Archive of July 25, 2009

Wright warns that new health care reform will endanger families

Washington D.C., Jul 25, 2009 (CNA) - Today Wendy Wright, President of Concerned Women for America, expressed concern that the present health care bill will hinder women’s ability to adequately care for their family members.

In a press release, Wright noted that "Women have the pulse of what affects their families, which are the lifeblood of a civilization. Any government plan to change health care will not be limited to who pays for what health care. It will dramatically and intimately affect families. The current health care bill will take away from women the ability to made decisions and care for members of their family."

"Women generally are the caregivers to their families," she continued. "They provide primary decisions and care for their children, elderly parents, and disabled members. No health care bill should take from families and hand over to government boards and bureaucrats the ability to determine what treatments can be available to them or their families."

Wright then stated that the U.S. has the best health care system worldwide. "The desire of President Obama and some in Congress to make it like other countries is utterly astounding since their proposed changes would stifle American ingenuity and quality care."

"The stakes couldn't be higher for our families. The health care bill will dramatically curtail women's ability to make choices with their doctors on what is best for their families. It will harm families' ability to preserve the dignity and quality of life for children and the elderly. Americans with disabilities and other pre- existing conditions require quality care and not 'treatment' that consists merely of prescription medication and a shove out the door," she concluded.

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Faithful to honor life of St. Martha

CNA STAFF, Jul 25, 2009 (CNA) - On Wednesday, the Church will celebrate the feast day of St. Martha, a contemporary of Christ who is mentioned in both the Gospels of Luke and John.

St. Martha lived in the time of Jesus. She, along with her brother Lazarus and sister Mary had a special friendship with the Lord. The Scriptures tell us, "Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister and Lazarus" (John 11:5).

This friendship with Christ is illustrated in the three Gospel passages in which Martha is mentioned. Through her example in these Gospel stories, Martha teaches Christians about faith, love, and service to the Lord.

Martha first appears in Scripture in Luke 10:38-42. Martha and Mary receive Jesus as a guest into their home. Martha immediately strives to show him hospitality, and becomes "burdened with much serving," while Mary simply sits at the feet of Christ, "listening to Him speak."

Frustrated and overwhelmed, Martha turns to Jesus, asking Him to intervene, saying, "Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving? Tell her to help me."

Jesus responds to Martha by saying, "Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her."

With this response, Jesus reminds Martha, and us, that listening to Him is the most important thing in life, and warns against the many daily worries that can distract us and prevent us from putting Him first in all things.

Martha is then seen putting her faith in Christ above all when she next appears in Scripture in John 11:1-53, mourning outside the tomb of her brother Lazarus who had died four days earlier. When she hears that Jesus is coming, she immediately goes up to meet Him.

Martha professes her faith in Jesus, saying, "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. (But) even now I know that whatever you ask of God, God will give you."

When Christ proclaims himself to be "the resurrection and the life," Martha responds with an affirmation of her faith by saying, "Yes, Lord. I have come to believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one who is coming into the world."

This display of faith is confirmed as Jesus proceeds to raise Lazarus from the grave in front of all present.

The final mention of Martha in Scripture is in John 12:1-9. In this third and last instance, Jesus is at a house in Bethany, reclining at table with Lazarus. In this passage, Mary draws criticism and complaint from some gathered in the house by anointing Jesus’ feet with expensive oil. Martha is not the focus of the passage; she is mentioned only briefly, described with the simple statement, "Martha served."

In this final passage, Martha is seen serving the Lord with silent simplicity. The peace she demonstrates here greatly contrasts the nervous anxiety she had previously shown in serving, and she has now found a visible way to show her faith and love for Christ.

We know nothing about Martha’s later life, and have no reliable records of her death. Her feast day is July 29, and she is the patron of housewives, servants, waiters and cooks.

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Proposed Ohio law would require biological father’s consent before an abortion

Columbus, Ohio, Jul 25, 2009 (CNA) - An Ohio state legislator has introduced a bill that requires written permission from an unborn baby’s biological father before an abortion.

Rep. John Adams, a Republican from Sidney, Ohio, calls his bill H.B. 252 "Father’s Rights Regarding Abortion," Politics Daily reports. The legislation has more than a dozen co-sponsors in the Ohio House of Representatives, where Rep. Adams is Minority Whip.

