Archive of April 3, 2008

Abstinence and fidelity programs effective in preventing spread of AIDS, congressman says

Washington D.C., Apr 3, 2008 (CNA) - Representative Chris Smith, a New Jersey Republican, reported “compelling” evidence of the success of HIV/AIDS prevention programs that emphasize abstinence and fidelity before resorting to promoting condom use. 

According to Smith, 70% of the estimated 33 million people with HIV and 90% of the two million children afflicted with the disease live in sub-Saharan Africa. 

Speaking on Wednesday on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives in support of a 2008 bill that would renew the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the congressman said recent reports showed the effectiveness of African HIV/AIDS prevention program based on promoting positive behavioral change.

“Five years after PEPFAR first began, the efficacy and importance of promoting abstinence and ‘be faithful’ initiatives have been demonstrated. The evidence is compelling,” Smith said.

PEPFAR, he said, relies on the ABC model, which stands for “Abstain, Be faithful, use Condoms.”  Smith cited comments about PEPFAR from the U.S. State Department, USAID, and the Department of Health and Human Services that said the ABC model “is now recognized as the most effective strategy to prevent HIV in generalized epidemics…  The legislation’s emphasis on ‘AB’ activities has been an important factor in the fundamental and needed shift in USG prevention strategy from a primarily ‘C’ approach prior to PEPFAR to the balanced ABC strategy.”

Rep. Smith added that a “growing body of data” validates the behavioral changes encouraged by ABC programs.  Data from Zimbabwe and Kenya “mirrors the earlier success of Uganda’s ABC approach to preventing HIV,” he noted.

Smith further quoted the government agencies’ comments, which said, “These three countries with generalized epidemics… have demonstrated reductions in HIV prevalence, and in each country the data point to significant AB behavior change and modest but important changes to C.  Where sexual behaviors have changed, as evidenced by increased primary and secondary abstinence, fidelity, and condom use, HIV prevalence has declined.”

According to a February 2006 report in the journal “Science,” the rate of HIV among eastern Zimbabwean men aged 17 to 29 fell by 23 percent between 1998 and 2003.  Among women aged 15 to 24, the infection rate dropped by 49 percent.

The percentage of eastern Zimbabwean men aged 17 to 19 who had engaged in sexual activity dropped from 45 percent to 27 percent, and among women aged 15 to 17 the rate dropped from 21 percent to 9 percent.

The report apparently also showed progress of the “Be faithful” aspect of the ABC model.  The percentage of sexually active men who reported a casual partner fell by 49 percent.

According to Smith, the Kenyan Ministry of Health estimated that HIV prevalence in the country dropped from about 10 percent in 1998 to approximately 7 percent in 2003.

Smith also referred to the September, 2007 testimony of Dr. Norman Hearst before the Foreign Affairs Committee.  Hearst said, “Five years ago, I was commissioned by UNAIDS to conduct a technical review of how well condoms have worked for AIDS prevention in the developing world.”  After he and his associates collected “mountains of data,” he said, “we then looked for evidence of public health impact for condoms in generalized epidemics.  To our surprise, we couldn’t find any.  No generalized HIV epidemic has ever been rolled back by a prevention strategy primarily based on condoms.  Instead, the few successes in turning around generalized HIV epidemics, such as Uganda, were achieved not through condoms but by getting people to change their sexual behavior.”

Hearst also referenced a consensus statement in the Lancet endorsed by 150 AIDS experts that said the priority for adults should be limiting one’s sexual partners, while the priority for young people should be avoiding early sexual activity.

Smith then cited a March 2, 2007 Washington Post article by Craig Timberg that noted the negative effect of certain cultural habits in sub-Saharan Africa.  “Researchers increasingly attribute the resilience of HIV in Botswana – and in southern Africa generally – to the high incidence of multiple sexual relationships.  Europeans and Americans often have more partners over their lives, studies show, but sub Saharan Africans average more at the same time,” the article said.

“Researchers increasingly agree that curbing behavior is key to slowing the spread of AIDS in Africa,” the Washington Post article continued.  The article quoted Serara Selelo-Mogwe, a public health expert and retired nursing professor at the University of Botswana, who said, “If you just say use the condom… we will never see the daylight of the virus leaving us.”

