Thursday, February 28, 2013


Sanger’s Racist Legacy Lives on in New York City Schools


In 1930, Margaret Sanger’s Birth Control Clinical Research Bureau allied with the Urban League to bring birth control services to the women of Harlem. By 1939, Sanger had raised thousands of dollars to support an expansion of the initiative she named “The Negro Project.” Targeted toward reducing an African-American population described in Sanger’s June, 1932 edition of Birth Control Review as “breeding carelessly and disastrously,” these early birth control clinics seem to have provided a model for New York City’s School Based Health Centers.
Today, New York City’s public school students—underage and without parental knowledge—are given access to birth control pills, Depo-Provera injections, and the insertion of plastic IUDs to prevent pregnancy. In an analysis of the records of 40 school based health centers in New York City—most of them in schools with large minority populations, the New York Post revealed that about 22,400 students sought reproductive care from January, 2009 through 2012.
In addition to these routine contraceptives, the City’s schools are providing students with Plan-B, the “morning-after pill” to prevent pregnancy. The Post reports that “handouts of the morning-after pill to sexually active students have skyrocketed” from 5,039 doses given to teenage students during the 2009-10 school year, to 12,721 doses given in 2011-12. Under New York State law, minors can obtain reproductive services without their parent’s permission.

Like Sanger’s early alliances with the City, New York’s Bureau of Maternal, Infant and Reproductive Health launched the current contraceptive project with a grant from the Fund for Public Health in New York.  According to an internal report published by the City, and obtained by a Freedom of Information Law request by the Post, New York City spent $2.7 million on the centers this fiscal year. While the report lauds the reduction in teen pregnancies in the city, it seems that there are some parents, like Mona Davids, president of the NYC Parents Union, who have been critical of the program.  According to the Post, Davids, an African-American, noted that most school based health centers are in poor neighborhoods: “This was population control on blacks and Latinos without our knowledge.”

Davids is correct. The National Assembly on School Based Health Care Census report documents that nationally, 70% of the student body in schools with school based health centers are members of minority groups. These groups have long been targeted for all reproductive services—especially abortion.   According to the Guttmacher Institute, the abortion rate for black women is almost five times that for white women.

The Reverend Clenard Childress, president of the largest African American evangelical pro-life group in the country identifies abortion providers as marketing reproductive services directly to black women.  He blames the availability of these services within the poor urban communities—claiming that their presence in the minority neighborhoods decrease the stigma of such services by signaling social approval for these services—what economists call “reducing the psychic costs.”
The reality is that when an abortion clinic is located in the neighborhood, residents are more likely to see it as just another neighborhood service—like dollar stores and nail salons. Many children grow up in urban neighborhoods seeing abortion clinics on their street corners as they walk to school. Now, they are seeing reproductive services—including the morning after pill—dispensed at their own schools.

The Sanger legacy of encouraging population control for blacks to benefit society continues—even within academia.  Professors John Donohue and Steven Levitt of the University of California at Berkeley provided a powerful economic argument in favor of abortion in 1999 that relied on the same stereotypes first promoted by the eugenicists of the Sanger era.  In a paper published in the U.C. Berkeley Law and Economics Working Paper Series (No. 2000-18)  entitled “The Impact of Legalized Abortion on Crime,” Donohue and Levitt used elaborate mathematical models to marshal evidence that legalized abortion has contributed to crime reductions.  They concluded that more abortions by African American women result in fewer homicides for society, and warn that any restrictions on abortion will result in increased crime because “homicide rates of black youth are roughly nine times higher than those of white youths.”
It is likely that these abortion rates for African Americans will continue to rise. Now, New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo—a Catholic who was described in a February 19th column in The New York Times by Ross Douthat as a “functionally post-Catholic creature of the Bloombergist center-left”—has recently moved to reduce any of the state’s restrictions on late-term abortions. Expanding access to late term abortion when the woman’s health is at stake rather than just, as the current law states, when her life is in danger, Cuomo continues to defy Catholic teachings in his quest to increase the number of late-term abortions in New York.

In an interview on TALK 1300 AM Radio, a local radio station in Albany, Dennis Poust, Director of Communications for the New York State Catholic Conference decried Cuomo’s decision to expand access to late term abortion.  But, Catholic parents of children in New York City public schools have no choice in their children’s access to abortion and contraception. City officials seem proud that their teen pregnancy rates are declining. But, it is at a high cost for poor families.  It is likely that Ms. Davids and the NYC Parents Union will continue to ask questions about a school-based program that appears to replicate the eugenics project implemented by Margaret Sanger back in the 1930s.
The views expressed by the authors and editorial staff are not necessarily the views of
Sophia Institute, Holy Spirit College, or the Thomas More College of Liberal Arts.
Source: Crisis Magazine


3 Years of Obamacare: Millions Lose Their Current Coverage

Obamacare has been law for nearly three years, with its anniversary approaching on March 23. And while the major provisions (exchange subsidies and Medicaid expansion) aren’t slated to begin until 2014, Obamacare is already having devastating effects on Americans and their health care.
Recall that fateful Presidential promise, made on several occasions during the health care reform debate, “If you like your health care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health care plan, period. No one will take it away, no matter what.”
Despite the President’s promise, Heritage warned that many provisions in Obamacare would encourage employers to drop health coverage for their workers:
Many businesses and their employees—especially lower-income employees—will find that replacing ESI [employer-sponsored insurance] plans with subsidized coverage on the exchanges is mutually beneficial. Employers would no longer offer health insurance but would offer wage increases as wages and benefits are substitutes in an employee’s net compensation. At the same time, these workers will still have access to coverage through the exchanges with the subsidies or through Medicaid.
Heritage had it right. As employers and businesses prepare for the law’s major insurance regulations and mandates to begin next year, more stories of people losing their current coverage are emerging.
Most recently, Universal Orlando announced that it will no longer offer coverage for its part-time workers. The reason is Obamacare’s prohibition of annual benefit limits beginning in 2014, causing Universal’s plans to become too expensive. It’s estimated this will affect about 500 Universal employees. But the law began phasing out annual limits over the past few years, which Universal—along with 1,230 other health plans—had a waiver for. However, those waivers expire January 1, 2014, and the likely outcome will be that the nearly 4 million Americans enrolled in those plans will be forced out of their current health plan.

Another group who will lose their current coverage in 2014 is the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). According to a news release, “[M]edical coverage will end for some 17,500 Association members and thousands of their dependents at year’s end.” The underwriter of AVMA’s medical coverage blames “regulatory requirements put in place as a result of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act signed by President Obama in 2010.” However, the Association plans to offer other coverage by operating its own private exchange in 2014.
There will likely be many more of these stories over the next few years, as the Congressional Budget Office projects that, on net, 7 million Americans will lose their ESI by 2022 due to the enactment of Obamacare.

