May 4, 2016

Positivity: Use your vote to protect life — Northern Ireland’s bishops

Filed under: Life-Based News,Positivity — Tom @ 5:55 am

From Belfast, Northern Ireland:

May 2, 2016 / 01:53 pm

Northern Ireland’s voters should use their vote to uphold the right to life, not violate it, the Catholic bishops of the region said.

“The social and moral teaching of the Church is clear, that it is never morally acceptable to support any policy that undermines the sacred inviolability of the right to life of an innocent person in any circumstances,” they stressed.

The bishops released an April 27 pastoral reflection message ahead of Northern Ireland’s May 5 elections.

“As Christians, our encounter with the risen Jesus, living and among us, is a decisive event that has consequences for every aspect of our lives. This includes our lives as citizens,” the bishops said.

Voting is a moral act, they explained: “Each vote cast, or not cast, potentially influences the values that will shape future law and policy.”

The bishops reflected on Catholic social teaching’s role in seeking the common good in Northern Ireland.

Their message, titled “A better future: towards a culture of life, care and hope for all,” discussed at length the protection of human life.

“Central to the good news that the Church proclaims is that the life of every person is sacred and inviolable, irrespective of the stage or state of that life,” their message said. They voiced regret that some people “caricature the Church’s promotion of the inviolability of human life, from conception to natural death, as a mere ‘religious doctrine’, and therefore to be dismissed in the name of a free and secular society.”

“The principle of the inviolability of innocent human life is the most fundamental of all moral principles,” the bishops continued. “This is not only a religious doctrine, but a universal human value upon which our very freedom and dignity as a person rests.” …

Go here for the rest of the story.

April 18, 2016

Positivity: The girl born with half a heart — Two-year-old who survived major cardiac surgery defies doctors to celebrate birthday they never thought she’d see

Filed under: Life-Based News,Positivity — Tom @ 5:55 am

From Wales (HT Life News):

PUBLISHED: 04:05 EST, 14 April 2016 | UPDATED: 10:22 EST, 14 April 2016

• Harriet Summerhill, from Wales, was diagnosed with pulmonary atresia
• The condition means no blood can flow from the right side of the heart
• She was not expected to reach her second birthday, but has hit milestone

Harriet Summerhill was so poorly in the womb that doctors had offered her devastated parents an abortion.

But the bouncing toddler has defied medics’ expectations to become a happy two-year old.

Emma Summerhill, 38, and her husband Leighton, 35, from Pontypridd, South Wales, were told at their baby’s 20 week scan that she had pulmonary atresia – a deadly congenital heart defect which meant the right side of her heart hadn’t formed properly.

The parents-to-be were given three heart-breaking options, to terminate the pregnancy, to allow their girl to die naturally after birth or to risk open heart surgery.

Devastated, they opted to give their baby, who they had already named Harriet, a chance at life.

Now two, she has hit all her milestones including walking and taking – something the pair feared they’d never witness.

Mrs Summerhill, a helpline manager, said: ‘It was just after our 20 week scan that the consultant confirmed that our baby would be born with half a working heart.

‘When we were offered a termination or to allow our girl to die naturally after birth – or to put her through major life-threatening surgery when she was just hours old – that’s when I realised the seriousness of her condition.

‘I was terrified, all my hopes and dreams for my baby had been ripped away in an instant.

‘There was no way we could have our baby terminated, we needed to give our baby a chance despite only half of her heart working. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

April 3, 2016

AP, NY Times Snooze, Hillary Catches Flak From Both Sides For ‘Unborn Person’ Statement

Earlier this evening, Curtis Houck at NewsBusters noted how Hillary Clinton committed an obvious gaffe for someone who is supposedly radically pro-abortion. On NBC’s Meet the Press, Chuck Todd asked, “When, or if, does an unborn child have constitutional rights?” Mrs. Clinton responded that “the unborn person doesn’t have constitutional rights.”

The best way to tell when a leftist’s gaffe is serious is to see if the Associated Press or the New York Times have recognized its existence. As of 9 p.m. ET this evening, neither has. So it’s serious. Pile-ons are coming from the left and the right.

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Positivity: US Bishops back legal protection for doctors who won’t provide abortions

Filed under: Health Care,Life-Based News,Positivity — Tom @ 5:55 am

From Washington:

Apr 2, 2016 / 06:04 am (CNA/EWTN News).- A proposed conscience protection act for health care professionals who oppose abortion would benefit both medical providers and their patients, U.S. Catholic bishops said Thursday as they urged support among the House of Representatives.

