Mike Ciandella and Katie Yoder

Opinion

Warren Buffett has given over $1 billion to pro-abortion groups since 2001

Mike Ciandella and Katie Yoder
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May 13, 2014 (NewsBusters) - They say the key to successful investing is diversification. But Berkshire Hathaway Chairman & CEO Warren Buffett, the billionaire investor known as the  “Oracle of Omaha,” is a one-issue man -- and that issue is abortion.

Through the foundation he financed with more than $3 billion of his own money, Buffett donated $1,230,585,161 to abortion groups worldwide from 2001 to 2012. These groups, including Planned Parenthood, NARAL and the Population Council, either campaign for pro-abortion legislation, perform abortions themselves, or helped develop the controversial abortion drug RU-486. Buffett gave an additional $21 million to these groups between 1989 and 1996. (Tax forms between 1997 and 2000 are not available.)

So the $1.2 billion that Buffett gave to these organizations is enough to pay for the abortions of more than 2.7 million babies in the womb. Those figures come from the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute, which says the average amount paid for a surgical abortion in the United States is $451 for the first trimester. That accounts for the majority of abortions.

To put that in perspective, Warren Buffett donated enough money to abortion groups to perform as many abortions as there are people in the entire city of Chicago.

Moreover, in giving to Planned Parenthood, Buffett is aiding an organization whose employees have been caught winking at confessions of prostitution and sex trafficking, whose management has a history of bullying and holding positions so extreme that one of its lobbyists suggested babies born alive after “botched” abortions should have no legal protections.

Those positions are hardly mainstream as abortion has become increasingly controversial, and Buffett's views are not those of the majority of Americans. According to the Gallup polling company, 48 percent of Americans considered themselves pro-life in 2013, while only 45 percent viewed themselves as “pro-choice.”

One year ago, on May 13, 2013, the infamous abortionist Kermit Gosnell was convicted of three counts of murder and one count of manslaughter in a case the major media tried their best to ignore. Another of the groups Buffett funded inspected Gosnell’s clinic -- subsequently described in court documents as a “house of horror” -- and didn’t report conditions at the “worst abortion clinic” the inspector had ever seen to Pennsylvania authorities.

But while Buffett has poured more than a billion dollars into the abortion industry, the media have turned a blind eye. Despite 545 stories on and interviews with Buffett on ABC, CBS and NBC since 2001 when our tax return data began, the networks only mentioned Buffett’s abortion funding once. This was in reference to his wife and her support of Planned Parenthood. Nowhere did any of the network morning or evening news shows mention the extent of his donations to fund the abortion industry.

Buffett’s actions have sparked fury in the pro-life community. Students for Life of America President Kristan Hawkins deemed Buffett the “sugar daddy of the entire pro-abortion movement.” Lila Rose, the president of Live Action, called Buffett a “genocide maker” and likened his funding of abortion to “money invested for genocide by warlords."

That runs contrary to the media's incessantly positive portrayal of Buffett. But, as Rose noted, “There’s a gross lack of reporting around the abortion issue” and Buffett’s giving “needs to be publicized.”

Contributions Linked to Late Wife’s Support of Abortion

After the 2004 death of Warren Buffett’s wife, Susan Thompson Buffett, the Buffett Foundation became the Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation. This foundation, located in Omaha, NE, manages Buffett’s “charitable” giving. In 2006, he expanded the foundation's giving potential with $3 billion of his own money.

Mrs. Buffett had been president of the foundation and was  concerned about overpopulation. She supported “family planning,” including abortion, to curb the global human population. A decade after her death, the foundation continues that work.

Pro-abortion activist Tracy Weitz heads the foundation’s domestic operation. Weitz worked at Planned Parenthood as well as The Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health with a focus on “a national strategic plan to secure access to later abortion care.” An outspoken abortion blogger at publications including RH Reality Check and The Huffington Post, she once defined abortion as “a moral action undertaken by moral agents.”

While Buffett himself rarely mentions abortion in public, his late wife Susan stressed his support during an interview on “The Charlie Rose Show,” which aired shortly after her death. She said that “Warren feels that women all over the world get shortchanged. That’s why he’s so pro-choice.” His daughter Susie also referenced her father’s stance on issues like population control: “That’s what my father has always believed was the biggest and most important issue, so that will be the focus,” for the foundation.

And Warren Buffett’s biographer, Roger Lowenstein, characterized him as holding “a Malthusian dread that overpopulation would aggravate problems in all other areas -- such as food, housing, even human survival.”

Buffett’s Massive Support for Planned Parenthood

Buffett’s donations have gone to dozens of pro-abortion groups, but none more than abortion giant Planned Parenthood. It received $289,811,421 -- nearly one-fourth of his total abortion contributions. But Planned Parenthood’s actions -- from supporting sex-selective abortions to targeting minorities with abortion funds -- have increasingly attracted anger from conservatives.

In Florida last year, a lobbyist for the Florida Alliance of Planned Parenthood Affiliates told the state legislature that the fate of an infant born alive in a “botched abortion” “should be left up to the woman, her family, and the physician.” In other words, the baby, a living, breathing, child, should have no legal protection from infanticide -- even after leaving the womb.