Worse yet, there are plenty of other studies that predict the loss of ESI will be much greater. McKinsey & Company, a consulting firm, found that “30 percent of employers will definitely or probably stop offering ESI in the years after 2014.”

Deloitte, another consulting firm, found that around 10 percent of employers would drop coverage and send their employees into the new government-run exchanges.
While these results vary in severity, they all mean that Obamacare will cause millions of Americans to lose their current health care coverage—which is just one of Obamacare’s many broken promises.

Posted in Featured, Health Care -Heritage

Marriage Must Not Be Redefined

Why Marriage Matters for America and Conservatism 

Ryan T. Anderson

Some former officials in the Republican Party are urging the Supreme Court to redefine marriage for the nation. But support for marriage as the union of a man and a woman is essential to American—and conservative—principles. Indeed, nothing could be less conservative than urging an activist court to redefine an essential institution of civil society.

As my co-authors and I argue in our new book, What Is Marriage?, and in the amicus brief we filed with the Supreme Court, marriage exists to bring a man and a woman together as husband and wife to be father and mother to any children their union produces. It is based on the anthropological truth that men and women are different and complementary, on the biological fact that reproduction depends on a man and a woman, and on the social reality that children need a mother and a father. Marriage has public purposes that transcend its private purposes.

Marriage predates government. It is the fundamental building block of all human civilization. All Americans, especially conservatives, should respect this crucial institution of civil society. This is why 41 states, with good reason, affirm that marriage is between a man and a woman.
Government recognizes marriage because it is an institution that benefits society in a way that no other relationship does. Marriage is society’s least restrictive means to ensure the well-being of children. State recognition of marriage protects children by encouraging men and women to commit to each other and take responsibility for their children. While respecting everyone’s liberty, government rightly recognizes, protects, and promotes marriage as the ideal institution for childbearing and childrearing.

Redefining marriage would further distance marriage from the needs of children. It would deny as a matter of policy the ideal that a child needs a mom and a dad. We know that children tend to do best when raised by a mother and a father. The confusion resulting from further delinking childbearing from marriage would force the state to intervene more often in family life and cause welfare programs to grow even more.

In recent years marriage has been weakened by a revisionist view that is more about adults’ desires than children’s needs. Redefining marriage represents the culmination of this revisionism: Emotional intensity would be the only thing left to set marriage apart from other kinds of relationships. Redefining marriage would put a new principle into the law—that marriage is whatever emotional bond the government says it is.
Redefining marriage to abandon the norm of male-female sexual complementarity would also make other essential characteristics—such as monogamy, exclusivity, and permanency—optional. But marriage can’t do the work that society needs it to do if these norms are further weakened. All Americans, especially conservatives who care about thriving civil society capable of limiting the state, should be alarmed.

Redefining marriage is a direct and demonstrated threat to religious freedom that marginalizes those who affirm marriage as the union of a man and a woman. We have already seen this in neighboring Canada and right here in places such as Massachusetts and Washington, D.C.
What should the Supreme Court do? The Supreme Court should not usurp democratic authority from citizens and their elected officials. In a Heritage Legal Memorandum detailing the constitutional issues in the marriage cases before the Court, law professor John Eastman argues that the Constitution does not answer the policy questions about redefining marriage, thus:
The ultimate question before the Court, then, is whether the decision to embark on such an experiment is to be made by the people, either through their legislatures or directly by voter initiative, or whether the Constitution, which is silent on this precise question, must be interpreted to have already answered the question.
Promoting marriage doesn’t ban any type of relationship: Adults are free to make choices about their relationships, and they do not need government sanction or license to do so. All Americans have the right to live as they choose, but no one has a right to redefine marriage for the rest of us.

Posted in Family and Religion, Heritage 

Doctors Against Andrew Cuomo’s Radical Abortion-Expansion Bill


                          Doctors Against Andrew Cuomo’s Radical Abortion-Expansion Bill
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Dr. Anne Nolte, a family physician, takes time today from her busy patient schedule at the National Gianna Center for Women’s Health and Fertility she directs in Manhattan to protest Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Reproductive Health Act.

Despite the fact that women have “almost unlimited access to abortion, as evidenced by abortion rates which are nearly double the national average,” as Nolte noted in a letter to an Empire State newspaper this week, the governor’s agenda includes expanding access to abortion in New York State, including by allowing non-physicians to perform abortions.
“Women faced with unplanned pregnancies want and need access to life-affirming alternatives to abortion, less bureaucratic obstacles to adoption, more support and resources to enable them to bear their children and raise their families with dignity,” she implored.
“Women given a poor prenatal diagnosis need love and support as they parent their child through whatever months of life that child may have, not pressure to end the life of their child. Most of my post-abortive patients tell me that they didn’t want to ‘choose abortion’ but did so only because they felt like they ‘had no other choice,’” she shared.
Dr. Nolte begs New York lawmakers to challenge the governor’s cheerleading — literally, there was “choice!” chanting from the governor during his State of the State address  and to consider alternative legislative moves, to not buy into the conventional narrative that insists that it is acceptable to equate “women’s health” and freedom with a radical safe, legal, and seemingly preferred-abortion mindset.

Dr. Nolte will be joined by fellow doctors in Albany today urging the reconsideration of the governor’s “reproductive health” agenda. She is protesting the agenda with the confidence that New Yorkers don’t consider abortion expansion a priority for New York. A poll from the Chiaroscuro Foundation makes this clear. Even pro-choice Democrats think the abortion rate in New York is alarmingly high.
Not for the first time, the best friend of a radical reproductive-health agenda is misinformation, confusion, spin.
Dr. Nolte talks about the legislation and what drives her to Albany in an interview with National Review Online.

KATHRYN JEAN LOPEZ: Why are you protesting the governor’s agenda with regard to abortion?
DR. ANNE NOLTE: Though Governor Cuomo has not yet proposed specific legislation, his comments to the media suggest he plans to introduce legislation similar to the bill commonly referred to as the “Reproductive Health Act,” which could be used to allow abortion even of an infant who can survive outside of the womb and which would allow non-physicians to perform invasive surgical abortions in medical clinics outside of a hospital setting.
I, like many of my colleagues, believe that such legislation makes abortion less safe for women. We worry it will increase the use of late-term abortion when this type of abortion is not necessary to protect a woman’s health. And it devalues the lives of our second patient — the infant in the womb.
We are also concerned about defining abortion as a “right,” which the Reproductive Health Act would do. Does this mean that doctors and institutions which refuse to provide abortion for religious or moral reasons will be charged with “discrimination” for failing to respect this right? Will we be fined? Lose our licenses? These are real and serious concerns that lawmakers in Albany must not gloss over.