The article said that Botswana used programs favored by Western AIDS experts whose experience had been shaped by their study of the epidemic among American homosexuals and Thailand brothels.  The anti-AIDS partnership between the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the drugmaker Merck dedicated $13.5 million to condom protection, more than 25 times the amount dedicated to changing dangerous behavior.  Botswana’s HIV infection rates continued to rise, and are now among the highest in Africa.

Representative Smith also cited a U.S. Government’s 2008 Annual Report to Congress, which said, “perhaps the most important [development] in recent years is the growing number of nations in which there is clear evidence of declining HIV prevalence as a result of changes in sexual behavior” and “behavior change will remain the keystone of success.”

Smith’s remarks about the successful results of ABC models of HIV/AIDS prevention were made on the House floor as he spoke in favor of the “Tom Lantos and Henry J. Hyde United States Global Leadership Against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria Reauthorization Act of 2008,” which would renew the PEPFAR program and change some of its policies.

The bill, Smith said, would require the Global AIDS Coordinator to provide “balanced funding for sexual transmission prevention including abstinence, delay of sexual debut, monogamy, fidelity and partner reduction.”  If less than 50 percent of prevention funds are spent on the Abstinence and Be Faithful sections of the ABC model, the bill requires the Coordinator to provide written justification.  At present, Smith said, the Coordinator can waive requirements without notifying Congress.

Smith claimed that the bill would likely prevent 12 million new HIV infections worldwide and support 3 million people, including an estimated 450,000 children.  He said the bill would also provide care for 12 million individuals with HIV/AIDS, including 5 million orphans, while helping train and deploy 140,000 new health care professionals and workers for prevention, treatment, and care of the disease.

Representative Smith also said the conscience clause in the bill “restates, improves, and expands conscience protection” for organizations so that they are not discriminated against in fund distribution.  Smith specifically mentioned Catholic Relief Services as one agency covered by the conscience clause.

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City awards library worker fired for reporting child pornography viewer

Lindsay, Calif., Apr 3, 2008 (CNA) - The City Council in Lindsay, California has passed a unanimous resolution commending a library employee who was reportedly fired after defying her supervisor’s orders not to report to the police a library patron who was viewing child pornography, Cybercast News Service reports.

The former library employee, Brenda Biesterfeld, was praised by the city council, which also presented her with an award.

“This individual did the right thing by reporting it to the police, even though her supervisor said they were going to handle it internally," City Council member Suzi Picaso said to Cybercast News Service.

The city, which does not control the library, also sent a letter to the Tulare County Library System asking why Biesterfeld was fired two days after her call to police.

The letter also asked the Tulane County Board of Supervisors why library policies do not require library management to contact authorities themselves.

"Our concern is the way the whole situation was handled - her termination as well as their policies and procedures to report such a crime to law enforcement," Picaso said.

Picaso described how Biesterfeld, a new employee in a probationary period, reported the child pornography incident to her supervisor. 

"Her supervisor basically told her, 'Do not contact the police. This happens more often than you know,'" Picaso said. "Well, if that's true, somebody's not doing what they need to do to make sure it doesn't happen again."

Biesterfeld was told to give the patron, who is deaf and mute, a note telling him a repeat incident would result in the denial of his use of library computers.

"After Brenda went home, however, she couldn't sleep and she was so stressed out about it. She has two little boys the same age as these little blonde, blue-eyed boys she saw on the screen in these pornographic images," Picaso said.

When the patron returned on March 4, Biesterfeld reported him to the police.  Donny Lynn Chrisler, 39, was arrested on both suspicion of participating in the production or presentation of obscene matter in public places and suspicion of possessing child pornography.  A search of Chrisler’s home reportedly discovered other photographs of child pornography.

Biesterfeld’s attorney, Matthew Staver, said that the library supervisor angrily confronted police when they confiscated the library’s computer as evidence, demanding to know who had informed them.

Biesterfeld was fired on March 6.

"It is outrageous she was fired for stopping a child pornographer," Staver said.

Tulare County’s chief media officer, Eric Coyne, disputed the account of the city council and Biesterfeld’s lawyer.  He said that Biesterfield’s firing was a personnel matter and that the child pornography arrest is an ongoing investigation.  Coyne said the county was not at liberty to discuss either matter in detail.

"She alleges that the one act was related to the other," Coyne said to Cybercast News Service. "We've investigated this, and that's absolutely not true."

He said the county board had asked a retired superior court judge to conduct an independent investigation.

