineer one to get something you want is horrific.” As for trying to get out from child support payments now that the marriage had failed, that was “despicable.”

Fiano went on to characterize the Shepherd-Sally affair as a “notable example” of commodification of children, and “by no means an anomaly.” She cited a British report than over the past five years 123 babies conceived in vitro were callously aborted when they turned out to have Down Syndrome.

“When we’re not ready for babies, we have an abortion,” she added. “But then when we decide we are ready we manufacture them in a laboratory and destroy any extras. Children exist when we want them to exist, to fill the holes in us that we want them to fill, instead of being independent lives with their own inherent value and dignity.”

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