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    AmP Countdown: Time left to demand that Congress make health care reform pro-life: 2009-11-07 18:00:00 GMT-05:00


    Thursday, December 17, 2009

    Action: Thank Ben Nelson for his pro-life stand!

    Earlier today I blogged on the "Casey compromise" that Ben Nelson was said to be reviewing. As I noted at the time, numerous pro-life individuals and organizations have declared that the Casey compromise is "unacceptable."

    Now it appears that Nelson has come to the same conclusion , and is standing strong that the abortion language needs to be eliminated.

    Please, if you have a few moments - and especially if you live in Nebraska - use this official email form to thank Senator Nelson for his courage!

    update: the spokesman for the US bishops on life issues, Richard Doerflinger is also against the Casey Compromise, as he told the New York Times today.

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    Wednesday, December 16, 2009

    Pro-Life Video: SBA List asks Sen. Casey "Who Shall Live?"

    Democrat Senators Bob Casey and Ben Nelson are the most important pro-life votes in the health care debate right now.

    A new ad being aired by the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List asks Senator Casey to live up to his late father's words (in a speech he gave at Notre Dame):


    In a landmark speech, the late Governor Robert Casey, Senior said "Nothing could be more foreign to the American experience than legalized abortion. It is inconsistent with our national character, with our national purpose, with all that we've done, and with everything we hope to be."

    But right now, Robert Casey, Junior is poised to vote in the Senate for a health care bill with federal funding for abortion. The bill will result in more abortions—abortions that Americans will be required to finance. Senator Casey, trading the lives of unborn children for a health care bill is inconsistent with our American character.

    "The abortion debate is not about how we shall live, but who shall live. And more than that, its about who we are."

    Contact Bob Casey, Junior today and tell him to vote NO on any health care bill that funds abortion. - SBA List
    A story by LifeNews, meanwhile, points out that the Democrat leadership is doing everything they can to pull Senator Ben Nelson over to their side:
    [pro-abortion Maryland Sen. Ben Cardin] told NRO to watch for the manager's amendment, which could include language that would satisfy Nelson but eventually be withdraw in the conference committee to leave the bill funding abortions.
    ... Reid is reportedly working on the [new abortion] language with Sen. Bob Casey, the Senate's only other self-proclaimed pro-life Democrat -- although Casey faces criticism of his own for appearing to support the bill even with abortion funding in place.
    Both Senators Nelson and Casey should be encouraged to oppose this pro-abortion bill!

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    Friday, November 06, 2009

    Report: Pelosi's office trashed by pro-life demonstrators

    I was on Capital Hill yesterday afternoon for pro-life meetings about efforts to stop this pro-abortion health care reform being voted on this weekend.

    As I was going into one of the House buildings, I saw Randall Terry on the street outside rounding up people to go to Nancy Pelosi's office "to tear up the health care bill."

    I have no tolerance for Randall Terry's activities, and I wasn't about to get involved in whatever he was planning. I went to my meetings, and after came out, I wasn't surprised to hear people talking about the commotion he had caused at Nancy Pelosi's office, which included Fr. Norman Weslin - an elderly priest who was famously arrested on Notre Dame's campus earlier this year - again being arrested and dragged out into a waiting cop car.

    I twittered the news (here and here) as it was related to me, and Jill Stanek has a full report, including video of what transpired. A bystander promised to get me pictures of what happened, but I don't see much point in posting them.

    Such activities, in my estimation, serve no purpose. They certainly do not seem to convert any hearts, and only allow enemies of our cause to caricature us as violent, unlawful trouble makers, which is of course a disservice to our sincere efforts to advance a culture of life in this country.

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    Wednesday, November 04, 2009

    Urgent: As health care goes to a vote this Saturday - no change in abortion funding

    Here in Washington DC, Nancy Pelosi is reportedly scrounging around for the last pledges she needs to bring her health care reform bill to a vote THIS SATURDAY.

    NARAL and Planned Parenthood are fully engaged, lying that pro-lifers are trying to take away the current abortion coverage some women have. Well, we're not (would that we were!) - we're simply trying to keep the status quo and prevent health care "reform" from becoming a vehicle for pro-aborts to further mainstream, normalize and even subsidize abortions with our money (abortion fees are big business for NARAL and Planned Parenthood. Of course, we don't have a financial stake in this. They do.)

    Jill Stanek does an excellent job pointing out clearly how the new "pro-life amendments" offered this week are "phony" and amount to nothing more than "cosmetic" changes. 

    “I am disappointed the manager’s amendment introduced Tuesday night does nothing to change, let alone improve, the inadequate language on federal funding for abortion currently in the health care bill. I will continue to oppose, and will continue whipping my colleagues to oppose, bringing the bill to the floor for a vote until there is satisfactory language to prevent public funding for abortion.”
    ... matters have since been thrown into doubt because, due to a death in the family, Rep. Stupak will not be in Washington DC this week for any of the votes! Obviously Pelosi sees her opportunity.

    Folks, there's no rest for the weary. Please continue to contact your representatives and demand that they vote NO on health care at least until genuine pro-life amendments are offered and approved!

    (And even then, I strongly believe we should still vote no on this flawed and irresponsible bill.)

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    Friday, October 30, 2009

    Commentary: On Bart Stupak's Collapse

    Bart, what happened?!

    Earlier this week I was able to write about you standing up to Nancy Pelosi and fighting for pro-life amendments.

    But yesterday a YouTube video of you surfaced which revealed that you intend to vote for Pelosi's pro-abortion health care bill even if all your amendments fail!

    Now you are writing editorials which have you saying:

    "I have not made unreasonable demands. I have simply asked that there be a straight up-or-down vote on my amendment reflective of current laws. If we had a clean vote on this amendment and lost, I could accept that. My pro-life colleagues and I simply want, and deserve, a chance to vote our conscience."
    But Bart, you have had chances to offer pro-life amendments. And they have been voted down. Now you are going to give up and accept this pro-abortion bill?

    What happened to the Bart about whom it was written, and who said when interviewed:
    However, the Michigan Democrat said he will not be backing down: "I'm comfortable with where I'm at. This is who I am. It's reflective of my district. If it costs me my seat, so be it." {source.}
    How much things have changed in a matter of days. Do you really think anyone will believe your claim that your conscience is only requiring you to offer and vote on amendments, and that if they get defeated, your conscience is fine with voting for the pro-abortion bill?

    I guess you do, but it sure puts the other pro-life Democrats in a lurch, a big one. Pelosi is once again getting her way, picking off the leaders of those representatives who are against her. Your vote is ultimately the only thing you have that she needs from you, and saying your amendments don't matter when it comes time to vote - well, you don't have a future in poker. Let's put it that way.

    ===

    Because this whole situation is complicated, I'll finish simply:
    1. The lack of pro-life amendments in PelosiCare ought to be a deal-breaker for you. Don't let Pelosi strong-arm you into compromising your conscience, and your constituents. Frankly, if you vote for this, you'll probably lose your seat anyway. I'll help.
    2. Stupak's amendment, whatever Stupak's personal philosophy about voting, is still GOOD. Just because he's having 11th-hour second-thoughts doesn't mean Catholics ought not still rally around his pro-life amendment, or any pro-life amendment that gets offered.

    At this point, we'll see if pro-life amendments are even given a chance. That looks doubtful in itself.

    Oh, and Hon. Stupak, it's not too late to change your mind again. The vote hasn't happened ... yet.

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    Claim: Pro-Life Democrats can still defeat pro-abortion "PelosiCare" bill

    Personally, I have next to no confidence that this coalition will actually stand strong and not end up crumbling and voting for PelosiCare:
    "Democrats for Life of America claims to have 40 congressmen who will vote against the House health care reform legislation if taxpayer funded abortion language is not removed from the bill, the organization announced on Thursday.

    The 40 vote coalition concerns the refusal of the House leadership to include language that would prevent abortions from being paid for in any new health care reform scheme. If Hyde Amendment-type language were inserted into the bill, Democrats for Life of America (DFLA) says, taxpayer funded abortions in appropriations bills would be prevented.

    Several attempts to insert such language have been unsuccessful in committee.

    "I want to be clear, pro-life Democrats want to help pass health care reform but our coalition can in no- way support reform that includes tax payer funded abortions. If the leadership will remove that language, we feel confident that we can deliver enough votes to help put this much needed reform over the top in the House," Kristen Day, DFLA Executive Director, said in a statement.

    “We believe in a big-tent Democratic Party, but to not allow Hyde language to be included in health care reform would force some pro-choice and pro-life Democrats to vote against health care reform. If we add this language, we believe we can help Speaker Pelosi get the votes to pass this legislation.” (CNA)
    I will be blogging next on what I sald have to describe as "Bart Stupak's collapse."

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    Last call: Seeking paid volunteers for Hoffman in upstate New York

    I promise this will be one of the last times I bug you about Doug Hoffman, the conservative candidate in upstate New York for its seat in the US House of Representatives.

    This is the last weekend before folks up there go to the polls next Tuesday. I can connect anyone who is free this weekend with pro-life, pro-family organizations on the ground up there who can pay for travel, lodging and daily expenses. I think this is a very worthwhile use of your time.

    The latest polls show Hoffman in a dead heat with the Democrat candidate Bill Owens, but Democrats typically have a much stronger turn-out-the-vote campaign, so Hoffman needs help this weekend and up until election day.

    If you have a car and can donate some of your time this weekend or before and during the election day to this campaign, please do so. As I've said before, this may be a local race, but it has a potential to send a clear message to politicians in Washington DC that pro-life, pro-family, and economically-responsible candidates are the way to win in future elections, and now.

    Please email me at "thomas dot americanpapist dot com" if you are interested or know someone who might be interested.

    If you can't make it to upstate New York, but still want to help financially, here's how.

    Through your assistance, I look forward to reporting good news next Tuesday.

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    Thursday, October 29, 2009

    Imperative: US Bishops urge *every* parish to utilize bullet insert on health care reform

    Yesterday I blogged about my claim that "How many bishops support the current health care reform? None of them."

    My claim is born out today by this email sent out by the USCCB Pro-Life Activities secretariat. It represents an unprecedented mobilization of the Catholic faithful on a particular political issue.

    It is simply incredible - the US Bishops want every parish in America to help them get the message out. It explicitly says that individual dioceses ought not to "opt out" of this innitiative.

    I don't care if I overload my bandwidth having indivividuals download these materials - we need to take action, starting in your parish:

    From: Tom Grenchik, Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities

    To: Diocesan Pro-Life Directors & State Catholic Conference Director

    Re: URGENT: Nationwide USCCB Bulletin Insert on Health Care Reform

    Attached [see below], please find an Urgent Memorandum highlighting USCCB plans and requests for diocesan and parish based activation on health care reform.

    The President of the Conference and the Chairmen of the three major USCCB committees engaged in health care reform have written all the bishops and asked that the attached USCCB Nationwide Bulletin Insert on health care reform be printed or hand-stuffed in every parish bulletin and/or distributed in pews or at church entrances as soon as possible.

    Congressional votes may take place as soon as early November. If your Arch/bishop is not in agreement with disseminating the bulletin insert, you will be hearing from his office immediately. You may wish to check with his office ASAP to see how you may be of assistance in distributing the Bulletin Insert, far and wide.

    Tomorrow, the USCCB will be e-mailing these same materials to a large number of parishes across the country, already on a USCCB contact list. The parish list is incomplete, so we will still have to rely on diocesan e-mail systems to reach EVERY parish. Thank you for your great help with this.

    Also included are suggested Pulpit Announcements and a Prayer Petition.

    There is also a copy of a newly-released ad for the Catholic press, which may be printed as flyers for the vestibule or copied on the flip-side of the Bulletin Insert. The flyer/ad directs readers to www.usccb.org/action where they may send their pre-written e-mails to Congress through NCHLA’s Grassroots Action Center. If you wish to sponsor the ad in your local Catholic paper and need a different size, please contact Deirdre McQuade at dmcquade@usccb.org.

    Please encourage parishioners to pray for this effort as well. More information can be found at www.usccb.org/healthcare.

    Thank you for your urgent actions and prayers on behalf of this nationwide effort!

    With this email are four attached documents - print these out, share them and take action:
    1. HC Cover Note to Leaders, Final.doc (a digital version of the email above)
    2. HC Bulletin Insert 10-23-09 Final.pdf (the one-stop nationwide parish bulletin insert)
    3. HC Pulpit Announcement & Prayer, Final 1.doc (a how-to for distributing the materials)
    4. HC Ad Saving_Lives_Flyer_FINAL.pdf (a flyer to be placed on bulletin boards, etc.)
    Note especially this Suggested Prayer of the Faithful:
    "That Congress will act to ensure that needed health care reform will truly protect the life, dignity and health care of all and that we will raise our voices to protect the unborn and the most vulnerable and to preserve our freedom of conscience. We pray to the Lord."
    This prayer perfectly illustrates the main themes I have been harping on throughout this debate - that health care reform, as it currently stands, is not truly pro-life and universal, and that it contains no respect for (Catholic) conscience protection. These are glaring shortcomings that urgently need to be addressed!

    Action items:
    • Please ask your pastor if he intends to use these materials. If he is not aware of them - forward them to this post on AmP so he has access to them. Or, print them out and bring them to him personally.
    • Perform the action items described in the materials I've provided in this USCCB bulletin insert.
    • Pray that health care reform not be passed unless it is truly universal and pro-life.

    Health care reform could be voted on as early as next week. These materials need to be in the hands of Catholics starting this weekend. Thank you for your efforts in serving our bishops and getting the word out. Godspeed.

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    Wednesday, October 28, 2009

    Action: Donate to Help Elect a Pro-Lifer in NY-23 (who has a good chance!)

    I've written before about the situation in New York's 23rd congressional district which goes to the polls next Tuesday.

    My friends have been hard at work getting the word out about the pro-life candidate, Doug Hoffman, with a photo and an article in today's New York Times.

    The Catholic Family Association has endorsed Hoffman:
    CFA Executive Director: "Doug Hoffman embodies what our group promotes: pro-family stances on every important issue--from taxes to healthcare to abortion--facing Americans. Given the radicalism of his opponents, the choice is clear in NY-23."
    The latest polls show Hoffman pulling into the lead, but with only days to go, we ought to help the pro-life, pro-family organizations on the ground seal the deal.

    This is a local race with national consequences, for the reasons I've explained before, so if you can do anything to help out the efforts in NY-23, especially by donating any amount through the Susan B. Anthony List, it would be a good thing.

    Let's send a message to the politicians in Washington DC that pro-life, pro-family, and economically-responsible candidates are the way to win in future elections. Let's start now.

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    Friday, October 23, 2009

    Pictured: Pro-Life Pumpkin - Awesome Activism Idea!

    Are you planning on carving pumpkins this weekend? Well how about carving this:


    From the American Life League:

    There are many opportunities to be a voice for the voiceless, and most of those opportunities require us to go to a public place. But, on the eve of All Saints Day, the public comes to us!

    So, make a pro-life jack-o-lantern and send your photos to us. Be sure to include your name, age and address in the e-mail, and we'll post the best ones on our home page!
    It doesn't have to be anything fancy. It could be as intricate as the design here or as simple as the word "Pro-Life." Whatever your skill level, be creative and tell the world about the personhood of preborn babies!

    Send your pro-life jack-o-lantern pictures to prolifepumpkin@all.org.

    If you would like to duplicate this one, simply download the .pdf stencil and print it out. Tape the stencil to your pumpkin and, with a pointed object, like a small screwdriver, poke shallow holes along the perimeter of the image. With a paring knife, carefully cut out the areas shaded in black.

    Way way way cool.

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    Pictured: World's first portable ultrasound!

    Not even kidding - talk about a revolution in sidewalk pro-life counseling technology:


    The Star Trek Tricorder, a device that allows medics to check their patients in the field in the sci-fi TV show, took a step closer to becoming reality today thanks to a new device being shown off by General Electric in the US.

    The device, which is a cross between a mobile phone and an iPod was shown at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco on Tuesday.

    Called Vscan, the clamshell designed gadget is aimed at doctors, and possibly would-be parents who could use it in their office or in the field to check the progress of unborn babies or other medical instances, rather than sending their patients to a specialist department for a scan.

    Jeff Immelt, GE's CEO, said that the device, which will be available sometime next year, will be "very digitally capable", coming with a small screen and the ability to save the images. It won't, however, feature Wi-Fi connectivity which would give it the ability to send images to others. (Pocket link)

    See a glimpse of it in action after the here.

    I'm serious - we need to get this into the hands of pro-life sidewalk counselors.

    Science is on our side.

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    Monday, October 19, 2009

    Outrageous: Liberal Catholics trying to lay health care reform blame on US bishops

    Hold on to your hats -I'm going to try to make something very complicated, well, a little less complicated.