The county has also entered into binding arbitration with Biesterfeld, though Coyne said that did not mean the county is offering her job back to her.

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Italy doctors reignite “emergency contraception” conscience debate

Rome, Italy, Apr 3, 2008 (CNA) - A long controversy in Italy about the “morning-after” pill revived on Wednesday after two women were reportedly denied prescriptions for the drug by pro-life doctors with conscientious objections to providing the drug, ANSA reports.

Both incidents reportedly took place in the Tuscan city of Pisa last month. 

One 20-year-old woman went to a public health clinic the day before Easter Sunday to obtain a prescription for the drug.  She found a notice on the door saying, “This office does not prescribe the so-called morning-after pill.”

A few days later, another woman was denied a prescription by a doctor who was on emergency duty at a Pisa hospital.

The “morning-after” pill must be taken within 72 hours of intercourse to prevent pregnancy.  It can work by suppressing a woman’s ovulation or hindering the transport of sperm or an egg.   The drug can also make it more difficult for a newly conceived embryo to implant in a woman’s uterus.

Rocco Damone, the health manager responsible for both the clinic and the hospital, said he would question the two doctors on Thursday.

“Their behavior could be against the code of conduct... The prescription of the morning-after pill has got nothing to do with the issue of conscientious objection,” Damone said.

Tuscany’s regional councilor for health, Enrico Rossi, said that access to the “morning-after” pill was a woman’s right doctors were obliged to respect.  He urged regional health managers to make their staff aware of this obligation.

Pisa public prosecutors also said they were investigating the matter.

Other leaders defended the doctors’ refusal to supply the prescriptions.

Outgoing Education Minister Giuseppe Fioroni said on Tuesday that “freedom of conscience is something that is clearly sanctioned by the Italian Constitution.”

The Vatican has argued that doctors should follow their consciences on the matter.  Last October, Pope Benedict said that pharmacists also had the “recognized right” to refuse to supply the pill.

The “morning-after” pill still requires a prescription in Italy, where it was introduced in 2000.

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Council examines role of grandparents in Church and society

Vatican City, Apr 3, 2008 (CNA) - More than 300 clergy and lay people are gathering Rome over the next two days to examine the indispensable role of grandparents in the Church and in families.

The occasion for the gathering is the 18th plenary assembly of the Pontifical Council for the Family, whose theme is: "The presence and witness of grandparents in families".

On Thursday morning, Archbishop Fernando Filoni, substitute of the Secretariat of State, addressed the gathering on the subject of the role of the elderly in the Church and in society.

Among the lay participants who have been invited to bear witness to the role of grandparents in modern society are the Italian politicians Marcello Pera and Giulio Andreotti, as well as a large number of experts from five continents.

Archbishop Gianfranco Ravasi, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture will talk about grandparents as they appear in the Bible, whereas "the figure of grandparents in immigrant families" will be the subject of the contribution from Archbishop Agostino Marchetto, secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples.

Cardinal Carlo Caffarra, archbishop of Bologna, Italy, will also deliver a much anticipated talk on Pope Paul VI's Encyclical "Humanae vitae" forty years after its publication.

The council will also hear testimony on the different situations grandparents live in around the world. The Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus, Dr. Carl Anderson, will present the situation of grandparents in the U.S. The role grandparents in Africa, Asia, Australia and Latin America will also be examined.

Finally, Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera, archbishop of Mexico, will inform the gathering on preparations for the 6th World Meeting of Families, which is due be held in Mexico City in 2009.

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Pope to celebrate founding of Sant’ Egidio, visit memorial for witnesses to the faith

Vatican City, Apr 3, 2008 (CNA) - The Vatican announced today that Pope Benedict will pay a visit on April 7 to a memorial dedicated to witnesses of the faith of the 20th and 21st centuries. 

The visit to the memorial, which is located in the Basilica of St. Bartholomew on Rome's Isola Tiberina, will take place on Monday at 5.20 p.m. Rome time.

This visit is intended to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the founding of the Sant' Egidio Community, which Servant of God John Paul II entrusted with the construction of the memorial in the basilica.

The Sant'Egidio Community explains that the Basilica of St. Bartholomew is "one of the oldest places of worship in the capital. It contains memorials and relics of many witnesses of our time, from Bishop Oscar Arnulfo Romero, to Cardinal Posadas Ocampo who was killed by drug traffickers at the airport in Guadalajara, Mexico; from the evangelical pastor Paul Schneider ... who opposed Nazism as a contentious objector and witness of the faith, to Fr. Andrea Santoro, a Roman priest killed recently in Trabzon, Turkey".

