Nov 13

And too costly.

Questions finally have been coming out about the abortion giant’s funding and how they use it.

So what exactly are taxpayers getting for the $528 million they provide to Planned Parenthood each year? And more important, what could they get if that money were spent instead at the thousands of federally qualified health centers around the country that do provide a full range of services and diagnostic screenings, as well as birth control, pap smears, and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases?

In fact, women have the most to gain from a congressional decision to reallocate money away from Planned Parenthood and to community-based health centers that already serve their localities. The quality of women’s health care will be improved by shifting money to medical providers that focus on the health and well-being of the whole woman; the priority should not be funding an organization that treats women’s reproductive health in isolation.

Women’s access to health care will improve, as well. There are more than 13,000 qualified health centers providing a full range of health-care services to women, including 4,000 in under-served rural areas.

The maps in the article make the point best. Taxpayer funds should shift to the federally qualified health clinics.

The House passed legislation to defund the abortion industry giant. Now it’s the Senate’s turn to vote. Pressure is on.

Meanwhile, Students for Life of America has begun running an ad on a massive screen in Times Square to reach women in the heart of New York City with the message that Planned Parenthood is betraying them.

Planned Parenthood claims they care about women but they don’t – just look at their actions. They get over $500 million a year in our taxpayer money and makes more than $100 million in profit, all while having abortion quotas. The organization has been caught covering up statutory rape, double-billing taxpayers, aiding and abetting sex traffickers, scheduling sex-selective abortions and accepting money to abort African American children.

Women have been betrayed by Planned Parenthood. Families have been deceived. And the smallest among us have been the ultimate victims of Planned Parenthood’s horrific business schemes. Quite frankly, we’ve had enough. It’s time to relieve Planned Parenthood of our taxpayer dollars.

In a press release, Students for Life of America President Kristan Hawkins said enough is enough.

“The atrocities that Planned Parenthood has committed deserve the widest stage possible and we are bringing the message that they betray women to one of the biggest in the world: Times Square. Planned Parenthood preys on vulnerable women, telling them they can’t parent their child or place for adoption, but rather that they must have an abortion to solve their ‘problem.’ That is not empowerment but rather a betrayal and an affront to the power of femininity. By putting this ad front and center in the middle of New York City, where 37% of all pregnancies end in abortion, we are giving notice to Planned Parenthood that we are on their turf and we want to reach those women before they do.”

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Nov 04

Congress counts the costs.

A one year funding ban was a start, as investigations continue into the abortion industry giant being held to account for how Planned Parenthood conducts business, and just what kind of business the organization conducts.

After years of deceptions perpetrated by Planned Parenthood with the cover of complicit media and high level politicians, it took ongoing congressional investigations to finally get the admission on the record, from the head of Planned Parenthood herself, that all claims to the contrary, they don’t do mammograms, a big selling point as to why they were allegedly necessary for delivering women’s health care.

After that admission, Richards tried to turn the tables and make her best defense a robust offense in her testimony.

“The latest smear campaign is based on efforts by our opponents to entrap our doctors and clinicians into breaking the law—and once again our opponents failed,” Richards said in testimony before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

Not this time. Anyone who has seen any of the undercover videos saw clearly that the words came out of the mouths of abortion clinic workers, or Planned Parenthood medical directors, and the attitude, tone and content of those conversations were caught on film. So was the cavalier way baby body parts were either talked about in terms of marketing and profitability, or handled in abortion clinics in graphic scenes showing dismembered human bodies in their earliest stages of growth before they were ‘terminated’ by abortion.

Members of Congress wanted to see the videos for themselves, especially since they were held up by a legal battle after the first ten videos were released.

U.S. District Judge Wiliam H. Orrick III, the same judge who issued a temporary restraining order on behalf of the National Abortion Federation in late July, said that CMP may release all videos and transcripts to the Congressional committee that had sought them.

“I will not countenance a game of hide the ball with respect to these documents, video footage and communications, that interferes directly with these proceedings,” he concluded…

“In our Constitutional system, there are three equal branches of government, and courts should refrain from creating needless friction with a coordinate branch of government.”

Meanwhile, some big media continue to try to provide Planned Parenthood cover. In vain, when keen journalists like Mollie Hemingway are watching.

Which brings us to this unbelievably awful CNN report by Drew Griffin that aired this week. It also made me scream because of the errors, half-truths, and deceptions that it contained in its lengthy defense of the country’s largest abortion provider.

It’s so tremendously bad that I don’t actually know where to begin.

But she systematically goes through the seven biggest problems with that CNN report.

About a day later, a major leak of hours of undercover videos got posted by an online news site, with yet more shocking revelations.

The footage appears to show top-level abortion industry executives discussing their baby parts harvesting trade. Got News, the group that released the tapes, say they “obtained all of the videos from a source on Capitol Hill.”

Video footage seen here says it was obtained from a “National Abortion Foundation’s annual meeting in San Francisco, CA, on April 7th, 2014.” We do not know of a group called the National Abortion Foundation and believe this description is a typo of National Abortion Federation, which issued a letter in response to the apparent leak.