    This is about the ongoing struggle between democrats (and their friends) who want health care reform to include money for abortion, and pro-life Catholics who don't want money for abortions to be included in health care reform.

    Here is a list of the most important players in this fight:
    1) Cardinal Justin Rigali, head of the US Bishops' pro-life committee, and those who work for him
    2) The leaders of the democrat party who are crafting health care legislation, and are eager to appease their pro-abortion supporter
    3) Amy Sullivan (writing in TIME Magazine) and other media-type individuals (who falsely claim to present a "Catholic" perspective on health-care reform, like Catholics United and Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good) trying to give cover to the democrats and malign the pro-life activities of Cardinal Rigali and other pro-life Catholics

    The latest salvo in this ongoing fight comes from Amy Sullivan, who wrote in TIME Magazine this weekend claiming that the US Bishops have been sending mixed and confused messages to democrats in Congress, making it impossible for democrats to honor the Bishops' demands that money not go to abortions in health care reform.

    She claims that democrats in Congress were taken by surprise when Cardinal Rigali wrote this on October 8th:
    "However, we [bishops] remain apprehensive when amendments protecting freedom of conscience and ensuring no taxpayer money for abortion are defeated in committee votes. If acceptable language in these areas cannot be found, we will have to oppose the health care bill vigorously."
    In fact, it is more accurate to say that Cardinal Rigali had seen through the democrat-sponsored Capps amendment as being nothing more than a shell game to sneak abortion funding into health care reform anyway, and so he wrote the above sentences with a clear message for the democrats in Congress: "enough is enough."

    Eliminating money for abortion in health care reform would be as simple as approving any of the multiple pro-life amendments (such as the Stupak-Pitts Amendment) which have already been offered. But no - democrats have voted down every single pro-life amendment which has been offered during the long course of these deliberations.

    Which leaves us with a very cold, obvious fact: the reason there is abortion funding in the current health care reform proposals is because democrats put it there, and have repeatedly kept it there.

    Sorry, Amy, you can't blame the bishops for this one.

    If you are interested in this topic, do also read what Deal Hudson and Steven Ertelt have written. Deal Hudson takes a look at what may be happening internally at the USCCB during these negotiations, while Steven Ertelt has an expert source briefing us on what has been happening politically in Congress.

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    On the radar: NY 23

    Last week I wrote:
    In New York's 23rd congressional district, Doug Hoffman is the only pro-life candidate in a race which includes a democrat and an extremely liberal, pro-abortion, pro-homosexual marriage republican. It's an important race for the national scene, for several reasons.
    Let me briefly lay out those "several reasons":
    • NY23 is the only congressional race this election cycle, so everyone is watching it, making the stakes very high.
    • The pro-life republican candidate (Hoffman) is gaining far more grassroots support than the liberal, pro-abortion republican candidate (Scozzafava). He is a classic underdog, come-from-behind candidate. Now he has to beat the pro-abortion democrat (Owens).
    • if Hoffman beats Scozzafava and Owens, it sends a strong message to the Republican Party about what kind of candidate will win in upcoming elections, namely, one who is strong on "social issues" like traditional marriage and pro-life. It says that "RINOs" (Republicans in Name Only) is not the way to go. People are more passionate about issues and the integrity of their representatives than they are about the letter behind a person's name.
    Steve Ertelt at LifeNews is talking about this race, and I'd like to see it garner more Catholic attention.

    If you are in upstate New York and want to help out, please drop me an email. Thanks!

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    Tuesday, October 13, 2009

    Life: New York Times prints photos of abortion victims

    An important event happened over the weekend in the pro-life movement:

    On Saturday, the New York Times included a front-page, above-the-fold news story that presents a strangely fair portrayal of pro-life advocates who engage in street activism.

    Meanwhile, the Times' Photography, Video, and Visual Journalism online section features a photo montage showing the pictures of babies who died in abortions {warning, leads to graphic material}. {Accompanying video report here - also includes graphic images.}

    Monica Migliorino Miller, a Michigan pro-life advocate and professor at Madonna University, has taken so many pictures of babies killed in abortions she is regarded as an expert of sorts.

    She told LifeNews.com over the weekend that the Times show and online pictorial is "nearly unprecedented in 37 years of legalized abortion."

    "Perhaps for the first time in the history of the pro-life movement a nationally recognized paper -- or any newspaper for that matter -- has deliberately printed photos of actual abortion victims," Miller said.

    Miller talked about the genesis of the news report and online photo spread [here].

    Miller encourages pro-life advocates to comment on the Times story and to thank the newspaper for running the photos online.

    Monica Miller is extremely well known in the Michigan right-to-life movement.

    She is also of the 88 people currently being sued by Notre Dame University for peaceful demonstrations on their campus leading up to the appearance of President Obama earlier this year.

    I know many people disagree with the pro-life use of images which show the remains of aborted unborn children. Nonetheless, most of us have seen them, at this point. And I don't think we should look past the fact that, having seen them, we can choose not to use them, but many people who are "pro-choice", have never seen them.

    I think anyone who votes to protect or promote abortion, especially late-term abortion, should have the opportunity of seeing what they are voting for.

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    Saturday, October 03, 2009

    Video: Stop Hyding! - Abortion and Health Care Reform

    A great new video by the Susan B. Anthony list which breaks down the complexities of the Hyde amendment:



    It's so much fun to watch, you're almost in danger of forgetting that what is being described here is the repeal of a law which prevents our tax dollars from paying for abortions.

    Wow.

    SBA List also includes the technalese.

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    Thursday, September 03, 2009

    Hypocrite: Fr. Jenkins still showing no mercy to Notre Dame protesters

    Ever notice how people who talk about "tolerance" and "understanding" when they feel persecuted show precious little of either when it's their turn in power?

    That's exactly what Fr. Jenkins is doing now. 

    After being roundly criticized by bishops and faithful alike for inviting Barack Obama to give the commencement address at Notre Dame earlier this year, Fr. Jenkins is now doing precisely nothing to help the plight of over 88 peaceful pro-life protesters who were arrested on Notre Dame's campus in the weeks leading up to Obama's arrival (I blogged about their situation back in June).

    Thomas Brejcha, a Notre Dame alum and president of the Thomas More Pro-Life Law Center has penned an open letter to Fr. Jenkins:
    I’m writing you, as president of Notre Dame, my alma mater, with an urgent plea that you drop the criminal trespass charges that have been pending against the many defendants – most of whom are faithful, fervent pro-life Catholics – who “dared” to venture onto Notre Dame’s campus last Spring, 2009, to bear peaceful, prayerful witness to the sanctity of all human life, from conception to natural death. 
    ... All were arrested, handcuffed, and hauled off to jail where they spent the night and sometimes longer in custody.

    Surely that protracted detention and the humbling impact of a public arrest on trying to enter the campus of America’s premier Catholic university was enough of a penalty to offset whatever “injury” or “insult” these good people inflicted on Notre Dame’s property rights.

    So, it was shocking to hear that the charges were not quickly dropped, and an even worse surprise to hear that these good Catholics had to return to South Bend to enter their pleas of “not guilty” and then again to demand jury trials.

    When the St. Joseph County prosecutor backed off the latter demand, we were yet more deeply aggrieved on hearing, Fr. Jenkins, that you had responded to a request that the charges be dropped by claiming that “it is out of [your] hands.”

    With respect, Father, the future of these cases – if they must go on – is squarely in your hands. Notre Dame is the complainant. Its security personnel directed and/or conducted the arrests, pointing out those who would be arrested (pro-lifers) and those who would not (those carrying pro-Obama signs and/or taunting the pro-lifers).

    Participation of Notre Dame witnesses will be essential if these 88 cases – all of which are to be scheduled for jury trials – actually go forward. Some defenses that already have been raised by initial trial counsel – e.g., Catholics’ access to the Sacred Heart Basilica on campus – also would require Notre Dame witnesses’ involvement in the trials.
    So much for tolerance, forgiveness and finding common ground.

    Fr. Jenkins ought to be ashamed.

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    Saturday, August 22, 2009

    So much for conscience clauses for Catholics in medicine

    President Obama has promised Catholics, on multiple occasions, a "robust conscience clause."

    The fact that we need one is evident when you read about examples like this one, where a pro-life nurse forced to participate in an abortion was told she has no legal rights.

    Now read the 1,000+ pages of the health care bill in Congress that President Obama supports, and find me a "robust conscience clause."
    I'll save you the days of work - it isn't in there. So much for that.

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    Thursday, August 20, 2009

    Video : Tell Harry Reid to Vote Pro-Life

    The Susan B. Anthony List has put together an excellent video:


    A friend on the inside tells me they could reach their fundraising goal today to put it on the air.
    Let's put them over the top (tell your friends, too)!

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    Shock: Kourtney Kardashian decides to Keep her Kid

    You don't often see AmP covering a story reported by People magazine, but then again, you (sadly) don't often see a megastar facing a crisis pregnancy and decide to keep her child. People magazine doesn't quite know how to handle it:

    "Kourtney Kardashian's unplanned pregnancy forced the shocked reality TV star to make one of the most difficult decisions in her life: Would she have the baby or terminate the pregnancy?

    .... "I looked online, and I was sitting on the bed hysterically crying, reading these stories of people who felt so guilty from having an abortion," she recalls. "I was reading these things of how many people are traumatized by it afterwards."

    After scouring the Internet, Kardashian says she started to realize that an abortion wasn't an option for her. "I was just sitting there crying, thinking, 'I can't do that,' " she says. "And I felt in my body, this is meant to be. God does things for a reason, and I just felt like it was the right thing that was happening in my life."

    The Catholic Mommy Brain blog, basing her comments on the CNN coverage of the story, names four simple reasons Kourtney decided to keep her child: God, the internet, her doctor and the father.

    God is always at work, and we can continue to show the truth about unborn human life through the internet, as well as applaud doctors and support fathers who help women facing difficult choices about "unplanned" pregnancies.

    It's also worth noting that Kourtney attended four years of Catholic high-school. Though she went on to a Methodist University, I would hope that both places taught her the Christian values she is now calling upon to make the human choice, in the face of great odds. Let's say a prayer that her brave choice is not savaged by the same media culture that is so-often at-odds with authentic sexual fulfillment, human dignity, and a culture of life.

    I hope the rest of America tries to keep up with this Kardashian.

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    Must-see Video: Stop the Abortion Mandate

    A heckuva good video, for a critical moral cause:



    More at stoptheabortionmandate.com.

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    Wednesday, August 19, 2009

    Good: Atlanta Church offers to adopt any baby

    The right idea:
    One Atlanta church has a bold challenge to anyone considering abortion: "Peachtree Presbyterian Church will care for any newborn baby you bring to this church."

    So says Pastor Vic Pentz in a recent sermon. The church is partnering with the adoption agency Bethany Christian Services to make this happen and to start the education process for their congregation. Adoption is never simple and easy, but I love this bold action instead of the usual rhetoric around abortion.

    We don't need more protests and picket signs. We need more churches stepping forward and making life an easy choice (whether it's adoption or helping a pregnant woman keep the baby). [Church Marketing Sucks]
    Church support of pregnant women is more widespread than the above author may think. I was very proud of the large sign outside my first DC parish which promised to help and support any woman facing a crisis pregnancy.

    The Church is always a good place to go in times of trouble.

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    Action: Project Ultrasound needs you to help save babies

    AmP reader Stephen with an awesome project I'd like to see the AmP community support:

    "Project Ultrasound is a pro-life charity whose mission is to help equip crisis pregnancy centers with this powerful piece of equipment.

    Crisis pregnancy centers are non-profit organizations who provide material and spiritual support to women experiencing unexpected pregnancies. So powerful is the impact of this technology, that 70-90% of abortion-minded women who see an ultrasound at a cpc end up choosing life.

    The problem is that less then only half of crisis centers are equipped with these machines due to their extremely high cost!

    Project Ultrasound wants to change this, one city at a time. Right now they are raising money to help purchase an ultrasound machine for Heartbeat of Fremont, Ohio. They need your help.

    Read more about Project Ultrasound and support their cause at http://www.projectultrasound.org/."

    We can all help support a culture of life in our country. Let's do something now.

    I'd also recommend joining their cause page on Facebook (and telling your friends).

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    Tuesday, August 11, 2009

    Action: You have 3 hours to be in a pro-life video!

    StoptheAbortionMandatecom, a pro-life action item clearing house for folks who don't want to see abortion added to health care legislation, "is looking for people who would like to be a part of a national viral video."

    It's a really cool idea and, if you start now, you totally have time to hit their 12pm EST deadline!

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    Thursday, July 09, 2009

    Kathleen Reeves doesn't want to understand the Church

    I was virtually introduced to the writing of Kathleen Reeves when someone forwarded me a post by her on RHReality Check (those folks behind the "common ground" forum I've been monitoring lately). Kathleen writes that "Jill Stanek Doesn't Want to Prevent Abortions."

    That's a surprising claim to make, considering Stanek converted to the pro-life movement after holding an expiring child in her arms until the little baby died. The child, of course, was a "survivor" of a later term abortion.

    My point is, it takes some serious nerve to claim a registered nurse, who has held dying babies in her arms, doesn't want to prevent abortions. Really, how dare Kathleen claim such a thing?

    (So much for common ground.)

    Kathleen, it's pretty clear, doesn't have arguments of her own when it comes to debating issues surrounding abortion and contraception. What we get, instead, are amateur conclusions like this:
    But there’s something much more immediate and practical in [Stanek's] refusal to consider contraception a “lesser evil.” If she did, she would be admitting that she, and all religious fundamentalists, are wrong. She would be ceding ground to safe sex, to free condoms in bars, to Planned Parenthood! Let’s not forget that even Jill Stanek, with her superior knowledge of Satan’s works, is human. She has her pride to think of.
    Let me get this straight: all religious "fundamentalists" think contraception and abortion are equal evils? Okay, that's an easy one: Kathleen is wrong about that claim. Moving on: even if contraception is a "lesser" evil, it *does not follow* that anything *less* than murder (such as contraception) should be promoted! In other words, just because something isn't the most evil thing in the world does not mean it should be accepted ... especially when it leads to worse evils.

    Stanek, therefore, cedes absolutely no ground when she says in the same breath (my phrasing): don't abort children because it's taking an innocent life, and don't use contraception because it's immoral and in fact leads to a culture of death which will always require abortions to clean up its "mistakes." Does Kathleen truly believe America is critically lacking in access to contraception? Does she believe a culture that has already severed sex from new life will ever rule out destroying new life once it has been conceived through sex?

    (Sadly, I'm betting Kathleen can't understand such a logical argument.)

    Let's shift gears a bit - Kathleen claims that Jill Stanek doesn't want to prevent abortions (without, mind you, ever mentioning why Kathleen herself thinks abortions should be prevented ... is she ready to admit something is "wrong" about abortions? Whoops, there I go asking logical questions again!).

    Well, here's a claim back at her: Kathleen doesn't want to understand the pro-life movement. In particular, when it comes to the question of contraception and abortion, she does not want to understand the teaching of the Catholic Church.

    Instead, she makes a point of attacking the Church and the Church's teachings in almost every one of her posts on RH Reality Check. I found many such posts simply by looking at the first paragraph of her recent pieces.

    (Remember my frequently-stated lament: anti-Catholicism is the last acceptable prejudice.)

    I'll take just a few lines from each one of these posts:
    • "As in America, religious people are capable of forming political or social beliefs independently from clerical influence." (discussing the role of the Catholic Church in Spain)
    • "Indeed, the Catholic hierarchy’s distance from the experiences of American Catholics is exacerbated by the Catholic Church’s specific version of patriarchy. How does it feel as a woman (or as a man) to have a celibate man tell you about sexuality?" ("Contraception and Catholics: Quiet Disobedience")
    • "Tolerance, apparently, is Enemy Number 1, especially in places where the Catholic Church’s sphere of social and political influence is intact, but waning." ("Catholic Aid Organization's Subversive Support of Latin Americans")
    • "Would [the leaders of the Church], in the spirit of pragmatism and compassion, allow at least a dialogue about contraception?" ("When the Catholic Church Was Pragmatic, Not Doctrinal")
    • "The suggestion that American bishops should have a greater political presence is offensive to me as an American and as a Catholic. Many Americans have a complex, nuanced relationship with their faith, and Catholics, like non-Catholics, are capable of holding political views. Gaynor’s implication that political power lies in the Catholic hierarchy rather than in Catholics will only alienate the faithful. His is the type of attitude that’s threatening to make the Church extinct." ("The New Inquisition")
    • "I wish that the Catholic Church was free of the constraints that so often impede governments—the messy and sad trade-offs of national and international politics. But it’s clear that we can’t count on the Pope to take a daring stand on this issue." ("With the Future of a Continent in His Hands, the Pope Fumbles")
    • "... as we bicker about gay marriage in the United States and as many gay couples travel to the two states in which same-sex marriage is recognized, gay couples have been marrying in Spain for four years. The Catholic Church was ticked off at that, too." ("Catholic Crusaders No More")
    ... and that's just a start. 