According to the Sant'Egidio community’s website, they are currently present in over 70 countries around the world and have around 50,000 members. Their community emphasizes prayer, service to the poorest of the poor, efforts to promote peace and reconciliation and a commitment to fostering ecumenical dialogue between believers of different religious traditions.

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Obama's "punished with a baby" comment sparks protests

Philadelphia, Pa., Apr 3, 2008 (CNA) - Christian leaders in the U.S. are demanding that Sen. Barack Obama apologize for comments he made referring to babies as a “punishment”.

While addressing a campaign rally in Pennsylvania last weekend, Sen. Obama said, "When it comes specifically to HIV/AIDS, the most important prevention is education, which should include -- which should include abstinence education and teaching the children -- teaching children, you know, that sex is not something casual," he said.

"But it should also include -- it should also include other, you know, information about contraception because, look, I've got two daughters. 9 years old and 6 years old," he added.

"I am going to teach them first of all about values and morals. But if they make a mistake, I don't want them punished with a baby," Obama said.

The Christian Defense Coalition responded to Obama by saying that his comment is “not only a slap in the face to every child born to a young mother, but it diminishes the great joy that children bring to their families regardless of the circumstances in which they were born.”

Rev. Patrick J. Mahoney, Director of the Christian Defense Coalition, also commented on Obama’s campaign for change, saying, "Senator Obama talks about bringing change to America. However, when it comes to his policies on abortion he is strictly 'old school.' Every recent poll shows that America's emerging generation is embracing a culture of life and desires and end to the violence that has resulted in the deaths of over 50,000,000 innocent children and wounded so many women.”

A demonstration protesting Obama’s pro-abortion policies was held yesterday at 3:30pm at West Chester University, where Sen. Obama made a campaign stop.

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Red Cross refuses blood donations from homosexuals, Thai human rights group threatens lawsuit

Rome, Italy, Apr 3, 2008 (CNA) - The Commission for Human Rights of Thailand has threatened to sue the local Red Cross for discrimination, after the organization said it would not accept blood donations from homosexual males in order to protect against possibly spreading the AIDS virus.

The Red Cross said it has a large quantity of blood contaminated by the HIV virus, most of which was donated by homosexuals.  “The Red Cross has the right to protect its patients who need a blood transfusion to save their lives and therefore we must restrict donors who engage in risky sexual behavior,” the organization said.

However, Naiyana Supapueng of the Commission for Human Rights of Thailand said the decision by the Red Cross amounted to sexual discrimination and threatened to file a lawsuit with the Constitutional Court.

At the same time, the leader of the Gay Political Group of Thailand, Natee Teerarojjanapongs, who at first opposed the Red Cross decision, said he now accepted it as official statistics confirm that at least 28% of Thailand’s homosexuals are HIV-positive.

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Cardinals Dziwicz, Schönborn and Ruini recall JP II's “witness of mercy"

Rome, Italy, Apr 3, 2008 (CNA) - Cardinals Dziwicz, Schönborn and Ruini recalled the intense witness of mercy given by John Paul II, on the commemoration of the third anniversary of his passing and during the inauguration of the first World Congress on Divine Mercy.

During the event, which was held at the Basilica of St. John Lateran, Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwicz, Archbishop of Krakow and secretary to the late pontiff for 25 years, said Pope John Paul II and “Sister Faustina were two messengers of Divine Mercy who promoted this great mystery.  Now we have a third messenger: Benedict XVI who helps us discover the love and mercy of God.”

“St. Faustina is buried in Krakow, where she received the great message of Divine Mercy.  It’s the city from which this message radiates to the whole world. This devotion gives us all the chance to pray in order to contribute to changing our secularized society, which lives as if God did not exist,” the cardinal said.

Cardinal Christoph Schönborn of Vienna noted that “in the words, in the messages that Sister Faustina received from Jesus and transmitted to the world in simple language,” John Paul II “found the answer to the great questions and challenges of our time.”

“During his whole life, he reflected on the immeasurable mystery of Divine Mercy in light of these messages,” the cardinal said.  “This mystery characterized his work as a priest, bishop and Pope.  And through him, it touched an infinite number of people throughout the world.  He was really a unique testimony of mercy,” Cardinal Schonborn stated.  He also pointed out that the Pope’s earthly journey ended on “Divine Mercy Sunday, the feast he himself established in the Jubilee year of 2000.” 

