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Archive of January 22, 2008

Professors’ abortion debate attracts hundreds at University of Colorado

Boulder, Colo., Jan 22, 2008 (CNA) - A Catholic-sponsored debate about the ethics of abortion packed hundreds into an auditorium on the University of Colorado campus in Boulder, CO this past Friday night. The debate featured two prominent philosophy professors—Drs. Peter Kreeft and David Boonin—who defended their views on the ethics of abortion.

Listeners filled all 288 seats of the auditorium, while others sat in the aisles.  Still more sat in the overflow seating in the basement hallway, and even crowded the stairs leading up from the basement, a total audience easily surpassing 400 in number.

The debate, sponsored by the Thomas Aquinas Institute for Catholic Thought, addressed the question "Is abortion morally justifiable?"  Dr. Peter Kreeft, of Boston College, answered that it could never be while Dr. David Boonin of the University of Colorado argued that abortion was sometimes a moral choice.  Both professors offered many reasons and counterarguments defending their position.

The professors are both prominent in their field and in the public eye.  Kreeft has authored more than 45 books dedicated to defending Christian beliefs and understanding suffering, morality, philosophy, life, and God.  Dr. Boonin’s 2003 book “A Defense of Abortion” won an honorable mention from the American Philosophical Association.  Boonin is also the chair of the University of Colorado's philosophy department.

Dr. Kreeft opened the discussion with an "intuitional" appeal, saying "more people in fact are convinced by seeing, by experiencing, than by arguing."  He noted that people usually change their minds through personal relationships rather than through strictly rational analysis.  He advised the audience to listen to the "inner shock" of conscience.

Shifting to an explicit rational argument, Kreeft took the position that a human fetus is a person possessing many rights, including the right to life.  He also argued that people cannot rationally deny the right to life of the unborn without denying the right to life of newborns.  

He recounted how he once discussed abortion with "some very intelligent feminists," claiming that they had no argument justifying abortion that would not also justify infanticide. 

"After the argument they came up to me and said 'Congratulations, professor, you changed our minds.  We didn't think you could do that.'"

"'Oh, good,' I said, 'you're pro-life now?'"

"'No, we're pro-infanticide'," Kreeft finished, prompting surprised laughter from the audience.  "So logical consistency can be a two-edged sword," he noted.

Even someone who was unsure if an unborn child is a person, Kreeft argued, would in the absence of certainty have to refrain from having an abortion.  To kill someone without knowing if they are human is still homicide.  To act in a rash manner that could kill someone, such as poisonously fumigating a room without being sure it was empty of people, would amount to criminal negligence.  Barring certain knowledge that an unborn human is not a person, abortion similarly would be blameworthy even if the human fetus were not a person with the right to life.

Dr. Boonin began his remarks with a general comment criticizing the belief that the only arguments against abortion are religious arguments.  "In fact, there are a number of distinct arguments, potentially quite powerful arguments," against abortion that do not refer to God and rely on reasonable premises that people on both sides of the abortion debate would accept.  He said Kreeft's opening remarks were examples of such reasoning.

Boonin then presented criticisms of some general pro-life arguments and raised some philosophical concerns about Kreeft's arguments.  Boonin said that it was "implausible" to many people that human membership automatically entailed having the right to life. One such case is that of an individual whose capacity for consciousness is lost when most of his brain is physically destroyed.

Boonin suggested that Kreeft's argument that any moral uncertainty about moral status of the unborn child meant all abortions were at minimum morally blameworthy could have radical implications if applied consistently.  This "appeal to uncertainty," as he called it, could require pacifism, vegetarianism, opposition to capital punishment, and the advocacy of a moral imperative to give all of one’s excess income to those in need.

Boonin went on to argue that "the right to life is not the right to be kept alive by somebody else."  If all human beings shared the same right to life, abortion could be justified using this distinction.  Proposing a thought experiment, Boonin suggested the audience imagine being kidnapped and forced to donate bone marrow. 