    It's hard to find common ground with someone who evidently despises the authentic teaching of the Church and doesn't even attempt to understand it or give it the benefit of the doubt. Can you imagine if RH Reality Check was attempting to reach common ground over territorial disputes in the Holy Land and employed virulent anti-semites (or ex-jews who despise the jewish tradition) to make its rhetorical and practical arguments?

    There's a lesson to be learned here, I think, even though it requires me to paint with a broad brush: militant pro-aborts who call for "common ground" sound awfully similar to bad Catholics who call for doctrinal dissent. Oftentimes (again, painting with a broad brush here), they are the same individuals. 

    I'm waiting for a common ground that doesn't compromise my principled, non-negotiable commitment to building a culture of life and defending the unborn, as taught by the Church and is evident through reason.

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    Tuesday, June 30, 2009

    Stunning: New technology allows you to "hold" your baby before birth

    This new technology deserves a great deal of attention. I think there is a tremendous opportunity here, as I will explain.

    Most of us have seen the amazing 4D photos of unborn children (I've inserted one to the left).

    Now a student at the Royal College in Britain has taken the next step of using these photographs to create an individualized, life-size model of the pictured unborn child.

    LifeNews:
    Stunning new technology is allowing parents to go beyond a 3D or 4D ultrasound to bond with their unborn child in ways never imaginable. A student at the Royal College of Art in Britain has created life-like models based on pictures of unborn children that are the exact shape and size of the baby in the womb.

    Fetal models have long been a staple of county fairs and health education classes across the country, but one student has gone further.

    Brazilian student Jorge Lopes is a PhD. student at the college and he has pioneered the use of converting data from ultrasounds and MRI scans to form life-size plastic models in a process called rapid prototyping.

    "It’s amazing to see the faces of the mothers. They can see the full scale of their baby, really understand the size of it," Lopes told the London Daily Mail newspaper.
    The results are breathtaking:


    More pictures of the models in action here

    Technology like this has the potential of re-framing the abortion debate, because this technology does not create an abstract model - it shows, instead, that killing an unborn life is never killing a type of human being, it's killing a distinct, unique human being.

    Can you imagine, for instance, if these sorts of models were available to women considering abortion? 

    The "other side" of the abortion debate can imagine it. And the prospect scares them:
    "Brazilian inventor, Jorge Lopes, figured out a way to use 3-D printing technology to create models from 3-D ultrasound images. The purpose, initially, was for archeological digs. But dinosaur bones? How can you make a fortune from dinosaur bones? You don’t.

    But you can make a fortune preying on pregnant women’s fears, hopes and dreams."
    See what the author did? Typically, advocates of abortion want to claim that science and technology are on their side. But lo and behold, a technology emerges which brings to mind the true reality of unborn life, and - suddenly - technology is no long neutral to their cause, it is instead "preying" on pregnant women! What can be said about a movement that constantly tries to hide the reality of what happens in an abortion? Are they truly on the side of science, or reason?

    Next, the pro-abortionist who has probably accused the pro-life movement of being too preachy gets ... well, really preachy when she doesn't like how things are going. She says (addressing the creator of the technology):
    "...don’t set up pregnant women for yet another way to fail in pregnancy and impending motherhood. Surely it’s OK to look deeply into a perfectly formed pair of stark white eyes with no irises and feel nothing."
    My question is, how can seeing the human dimensions of your baby make you "fail" in pregnancy and motherhood? Is it not the case that the above author is actually terrified that women, when they see a model of their child, might realize that the real "failed" pregnancy is one where she allows her child to die?

    More heartbreaking still, the author's only defense for "feeling nothing" when she looks into the model's eyes ... is that she must ignore the human, beautiful eyes of the real child within the womb. The point of the model is to show what is hidden from our sight. And it's only a guilty conscience that turns away from the truth.

    I hope pro-lifers figure out ways of getting these models into the hands of the women who need to see them most. The truth of the human person and human development is on our side, now let's use the tools of science for the right end - to better the plight of unborn children who need mothers to see them as God sees them.

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    Saturday, June 27, 2009

    New supreme court nominee worse on abortion than her replacee

    (okay, so "replacee" isn't a word. I admit it ... anyway.)

    Charmaine Yoest and Americans United for Life have really been stepping up their game lately, most recently in exposing supreme court nominee Sonia Sotomayor's stance on abortion:
    In a new editorial column appearing in the Washington Times, Charmaine Yoest, the president of Americans United for Life, makes the case that Sonia Sotomayor is worse on abortion than David Souter, the Supreme Court justice President Barack Obama appointed her to replace.

    "Team Obama knows something most Americans don't. When it comes to the landmark 1973 decision Roe v. Wade and the abortion cases that have since made it to the Supreme Court, Sotomayor is no Souter," Yoest contends.

    .... The pro-life hierophant bases her assessment of Sotomayor on her leadership role with the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund where, from 1980 to 1992, she was a governing board member.

    The New York Times notes that Sotomayor "was an involved and ardent supporter of their various legal efforts."

    Yoest points out, "Those efforts included no less than six briefs in five abortion-related cases before the Supreme Court -- pushing aggressively for an interpretation of abortion rights that would eliminate most or all state and federal abortion regulations while requiring state and federal funding of abortion." (LifeNews)
    Now it makes sense why Sotomayor's nomination is being rushed through so quickly - some folks doesn't want her record examined more closely, especially on the foundational life issues. I guess this is why.

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    Thursday, June 18, 2009

    RHRealityCheck offers abortion "common ground" ... on the edge of a cliff

    Dan Gilgoff on the oddity (my description) of a "Major Abortion Rights Site [Launching an] Online 'Common Ground' Forum":
    "Coinciding with the Obama administration's move to ready a plan for "reducing the need for abortion," a major abortion rights website has launched an online forum aimed at finding what it calls "common ground" in the abortion debate. The forum, called On Common Ground, is hosted by RHRealityCheck.com and went live yesterday.

    The unusual project—moderator Cristina Page, a prominent abortion rights advocate, calls it an experiment—already includes posts by Third Way's Rachel Laser, Beliefnet cofounder Steven Waldman, Faith in Public Life's Katie Paris, and others.

    One of the striking features of the project's launch is that it uses the recent murder of abortion provider George Tiller to argue that the abortion debate must be wrested away from extremists. It will be fascinating to watch how antiabortion rights groups respond. Some will almost surely brand On Common Ground a cynical attempt by abortion rights supporters to co-opt the antiabortion movement. It will be interesting to see how some of the more moderate antiabortion groups react."
    I take Gilgoff's line about "it will be fascinating to watch how antiabortion rights groups respond" as an invitation to take a look at RHRealityCheck.org's "common ground" forum. I don't want to immediately fulfill Gilgoff's prediction that "some [pro-life groups] will almost surely brand On Common Ground a cynical attempt by abortion rights supporters to co-opt the antiabortion movement" ... so let's look at the facts first.

    First of all, RHRealityCheck is a radical, pro-abortion organization which specializes in attacking groups, bills and politicians who do not stand up to their litmus test. Just take a look at their profile of Fr. Frank Pavone's Priests for Life, where they claim: "Despite claims of being opposed to violent tactics such as bombing of clinics or murdering doctors, Pavone has long had ties to some of the most extreme anti-abortion activists who sanction such activities."
    So, Fr. Pavone hangs out with bomb-throwers? Check.
    Another gem from RHRealityCheck's profile of Priests for life: "While their primary mission is to educate and mobilize Catholic clergy as anti-family planning activists, their tactics are often aggressive and overtly political."
    So, Priests for Life is essentially a republican front organization? Check.
    I could go on and on, but time is short, space is precious, and let's get right to the main points.
    Point #1: RHRealityCheck's "common ground" is not an attempt to reduce abortion, it's an attempt to reduce the "need" for abortion, often through recourse to contraception. And they will never rule out abortion.
    Christina Page, the front-woman for RHRC's common ground initiative, is also an active blogger at Birth Control Watch.org, where she writes about Alexia Kelley, co-founder of Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, and new Director of Faith-based and Community Partnerships at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS):
    "Kelley is a new style pro-lifer, one who believes a progressive agenda will produce pro-life results...
    ...Make no mistake, Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good is a Catholic organization that accepts the Church's position on abortion and contraception. But under Kelley's leadership, its efforts were spent exploring an array of policies that succeed at reducing the need for abortion. The organization has taken a notably passive role towards the church's dictates. It has not worked to restrict abortion or make contraception less available, approaches most other anti-abortion and Catholic groups focus on exclusively.
    ... pro-choice people need to improve the national dialogue on the abortion issue. We can lower the vitriol. We can expose the anti-abortion groups that oppose all the proven ways to reduce the need for abortion. We must isolate those that only stoke the coals of hatred in this conflict and, especially those who create the inflamed environment that inspired Dr. Tiller's murderer. The vast majority of self-described "pro-life" Americans abhor the violence, want to move past the conflict and have both sides work together to find common ground. The American pro-life public has longed for leaders like Kelley and, the truth is, so have we."
    Page literally wrote the book on radical access to abortion in American politics. She titled it "How the Pro-Choice Movement Saved America: Freedom, Politics and the War on Sex". I highlighted one line in red above to make a simple point: contraception technically reduces the "need" for abortions, but it is an unacceptable "solution" for Catholics, for many reasons grounded in faith and reason. Page's line highlighted in red is classic wedge-politics.
    Point #2: RHRC has pre-defined the terms of debate in an unacceptable way. 
    Page's operating framework is that the only type of acceptable "pro-lifer" is an apologetic one, who admits the necessity of abortion and contraception, and only from WITHIN that framework, works to reduce the instances of abortion. That's simply unacceptable, to me.
    Point #3: Only such "apologetic" pro-lifers are invited to Page's common ground table. 
    The profiles of those involved features people who are either militantly pro-choice or covertly pro-choice, with Serrin Foster of Feminists for Life of America being the only exception I can see. But Chris Korzen of Catholics United? Sarah Stoesz, a Planned Parenthood CEO? Why are such individuals included, who have a clear bent to one side of the debate, when there is not a fair representation of the other side? In other words, if those who will always support abortion are invited, why aren't those invited who will never support abortion? (Elsewhere RHRC contributor Rachel Laser basically admits you have to "Find the Right People" to engage in dialogue. Well that's right in a twisted way: you probably won't like the outcome if you try to engage people who aren't willing to meet your unreasonable demands.)
    As for the proposals offered by RHRC's common ground, the Prevention First Act "aim[s] to improve access to family planning and encourage the development of effective state-level sex education initiatives." Note, family planning includes both contraception and abortion. This is, again, a wedge move: it implicitly attempts to paint pro-lifers as hypocrites when they do not endorse the proliferation of contraceptives and condoms. The proposal of contraception as "common ground" is poison to faithful, practicing Catholics. 
    The other proposals, from what I can see, are not as problematic. But I welcome others to do the leg work on researching the nuts and bolts of them. Sadly, the devil often hides in the details of these "common ground" proposals. 
    Point #4: The viewpoints of the RHRC-sanctioned contributors are toxic to faithful Catholics. As I was saying about nuts and bolts, let's take a look at what the contributors to this forum are actually saying. Debra Haffner:
    "Here is my suggestion: Let's stop talking about reducing abortions as a goal in itself. Let's keep talking about reducing unintended pregnancies. This is not only the better public health position; it is a faithful and moral one as well."
    Okay, so wanting to reduce the destruction of unborn human life is always off the table? Check.
    "... pro-lifers need to decide which of their beliefs is more important: their concern for the unborn or their concerns about the nature of premarital sex."
    This is slippery, he's actually making an argument that Catholics should quit worrying about contraception. He just can't bring himself to actually say it:
    "It’s hard for pro-choicers to take pro-life “common grounders” seriously if they won’t budge on birth control; it’s equally hard for pro-lifers to take pro-choice common grounders seriously if they won’t accept the basic premise of the exercise. So who will be the brave souls to break that conceptual logjam?"
    Waldman, if he is sincerely trying to present a Catholic position, shouldn't be challenging Catholics to "budge" on birth control. Catholics cannot budge on intrinsically-evil choices. That's NEVER common ground.
    The path to common ground in abortion involves Catholics fudging on contraception? Check.
    Sarah Stoesz, a Planned Parenthood CEO, meanwhile takes a swing at recent poll numbers suggesting that America is becoming a more pro-life country: "Read deeper into the results of this and other recent polls and you'll find that, no matter what the label, most Americans want to keep abortion legal."
    Oh, so of course we should always have abortion. Most Americans will always want abortion? Check.
    Conclusion: So, going back to Gilgoff's prediction, do you think there are reasonable grounds for thinking this innitiative is a "cynical attempt by abortion rights supporters to co-opt the antiabortion movement"? 
    As a Catholic who is striving to live out the commands of Jesus Christ when it comes to respecting the dignity of the human person, and as a reasonable fellow who cannot abide any solution which unjustly destroys the rights of the innocent, and who will not accept common ground that results in the destruction of human life, in RHRC's common ground initiative, I see no room at the inn for me, but rather a trap door into a precipice.

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    Saturday, June 13, 2009

    Poster: Fr. Jenkin's idea of "Reasoned Dialogue"

    After my story on Thursday ("Hypocrite: Fr. Jenkins offers no mercy to pro-lifers arrested on his campus") an AmP reader was inspired to put together the poster below. I thought it was powerful and present it for your consideration:

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    Thursday, June 11, 2009

    Hypocrite: Fr. Jenkins offers no mercy to pro-lifers arrested on his campus

    This unfolding drama deserves more attention:
    The president of the University of Notre Dame has "no interest" in interfering with the fates of over 80 peaceful pro-life protesters arrested on campus while protesting President Obama's May 17 commencement speech, says the pro-lifers' attorney. One of the arrestees, Lambs of Christ founder Fr. Norman Weslin, issued a statement Monday calling on University president Fr. John Jenkins to heed the arrested group's requests to meet, which Weslin says Fr. Jenkins has ignored.

    ... Attorney Tom Dixon told LifeSiteNews.com (LSN) Tuesday that none of the charges have been dropped, and only two individuals accepted an offer to plead guilty in return for a sentence of time served and a fine. The rest face a maximum sentence of a year and prison and a $5,000 fine.

    Asked about Notre Dame's involvement in the case, Dixon said he has "not heard anything" from the school, "except that they don't have any interest in exploring ways to resolve these matters." (LSN) (More backstory here)
    So much for an olive branch. Fr. Jenkins is being given a perfect opportunity to show mercy, to deliver on his (and Obama's) promise of putting aside old grievances and moving forward in an enlightened fashion. Instead, Fr. Jenkins offers no common ground and no dialogue to these pro-life protesters.

    Actions speak louder than words, and in this case, lack of action speaks louder than anything Fr. Jenkins has said. Does he really believe in forgiveness and understanding? Or does he just play these cards when he stands to benefit?

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    Sunday, May 31, 2009

    Abortionist George Tiller killed during Church service

    The abortionist George Tiller, notorious for his performance of late-term abortions as well as his close ties with Kathleen Sebellius, was killed during a Church service this morning:
    "Dr. George Tiller, who remained one of the nation's few providers of late-term abortions despite decades of protests and attacks, was shot and killed Sunday in a church where he was serving as an usher.

    The gunman fled, but a 51-year-old suspect was arrested some 170 miles away in suburban Kansas City three hours after the shooting, Wichita Deputy Police Chief Tom Stolz said.

    Long a focus of national anti-abortion groups, including a summer-long protest in 1991, Tiller was shot in the foyer of Reformation Lutheran Church, Stolz said. Tiller's attorney, Dan Monnat, said Tiller's wife, Jeanne, was in the choir at the time." (AP)
    I unreservedly condemn this killing. The pro-life movement believes in justice for all and murder is always wrong with no exceptions.
    With that said, some foes of the pro-life movement are already trying to use Tiller's death as an excuse to demonize the pro-life movement as a whole. Even the AP report makes reference to this:
    "Stolz said all indications were that the man acted alone, although authorities were investigating whether he had any connection to anti-abortion groups."
    Any group that would sanction the unlawful killing of someone is simply not a pro-life group.

    The National Organization for Women is especially guilty of this reprehensible, bigoted association of the (as yet unidentified) killer with the non-violent activities of the pro-life movement:
    Saying that women "lost a champion" with the death of Tiller, the pro-abortion National Organization for Women claimed that an "anti-abortion terrorist" must have killed Tiller even though the identify of the shooter has yet to be revealed.

    NOW said "the anti-abortion cause" was behind Tiller's murder and other actions against abortion centers and practitioners even though members of pro-life groups have never been behind any such incident.