“It’s difficult, almost impossible, to not see in this coincidence a ‘sign from Heaven’.  Has God not put his signature on an entire way of life, which Pope John Paul II repeatedly characterized, in a completely explicit way, as his mission?” the cardinal asked.

Cardinal Camilo Ruini, Vicar for the Diocese of Rome, said, “Celebrating this congress here, we are certainly fulfilling the will of John Paul II, who put Divine Mercy at the center of his spiritual life, his apostolic testimony and his magisterium, consecrating his second encyclical ‘Dives in misericordia’ to the mercy of God, beatifying and canonizing Sister Faustina Kowalska and dedicating the second Sunday of Easter to Divine Mercy.”

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Colombian bishop dismisses “rumors” about Ingrid Betancourt

Bogotá, Colombia, Apr 3, 2008 (CNA) - Bishop Guillermo Orozco Montoya of San Jose del Guaviare told the Efe news agency this week that reports that former presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt, who has been held hostage by the Marxist rebel group FARC for several years, was recently treated in a hospital in his region “are rumors.”

“I have the same information.  It’s all just rumors.  There is nothing specific,” the bishop said in response to reports Betancourt had been seen at a local hospital.

“If you consider the mentality of our people, who are very susceptible to rumors, and if you consider that one of those who were released said he saw her (Betancourt) three weeks ago, then you have to suppose that she is there,” the bishop said. “That was enough for people to start speculating,” he added.

Bishop Orozco also said he did not know if local residents had been threatened by the FARC and said that in any case, “people have always been very fearful of these militant groups and they are very concerned about their own safety.  Wherever there are outlaw groups, whether guerrillas or paramilitaries, people must be very careful,” he explained.

He also said he has sent letters to the commanders of FARC and that he is still awaiting a response.  “Once there is a spokesman, we will be willing to collaborate” to secure the release of hostages, especially those who are sick. 

Local residents in the town of El Capricho, which is located in an area strongly controlled by FARC, said Betancourt had been seen in public in recent weeks.

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Honduran lawmakers commit to defending life from moment of conception

Tegucigalpa, Apr 3, 2008 (CNA) - The foundress of the Pro-Life Committee of Honduras, Gracia de Villeda, has praised lawmakers for who have thrown their support behind an initiative to defend human life from the moment of conception to natural death.

Speaking to CNA, Villeda said a majority of lawmakers signed the declaration on the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  “The vast majority of the 128 lawmakers who make up the Honduran parliament has committed to rejecting any bill that has elements that do not respect life or that facilitate the distribution of the morning after pill,” she said.

She said the initiative would be replicated in other countries in the region, such as Nicaragua, Guatemala and Costa Rica.

“It makes no sense to talk about defending human rights if we do not begin with the right to life, which is the first human right. We think this initiative should be duplicated by other parliaments in other countries in order to create blocs of pro-life legislators,” Villeda said.

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Ecuadoran representative leaves ruling party after harassment over position on abortion

Quito, Ecuador, Apr 3, 2008 (CNA) - Representative Rossana Queirolo of Ecuador has decided to leave the ruling party Acuerdo Pais after an intense campaign by party officials to get her to change her position on abortion and the family.

Queirolo, who is a representative in the country’s Constitutional Assembly, said she would continue working with the Acuerdo Pais party “in issues that benefit the majority” of Ecuadorans but that she would no longer be a party member.  She made her decision after she learned of the agreement made on Tuesday between party members and President Rafael Correa.

“At first I was pleased that they reached an agreement and a consensus at the meeting. But I am not in agreement with three of the six points,” she said, noting that the agreement left the door open for the legalization of abortion and same-sex unions.

“Point 4 of the agreement says that the new constitution would protect life from the moment of conception. However, I think I have been very clear and I have explained the dangers of allowing exceptions,” she said.

She said that by leaving the door open, the current government and future governments could pass laws that would expand abortion and legalize it, “which would be terrible.”

Queirolo also expressed her concern that the agreement would “leave the door open to proposals of alternative families, which I do not agree with,” and “to same-sex unions, because it recognizes civil unions without specifying between which sexes.”

She also noted that party leaders were always aware of her political and moral positions and nonetheless accepted her participating in the Assembly as a member of the party. 