“The Conscience Protection Act will address the deficiencies that block effective enforcement of existing laws, most notably by establishing a private right of action allowing victims of discrimination to defend their own rights in court,” Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York and Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore said in a joint statement.

Cardinal Dolan is chair of the U.S. bishops’ committee on pro-life activities, and Archbishop Lori chairs the committee on religious liberty.

Their March 31 statement urged support in the House of Representatives for the proposed Conscience Protection Act, HR 4828.

This bill would protect healthcare providers who oppose abortion, giving them legal rights to defend themselves if discriminated against for their beliefs. Though “modest” in its scope, the bishops said this bill would “respond to past mistaken objections.”

Federal law already protects conscientious objection against abortion in theory, but not in practice, they maintained, since these laws can only be enforced after a complaint has been filed to the Office for Civil Rights at the Department of Health and Human Services. However, the HHS office has “allowed valid complaints to languish, sometimes for years, without resolution.”

Furthermore, they charged, the HHS has already shown favor for grant-seeking health care providers who are open to providing human trafficking victims with abortions. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

March 29, 2016

Positivity: A hopeful sign? New development in the Little Sisters’ court case

Filed under: Life-Based News,Positivity,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 7:46 pm

From Washington:

Mar 29, 2016 / 04:42 pm

The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked for parties in the Little Sisters’ case to submit alternative means, if possible, of ensuring contraceptive coverage while maintaining religious freedom.

“This is an excellent development. Clearly the Supreme Court understood the Sisters’ concern that the government’s current scheme forces them to violate their religion,” Mark Rienzi, lead attorney for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which represents the Little Sisters, stated on Tuesday.

The Court instructed both the plaintiffs in the case – the Little Sisters of the Poor, the Archdiocese of Washington, the group Priests for Life, and several Christian colleges – and the administration to submit supplemental briefs answering whether employees can receive contraceptive coverage while maintaining the religious freedom of the employers who object to providing such coverage. If a way exists, the brief should explain how it works.

At the heart of the case Zubik v. Burwell is the administration’s mandate that employers provide cost-free coverage for contraceptives, sterilizations, and drugs that can cause abortions, and the so-called “accommodation” offered to objecting non-profit employers.

This accommodation involves the employer sending the government a form stating its objection to providing the coverage. The government notifies their insurer (or third-party administrator for self-insured parties) of their objection and the insurer provides the coverage separately.

The plaintiffs like the Little Sisters – as well as many other non-profits – argue that this still forces them, under threat of heavy fines, to cooperate with practices they believe are immoral.

They say they are still facilitating access to these drugs in their health plans by sending the form to the federal government because they know the coverage will ultimately be provided. Furthermore, they argue the government is unlawfully “hijacking” their health plan which is between them and their insurer.

Meanwhile, the administration argues that contraception coverage in employer health plans is in the common interest and that any other method of the government separately providing this coverage on the public exchanges or through Medicaid or Medicare would be insufficient to achieve the universal coverage that Congress envisioned in its health care law.

An alternative method – if it exists – of ensuring the contraceptive coverage while not implicating objecting parties in facilitating access to this coverage should be found, the Court stated Tuesday.

“The parties are directed to address whether contraceptive coverage could be provided to petitioners’ employees, through petitioners’ insurance companies, without any such notice from petitioners,” the order stated. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

March 26, 2016

Positivity: Let them serve — Hundreds outside court back Little Sisters

Filed under: Life-Based News,Positivity,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 5:55 am

From Washington:

Mar 23, 2016 / 04:56 pm

Hundreds of people – many of them women – joined religious sisters outside of the Supreme Court on Wednesday chanting “Let them Serve! Let them Serve!”

The protesters came to support the Little Sisters of the Poor and other plaintiffs arguing that they should not be forced to choose between bankruptcy-inducing fines and violating their religious beliefs, through the demands of the federal contraception mandate.

Sister Loraine Marie Maguire, mother provincial for the Little Sisters of the Poor, told the crowd that caring for “the most vulnerable members of our society” is a “privilege” and a “joy.”

“All we ask, is that we can continue to do this work,” she said.