    Saying that bringing the person who killed Tiller to justice is "not enough," NOW called on the Justice Department and the Department of Homeland Security to "root out and prosecute as domestic terrorists and violent racketeers the criminal enterprise that has organized and funded criminal acts for decades."

    "We call on the new attorney general Eric Holder and head of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano to treat these murders in the same way they would treat politically-motivated domestic terrorism of any other kind and put the full resources of their two departments behind that effort," they said. (LifeNews)
    NOW should publish a full apology for its unfounded attacks as well as for trying to profit from Tiller's death.

    LifeNews has reported the story, and has also begun listing the pro-life organizations which have condemned the act. SBA List has done so, as has ALL. Brian Burch, president of CatholicVote.org, said:
    “As the late Cardinal John O’Connor said, ‘If anyone has an urge to kill someone at an abortion clinic, they should shoot me. ... It's madness. It discredits the right-to-life movement. Murder is murder. It’s madness. You cannot prevent killing by killing.’”
    The last quote comes from Geoffrey Miller:
    [Tiller] knows the truth now. If the truth has indeed set him free, he will be a most powerful ally to us through his intercessions.
    I pray that this sad event becomes on occasion for the pro-life movement to reveal the depths of its mercy, and for the media at-large to report the story accurately. Murder is never right, of the born or unborn.

    update: President Obama has released a statement on Tiller's death:
    "I am shocked and outraged by the murder of Dr. George Tiller as he attended church services this morning. However profound our differences as Americans over difficult issues such as abortion, they cannot be resolved by heinous acts of violence." (6:21 p.m.)

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    Saturday, May 09, 2009

    Text: Archbishop Burke's Keynote Address on the teachings of the Catholic Church

    Life Site News has the full text of Archbishop Burke's keynote address delivered yesterday at the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast. As I said yesterday: "I think Abp. Burke has provided Catholics in America with a comprehensive manifesto for action in the coming year. I think his speech will have wide, beneficial consequences, or at least I pray that it does." I think it's required reading for Catholics in America.

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    Thursday, April 30, 2009

    Pew Center: Only 46% of Americans believe abortion should be legal

    A new poll by the Pew Research Center released today:
    The proportion saying that abortion should be legal in all or most cases has declined to 46% from 54% last August. The decline in support for legal abortion has come entirely in the share saying abortion should be legal in most cases (from 37% to 28%); 18% say abortion should be legal in all cases, which is virtually unchanged from last August (17%). Currently, 44% say abortion should be illegal in most (28%) or all cases (16%), up slightly since last August (41%).
    What has caused the change? My guess: people who have been made aware of what partial birth abortion is cannot tolerate it. I'd be interesting to see how many people learned about partial birth abortion during the election cycle when pro-life groups began bringing up the point that Obama supports it. There still remains a small minority (18%) who are abortion absolutists, and a small minority (16%) who are completely pro-life. But now only 28% of people say abortion should be legal in "most cases" - down from 37%! What do you think has caused this change?

    Do note this: the poll claims 46% of Americans support abortion in some or all cases, while 44% oppose it in some or all cases. This means that the claim "American is a pro-choice country" is simply false. America is a deeply-divided country about this issue. Within the margin of error, in fact. Belief in abortion is far from "common" sense. It is not commonly held. This means that Obama's position on abortion only identifies him with 18% of the American people.

    Pew has more details on the poll here, once you scroll down the page.

    {update: Life News tells us these are the lowest abortion support stats in 15 years.}

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    Thursday, April 23, 2009

    Abp. Chaput credited for CO death penalty repeal vote

    Archbishop Chaput ... not a one-trick pony (despite what some people try to claim):
    The Colorado House yesterday voted 33-32 to repeal the state's death penalty. The measure now goes to the Senate. An interesting bit of drama occurred on the floor during the vote and only the Durango Herald has picked up on it:
    Debate lasted only a few minutes Tuesday, apparently because most of the 65 representatives had made up their minds. All except Ed Vigil.

    The freshman Democrat from Fort Garland sat still as the House's electronic board tallied the vote - a 32-32 tie.

    Vigil, a former district attorney's investigator, thinks the death penalty is a useful tool. In a 2007 case, Jose Luis Rubi-Nava confessed to killing his girlfriend in Douglas County by dragging her behind his car. The threat of the death penalty secured Rubi-Nava's plea, Vigil said.

    "As soon as the death penalty became part of the equation, he pled guilty and got a life sentence," he said.

    But Vigil also was thinking about moral appeals he had heard, including from Archbishop Charles Chaput, the senior Roman Catholic clergyman in Colorado.

    Vigil bit his lip and ran a hand back through his hair. Other House members stood up and looked his way as a silent minute dragged by. At last, he reached across the desk and pushed the green button for "yes."

    The death penalty repeal passed 33-32.
    Ph/t: The Catholic Key.

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    Bishop Conlon restores Friday abstinence from meat in Diocese of Steubenville

    Okay, technically, Catholics in the US are only allowed to dispense from the year-round Friday abstinence from meat if they substitute a comparable penance for it ... but in practice, the vast majority of Catholics have forgotten to even do this.

    Bishop R. Daniel Conlon, however, has dispensed with the substituting ... and has instead brought back the simple Friday abstinence from meat in his diocese. I especially respect that he ties this sacrificial abstinence to witnessing for the unborn and providing them with concrete assistance:

    "I am inviting the Catholic people of the Diocese of Steubenville to resume the practice of abstaining from meat on all Fridays throughout the year, but with a twist. I am asking that this be not only a penitential practice but also an experience of prayer and service. This can happen by connecting abstinence with our witness to the sacredness of human life. (In another section he says: Abstinence can also be service if we eat simple meatless food and donate the financial savings to the poor or to pro-life efforts.)

    ... The resumption of year-round abstinence in the Diocese of Steubenville will begin after this coming Easter, one week after Good Friday (April 17). Although the practice will not be a requirement of law, and failing to keep it will not constitute a sin, I hope every one who is old enough to receive Holy Communion and well enough to come to church will take it seriously. Our parishes, schools and organizations should provide meatless food at their Friday activities.

    ... the present challenge to the people in our diocese is not really radical. It is a call to what many if not most of us have put aside. And it is a way for us, like the apostles, to give up a little food and help Jesus feed the world."

    Bishop Conlon, of course, placed the above mandate within a very well-crafted pastoral letter, which he had read before or at the end of all the Masses in his diocese on the weekend of March 28/29. His catechetical office has also followed-through and provided education materials for school-age children.

    What a wonderful idea - and it need not be limited to Catholics living in the diocese of Steubenville, either! Their fine witness, and the words of their bishop, can inspire us to do the same.

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    Wednesday, April 22, 2009

    Pro-Life Film Contest awards $2000 in prizes!

    When the Susan B. Anthony List (a pro-life organization) sees a good idea ... they run with it:

    "When 12 year-old Lia Mills wrote her speech about abortion for a school contest, she had no idea the kind of impact it would have worldwide. Yet after her mother put the speech on YouTube, it garnered over a half a million views! [watch the video here.]

    ... Now, Lia is challenging other young people to send in their videos and spread the pro-life message. The SBA List wants to provide our nation’s youth with the opportunity to do just that. This new contest will award two winning videos with a $1,000 scholarship and will be featured in a Susan B. Anthony online campaign!"

    Okay, American Papist Kids - you have your homework!

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    Friday, March 20, 2009

    Video: Senator Inhofe on Stopping the Abortion Bailout

    An important message:



    An inside source explains:
    The Stop the Abortion Bailout campaign is a grassroots initiative with the goal of sending 200,000 letters to the Senate in an attempt to get 41 Senators to filibuster any funding of abortion providers in the FY 2010 Budget. See the website for some specific funding requests by the abortion industry.

    Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) has emerged as a crucial ally in the fight against funding abortion providers. In a hostile atmosphere for pro-life Senators, it is a great testament to Senator Inhofe that he has chosen to take the lead on defending the unborn in the Senate.
    More info from the Susan B. Anthony list here.

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    Thursday, March 12, 2009

    Breaking: RNC head Steele says abortion is a "choice"

    In an interview with GQ, Michael Steele, the new head of the Republican National Committee says abortion is a choice.

    This is very dissapointing news, if it turns out to accurately portray his view on abortion:

    How much of your pro-life stance, for you, is informed not just by your Catholic faith but by the fact that you were adopted?
    Oh, a lot. Absolutely. I see the power of life in that—I mean, and the power of choice! The thing to keep in mind about it… Uh, you know, I think as a country we get off on these misguided conversations that throw around terms that really misrepresent truth.

    Explain that.
    The choice issue cuts two ways. You can choose life, or you can choose abortion. You know, my mother chose life. So, you know, I think the power of the argument of choice boils down to stating a case for one or the other.

    Are you saying you think women have the right to choose abortion?
    Yeah. I mean, again, I think that’s an individual choice.

    You do?
    Yeah. Absolutely.

    Are you saying you don’t want to overturn Roe v. Wade?
    I think Roe v. Wade—as a legal matter, Roe v. Wade was a wrongly decided matter.

    Okay, but if you overturn Roe v. Wade, how do women have the choice you just said they should have?
    The states should make that choice. That’s what the choice is. The individual choice rests in the states. Let them decide.

    Do pro-choicers have a place in the Republican Party?
    Absolutely!

    As a Catholic, Mr. Steele should know better.

    More from CMR and Politico.

    Photo: GQ.

    update: Steele, under fire, walks back 'choice' remark (read to the bottom for Tony Perkins comment)

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    Wednesday, March 04, 2009

    The Curious Case of Kathleen Sebelius

    That Kathleen Sebelius has been appointed as Department of Health and Human Services secretary by Barack Obama is no surprise.
    (Sebelius' pro-abortion record is clear. Tony Perkins at the Family Research Council says she is "arguably the most pro-abortion governor in the nation." Austin Ruse has said that she "never met an abortion she didn't support including partial birth abortions.")
    That many "identity-Catholics" should support Sebelius' appointment is little surprise to me. These "id-Catholics" include the likes of Doug Kmiec, Nicholas Cafardi and Lisa Sowle Cahill, representing Catholic universities such as Boston College, CUA, Georgetown, etc. And shame on them all, they might have chosen to remain silent and thereby retained a bit more integrity than Catholics United, which has perfected the art of twisting and abusing the name "Catholic" for political gain.
    (The American Life League has a petition up to stop Sebelius' appointment, by the way, if you are looking for a way to register your complaint with Obama's choice to nominate an abortion extremist.)

    That pro-life figures such as Senator Sam Brownback should also support her appointment, however, has been a great surprise to many, for instance, pro-life blogger/activist Jill Stanek. It wouldn't be unfair to describe the reaction of the pro-life community as "stunned."
    So what's going on here? Politics.
    Brownback and Sebelius are home-state rivals from Kansas: she the pro-abortion governor, he one of their two pro-life senators. Speculation has been going for months that in 2010 Sebellius and Brownback could well collide for an elected office: either Sebellius challenging Brownback for his senate seat or Brownback trying to become Kansas governor.
    Brownback, therefore, can be personally relieved that it appears Sebelius will be "kicked upstairs" by this HHS nomination (presuming that all goes well). It saves him two worries.
    Unfortunately, Brownback's decision to support the Sebelius nomination, from the outside, reads like this editorial:
    Maybe Brownback, who is running for governor of Kansas in 2010, calculated the odds and saw he will gain more by earning respect from the state's moderates than by staying in the good graces of the single-issue anti-abortion groups who are so riled up about Sebelius's nomination.

    Now, I don't quite agree with this assessment. I'd say Brownback is trying to think outside the box by recognizing common ground in someone he doesn't have the possibility of defeating directly. These are tough times for the pro-life movement, and even if Sebelius were defeated during the nomination process, her replacement could easily be just as bad.

    That said, he didn't have to say anything. I think he weighed his options and made his choice. Now he has to deal with the justified anger of his pro-life collaborators over the choice he made.

    update: this added wrinkle makes Brownback's choice more clear (underlining added):

    “Sebelius is term limited and can't run for governor again and Brownback is honoring his term limits pledge in the Senate, so there is no Brownback versus Sebelius fight to avoid. Brownback does however ensure his Senate seat stays red and pro-life if Sebelius is in Washington. {from "KS" in the comment box.}

    Brownback is doing a very simple thing it seems to me: if Sebelius had stayed in KS she could have come after his senate seat when he had to leave it (having promised to term-limit himself). At the same time, her governor's chair would be coming free and he can now run for it, perhaps with the added appearance of "bipartisanship" provided by his support for her HHS nomination.

    Politics.

    update 2: it's also my understanding that, contrary to this report, Sen. Brownback has not decided at this point whether he will vote for Sebelius during the confirmation process.

    update 3: scratch update 2....

    [Brwonback] wavered yesterday, at first saying through a spokesman that he wasn't going to say whether he favored or opposed her.

    Then, at 6 p.m., his spokesman called and said Brownback would back her after all. That came after learning from me that political opponents were starting to take shots at Brownback. (source.)

    Wow.

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    Friday, February 20, 2009

    Video: The outrageous case of Pastor Hoye

    This is getting me really worked up.

    From LifeNews:
    A pro-life African-American pastor has been sentenced to 30 days in jail for sharing a pr-life message outside local abortion centers. Walter Hoye was previously found guilty of violating what pro-life attorneys call an unconstitutional city law designed specifically to target him.
    From AmP reader Bryan:
    Walter Hoye, a Baptist minister in Berkeley, was sentenced to 30 days in jail today and received an $1130 fine for the following harassing behavior:



    If you read a bit on the testimony presented at trial, you'll find the clinic escorts and director fabricated much of the testimony regarding Pastor Hoye's behavior. Apparently, the Oakland DA's office even collaborated with the abortion clinic on how best to entrap Pastor Hoye.
    Related links:

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    Thursday, February 12, 2009

    Red Envelope Project alerts Obama to abortion evils

    NCRegister's Tim Drake:
    A grassroots initiative to express moral outrage over President Obama’s administration’s promotion of abortion is garnering much Internet attention.

    Just as American revolutionaries used tea to protest the action’s of the British government, those concerned with life are utilizing the power of red envelopes to protest abortion.

    Supporters have been encouraged to send an empty red envelope to President Obama, symbolizing a single child who died because of abortion.

    On the back of each envelope, is a handwritten message that reads: “This envelope represents one child who died in abortion. It is empty because that life was unable to offer anything to the world. Responsibility begins with conception.”
    Tim Drake goes on to uncover the man behind the idea.

    RedEnvelopeProject has sent almost 40,000 red envelopes to Obama so far.

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    Sunday, February 01, 2009

    Video: Amazing pro-life rap music video

    Whatever your feelings about rap, this is an amazing song:


    Buy the MP3 here. I think it would be good to support his work.

    More about the artist Flipsyde and about this song in particular.

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    Wednesday, January 21, 2009

    Sen. Brownback & Rep. Rodgers to speak at blogs4life

    The press release:
    Senator Brownback is one of the foremost proponents of life within the Senate. He has been involved with extensive pro-life legislation in Congress including the sponsorship of the Unborn Child Pain Awareness Act, which would require doctors to inform pregnant women that expert testimony shows that unborn babies can feel pain after 20 weeks. Rep. McMorris Rodgers has been a consistent advocate for the unborn throughout her time in Congress. She founded the Congressional Down Syndrome Caucus and co-chairs the Congressional Women's Caucus which seeks to better the lives of women and families.
    Details here. The Family Research Council is hosting an open house with coffee, muffins, etc and you can watch the conference on flatscreen TV's. If you're lucky, you may catch sight of me as well. ;-)

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    Pro-Life Protesters arrive at White House on Obama's first day

    WashingtonTimes reports:
    It's President Obama's first full day in office, day 2 of the first 100 days, and he already has protesters giving him grief.

    About 50 people from a pro-life organization held crosses, each with a year written since Roe v. Wade.

    Obama isn't here, but a man with a bullhorn shouted at him that change should mean an end to abortion.
    Yeah I know, like, how annoying - *rolls eyes*.

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    Tuesday, January 13, 2009

    Summit report and the future of pro-life in the U.S.

    Deal Hudson spoke at the recent Michigan summit which I advertised and notes its wild success:
    Five-hundred people were turned away from the "Pro-Life Summit to End Abortion" held by Dr. Monica M. Miller this past weekend in Ann Arbor, MI. Most of the 500 who did have tickets made it to Christ the King Church in spite of the ten inches of snow that started falling Saturday morning.

    It's been quite a while since I've seen any group of Catholics as energized as those gathered by Miller's apostolate, Citizens for a Pro-Life Society. Anyone who had predicted the withdrawal of pro-life Catholics from political engagement after Barack Obama's victory would have been stunned by what they saw and heard at Christ the King. [Read on.]
    500 attendees + 500 turned away = 1,000 active Catholics passionate about the pro-life cause.

    And that's just the tip of the iceburg.

    Remember, for those of you who missed the conference, CDs of the talks will be made available soon.