LOPEZ: Aren’t you doing a disservice to women, and even children, in New York by opposing this?
DR. NOLTE: Quite the opposite. Many physicians oppose abortion because we have all cared for women who have suffered physical or emotional complications from a past abortion. The risk of physical complications from a surgical abortion increases, the later in pregnancy that these procedures are performed. If the “termination” of a pregnancy after 24 weeks is required to protect a woman’s health, this can be accomplished by inducing labor or performing a C-section – options that are safer than late-term abortion when a woman’s life or health is truly at risk and that preserve the life of the infant. Both mother and child are better off when we recognize that late-term abortion is not good health care.
Further, as physicians who care for pregnant women, we have two patients. Women trust us because of this fact — that we are dedicated to preserving both the health of the mother and the health of the child in her womb. When we provide care, our goal is to provide the best care to both of these patients, no matter what the circumstance — not to pit mother against child for the sake of advancing a political agenda.

LOPEZ: Why do you believe this legislation represents ”abortion expansion”?
DR. NOLTE: The rate of abortion in New York State is double the national average. In some parts of New York City, over 60 percent of pregnancies end in abortion. It is estimated that 90 percent of children with Down Syndrome are aborted, and many abortions after viability occur because the child was given a poor diagnosis, such as Down Syndrome. All of these statistics represent the current state of affairs under current New York law.
With staggering statistics like these confirming that there is no lack of access to abortion in New York State, why would we seek to allow less qualified, non-physician health-care providers, with less surgical training, and less experience managing complications of surgery, to perform abortions? Why would we allow outpatient abortion clinics to perform late-term abortions, with the inherently higher risk of complications, rather than continue to require that high-risk procedures be performed in the safety of a hospital? The Reproductive Health Act, as it is currently written, does both of these — expanding access to abortion, while decreasing its safety. These regulations represent a step backward, to more abortion and less safety for women.

LOPEZ: What about expanding late-term abortions?
DR. NOLTE: Let’s be clear. The RHA and Governor Cuomo’s comments both clearly indicate that they want to allow abortion through all 40 weeks of pregnancy if it is necessary to protect the “health” of the mother. This is deceptive. As I already mentioned, any complications of pregnancy after 24 weeks’ gestation can be managed safely by delivering the living child, whether by induction of labor or by C-section. The death of the child is never medically necessary to preserve the mother’s health. “Health” however has been broadly interpreted to mean not just serious, life-threatening conditions, like high blood pressure or pre-eclampsia, but also any disturbance of “mental health.” This essentially allows a woman to terminate her pregnancy through all 40 weeks of pregnancy for any reason that “upsets her mental health.” As a single example, one young woman, who spoke before the New York City Council a few years ago, testified that she was pressured at an abortion clinic to say she was “depressed” by her pregnancy, because it would be the only way for her to get a legal abortion at 25 weeks’ gestation.

LOPEZ: “Choice” was the rallying cry of the governor during his State of the State address when he talked about this. Aren’t you lending support to a “war on women” that Catholics and pro-life folks are so often accused of waging?
DR. NOLTE: Again, we feel that the opposite is true. Abortion harms women. In my family practice over the past seven years, I have asked every woman who has had an abortion if she has experienced any negative effects, physical or emotional. I have been surprised by the number who have had physical complications, as I was always taught that these were “rare.” But besides that, thus far only one woman has said that she did not regret her abortion.
Many have experienced depression, anxiety, flashbacks, and regret. Some live in fear of their spouse or living children finding out about an abortion they had as a teenager. Some are infertile and are tormented by the knowledge that they aborted the only child they will ever have. Some terminated a pregnancy for a birth defect, and mourn the loss of the precious time they could have had to parent the child for as long as her natural life would have lasted. Thousands of women have sought help for the emotional trauma caused by their abortion.
Reasonable limits on abortion are not promoted to take away women’s rights, wage war on women, or harm them. They are actually protective of women.
For instance, prohibiting late-term abortions protects women who have been given a poor prenatal diagnosis from the intense pressure they often experience from peers and even from the medical profession to end their pregnancy. When supported and given the chance, many women whose unborn child is given a life-limiting diagnosis want to parent the child during whatever days, weeks, or months of life that child may have. When abortion is not an option, it allows the whole medical team to turn their attention to what they do best — caring for mother and child in a difficult circumstance. This is evidenced by the success of programs such as perinatal hospice.
Another example: Requiring a waiting period, as some states do, gives women time to think through and process the roller coaster of emotions they experience when they first discover that they are unexpectedly pregnant.
As physicians, we are taught that the worst time to make a decision is when you are in a crisis. It takes time for emotions to settle and for a person to rationally weigh her options in the context of her personal values. A waiting period allows women to make a choice they can live with and not one dictated by the impulse of fear. It also protects them from unscrupulous providers of abortion who may take advantage of this vulnerable state of the woman for financial gain.
These are just a few examples, but they demonstrate that it is reasonable to limit abortion — something with which most Americans agree.

LOPEZ: Your press conference is being held in conjunction with the New York State Catholic Conference; Cardinal Dolan has urged the governor to rethink his agenda here; and yours is a Catholic medical practice. Why should Catholic doctrine have anything to say about Empire State public policy?
DR. NOLTE: It is not Catholic doctrine that motivates the concern of the physicians speaking at our press conference. In fact, we will be joined by other Christian and Jewish colleagues.
What motivates us to speak out is our experience working with women and our conviction that abortion is not good for women. Women do not need greater access to abortion in New York State, they need greater access to prenatal care, less burdensome adoption laws, community support when they are given an adverse diagnosis, working conditions that allow them to work and parent their children, and protection from pregnancy discrimination.

LOPEZ: Do you feel a particular obligation as a doctor to speak up in regard to the push for the Reproductive Health Act?
DR. NOLTE: I do. When I listen to politicians speak about abortion, I am struck by how little they seem to understand about the real experiences and needs of women with unplanned pregnancies. Sometimes it seems like they care more about advancing a political agenda than about actually protecting women. I am not an expert in law or politics, but I know what my patients have told me — and what they have told me has convinced me that more abortion is not good for women.

LOPEZ: You live in a state that is not exactly a bastion of pro-life activism. Shouldn’t you just let this go? Why is it worth fighting for something else?
DR. NOLTE: Despite all of the rhetoric and all of the strong emotions that surround any discussion of abortion, I have witnessed the negative effects of abortion on women. Women who are suffering because of a past abortion deserve to have their suffering acknowledged, and women who are contemplating abortion deserve to know that it might really have a negative impact on their lives. I work in women’s health. It is my job to stand up for them.