In 2012, the pro-life group Live Action released two videos of Planned Parenthood staffers assisting a Live Action actor with setting up a sex-selective abortion. In 2011, Planned Parenthood was the target of another undercover video with Live Action’s Lila Rose and Project Veritas’ James O’Keefe. Rose, then 22, posed as a 15-year-old prostitute while O’Keefe pretended to be a pimp who sought abortions for Rose and other underage prostitutes. In the video, Planned Parenthood workers assured O’Keefe that procuring these abortions would not be a problem.

Planned Parenthood paid out $2 million earlier this year after 24-year-old Tonya Reaves' death from uncontrollable bleeding after an abortion. Reaves had a 1-year-old son at the time of her death.

But the organization still claims to be all about “health.” Planned Parenthood tirelessly promotedObamacare this year, and stands to gain from it, since the Affordable Care Act includes coverage of abortions.

Abortion is only part of the organization’s controversial activity. Planned Parenthood has no problem encouraging teenagers to be sexually active, instructing that there’s “nothing bad or unhealthy” about multiple sex partners, as well as promoting bondage and sadomasochism. There’s also the time when President Cecile Richards warned that, if Planned Parenthood lost funding, the organization could no longer provide mammograms -- mammograms which it never offered in the first place.

Other criticisms of Planned Parenthood include:

Investing Beyond Planned Parenthood

Buffett didn’t stop there.

Planned Parenthood’s ally, NARAL Pro-Choice America, received $4,696,883 from Buffett. NARAL is dedicated to unrestricted abortion and repeatedly bashes those who differ, claiming that “anti-abortion” is “anti-American” and accusing pro-lifers and tea partiers of “lying and cheating.” The organization recently made headlines after allegedly persuading Google to delete crisis pregnancy center ads. Afterward it surfaced that NARAL made up the story, according pro-life blogger Jill Stanek.

NARAL even dedicated its annual report to late-term abortionist George Tiller who “compassionately and heroically served women.”

Buffett also donated to Advocates for Youth, which hosted an event to fight the “stigma” and “shame” of abortion while debuting its new book “1 in 3: These Are Our Stories.” Anyone could come to this event -- except for the media.

Buffett donated over $24 million to the National Abortion Federation (NAF). The Grand Jury Reporton the Gosnell case bashed NAF, “an association of abortion providers that upholds the strictest health and legal standards for its members.” The report explained how, when Gosnell applied for admission, a NAF evaluator “readily noted that records were not properly kept, that risks were not explained, that patients were not monitored, that equipment was not available, that anesthesia was misused.” While “It was the worst abortion clinic she had ever inspected,” and she refused Gosnell’s application, she ”never told anyone in authority about all the horrible, dangerous things she had seen.”

National Abortion Federation President Vicki Saporta later criticized Gosnell -- for not “ensuring fetal demise.”

Not only does Buffett give to groups that provide abortions and campaign for more abortion access, but also he gives to groups accused of performing forced abortions and sterilizations in third world countries. EngenderHealth, for example, which provides sterilization in Vietnam, has received at least $32,452,618 from Buffett. A New York Times article from July 14, 2010, discussed a possible connection between Buffett and the Ryan program, which trained OB/GYNs to perform abortions. According to the Times, “[t]here is no line item for the Ryan program or the Family Planning Fellowship. But the foundation paid out around $50 million to universities with one or both of the programs.” The article also quoted doctors at these universities who claimed that Buffett had funded the program.

Buffett gave $23,864,162 to the Population Council, the group responsible for beginning clinical trials needed to get the abortion drug RU-486 approved by the FDA. RU-486 is used to terminate pregnancies as late as 9 weeks, and has led to the deaths of at least 14 women, according to an FDA report. Buffett gave to the Population Council during the early 1990s when it was testing RU-486. The money was specifically earmarked for “clinical trials.”

Buffett’s Personal Agenda

Buffett’s support for abortion goes back decades.

Abortion is such an important issue to Buffett that he vowed to pull all donations rather than stop funding pro-abortion groups. In 2003, a 34-year-old homeschool mom’s protest made headlines when she revealed that Buffett was funding abortion causes. This caused a discussion by the Berkshire Hathaway leadership about whether or not the company should continue to fund abortion groups. So Buffett allegedly put a stop to all Berkshire Hathaway charitable donations across the board.

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Despite Buffett deciding that his multinational conglomerate holding company Berkshire Hathaway was done giving money to any charity, the Berkshire Foundation, headed by Buffett’s sister, Roberta Buffett Bialek and funded by Berkshire Hathaway, gave $50,000 in 2011 alone to the Center for Reproductive Rights. The Berkshire Foundation only gives away roughly $400,000 a year.

Buffett’s friend and vice chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, Charles Munger, himself worth $1.2 billion, helped push Buffett to become pro-choice. According to Munger, “It was emotionally hard for me to become pro-choice because I do have reverence for human life,” but “when I thought through the consequences, I found it necessary to overrule that part of my nature.”