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    Sunday, January 11, 2009

    ALL: Top Ten Pro-Abortion Moments of 2008

    American Life League has an informative and accessible top ten list:
    2008 was a down year for the pro-abortion movement's talking heads. As you read the quotes below, despite the seriousness of the subject - after all, we are talking about matters of life and death - it's hard not to laugh at their ridiculous attempts to justify their position. [Read the top ten moments here.]

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    Thursday, January 08, 2009

    A couple March for Life nibbles

    CNS has a rather extensive preview of this year's March for Life.

    Concerned Women for America will also be participating (and handing out snacks).

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    Wednesday, January 07, 2009

    Sign a Petition to Help Block Tax-Funded Abortions

    It only takes a few seconds, over at the Family Research Council website.

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    Tuesday, January 06, 2009

    Preparing for the March for Life 2009

    The 2009 March for Life is only a couple weeks away. I'm beginning to plan out which events I'll be attending/covering. My coverage last year was well received and I look forward to do it again this year (the 36th anniversary) with some experience behind me.

    Some helpful links to get us started:

    That's at least a start. Did I miss something?

    And if you are planning on attending the March - I'd love to hear about your plans in the combox!

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    Don't forget the West Coast Walk for Life

    For those unable to trek out to Washington DC on January 22nd for the March for Life, consider the fifth annual West Coast Walk for Life in San Francisco on January 24th.

    The organizers have placed a pro-life banner on the SF Bay Bridge, which carries 250,000+ cars a day.

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    Friday, December 19, 2008

    2009 Pro-Life Blog Awards have begun

    Hosted by the American Life League.

    Hop on over if you're a pro-life blogger!

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    Friday, September 26, 2008

    On promoting abortion in South Dakota

    Blogger Cara for Feministe announces that she "will be leaving bright and early tomorrow morning for Sioux Falls, South Dakota."
    Using money given to her by Planned Parenthood, she is heading out there "for a Live Action Camp, where [she'll] be fighting Measure 11, the ballot initiative aiming to outlaw abortion in the state."
    In other words, she's off to promote abortion.
    Well, we can help her fail.
    Read up on the situation at CNA and then head on over to http://www.voteyesforlife.com/

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    Tuesday, September 23, 2008

    40 Days for Life kicks-off tonight!

    This is probably the most effective pro-life grassroots campaign currently in operation. My housemates and I here in DC hosted a kick-off party last weekend for the DC participants where the founder of 40 Days, David Bereit, was generous enough to stop by.

    Here is their promotional video:

    Learn more about how to get involved at their website.

    Volunteering at a pro-life crisis pregnancy center is also a fantastic committment, I must add.

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    Tuesday, September 09, 2008

    Free stuff: pro-life ads for your parish, etc.

    CNA gives us the tip:

    The Pro-life Secretariat of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has announced that it is offering print advertisements on stem cell research and abortion for the free use of dioceses and other pro-life groups.

    The ads, available at www.usccb.org/prolife/media, are available for Catholic dioceses and other pro-life groups nationwide to download and print unaltered free of charge. (More info from CNA.)

    Good stuff.

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    Friday, August 29, 2008

    McCain chooses pro-life Sarah Palin for veep

    The Associated Press says its a lock (as does everyone):

    John McCain tapped little-known Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin to be his vice presidential running mate, two senior campaign officials told The Associated Press on Friday.

    A formal announcement was expected within a few hours at a campaign rally in swing-state Ohio.

    Palin, 44, is a self-styled hockey mom and political reformer who has been governor of her state less than two years.

    update: Some quick facts:

    • She has an 80-90% approval rating in Alaska, the most popular governor in America
    • She's been described as a "crackerjack governor, a strong fiscal conservative and a ferocious fighter of corruption, especially in her own party."
    • A lifetime member of the NRA, she also has a son in the army
    • She appears to be a "non-denominational protestant"
    • She aimed "to reduce general fund spending by $150 million" in Alaska
    • She belongs to Feminists for Life
    And Palin is not just pro-life politically, she is also amazingly and joyfully pro-life personally, and not only because she has five kids (ph/t: SBA):

    In April of this year, Sarah Palin give birth to her fifth child, Trig, who was born premature with Down Syndrome. Recent statistics show that in the U.S., approximately 90% of Down Syndrome diagnoses end with the mother choosing abortion. Palin on her family’s reaction to the diagnosis, in her own words:

    “We knew through early testing he would face special challenges, and we feel privileged that God would entrust us with this gift and allow us unspeakable joy as he entered our lives. We have faith that every baby is created for good purpose and has potential to make this world a better place. We are truly blessed.” (April 18, 2008, Anchorage Daily News)

    [Read more from the SBA statement.]

    The "Draft Sarah Palin for VP" blog is going crazy. MM has a play-by-play.

    update: some helpful links...

    update 3 (finally managed to get a photo of her family on the blog succesfully - sheesh!):

    There's a huge glut of information flooding the net right now on Palin. Here's some of the best:

    I thought this point especially good: "[Palin as VP] makes me trust McCain's judgment much more than I would have if he had gone for Romney, Ridge, or Lieberman. Brownback or Pawlentey would have signaled "more of the same." But Palin? That's "change." - Eric Pavlat

    I'm also thrilled to see, based on the visitor count today, and the increased number of email tips and links I'm receiving (thank you!), as well as the record-high activity level in the comment boxes (awesome!) ... that papists and other readers are beginning to treat AmP as the one-stop newsblog where they can discuss and stay up-to-date on (usually up-to-the-minute) the most important stories in American politics, the Catholic faith, and the intersection of same.

    Thank you, let's keep a good thing going, and get it better.

    update 5: on the evangelical side...

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    Monday, August 18, 2008

    "Premature baby pronounced dead, comes back to life after 5 hours in hospital freezer..."

    Inspirational story of the day:

    "A couple from Kafr Yasif in the Galilee received the shock of their lives Monday when the wife's miscarried 610-gram fetus, which had been declared dead five hours earlier, was found to be breathing.

    The baby girl, born during the 23rd week of gestation, still has an uncertain future. Hospital spokesman Ziv Farber said that any premature infant of that weight and age had only a 10 percent chance for survival. But five years ago, he added, "we had a baby weighing only 580 grams, and she survived."

    The 26-year-old mother and her husband have a five-year-old son at home. When she gave birth after going into premature labor at the hospital, the doctor on the scene pronounced it dead and it was taken to the morgue.

    The father, Ali Majdub, told Channel 2 that his wife realized the child was alive after asking to see her dead daughter one last time.

    "When we unwrapped the baby to see her, she realized it was moving. I began screaming and ran with it toward the doctors," he said.

    She was then rushed to the neonatal intensive care unit, where doctors are fighting for her life.

    "I was in shock," the mother told Channel 2 last night. "I thought I wasn't hearing it right when they said she was still alive."

    Dr. Moshe Daniel, the hospital's deputy director, said that in his 35 years as a physician, he had "never heard of such a case. It was like a medical miracle." (Jerusalem Post)
    Never give up on life!

    update: as a sad post script, doctors failed to keep the child alive. The case has, however, inspired the hospital to revise how it determines death in young infants.

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    Thursday, August 14, 2008

    Event: 14th Annual Crossroads Rally at the Capitol

    I hope to attend this:

    You are invited to the 2008 Crossroads Pro-Life Rally at the US Capitol this Saturday at 3pm. We will be celebrating the end of our three of pro-life walks across America as well as our pro-life walk across Canada!

    Keynote Speaker - Patrick Reilly This year we are excited to announce that Patrick Reillywill be our keynote speaker. Mr. Reilly is the President and founder of the Cardinal Newman Society. The Cardinal Newman Society is dedicated to renewing and strengthening Catholic identity at America's 224 Catholic colleges and universities.

    Mr. Reilly also is well-versed on abortion and life issues, having served several years as a board member and Chairman of American Collegians for Life.

    Crossroads Map
    Saturday, August 16th
    3pm - 4pm
    West Front Lawn of the US Capitol
    email: contact@crossroadswalk.org
    web: http://www.crossroadswalk.org
    Call for details - (301) 467-9259

    View Schedule here! // Franciscan Friars of the Renewal // The Call

    And unofficially - drinks at the Dubliner afterwards!

    (Vaguely related: Americans United for Life announces available funding for voter guides)

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    Tuesday, August 12, 2008

    Video: ALL takes on "Catholics" for Choice, others

    Described:

    This week, we take on "Catholics" for Choice and 62 other oddities who seem to think that somehow, sexual deviancy and abortion are compatible with Christianity. Anyone who has ever taken a cursory glance through the Bible can clearly see that they are not. And yet, these fringe groups had the audacity to take out a half page open letter to the Pope in Italy's most prominany newspaper, calling on him to reverse 2000 years of Church teaching. Clearly, the Pope isn't about to rewrite Jesus' teachings, so the obvious impetus behind this underhanded move isn't to get the Pope to change the moral teachings of the Church, but to generate public justification for these anti-Christian beliefs.
    Video:



    I think it's imperative to take the offensive against "Catholics" for Choice and similar pro-abortion fronts.

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    Conference: Men & Abortion

    A neglected topic. Information from the website:
    This conference is the second ever to deal with the issue of men dealing with abortion. The first conference was held in San Francisco in November, 2007. That conference gathered 170 people from 9 countries and received very positive media attention.

    The impact of an abortion experience on men is unrecognized by many. Men are hidden partners in every abortion decision. More than 40 million abortions have occurred in the U.S. alone since abortion was legalized here. Worldwide the estimates are that more than 43 million abortions occur in a year. In every abortion decision there is a male involved in some way. The man’s role or lack of role in the decision can create a stream of consequences that may accompany the man through the rest of his life. Because men are told they have no say in the abortion decision--that it is about a woman and her choice--they later struggle with the questions they pose to themselves and the emotions they feel. Men often say "I don't feel entitled to my grief. It was her choice. Why do I feel so badly?" More men are recognizing that abortion was a life changing event for them. The difficulty for the man who wants to process the experience, is that there are few resources available to him. Mental health professionals have not recognized that an abortion loss may be a significant event in the life of a man. Addiction counselors, grief facilitators and clergy may not recognize the unresolved grief of an abortion experience that may have occurred many years ago. We are not sensitized to the ways that a hidden loss may play itself out in the lives of those who experience it.

    This conference is designed to bring to the forefront what is known about how pregnancy may impact the male partner, the various roles a male can play in an abortion decision, and the implications of reproductive technology as it pertains to fatherhood. The research findings on men and abortion will be presented. It will look at what happens when a male experiences trauma as well as provide information on how men process grief or try to hide from their grief. Men’s spiritual growth as it pertains to the process of healing will be examined and a model of forgiveness therapy will be discussed. Some current models for outreach to men will be presented.

    Dates: September 8, 9,2008

    Location: Chicago Marriott Oak Brook

    Scholarships are available. Contact menandabortion@yahoo.com for more information or call 1-800-5WE-CARE (or visit the website).
    I've met one of the speakers, Vicki Thorn of the National Office of Post-Abortion Reconciliation & Healing, and was extremely expressed by her knowledge on this and related topics.

    update: more information here.

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    Friday, August 01, 2008

    "Call me biased..."

    So begins a Feministe blogger's post about pro-life positions and organizations. She continues:

    "…but I just can’t wrap my mind around anti-choice rhetoric. I am fairly skilled at seeing both sides of most complex social issues and I even try to give credit to those that oppose my view if their reasoning is sound, but anti-choice stuff…it is just totally illogical to me."

    Oh goodness, what an inexplicable dilemma! Whatever could be the cause of her predicament?

    Let's look at the beginning of the second paragraph:

    "As most of you know, I work in public affairs at a Planned Parenthood affiliate."

    Oh, suddenly this begin to make sense.

    She goes on to maligne the "favorite anti-choice groups [which] makes your blood boil the most."
    And if her blog's title and content wasn't a self-fulfilling prophecy itself, the commentors proceed to misunderstand (with some notable individual exceptions) every truth the pro-life community attempts to reveal and defend.
    A perfect case of what I'm talking about? The blogger denies Margaret Sanger was a racist.
    "Call me biased..."
    No, "bias" doesn't begin to describe it.

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    Thursday, July 24, 2008

    Imagine a state in Amercia with no abortion clinics

    Thursday, July 17, 2008

    Jill Stanek asks pro-lifers to "Stand with Phill"

    And I join her:

    The KS primary election is in less than 3 weeks.

    The most watched and important race is for Johnson Co. District Attorney Republican nominee: Phill Kline vs. the establishment opponent who will drop the only criminal case in the U.S. against Planned Parenthood.

    As many of you have followed, Kline filed 107 charges against Comprehensive Health of PP of KS and Mid-MO in October 2007.

    Since then PP has wielded all its influence in a state run under pro-abortion Gov. Kathleen Sebelius to delay the evidence from ever getting before a jury. PP's plan: run out the clock on Kline's term in office. Kline has courageously fought against overwhelming odds to enforce the law against this $1 billion abortion cartel.

    Now, Kline needs the help of the nationwide pro-life community. There is no one else but us. The only way Kline can get his message of truth out is to go around the Kansas City Star with a final days, aggressive, multi-faceted ad campaign. (Recall KCS has pounded Kline since the day he took office, reearning the "Maggie Award" PP gave it in 2006 for helping unseat Kline in the Attorney General's race.)

    Phill needs to raise $300,000 in a week. To reach that goal, StandwithPhill.com has launched a "$50 for Phill" campaign. 6,000 people or families must contribute. Please be one. View this inspiring video of Kline's long battle to bring PP to justice and then participate in the "$50 for Phill" campaign to help him get his word out around the liberal media. If Kline doesn't win on August 5, the 5 year battle to get the only criminal case against PP will be lost forever.

    There are encouraging signs. [Read about them here.]

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    Monday, June 30, 2008

    Photopost: Mass & Burial of aborted infants in Detroit

    Diane reports on the strong showing of local support and witness:

    It is an act of mercy to bury the dead. These babies got a funeral and burial with the highest level of dignity. I can't say how many people were there, but believe there were no less than 600. All I know is that the Sanctuary was full of clerics and altar boys, the pews were filled to capacity, the wooden risers periodically used by the choir in the back were full, and people were still standing in the aisles, in the vestibule, and even out on the front steps.

    She has published an extensive and exemplary photopost of the event.

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    Friday, June 27, 2008

    8 abortion mills close since bishop began on-site prayer

    I mentioned this earlier, and it has been bearing fruit:
    The Catholic Pro-Life Committee, the Respect Life Ministry of the Catholic Diocese of Dallas, has reported that Aaron Women's Health Center, a late-term abortion facility in Dallas will be closing its doors on June 28. Aaron's was one of three abortion clinics in Texas authorized to perform late-term abortions on unborn babies older than 16 weeks gestation.

    When Bishop Charles Grahmann began leading a monthly "Second Saturday Rosary" outside Dallas abortion clinics in 1990, there were 13 abortion clinics in the city. Seven clinics closed between 1990 and 2001, and after Aaron's closes there will remain only five freestanding abortion clinics in Dallas. The Catholic Pro-Life Committee and others have vowed to continue to pray and offer alternatives to abortion outside those remaining five clinics. (LifeSiteNews)

    Leading by example, and grace through action.

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    Monday, March 17, 2008

    Picture: Little Child Speaks (Pro-Life) Truth to Power

    Monday, March 10, 2008

    Breaking: Abortion clinic dumpster yields incriminating evidence

    God Bless the Dumpster Divers.

    Jill Stanek has the coverage.

    Dr. Monica Migliorino Miller ("triple-M", for short) has long been active in MI pro-life.

    Where she goes, the right kind of trouble follows.

    update: related from LifeNews:

    A former Planned Parenthood official has filed a lawsuit against affiliates in California saying they overcharged the state hundreds of millions of dollars on birth control. P. Victor Gonzalez says the abortion business fired him because he raised concerns about the illegal practices.

    Gonzalez says his own internal audit estimates that Planned parenthood overcharged California taxpayers for purchasing birth control by at least $180 million.

    The radical feminists are complaining that this is "another headline that fits squarely with [pro-life] talking points". Well, how many headlines will it take before people admit that abortion clinics are ruthless, predatory organizations?

    When the talking points line up with reality, maybe they are more than talking points.

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    Wednesday, February 20, 2008

    New Missouri bill proposes tax deductions for stillborn infants

    STLToday:

    Lawmakers have proposed a measure that would allow parents of stillborn children to claim them as dependents for one year when filing tax returns.

    ... "This bill recognizes that the person was a child of this state, a child of a family of this state," he said.

    Dempsey noted that the Legislature passed a measure in 2004 that allowed parents of stillborn children to receive a birth certificate. The state tax deduction, he said, is the next logical step.