"When the fetus that is the subject of the procedure is viable, no person shall perform or induce an abortion on a pregnant woman without the written informed consent of the father of the fetus," the bill’s text reads. "When the fetus that is the subject of the procedure is not viable, no person shall perform or induce an abortion on a pregnant woman without the written informed consent of the father of the fetus."

The bill would make abortion without a father’s permission or naming a "false biological father" into a first-degree misdemeanor with a maximum $1,000 fine. A second occasion of providing false information would be considered a fifth-degree felony.

In cases where the father is unknown, the pregnant woman would be required to submit a list of possible fathers and her doctor would have to conduct paternity tests so that permission to abort may be sought. In cases of rape or incest, the bill requires proof in the form of a court document, police report or indictment.

According to Politics Daily, Rep. Adams proposed similar legislation in 2007 but it failed after protests from Planned Parenthood.

CNA spoke with Rep. Adams in Friday afternoon phone interview.

He said that currently the law allows a father to have "no say" if a mother of his child wants to get an abortion.

"And that’s what the purpose of the bill is, to give him a say in whether that child can be terminated or not."

He characterized present law as engaging in "reproductive discrimination."

"It takes two to have a child. I don’t know why a father doesn’t have a say currently."

Asked whether Planned Parenthood was again protesting the bill, Rep. Adams said he believed it was.

CNA noted that some media reports describe the bill as advancing "A Man’s Right to Choose."

When asked his opinion of that description, Rep. Adams replied:

"Groups are going to say whatever they want to about the bill. I’ve been very clear about the purpose is.

"What you have is, the father of the child has no say. If the mother of the child decides to keep the child, that father has 18 years of financial responsibility.

"Basically it’s leveling the playing field."

Asked whether he thought the bill could make men more morally complicit in abortions that do take place, he said he didn’t know.

"I’ve had men tell me [about the abortion of their children] ‘I wish I’d have known’ and ‘I wish that the outcome could’ve been different.’ That was the motivation for proposing the bill," he explained to CNA.

CNA also contacted Right to Life for Ohio and received a response from its legal counsel Mark Lally.

He said the bill intends to address the "inequity" in the treatment of the rights of mothers and fathers with regard to abortion.

"Although many fathers feel a strong parental bond to their unborn children and wish to protect them, current court rulings permit the mother to have an abortion for any reason and provide no rights to fathers who object to their child's death."

If the law were passed, Lally said, it would only change the outcome of abortion decisions when the father objected to the abortion.

"If the bill became law, it would be challenged as unconstitutional and could provide the courts with an opportunity to reconsider current rulings."


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N. Korea reportedly executes Christian woman for distributing Bible

Seoul, South Korea, Jul 25, 2009 (CNA) -

Last month North Korea publicly executed a Christian woman for distributing the Bible, South Korean activists said on Friday. Her parents, husband and three children have reportedly been sent to a prison camp.

Ri Hyon Ok, 33, was also accused of spying for South Korea and the United States and organizing dissidents, Fox News reports. According to a report from an alliance of several dozen anti-North Korea groups, her execution took place on June 16 in the northwestern city of Ryongchon near the Chinese border.

Her relatives were sent to a political prison camp in the northeastern city of Hoeryong the day after her execution.

The report on her execution cited unidentified documents said to be obtained from North Korea. According to the Associated Press, such reports are almost impossible to verify because of the North Korean government’s tight control over its citizens.

North Korea claims to guarantee freedom of religion but severely restricts religious observance. The U.S. State Department says that genuine religious freedom does not exist in the country.

While the government in the North has authorized four state churches, one Catholic, two Protestant and one Russian Orthodox, they cater to foreigners and ordinary North Koreans cannot attend. More than 30,000 North Korean are believed to practice Christianity secretly.

A state-run South Korean think tank’s annual report on human rights in North Korea reported that the number of public executions is declining in recent years, the Associated Press says. However, executions are still carried out for crimes ranging from murder to circulating foreign movies.

"North Korea appears to have judged that Christian forces could pose a threat to its regime," South Korean activist Do Hee-youn told reporters.

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