When abortions were legal in California, but still illegal elsewhere in the country, Buffett and Munger sponsored a “church” dubbed the Ecumenical Fellowship that helped women find places to get abortions. Munger once raised his glass at a party for Los Angeles obstetrician Keith Russell, declaring that “I want to toast Dr. Russell for the thousands of babies he didn’t deliver,” according to “Damn Right: Behind the Scenes with Berkshire Hathaway Billionaire Charlie Munger” by Janet Lowe. Buffett himself wrote the foreword to this book, with nothing but praise for Munger, whom he has known since 1959.

Munger was proud of the role he and Buffett had played. “We were way ahead of the national office of Planned Parenthood in arranging abortions,” said Munger. “The Planned Parenthood chapter in Los Angeles wanted to get into that business, but didn’t know how. We merged our church, the Ecumenical Fellowship, headed by the same guy who headed the Clergy Counseling Service, into the Los Angeles chapter of Planned Parenthood.” Munger was a trustee and chief financial officer for Planned Parenthood Los Angeles for “many years.”

According to “The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life” by Alice Schroeder, the Ecumenical Fellowship was “part of the country’s abortion underground railroad.” This "underground railroad" helped women find places to get abortions in states where it was already legal before Roe v. Wade.

Buffett and Munger were also involved in People v. Belous, an early abortion case, which was cited during Roe v. Wade. The case declared laws against abortion in California to be unconstitutional. “Munger helped write the opinion. Buffett said he had never seen Munger ‘so fired up,” Schroeder explained in “The Snowball.”

“It’s very hard to argue that the earth would be better off in terms of average happiness or livelihood with twelve billion people instead of six,” Buffett argued in “The Snowball. “There is a limit, and if you don’t know what that limit is, you’re better off erring on the safe side. It’s a margin of safety approach for the survival of earth.

In 1994 Warren Buffett said that the world would have far fewer problems “if you could make every child born in this country and this world a wanted child … the closest thing we have to that is Planned Parenthood. Until women have the right to determine their reproductive destiny, we’re in an unequal society.”

Following in their father’s footsteps, the charities of Buffett’s three children, Susan, Howard and Peter, also support Planned Parenthood and other abortion groups. These include the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, the NoVo Foundation and the Sherwood Foundation.

The Culture and Media Institute reached out to both The Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation and Berkshire Hathaway. The phone number for the Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation appeared to be disconnected, but the website states that “The Buffett Foundation responds to questions about College Scholarships and the Alice Buffett Outstanding Teacher Award only. We will not respond to any other inquiries.” CMI is currently waiting for a response from Berkshire Hathaway.

The Media Turn a Blind Eye to Buffett's Abortion Funding

The grandfatherly “Oracle of Omaha” is a media favorite. Journalists seek his opinion on taxes and the economy, relish his close ties to President Obama, and always want to hear his business prognostications. So it’s odd that, although ABC, CBS and NBC have mentioned Buffett in 545 broadcasts since January 2001, the three broadcast networks only once alluded to Warren Buffett’s connection with abortion during their morning and evening shows.

And that story wasn’t even explicitly about Warren. When Buffett’s first wife passed away in July 2004, NBC’s Tom Brokaw mentioned her “major” support for Planned Parenthood in a “Nightly News” obituary.

And it isn’t as though they haven’t talked about his other charitable activity. The broadcast networks also consistently gushed over Buffett’s philanthropy and “incredibly generous” character. For example, on July 30, 2013, the entire “Good Morning America” team fawned over Buffett’s decision to auction off a tour of a chocolate factory for charity. ABC co-anchor Lara Spencer called him “incredibly generous” and praised “his pure imagination,” comparing him to the character Willy Wonka.

The Pro-life Response

But while the media practiced bias, pro-life organizations expressed outrage at the amount of Buffett’s support dedicated to the demise of babies in the womb.

To the Culture and Media Institute, Lila Rose, president of Live Action, described Buffett’s “money to fund abortions for minority women” as something that “rivals the money invested for genocide by warlords”  “By investing this money,” she stressed, “Buffett put himself up there with other genocide makers of the past.”

This “huge scandal,” she noted, “needs to be publicized and could negatively hurt Buffett’s business if people found out that his money was going to fund abortions.”

But “finding out” will prove a challenge as Rose pointed out the “gross lack of reporting around the abortion issue,” both nationally and internationally.  

Like Rose, Students for Life of America President Kristan Hawkins recognized that “there is a media bias that we're competing with” on Buffett, the “sugar daddy of the entire pro-abortion movement.”

“An activist with his money,” Buffett, “has made really his life’s passion destroying human life” and “single-handedly is ensuring the destruction of millions of children worldwide,” Hawkins said.

By exposing Buffett’s actions, Hawkins hoped, “we might be able to reduce the amount of money he’s giving” as well as “ inspire other philanthropists to consider countering what Buffett's doing.”

Director of the Center for Human Dignity at the Family Research Council, Arina Grossu, voiced similar concerns. “What kind of ‘philanthropy’ is this? Injury and destruction of human life is no philanthropy at all,” she challenged. Noting that abortions impact poor, minority communities the most, Grossu lamented, “He could be doing so much good with his money and instead, he is choosing to destroy the lives of countless mothers, fathers and children around the world.”