On the tape titled “2nd Trimester Provider Self Care” shows panelists discussing the “stigma” associated with the procedure. Attendees respond with laughter and applause as former National Abortion Federation Executive Director, Dr. Uta Landy, read comments by abortion providers…

Who was behind this revelation? WaPo claimed ‘a controversial blogger and an infamous hacker’ teamed up on the project, in an interesting turn of events and reporting on them. And the spin and blame and deflection continued.

Meanwhile, quietly, another new video was released by the Center for Medical Progress.

The eleventh video release from The Center for Medical Progress in the ongoing Planned Parenthood baby parts scandal shows the abortion doctor for Planned Parenthood in Austin, TX, Dr. Amna Dermish, describing a partial-birth abortion procedure to terminate living, late-term fetuses which she hopes will yield intact fetal heads for brain harvesting.

Dr. Dermish admits she was trained by the Senior Director of Medical Services at Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Dr. Deborah Nucatola. Nucatola described a partial-birth abortion technique to harvest fetal organs in the first Planned Parenthood video released July 14 by CMP.

“My aim is usually to get the specimens out pretty intact,” says Dermish, speaking to actors posing as a fetal tissue procurement company. Dermish admits that she will sometimes use ultrasound guidance to convert a 2nd-trimester fetus to a feet-first breech presentation: “Especially the 20-weekers are a lot harder versus the 18-weekers, so at that point I’ll switch to breech.”

Which is illegal. And revolting and stunning, given the fact that “20-weekers’ are five month old babies, who are being negotiated for sale of their body parts.

The state of Texas recently moved to disbar Planned Parenthood from taxpayer funding on account of Medicaid fraud and abortion-related crimes. Governor Greg Abbott recently said in an interview that the state of Texas is now in possession of “hard evidence” that Planned Parenthood is engaged in “violations of federal and state law concerning abortion procedures.”

“Less than 4 miles away from the Texas state capitol, Planned Parenthood routinely practices barbaric partial-birth abortions on living, late-term fetuses,” notes CMP Project Lead David Daleiden. “Planned Parenthood’s crimes are not just the result of local bad actors, but are tolerated and even encouraged at the highest levels of the national organization. State-level criminal investigations must press charges, and Congress’ new select committee must pursue a deep and comprehensive accounting of Planned Parenthood’s atrocities against humanity.”

They’re working on it.

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Oct 26

How to summarize?

Here is the essence in short.

This WaPo article captures what much of the secular and even a fair number of Catholic media are saying.

“Yet the still-significant opposition in the synod to rapid changes in rules also suggested how far off Catholics may yet be from seeing Francis’s revolutionary style turned into practice.”

And this short Word On Fire video of Bishop Robert Barron captures what most of them got wrong.

Bishop Barron explains.

I can confidently tell you that the news media are in love with the Vicar of Christ. Time and again, commentators, pundits, anchorpersons, and editorialists opined that Pope Francis is the bomb. They approved, of course, of his gentle way with those suffering from disabilities and his proclivity to kiss babies, but their approbation was most often awakened by this Pope’s “merciful” and “inclusive” approach, his willingness to reach out to those on the margins. More often than not, they characterized this tenderness as a welcome contrast to the more rigid and dogmatic style of Benedict XVI. Often, I heard words such as “revolutionary” and “game-changing” in regard to Pope Francis, and one commentator sighed that she couldn’t imagine going back to the Church as it was before the current pontiff.

Well, I love Pope Francis too, and I certainly appreciate the novelty of his approach and his deft manner of breathing life into the Church…But I balk at the suggestion that the new Pope represents a revolution or that he is dramatically turning away from the example of his immediate predecessors. And I strenuously deny that he is nothing but a soft-hearted powder-puff, indifferent to sin.

A good deal of the confusion stems from a misinterpretation of Francis’s stress on mercy…Now this is important, for many receive the message of divine mercy as tantamount to a denial of the reality of sin, as though sin no longer matters. But just the contrary is the case. To speak of mercy is to be intensely aware of sin and its peculiar form of destructiveness. Or to shift to one of the Pope’s favorite metaphors, it is to be acutely conscious that one is wounded so severely that one requires, not minor treatment, but the emergency and radical attention provided in a hospital on the edge of a battlefield.

Pope Francis has often used the terminology of the Church as ‘field hospital’. Barron’s explanation of what that means is very timely.

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Oct 14

Signatures. It needs signatures on the bottom line.

It’s more than words on paper, but let’s start with the words.

Members of Congress introduced a resolution on Thursday to label the atrocities committed by the Islamic State against Christians and other religious minorities “genocide.”

“Christians in Iraq and Syria are hanging on in the face of the Islamic State’s barbarous onslaught. This is genocide,” stated Rep. Jeff Fortenberry, R-Neb., who helped introduce the resolution. Fortenberry is co-chair of the Religious Minorities in the Middle East Caucus.

“The international community must confront the scandalous silence about their plight. Christians, Yezidis and other religious minorities have every right to remain in their ancestral homelands,” he continued.