The March 23 rally outside the Supreme Court gathered as the justices inside heard arguments in Zubik v. Burwell, challenging the “accommodation” offered to religious non-profits by the administration regarding its 2012 contraception mandate. The case is a combination of seven cases brought before the court, and plaintiffs include the Little Sisters of the Poor, the Archdiocese of Washington, Bishop David Zubik of Pittsburgh, and several Christian colleges. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

March 23, 2016

Positivity: Members of Congress speak up for Little Sisters before big day in court

Filed under: Life-Based News,Positivity,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 5:55 am

From Washington:

Mar 22, 2016 / 04:52 pm

Members of the United States Congress have voiced their support for the Little Sisters of the Poor before their case is argued before the Supreme Court on Wednesday.

“We talk a lot about public service up here. Well, these are the people who live it,” House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) said of the sisters on the House Floor on Tuesday, noting that they serve the poor in 31 countries. “They are the definition of public service.”

On Wednesday, oral arguments for Zubik v. Burwell will take place at the Supreme Court. The case is a bundle of seven cases against the HHS mandate, including as plaintiffs Bishop David Zubik of Pittsburgh, the Little Sisters of the Poor, the Archdiocese of Washington, and several Christian colleges.

At issue is the administration’s mandate that employers provide contraceptive coverage in employee health plans, and the ensuing “accommodations” they offered religious non-profits to comply with the mandate.

The Affordable Care Act in 2010 required that preventive services be covered in employer health plans. In its guidelines released in 2011, the Department of Health and Human Services stated that these services included sterilizations and contraceptives, including some drugs considered abortifacients.

They crafted narrow religious exemptions for churches and their affiliates (such as parish groups and schools) using tax law. Religious non-profits who objected to having to provide the coverage, however, were not exempt from the mandate.

The administration then offered an “accommodation” for these objecting non-profits. The non-profits would send a form to the government stating their objection, and the government would then notify their insurer, who would provide the coverage at a separate cost.

Plaintiffs such as the Little Sisters, however, argue that they would still be cooperating with actions they believe are seriously immoral by facilitating the contraception coverage. Faced with steep fines for not complying with the mandate, and with no other option than violating their conscience, they took the case to court. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

March 15, 2016

Positivity: 40 Days for Life Sees 265 Moms Change Their Mind on Abortion

Filed under: Life-Based News,Positivity — Tom @ 5:55 am

From Austin, Texas, and elsewhere:

MAR 7, 2016 10:28AM

So far during this 40 Days for Life campaign, we have reports of… 265 babies spared from abortion. And those are just the ones we know of!

We start today in the Lone Star State of Texas …

Austin, Texas

A counselor in Austin talked to a couple as they left the abortion center. They’d been there for a sonogram appointment – that’s required 24 hours prior to an abortion.

The mother did not want the abortion … but her boyfriend did. And she thought she would be unable to continue the pregnancy without his support.

“Thankfully,” said Heather in Austin, “the counselor had a brochure showing the stages of development of the unborn child. They couldn’t believe it!”

That really got the boyfriend’s attention. “Maybe this isn’t such a good idea!”

They quickly called the pregnancy help center … and canceled the abortion!

Heather tells of another woman who was in the abortion facility’s waiting room. She was unsure about her decision. As she looked out the window, she saw that a large tree branch had fallen on her car!

“This was a sign that this was NOT the right choice,” Heather said. “She left and went straight to the pregnancy center, where she saw her baby on a sonogram. She chose life! God is good!” …

Go here for the rest of the story.

March 12, 2016

Positivity: Eucharistic procession draws nearly 2,000 at Planned Parenthood

Filed under: Life-Based News,Positivity — Tom @ 5:55 am

From Denver:

Mar 10, 2016 / 12:19 am

It was a powerful, solemn scene at Planned Parenthood in Stapleton, Colorado on Saturday morning as Denver Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila led some 1,800 Catholics in a Eucharistic procession seven times around the abortion clinic.

“It was truly a moment of grace, a moment of blessing, a moment of praying to our Lord that hearts may be changed,” Archbishop Aquila said. “It was wonderful to see how many turned out today.”

The archbishop announced his intention to lead the procession in mid-February, and the response to the event was overwhelmingly positive, said Karna Swanson, the communications director for the archdiocese.

“We set up a simple website with a no-nonsense invitation for people to come and pray with the archbishop, and immediately we were hearing from people just thanking the archbishop for doing this,” Swanson said.

“No shouting or arguing,” the Archdiocese of Denver website stated in describing the event. “Only prayerful witness to the love and mercy of God.” …

Go here for the rest of the story.