Jeanne Monahan, president of the March for Life, told CMI that Buffett’s “charitable” donations were far from charitable. Instead, they “sadly undermine and exploit the inherent dignity of the human person – in both moms and developing babies,”  Monahan said.

She called Buffett’s giving and research on drugs such as RU-486 “alarming.” When in times of distress women need real health care, love and support, not abortion,” she urged.

“The destruction of human life is not a solution for combating poverty or disease or aiding certain parts of the world lacking basic resources,” she continued. “Abortion is never a solution; it creates more problems. Real solutions help those in need, they do not end human life or exploit the dignity of the human person.”

Methodology

All information on the Warren Buffett’s charitable donations were gathered through the 990 tax returns for the Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation, which he heads. The Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation went by the name The Buffett Foundation until 2004. The name change occurred after the death of Warren Buffett’s wife, Susan Thompson Buffett. These tax forms are available to the public, no special permission was required to view them.

According to these tax returns, Buffett gave $1,230,585,161 between 2001 and 2012. He gave an additional 21,042,004 to these groups between 1989 and 1996, adding up to a grand total of $1,251,627,165. The Culture and Media Institute could not get copies of the tax returns 1997 and 2000 for Buffett’s foundation.

The network tally was determined by searching for “Buffett” in transcripts from ABC, CBS and NBC on Nexis and analyzing the result..

The following is a list of pro-abortion groups that have received funding from the Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation. This list does not include any groups that provide contraceptives, but not abortion, or groups that encourage natural family planning methods. The only groups included on this list, and in the final tally, were groups which either provided abortions themselves or advocated for abortion or access to abortion.

  • Abortion Access Project
  • Center for Reproductive Rights
  • Central Iowa Family Planning
  • Funders Network on Population, Reproductive Health and Rights
  • NARAL
  • National Abortion Federation
  • National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association
  • Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health
  • Planned Parenthood
  • Religious Coalition for Reproductive Health
  • Society of Family Planning
  • Catholics for a Free Choice
  • Grupo de Informacion en Reproduccion Elegida
  • Ibis Reproductive Health
  • Medical Students for Choice
  • Ms. Foundation for Women
  • National Institute for Reproductive Health
  • Abortion Access Project
  • Gynuity Health Projects
  • Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights
  • Family Health International
  • National Partnership for Women and Families
  • Feminist Majority Foundation
  • Guttmacher Institute
  • Advocates for Youth
  • DKT International
  • Irish Family Planning Association
  • Marie Stopes International
  • National Women’s Law Center
  • Pathfinder International
  • Population Council
  • Population Services International
  • Engender Health
  • Venture Strategies for Health and Development
  • Willow Foundation
Reprinted with permission from NewsBusters


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BREAKING: In historic meeting Pope, Russian Patriarch decry abortion, defend traditional marriage

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Feb. 12, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) - A joint declaration signed by both Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill, head of the Orthodox Church of Moscow and All Russia, issued today after their historic meeting in the Havana Cuba airport issues a strong call for the defense of life and family. 

The declaration commenced with a wish to reestablish Christian unity, stating a “determination to undertake all that is necessary to overcome the historical divergences we have inherited.”

The religious leaders expressed the wish to combine the efforts of Orthodox and Catholics “to give witness to the Gospel of Christ and to the shared heritage of the Church of the first millennium, responding together to the challenges of the contemporary world” since “human civilization has entered into a period of epochal change.”

"We regret that other forms of cohabitation have been placed on the same level as this union, while the concept, consecrated in the biblical tradition, of paternity and maternity as the distinct vocation of man and woman in marriage is being banished from the public conscience."

After discussing the violent Christian persecution underway in the Middle East and North Africa, the Pope and Patriarch turned their attention to the West. “At the same time, we are concerned about the situation in many countries in which Christians are increasingly confronted by restrictions to religious freedom, to the right to witness to one’s convictions and to live in conformity with them.”

“In particular, we observe that the transformation of some countries into secularized societies, estranged from all reference to God and to His truth, constitutes a grave threat to religious freedom,” they said. “It is a source of concern for us that there is a current curtailment of the rights of Christians, if not their outright discrimination, when certain political forces, guided by an often very aggressive secularist ideology, seek to relegate them to the margins of public life.”

The declaration expresses concern about the “crisis in the family in many countries” and notes “Orthodox and Catholics share the same conception of the family.”

“The family is based on marriage, an act of freely given and faithful love between a man and a woman,” it says. “We regret that other forms of cohabitation have been placed on the same level as this union, while the concept, consecrated in the biblical tradition, of paternity and maternity as the distinct vocation of man and woman in marriage is being banished from the public conscience.”

Marriage, they said, “is a path of holiness, testifying to the faithfulness of the spouses in their mutual interaction, to their openness to the procreation and rearing of their children, to solidarity between the generations and to respect for the weakest.” It is “a school of love and faithfulness.” Love, says the declaration, seals the union of the husband and wife “and teaches them to accept one another as a gift.”

The Pope and Patriarch called for an end to abortion. “We call on all to respect the inalienable right to life,” said the declaration. “Millions are denied the very right to be born into the world. The blood of the unborn cries out to God (cf. Gen 4:10).”

The declaration also condemned euthanasia and immoral reproductive technologies, which would include IVF and destructive research on human embryos.