Six representatives — three Democrats and three Republicans — introduced the bipartisan resolution. On Thursday, advocates with the non-partisan group In Defense of Christians met with more than 250 congressional offices, asking them to support the resolution.

Quoting from the 1948 United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, the document states that the atrocities committed against Christians and the other religious minorities in the Middle East meet the convention’s definition of genocide.

That’s hugely important, say experts I’ve spoken with on this particular topic on radio in the past month. Call it what it is, name it, and especially declare that it is genocide, says Princeton Professor Robert George, Chairman of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom. And Thomas Farr, director of the Religious Freedom Project at the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs at Georgetown University. And Congressman Jeff Fortenberry, Co-Chair of the Religious Minorities in the Middle East Caucus and author of this Resolution.

The resolution also called for governments to stop the atrocities and for U.N. member states to sign on to a “concurrent resolution” and “with an urgent appeal to the Arab states that wish to uphold religious freedom, tolerance and justice.” The parties must also help set up “domestic, regional and international tribunals to punish those responsible for the ongoing crimes.”

Skeptics who think Congress pushes a lot of paper and gets little done should pay attention to this. It carries weight, and can have an impact.

USCIRF Chief Robert George told me this will task Congress with a different mission, once the language of ‘genocide’ is used officially. Renowned international human rights advocate Dr. Thomas Farr told me that passing a resolution in Congress requires action by the U.S. government, “by treaty and by law”. It “creates a gateway” for the United States to provide humanitarian aid, protection and faster refugee processing for victims of the atrocities, calling them what they are, ‘crimes against humanity’, said Cong. Fortenberry, one of the leaders helping In Defense of Christians expand and extend the campaign of awareness and relief in a network of global advocacy and activism.

Along with human rights hero Congressman Frank Wolf, Dr. Farr has long passionately worked for religious freedom and protection of minorities from persecution and now, genocide. Here’s the letter both collaborated on to ask President Obama to call what is happening what it is, genocide.

We write as an informal and diverse group of non-governmental organizations and individuals who are scholars, religious leaders, and human rights advocates to express our grave concern for religious minorities, among them Yezidis, Christians and Shia Muslims, at the hands of the Islamic State. We urge you to formally declare the systematic destruction of these ancient communities a genocide.

Mounting evidence indisputably shows the Islamic State’s ongoing genocidal campaign in the Middle East through its attempts to create a global caliphate devoid of religious freedom and diversity. For more than a year, the news headlines have been replete with stories of almost unimaginable human suffering caused by the Islamic State. Religious minorities in these lands, among them the ancient Christian, Yezidi and Shia Muslim communities, have suffered grave injustices: displacement, forced conversion, kidnapping, rape and death…

A report released in March from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner on Human Rights on the human rights situation in Iraq states, “It is reasonable to conclude that some of these incidents, considering the overall information, may constitute genocide.” Furthermore, the report calls for the Security Council “to remain seized of and address, in the strongest terms, information that points to genocide.” It is imperative that the United States government and the global community universally acknowledge this issue as such.

As opposed to previous such instances in modern history, there has been no attempt by the Islamic State to conceal its actions. On the contrary, the group shamelessly broadcasts decapitations, crucifixions, forced drownings and other horrors with the sole purpose of spreading its message of destruction and recruiting more agents to the ranks of its diabolical insurgency. Under the Islamic State, religious minorities now face an existential crisis and live on the edge of extinction in the lands that many have inhabited since antiquity. These communities will continue on a trajectory of tragic and precipitous decline into eventual non existence without swift moral leadership on behalf of the administration and the international community.

(Emphasis added.)

It is our belief that officially declaring and subsequently halting this genocide and its spread is a matter of vital moral and strategic importance for the United States, the international community, and the overall state of religious freedom around the world. Perhaps equally as important, such a declaration will give a stronger voice to the long suffering victims while furthering and sharpening ideological engagement against those currently at the forefront of this campaign.

We humbly request that your office publicly acknowledge and denounce the Islamic State’s actions as genocide and act with all due haste to ensure that this ongoing, abominable crime is halted, prevented and punished and that the religious freedom and human dignity of all people currently suffering under the Islamic State are allowed to flourish.


The Islamist genocide — and there can be no doubt that it is genocide, despite world silence – of the Christians, Yazidis, Mandeans, and other defenseless ethno-religious minorities of Syria and Iraq continues. The killing of these peoples is deliberate and brutal and is rooted in religious hatred of the “infidel.” It is meted out in sudden violent executions, mass deportations, and the gradual, methodical destruction of their civilizations. Washington is blind to this genocide that occurs alongside, but is separate from, a sectarian Muslim power struggle. It has failed to defend them militarily. Now it is failing to provide humanitarian help in the only manner left: resettling the survivors out of harm’s way, in countries where they will be able to rebuild their families and preserve their unique ancient cultures without fear. Rescue is the very minimum we can do to help these victims of genocide.

Read it and weep.

