Wednesday, January 19, 2011
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
The figures were up slightly from the previous 2005 survey, ending a steady decline since 1990, when U.S. abortions peaked at 1.6 million and the abortion rate was 27.4.Every procured abortion is the taking of an innocent human life.
One possible factor for the increase was the U.S. recession in 2008, altering the financial prospects for many families.
"Abortion numbers go down when the economy is good and go up when the economy is bad, so the stalling may be a function of a weaker economy," University of Alabama political science professor Michael New says.
"If the economy does better, you'll see numbers trending down again," he added.
The Guttmacher Institute's surveys are considered by some to be the most comprehensive available. Federal agencies often rely on incomplete data from state governments.
Sharon Camp, the institute's president, used this sad news to promote another of the Institute's radical agenda items, government funded access to contraception. She said the stalled numbers should serve as an "urgent message" to policymakers that access to such contraceptive services, many of which are themselves abortifacent, should be increased to prevent 'unwanted' pregnancy.
Pro-Life activists insist that abortion rates can best be lowered through abstinence-only sex education and the elimination of legalized abortion which is the taking of innocent human life.
Many states have expanded abortion restrictions in recent years, and others will be considering such steps in the aftermath of Pro-Life gains in legislatures in the November 2 elections.
Lawmakers in several states would like to emulate Nebraska in outlawing abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy because unborn children can feel pain after that point.
The new Guttmacher report documented sharp variations by state - with abortion rates over 30 percent in Delaware, New York and New Jersey and at or below 6 percent in Wyoming, Mississippi, Kentucky, South Dakota and Idaho.
The report also documented a significant increase in early 'medication abortion', entailing use of the so-called abortion pill.
A ruling by a provincial court in Canada could have wider implications across the country for same-sex marriages.
An appeals court says public marriage commissioners cannot refuse to marry same-sex couples on religious grounds.
Advocates for gays and lesbians say this case sets an important precedent that will help to deter discrimination against same-sex couples who want to marry.
The Supreme Court of Canada affirmed the validity of same-sex marriages in 2004.
But some marriage commissioners in the western province of Saskatchewan refused to conduct those marriages, saying it was a violation of their personal religious beliefs and they then launched a legal challenge.
The province's Court of Appeal has ruled that those marriage commissioners cannot refuse because they are appointed by the government to perform non-religious ceremonies and on the suggestion that couples find another commissioner the court said that was contrary to the fundamental principles of equality in a democratic society.
A decision to ban student gay-straight alliances earned strong criticism for the Halton Catholic District School Board days after the board’s chair defended the ban by listing Nazi groups as another example of clubs not allowed in the district’s schools.
The chair, veteran trustee Alice Anne LeMay, apologized for her statements but also said her words were taken out of context. She and her fellow trustees will reconsider the ban at a board policy committee meeting on Tuesday evening.
Trustees voted in November not to permit gay-straight alliances shortly after Ontario’s Ministry of Education introduced a new inclusion and equity policy that required school boards to create such clubs if requested by a student. Ms. LeMay defended the decision last week when speaking with Xtra!, a gay and lesbian newspaper.
“We don’t have Nazi groups either,” Ms. LeMay was quoted as saying. “Gay-straight alliances are banned because they are not within the teachings of the Catholic Church.”
Reached on Monday evening, Ms. LeMay said she didn’t know yet whether she would vote to support the ban or to repeal it at Tuesday’s meeting. Several new members who were elected to the board in October didn’t participate in the November vote, including an openly gay trustee, 22-year-old Paul Marai.
Mr. Marai called the ban a divisive “waste of time” that distracted the board from the more important issue of education. He also expressed his support for Ms. LeMay.
“I do know her to be quite a tolerant and accepting individual,” he said.
Opponents of the ban formed a Facebook group, Fight the Halton Catholic School Board's Ban on Gay Straight Alliances, and an online petition has collected more than 1,000 signatures. The controversy even caught the attention of celebrity blogger Perez Hilton, who posted a link to the Xtra! article and called Halton Catholic’s decision “not cool.”
This is the second time in less than a year that Catholic beliefs have clashed with education policies developed by Ontario’s Ministry of Education. Last spring, a new sex-education curriculum that introduced the notion of same-sex families in early grades was pulled for revision after religious groups raised objections.
“The church teachings teach our children to accept everyone whether they’re gay or lesbian, whether they’re poor, black, white, whatever,” said Nancy Kirby, president of the Ontario Catholic School Trustees’ Association. “But the church teaching also says that we don’t condone the action of gays [and] lesbians.”
Early last year, the Assembly of Catholic Bishops of Ontario sent a letter to Catholic school boards raising concerns regarding the ministry’s equity and inclusion policy. The letter urged the boards to consider groups other than gay-straight alliances, which “imply a self-identification with sexual orientation that is often premature among high-school students,” according to minutes from the board’s November meeting.
A motion that the policy be approved with an amendment that gay-straight alliances or clubs not be permitted and that “other types of dialogue groups that remain in conformity with Catholic teaching” be encouraged instead passed almost unanimously.
Mr. Marai is hopeful that the new group of trustees will have a more thorough discussion of the issue this time around, and ultimately undo that decision.
He is familiar with the kind of thinking that led to the ban: One voter took down his campaign lawn sign after learning the then-candidate for trustee was gay.
“You can’t take it personally; people have their own ideas,” he said. “That said, I think the Catholic community in Oakville is a very accepting and tolerant one.”