Sunday, May 31, 2009

Cut Plannned Parenthood Funding in California!



Dear friend,

Planned Parenthood in California has had a bad year and it is only getting worse.

First, it was exposed misusing taxpayer dollars.

Then it was shown to protect child rapists.

Now, with your help, the nation’s largest abortion provider may lose up to 90 percent of its “family planning” funding in California.

In the face of a $24 billion shortfall, the state is considering pulling the Family PACT program, the innocently named government funding that fuels Planned Parenthood’s lucrative contraceptive programs.

Even Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, no friend to the pro-life movement, recognizes that Planned Parenthood’s huge profits last year – derived in part from a 21 percent increase in abortions – makes it undeserving of taxpayer handouts.

The state of California is desperate for money – it has even floated an idea to legalize and tax marijuana – and yet Planned Parenthood – tax-evading, molester-protecting, abortion-gorged Planned Parenthood – is receiving millions in tax dollars.

In 2006 alone, Planned Parenthood received an estimated $30 million from California’s state funding.

Seventy-four percent of Planned Parenthood clinics in California are medical and surgical abortion facilities. If state funding was taken from Planned Parenthood in this state, imagine how many lives could be saved.

We need YOU to call Gov. Schwarzenegger now! And tell him that Planned Parenthood does not deserve to pad their already gorged coffers with taxpayer dollars.

You can e-mail Gov. Schwarzenegger at

You can reach him by phone at (916) 445-2841.

Thank you for your swift action! Together we can defund Planned Parenthood both in California and nationwide.

In the Lord who IS Life,

Judie Brown
American Life League

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Saturday, May 16, 2009

The Pope's Non-Response to Notre Dame Controversy

Saturday, May. 16, 2009
The Pope's Stand in Obama's Notre Dame Controversy
(Why is the Pope Sidestepping Notre Dame?)
By Amy Sullivan

At the rate things are going, Pope Benedict XVI may find his next trip to the U.S. dogged by airplanes overhead trailing banners with images of aborted fetuses. O.K., that's a bit of hyperbole. But while several prominent conservative Catholics in this country are apoplectic over the University of Notre Dame's invitation of the pro-choice Barack Obama to give the school's commencement address on May 17, the Vatican has stayed completely silent on the matter.

The two very different reactions to the question of whether a Catholic institution should honor anyone who disagrees with the Church's teaching on abortion are just the latest examples of the strikingly divergent responses American Catholic leaders and the Vatican have had to the Obama Administration.

Three-quarters of Catholics either approve of or offer no opinion on Notre Dame's decision to invite Obama, and the same percentage of U.S. bishops have opted to stay out of the fight. However, for a small but vocal group of conservative Catholics, the episode has become an opportunity to draw lines between those who are genuinely Catholic and those whom they accuse of being Catholic in name only — even the head of the country's premier Catholic university.

"It is clear that Notre Dame didn't understand what it means to be Catholic when they issued this invitation," said Cardinal Francis George, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). The conservative Cardinal Newman Society organized a petition calling for Notre Dame president Father John Jenkins to disinvite the President. Professional protesters such as Alan Keyes and Randall Terry have descended on the South Bend campus, pushing blood-covered baby dolls in Spongebob strollers and getting themselves arrested. And Cardinal James Francis Stafford, one of the highest-ranking Americans at the Vatican, has declared Obama an unfit honoree because his statements on abortion reflect "an agenda and vision that are aggressive, disruptive and apocalyptic."

This isn't the first time Obama has received decidedly mixed reviews from Catholics. A few months ago, he issued an Executive Order lifting restrictions on federal funding for stem-cell research. The move was immediately denounced by the USCCB as "morally wrong," and even moderate Catholics complained about the way the decision was handled. But the Vatican had a different reaction. L'Osservatore Romano, the official newspaper published under the authority of the Vatican's Secretariat of State, ran an article in late April essentially urging the bishops to chill out.