The emergence of so-called euthanasia leads elderly people and the disabled begin to feel that they are a burden on their families and on society in general. We are also concerned about the development of biomedical reproduction technology, as the manipulation of human life represents an attack on the foundations of human existence, created in the image of God. We believe that it is our duty to recall the immutability of Christian moral principles, based on respect for the dignity of the individual called into being according to the Creator’s plan.

The declaration decries the persecution of Christians, particularly in the Middle East and North Africa, where “whole families, villages and cities of our brothers and sisters in Christ are being completely exterminated.” 

They called on the international community to act urgently since “churches are being barbarously ravaged and looted, their sacred objects profaned, their monuments destroyed.”  With “pain” they called to mind “the massive exodus of Christians from the land in which our faith was first disseminated and in which they have lived since the time of the Apostles, together with other religious communities.”

They specifically called on all Christians to pray that may “not permit a new world war.”

 

The complete text of the joint declaration follows:

“The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God the Father and the fellowship of the holy Spirit be with all of you” (2 Cor 13:13).

1. By God the Father’s will, from which all gifts come, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the help of the Holy Spirit Consolator, we, Pope Francis and Kirill, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, have met today in Havana. We give thanks to God, glorified in the Trinity, for this meeting, the first in history.

It is with joy that we have met like brothers in the Christian faith who encounter one another “to speak face to face” (2 Jn 12), from heart to heart, to discuss the mutual relations between the  Churches, the crucial problems of our faithful, and the outlook for the progress of human civilization.

2. Our fraternal meeting has taken place in Cuba, at the crossroads of North and South, East and West. It is from this island, the symbol of the hopes of the “New World” and the dramatic events of the history of the twentieth century, that we address our words to all the peoples of Latin America and of the other continents.

It is a source of joy that the Christian faith is growing here in a dynamic way.  The powerful religious potential of Latin America, its centuries–old Christian tradition, grounded in the personal experience of millions of people, are the pledge of a great future for this region.

3. By meeting far from the longstanding disputes of the “Old World”, we experience with a particular sense of urgency the need for the shared labour of Catholics and Orthodox, who are called, with gentleness and respect, to give an explanation to the world of the hope in us (cf. 1 Pet 3:15).

4. We thank God for the gifts received from the coming into the world of His only Son. We share the same spiritual Tradition of the first millennium of Christianity. The witnesses of this Tradition are the Most Holy Mother of God, the Virgin Mary, and the saints we venerate.  Among them are innumerable martyrs who have given witness to their faithfulness to Christ and have become the “seed of Christians”.

5. Notwithstanding this shared Tradition of the first ten centuries, for nearly one thousand years Catholics and Orthodox have been deprived of communion in the Eucharist. We have been divided by wounds caused by old and recent conflicts, by differences inherited from our ancestors, in the understanding and expression of our faith in God, one in three Persons – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We are pained by the loss of unity, the outcome of human weakness and of sin, which has occurred despite the priestly prayer of Christ the Saviour: “So that they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you … so that they may be one, as we are one” (Jn 17:21).

6. Mindful of the permanence of many obstacles, it is our hope that our meeting may contribute to the re–establishment of this unity willed by God, for which Christ prayed. May our meeting inspire Christians throughout the world to pray to the Lord with renewed fervour for the full unity of all His disciples. In a world which yearns not only for our words but also for tangible gestures, may this meeting be a sign of hope for all people of goodwill!

7. In our determination to undertake all that is necessary to overcome the historical divergences we have inherited, we wish to combine our efforts to give witness to the Gospel of Christ and to the shared heritage of the Church of the first millennium, responding together to the challenges of the contemporary world. Orthodox and Catholics must learn to give unanimously witness in those spheres in which this is possible and necessary. Human civilization has entered into a period of epochal change. Our Christian conscience and our pastoral responsibility compel us not to remain passive in the face of challenges requiring a shared response.

8. Our gaze must firstly turn to those regions of the world where Christians are victims of persecution. In many countries of the Middle East and North Africa whole families, villages and cities of our brothers and sisters in Christ are being completely exterminated. Their churches are being barbarously ravaged and looted, their sacred objects profaned, their monuments destroyed. It is with pain that we call to mind the situation in Syria, Iraq and other countries of the Middle East, and the massive exodus of Christians from the land in which our faith was first disseminated and in which they have lived since the time of the Apostles, together with other religious communities.

9. We call upon the international community to act urgently in order to prevent the further expulsion of Christians from the Middle East. In raising our voice in defence of persecuted Christians, we wish to express our compassion for the suffering experienced by the faithful of other religious traditions who have also become victims of civil war, chaos and terrorist violence.

10. Thousands of victims have already been claimed in the violence in Syria and Iraq, which has left many other millions without a home or means of sustenance. We urge the international community to seek an end to the violence and terrorism and, at the same time, to contribute through dialogue to a swift return to civil peace. Large–scale humanitarian aid must be assured to the afflicted populations and to the many refugees seeking safety in neighbouring lands.

We call upon all those whose influence can be brought to bear upon the destiny of those kidnapped, including the Metropolitans of Aleppo, Paul and John Ibrahim, who were taken in April 2013, to make every effort to ensure their prompt liberation.