"Suppose you walked out in the park yesterday and a doctor caught you and conked you on the head and knocked you unconscious.  You wake up, and the doctor has hooked you up to a bone marrow extraction device.  The bone marrow is extracted from you and pumped into me.  You ask 'What's going on?'  The doctor says 'Don't worry, stay hooked into Professor Boonin for the next nine months, he'll be fine.  Disconnect yourself now, because of a bone marrow disease, he's going to die.'" 

Most people, Boonin thought, would agree that in this case a person would not have a right to be kept alive.  He argued the situation was analogous to abortion.  "The fetus isn't just sitting in a lounge chair somewhere," he said, but is in the body of a woman who doesn't wish to be pregnant.

Closing the evening, Boonin thanked the Aquinas Institute for hosting him.  "There is something quite extraordinary about the fact that the Aquinas Institute invited me to speak this weekend, giving me equal time with a national representative of the views that obviously they are passionately committed to."

Father Kevin Augustyn, pastor of St. Thomas Aquinas Parish, closed the meeting with a description of the lecture series’ aim.

"Reason can lead to the threshold of faith, and once across that threshold of faith, then reason still has a role for us to understand God's word and God's ways in our lives.  The Aquinas Institute for Catholic Thought exists for that reason, for the search for truth."

Speaking to CNA at a post-debate reception, Father Augustyn further explained the institute’s goals.

“The Aquinas Institute for Catholic Thought is basically our arm for outreach to both Catholic students that come to us, and the university at large.  We're trying to engage an important secular university with the Catholic faith.  How do you do that?  You begin with dialogue, and what we have in common, and we believe reason is on our side,” he said.

Many in attendance found the high turnout remarkable.  The debate had been advertised in flyers, mailing lists, and in the diocesan paper and website.  Social networks also spread the word.  The event’s Facebook.com page on Sunday evening reported 96 confirmed guests and 48 who said they would possibly attend.

Seth James DeMoor, a University of Colorado senior studying history and education, estimated 600 people heard the debate.

“The room holds 300 people, and there were at least 300 people outside the room.  This issue is the issue of the generation, and I think the proof is in the numbers.  It just shows that this issue is at the forefront of American culture,” DeMoor said.

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Orthodox town retrieves saint’s relics from Catholic monastery

Argos, Greece, Jan 22, 2008 (CNA) - The relics of St. Peter of Argos, a tenth-century bishop and miracle-worker, have been returned to the town of which he is patron saint, the Katherimini newspaper reports.

The relics were taken to Rome by a bishop during Frankish invaders’ occupation of the area in the 14th century.

Local churchmen began searching for the relics in the 1990s, finally locating them in a monastery chapel near Rome.  “We had looked everywhere for them,” local Bishop Iakovos said.

Thousands of devotees crowded the streets and church bells sounded as the relics were taken into the local cathedral for display and veneration.

Observers say the return of the relics is another sign of improved relations between the Catholic and Orthodox churches.

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Co-pilot thanks “the man upstairs” for averting catastrophic plane crash

London, England, Jan 22, 2008 (CNA) - Co-pilot John Coward, who was at the controls of a Boeing 777 on Friday when the plane’s engines failed, credited God for averting a “major catastrophe,” Agence-France Presse reports.

The 41-year-old piloted the British Airways plane on approach to Heathrow Airport.  Though the engines failed, he guided the plane within the airport perimeter, narrowly passing over neighboring rooftops.

All 136 passengers and 16 crew survived the crash-landing.

"Normally in emergency situations, your training takes over," Coward told the Mail on Sunday newspaper.

"But training doesn't help much when your engines have just died and you are still short of the runway.

"I tried to keep the aircraft straight and when we went down I remember thinking, 'This is going to be a major catastrophe'.

"All the crew did their job absolutely brilliantly, but I think some thanks has to go to the man upstairs for giving us that little lift at the end,” Coward said.

The cause of the engine failure is under investigation.