Nina Shea concludes, for now, with this:

Dakhil says the Yazidis feel abandoned by Washington and the world. Iraqi Christian and Mandean representatives have recently said the same to me. Many of these peoples are desperate to leave the region. They do not want to leave to seek economic opportunities, or even to escape the wartime deprivations, but to save their lives and the lives of their children. They are not being targeted because they are political dissidents or bear arms in conflict. They are targeted solely for religious reasons. This is genocide and we are morally and legally bound to help them. A military resolution to this crisis will be too late for these peoples. Catholic priest Father Douglas Bazi, the director of the renowned Mar Elias refugee encampment for Iraqi Christians in Erbil, tells me: “Help us live. Help us leave.” They need visas. The West can easily provide them, and it must.

While we wait for the US president to respond, the UK Prime Minister got engaged.

David Cameron has given his support to a new report into the persecution of Christians around the world.

In a statement read out at the launch of Aid to the Church in Need’s ‘Persecuted and Forgotten? A report on Christians oppressed for their faith 2013-15? at the House of Lords today, the Prime Minister said that, “Every day in countries across the world, Christians are systematically discriminated against, exploited and even driven from their homes because of their faith.”

“No believer should have to live in fear, and this is why (the British) Government is committed to promoting religious freedom and tolerance at home and around the world,” he added.

“It is also why the work of organisations such as Aid to the Church in Need is so crucial. This report serves as a voice for the voiceless, from their prison cells and the places far from home where they have sought refuge. Now is not the time for silence. We must stand together and fight for a world where no one is persecuted because of what they believe.”

According to the report, Christianity is on course to disappear from Iraq “possibly within five years” unless the international community offer substantial assistance to the persecuted faithful there.

This is a global alert.

The report features a foreword by Archbishop Jean-Clément Jeanbart of Aleppo, Syria, whose city has been destroyed by fighting.

In it he wrote: “My own cathedral has been bombed six times and is now unusable. My home has also been hit more than 10 times. We are facing the rage of an extremist jihad; we may disappear soon. In both Syria and Iraq, Christian communities – along with other vulnerable minorities – are defenceless against assaults by Daesh (ISIS). We are the prime target of the so-called caliphate’s religious cleansing campaign.”

This isn’t another news story to shake our heads at and say ‘that’s too bad, someone ought to do something.’ This is a coalition of international leaders trying to do something.

Recently, the In Defense of Christians (IDC) organization presented Dr. Thomas Farr with a Lifetime Achievement Award for his tireless work in human rights. Two international leading officials of IDC presented Dr. Farr with a crucifix from a church in Mosul, Iraq to be held in safe-keeping until it could be returned upon the restoration of Christianity in the region.

I only learned that after he last spoke with me, recently, on radio. It gave even more gravity to his urgent appeal for citizens in the US to call on their Members of Congress, the men and women people elected to serve there, to support two pieces of urgent legislation in the House of Representatives.

H.R. 1150:

…amending the International Religious Freedom Act to give Ambassador Saperstein the status that other ambassadors at large at the Department of State enjoy, the authority to develop an interagency strategy to protect global religious freedom, and the resources he needs to implement that strategy. It would also mandate training for all foreign service officers, deputy chiefs of mission, and country ambassadors. This training would ensure that our diplomats fully understand and can effectively defend the free expression of religion worldwide, the enduring value of religious freedom and its relationship to national security, and how to advance the cause of religious liberty in our foreign policy. (emphasis added)

And H.R 75 (down the list of ‘Whereas’ specifications):

Whereas, on July 10, 2015, Pope Francis, Supreme Pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church, declared that Middle Eastern Christians are facing genocide, a reality that must be ‘‘denounced’’ and that ‘‘In this third world war, waged piecemeal, which we are now experiencing, a form of genocideand I stress the word genocide—is taking place, and it must end.’’ (emphasis added)

The people are calling on government, purported and in fact elected to be the leaders of the free world, to DO something, for crying out loud.

And if they lack ideas, many suggestions are contained therein.

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Sep 28

The network stood out for its sheer time spent on Papal events, and effusive coverage of the man in white.

Religion editor Daniel Burke’s How the Pope brought our messy multitude together illustrates. And brings the visit together, after all.

He introduced himself as a brother, a son of immigrants, a neighbor from beyond our southern border.

He wanted our politicians to remember the country’s founding principles, he said, and encourage them to protect our families and our earth from an uncertain future.

In a country where Christianity often comes wrapped in an American flag, he said that we are better when we work together, when we don’t set aside our differences but celebrate them — wherever we are from, whatever God we worship.

He wanted to meet us, finally, to look into our eyes and share our struggles.

Pope Francis did that everywhere he went. Unlike politicians, who work crowds with the handshakes, smiles and scanning glances over the landscape, the Pontiff took his time with people, made eye contact, saw the children and lit up, noticed the disabled first, stopped to oblige selfies and let people know he saw them, they were important, and he loved them.

And somehow, stayed on an amazing schedule, after three days in Cuba and two days of crisscrossing DC, from the halls of power to the shelter of the homeless.