LOPEZ: In your daily work, what are the needs of women? Are there ways the state could help with any of them? Perhaps as part of a governor’s reconsidered women’s rights and health agenda?
DR. NOLTE:  We should support women who are pregnant with access to good prenatal care. Provide support for the wonderful network of pregnancy centers trying to help women with housing, clothing, parenting classes, etc., equal to the support that the state provides to abortion clinics. Simplify adoption laws and make the state more adoption-friendly. Fund medical centers that want to provide perinatal hospice services, grief counseling, and support to families given a poor prenatal diagnosis. Strengthen pregnancy-discrimination laws. Encourage employers to create a work environment that allows parents to parent their children and doesn’t penalize parents when a child becomes ill. New York lawmakers need to consider a healthier approach to policy than affects women and children in our state. Expanding abortion access in a state with such high rates can’t be a priority.

  Source National Review on Line

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Pope Benedict Departs, but the Presence Endures

                                                  Benedict Departs, but the Presence Endures  
By Hadley Arkes   
Tuesday, 26 February 2013

“It must be borne in mind,” he wrote, “that no error could persist unless it contained a grain of truth.  Indeed, an error is all the more dangerous the greater that grain of truth is, for then the temptation it exerts is all the greater.”  
So wrote Cardinal Ratzinger in 1984.  The danger in question was that of “liberation theology,” offering itself in the name of deep sympathies for the poor, but working, inescapably, “to recast the whole Christian reality.”  The language and the scheme was Marxist.  The emphasis on the Bible put the accent on History, and in good Marxist-Hegelian terms, the unfolding of History would now become the source of “revelation” and “the real interpreter of the Bible.”  History, then, would become the “real bringer of salvation.”  In this way, “the concept of history swallows up the concepts of God and of Revelation.”
A large part of the power of Joseph Ratzinger’s writing was that he could recognize that “grain of truth” contained in the argument of his adversaries.  He would give them the deep respect of taking them seriously.  And in recognizing that grain of truth they had in hand, or the ground of their decent motives, he would penetrate to the root of things.  He would run deeper than they were capable of running, and in uncovering the source of the fallacies that beguiled them, he would make ever clearer the truths they were missing at the very core of things.
But suddenly, this week, it kicks in:  He really is leaving.  By the end of this week, the papacy of Benedict XVI will have ended. What makes it all the more jolting is that he has been such a vivid presence for so long – since well before he ascended to the papacy in 2005.  Part of the wonder and astonishment for some of us in 2005 was that the man who had been such a towering intellectual presence would actually be elevated by his “colleagues” to the head of affairs.  
But that may simply be a sign of the fact that the electorate here showed a certain clear-headedness – and humility. They were able to recognize a figure among them whose force as a teacher truly exceeded their own.  No doubt with the Holy Spirit offering a Helping Hand.
In the writings of John Paul II one would be struck instantly by the piety, and very quickly it would become apparent that one was in the presence of an accomplished philosopher.  With Benedict I had a sense of things slightly reversed. It would be apparent on the first page that one was listening to a world-class philosopher, and the piety would soon come through, quite as powerful and glowing. 

         Cardinal Ratzinger in 1984 
Part of the oddity of this moment is that he is receding from the papacy even when, as it seems to me, his force as a writer and teacher is unimpaired.
He took the name of Benedict in order to focus on the restoration of Europe and the West, and the central problem, the central danger, was the corrosive force of moral relativism.  He would write, as pope, on the “dictatorship of relativism.”  But his teaching in this vein had long preceded his elevation to the papacy.  
The assault on reason had come, in aggressive form, from the Communists and Fascists with their “pathology of reason” – their powers of calculation detached from any moral grounding.  But the dangers now came even from within the Church. There were those nuns and priests, thinking tenderly but thinking faintly. They would be drawn to “liberation theology” without quite realizing the line they were crossing as they absorbed a Marxist-materialist view of the world. 
There were notable Catholic jurists who rejected natural law because they didn’t think it would command wide agreement. But as Cardinal Ratzinger pointed out in 1999, the lawyers put their accent on the “common convictions of citizens” when they had lost their confidence that they could find, in the natural law, the standards of judgment on right and wrong.
In his famous Regensburg Address in 2006, he ignited a storm of protest when he dared to suggest a certain tendency in Islam to beget violent jihadism, or a willingness to seek conversion through lethal coercion.  And yet Benedict might have been bringing off a trick-of-the-eye with rhetorical skill. He identified the problem here with the most strident and lethal denial of reason in jihadism. 
But the problem he took as the most decisive had its origins really in Protestantism, with its rejection of natural law and moral reasoning as instruments that could deny the freedom and supremacy of God. That rejection of moral reasoning in the name of faith (or sola scriptura) was reinforced by the drift in philosophy to separate theology from philosophy, faith from reason.  Religion would be reduced then to subjective beliefs cut off from the things we can reliably know.  And a philosophy determined to drive theology out of its domain ends up, in its sweep of skepticism, by driving reason out of philosophy itself.
Benedict challenged the best that the secular worlds could offer up in their defense by their most prestigious philosophers. And he forced them in turn to rise in meeting him.  His arguments will be with us to be read and read again, and to teach us anew, even if he retires now to the quiet of his study.
Hadley Arkes is the Ney Professor of Jurisprudence at Amherst College. His most recent book is Constitutional Illusions & Anchoring Truths: The Touchstone of the Natural Law. Volume II of his audio lectures from The Modern Scholar, First Principles and Natural Law is now available for download.
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The Catholic Thing is a forum for intelligent Catholic commentary. Opinions expressed by writers are solely their own.


Counterfeit Marriage Legislation Passed In House Committee

                                 Counterfeit Marriage Legislation Passed In House Committee

The Illinois House Executive Committee approved a bill to redefine marriage late last night by okaying SB 10. The bill passed out of committee by a 6-5 vote.  It now goes to the full House of Representatives for consideration.
All four Republican lawmakers voted against the bill and were joined by Democrat State Representative Eddie Lee Jackson of East St. Louis.  It is important to note that Democrat State Representative Luis Arroyo (D-Chicago) made a point to qualify his yes vote, saying that he would vote to get the bill out of committee but would not be supporting the legislation on the House floor, citing his religious faith and the churches in his district as his reasons for not supporting it.  No, This anti-family legislation is not as popular as some would have us believe.  They do not have the votes necessary to pass this bill, and we must continue and even intensify our opposition to this bill.

Bottom line:  same-sex marriage is not inevitable.