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Local bishop skips Ave Maria University dedication amid complications

Naples, Fla., Jan 22, 2008 (CNA) - Ave Maria University’s dedication of its new oratory has been delayed as Ave Maria organizers continue to seek Bishop of Venice Frank Dewane’s presence to consecrate the building, the Naples Daily News reports.

Ave Maria founder Tom Monaghan and Ave Maria University president Nick Healy had invited Bishop Dewane to consecrate the oratory and to celebrate a dedicatory Mass for Sunday, January 13. 

Bishop Dewane instead celebrated an annual Mass for circus performers at a Sarasota church, honoring the history of the Ringling family.

Without Bishop Dewane’s consecration, no one can celebrate Mass in the oratory, which Ave Maria officials hope will also serve the surrounding Ave Maria town.

The diocese and the university confirmed that conversations between the two were proceeding, but had not been resolved.  Those involved in the proceedings did not address details, considering them confidential.

“We won’t make any comment about the relationship with the diocese,” Healy said last week. “We’re very hopeful that things will get resolved and it will become clear. There are issues that are not easily understood and hard to explain and we don’t want to comment on it.”
Canon law experts suggest Ave Maria’s difficulties in securing the consecration arise from canon law, the Church regulations governing authority, ownership, and control over spiritual and practical matters.

“In one sense it’s very complex; in another it’s not complex at all,” said the Rev. Phillip J. Brown, an associate professor at Catholic University’s School of Canon Law. “Nothing can be done without the authority of the bishop.”

Any pastor for the oratory at Ave Maria must be approved by the bishop.  Pastors at other Catholic colleges are often recommended by the religious orders running the schools.  However, since Ave Maria University is lay-run, it is doubtful they will be given the power to make such recommendations, called the “right of presentation.”

“A right of presentation would never be granted to a new parish today,” Brown said.

Further, Ave Maria University’s canonical status differs from many other Catholic universities.  Ave Maria does not meet the official definition of a Catholic university, but is “a private university in the Catholic tradition.”  Officially Catholic universities must agree to follow a number of church norms on education and are usually under the administration of the bishop.

According to Healy, the university community is “a private association of the faithful.” “It’s not an association that represents the church publicly,” Brown said. “It’s purely private.”

It is unclear whether this status is in fact affecting the requests for the oratory’s consecration.

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Upcoming congress to focus on Code of Canon Law

Vatican City, Jan 22, 2008 (CNA) - The Vatican held a press conference today to present the upcoming congress theme: “Canon Law in the Life of the Church, research and perspectives in the context of recent Pontifical Magisterium.” 

Archbishop Francesco Coccopalmerio and Msgr. Juan Ignacio Arrieta, respectively president and secretary of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, participated in the press conference regarding the congress, organized to mark the 25th anniversary of the Code of Canon Law.

Msgr. Arrieta noted that the goal of the congress is “to undertake a purposeful study ... into the progress of the application of the Code, and of all the other norms that the various offices of the Roman Curia and individual legislators have produced over the last 25 years.”

“Twenty-five years ago, the long process of revising the 1917 Code of Canon Law came to an end,” said Archbishop Coccopalmerio, explaining how the revision “had been announced by Pope John XXIII on the same day he proclaimed the celebration of Vatican Council II” and how it re-examined “the central corpus of the Church's legislative code in accordance with doctrinal aspects contained in the conciliar documents.”

The archbishop went on by considering differences between the Code of Canon Law and the legal codes of nations. Canon Law, he said, “contains the law of the Church, just as a State code contains the laws of a particular nation. And it is called ‘Canon Law’ because it is made up of ‘canons’, which are equivalent to the ‘articles’ of a State code.”

However the Code of Canon Law “is not just a collection of norms created by the will of ecclesiastical legislators”, but it “indicates the duties and rights inherent to the faithful and to the structure of the Church as instituted by Christ.”

In closing, the president of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts specified the functions of his dicastery: “helping the supreme legislator (the Pope) to keep Church legislation as complete and up to date as possible... overseeing the correct application of current laws” and “helping the Pope in the delicate process of interpreting norms.”

