Category archives: Human Rights

News Flash: The Pope is Pro-Life

by Rob Schwarzwalder

November 17, 2014

As a non-Catholic, I have followed with some interest the controversy concerning Pope Francis and his attitude toward abortion.  Although he has made clear pro-life statements all along (“Every unborn child, though unjustly condemned to be aborted, has the face of the Lord, who even before his birth, and then as soon as he was born, experienced the rejection of the world”), some voices on the Left seem to have become nearly giddy at the prospect of the Pope softening his church’s stance on the sanctity of life.

Let’s put the issue to rest: Following are excerpts of comments he made today to a group of Italian Catholic physicians in Rome.  Read them, and then ask yourself if there’s any way you can say this man is not pro-life:

… in the light of faith and right reason, human life is always sacred and always “of quality”. There is no human life that is more sacred than another - every human life is sacred - just as there is no human life qualitatively more significant than another, only by virtue of resources, rights, great social and economic opportunities … When so many times in my life as a priest I have heard objections: “But tell me, why the Church is opposed to abortion, for example? Is it a religious problem?” No, no. It is not a religious problem. “Is it a philosophical problem?” No, it is not a philosophical problem. It’s a scientific problem, because there is a human life there, and it is not lawful to take out a human life to solve a problem. “But no, modern thought…” But, listen, in ancient thought and modern thought, the word “kill” means the same thing. The same evaluation applies to euthanasia: we all know that with so many old people, in this culture of waste, there is this hidden euthanasia. But there is also the other. And this is to say to God, “No, I will accomplish the end of life, as I will.” A sin against God the Creator!

Does the Sexual Predation of Children Have to be Tolerated and Ignored?

by Chris Gacek

November 3, 2014

Police authorities in Rotherham, U.K.(near Sheffield), allowed at least 1,400 children to be sexually exploited and trafficked by members of the local Pakistani community in a period from 1997 to 2013. The authorities did not properly investigate or stop the crimes for fear of being called racist or Islamophobic. A stunning independent report on the crimes and governmental inaction was released in August 2014.

On October 30th, Helen Pidd, the northern editor of The Guardian (U.K.), noted last week in a powerful article that widespread sexual exploitation is taking place in another major English city:

Sexual exploitation of vulnerable children has become the social norm in some parts of Greater Manchester, fuelled by explicit music videos and quasi-pornographic selfies, an MP has warned.
The systematic grooming of boys and girls remains a “real and ongoing problem”, a year after Greater Manchester police (GMP) was forced to admit it had failed abuse victims in Rochdale, said Ann Coffey, a former social worker who is now the Labour MP for Stockport. “My observations will make painful reading for those who hoped that Rochdale was an isolated case,” she writes in a significant report.

In a related article, Ms. Pidd, quotes the senior Crown prosecutor, Nazir Afzal, for the region as saying:

The Muslim community must accept and address the fact that Asian and Pakistani men are disproportionately involved in “localised, street grooming” of vulnerable girls, one of the UK’s most senior prosecutors has said.

Sheffield-Rotherham are not located in the Greater Manchester area. They are different municipalities with similarly horrifying patterns of criminal sexual behavior. (For more on Rotterham, go to this article from the blog, Legal Insurrection.)

My colleague, Cathy Ruse, pulled a few quotes from the executive summary of the August 2014 Rotherham report:

No one knows the true scale of child sexual exploitation (CSE) in Rotherham over the years. Our conservative estimate is that approximately 1400 children were sexually exploited over the full Inquiry period, from 1997 to 2013.
In just over a third of cases, children affected by sexual exploitation were previously known to services because of child protection and neglect. It is hard to describe the appalling nature of the abuse that child victims suffered. They were raped by multiple perpetrators, trafficked to other towns and cities in the north of England, abducted, beaten, and intimidated. There were examples of children who had been doused in petrol and threatened with being set alight, threatened with guns, made to witness brutally violent rapes and threatened they would be next if they told anyone.
Girls as young as 11 were raped by large numbers of male perpetrators.
This abuse is not confined to the past but continues to this day.

Please don’t think that this is not also happening in the United States. Sex trafficking experts tell FRC that activities of this type occur all across America too.