From Washington, he flew to New York, where he hit the city’s cultural icons with the speed of a tourist on a tight budget and the stamina of a man 40 years younger.

St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Central Park. The United Nations. Madison Square Garden. Of them all, he seemed to have the most fun at a little school in Harlem.

(An exhausted journalist asked a papal aide about this boundless energy. It comes from outside, the aide admitted, from the people he meets and the God he worships.)

There are many links attached to each visit, many addresses and impromptu stops, large addresses and intimate expressions of love and support. They will continue to come out, for what they – and he – left us.

But this CNN piece pulls together some highlights that give a snapshot not only of a Papal visit that struck awe, but a global news network encounter left awestruck.

The families caring for sick children who needed a spiritual shot in the arm. The priests who wanted to see their humble Holy Father. The immigrants who hear echoes of their voice in his softly accented Spanish.

The Pope’s people.

After a summer of racial injustice and riots, a season of political scapegoating and talk of building walls, he came to build a bridge — to be a bridge.

And he was. For at least these six days, he brought our messy multitude together: singing, dancing, laughing, crying, hoping, praying.

What they may or may not realize, is that when they watched -were riveted on – Pope Francis, what they saw was the global Catholic Church.

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Sep 28

Elite media took to Pope Francis early and often, spinning him into a cultural icon of their making. Then they met him.

So many folks who sit in studios hosting shows named after them that deliver news analysis, or anchoring news shows that feature live reports and panel discussions, or in newsrooms typing out copy as they see fit in these times, take their impressions from other news sources, whether videos or transcripts or reports in other big media.

The week just ended gave them an encounter they weren’t fully prepared for, in spite of all the preparations.

I covered the visit of Pope Francis from a studio on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C., gathering reporting as well from print and television sources to get the fuller picture of how this pope who has been featured on the cover of the Rolling Stone and Time Magazine and in dozens of other interviews and special features was actually being received live, in real time, in person.

It was amazing. I especially noticed how CNN’s coverage showed how awestruck Anderson Cooper and Don Lemon and Donna Brazile and others were over the Pontiff, attracted by his humility and openness and more effusive praise than could be counted in a busy week. They saw him up close, in DC, with the president and lawmakers and the poor and marginalized, with babies and children everywhere, teachers and parents and grandparents.

I have notes of reactions, overheard conversations, stories behind the stories, and hope to share them here this week. But after an astounding week of encounter with the real Francis and thus, the real Catholic Church, the enamored media and adoring public got this stemwinder from the Holy Father to cap the Festival of Families in Philadelphia. Go to about 2:09 into the video when Francis, newly energized by the events of the evening, goes completely off script.

No text copied here could do justice to seeing Francis say it, tell it, gesturing with his hands, cracking jokes as he talked about the headaches children can sometimes cause, trials when families fight and ‘plates fly’, and  ”I won’t speak about mother-in-laws,” he said.

He rocked the house. He shook the country, certainly some, at least some, hard core, usually composed, media

More to come. Much more.

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Sep 21

He’s giving that island nation nearly as many days as his major visit to the US. Indicating how important all the flock are to this shepherd.

Heading off to Washington D.C. to cover the Papal visit to the U.S. from there, I have no time to round up many good links I’ve saved to articles and posts covering Pope Francis in Cuba. In due time.

But the best, in my humble opinion, is easily accessible in a few ways and places, mostly connected to British journalist, commentator and author Austen Ivereigh. Here’s one exception, a good post on Aleteia, of Pope Francis going off script to deliver what had been a prepared address.

Pope Francis had a prepared speech to give at the Celebration of Vespers with priests, religious and seminarians at the Cathedral of Havana Sunday evening. But after hearing introductory remarks by Havana’s Cardinal Jaime Ortega and a religious sister, he decided to put it aside and speak extemporaneously

Cardinal Jaime [Ortega] spoke to us about poverty and Sister Yaileny spoke to us about the smallest, about the smallest. They are all children. I had a homily prepared to give now, based on the biblical texts, but when the prophets speak — and every priest is a prophet, all the baptized are prophets, every consecrated person is a prophet — we are going to pay attention to them. So I’m going to give the homily to Cardinal Jaime so that he sends it to you and publishes it and afterward you can meditate on it. And now let us talk a bit about what these two prophets said.

It occurred to Cardinal Jaime to speak a very uncomfortable word, extremely uncomfortable, that even goes against the cultural structure, so to speak, of the world. He said poverty. And he repeated it various times. I think that the Lord wanted us to hear it various times and to receive it in our hearts. The spirit of the world doesn’t know this word, doesn’t like it, hides it — not out of purity, but out of disdain.

Read his remarks. This is who Francis is. This is where the world will find him, encounter him, learn from him if people are open to what he says.

First, it helps to know who he is, and for that, Austen Ivereigh has given us the best (or certainly one of the very best) biographies, chronicles and profiles of this extraordinary successor of Peter. His book The Great Reformer: Francis and the Making of a Radical Pope is an extensive, deeply informed account of the framework around this unlikely pope and his ambitious program of reform, and “how this radical pope came to be”, as the jacket cover correctly claims. It is compelling.