Scheduled to be held January 24 and 25, the congress will be attended by members of episcopal conferences, and by professors and students of Canon Law from around the world.

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Influential Catholic leaders: Civility in politics not as important as justice for unborn

Washington D.C., Jan 22, 2008 (CNA) - "Rather than giving pro-abortion Catholic politicians a pass, we should vote them out of office and encourage them to repent,” said Austin Ruse, the president of the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute (C-FAM) on Monday. Ruse made his comments as he and 95 other influential Catholics responded to the “Call for Civility” in politics statement released last November.

 

The November 2007 statement calling for more civility in politics was made after some pro-abortion Catholic politicians expressed their opinion that they should be treated more civilly by their fellow Catholics over their political positions.

 

The 96 signers of the response statement about political civility say that while not all of the signers of the November statement intended it, the net effect of the “‘Call for Civility’ would be to silence the pro-life and pro-family movements. We oppose this effort root and branch.”

 

The signatories to yesterday’s response are university professors, think-tank scholars, journalists, authors, doctors, lawyers and others. They include such Catholic luminaries as Templeton Prize winner Michael Novak, authors Robert Royal and Peter Kreeft, columnist Russell Shaw and many others.

 

Michael Novak of the American Enterprise Institute said about the current political situation, “Too often these days civility is defined as giving in to the way the media define the issue under debate, whereas honesty demands insisting upon a different way of looking on things, even when this attempt is treated as a nuisance.”

 

William Saunders of the Family Research Council also mentioned his motives for signing the statement: “I signed this statement because, as the Church teaches, abortion is the most important issue in the world; it is not an issue like others, it is not one on which reasonable people can disagree. We cannot let calls for civility toward pro-abortion Catholic politicians obscure our fundamental obligation to oppose abortion.”

 

The statement, which is titled “A Catholic Response to the "Call for Civility," notes that civility is, in fact, not the highest political virtue.  “All men and women of good will value civility, but civility is not the highest --- or the only --- civic virtue.  Rather, justice is. As Pope Benedict XVI reminds us in Deus Caritas Est, “Justice is both the aim and the intrinsic criterion of all politics,” the statement says.

 

Pointing to a double standard for the issue of abortion, the signers note that “If Catholic politicians advocated segregation or --- even worse --- slavery, would there be a call for civility towards them? If Catholic politicians said the poor are poor because of their bad behavior and we are not obliged to help them in any way, wouldn't we say they are heartless and even un-Christian? Some ask for civility now for one reason, abortion.”

 

“The lack of public civility comes not from pro-lifers but from those Catholic politicians who support the right to kill innocent life in the womb and those who support defining man-woman marriage out of existence. But, some want to treat these politicians differently because they agree with them on important but purely prudential questions like health care, and the minimum wage."

 

The prominent Catholics conclude their statement by saying, "In short, we will feel free even strongly to condemn the public policy positions of Catholic politicians who support abortion, embryo-destructive research, and homosexual marriage. They stand against the teachings of the Church and in favor of morally repugnant practices that are counter to the common good and that should be unwelcome in a just or even polite society."

 

To read the entire statement and view the list of signatories go to one of the following websites:

 

Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute (C-FAM)

Cardinal Newman Society

Crossroads Pro-Life

Fidelis

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Colombian president calls for support of Church’s mediation in release of kidnapped

, Jan 22, 2008 (CNA) - President Alvaro Uribe of Colombia called for support on Sunday for a mediation proposal put forth by the Bishops’ Conference of Colombia, together with Spain, Switzerland and France, in order to achieve a humanitarian accord for the release of the hostages being held by the Armed Revolutionary Forces of Colombia (FARC).

In his message, Uribe insistently called on all Colombians “to support the Catholic Church in its efforts with the delegates of Spain, France and Switzerland.”

“If everybody supports this effort and the FARC has a minimum of common sense, the FARC would also have to be reasonable,” Uribe said. He called on the family members of the kidnapped to encourage support throughout the world for the Church’s efforts and those of the European delegates, so that “the new generations of Colombians can live in happiness.” 