If you don’t believe that the American law enforcement institutions may have little interest or sympathy in sex trafficking, I refer you back a few years to the keelhauling of a young US attorney, Rachel Paulose, in Minneapolis back in 2007. Even an article in a left-wing periodical had to note that Paulose had accomplishments that were typically worthy of praise. The Salon article related an interesting point made by Professor Donna Hughes, one of the leading experts on sex trafficking in America:

But Paulose did have her defenders. For example, there’s Donna Hughes, a professor at the University of Rhode Island, who suggested that Paulose was being attacked because of her prosecution of human trafficking cases.
Asked whether she had any direct evidence that Paulose was targeted because of her office’s efforts against trafficking, Hughes responded, “Rachel Paulose was the leading prosecutor of sex trafficking cases in the U.S. She took over an office where there had previously been no trafficking prosecutions and turned it into the leading one. Therefore, our coalition has serious concerns when a problem erupts that results in her leaving office.”

Let’s all hope that in five to ten years we won’t have to witness the release of a Rotterham-type report on massive, widespread sex-trafficking in the Twin Cities.

Brittany Maynard Needs to Go to a Basketball Game

by Chris Gacek

October 29, 2014

By now we are all well aware of the story of Brittany Maynard, a young married woman who is terminally ill with a brain cancer.  She has moved to Oregon in order to legally commit suicide.  (Here is Time magazine’s favorable article about her and Oregon’s suicide enabling act.)  Mrs. Maynard plans to kill herself with medical assistance in early November.

Not so well known is the story of Lauren Hill, a college freshman at Mt. Saint Joseph University in Ohio.  Miss Hill who also has terminal brain cancer, but she has chosen a different path.  She has been practicing for months so she can play in the team’s first basketball game this season on November 2nd.

I hope Brittany Maynard has the opportunity to view the CBS news story about Lauren Hill and realize that there is a better way for her. In the past months, Brittany has been touring places she has always wanted to see like the Grand Canyon. According the People Magazine article:

Though she set Nov. 1 as a tentative date to end her life, she’s always made it clear the date is not set in stone and she will make the decision based on the progression of her disease.

I have no doubt that if Brittany Maynard wanted to see Lauren play basketball this Sunday – tickets would be made available even though the game has sold out.  I imagine Lauren would tell Brittany to grasp every moment of life and to fight for those who will come later and need encouragement in life’s most difficult times.  Seeing Lauren Hill play will, in its own way, have a grandeur of equal stature to the Grand Canyon’s.  Brittany Maynard needs to see and understand that.

Washington Watch Interview on Nigeria & Boko Haram

by FRC Media Office

June 24, 2014

On Friday’s edition of “Washington Watch with Tony Perkins,” Congressman Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) guest hosted for Tony and had a very special guest on the program. Referred to as “Marie” during the interview because revealing her true identity could put her in great danger, she is one of the most important influencers on the ground in Nigeria. Marie is working to secure the rescue, and subsequent restoration, of the nearly 300 Nigerian schoolgirls captured by Boko Haram two months ago. She is working with the captured girls’ mothers and with several of the girls who have escaped from Boko Haram’s custody in order to raise awareness of the situation and to call the Nigerian government to act on behalf of the innocent girls. Join FRC in praying for Marie and for this deplorable situation in Nigeria. Take a moment to listen to Congressman Gohmert’s fascinating interview with Marie here.

Human Trafficking: Modern-Day Slavery ¿ Here at Home and Around the World

by Rob Schwarzwalder

June 20, 2014

The State Department has issued its annual report on human trafficking, “Trafficking in Persons – 2014”.  In announcing the release of the report, Secretary of State John Kerry stated that a conservative estimate places the number of trafficked persons at 20 million.

Here at home, it is estimated that up to 300,000 women and girls are at risk of being trafficked – held in bondage to sexual fiefs who use them for prostitution and/or pornography. That estimate was given at FRC by an aide to U.S. Rep. Anne Wagner (R-MO), who has introduced legislation to help combat human trafficking here in the U.S.