So is talking with Austen Ivereigh, which I did on radio last week from Havana, in anticipation of the Pope’s visit to Cuba, and again Monday, on the third day of events for Francis there, each with its own interesting facets. Monday’s conversation (9/21) with Austen was full, rich, engaging and compelling, as he covered the visit from beginning to the latest, fascinating encounter in Cuba Monday morning.

Here’s one of his articles to go with the conversations, better to add context to this pope and his journeys to address, says Austen Ivereigh, the soul of both nations, Cuba and America.

They aren’t that different. The countries and settings? Yes. The message Francis brings to both journeys? No.

Stay tuned.


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Sep 17

There’s no going back to ‘plausible deniability’ for the abortion giant, or its defenders.

People in media and government can’t not know what’s been going on.

Last week, the House Judiciary committee held the first of a series of hearings investigating the abortion industry giant. Two women who survived attempted abortions, Gianna Jessen and Melissa Ohden, testified. So did a longtime lead attorney steeped in experience in government hearings and court arguments involving fetal tissue research for nearly three decades. In fact, all three of them brought nearly three decades of lived experience to this panel.

Here’s the video, all of it, on C-SPAN.

Here are some takeaways.

Amazingly, after 18 hours of being burned in her mother’s womb, Gianna was delivered alive in an abortion clinic in Los Angeles on April 6, 1977. She told the committee

Thankfully, the abortionist was not at work yet. Had he been there, he would have ended my life with strangulation, suffocation, or leaving me there to die. Instead, a nurse called an ambulance, and I was rushed to a hospital. Doctors did not expect me to live. I did. I was later diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy, which was caused by a lack of oxygen to my brain while surviving the abortion. I was never supposed to hold up my head up or walk. I do. And Cerebral Palsy, ladies and gentlemen, is a tremendous gift to me.

A moment later, in another testimony to her faith, Gianna said

Hear me clearly, I forgive my biological mother.

And then

General Counsel James Bopp, Jr., who came next, perfectly complemented Gianna’s testimony…

Mr. Bopp, who has testified before many congressional committees and argued multiple cases before the United States Supreme Court, was, as always, keenly on mark. One of his opening remarks captures the thrust of his testimony

One of the great tragedies of human nature is that, what history later judges to be gravely immoral, seems perfectly moral to those engaged in the action at the time. Human sacrifice, slavery, genocide, gladiatorial moral combat, and capital punishment for minor offenses are all examples of activities once thought to be moral, but are now considered gravely immoral. That is the position we are in today. Current practices employed by Planned Parenthood and various tissue procurement companies, not only violate federal law when applicable, but also many ethical and moral principles. Furthermore, continuing to allow procurement and sale of human fetal tissue makes one complicit in the act of aborting a child.

Then Judiciary Committee Chair Rep. Bob Goodlatte cited a quote from a dissent written by Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy who, himself, cited graphic quotes from the testimony of partial-birth abortionist LeRoy Carhart:

Dr. Carhart agreed that “[w]hen you pull out a piece of the fetus, let’s say, an arm or a leg and remove that, at the time just prior to removal of the portion of the fetus, … the fetus [is] alive.” Dr. Carhart has observed fetal heartbeat via ultrasound with “extensive parts of the fetus removed,” and testified that mere dismemberment of a limb does not always cause death because he knows of a physician who removed the arm of a fetus only to have the fetus go on to be born “as a living child with one arm.” At the conclusion of a D&E abortion no intact fetus remains. In Dr. Carhart’s words, the abortionist is left with “a tray full of pieces.”

And then

the committee heard from Melissa Ohden, who also miraculously survived a saline abortion in 1977. Melissa is well known to those grassroots pro-lifers who attend the annual NRLC convention where she frequently presents both to adults and teenagers. Her conclusion yesterday was spell-binding:

As you consider the horrors of what happens at Planned Parenthood each day, I would urge you to remember my story, and Gianna’s, too. We may not have survived abortions at Planned Parenthood, but the expectation for our lives to be ended by abortion are the very same as those who do lose their lives there. And I have long believed that if my birthmother’s abortion would have taken place at a Planned Parenthood, I would not be here today. Completing over 300,000 abortions a year provides them with the experience to make sure that “failures” like me don’t happen. As a fellow American, as a fellow human being, I deserved the same right to life, the same equal protection under the law as each and every one of you. Yet we live in a time where not only do such protections not exist, but my own tax dollars and yours go to fund an organization that has perfected the very thing that was meant to end my life.

This must end.

Within days of that congressional hearing, the tenth video came out, revealing even more of the inside business of Planned Parenthood involvement in the marketing of baby body parts, and manipulations done in the abortion clinic to obtain “fresh” human body parts.

And then came the GOP presidential debate on Wednesday night. As in the first debate, this galvanizing issue featured prominently in the CNN debate with several candidates speaking out about the need to defund Planned Parenthood, and defend innocent human life. None as passionate and direct as Carly Fiorina, who issued a fiery challenge: watch the video.