Regarding the area where talks would take place, as suggested by the Colombian bishops, Uribe reiterated that “the government of Colombia accepts the conditions laid out in the proposal: a rural, unpopulated area where there are no police or military forces.”

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Professionals denounce new measures by Spanish government against the family

Madrid, Spain, Jan 22, 2008 (CNA) - The independent Spanish organization, “Professionals for Ethics,” issued a press release last weekend criticizing the country’s Ministry of Health for a series of new measures against the authority of parents and the family.

Ramon Novella, a spokesman for the organization, denounced the Ministry’s plan to create an automatic internet response system to answer kids’ questions about sex.  The Ministry claims the new system will allow young people to have “a confidential, private and non-embarrassing conversation” about their questions related to sexually transmitted diseases and contraceptives.

“With this measure the government is again interfering in the education of minors without the knowledge or consent of their parents and with no regard for their moral, religious or philosophical convictions,” Novella said.

“Its just another step towards indoctrinating our children and supplanting the fundamental educational role of the family, in keeping with other measures, such as the implementation of ‘Education for Citizenship,’ the suppression in the Civil Code of the power of parents to correct their kids, or as in the case of Catalonia, the programs on ‘Health and School’ and the distribution of sex-ed pamphlets,” he added.

Novella recalled the failure of previous sex-ed programs, inspired by the same principles and proposals, and said they have only “increased promiscuity and irresponsibility among teens and young people and have led to an increase in pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases.”   The organization cited recent statistics that show that abortions have skyrocketed by more than 300 percent among girls aged 15-19 between 1986 and 2005.

“Will the Ministry assume responsibility for the abortions that have take place as a result of the incorrect use or the manufacturing defects of the contraceptive methods recommended on its website?” Novella asked.

He called on families and all Spaniards to “express their rejection of this plan” and to defend “the right to educate their children in the face of government interference.”

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Pro-Life Wisconsin marks somber anniversary of Roe v. Wade

Brookfield, Wis., Jan 22, 2008 (CNA) - On the 35th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, Pro-Life Wisconsin is marking the day in many ways: through affiliate events, prayer and a presence in Washington, D.C.

“Hundreds of pro-life Wisconsin residents are in Washington, D.C. to express their opposition to this Supreme Court decision that is responsible for the deaths of over 48 million babies,” said Peggy Hamill, State Director of Pro-Life Wisconsin.
 
Two buses with over one hundred Pro-Life Wisconsin supporters traveled to Washington, D.C. for the March for Life. The theme for this year’s March for Life is “Build unity on the life principles throughout America – No exception! No compromise!”
 
The Pro-Life Wisconsin supporters spent the past Sunday and Monday in Washington, D.C. taking part in youth rallies, training workshops, and the annual Mass for Life held in the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.
 
“The fact that our own buses were filled to the brim represents the hope pro-lifers do carry with them,” said Peggy Hamill, State Director of Pro-Life Wisconsin. “I am hopeful because so many of our March for Life attendees were teens, and that speaks volumes for where the pro-life movement is headed in this country.”
 
Over 200,000 pro-lifers have congregated in Washington, D.C. in protest of Roe v. Wade. In addition, nationwide, thousands of pro-lifers rally in their hometowns. 
 
“We are motivated to return to Wisconsin and continue our life-saving work,” said Hamill. “Our efforts to stop the killing of innocent children continue year-round.”

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Italian Cardinal: Catholics should be more courageous in the public square

Genoa, Italy, Jan 22, 2008 (CNA) - Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, Archbishop of Genoa and President of the Italian Bishops' Conference, said in an interview that Catholics should have a more courageous and coherent presence in the public square.

"Catholics must bring the contribution of spiritual and ethical values into the public square," said Cardinal Bagnasco during the interview published on Tuesday by L'Osservatore Romano.