11. We lift our prayers to Christ, the Saviour of the world, asking for the return of peace in the Middle East, “the fruit of justice” (Is 32:17), so that fraternal co–existence among the various populations, Churches and religions may be strengthened, enabling refugees to return to their homes, wounds to be healed, and the souls of the slain innocent to rest in peace.

We address, in a fervent appeal, all the parts that may be involved in the conflicts to demonstrate good will and to take part in the negotiating table. At the same time, the international community must undertake every possible effort to end terrorism through common, joint and coordinated action. We call on all the countries involved in the struggle against terrorism to responsible and prudent action. We exhort all Christians and all believers of God to pray fervently to the providential Creator of the world to protect His creation from destruction and not permit a new world war. In order to ensure a solid and enduring peace, specific efforts must be undertaken to rediscover the common values uniting us, based on the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.

12. We bow before the martyrdom of those who, at the cost of their own lives, have given witness to the truth of the Gospel, preferring death to the denial of Christ. We believe that these martyrs of our times, who belong to various Churches but who are united by their shared suffering, are a pledge of the unity of Christians. It is to you who suffer for Christ’s sake that the word of the Apostle is directed: “Beloved … rejoice to the extent that you share in the sufferings of Christ, so that when his glory is revealed you may also rejoice exultantly” (1 Pet 4:12–13).

13. Interreligious dialogue is indispensable in our disturbing times. Differences in the understanding of religious truths must not impede people of different faiths to live in peace and harmony. In our current context, religious leaders have the particular responsibility to educate their faithful in a spirit which is respectful of the convictions of those belonging to other religious traditions. Attempts to justify criminal acts with religious slogans are altogether unacceptable. No crime may be committed in God’s name, “since God is not the God of disorder but of peace” (1 Cor 14:33).

14. In affirming the foremost value of religious freedom, we give thanks to God for the current unprecedented renewal of the Christian faith in Russia, as well as in many other countries of Eastern Europe, formerly dominated for decades by atheist regimes. Today, the chains of militant atheism have been broken and in many places Christians can now freely confess their faith. Thousands of new churches have been built over the last quarter of a century, as well as hundreds of monasteries and theological institutions. Christian communities undertake notable works in the fields of charitable aid and social development, providing diversified forms of assistance to the needy. Orthodox and Catholics often work side by side. Giving witness to the values of the Gospel they attest to the existence of the shared spiritual foundations of human co–existence.

15. At the same time, we are concerned about the situation in many countries in which Christians are increasingly confronted by restrictions to religious freedom, to the right to witness to one’s convictions and to live in conformity with them. In particular, we observe that the transformation of some countries into secularized societies, estranged from all reference to God and to His truth, constitutes a grave threat to religious freedom.  It is a source of concern for us that there is a current curtailment of the rights of Christians, if not their outright discrimination, when certain political forces, guided by an often very aggressive secularist ideology, seek to relegate them to the margins of public life.

16. The process of European integration, which began after centuries of blood–soaked conflicts, was welcomed by many with hope, as a guarantee of peace and security. Nonetheless, we invite vigilance against an integration that is devoid of respect for religious identities. While remaining open to the contribution of other religions to our civilization, it is our conviction that Europe must remain faithful to its Christian roots. We call upon Christians of Eastern and Western Europe to unite in their shared witness to Christ and the Gospel, so that Europe may preserve its soul, shaped by two thousand years of Christian tradition.

17. Our gaze is also directed to those facing serious difficulties, who live in extreme need and poverty while the material wealth of humanity increases. We cannot remain indifferent to the destinies of millions of migrants and refugees knocking on the doors of wealthy nations. The unrelenting consumerism of some more developed countries is gradually depleting the resources of our planet. The growing inequality in the distribution of material goods increases the feeling of the injustice of the international order that has emerged.

18. The Christian churches are called to defend the demands of justice, the respect for peoples’ traditions, and an authentic solidarity towards all those who suffer. We Christians cannot forget that “God chose the foolish of the world to shame the wise, and God chose the lowly and despised of the world, those who count for nothing, to reduce to nothing those who are something, that no human being might boast before God” (1 Cor 1:27–29).

19. The family is the natural centre of human life and society. We are concerned about the crisis in the family in many countries. Orthodox and Catholics share the same conception of the family, and are called to witness that it is a path of holiness, testifying to the faithfulness of the spouses in their mutual interaction, to their openness to the procreation and rearing of their children, to solidarity between the generations and to respect for the weakest.

20. The family is based on marriage, an act of freely given and faithful love between a man and a woman. It is love that seals their union and teaches them to accept one another as a gift. Marriage is a school of love and faithfulness. We regret that other forms of cohabitation have been placed on the same level as this union, while the concept, consecrated in the biblical tradition, of paternity and maternity as the distinct vocation of man and woman in marriage is being banished from the public conscience.

21. We call on all to respect the inalienable right to life. Millions are denied the very right to be born into the world. The blood of the unborn cries out to God (cf. Gen 4:10).

The emergence of so-called euthanasia leads elderly people and the disabled begin to feel that they are a burden on their families and on society in general.