Those who testified against SB 10 included Dr. Jennifer Roback-Morse, President of the Ruth Institute (a project of the National Organization for Marriage); Kellie M. Fiedorek, Litigation Counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom; Linda Jernigan who lived as a lesbian for nearly twenty years but through the power of Jesus Christ now walks free from the homosexual lifestyle; and Pastor Danny Holliday, from Alton, Illinois.
To watch a video of the entire hearing, please click HERE.

Dr. Roback-Morse began her testimony by asking and answering the questions, “What is marriage,” and “What is owed the child”:
I urge you to reject the bill before you, SB 10. I urge you to reject any other legislation that would redefine the most basic structural feature of marriage, by removing the dual gender requirement for marriage. Redefining marriage redefines parenthood. “Marriage equality” cannot be achieved. Making same sex couples the legal equivalent of opposite sex couples will introduce new and deeper inequalities into society. 
Most importantly, redefining marriage creates structural injustices against children. To see this, we must ask ourselves: what is the essential public purpose of marriage, and what is owed to the child? 
The essential public purpose of marriage is to attach mothers and fathers to their children and to one another. And the child is entitled to a relationship with and care from both of the people who brought him into being. Therefore, the child has a legitimate interest in the stability of his parents’ union. But no child can defend these entitlements himself. Nor is it adequate to make restitution after these rights have been violated. The child’s rights must be supported pro-actively, before harm is done. 
Marriage is adult society’s institutional structure for protecting these legitimate interests of children. Without this public purpose, we would not need marriage at all as a distinct social institution. 
We often hear the objection that some marriages don’t have children. This is perfectly true. However, every child has parents. The objection that some marriages don’t have children stands the rationale for marriage on its head, viewing marriage from the adult’s perspective, instead of the child’s. 
Same sex couples and opposite sex couples are obviously different with respect to this essential public purpose of marriage. And treating different things differently is not discrimination. That is why, in the few cases where courts have found opposite sex marriage to be unlawful discrimination, they have had to come up with purposes for marriage that have nothing to do with procreation or attaching children to parents. 
Thus, my first and most basic point is this: It is a structural injustice to a child, to deprive him or her of a relationship with both parents, without some compelling or unavoidable reason.
(Read her entire testimony HERE.)

It may sound odd but, even though this passed out of committee, I am encouraged by the progress we are making in Springfield .  At the same time, we cannot let down our guard for a moment.  This is still an “all hands on deck” situation, and only with your help will we be able to stop this bill from being passed!  
Take ACTION:  If you haven’t yet sent an email or a fax to your state representative — it is time to speak up now!  Click HERE to contact your Illinois Representative and tell him/her to oppose the effort to redefine marriage!.  You can also call him/her through the Capitol switchboard at (217) 782-2000.
Better still, schedule a meeting with your representative, bring as many constituents as you can, and ask him or her the questions available HERE.
More ACTION:  Contact your family and friends at church and let them know that they should speak out against this radical proposal — post your opinions on Facebook and Twitter.

Obama and Religious Freedom

Congressmen: Obama Admin Can’t “Pick and Choose” Who Gets Religious Freedom

On February 19, nine U.S. Senators and two U.S. Representatives joined a “friend of the court” brief in Hobby Lobby’s 10th Circuit Court appeal over the Obamacare anti-conscience mandate, highlighting the Obama Administration’s refusal to recognize business owners’ religious freedom.
The congressional brief explains that the federal government “may not pick and choose whose exercise of religion is protected and whose is not.”
The brief is signed by original supporters of the 1993 federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), which prohibits substantial government burdens on religious exercise unless the government can show a compelling interest in burdening religious liberty and does so through the least restrictive means.
The congressional brief charges that the religious freedom law has implications for the anti-conscience mandate’s assault on employers’ religious liberty, but that the Obama Administration has all but ignored the statute in word and deed.
The Obama Administration’s “refusal to apply RFRA…turns the law of religious freedom upside down,” the congressional brief states. “RFRA places a heavy burden on Government and protects religion by default. But the HHS mandate places a heavy burden on religion and protects Government by default.”
That federal protection of religious liberty was broad as well as overwhelmingly bipartisan. Various versions of RFRA were introduced by then-Senator Joe Biden (D–DE), Senator Orrin Hatch (R–UT), and the late Senator Ted Kennedy (D–MA), with the final version passed with broad bipartisan support in both the House and Senate. The religious freedom bill was signed into law by then-President Bill Clinton.
As the congressional brief explains, “Congress plainly wrote RFRA to include corporations[.]” Yet, the Obama Administration has repeatedly suggested that business owners’ right to religious freedom ends when they walk into their workplaces because for-profit employers do not engage in exercise of religion.
Such an offensively narrow view of faith in public life has threatened the rights and livelihoods of many job-creating businesses and their owners—including Hobby Lobby.
Hobby Lobby has over 500 stores in 41 states and employs more than 22,500 individuals. The Green family, who founded and runs Hobby Lobby, seeks to operate the company in accordance with Christian principles—including offering an employee health care plan that aligns with those values.
Under the Obamacare mandate, however, Hobby Lobby will be forced to provide and pay for abortion-inducing drugs—regardless of the owners’ religious objections to doing so—or face $1.3 million in fines per day.
Indeed, in exercising its new-found authority over health care, provided by the overreaching arm of Obamacare, the Administration has run roughshod over many employers’ religious liberty. Even in attempting to conceal its assault on a fundamental freedom, the Administration has put forth an unworkable and inadequate “accommodation” that explicitly excludes business owners like the Green family. Many employers’ religious freedom is now subject to the haphazard negotiations of bureaucrats.
As Members of Congress write in the brief: “By failing to follow RFRA…[the government] guaranteed that impassioned political considerations would take the place of reasoned legal consideration.”
The problems with this mandate and others like it in the future should have been foreseeable when Obamacare gave bureaucrats the power to decide what insurance companies must cover, employers must provide, and individuals must purchase.
Leaders at Hobby Lobby, like the more than 130 other plaintiffs suing over the coercive mandate, remain hopeful that the courts will have a better respect for the law and all Americans’ ability to live and work in accordance with their faith.