The relationship between abortion, pornography, prostitution, and trafficking is acute and extensive. Here are some resources to help better acquaint you with this rats’ nest of evil – and how you can work, in practical ways, to fight it, here at home and abroad (all of these resources are available and accessible at no cost):

FRC Online lecture: “Stopping Online Advertisers of Trafficking Victims: the ‘SAVE’ Act

FRC Brochure: “How to Fight Human Trafficking in Your Community

FRC Webcast: “Human Trafficking: Modern-Day Slavery

FRC Blog/Op-Ed: “How China’s ‘One Child’ Policy Fosters Human Trafficking

Trampling on the UN’s Noble Heritage

by Travis Weber

June 9, 2014

On October 24, 1945, the nations of the world rose from the ashes of the Holocaust to come together in the United Nations, in part to ensure that individual human rights were protected across national borders in the face of tyrannical governments, and that such genocide as had been perpetrated by the Nazis would not happen again. Coming out of the Holocaust, the United Nations and its treaty and human rights framework naturally focused heavily on the freedom of the individual to their religion and political activity. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Genocide Convention, and later the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights all focused on the individual and the individual’s civil liberties — a focus which has served as the building block for Western Civilization’s rich cultural heritage and its prosperous economies.

The United States was a leader in many of these developments. Yet in 2014, the United States finds itself in the position of having nominated an individual to be its representative to the UN’s Committee Against Torture — Felice Gaer — who openly tramples on the very rights on which the United Nations was founded. Ms. Gaer recently told the Holy See’s UN representative reporting on Vatican compliance with the Torture Convention that the Holy See was coming dangerously close to committing torture merely through its positions on abortion. Much of this was apparently driven by the Center for Reproductive Rights, which sent a letter — itself misrepresenting basic principles of international law in furtherance of its own agenda — to the UN committee overseeing implementation of Torture Convention. The flawed reasoning of this letter was then propagated upon the international scene via the Committee Against Torture.

Ms. Gaer previously served as the chair of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom, in which capacity she said that “the right [to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion] includes the freedom of every person to hold, or not to hold, any religion or belief, and to manifest his or her religion or belief either individually or in community with others.” She appears to now be directly contradicting her own views in her statement to the Holy See. More likely, she is losing a sense of proportion and reality. Representatives to such UN committees are supposed to objectively monitor country compliance with the treaties signed by those countries, in accordance with the plain meaning of the treaty, while respecting countries’ declarations and reservations — and NOT take words with an obvious meaning, twist them into something nonsensical, and ramrod them down a signatory country’s throat, all while demonstrating a blatant disregard for a country’s reservations and express conditions for its submission to a treaty’s authority.

Thankfully, the Vatican has struck back, noting that contrary to the view that regulation of abortion could constitute “torture,” the practice of late-term abortion is a much more obvious example of torture. In addition, several UN committee members have clarified they hold a more reasoned position than Ms. Gaer. Nevertheless, it’s troubling that the U.S. representative’s extreme views are being moderated by non-U.S. representatives to the committee. The United States has historically held a very grounded position with regard to international human rights. Though it has already shown cracks and signs of change, Ms. Gaer should not be permitted to further smear that position on the world stage.

In the Fight for Life: NAACP v. Radiance Foundation

by Lela Mayfield

May 1, 2014

This week, the media have been focused on Clippers owner Donald Sterling and his recent (highly racist) remarks caught on tape by his girlfriend. As the account goes, Sterling is now banned for life from the NBA and may have his ownership of the team revoked.

Until this unseemly incident, the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) planned to award Sterling with the “Lifetime Achievement Award.” This is an interesting situation for two reasons; according to a recent Time Magazine interview with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (who used to work for Sterling) this rant was actually nothing new for him, and if Sterling has indeed had a history of vocalizing his racism, then why would the NAACP award this man with a “Lifetime Achievement Award?”  Is it really possible that no one else on the award committee knew of his history of distasteful rhetoric?

The other reason that this is quite an intriguing scenario is that the NAACP is ensnared in another situation that has not seen the light of day in the mainstream media. I’m referring to the lawsuit brought by the NAACP against the Radiance Foundation.

The Radiance Foundation is a Christian pro-life organization founded and run by Ryan and Bethany Bomberger. The goal of the organization is to educate the public about not only abortion, but the importance of fathers and adoption and also to show the disproportionate trends of abortion in the black community and its lasting impacts.

The Real Controversy…

Last year, Ryan Bomberger wrote an article detailing the support that the NAACP has given to Planned Parenthood. In the article he parodied the NAACP acronym by saying the acronym should stand for the National Association for the Abortion of Colored People. Given the NAACP’s avid support for and laud of Planned Parenthood, he’s not incorrect. After receiving a Google alert about the article, the NAACP then sued Bomberger (who is also black) for misleading the public and trademark infringement. The 4th Circuit judge has ruled in favor of the NAACP.