February 24, 2016

Positivity: How Catholics remembered Justice Scalia at his funeral Mass

Filed under: Life-Based News,Positivity — Tom @ 5:55 am

From Washington:

Feb 22, 2016 / 10:19 am

At a funeral Mass on Saturday, Catholics recalled the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia as a man of deep faith that informed his public service.

“He was God’s first,” his son Fr. Paul Scalia noted of his father, citing public servant St. Thomas More’s iconic quote: “I die the king’s good servant but God’s first.”

Justice Scalia died Feb. 13 at a resort ranch in West Texas at the age of 79. He was the longest-serving justice on the Supreme Court, having served since 1986.

A lifelong Catholic, Scalia attended the Jesuit-run Xavier High School in New York City and then Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. for undergraduate studies. He was a parishioner at St. John the Beloved Catholic Church in McLean, Va.

An estimated crowd of 3,300 attended Scalia’s funeral Mass Saturday at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, the largest church in North America.

Among those in attendance were current Supreme Court justices, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, former Vice President Dick Cheney, and numerous members of Congress, as well as the president of The Catholic University of America John Garvey and his wife Jeanne.

Celebrating the Mass was one of Scalia’s nine children, Fr. Paul Scalia, who is Episcopal Vicar of Clergy for the Diocese of Arlington. Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington, D.C. concelebrated, along with the Apostolic Nuncio to the United States Carlo Maria Vigano, and Bishop Paul Loverde of Arlington. More than 90 diocesan and religious priests also concelebrated.

Cardinal Wuerl welcomed all present at the beginning of the Mass to pray “for the extraordinary man, Justice Antonin Scalia” and “that God will grant him eternal rest.”

In his homily, Fr. Scalia remarked “what a great privilege and consolation” it was to bring his father through the Holy Door of the basilica during the Jubilee Year of Mercy, and for him gain the indulgence promised to those who enter in faith.

“We are gathered here because of one man,” Fr. Scalia began, “a man loved by many, scorned by others; a man known for great controversy and for great compassion.”

“That man, of course, is Jesus of Nazareth,” he added. “It is He Who we proclaim….It is because of Him” that “we do not mourn as those who have no hope, but in confidence we commend Antonin Scalia to the mercy of God.” …

Go here for the rest of the story.

February 17, 2016

MSNBC’s Hayes: Obama ‘Should Go’ to Scalia Funeral — And Why He Won’t

MSNBC’s Chris Hayes is usually right less often than a stopped clock, i.e., fewer than two times a day. But he might get lucky if by some miracle he’s right about something else today because of the matter discussed in this post.

After the Obama administration announced that President Barack Obama will not attend Saturday’s funeral for Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, a staunch Catholic, Hayes tweeted that Obama should be there, and explained why he actually got something right for a change, i.e., he relied on his mother’s advice (HT Twitchy via Instapundit):

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February 14, 2016

Positivity: Blind Second Grade Student Creates Amazing Braille Valentine’s Day Cards for Her Class

Filed under: Life-Based News,Positivity — Tom @ 5:55 am

Via Life News:

A blind second grade girl made unique cards for her classmates this Valentine’s Day, complete with braille.

On each card, the little girl wrote the word “Love” in braille, accompanied by writing in print so the other students can understand what the valentines say, Mashable reports.

Initially posted by the girl’s father “Mack3r” on Reddit, the thread proved a great medium for others to praise dedicated, loving parenting and find out more about the lives of blind people.

One Reddit user asked “How does one braille something?” and learned about a device called a Perkins Brailler that punches dots onto a special type of paper just thick enough that it doesn’t go all the way through.

Another user asked the girl’s father, “How did she braille it and cut them if she’s blind?” He replied: “Her sense of touch is astounding. Folks who are blind need to use their other senses to make up for the lack of sight, and this results in them being far more skilled with those senses than sighted people.”

“As someone who is blind, you’re doing it right. I wish I had a daddy like you,” one user said.

Tragically, some children with disabilities don’t have parents who are as supportive. Many unborn children who are diagnosed with disabilities — even with minor, repairable physical impairments like cleft lips — are aborted rather than given a chance at life.

Mack3r, who, like so many other parents of children with disabilities, sees the intrinsic value of his daughter’s life, didn’t feel deserving of the credit. He described himself as “proud, and humbled” by his daughter’s work.