In recent weeks, Queirolo and Diana Acosta became the principal voices in defense of human life without exceptions and of protecting marriage between a man and a woman in the new constitution.

As a consequence they became the target of attacks and harassment by members of their own party, who said they should have the “decency” to resign for not sharing the official party position.

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Christian values only thing holding Britain together, says Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor

London, England, Apr 3, 2008 (CNA) - Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, Archbishop of Westminster and head of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, on Monday said that “Judeo-Christian values” were the only thing holding British society together, the Guardian reports.

Speaking to the Guardian on the eve of a lecture series about the place of faith in British public life, Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor criticized the “aggressive secularism” that he believes is advancing in the United Kingdom.  He also defended the Catholic Church’s stance in the debate over human-animal “hybrid” embryos, and argued that Christian leaders should hold a privileged position over representatives of other faiths in debates about public policy.

The Guardian contrasted the cardinal’s remarks with the controversial statements of Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, who in February suggested that the introduction of some aspect of Sharia law in Britain was “unavoidable.”  Archbishop Williams will also speak at the lecture series.

"People are looking for a common good in this country. A very large number of people are saying, 'What is it that binds British people together?'" Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor said.  “There is no other heritage than the Judaeo-Christian heritage in this country."  Replacing that heritage with a “totally secular view of life,” the cardinal said, would lead the nation down “a very dangerous path.”

Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor also defended the Church’s involvement in public debate.  "I'm not in favour of an intemperate battle, but I understand there are very different views, and I think the Catholic church has a part to play with other Christians to make sure this debate is held in public, with respect and with great force."

The Church recently led a successful campaign to persuade Prime Minister Gordon Brown to allow his MPs a free vote on a bill that would explicitly permit human-animal hybrid embryos.  Several scientists accused church leaders of “misrepresenting” or even “lying” about the research.  

Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor told the Guardian that faith groups should not be considered together "as if [there were one] faith lobby - faith people are in that lobby, and non-faith people in that lobby ... I think that's too simplistic."

When asked if that meant Christian leaders should have a privileged position in making interventions in foreign policy, Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor said, "Yes. I don't see why not."

Tony Blair, the former British prime minister who recently converted to Catholicism, will also speak at the lecture series, which is titled “Faith and Life in Britain.”  He is reportedly expected to use his lecture to launch an inter-faith foundation.  The lecture will be Blair’s first public statement of faith since his conversion.

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UCLA student paper exposes more racism at Planned Parenthood

Los Angeles, Calif., Apr 3, 2008 (CNA) - The Advocate, a student newspaper at UCLA that ran an investigation about Planned Parenthood’s acceptance of racially-motivated donations, has released another video from its series of investigations into the organization’s fundraising practices.

In February, the Advocate released the recording of a call to an Idaho Planned Parenthood Director of Development in which the caller pretended to be a racist donor who wanted to reduce the number of black people.  The Planned Parenthood employee said she was “excited” to take the donation.

"This new video demonstrates a disturbing trend of racism at Planned Parenthood," said Lila Rose, editor of The Advocate. "Planned Parenthood has no shame in accepting donations to purposely abort minority populations. People have forgotten the organization was founded on these principles and has continued to operate under these same racist views for decades."

The video features James O’Keefe, a law student posing as a racist donor, who contacted Irene Gray of Planned Parenthood in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

O’Keefe told Gray he wanted to make a donation to abort a black baby.  He pretended to rant about affirmative action and how the black population needed to shrink because they compete with whites for admission to schools.

"Yes, yes, it's a strange time for sure,” Gray replied to O’Keefe.

The Advocate also investigated other state Planned Parenthood organizations. 

In a call to an Oklahoma-based Planned Parenthood, a staffer from Tulsa named Susan Riggs was asked if the organization accepted specific donations to abort black babies.  Riggs replied, "We can definitely designate it for an African-American.”

Lila Rose commented on the call, saying, “Clearly, Planned Parenthood has absolutely no shame in using funds to target and abort black children from racist donors. It's a jolting reminder that abortion is a big business, regardless of what the politicians and the special interest groups say.” 

Rose said that Congress should investigate the organization, which she says receives over $300 million in federal funding.

"Planned Parenthood must be held accountable for their actions. No one is calling them out - including supposedly minority civil rights groups like the ACLU and NAACP - for their despicable actions,” Rose said

The Advocate’s video of the calls is available at

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