Under the headline "The 100 Days that Did Not Shake the World," the paper gave Obama a tentative thumbs-up for his policy changes concerning the economy and international relations. "On ethical questions, too — which from the time of the electoral campaign have been the subject of strong worries by the Catholic bishops — Obama does not seem to have confirmed the radical innovations that he had discussed," said the article, which noted that Obama's stem-cell guidelines were "less permissive" than expected.

So is this a schism? Have Cardinal George and the other conservative U.S. bishops gone rogue? Or is the Pope letting them play bad cop while he makes nice with the popular new American President?

The Vatican has a tradition of remaining largely above the fray while allowing — sometimes even encouraging — local bishops to be more aggressive in challenging political leaders. In Italy, for instance, both Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI have given communion to pro-choice politicians while letting Italian church leaders take the role of lecturing those Catholics on their dissent from church teaching. And this is particularly true of the Vatican's relationships with foreign leaders, whom the Pope views as fellow heads of state. Some observers have interpreted Cardinal George's Oval Office meeting with Obama on St. Patrick's Day to talk about abortion as an emissary visit, speculating that the cardinal was sent by Benedict.

But if the Vatican merely wanted to avoid public unpleasantness in its dealing with the U.S. President, it could do that by essentially ignoring the new Administration. Instead, it has displayed a surprising optimism, bordering on enthusiasm, for Obama's presidency. Breaking with protocol that usually prevents the Pope from addressing heads of state before they take office, Benedict sent a congratulatory telegram to Obama the day after the November election. The Pope noted the "historic" nature of the victory and said he would pray that God would "sustain you and the beloved American people in your efforts to build a world of peace, solidarity and justice." The two spoke directly less than a week later, and the Pope sent yet another telegram on Jan. 20 when Obama was inaugurated.

When reporters at Catholic News Service, the official news agency of the USCCB, talked to Vatican officials just prior to the Inauguration, they found the Holy See mostly focused on economic issues and Middle East politics. "Asked about pro-life issues, on which Obama and the Catholic Church have clear differences, Vatican officials took a wait-and-see attitude," the news agency reported.

The starkly different responses of some U.S. bishops and the Vatican could just be a matter of pure politics. As Obama's European tour last month showed, the Pope would hardly be the only head of state eager to start off on the right footing with the new Administration. In addition, Obama is broadly popular among American Catholics, 67% of whom gave him a positive approval rating in a recent Pew poll. At a time when the U.S. Catholic Church is losing members — a separate Pew study found that for every American who joins the Catholic Church, four others leave — Benedict may not be willing to test the costs of opposing Obama.

Of course, the Notre Dame kerfuffle has political roots as well. The protesters aren't accusing the university of violating church teaching but rather of violating a 2004 policy that the USCCB approved in the midst of vigorous debate over John Kerry's presidential candidacy. The statement, titled "Catholics in Political Life," was speedily drafted in response to questions about whether Kerry should be denied communion because of his pro-choice positions. Catholic institutions, it read, "should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles." When the bishops approved the statement, it wasn't clear whether it would carry much weight after the election, much less whether it applied to the case of a non-Catholic like Obama.

Among those most eager to drive a wedge between the President and rank-and-file Catholics are Catholic Republicans, who worry about losing more voters to the Democratic Party. Newt Gingrich wasn't yet a Catholic when the 2004 statement was debated and approved. But the new convert was the first to speak out against Notre Dame's commencement speaker. On March 24, the Republican former House Speaker weighed in on his Twitter account, which appears to have limits on capital letters: "It is sad to see notre dame invite president obama to give the commencement address since his policies are so anti catholic values." There's nothing like the zeal of a convert, but Gingrich may find it's awkward to try to be more Catholic than the Pope.

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Friday, May 15, 2009

Pro-Life America? Right Reaction

More Americans “Pro-Life” Than “Pro-Choice” for First TimeAlso, fewer think abortion should be legal “under any circumstances”by Lydia Saad
PRINCETON, NJ -- A new Gallup Poll, conducted May 7-10, finds 51% of Americans calling themselves "pro-life" on the issue of abortion and 42% "pro-choice." This is the first time a majority of U.S. adults have identified themselves as pro-life since Gallup began asking this question in 1995.