Source: Heritage Morning Bell

A Brilliant Teacher Steps Down From the Papacy

                            A Brilliant Teacher Steps Down From the Papacy

Judie Brown
February 26, 2013 (ALL) - I have hesitated to write a commentary on the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI because I believed that the words he used when he made the announcement were sufficient. He did not suggest a secret illness or a conspiracy afoot or anything of the kind. He said quite plainly and most sincerely, “After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry.”
It had been my privilege over the past 16 years—since the time Pope John Paul II appointed me to the Pontifical Academy for Life—to have learned a great deal about that Holy Father’s closest ally, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. Ratzinger’s writings were extensive and, after the conclave that elevated him to Pope Benedict XVI, his encyclicals, books, and public addresses have continued to teach, inspire, and spiritually support anyone who wishes to live and act consistently with Catholic doctrine. For that I am eternally grateful to this holy man.
When American Life League launched its campaign seeking the obedience of bishops in enforcing Church law regarding the denial of Holy Communion to those public figures who claimed to be Catholic, yet who also gave their support to abortion, it was the Ratzinger memo entitled “Worthiness to Receive Holy Communion” that became our guiding light.
The Holy Father never abandoned truth. One of his strongest American supporters, Phil Lawler, said of the Holy Father’s resignation,
So why has he chosen to resign, if he can still perform his duties so well? The answer, I suspect, is that he cannot perform those duties often enough to satisfy his own standards. He can analyze and preach and teach, but only with sufficient rest. As the rest periods grow longer, and sessions of work shorter, he cannot do all that he sees must be done.
Lawler also pointed out, as have others, that during the Holy Father’s pontificate, many of his top senior staff have not acted in accord with his statements, but have attempted to blunt or even misinterpret what he said. The example of his teaching on the use of condoms as a “treatment” for AIDS comes to mind as but one glaring example of this sort of contradiction. And there are many more!
Steve Jalsevac reflected on the Holy Father’s decision, telling LifeSiteNews readers,
We should remember these words from his first Mass as pope:
“Pray for me, that I may not flee for fear of the wolves.”

Is he fleeing from the wolves, especially those within the Church, who he knew would inevitably, incessantly attack him during his pontificate? Very doubtful. They have been even more ferocious than he anticipated in response to his determined rolling back of some of the chaos that followed Vatican II and his strong rebukes to all the elements of the culture of death. Benedict’s resignation should instead, in my opinion, be seen as a deeply humbling self-sacrifice to pave the way for an urgently needed stronger pope and stronger Church.

To that I would add that, by his very example, the Holy Father has illuminated with clear and convincing courage what is expected of a pope during such challenging times. Shortly after his announcement, during his February 13 general audience, he said:
It is not easy to be faithful to Christian marriage, practice mercy in everyday life, leave space for prayer and inner silence, it is not easy to publicly oppose choices that many take for granted, such as abortion in the event of an unwanted pregnancy, euthanasia in case of serious illness, or the selection of embryos to prevent hereditary disease. . . .
What is at the core of the three temptations that Jesus suffered?  . . . It is the proposal to manipulate God, to use him for your own interests, for your own glory and success.

Everyone should then ask: What is the role [of] God in my life? And is He the Lord or am I?
What a fitting challenge for the Holy Father to each of us in view of the fact that he has clearly listened to God and has made the decision he has discerned is the Lord’s will for him at this crucial time in the life of the Church. His very action teaches us what it means to be humble before the Lord.
As we thank God for Pope Benedict XVI’s holy example, let us pray that the Lord will be with the cardinals during their time of decision.
Judie Brown is president and cofounder of American Life League and a three-time appointee to the Pontifical Academy for Life.

Source: Lifesite News

Amour/Euthanasia/ Disability/Wins Oscar


Amy Hasbrouck – ‘Amour’ and Fear: Assisted Suicide/Mercy Killing at the Oscars

By Amy E. Hasbrouck

Once again, a film about “euthanasia” has won an Oscar.  Back in the ‘70s the tear-jerker movies were about people dying of cancer.  In the ‘80s and ‘90s, it was people dying of AIDS.  For the 21st century, the new chic is euthanasia/assisted suicide/”mercy killing” movies.  Million Dollar Baby, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, The English Patient, The Sea Inside, Un Dimanche à Kigali, Le Temps qui Reste, The Barbarian Invasion (Les Invasions Barbares), Magnus – all have taken on euthanasia/assisted suicide/”mercy killing” from the point of view of non-disabled white people and come to the same conclusion; great idea!
Now we have the film Amour, directed by Michael Haneke, whose leading actors took the Palm d’Or at Cannes in 2012.  The story concerns Anna and George, an elderly couple, former music teachers who live in a nice apartment in Paris.  After a series of strokes, Anna is partially paralyzed and her memory begins to fail.  The couple withdraws, refusing contact and the help of friends, relatives and neighbours, while George cares for Anna as her mental and physical abilities decline.  In the end he suffocates her.
Given the film industry’s adoration of movies that end with a man “lovingly” killing a spouse, it was no surprise when Amour was awarded an Oscar for Best Foreign Picture.
In the real world, many studies have shown that in cases of “assisted suicide”/euthanasia/”mercy killing in elderly couples, the woman is generally an unwilling victim, and there is often a history of domestic violence.  This fact is rarely reflected in the superficial media coverage in the immediate aftermath of such gruesome crimes.  By the time the truth of the matter has been uncovered, the media spotlight has moved on, and the public is left with the same false impression; “he did it for love.”
There has been almost no discussion in the francophone media of the disability and human rights problems with the narrative of Amour, and little in the Anglophone press either.  No critics questioned the film’s seemingly inevitable ending, or George’s motives for killing his wife.  Not surprising, but disappointing anyway.
It’s troubling that films like this come out so often, but fail to educate the public about the real issues in assisted suicide and euthanasia.  In the case of Clint Eastwood’s film, his consistent and vocal opposition to the Americans with Disabilities Act suggests a possible motive for killing off his disabled protagonist.  For other writers and filmmakers, the examination of the issue generally arises more from fear of disability, unresolved grief, or other feelings common to non-disabled people.
Like other media portrayals, these films usually show people with disability either as sad, tragic and incapable victims, or as inspirational over-achievers, but never as ordinary human beings.  Nor do the filmmakers focus on their struggles against the external barriers and discrimination that limit their life options, focusing instead on the physical changes that are natural to the human experience.
The message is clear; the lives of those of us with disabilities are not worth living.  We are better off dead, and the sooner the better.  These attitudes only perpetuate fear of and discrimination against disabled people, and the more often this lie is spoken, the deeper entrenched the fear becomes.  Through that discrimination, the lie becomes the truth, and pressure grows to allow assisted suicide and euthanasia for old, ill and disabled people.
Amy E. Hasbrouck is the director of Toujours Vivant-Not Dead Yet, a project of the Council of Canadians with Disabilities that unites people with disabilities who oppose assisted suicide, euthanasia and other discriminatory end-of-life practices.
Source Not Dead Yet
February 26, 2013 | posted by Stephen Drake