"The presence (in the public square) must be assumed by Catholics with greater persuasiveness and a greater capacity to respectfully explain our convictions, knowing that they come both from the Gospel and from a common understanding of the value of life," he added.

The Cardinal said that Catholics "do not want to impose a religious vision of society, but to propose universal values," and said that "the most credible argument, of course is the witness of our own personal life."

“There is no real politics without high moral and spiritual values,” Cardinal Bagnasco also said during the interview, when discussing the opinion of some politicians who believe that religious convictions should remain outside the public square.

“Politics, in fact, has justice as its goal, and justice is a moral virtue. It therefore requires from all those involved in politics a high sense of the human person, the right to life and the family,” he added.

The Archbishop of Genoa also said that Catholic politicians should be coherent with their beliefs when acting in the public square, and reminded them that “the Church believes that abortion is always a crime, as the Second Vatican Council says.”

“Benedict XVI has frequently reminded us that there are non-negotiable values that belong to the essence of the human person and that therefore, do not admit any kind of compromise. Otherwise the foundations of the dignity of the human person would depend on the dominating opinions and the interests of the moment,” he concluded.

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Rep. Chris Smith addresses March for Life, disparages Obama’s “empathy deficit”

Washington D.C., Jan 22, 2008 (CNA) - “Today, 35 years after the infamous Supreme Court decisions legalizing abortion on demand throughout pregnancy, we mourn the estimated 50 million innocent girls and boys whose lives were cut off by abortion—a staggering loss of children’s lives, equal to six times the total number of people living in my home state of New Jersey,” said Representative Chris Smith as he addressed participants at the March for Life this morning.

"Someday future generations of Americans will look back on us and wonder how and why such a rich and seemingly enlightened society, so blessed and endowed with the capacity to protect and enhance vulnerable human life, could have instead so aggressively promoted death to children and the exploitation of women by abortion both here and overseas," Smith continued.

The New Jersey representative laid some of the blame at the feet of "some of our most prominent politicians and media icons" who "often spoke of human or civil rights, while precluding virtually all protection to the most persecuted minority in the world today, unborn children."

He also took note of Senator Barack Obama's criticism on Sunday of Americans being deficient in morals and in empathy for others. Senator Obama also called on Americans to be their brothers’ and sisters’ keepers. 

"Can Senator Obama not see, appreciate or understand that the abortion culture that he and others so assiduously promote lacks all empathy for unborn children—be they Black, White, Latino or Asian—and is at best, profoundly misguided when it comes to mothers?" asked Rep. Smith.

"Why does dismembering a child with sharp knives, pulverizing a child with powerful suction devices or chemically poisoning a baby with any number of toxic chemicals, fail to elicit so much as a scintilla of empathy, moral outrage, mercy or compassion by America’s liberal elite?" 

"Abortion destroys the life of our “brothers and sisters” and the pro-abortion movement is the quintessential example of an 'Empathy Deficit,'" Smith told the gathered pro-life marchers.

To read the full text of Rep. Smith's speech click here

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President Bush addresses 2008 March for Life

Washington D.C., Jan 22, 2008 (CNA) - Speaking from the East Room of the White House, President George W. Bush addressed pro-life protestors at the Washington March for Life rally Tuesday morning, saying, “I’m proud to be standing with you.”

“I see people with a deep conviction that even the most vulnerable member of the human family is a child of God.  You're here because you know that all life deserves to be protected.  And as you begin your march, I'm proud to be standing with you,” the president said.

President Bush noted that the 2008 March for Life marked the 35th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision, which mandated legalized abortion nationwide.  He said that though Roe v. Wade had decided that an unborn child is not considered a person under the law, biology teaches us that each unborn child is a separate individual with his or her own genetic code.  Medical technology, he said, now helps babies live outside their mother’s womb at earlier and earlier ages, and ultrasound technology enables us to see and empathize with the unborn.

“And the fingers and toes and beating hearts that we can see on an unborn child's ultrasound come with something that we cannot see:  a soul,” the president declared.