The Irony…

How can the NAACP justify almost giving an award to a man who has had a history of racism, but sue a man who is only seeking to defend and support millions of black children in the womb? But I suppose this really shouldn’t come as a surprise given the NAACP’s history of praise for an organization (Planned Parenthood) completely anathema to the main purpose of the Association, the Advancement of Colored People. One really starts to wonder the motives of the NAACP. Contemplating giving an award to a known racist, and praising an organization started by a known eugenicist, while then suing a man who seeks to defend the lives of millions of black children, is all quite confusing and contrary to the initial purpose of the NAACP.  What would Dr. King say today? It makes little sense for a group created to assist and support people of color to attack a pro-life ministry working to save the lives of millions of these very same people. 

Another Maternal RU-486 Fatality - This Time in Ital

by Chris Gacek

April 21, 2014

The Family Research Council has tracked safety news about the abortion drug, mifepristone (RU-486; also, Mifeprex®), since its approval as an abortifacient in 2000 by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. It is with sadness that we learned on April 11 of another fatality from the use of the RU-486 abortion regimen. (RU-486 is the first drug administered in a two-drug abortion-producing regimen in which the second drug is misoprostol (Cytotec®).)

An Italian news source (The Local) carried an online article about the death of a 37-year-old woman who was treated at theMartiniHospital inTurin. The woman had taken the mifepristone but only started to experience difficulties four hours after taking the misoprostol – which she did two days after taking the first pills. The misoprostol is needed to induce forceful uterine contractions to expel the dead baby (a human embryo at that point) and other tissue from the uterus.

After taking the misoprostol, she complained of not being able to breathe normally. Shortly, thereafter, she began to experience atrial fibrillation, an irregular, rapid heartbeat. Her heart then stopped and could not be revived. She was in good health and the mother of a four-year-old boy.

I believe there have been about 15 cases of death following the use of the mifepristone abortion regime of which we are aware. Nations likeChinaare not even on the adverse event reporting grid, and the drug is used heavily in the PRC. Hemorrhage, infection, and incomplete abortions are common failures of all chemical abortion regimens.

LifeNews has posted an excellent story on this Italian death that contains more information on the safety of RU-486. Also, in May 2012 the Family Research Council published a paper containing a safety profile for the mifepristone-misoprostol regimen from 2000-12.

Chinese Woman Speaks Out: “It is better to be a criminal in China than a pregnant mother”

by Arina Grossu

April 16, 2014

Steven Mosher from the Population Research Institute recently received this anonymous letter from a grieving mother in China who said, “It is better to be a criminal in China than a pregnant mother.”

She went on to talk about the discrimination against women that takes place if a woman has an “illegal” child in violation of the one-child policy. A woman who simply wants to be a mother is treated worse than a criminal:

•She is not allowed to apply for a job without a “Family Planning Certificate” proving that she does not have any “illegal” children, whereas a released criminal can.

• In some cities, the Family Planning Bureau operates outside the law and can illegally arrest and detain without an arrest warrant. The Family Planning Bureau is not authorized to carry out such arrests but it does so anyway. Criminals do not go through this injustice.

•She cannot take legal action because no people’s court will handle cases involving family planning issues.

•She is not allowed to hire an attorney although by law she has that right and criminals enjoy that right.

•She is forced to pay 20 or 30 Yuan a night in prison awaiting trial, although by law a suspected criminal pays nothing.

•The law protects the unborn child of a criminal, even if that criminal has been sentenced to death. The authorities wait until the child has been born before carrying out the sentence. A pregnant woman with an “illegal” child does not have such legal protection.

•Criminals are permitted to communicate with their family. On the other hand, a pregnant woman and her family members can be held incommunicado by the Family Planning Bureau indefinitely.

•If a woman and her family are unable to pay the fine for conceiving an illegal child, the child will be forcibly aborted or, if born, will be sold. She can also be forcibly sterilized.

It is a tragedy that pregnant women whose only “crime” is wanting to keep their children are treated so inhumanely in China. If a woman is too poor to pay a fine for having more than one child, she is subjected to cruel treatment that destroys the life of both the mother and her child. Even criminals have more rights in China than pregnant women. To read the full letter go to Population Research Institute.

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