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Sorrow and Redemption

Note: One of the most powerful weapons in the pro-life arsenal is the authentic testimony of those who have advocated for and helped provide abortions, and later seen the light. People like Dr. Bernard Nathanson, Carol Everett, and Abby Johnson have information and insight that will help us win the fight against the abortion industry.
Allentown, Pennsylvania native and mother of three Jewels Green has made the courageous decision to finally speak up for life. In her first public pro-life testimony, she told Live Action about suffering the pain of abortion as a teenager and later spending several years working in an abortion clinic.
This is her story:

“My first baby would be 22 this week.
I was a 17-year-old drug-using high school drop-out, but when the lady wearing scrubs told me I was pregnant, I already thought of myself as a new mother.
Jewels Green
Everyone wanted me to get an abortion…  except me.
I actually stopped using drugs, went to the library and checked out a book called Under 18 and Pregnant and started to read it to prepare. I scheduled my first prenatal check-up. My boyfriend was relentless. I am deliberately omitting the details of the violence, both real and threatened, but I finally caved in to my boyfriend’s insistence to not have our baby.
On January 4, 1989, he took me to the abortion clinic, but I literally ran out in the hope of saving my baby.
Two days later, on January 6, 1989, at 9 1/2 weeks gestation, I had an abortion. It nearly killed me. No, not the surgical procedure, the psychological aftermath. I attempted suicide three times after my abortion and finally ended up in an adolescent psychiatric ward of a community hospital for a month to recover.
I was coerced into having an abortion and thought that by becoming a counselor at an abortion clinic, I could help others like me really talk out their feelings on the issue, truly explore their options, and help them make an honest, informed decision–or help them leave an abusive situation.
I worked at an abortion clinic for five years (from age 18 to 23)—not the same one where I had my abortion. I started out on the phone, then at the front desk checking in patients and accepting payments, then I learned medical assisting and helped in the laboratory, took vital signs in the recovery room, and did “dishes” in the autoclave area. (I’ll come back to this). Then, after two years working at the clinic and starting college as a psychology major, I was trained as a counselor.
The “counseling” experience was not what I had hoped. Nearly every pregnant woman coming to an abortion clinic for “options counseling” had already made up her mind, but just wanted to check out the facility and have her questions answered and perhaps her fears allayed. And most of the women coming in felt they had no other choice. A few were truly ambivalent.
This is where the pro-choice movement and clinics fail. Sure, we had a little notebook with the names and numbers of two local adoption agencies, but we were never trained or taught how the adoption process works so we could explain it to women. We had the phone number of the local WIC office, public assistance, etc., but again, knew nothing about the process should anyone ever ask for details. If a pregnant woman wanted to learn more about these other choices, the best the “options counselor” could offer was a post-it note with a phone number hastily scribbled on it.
During my time at the clinic, I was a staunch supporter of abortion rights, while all the time knowing in my heart that I felt that what I did was wrong, that I missed my baby, and that I wished things could be different for me. In hindsight, I can see that by surrounding myself with people who believed it was OK to abort babies, I was hoping that someday I would be OK with aborting my baby. This never happened…
I have marched twice in Washington, D.C., in support of abortion rights. I have lobbied inHarrisburg (the capital of Pennsylvania). I have joined David Gunn, Jr., in lobbying Congress for stronger sanctions against militant anti-abortion activists who harass pregnant women, bomb abortion clinics, intimidate clinic staff, and murder physicians (like David’s dad, Dr. David Gunn, who was killed by an anti-abortion “activist”) – but even then I never agreed with rallying cries such as “Abortion on demand and without apology!” chanted at such gatherings. It was–and is–so much more complicated than that.
After graduating from college with a degree in psychology I left my job at the clinic to work the overnight shift at a teen crisis hotline for a year before moving to New York City to attend graduate school. After earning my Master’s in psychology, I moved back to my hometown and worked part-time at the clinic through much of my next pregnancy.
I remember one Saturday morning (a big “procedure day” when more than 20 abortions were scheduled and at least a dozen protestors were outside, standing along the long driveway that led into the clinic parking lot) when I was about six months along and very visibly pregnant–much farther along than the 16 week abortion limit of the clinic–when a protestor shouted to me, “Your baby loves you!”
I smiled to myself. When I got inside and started to help the nurse set up the recovery room, I told her this, and she was angry and appalled. Even then–as an active employee at the clinic–telling a pregnant woman her baby loves her did not seem like such an objectionable thing to say, or even to shout, at an obviously pregnant woman.
Identifying myself as pro-life, though, did not come until many years later. After finally forgiving myself for aborting my first child I was able to see the world differently. After two failed marriages I was able to finally commit and my husband and I have been married for eleven years. After giving birth to three sons and feeling the life grow inside me and knowing the fierce overwhelming love a mother can feel for a child, I have been able to finally acknowledge that yes, life begins at conception.
But it wasn’t until stumbling upon links to Abby Johnson’s YouTube videos, and then reading her book Unplanned, that I could say out loud that I was pro-life. It was Abby’s amazing story, and her courageous and honest testimony, that helped me to openly join the ranks of the pro-life movement.
And although I now consider myself pro-life, I simply cannot abide by the extremists within the movement’s ranks who often act without censure by many of the position’s vocal leadership. I was at the front desk when the clinic was invaded on July 22, 1992, which we later dubbed “The Wednesday From Hell.” Six people ran into the waiting room with a huge metal contraption with multiple pipes attached that we all assumed was a bomb until they slid their arms inside of it and started singing. They were in the waiting room “attached” to that thing for seven hours while local and state police and FBI agents attempted to negotiate with and extract them from the device. They peed on the carpet. The clinic’s daily functions continued in other parts of the facility.
Not one woman changed her mind as a result of this invasion.
I was also working the front desk on the day two Boston clinics were attacked by an armed anti-abortion gunman who wounded five people and killed two. The gunman remained at large for many hours before being apprehended. Boston is a five-hour drive from where I worked and I remained at the front desk. (My uncle, a police sergeant, insisted I wear a bulletproof vest to work for a full week following that event, and I did.) One of the former directors of the clinic I worked for had her home broken into twice, another director routinely has her home picketed and has been followed home from work by suspicious vehicles on several occasions. There has to be a better way to further the cause of life.
Speaking of which: abortion ends life. Period. This is not in question nor should it be. This is a fundamental truth. I worked in the autoclave room where the “products of conception” (as so many pro-choice proponents—and abortion clinic counselors—call the fetus and placenta) were rearranged and counted to make sure “we got everything.” For early abortions, this meant floating the contents of the jar in water to visualize the chorionic villi. For abortions from about 8 1/2 – 12 weeks, this meant counting hands and feet, making sure the spine and ribcage and skull were present, you get the idea. For the abortions where the gestational age of the fetus was in question, especially if there was a chance it was an “oops,” meaning a pregnancy terminated beyond the clinic’s legal limit of 14 weeks LMP (from last menstrual period), the feet were measured to determine a more accurate gestational age.
Working in the autoclave room was never, ever easy. I saw my lost child in every jar of aborted baby parts. One night after working autoclave my nightmares about dead babies were so gruesome and terrifying and intense I met with the clinic’s director to talk about my feelings.
She was very understanding, open and honest, and painfully forthright when she told me, “What we do here is end a life. Pure and simple. There is no disputing this fact. You need to be OK with this to work here.” After a few days rotated out of the autoclave room, I felt I was OK with this, and God help me, I went back.
When in my fourth year at the clinic they won approval to do abortions up to 16 weeks LMP, one woman quit and two staff members—myself included— refused to work on the “late days.” My boss was very understanding and scheduled me to work with the non-pregnant GYN patients those days.
For myself, I know in my heart that I would never again terminate a pregnancy — EVER — nor would I ever work at an abortion clinic again. If someone I love was facing an unplanned pregnancy, I would do my very best to help her find a way to stay pregnant and give that baby a chance—whether it be by becoming a parent, or by offering up the child for adoption.
There are far too many innocent lives being snuffed out in our country before they have the opportunity to take their first breath, and as a nation we should be doing better. We need to do better. We need to provide real resources to pregnant mothers facing an unplanned pregnancy. The women and babies of our country deserve better. After all, sometimes the best things in life aren’t planned.
Happy Nobirthday, Unbaby. I miss you every day. Love & tears, Mom.”
Reprinted with permission from the Live Action blog.