    The bill's sponsor, Sen. Tom Dempsey, R-St. Charles, has a 100% rating from Missouri Right to Life. Missouri Family Network, similarly, is associated with many pro-life causes.

    I'm all for inventive ways to work around Roe v. Wade. And it is interesting to note that Missouri already grants birth certificates to still-born children. I wonder if they would grant a birth certificate to a child that survives a botched abortion attempt only to die soon after? Sadly, the law has already demonstrated a sustained ability to ignore paradoxes like that one presents.

    [ph/t: feministing]

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    Friday, February 08, 2008

    "Why I am an abortion doctor" published in National Post

    Read the article, if you wish. It's one of the most-read articles on the internet today.

    I actually am going to quote the very last paragraph of what is, overall, a dumbfounding piece.

    This is the abortion provider giving his personal testimony about the "enormous personal and professional satisfaction" he gets out of "helping people, [which] includes providing safe, comfortable, abortions":

    I want to tell you one last story that I think epitomizes the satisfaction I get from my privileged work. Some years ago I spoke to a class of University of British Columbia medical students. As I left the classroom, a student followed me out. She said: "Dr. Romalis, you won't remember me, but you did an abortion on me in 1992. I am a secondyear medical student now, and if it weren't for you I wouldn't be here now."
    I had to re-read the phrase "performed an abortion on me" three times before I realized that what the young woman was saying to the doctor was that "you performed an abortion on my child" instead of (what I first thought) "you tried to kill me as a child in the womb but I survived."

    My confusion was not primarily grammatical, but conceptual: for me, the abortion debate always includes two subjects: the woman and the child. For this abortion provider, it is exclusively about the mother. Therefore, the only individual that can undergo an abortion is the woman. The child does not even "count."

    But regardless, if it hadn't been for the abortion provider, do you know who also would be here now?

    That child.

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    Tuesday, February 05, 2008

    One small step for the little small ones in Italy

    CNA reports:

    The directors of obstetrics and gynecology clinics at four universities in Rome have signed a declaration expressing their commitment to use all means to save babies who survive an abortion.

    The statement, which is seen as one of the first fruits of the Day of Life recently held in Italy, says, “In response to the chance that a fetus survives an abortion, the life of the individual must be protected and given all of the medical means necessary to stay alive, with or without the consent of the mother.”

    Experts assure that in the case of pre-mature babies, “The doctor must revive the baby, independently of his parents, unless it is not obvious that it is a case of therapeutic aggression.”

    The signing of the statement comes as Italy debates the possible liberalization of abortion.

    I simply cannot fathom how one debates and passes legislation such as this one without logically and necessarily being faced with the contradictions it poses to all abortion practices.

    And then you come across as being ungrateful for what has been done. Well, it's not enough.

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    Saturday, January 26, 2008

    Call for Submissions: World's First Pro-Life Film Festival, Cinema Vita

    This news should be of special interest to some readers. Marjorie gives us the goods:

    "The Cinema Vita Film Festival has been established to encourage young, emerging filmmakers and to showcase movies about contemporary issues concerning the meaning and value of life. Coordinated by the San Francisco Archdiocesan Office of Public Policy, the Oakland Diocesan Respect Life Ministry, Marriage for Life, and Ignatius Press, the festival is based on the recognition that art, especially the medium of film, shapes the popular imagination and has a tremendous influence on culture."

    They are looking for submissions spanning 3-5 minutes in 3 categories: high school, college and open. For each there is a cash prize of $250 and a Canon HG10 High Definition Camcorder (value $1100).

    Read the submission criteria here. Entries must be postmarked by February 14, early entries encouraged.

    Here, again, is the official website.

    More details:

    The winning films will be shown at the festival on March 7, 2008 at the Delancy Street Theater in downtown San Francisco, along with the award-winning feature film After the Truth, a provocative look at a fictional trial of Dr. Josef Mengele, the notorious Angel of Death at Auschwitz.
    Ignatius Insight has an extensive article explaining the motivation and goal of the festival.
    Any questions? Marjorie, blogging at Deal W Hudson is point-lady for blog outreach and news.

    This is exactly the sort of innitiative I love prompoting at AmP. Get to it, you young media-savvy papists!

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    Wednesday, January 23, 2008

    AmP's special report on the March for Life

    My report on this year's March for Life has been published at InsideCatholic (Crisis Magazine) here.

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    Tuesday, January 22, 2008

    March for Life (5): March for Life Videos

    Here are two of my exclusive videos taken today at the 2008 March for Life.

    The rest (8) are available on the AmP YouTube channel.

    First, enthusiastic marchers perform one of their pro-life chants for my camera:


    Second, an eagle's eye view of the march from the Blogs4Life conference room:


    Complete AmP Coverage of the March for Life collected here.

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    March for Life (4): March for Life Pictures (1 of 2)

    Here are my exclusive photos taken today at the 2008 March for Life.

    The rest (60) are available on the AmP Flickr page.










    Complete AmP Coverage of the March for Life collected here.

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    March for Life (3): March for Life Pictures (2 of 2)

    Here are my exclusive photos taken today at the 2008 March for Life.

    The rest (60) are available on the AmP Flickr page.










    Complete AmP Coverage of the March for Life collected here.

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    March for Life (2): Blogs4Life Videos

    Here are some exclusive vidoes taken this morning at the Blogs4Life conference.

    The rest will soon be made available on the AmP YouTube channel.

    Senator Sam Brownback answering a question from the audience:



    Random footage of the Blogs4Life conference and participants:



    Complete AmP Coverage of the March for Life collected here.

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    March for Life (1): Blogs4Life Photos

    Here are some exclusive photos taken this morning at the Blogs4Life conference.

    The rest are available on the AmP Flickr page.








    Complete AmP Coverage of the March for Life collected here.

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    Back from the March for Life...

    ... and let me say, it was incredible. Now to begin a marathon of uploading pictures and video (4GB!).

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    Monday, January 21, 2008

    My Itinerary for the March for Life

    Tomorrow morning I will be at the Blogs 4 Life conference hosted at the Family Research Council.

    By noon, I will be on the National Mall marching with the Dominican Friars, by kind invitation. If you see me at any time during the March, please - by all means - walk up and introduce yourself. I'd love to meet you.

    Around 3pm, I will probably return to the Blogs 4 Life conference, in their special rented room complete with wi-fi access and a eagle's-eye view of the marchers coming up the hill to the Capitol. I may or may not be able to post a mid-day selection of pictures and vidoes at this time. Hopefully someone is feeling generous.

    I may also stop by the Blogger's Tea Party, hosted at the Catholic Information Center, time allowing.

    At 5pm, I will be attending the Champions for Life Award Reception, and documenting it officially.

    To wind down, I will probably stop by the Dubliner Irish Pub, a long-standing March tradition, before heading home to post my pictures and video, as well as recap the day's news stories and blog postings.

    And Wednesday morning ... a surprise!

    Oh, and more videos from today are now available on the AmP YouTube Channel, so give them a look-see.

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    Second Report: Vigil for Mass Pre-Gathering (pics & video)

    An abbreviated report this time, due to technical issues (now resolved) that precluded coverage of the Rock For Life event.

    I do however have a few pictures from the Vigil Mass pre-gathering uploaded to the AmP Flickr page.

    There are also two new (HD-quality!) YouTube videos which capture how full-past-capacity the Basilica becomes for this Liturgy (scroll down to see them embedded in this post).

    The originals are available on the AmP YouTube channel.

    Related headlines:

    CWNews: Pro-lifers converge on DC for Roe anniversary

    LifeNews: West Coast Walk for Life Sees Record 25,000 Pro-Life People Participate

    Zenit: Pro-Lifers March on West Coast

    WTOP News: Annual 'March' Will Close City Streets

    LifeNews: Pro-Life Advocates: Roe v. Wade Support Weak as Abortion Case Reaches 35

    Here is the first high-definition short video of the interior of the Basilica from this evening:

    A second video, taken from the front of the Basilica, is available on the AmP YouTube channel.

    Meanwhile, seminarians were keeping a close watch on the sanctuary while preparing for the liturgy:


    To switch gears quickly and end with an observation, the metro has been mobbed all day by March for Life walkers. I went on several trips as I criss-crossed the district assembling my coverage, and each time I was able to strike up a conversation with someone sitting near me by saying "So, are you here for the March?" "Yes!"

    It would be almost impossible for the average DC metro dweller to not notice the throngs of young kids and chaperones on every car and at every station. They are very orderly groups(ticket mishaps aside) and far more outgoing than the daily commuters you normally encounter. A very fine witness, right there.

    And remember, this is all pre-coverage to the March itself tomorrow! Stay tuned....

    Related: All AmP postings on the 2008 March for Life.

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    First report: Cardinal O'Conner Conference (pics & video)

    I'm just returning from the Cardinal O'Connor Conference long enough to upload some pictures and videos. Full report to follow. Next on the itinerary: Rock for Life Training & Activism.

    Here is a photograph of Deirdre McQuade's keynote address at the O'Connor Conference:

    New pictures from the Conference have been uploaded to the AmP Flickr page.

    It was my first time using the camera, so the output was a little sketchy. It does very well with outdoor and up-close photos, however, and those will predominate in tomorrow's March for Life coverage.

    Here is an embedded YouTube video of an excerpt of Deirdre McQuade's response to a question asked by an audience member after she had given her keynote address:


    Here, next, is a sample from one of the conference's "break-out" sessions, this one by Fr. Kevin T. FitzGerald, SJ, MD on the topic of "the future of stem cell research", and also available on the AmP YouTube channel:

    Related news:

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    Weather forecast for the March for Life predicts possible rain & snow

    Even the lions at the Smithsonian National Zoo here in DC don't quite know what to do:

    The current forecast for Tuesday the 22nd, the day of the March, is as follows:

    • 6-9AM: Partly Cloudy, 23-28 degrees
    • 12-3PM: Scattered Snow & Showers, 36-38 degrees
    • 6-9PM: Cloudy, 37 degrees

    So dress warmly!

    Also, the Catholic Information Center is offering complimentary coffee and donuts to walkers starting at 9AM, and the Cafeteria below the National Basilica is offering the same from 6:30-8AM.

    [photo credit: AP Photo/Smithsonian's National Zoo, Mehgan Murphy]

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    Sunday, January 20, 2008

    Tip: EWTN's live streaming of March for Life events

    The schedule (all times EST):

    Here is the link to watch the programs streamed live.

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    Media contact: Deirdre McQuade on behalf of U.S. Bishops

    From the press release:

    WHAT: 35th anniversary of Roe v. Wade Supreme Court abortion decision.

    WHO: Deirdre McQuade, chief spokesperson on pro-life issues for the Catholic bishops of the United States, is available for interview and comment for abortion-related stories/programs on Roe v. Wade anniversary.

    Deirdre A. McQuade, MA, MDiv

    CONTACT: Gene Tarne at 202-347-6840 / cell 571-331-7018; usccbprolife@comcast.net


    Ms. McQuade will be very active over the next few days. She is giving the opening keynote address at the Cardinal O'Conner Conference in Georgetown tomorrow morning at 10:15. I plan to attend.

    More background from when she was named Spokesperson for Bishops’ Pro-Life Secretariat.

    She's even made it to a popular online quote repository.

    Ignatius Insight has an excellent interview with her posted.

    And of course, if you can't get ahold of her, I check my email practically every hour, on the hour.

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    March for Life: Jan 21 Schedule of Events (+update)

    As part of my ongoing coverage of the 35th Annual March for Life, here are the events that are taking place tomorrow, January 21st (Monday). The actual march takes place on Tuesday the 22nd.

    From the LifeSiteNews listing:

    Related news:

    And, as you can see, the pilgrims are already appearing, in greater numbers, at local events:

    this post will be updated throughout the day....

    update: News from and about the blogs:

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    Friday, January 18, 2008

    March for Life News - Jan. 18th

    First off, reader Eric informs us:

    "I spoke to Sister Teresa Mary at the Basilica a moment ago and she informed me that a TLM will be said both days in the Lourdes Chapel. On Monday the Mass will be said at 2PM On Tuesday the Mass will be said at 9:30 A.M. The priest is of the Diocese of Rockford."

    A call for volunteers at the Verizon center rally:

    Young Adult Volunteers Needed for 2008 March for Life Youth Rally!

    With less than one week before the Rally, we could still use some dedicated volunteers to help pull off such an important event!! The one area we could still use help with:

    1) Outside team - Since the Verizon center gets to maximum capacity by about 9 am, we will need to have people stationed outside the Verizon center to give directions to the buses and "walkers" as to where they can go to participate in one of these overflow Masses. These folks will need to be at the Verizon center between 7:45 & 8 am and will probably be able to leave by 10:30 or 11 am.

    Again, please reply to yam@adw.org, if you are interested in volunteering for this event!!

    The Catholic Information Center's schedule of events:

    Monday, January 21

    1-1:45 p.m. - Showing of I Was Wrong, presented by Joyce Zounis.

    2:30 p.m. - Joyce Zounis interviews Millie Lace about her story, which appears in the book Real Abortion Stories.

    Tuesday, January 22

    9 a.m. - CIC opens early. Coffee and donuts for March-for-Life participants.

    3-6 p.m. – Blogger tea party hosted by Dawn Eden [more info at her blog.]

    Related (and recommended): "Ten Challenges for the Pro-Life Movement in 2008" by Rev. Thomas J. Euteneuer, President of Human Life International.

    Update: from the comment box:
    I'm in a bind... I have 45 teens and chaparones that are in need of a place to stay. We would prefer a parish hopefully close to the metro outside of the District as our bus driver can only drive 12 hours in a 24h day so he won't be able to drive us around the area. If anyone can help or has any suggestions, I would really appreciate the help.
    If anyone can help or has ideas, post it here. thanks!

    this post to be updated as the day progresses...

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    Wednesday, January 16, 2008

    Schedule of Events: The 35th March for Life (AmP Complete Coverage)

    As I blogged earlier, the 35th Annual March for Life will be happening in my backyard of Washington, DC next Tuesday, January 22nd. There are also many related events scheduled in the days leading up to the March.

    This is the link you want to bookmark for upcoming March for Life posts.

    I'll be personally walking with the local Dominican Friars, as well as attending as many private events and public conferences as I can swing. According to Wikipedia, this is the most attended annual march in Washington D.C. (100k+) so there is plenty happening.

    I also hope to have a flickr slideshow of exclusive images and several high-quality youtube videos up throughout the long weekend, so stay tuned!

    *Notice: March for Life Buses *must* purchase a DC permit*

    To get started, let's take a look at the important events coordinating with this year's March for Life:

    I'm planning on attending Abp. Wuerl's Mass for Life on Sunday evening, and much of the Cardinal O'Connor Conference for Life on Monday. I don't think I'll make it to the Youth Rally on Tuesday morning, but I will be at the Blogs for Life Conference a couple times when I'm not walking with the Dominicans. In the evening I'm currently planning on attending the ICL, Champions for Family Reception.

    Now, let's take a look at recent stories about or mentioning the March for Life:

    We should not forget to mention the West Coast March for Life, taking place on Saturday the 19th. The fourth French Pro-Life march in Paris will take place on the 20th, last year they assembled 10k people.

    (And I would be remiss to not mention that every of age Catholic pro-lifer warms up at The Dubliner Irish Pub after the cold day of marching. I'll be there. In fact, I'll probably be switching between "The Dub" and Kelly's Irish Times.)

    The Dominican Friars posted videos on YouTube from last year's March: [Part 1] - [Part 2].

    The March for Life website has provided video from the 2007 pre-march rally:

    The best places to find up-to-date pro-life news is the ProLifeBlogs aggregator, as well as Jill Stanek.

    Notice: Readers are more than welcome to submit information to this post by posting it in the comments!

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    Tuesday, January 15, 2008

    Notice of Complete Coverage: March for Life in 7 Days

    The 2008, 35th Annual March for Life will be happening in my backyard of Washington DC's National Mall on January 22nd, with numerous activities taking place in the days leading up to it, which I'm now in the process of compiling into a one-stop list.
    I also plan to provide exclusive audio/video coverage of these important events, so bookmark AmericanPapist, start your preparations and then check back soon!

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    Wednesday, December 05, 2007

    Photo: Real "Precious Feet" of premature infant

    In case you ever doubted those "Precious Feet" pins:

    RNPS PICTURES OF THE YEAR: This handout image from October 24, 2006, shows the world's most premature living baby, Amillia Sonja Taylor's, feet held in contrast with adult hands, just after her birth at Baptist Children's Hospital in Miami, Florida. Taylor, only slightly longer than a ballpoint pen at birth was due to be sent home in the coming days from a Florida hospital after four months of neonatal intensive care, the hospital said on February 20, 2007. REUTERS/Baptist Health South Florida/Handout (UNITED STATES)

    (Amazing, but remember, they come even smaller.)