We are also concerned about the development of biomedical reproduction technology, as the manipulation of human life represents an attack on the foundations of human existence, created in the image of God. We believe that it is our duty to recall the immutability of Christian moral principles, based on respect for the dignity of the individual called into being according to the Creator’s plan.

22. Today, in a particular way, we address young Christians. You, young people, have the task of not hiding your talent in the ground (cf. Mt 25:25), but of using all the abilities God has given you to confirm Christ’s truth in the world, incarnating in your own lives the evangelical commandments of the love of God and of one’s neighbour. Do not be afraid of going against the current, defending God’s truth, to which contemporary secular norms are often far from conforming.

23. God loves each of you and expects you to be His disciples and apostles. Be the light of the world so that those around you may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father (cf. Mt 5:14, 16). Raise your children in the Christian faith, transmitting to them the pearl of great price that is the faith (cf. Mt 13:46) you have received from your parents and forbears. Remember that “you have been purchased at a great price” (1 Cor 6:20), at the cost of the death on the cross of the Man–God Jesus Christ.

24. Orthodox and Catholics are united not only by the shared Tradition of the Church of the first millennium, but also by the mission to preach the Gospel of Christ in the world today. This mission entails mutual respect for members of the Christian communities and excludes any form of proselytism.

We are not competitors but brothers, and this concept must guide all our mutual actions as well as those directed to the outside world. We urge Catholics and Orthodox in all countries to learn to live together in peace and love, and to be “in harmony with one another” (Rm 15:5). Consequently, it cannot be accepted that disloyal means be used to incite believers to pass from one Church to another, denying them their religious freedom and their traditions. We are called upon to put into practice the precept of the apostle Paul: “Thus I aspire to proclaim the gospel not where Christ has already been named, so that I do not build on another's foundation” (Rm 15:20).

25. It is our hope that our meeting may also contribute to reconciliation wherever tensions exist between Greek Catholics and Orthodox. It is today clear that the past method of “uniatism”, understood as the union of one community to the other, separating it from its Church, is not the way to re–establish unity. Nonetheless, the ecclesial communities which emerged in these historical circumstances have the right to exist and to undertake all that is necessary to meet the spiritual needs of their faithful, while seeking to live in peace with their neighbours. Orthodox and Greek Catholics are in need of reconciliation and of mutually acceptable forms of co–existence.

26. We deplore the hostility in Ukraine that has already caused many victims, inflicted innumerable wounds on peaceful inhabitants and thrown society into a deep economic and humanitarian crisis. We invite all the parts involved in the conflict to prudence, to social solidarity and to action aimed at constructing peace. We invite our Churches in Ukraine to work towards social harmony, to refrain from taking part in the confrontation, and to not support any further development of the conflict.

27. It is our hope that the schism between the Orthodox faithful in Ukraine may be overcome through existing canonical norms, that all the Orthodox Christians of Ukraine may live in peace and harmony, and that the Catholic communities in the country may contribute to this, in such a way that our Christian brotherhood may become increasingly evident.

28. In the contemporary world, which is both multiform yet united by a shared destiny, Catholics and Orthodox are called to work together fraternally in proclaiming the Good News of salvation, to testify together to the moral dignity and authentic freedom of the person, “so that the world may believe” (Jn 17:21). This world, in which the spiritual pillars of human existence are progressively disappearing, awaits from us a compelling Christian witness in all spheres of personal and social life. Much of the future of humanity will depend on our capacity to give shared witness to the Spirit of truth in these difficult times.

29. May our bold witness to God’s truth and to the Good News of salvation be sustained by the Man–God Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour, who strengthens us with the unfailing promise: “Do not be afraid any longer, little flock, for your Father is pleased to give you the kingdom” (Lk 12:32)!

Christ is the well–spring of joy and hope. Faith in Him transfigures human life, fills it with meaning. This is the conviction borne of the experience of all those to whom Peter refers in his words: “Once you were ‘no people’ but now you are God’s people; you ‘had not received mercy’ but now you have received mercy” (1 Pet 2:10).

30. With grace–filled gratitude for the gift of mutual understanding manifested during our meeting, let us with hope turn to the Most Holy Mother of God, invoking her with the words of this ancient prayer: “We seek refuge under the protection of your mercy, Holy Mother of God”. May the Blessed Virgin Mary, through her intercession, inspire fraternity in all those who venerate her, so that they may be reunited, in God’s own time, in the peace and harmony of the one people of God, for the glory of the Most Holy and indivisible Trinity!
 
Francis                                  Kirill
Bishop of Rome                      Patriarch of Moscow 
Pope of the Catholic Church    and all Russia



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Congress subpoenas StemExpress, notorious late-term abortion facility in body parts investigation

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WASHINGTON, D.C., February 12, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) - Planned Parenthood has declared itself innocent - but it forgot to consult Congress.

The special committee investigating Planned Parenthood, the Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives, announced on Thursday night that it is issuing subpoenas to three organizations involved in the possible trafficking of human organs.

StemExpress, the company that partnered with Planned Parenthood to extract tissue and organs from aborted babies' cadavers, is the most conspicuous of the three.