Saying that pro-lifers are heartened by a decline in abortion numbers, Bush said the recent data showing that more than one in five pregnancies end in abortion should be a cause for action.  “America is better than this,” he said.

The pro-life goal, in the president’s view, was to build a “culture of life” where women with unplanned pregnancies can find care and young pregnant women can complete their education.  America must be a place “where the dignity of both the mother and child is honored and cherished.”

President Bush spoke of pro-life legislative successes that promoted adoption and extended legal protection to infants who survive abortions.  Pro-lifers had worked together to ban the “cruel” practice of partial-birth abortion, he said, while stem cell research breakthroughs made it possible to advance science while respecting human life.

The president spoke of a “new America” on the horizon, a nation where life would be respected.  “This America is rooted in our belief that in a civilized society, the strong protect the weak.  This America is nurtured by people like you, who speak up for the weak and the innocent,” President Bush stated.

Referencing the Declaration of Independence, he reminded the marchers that the United States’ founding document speaks of the right to life as “a gift of the Creator, not a grant of the state.”

The president said that “changing hearts” is what it will take to build a culture of life.  He expressed optimism about the receptivity of Americans to the pro-life cause:

“The hearts of the American people are good.  Their minds are open to persuasion.  And our history shows that a cause rooted in human dignity and appealing to the best instincts of the American people cannot fail.  So take heart.”

President Bush ended his speech by asking God to bless the marchers.

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Abortion lobby plans expensive election campaigns for 2008

Washington D.C., Jan 22, 2008 (CNA) - The pro-abortion-rights organization and reproductive health provider Planned Parenthood is planning a major effort to elect abortion supporters to Congress and the White House in the 2008 elections, the Wall Street Journal reports.

 

The organization’s $10 million “One Million Strong” campaign aims to persuade one million voters to vote for abortion-rights candidates.

 

The group had avoided electoral politics until recently.  It endorsed a presidential candidate for the first time in 2004, when it supported Democratic Senator John Kerry.  It also supported some Democratic gubernatorial candidates in 2006.  “To keep our doors open," said Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards, "it's clear that we need to step into the electoral arena.”

 

Two of the oldest judges on the Supreme Court are abortion supporters.  A Republican victor in 2008 could replace them with justices who would overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that mandated legalized abortion nationwide.  Five of the nine sitting Supreme Court justices are considered to be Roe v. Wade supporters.

 

Richards said she believed Planned Parenthood could rally young, unmarried independent and Democratic women with its database of four million people, five million annual visitors, and 10 million annual web site viewers.  Planned Parenthood will fund political advertisements for candidates and organize paid staffers and volunteers to canvass voters door-to-door.

 

Other pro-abortion organizations are adding their resources to the election.  Emily’s List, a group that supports pro-abortion female Democrats, hopes to exceed the $46 million it raised for the 2006 election.  NARAL Pro-Choice America plans to spend $10 million to support its political allies.

 

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Annual March for Life draws tens of thousands to defend the unborn

Washington D.C., Jan 22, 2008 (CNA) - Today tens of thousands of people committed to supporting the sanctity of human life rallied on the National Mall in Washington D.C. for the annual March for Life.  The theme for this year’s march is “Build unity on the life principles throughout America – No exception! No compromise!”

In recent years, over 200,000 pro-lifers have congregated in the U.S. capital in protest of Roe v. Wade. Across the nation today, thousands of pro-lifers are gathering in their hometowns to oppose this decision that has claimed the lives of over 48.5 million babies.

This annual event continues to draw an increasing number of young people who have been born since the Supreme Court decision was handed down 35 years ago.

President of the Institute on Religion and Democracy, Jim Tonkowich commended the leadership of the youth:

“Changing the hearts and minds of the culture begins when the young decide to lead. In a country where the young are known for their lack of involvement in voting and political causes, the Pro-Life movement stands as a strong exception.

“It is amazing that the realities of abortion, which are so muddled with the older generation, are increasingly seen with a striking clarity by young men and women.”

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