The new results, obtained from Gallup's annual Values and Beliefs survey, represent a significant shift from a year ago, when 50% were pro-choice and 44% pro-life. Prior to now, the highest percentage identifying as pro-life was 46%, in both August 2001 and May 2002.

The May 2009 survey documents comparable changes in public views about the legality of abortion. In answer to a question providing three options for the extent to which abortion should be legal, about as many Americans now say the procedure should be illegal in all circumstances (23%) as say it should be legal under any circumstances (22%). This contrasts with the last four years, when Gallup found a strong tilt of public attitudes in favor of unrestricted abortion.

Gallup also found public preferences for the extreme views on abortion about even -- as they are today -- in 2005 and 2002, as well as during much of the first decade of polling on this question from 1975 to 1985. Still, the dominant position on this question remains the middle option, as it has continuously since 1975: 53% currently say abortion should be legal only under certain circumstances.

When the views of this middle group are probed further -- asking these respondents whether they believe abortion should be legal in most or only a few circumstances -- Gallup finds the following breakdown in opinion.

Americans' recent shift toward the pro-life position is confirmed in two other surveys. The same three abortion questions asked on the Gallup Values and Beliefs survey were included in Gallup Poll Daily tracking from May 12-13, with nearly identical results, including a 50% to 43% pro-life versus pro-choice split on the self-identification question.

Additionally, a recent national survey by the Pew Research Center recorded an eight percentage-point decline since last August in those saying abortion should be legal in all or most cases, from 54% to 46%. The percentage saying abortion should be legal in only a few or no cases increased from 41% to 44% over the same period. As a result, support for the two broad positions is now about even, sharply different from most polling on this question since 1995, when the majority has typically favored legality.

Republicans Move to the Right

The source of the shift in abortion views is clear in the Gallup Values and Beliefs survey. The percentage of Republicans (including independents who lean Republican) calling themselves "pro-life" rose by 10 points over the past year, from 60% to 70%, while there has been essentially no change in the views of Democrats and Democratic leaners.

Similarly, by ideology, all of the increase in pro-life sentiment is seen among self-identified conservatives and moderates; the abortion views of political liberals have not changed.

"Pro-Life" Up Among Catholics and Protestants

One of the more prominent news stories touching on the abortion issue in recent months involves President Barack Obama's commencement speech and the bestowal of an honorary doctorate degree on him at the University of Notre Dame -- a Roman Catholic institution -- on Sunday. The invitation has drawn criticism from conservative Catholics and the church hierarchy because of Obama's policies in favor of legalizing and funding abortion, and the controversy might have been expected to strengthen the pro-life leanings of rank-and-file Catholics.

Nevertheless, the swelling of the pro-life position since last year is seen across Christian religious affiliations, including an eight-point gain among Protestants and a seven-point gain among Catholics.

Gender Agreement

A year ago, Gallup found more women calling themselves pro-choice than pro-life, by 50% to 43%, while men were more closely divided: 49% pro-choice, 46% pro-life. Now, because of heightened pro-life sentiment among both groups, women as well as men are more likely to be pro-life.

Men and women have been evenly divided on the issue in previous years; however, this is the first time in nine years of Gallup Values surveys that significantly more men and women are pro-life than pro-choice.

Bottom Line

With the first pro-choice president in eight years already making changes to the nation's policies on funding abortion overseas, expressing his support for the Freedom of Choice Act, and moving toward rescinding federal job protections for medical workers who refuse to participate in abortion procedures, Americans -- and, in particular, Republicans -- seem to be taking a step back from the pro-choice position. However, the retreat is evident among political moderates as well as conservatives.

It is possible that, through his abortion policies, Obama has pushed the public's understanding of what it means to be "pro-choice" slightly to the left, politically. While Democrats may support that, as they generally support everything Obama is doing as president, it may be driving others in the opposite direction.

Survey Methods

Results are based on telephone interviews with 1,015 national adults, aged 18 and older, conducted May 7-10, 2009.

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