Former StemExpress technician Holly O'Donnell described how a technician restarted an aborted baby's heartbeat, then told her to cut through the child's face to harvest his brains.

The National Institutes of Health paid StemExpress thousands of dollars for fetal tissue samples, records show.

Undercover videos depict the biotech company's CEO, Cate Dyer, boasting, "I have a picture from Hillary" Clinton on her desk. In another video, she jokes about shipping the fully intact bodies of aborted babies to unsuspecting lab technicians.

StemExpress publicly cut ties with Planned Parenthood last August.

The University of New Mexico and Southwestern Women’s Options have come under investigation after it became clear the university had a close relationship with one of the nation's most notorious late-term abortionists to receive aborted babies' tissues and organs for scientific experiments.

Last year, investigators discovered that the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center obtained its samples from SWO, where Dr. Curtis Boyd is one of a handful of people in the nation willing to perform abortions in the third trimester.

University officials told the Albuquerque Journal they had no documentation of the specifics of arrangement - how many organs Boyd supplied, for instance. But the New Mexico Alliance for Life uncovered a document containing the information.

"Fetal liver and kidney samples were obtained 15 minutes after termination from six fetuses ranging from 12 to 22 weeks gestation," the document states.

The group questions whether he changed the abortion technique to obtain the greatest number of organs, and whether he employed the illegal partial birth abortion method.

As part of the arrangement Dr. Boyd, who was deemed "faculty" in university documents, also trained UNM students in his industry. The university later ended that program.

All three organizations had been asked to comply with the Congressional investigation but had failed to do so voluntarily, according to the panel's chairwoman.

“By failing to fully cooperate with our investigation, these organizations have compelled our panel to subpoena these documents in order to acquire information that is vital to the completion of our work,” said the panel's chair, Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-TN. “Without these subpoenas, the American people and the House itself would be left to speculate about what is going on in the fetal tissue industry."

"We cannot leave questions unanswered,” she said.

StemExpress has stonewalled before, seeking a legal injunction forbidding David Daleiden and the Center for Medical Progress from releasing undercover footage of its CEO. A judge in California ruled against the company last summer.

Meanwhile, New Mexico pro-life leaders welcome the focus on their state.

"The fact that UNM HSC disbanded its late-term abortion resident program at SWO is a tacit acknowledgement of guilt in violating their own policies, procedures and blatant misuse of public trust and funds," said Elisa Martinez, executive director of the New Mexico Alliance for Life. "The flimsy agreement between UNM and late-term abortionist Curtis Boyd, signed by UNM's Dr. Eve Espey, appears to be constructed to conceal the potential sale of late-term baby body parts to UNM, which to date, has withheld any documentation as to the compensation of Curtis Boyd, the compensation of residents and any record of their late-term baby body parts inventory."



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Clinton and Sanders commit to fund abortion worldwide by gutting the Helms amendment

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WASHINGTON, D.C., February 12, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) - Both candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination have endorsed a key pillar of the population control agenda, for the first time pledging to "fix" a U.S. law prohibiting foreign aid from funding abortion overseas.

Hillary Clinton makes the new promise in a new video posted online by the Population Connection Action Fund, formerly Zero Population Growth.

An unidentified activist for the group asks if the former Secretary of State will "help fix the Helms Amendment" - a 1973 law that blocks federal dollars from paying for abortion “as a method of family planning" overseas.

"Oh yeah, yeah, yeah. I'm on record on that," Clinton replies on the video, which was publicized by The Huffington Post.

She continues, "One of the reasons why I -" before abruptly interrupting herself and giving the activist a thumbs-up as the video ends.

Despite her comment, Clinton had not publicly said she would change the way the law is implemented in any way. In an Iowa town hall meeting last November, she said she would "we have to take a look at this for conflict zones" where rape is used as a weapon, but held out the possibility that a future government "maintains our prohibition."

Her chief rival, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, went further, promising to fund global abortion providers by executive order.

“Sen. Sanders is opposed to the Helms amendment,” Arianna Jones, Sanders' deputy communications director, told The Huffington Post. “As president, he will sign an executive order to allow for U.S. foreign aid to pay for abortions in cases of rape, incest, or when the life of the woman is at risk. He will also work with Congress to permanently repeal both the Hyde and Helms amendments.” The Hyde Amendment prohibits federal funding of abortions for American women except in the cases of rape, incest, or to save the life of the mother.

The question is the latest in an ongoing attempt to siphon money from the U.S. Treasury into the hands of abortionists, at home and abroad.

While the late Sen. Jesse Helms, who was staunchly pro-life, intended to prevent taxpayers from underwriting abortion, population control advocates and others who promote abortion say the law he authored never did that - but three Democratic presidents somehow missed that fact.

"The restriction has been wrongly implemented by all eight presidential administrations since its inception, as a total ban on abortion care," according to the Center for Reproductive Rights.

Feminist activists and non-governmental organizations like the Global Justice Center have lobbied President Obama to reinterpret the rule and fund abortion for African women raped by Boko Haram and other terrorist organizations in the region.

Although President Obama shown little restraint in recasting the law - for instance, claiming that civil rights laws banning sexual discrimination apply to transgender people - he has declined to do so in this case.



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