Texting Produces A Life Saved


Baby born after being saved from coerced abortion through texting

ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico, June 1, 2011 ( - A teen mother, who was saved from a coerced abortion last October after a sidewalk counselor texted her while she was inside the clinic, has given birth to a beautiful, healthy boy named Manuel.
The little boy was born on May 10 weighing 7 pounds. The following week, his mother proudly graduated from high school.
Tara Shaver, a former intern for Operation Rescue, was sidewalk counseling outside Planned Parenthood in Albuquerque, New Mexico, when she received a call from a woman who told her that her grandson’s girlfriend was being forced to get an abortion that she did not want. The woman told Tara that her grandson, the baby’s father, also wanted to keep the baby. They were desperate, because the girl was only 17 and her mother was insisting on the abortion against the girl’s will. The grandmother gave Tara the teen’s cell phone number.
Tara began a text-message conversation with the teen, who we will call “Jane,” while she was inside the abortion clinic. Jane was six weeks pregnant and was interested in seeing an ultrasound of her baby, but still did not want to go through with the abortion. She told Tara that her mom would not allow her to leave the clinic.
Tara continued to encourage her and even texted Jane a photo of a pre-born baby at six weeks, the same age as her baby. Texting kept their conversation private where a phone call would have alerted the mother or the abortion clinic staff to Tara’s efforts to help Jane.
Finally, Jane came out of Planned Parenthood and spoke with Tara, and before long, Jane’s father came to the clinic to pick her up and take her safely home.
Tara’s last text to Jane that day was a loving word of encouragement.
“We are so proud of u! You are my hero, your baby is so proud too!”
Tara continued to follow up with her new friend, and shared in her joy at the birth of her baby and her accomplishment of graduating with her class.
“Coerced abortions are a very real and understated problem in our country. Jane is a hero for having the courage to stand up for her baby even though the deck was stacked against her. We congratulate her on the birth of her precious son, Manuel, and on her graduation,” said Troy Newman, president of Operation Rescue.
“But Jane could not have done it without Tara’s love and support. She is also a hero too, for thinking ‘outside the box’ and using texting to save Manuel’s life and protect Jane from the emotional trauma of a coerced abortion,” Newman added. “Tara took time to follow up with Jane, and make sure she had the help and support she needed. We are very proud of Tara and all she and her husband, Bud, are accomplishing on the pro-life mission field of Albuquerque.”
This article reprinted with permission from
Baby Manuel was born on May 10.

It's Back the Equal Rights Ammendment

ERA Filed in Illinois House
 There is currently an attempt to pass the original federal Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) in Illinois. Although ERA ran out of time for ratification in 1978, its' supporters claim that if they can get 3 more states to ratify it, then the 1982 deadline can be retroactively extended, ensuring a binding constitutional amendment. The Illinois House passed it in 2003, but it was blocked in the Illinois Senate. Now - once again - it is in the Illinois House as HJRCA7, and it could come up for a House vote shortly.

Today, with all the federal abuse of constitutional powers and limits taking place, this threat needs to be taken very seriously.

ERA is not about women's rights.
It's about creating a genderless society that removes "sex" as a legal characteristic. Its' wording states: "Equality of rights under law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any State on account of state. 

ERA will remove all ability to make legal distinctions based on gender. A a result, all laws and benefits currently protecting women will be thrown out. Current laws that govern alimony, child support, a woman's ability to claim support from her husband, and exemption from military draft registration will be wiped away. In the 18 states that have passed state Equal Rights Amendments, there has been further evidence of women being harmed by ERA.

ERA will legalize all gay-rights. 
This will include same-sex marriages, under the justification that the government cannot discriminate based on sex. Our ability to define marriage based on gender will be eliminated.
Hawaii's Supreme Court ruled that the denial of marriage licenses to same-sex couples is sex discrimination and unconstitutional under Hawaii's state ERA (Bachr v. Lewin, 852 P.2d 44, 1993). The people of Hawaii had to pass a state constitutional amendment to overturn this decision.
ERA will further entrench abortion in our society and legally mandate taxpayer funding for elective abortions. The New Mexico Supreme Court recently ruled under their state ERA that since only women undergo abortions, the denial of taxpayer funding is "sex discrimination" (N.M. Right to Choose/NARAL v. Johnson, 975 P.2d 841, 1998).

 In addition, the Era would empower the federal courts to determine the meaning of "equality of rights" and "sex." In essence we would be handing the state's legislative power to Congress and the unelected judges of our federal courts.  

ERA will transfer large amounts of power from the state government to the federal government, since it empowers Congress to enforce it.

ERA would empower federal courts to determine the meaning of "equality of rights" and "sex". In essence we will be handing the state's legislative power to Congress and the unelected judges of our federal courts. 
The ERA's draconian effect will impact all 50 states with one punch, due to the fact that it is an amendment to the U.S. Constitution.  

Clearly the ERA is not about women's rights. It is about creating a genderless society that removes "sex" as a legal characteristic - the ramifications of which will negatively impact women, families, society, and the structure of our government.

Women already have claim to equal rights through the 14th Amendment (Section 1) as well as many other laws. In fact, in an analysis of the impact of the 1970's ERA, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg was unable to find any changes required in employment laws.