I dare Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama to watch these tapes. Watch a fully formed fetus on the table, its heart beating, its legs kicking while someone says we have to keep it alive to harvest its brain.”

A breathtaking moment.

Columnist Mollie Hemingway herself challenges media, politicians, readers.

There have been 10 videos exposing Planned Parenthood since July. The media have struggled to cover most of the them, even though they are full of scandalous information about human organ harvesting. In addition to the 10 videos, lengthier footage of the hours-long meetings from which they were gleaned is also available. Everyone who cares about humanity should watch these videos…

If that gets too difficult to look at, go back and look at Gianna Jessen and Melissa Ohden, listen to their pleas, and do it for the millions of others who didn’t have a voice at the table, other than theirs.

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Sep 01

First the kill the small human life, then they market his or her body parts, counting profits, but missing the true cost.

In the case of other horrifying stories, like just over a year ago when ISIS burst onto the global radar of awareness with beheadings graphically carried out on video that got posted online, the crimes against humanity continued at such a pace that they a) didn’t all make the news, nor even a small percentage of the mass scale of atrocities carried out weekly, daily, against innocent human lives, and b) got no less inhumane and barbaric, but did get more familiar and therefore part of the landscape of modern crises we must steel ourselves against when they come cascading out in the news. Remember Boko Haram? Remember the Rwandan genocide? Remember the atrocities in Kosovo?

Here’s what President Bill Clinton said about the latter:

“We see these pictures of the refugees on television every night and most people would like another story, but we must not get refugee fatigue.”

That’s the usual human response. Crisis fatigue. Outrage fatigue. Inability to feel the shock and horror anymore.

Not so with the video revelations coming out of the abortion industry, filmed at Planned Parenthood clinics or at other locations with their officials talking about the business of selling the dismembered body parts of aborted babies. The outrage is building.

Enough is enough.

Here’s the ninth video, just released, focusing on “Advanced Bioscience Resources, Inc. (ABR), the small and secretive company that has harvested and sold fetal body parts at Planned Parenthood clinics longer than any other entity…”

The video features undercover conversations with Dr. Katharine Sheehan, the long-time medical director of Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest until 2013; Perrin Larton, the Procurement Manager for ABR; and Cate Dyer, the CEO of rival fetal tissue procurement company StemExpress.

At one point, Larton said

“I literally have had women come in and they’ll go in the [operating room] and they’re back out in three minutes, and I’m going, ‘What’s going on?’” Perrin said. “Oh yeah, the fetus was already in the vaginal canal whenever we put her in the stirrups. It just fell out.”

This is so sick, so devoid of any sense of human life in the abortion business. The industry already profits hugely from doing abortions, taking the human life from the womb of his or her mother by any number of gruesome and barbaric procedures. These videos reveal how much more that industry profits, Planned Parenthood in collaboration with multiple businesses for the buying and selling of baby body parts, and each video is worse than the last.

The video also reveals that organ brokers vying with one another for access to Planned Parenthood’s “volume” of aborted babies’ body parts sometimes boast that, by paying taxes, they fund the abortion giant.

That’s right, this is still a taxpayer funded organization, as mind-boggling as that is. Until these videos came out, attention was focused on abortion as a ’cause’, whether “pro-choice” (a true misnomer), or “pro-life”. Organizations like Project Rachel and others directed people, energy, resources, to helping post-abortive women. Who thought about post-abortive babies?

Planned Parenthood and ‘bioscience’, ’tissue procurement’ companies. And all the while, Larton said in this latest video

federal policy had focused on banning taxpayer funding of embryonic stem cell research, but medical experimentation on aborted cadavers “got lost in the mix,”…

So they were easily able to get away with it, with no real push back from an unaware public.

No more. One of the most vocal and active pro-life leaders, National Director of Priests for Life and  Abolishing Abortion author Fr. Frank Pavone, said this:

“The bottom line is simple. To deny the fact that Planned Parenthood sells body parts, alters the abortion procedure to do so, and is involved in this illegal activity at the highest corporate level, is now tantamount to asserting that the Earth is flat…

“As Congress convenes again next week, Priests for Life, and numerous other national and local pro-life organizations, will press our elected officials to do their job and investigate Planned Parenthood and hold the organization accountable for its actions.”

This is indefensible. Planned Parenthood has no cover anymore. They may have complicit partners in media and politics trying to silence growing opposition to their callous and unethical treatment of women and barbaric handling of aborted human bodies, but they cannot erase what we have now seen nor silence what we have now heard.

Everyone in or running for public office will be held accountable for what they do to protect and defend human life and dignity, at the most vulnerable stages, no matter what.

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Aug 26

Like an earthquake, they keep coming, and keep fraying nerves and alerting people to pay attention.

They’re paying attention. Nationwide rallies were held last weekend to rattle the consciences of Planned Parenthood workers, and everyone else complicit in dealing in killing babies and dealing in selling their body parts. A California Planned Parenthood security guard quit over the realization of “the atrocities” happening in the clinics. While most of the media ignored the story or barely mentioned it, the video revelations have had major consequences. They can always and quickly be found here.