“She’s amazing,” he added. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

January 26, 2016

Positivity: The March for Life — Fight for What’s Right, Irrespective of the Odds

Filed under: Life-Based News,Positivity,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 5:55 am

From Ken Blackwell at CNS News:

January 21, 2016 | 10:27 AM EST

It has been more than four decades since the Supreme Court ruled in Roe v. Wade that the unborn were of no account. Precious life created in the image of God was treated as but an inconvenience to be removed “on demand.” A Constitution drafted by those who believed in life and liberty became a license to kill the most helpless and defenseless among us. The ruling greatly accelerated what Pope John Paul II termed the “culture of death.”

Although Roe’s most devastating impact remains the thousands upon thousands of babies never allowed to take their first breath, the high court decision also spurred a generation of liberal judicial activism which has malformed America’s Constitution and system of government. The problem is not energetic judges, but jurists who rewrite rather than enforce the Constitution. Today, the Court acts like a nine-member continuing constitutional convention.

An unwanted pregnancy is a significant burden. The reasons for one are many, and the political process is not the place to judge the reasons why. But abortion is not the answer. The consequences are rarely benign for women who abort their babies. Regrets are common, physical problems are real, and psychological harm can be great. The body seems to naturally rebel against efforts to destroy what it has created.

Yet a worse fate is reserved for the child, just months away from independent existence. No one has an obligation to conceive. And contraceptives are widely available. Indeed, the federal government now insists that they must be “free,” paid for by the rest of us. So there’s little reason for an unwanted pregnancy.

However, having created life, none of us, not even the mother, has a right to end it. There’s no need to argue theology about souls and biology about the beginning of life. We all know that starting with a fertilized egg yields a crying newborn nine months later. Once on the continuum of life there’s no excuse for ending it, except in truly extraordinary circumstances, such as a threat to the life of the mother. It is fine to talk about choice, but except in the thankfully rare case of rape, the choice was to have sex. The issue then is taking responsibility.

There’s something more. Although sometimes promoted in the name of liberation, abortion long has been directed against racial minorities. Indeed, years ago, a surprising number of “good ole’ boy” Southern legislators favored legal abortion because they imagined it would be used most by those they saw as undesirables, especially African-Americans.

Liberals today inadvertently follow in the footsteps of the apostles of Jim Crow.

Go here for the rest of Blackwell’s column.

January 25, 2016

Houston DA Turns Tables: Center for Medical Progress Planned Parenthood Videographers Indicted

In an unexpected development which may ultimately qualify as a “be careful what you wish for” exercise, the District Attorney in Harris County, Texas, whose county seat is Houston, has indicted Center for Medical Progress videographers David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt.

Yes you read that right, via coverage in the Houston Chronicle (bolds are mine):

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Positivity: How can pro-lifers reach more Americans? Share God’s mercy, Cardinal Dolan says

Filed under: Life-Based News,Positivity,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 5:55 am

From New York City:

Jan 18, 2016 / 10:21 am

Cardinal Timothy Dolan has marked the upcoming anniversary of Roe v. Wade with a reflection encouraging the pro-life movement to remember the importance of mercy and to see the opportunity to reach those who do not identify as pro-life.

The Archbishop of New York said the pro-life cause backs “an essential moral vision that lifts up every human person.”

“Genuine progress must be progress for all, beginning with those most vulnerable who cannot speak for themselves,” he said in a Jan. 14 message. “May God bless our efforts to uphold human life!”

The cardinal cited Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation Evangelii gaudium. There, the Pope said the defense of the unborn is “closely linked to the defense of each and every other human right … It is not ‘progressive’ to try to resolve problems by eliminating a human life.”

Cardinal Dolan heads the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Pro-life Activities. His statement comes ahead of the 43rd anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that mandated permissive abortion laws nationwide.

“Abortion itself, despite the endorsement of our highest legal tribunal and many political and cultural elites, is as controversial as ever,” the cardinal said. “Most Americans oppose a policy allowing legal abortion for virtually any reason – though many still do not realize that this is what the Supreme Court gave us.”

Most Americans want to protect unborn children later in pregnancy, most want limits and regulations on abortion, and most want to bar taxpayer funding for abortion.

The cardinal noted that despite this, some are reluctant to adopt the pro-life mantle.

“Yet many who support important goals of the pro-life movement do not identify as ‘pro-life,’ a fact which should lead us to examine how we present our pro-life vision to others.” …

Go here for the rest of the story.