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    Sunday, December 02, 2007

    Report: "Romney Plans Speech on His Mormon Faith"

    The Trail blog, run by the Washington Post:

    "Romney Plans Speech on His Mormon Faith"

    Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney (R) has decided to give a speech directly addressing his Mormon faith, much as then-candidate John F. Kennedy did about his Catholic faith before the 1960 election.

    The Romney campaign announced Sunday that he will speak about his religious beliefs Thursday at the George H. W. Bush Presidential Library in College Station, Tex. Romney's speech is titled "Faith in America," spokesman Kevin Madden said in a statement.

    Romney has said for months that he sees no need to make a big deal out of his religion, despite surveys which suggest that for some voters, especially in the South, his Mormon faith makes them less likely to vote for him. A Washington Post poll found earlier this year that his religion was regarded by voters as a bigger stumbling block than Illinois Sen. Barack Obama's race or New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's gender.

    Some possible reasons for giving this speech now:
    The statement from the campaign did not specify the nature of the speech, or how specific Romney might be in addressing questions about his own beliefs and practices. During Wednesday's GOP debate in St. Petersburg, Fla., Romney was widely panned for his answer to a question about whether he believes every word of the Bible [watch the video here]. He paused and hesitated for several seconds, leading some to suggest that he was calculating the political risks of different answers. The speech could be an attempt to quiet such talk.

    In addition, Romney is facing a serious challenge in Iowa, the first state to cast votes. Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, an ordained Baptist minister, has surged past Romney to lead state polls, and he has won the support of many evangelical leaders and Christian conservatives, backing that carries substantial weight in the Republican nominating process. A speech by Romney could be an effort to halt Huckabee's progress.
    Related: "Following Debate, Republican Pro-life Candidates Poised for Success" (LSN)

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    Sunday, November 04, 2007

    "Twin survives several abortion attempts, refuses to die..."

    An amazing tale out of the UK:

    They say twins share a strong bond - but the one between Gabriel and Ieuan Jones was unbreakable.

    When doctors found that Gabriel was weaker than his brother, with an enlarged heart, and believed he was going to die in the womb, his mother Rebecca Jones had to make a heartbreaking decision.

    Doctors told her his death could cause his twin brother to die too before they were born, and that it would be better to end Gabriel's suffering sooner rather than later.

    Mrs Jones decided to let doctors operate to terminate Gabriel's life.

    Firstly they tried to sever his umbilical cord to cut off his blood supply, but the cord was too strong.

    They then cut Mrs Jones's placenta in half so that when Gabriel died, it would not affect his twin brother.

    But after the operation which was meant to end his life, tiny Gabriel had other ideas.
    Although he weighed less than a pound, he put up such a fight for survival that doctors called him Rocky.

    Astonishingly, he managed to carry on living in his mother's womb for another five weeks - until the babies were delivered by caesarean section.

    Now he and Ieuan are back at home in Stoke - and are so close they are always holding each other's hand.

    The reasoning given for trying to kill the weaker brother?
    "It would be kinder to let him die in the womb with his brother by his side than to die alone after being born."
    First of all, he wouldn't be alone. His family would be around him. His family would get to see him. His brother could still be at this side. How is it a kindness to cut off his umbilical cord in the womb?

    At seven months, both boys are thriving at 15lbs and 12 1/2lbs respectively:

    Mrs Jones said: "The boys are so healthy, they have huge appetites too. Ieuan is the noisy one, while Gabriel is always laughing, it's like he's just so happy to be here.
    "There is such a strong bond between them.

    "They are always holding hands and if one cries, the other reaches out to comfort him."

    "Doctors tried to break their bond in the womb, but they just proved it couldn't be broken."

    I would wish that mothers who are contemplating killing one of their twins for the good of the other to know about this story. Not to give them false hope, but to appreciate the dignity of a child who is all of 1lb. If a surviving infant can exhibit this kind of will to live, shouldn't every child be given the very best chance for life?
    Perhaps doctors as well will see in this case a new medical procedure that might benefit other infants in this situation. And regardless, maybe they'll come to acknowledge the right of all children to as much life as can be reasonably provided them. The presumption is life, not death.

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    Monday, October 22, 2007

    Once again, progresses in "viability" create contradictions in abortion legislation

    The arbitrary time markers assigned to when fetuses can no longer be legally terminated more and more often are lagging behind the ability of modern science to preserve these lives even ex utero:

    A long-running debate over age limits for abortions was renewed last week in England. Current law allows abortions up to the 24th week of pregnancy, but improvements in survival rates for babies born prematurely have led to pressure for the limit to be lowered.

    The Abortion Act of 1967 originally set at 28 weeks the legal limit for abortions. Then, in 1990, Parliament agreed to lower the time limit to 24 weeks.

    As a result of this logical and legal incongruity, you end up with people feeling legitimately torn: "I feel pretty appalled at the idea that we abort normal babies and most of them are born alive and most of them are allowed to die" the article quotes one person as saying.

    Again, such heinous crimes against nascent human life are exacerbated psychologically when such children, if they spontaneously miscarried (for instance) could more and more often be saved.

    Zenit has good coverage: "Aborting Viable Lives: British Parliament Launches Inquiry on Age Limit"

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    Tuesday, October 16, 2007

    The state of Plan B and the CT bishop’s decision

    This post will provide two services:

    • As promised, it will present recent medical findings which make a compelling argument that Plan B does not, in fact, act abortifaciently
    • Additionally, it will cite examples of a growing consensus among reasonable commentators that the recent decision of the Connecticut bishops was still not in the best interests of Catholic hospitals in the U.S.

    Before I continue I must make this very clear: I am not claiming definitive knowledge about what I discuss. I am in the process of coming to decisions about the moral issues involved here, and I present below my current position on the questions - albeit a position that I have been researching and thinking through at some length. The main purpose of this post is to keep this debate in the public eye and not rest until we are satisfied with the conclusions that have been reached. That said....

    First, the medical findings:

    I have been corresponding with a practicing family physician who has reviewed the medical literature and concluded that levo-norgestrel as dosed in Plan B is probably not abortifacient, granted that it is very hard in this case to prove a negative. However, what is required here is moral certainty, not absolute certainty. There is the possibility, as yet undiscovered, that Plan B could act against an already-conceived human being. I think one of the problems in this debate is that previous reports, now contradicted, did claim to detect an abortifacient side-effect to Plan B in some cases. If those reports were in fact false, and had never been issued, we would be in a very different frame of mind when viewing this situation now.

    First, some summarized background on the medical situation (and several facts you might not necessarily take into consideration immediately without prompting):

    • A pre-implantation embryo is invisible, which means absolute moral certainty regardings its presence and survival is difficult to obtain
    • While most oral contraceptives, when taken regularly, do in fact reduce the endometrial lining (typically from 5mm to even less than 2mm), Plan B apparently does not have enough time to begin reducing the lining of the endometrium. And since it is only administered once, nor does it have a chance to reduce the endometrial lining after implantation.
    • There is also increasing evidence that Plan B operates primarily by preventing ovulation
    • Furthermore, its secondary effect of thickening cervical mucus and altering uterine pH levels are also demonstrable
    • One of the frequently-cited sources for the claim that Plan B acts abortifaciently has since been shown to have relied on unscientific methods for determining its findings
    • Often people claim something to the effect that "clearly Plan B is an abortifacient because it says so on the label!" However, there is plausible reason to believe that this warning was placed on the label to avoid legal complications because the manufacturers did not know (and admittedly, probably did not care) whether the chemical effects the endomitrium.
    • Other research into the effects of Plan B [like this notable one] seem to ignore the fact that Plan B, while similar to the contraceptive pill, does not have the same duration of time than the contraceptive pill has to deplete the endometrium.

    Here is an extract of the physician's findings:

    Plan B, levo-norgestrel does not appear to cause abortion by damaging the endometrium. A 1974 article and extrapolation from daily oral contraceptives have contributed to this common misperception.

    Some “emergency contraception” such an IUD’s and mifepristone most likely do prevent implantation.

    There is now good evidence that Plan B does prevent ovulation in some women. Plan B, given after ovulation has occurred, may still prevent some conceptions by making the uterine environment unfriendly for spermatozoa.

    You can read the two-page summary of the medical findings (as well as a note regarding ovulation testing) in a Word Document here.

    I think this short summary reveals that a very serious study of Plan B's effects needs to be undertaken to provide the Catholic medical community with the scientific data it needs to evaluate the morality of proscribing it to rape victims.

    As a side-note, I'm also hearing reports than Plan B's effectiveness is drastically below the near-100% figures claimed by the manufacturer (as low as 60%). We can probably expect pharmaceutical companies to eventually develop a "99%" effective pill that may include endometrial thinning as one of the mechanisms for preventing sustained pregnancy. Such a pill, on principle, would have to be resisted once it is scientifically demonstrated that it in fact has the ability to act against an already-conceived human being.

    Now, a look at the the emerging consensus:

    Having analyzed the recent medical findings on Plan B, we must now take a look at the prudential nature of the CT Bishop's decision from the standpoint of legal precedent, and therefore, within a wider context. After all, this decision did not occur in a vacuum.

    As I said at the time, I believe the National Catholic Bioethics Center statement on this question is best. I will re-iterate here the conclusion that I came to in my commentary on the document:
    While the NCBC understands the judgement of the CT bishops regarding the claimed moral neutrality, as such, of allowing Plan B, the NCBC also brings up the point that because a) it is immoral to violate one's conscience and b) this law does not allow an exemption of conscience therefore .... c) this law immorally legislates that people violate their consciences.
    Simply put, a law which requires Catholic hospital employees to violate their conscience in the practice of their medical profession is unjust. Numerous commentators have agreed.

    Fr. Thomas J. Euteneuer, president of Human Life International had this to say:
    "Acts of blatant coercion of Catholic consciences are already far advanced and will only continue unless the church is willing to stand up and rebuke the arrogance of these coercive measures and carve out strict realms of conscience which are unreachable by activist courts and corrupt politicians." {Source.}
    The Catholic Media Coalition has been especially vocal about reversing the situation of compliance.

    More recent related stories:

    From the proceeding I conclude:

    • Medically speaking, it appears that prior claims regarding the abortifacient properties of Plan B, when administered once, are unable to be substantiated. Indeed, the best review of current research would seem to suggest that Plan B, when administered once, does not render the uterus inhospitable to new human life.
    • That said, legally speaking, it is unjust for the Connecticut State Legislature to enact a law that a) contravenes the consciences of Catholic employees, b) legislates restrictions upon what testing may or may not be administered to rape victims and c) withholds pertinent information from these victims at a crucial time in their decision-making process.

    As such, and in times such as these, we need to support the CT Bishops in reversing this unjust law.

    Previous AmP coverage of this story - starting the day it happened - available here.

    Constructive comments are always welcome. Emails receive greater attention and priority.

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    Monday, October 15, 2007

    40 Days for Life: Making progress in Sacramento

    CNA passes this account along:

    We seem to be having an impact on Planned Parenthood, 29th and B Street, downtown Sacramento, where we are holding our constant prayer vigil these 40 days.

    When we arrived Monday morning, they had put a sign on the door saying "Closed for Staff Meeting" until after 10 a.m. With the doors locked, no loud PP radios to talk over, and no escorts to contend with, it was a great opportunity to talk with PP clients who showed up; many turned to us for help and information.

    Tuesdays and Fridays are usually abortion mornings here. But thanks be to God, the next day --Tuesday -- the abortionist never showed up. Prayers are being answered!

    Today, Planned Parenthood's parking lot was at 30% capacity most of the day. [More...]


    Do you have similar experiences to share with 40 Days for Life? Please share them with us in the comment box below!

    More information on the 40 Days for Life campaign here.

    Update: Meanwhile, shady Planned Parenthood-related legislation passed today by Gov. Schwarzenegger in California following an 11th-hour submission.

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    Tuesday, October 09, 2007

    Canadian Bishops to Convene, emergency session requested, cite Abp. Burke

    The Organization "Vote Life, Canda!" is calling upon next week's plenary assembly of Canadian Bishops to do something decisive about the recent string of priestly public scandals:

    As the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) prepares to convene next week for its annual Plenary Assembly, the organization, Vote Life, Canada!, is calling for an emergency session to investigate how priestly actions contrary to the Church, have impacted the Canadian people.

    On one particular occasion, Father Raymond Gravel, a Catholic priest and politician, publicly showed his support for issues that are strictly opposed to the Church’s teachings.

    According to Eric Alcock, the President of Vote Life, Canada!, “Just last week, Catholics in Canada were scandalized by the television appearance of Father Raymond Gravel, Catholic priest/politician, who once again unabashedly expressed his support for both homosexuality and abortion."

    In this incident, reported by LifeSiteNews.com, after defending active homosexuality, Fr. Gravel stated, "I also support abortion although I have never had one!" [CNA]

    You can read the Vote, Canada!'s press release here. They are calling on the CCCB to have an emergency session to address, as they describe it "ongoing scandal and devastation caused in Canada by renegade Catholic priests and politicians."

    Having covered of few of these stories as they were transpiring, I join them in their call.

    Notably, the Vote, Canada! press release cites the example of Abp. Burke as a model for dealing with these sorts of issues:

    Alcock strongly recommends the Canadian Bishops follow the lead of St. Louis Archbishop Raymond Burke who insists the consistent position of the church has been that both priests and bishops are morally obligated to deny Holy Communion to wayward Catholics, particularly politicians. Burke is one of the sharpest legal minds in the Catholic Church and a sitting member of the Vatican's highest judicial authority. Just this past week a national association of 600 priests & deacons publicly endorsed Burke's campaign to have fellow US Bishops create new guidelines for Holy Communion at the upcoming annual conference.

    "Burke's insistence that such guidelines protect the sacredness of the Eucharist, safeguard the salvation of the individual's soul as well as protect the Catholic faithful from scandal are echoed in the Open Letter to the Catholic Bishops issued by Vote Life, Canada! in June past," noted Alcock.

    "Only when the Bishops of Canada provide spiritual leadership of a genuinely Catholic caliber will this nation be ready to re-institute legal protections for the Unborn." Alcock urged, "Let that leadership start next week."

    I'll be watching the CCCB meeting to see if anything actually happens.

    Update: More from LifeNews.

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    CNA: Catholic bishops oppose population control program in Philippine

    CNA reports:

    Facing a proposed population control program, Catholic bishops in the Philippines are defending the Catholic teaching on birth control. The Philippine parliament is considering a proposal to spend $22 million to buy condoms and birth control pills to stem the country's growing population.

    Archbishop Angel Lagdameo, president of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines, explained the Church's teaching on contraceptives: "they destroy the fruitfulness of human reproductive capacities given by the Creator and hence are morally wrong."

    He said the money is "better spent on education and poverty alleviation projects."
    The archbishop noted that the Church is not against population control if the sanctity of human life is protected. He endorsed Natural Family Planning as one such population control method. He further recommended that government funding instead be directed towards anti-poverty, anti-hunger, and educational projects.

    Archbishop Paciano Aniceto blamed misgovernance and corruption for poverty, rather than overpopulation. “It is an old exploded myth that the population is the culprit of our poverty,” he said. Real development, he said, should proceed from "serious economic management and proper economic planning of our country."

    There have been recent anti-life proposals in the Philippines in the past few years. A couple years ago some members of the Phil. House of Representatives tried to introduce a mandatory two-child policy, and I believe it resurfaced more recently once again.

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    Monday, October 08, 2007

    If Giuliani can't claim to be pro-life, can others for him?

    In follow-up to an earlier post ("Burke vs. Giuliani and matching wits with an unarmed foe"), where I accused Giuliani of trying to fake being a Catholic to get votes, LifeSiteNews alerts us to the fact that other republicans are trying to claim Giuliani is pro-life. Again, to get votes:

    Rudy Giuliani has tried every trick in the book in order to persuade pro-life voters to consider him for the Republican nomination for president. Now a congressman with a long record of opposing abortion has labeled the former mayor pro-life and said he would have voted mostly pro-life if he had been a congressman as well.

    Rep. Pete Sessions, a Texas Republican, says that if Giuliani were a member of Congress today, he'd be considered pro-life.

    "In a hypothetical comparison of congressional votes, Mayor Giuliani's voting record would mirror the voting record of Fred Thompson," Sessions told CBN News on Monday.

    The congressman, who has endorsed Giuliani for president, says those votes supposedly pro-life votes would include ones "on partial birth abortion, taxpayer funding on abortions, and parental notification laws."

    "Mayor Giuliani respects the values of social conservatism, and his position on these issues would categorize him as a predominately pro-life Member of Congress," Sessions claims.

    However, Giuliani, as mayor of New York City, was on record as opposing the ban on partial-birth abortions and supporting the use of taxpayer funds to finance abortions for poor women.

