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Signs of hope from the United States

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 Contents - Oct 2011AD2000 October 2011 - Buy a copy now
Angelus Message: Our Lady of the Rosary (October 7) - Pope Benedict XVI
Episcopacy: Cardinal Pell: the responsibilities of Church leadership - Cardinal George Pell
World Youth Day 2011, Madrid: Australia's participation - Br Barry Coldrey
News: The Church Around the World
Pastoral care: One of the Catholic Church's best kept secrets - Marie Mason
Pro-life: Signs of hope from the United States - Babette Francis
Planetary spirituality: what next! - Frank Mobbs
History: Lepanto, history's most decisive naval battle - Bob Denahy
Catholic Schools: Saint Mary MacKillop Colleges, Wagga Wagga: progress report - Sr Mary Augustine OP
Letters: Anglican Ordinariate - Bishop Harry Entwhistle
Letters: World Youth Day - Arnold Jago
Letters: Bishop Morris - Michael Smith
Letters: One-sided - Charles M. Shann
Letters: Old or young earth? - Fr Brian Harrison OS
Letters: Cart before horse - John Young
Letters: Genesis debate - Anne Lastman
Letters: Pre-Vatican II - Kevin McManus
Letters: Same sex 'marriage' - Richard Congram
Letters: Invalid concept - Robert Prinzen-Wood
Letters: Sermons - Rev. Fr. J. Conway
Books: BENEDICT XVI: A Guide for the Perplexed, by Tracey Rowland - Michael Daniel (reviewer)
Books: ROME AND THE EASTERN CHURCHES: A Study in Schism (2nd ed), Aidan Nichols OP - Michael Daniel (reviewer)
Books: MEDJUGORJE REVISITED: 30 Years of Visions or Religious Fraud? - Michael Gilchrist (reviewer)
Donations: 2011 Fighting Fund contributions
Books: Order books from
Reflection: Benedict XVI's Final Mass homily for World Youth Day - Pope Benedict XVI

As a pro-life battler for more years than I care to mention, I often look longingly "across the (Pacific) pond" to my colleagues in the US who are achieving many more legislative successes than we are managing in improving protection for unborn babies. Much of US achievement in this area is attributable to the fact that they have a higher rate of church attendance than we have in Australia.

(Memo to Catholic bishops and Protestant pastors: work on improving regular Sunday church attendance. I know this is easier said than done, but work on it anyway.)

Although the pro-life movement in the US is constrained by their 1973 Supreme Court decision in Roe v Wade which legalised abortion right up to birth, pro-lifers have worked not only to reverse the Supreme Court decision but also to incrementally whittle away the open season on the unborn which Roe v Wade allowed.

Arizona has passed a law - upheld in August by the Arizona Court of Appeals - that requires parental consent for minors having abortions, a "cooling off period" of 24 hours with provision of full and accurate information by a doctor, and that medical professionals cannot be forced to perform abortions if it contradicts their religious or moral beliefs.

A Nebraska law passed last year bars late-term abortions because of the risk of fetal pain while five other states have passed measures outlawing nearly all abortions after five months of pregnancy. And partial birth abortions are banned in the US following a Supreme Court decision which found they were medically unnecessary.

Landmark legislation

In July 2011 landmark pro-life legislation passed in Louisiana and signed by Governor Bobby Jindal at First Baptist Church in West Monroe county could be a model for drafting legislation in Australian states. Governor Jindal, of Indian origin, is a convert from Hinduism to Catholicism. The "Signs of Hope" Act, along with its accompanying pro-life website and mobile application, takes the proactive step of requiring outpatient abortion facilities to post 40cm x 50cm signs in their waiting areas and patient rooms.

The bill requires a website with information to be available in a mobile phone format to give women information about health risks, fetal development, free ultrasound, medical services and adoption information.

The bill was dubbed "Signs of Hope Bill" because of testimony to the Louisiana House and Senate by Cindy Collins, director of the World Generation Outreach Pregnancy Help Center in Louisiana, who also helps orphans in India. Cindy writes: "As I was driving to the legislature and praying for what the Lord would have me say, I felt Him say 'these are not just signs - they are Signs of Hope'! So, that's what I said ... From that testimony they named the legislation. Let's bring this to every woman ... every nation."

The signs inform women considering abortion that they cannot be coerced, that the father must provide support for the child even if he has offered to pay for an abortion, that the law allows adoptive parents to pay the costs of prenatal care, childbirth and newborn care, and that there are many agencies willing to help bring the child to term and assist after the birth.

In Australia, DLP Senator, John Madigan, in his maiden speech said: "I am a Senator representing the State of Victoria, the State that in 2008 passed the worst abortion laws in the Western world. They would be the worst in the entire world but we can be proud of the fact that in this matter Victoria is not quite as bad as the current occupiers of Tiananmen Square. These laws have been described as the most inhumane laws ever passed in this country. Some members on both sides of the House opposed them. Unfortunately not enough.

"In the last few weeks I have had thousands of emails on the live export trade. I was sickened by the sight of animals treated so inhumanely but what I will never understand is how people can so easily turn away from the even greater suffering we cause to our own children. Life at every stage is precious. No joy comes from a violent loss of life. I urge those Senators who are unfamiliar with the scope of the Victorian laws to examine them in the hope they are never repeated in other states and may one day be repealed ...".

March for the Babies

The Hon Bernie Finn, MLC (Western Metropolitan Region, Victoria) another courageous pro-life politician, each year around the anniversary of the passing of Victoria's infamous Abortion Law Reform Act 2008, organises a March for the Babies, around the city, concluding with commemorative speeches on the steps of Parliament House. This year the March is on 8 October and I pray it is well attended to encourage Victorian parliamentarians to amend our awful Abortion Law. Cindy Collins will be a speaker at the March. For information see www.marchfor

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Reprinted from AD2000 Vol 24 No 9 (October 2011), p. 9

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