The Washington Post reported on the rallies at more than half of the country’s Planned Parenthood clinics, though written in different language.

Thousands of antiabortion [pro-life] activists descended upon Planned Parenthood clinics on Saturday to participate in a nationwide protest aimed at cutting off federal funding for the controversial health-care organization.

Why should the abortion giant receive taxpayer dollars when they make a huge profit from abortion and now we know they continue to profit from selling baby body parts? If that’s not controversial, nothing is.

The demonstrations unfolded at about 320 clinics around the nation, according to organizers, with some gatherings drawing a few dozen protesters and others drawing hundreds and perhaps thousands more.

They’re calling for investigations. (Warning: Raw reading here.)

On Monday, August 24, Live Action and Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) sent a letter to California’s top government officials. The letter described the likely illegal actions of Planned Parenthood and StemExpress, as recorded in the Center for Medical Progress’ seventh video.

The video recorded the testimony of Holly O’Donnell, a StemExpress whistleblower who detailed her experience working for StemExpress in the San Jose Planned Parenthood clinic. O’Donnell was instructed by her supervisor to use scissors to cut open the face of a baby boy to harvest its brain. After an attempted abortion, this baby boy was born alive, as evidenced by his beating heart. Nevertheless, the boy was not provided with the medical care required under law. Instead, he was killed, after being born alive.

(More on that latest video here.) States are being petitioned to investigate. When Congress reconvenes, they will too.

Live Action and ADF assert that Planned Parenthood needs to be immediately defunded, as its barbaric, unethical conduct does not deserve one more cent of taxpayer money – especially since approximately 13,000 health centers stand ready to serve the real healthcare needs of women around the nation.

ADF Senior Counsel Mike Norton pointed out:

No organization that traffics in the hearts, lungs, heads, and livers of unborn babies is entitled to taxpayer dollars. The only thing it’s entitled to is a federal and state investigation. Taxpayer money should fund local community health centers, not a scandal-plagued billion-dollar corporation. Thousands of community health centers can be trusted with our hard-earned money, while Planned Parenthood has proven for decades that it can’t be trusted.

At National Review Online, Kathryn Jean Lopez and other writers and contributors have been covering that part of the story extraordinarily well, saying the weekend rallies were protesting inhumanity.

This is an opportunity. We all find this disturbing, right? Even Hillary Clinton said so. So lets do better. Four decades into Roe, this is where we are. Let’s end this. No late-term abortions. No supply and demand for aborted body parts. No sending our loved ones to clinics that kill. Encourage, support, demand something better.

And she follows that with examples of “something better“.

“Women need to know they have a choice.” They don’t have to go to an abortion clinic to verify their pregnancy, she says, and she adds, “We’re free. And we give women what they want and what they need.” Fundamentally, if a woman Googles “pregnancy testing” and comes up with Avail, she has found a place that will give her “time” and “space” to think through her decision. If she is asked some strategic questions, Bishai explains, her “values” are likely to rise to the surface. Avail works to be “the safest place for making decisions,” as its staff provide a listening ear and “holistic” support. Avail wants a woman to be able to carry her baby to term if that is her decision. Women’s empowerment is very much in the air here.

And here.

The legislation that would defund Planned Parenthood instantly makes that money available “to other eligible entities to provide such women’s health care services” — entities like community health centers, or CHCs.

As a former medical director and family physician at two different community health centers in the Washington, D.C., area, I understand women’s health-care needs, especially those of the poor and underserved. I have witnessed firsthand how CHC medical professionals and staff provide comprehensive health care for women, as well as for men and children of all ages, including those yet to be born…

For all these needs and more, CHCs are there. Today, they serve the primary health-care needs of 23 million patients in over 9,000 locations across America. That’s about nine times more than the 2.7 million women and men Planned Parenthood serves at its 700 health centers. And CHCs provide all kinds of health care, including everything that Planned Parenthood does and then some — except abortions. For example, as a family physician, I cared for women whether they were seeking prenatal care or wanted to postpone pregnancy. I provided the full range of preventive health services and helped patients manage chronic diseases, such as diabetes and high blood pressure. I also cared for children from their very first newborn visit to their school physicals and visits for acute and chronic illnesses. My colleagues and I cared for adults of all ages, addressing their physical and mental-health needs.

This is where the funding needs to be, and the publicity. Read the whole piece, it’s written by a doctor in the trenches.

I’m proud to be a family physician and to have had the privilege of working at CHCs providing truly life-saving care for women and men of all ages. With more funding, CHCs could do even more to expand access to comprehensive health care. Rather than give federal dollars to Planned Parenthood — an organization tainted not only by abortion but now also by its unethical and possibly illegal trade in human body parts — let’s give the money to CHCs, which can truly care for the full range of women’s health-care needs.

This is what people really want, and they need to know where to find it and where to avoid dangerous traps. It’s becoming clearer. Before Congress is even back in session, there will be much more information pouring out. People are engaged. It’s about time.

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