    Related:

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    Thursday, October 04, 2007

    NCBC publishes statement on Connecticut Bishop's Plan B decision (with commentary)

    The National Catholic Bioethics Center has published a statement on the Connecticut Bishops' decision to allow the use of Plan B without an ovulation test in cases of rape. The NCBC is, in my opinion and many others, the foremost institution on Catholic bioethics in the United States. Their quarterly journal is widely-read and highly regarded. I have read this journal extensively for various courses and have drawn on it heavily for bioethics papers and research.

    I have always agreed with their positions and reasoning. I further take this statement to be normative for my own opinion about this matter, with the comments I include below. To fast-forward and summarize my conclusion: I believe that this document both a) is willing to admit the validity of the Bishops' prudential decision while simultaneously b) claiming that the law is essentially immoral because it requires health care workers to violate their conscience.

    That said, I would encourage anyone who has been following this story closely to read the statement in its entirety.

    I'll now excerpt the most important passages [my comments in brackets]:

    ... This is a complex moral matter and does not lend itself to brief explanation. This difficulty was rendered all the worse by inaccurate reporting and inappropriate, indeed misleading, terminology.

    These are good initial observations, which I have previously voiced.

    ... The state does allow a pregnancy test. However, this test can have nothing to do with the sexual assault. This test only identifies a conception that had taken place before the assault. It takes an embryo 5 to 7 days to make its way down the oviduct and implant in the womb.
    Correct. The pregnancy test does not provide the information needed by the health care workers or victim to make a fully-informed ethical decision.

    ... In other words, [under this new law] the physician would have to administer a drug preventing ovulation even if ovulation had already occurred. Frankly, that makes no medical sense. The state was preventing a physician from exercising his or her best medical judgment about a procedure he or she was considering.

    Yes. The new law requires that health care workers not perform a scientifically-relevant and morally-necessary simple test.

    ... A second objection centered around the fact that the medication(s) might prevent an implantation if a conception had occurred. To intend and to do such a thing is immoral. However, there was considerable debate among medical and drug experts whether or not the drugs actually had that effect. And everyone agreed there was no test even to know whether a new life had been conceived.

    In a situation of doubt, it is not prudent to forgo testing which might aid an honest decision-making process.

    Finally, attention should be drawn to the fact that the Federal Drug Administration includes the intra-uterine device as “Emergency Contraception” which is a misnomer since it is known to have an abortifacient effect.

    I had not heard this before, but I have heard that the FDA protocols often fall well-below standards acceptable to Catholics.

    Unlike the state of Colorado, for example, the state of Connecticut would not allow physicians to exercise their best medical judgment and provided no conscience protection to physicians or hospitals to refuse to administer the drug when requested.

    The crux of the matter: this law inhibits Catholic hospitals and workers to exercise good medicine and their conscience. This is a very dangerous precedent to allow in general.

    The Connecticut Catholic bishops and hospitals, under strong protest, have allowed a new protocol to be used that was developed by Catholic health care institutions. Furthermore, they made it clear that if a test were ever developed that allowed one to detect a conception after an assault, and if it became clear (as is not yet the case) that the medication(s) would work as an abortifacient, they could no longer accept the protocol. Finally, the Connecticut bishops pointed out that the Doctrine Committee of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops had studied this matter for years and could not come to the conclusion that the protocol previously allowed by the Connecticut bishops (the ovulation test protocol) would have to be used by all Catholic institutions.

    I'm not sure here that it is necessary for the Connecticut protocol to be universally-applicable to other hospitals for it to constitute the moral course of action. The logic of the document in this paragraph is not quite clear to me. Just because the USCCB did not endorse the details of the previous CT protocol does not mean that the protocol was deficient. It simply meant that their prudential decision was well-founded enough, at the very least, to avoid challenge.

    In matters that have not yet been decided definitively by the Holy See, The National Catholic Bioethics Center has refrained from adopting one or another position on a disputed question. However, in the matter of protocols for sexual assault, there is virtual unanimity that an ovulation test should be administered before giving an anovulant medication. The protocol the NCBC has supported requires the ovulation test because it provides greater medical and moral certitude that the intervention will have its desired anovulatory effect.

    I think it is clear from this paragraph that the NCBC would have preferred the CT bishops to not abandon their previous requirement of an ovulation test (i.e., language such as "virtual unanimity"), but they do not state this explicitly here. Furthermore, their reasons for thinking the law is unjust are a bit more nuanced and the grounds for their reservations are more novel than the discussion have taken into account up to this point. But let's read on....

    The NCBC objects strongly to state mandates, such as those passed by Connecticut and Massachusetts, that do not allow health care professionals and facilities to exercise their best medical judgment and which do not protect the consciences of all parties. We also object to state mandates that do not allow the victim of sexual assault to have all the information necessary for a medical intervention so that she might make an informed judgment.

    This argument also seems to tend towards resisting the law. Indeed, what they are proposing here is that one might resist the law on principle alone, because it violated the consciences of Catholic hospital doctors and employees and furthermore acts against the interest of the victim.

    However, the NCBC understands the judgment of the Connecticut bishops that the administration of a contraceptive medication in the absence of an ovulation test is not an intrinsically evil act. However, it is immoral to violate one’s conscience, including the corporate consciences of health care agencies, and the unwillingness of the state to allow an exemption of conscience makes the law unjust and onerous.

    Back-to-back "However's" tend to set off warning bells in my mind that an author is trying to have it both ways. I think the first line here about the CT decision is acknowledging, for instance, that strictly-speaking the CT bishops have not acted against any specific moral norm. However, the second line formulates a premise upon which the law could be challenged because "it is immoral to violate one's conscience" ... and as such, the law is "unjust and onerous."

    Conclusion: While the NCBC understands the judgement of the CT bishops regarding the claimed moral neutrality, as such, of allowing Plan B the NCBC is also bringing up the point that because a) it is immoral to violate one's conscience and b) this law does not allow an exemption of conscience therefore .... c) this law immorally legislates that people violate their consciences.

    This conclusion prompts the next question, which this statement does not address: is it moral to accept a law that is immoral for the proportional good of allowing Catholic hospitals to continue treating rape victims? I think that's what the discussion must now explore.

    As I've promised before in previous posts, I still hope to publish a summary of the medical details regarding Plan B by the end of this week (waiting for more input). Previous coverage of this issue can be found here:

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    Wednesday, October 03, 2007

    "Michigan Catholics to get DVD explaining stem-cell research issue" - CNS

    CNS reports:

    To clear up confusion about stem-cell research, the Michigan Catholic Conference has launched a statewide educational program to explain the Catholic Church's teaching on human life, the church's support for adult stem-cell research and its opposition to embryonic stem-cell research.

    As part of the program every registered Catholic home in Michigan will soon be receiving a DVD and other information in the mail.

    On Oct. 1, the conference began mailing digital video discs, along with a letter signed jointly by Michigan diocesan bishops and a brochure, to 504,000 Catholic homes in the state.

    This seems like an excellent, proactive way to keep the faithful informed. I just attended a Theology on Tap session last night on the topic of stem cell research and it's clear that many folks have still not heard the Church's "good news" regarding ethical forms of SCR.

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    Tuesday, October 02, 2007

    Aurora opens largest abortion clinic in US as planned

    AP:

    A suburban Planned Parenthood clinic opened Tuesday, two weeks later than planned, after anti-abortion activists raised questions about how it received its building permits.

    On Monday, Mayor Tom Weisner said that Planned Parenthood was "less than forthcoming" when it used a subsidiary to build a clinic in this Chicago suburb, but attorney reviews found no legal basis to deny an occupancy permit.

    Weisner said the city received thousands of letters and phone calls from people voicing passionate opinions about abortion while the legal reviews were pending.

    Pray on.

    Update: It's sadly revealing that Reuters chose as its photo for this story not one that showcases the hundreds of pro-life folks that have been rallying in Aurora but instead a file photo of a lone pro-choice protester with a "keep abortion legal" sign taken back in 2004 at a planned parenthood-sponsored event.

    It's also untrue to claim in the caption that Aurora is an example of a "growing political battle over reproductive health services such as abortion." Such as abortion? No, Aurora is exclusively about abortion. And remember, embryos need health services, too.

    Related: "Are you guys really going to be out here for 40 days?" by Wynette Sills.

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    Bp. Lori issues clarification on CT Plan B decision

    And he chose to use his blog as the medium for his thoughts (underlining is mine, bolding is his):

    Plan B, an issue previously discussed in this blog (“Sad State of the Constitution State”, April 24th—see “Archive”) is back in the news. Many of you posted comments about those media reports, so I’d like to offer a number of clarifications and some additional perspective.

    Last spring, the Connecticut Bishops worked hard to defeat the so-called “Plan B” legislation. It’s not that the Church opposes administering Plan B to victims of rape; these women have suffered a gravely unjust assault. Last year, nearly 75 rape victims were treated in the four Connecticut Catholic hospitals; no one was denied Plan B as the result of the Catholic hospital protocols which required both a pregnancy test and an ovulation test prior to the administration of that drug.

    What’s really at issue here is how much testing is appropriate to ensure that Plan B does not induce the chemical abortion of a fertilized ovum. There is uncertainty about how Plan B works. Its effect is to prevent fertilization of the ovum. Some believe, however, that in rare instances Plan B can render the lining of the uterus inhospitable to the fertilized ovum which must implant in it in order to survive and grow; many other experts dispute this. For their part, the Bishops of Connecticut felt it was best not only to administer the standard FDA-approved pregnancy test, but also an ovulation test. However, this course of action was only a prudential judgment, not a matter of settled Church teaching and practice. Other bishops and moral theologians hold that a pregnancy test alone suffices. Indeed, the Church does not teach that it is intrinsically evil to administer Plan B without first giving an ovulation test or that those who do so are committing an abortion.

    Unfortunately, Connecticut Legislature decided last spring to settle the question of whether both tests are necessary, instead of letting the Church do so in her own way. The Governor signed into law a measure that forbids health care professionals from using the results of an ovulation test in treating a rape victim. We bishops, as well as health care professionals, continue to believe this law is seriously flawed and should be changed. You should also know that we carefully explored with very competent experts the possibility of challenging the law. Unfortunately, such a challenge would most likely not succeed. Failure of the hospitals to comply would put them and their staffs at risk.

    In the course of this discussion, every possible option was discussed at length with medical-moral experts faithful to the Church’s teaching, with legal experts especially in the area of constitutional law, and with hospital personnel. “Reluctant compliance” emerged as the only viable option. In permitting Catholic hospitals to comply with this law, neither our teaching nor our principles have changed. We have only altered the prudential judgment we previously made; this was done for the good of our Catholic hospitals and those they serve.

    At the same time, we remain open to new developments in medical science which hopefully will bring greater clarity to this matter. Above all, we continue to pray for the healing of those who are victims of sexual assault.

    I'm very happy he published this statement, although I would have preferred that it appeared in a more official context than his personal blog. Still, it's available, and hopefully more so now.

    Bp. Lori's statement does not add anything "new" to the debate, it merely endorses some of the speculation that has occurred here and elsewhere. In it, crucially, he reminds us that "neither Church teaching nor principles have changed" on this issue. But the prudence of allowing the CT legislature to further violate the autonomy of Catholic hospital practice remains up for debate, in my opinion. In essence the CT bishops decided that they did not want to draw a line in the sand on this issue. But with each concession it becomes more difficult to draw it when the time comes. And I think it will, soon.

    "Reluctant compliance", as Bp. Lori calls it, is hardly an ideal state of affairs....

    Update: Since this story is still receiving attention I'd like to copy what was said before here:

    I am working with a couple of knowledgeable contributors to produce a summary of the recent relevant medical findings on Plan B, ovulation testing, and related issues. I hope to have that posted by the end of this week. Contributions to that project are welcome, if you want to email me. Thanks for the helpful comments so far.
    Previous posts on this topic:

    Furthermore, LifeSiteNews is trying to get to the heart of the matter regarding whether Plan B falls under the condemnation issued by the Vatican in 2000 of "morning after pills." More here.

    The relevant passages from the Pontifical Academy for Life's "STATEMENT ON THE SO-CALLED "MORNING-AFTER PILL:

    3. It is clear, therefore, that the proven "anti-implantation" action of the morning-after pill is really nothing other than a chemically induced abortion. It is neither intellectually consistent nor scientifically justifiable to say that we are not dealing with the same thing.

    Moreover, it seems sufficiently clear that those who ask for or offer this pill are seeking the direct termination of a possible pregnancy already in progress, just as in the case of abortion. Pregnancy, in fact, begins with fertilization and not with the implantation of the blastocyst in the uterine wall, which is what is being implicitly suggested.

    4. Consequently, from the ethical standpoint the same absolute unlawfulness of abortifacient procedures also applies to distributing, prescribing and taking the morning-after pill. All who, whether sharing the intention or not, directly co-operate with this procedure are also morally responsible for it.

    ...

    6. In the end, since these procedures are becoming more widespread, we strongly urge everyone who works in this sector to make a firm objection of moral conscience, which will bear courageous and practical witness to the inalienable value of human life, especially in view of the new hidden forms of aggression against the weakest and most defenceless individuals, as is the case with a human embryo.

    Stepping aside for a moment from the scientific questions (which are completely relevant), take a circumspect look at the moral principle the document asserts: in essence, everyone involved with the choosing, distribution and proscribing of medications that may harm a newly-conceived zygote are to treat their decision with the utmost carefulness and respect for human life.

    It's distressing that the CCC (or other competent bodies) do not seem willing to defend their claims that the proscribed medication is in fact proven to be non-abortifacient. And if they don't have solid science to back up their claim, they shouldn't be allowing the medication to be distributed without an ovulation test. That much, at least, can be deduced from an informed reading of the principles outlined in the Vatican document.

    Update 2: From what I've read and some consultation, it seems fairly certain that Plan B and the "morning after pills" are extremely similar, if not identical treatments. The emergency contraception website at Princeton, for instance, says there is "no difference." While it tries to claim later that emergency contraception pills are not "abortion pills", if you read further, the same website admits that these "abortion pills" in fact "may also prevent implantation of a fertilized egg" (= abortion).

    Of this much, at least, I am fairly confident: the CCC spokesperson doesn't have his facts straight regarding the difference between Plan B and morning after pills. If he is privy to scienctific research that is not generally available it would be best that he provide some medical citations.

    If anyone has a citation to the contrary of what I just cited feel free to email me (ideally) or for short-hand post a link in the comments box.

    Update 3: Diogenes at CWNews takes a more harsh view of Bp. Lor's statement. See why here.
    Update 4: Jeff Millerat CurtJester adds his thoughts on the latest, and Matt Bowman has a very good contribution over at Constitutionally Correct:

    The position of CHA is well known and seriously flawed. It basically presents “emergency contraception” as permissible even after a positive ovulation test. To get there it shamelessly adopts the definition of pregnancy at implantation, and broadly justifies acts that prevent “pregnancy.”

    ...

    The new policy for Catholic hospitals in Connecticut will be to dispense Plan B regardless of whether its pre-fertilization effects are negated and its post-fertilization death-dealing effect is the only remaining mechanism. Their spokesman and the sources they rely on seem to adopt the very pro-death word games that are designed to cheapen the lives of human embryos. This situation is becoming more troubling as it unfolds.

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    Monday, October 01, 2007

    Follow-up: Connecticut Plan B Bill goes into effect today

    Update: Bp. Lori has issued a clarification on his blog. That text available here.

    Over this weekend AmP served as a nexus for Catholic debate prompted by recent news that the Connecticut Bishops Conference had reversed a long-standing policy of opposing the distribution of Plan B to rape victims in some cases and had instead decided to accept the current legislation that goes into effect today. In their statement, they claimed essentially that a lack of definitive Church teaching on the question combined with an ignorance regarding the abortifacient potential of Plan B prompted their decision.

    You can find the full AmP coverage here.

    The American Life League has since issued a very strong condemnation of the decision here.

    News has also surfaced that there are plans in the works by a lay organization to challenge the law:

    Peter Wolfgang, executive director of the Family Institute of Connecticut, said his organization hopes to challenge the new law. But the institute has not yet been able to find a plaintiff who has been harmed, such as a hospital worker who was forced to distribute the medication despite their religious convictions.

    "Someone ought to rise up and do something," he said. "This is just one of the biggest pro-abortion attacks on religious liberty that we've ever seen in the state of Connecticut." [source]

    LifeSiteNews suggests that Catholics should respectfully request a clarification from the Vatican:

    To express concerns to the Vatican:

    Pontifical Academy for Life: pav@acdlife.va

    To email the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith:

    Cardinal William Levada E-mail: cdf@cfaith.va

    Given an average account of the situation in the media, clarification would be most welcome.

    I am also working with a couple of knowledgeable contributors to produce a summary of the recent relevant medical findings on Plan B, ovulation testing, and related issues. I hope to have that posted by the end of this week. Contributions to that project are welcome, if you want to email me. Thanks for the helpful comments so far.

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