Pope Francis condemns abortions of children with birth defects

Pope Francis condemns abortions of children with birth defects

In a statement confirmed by the Vatican, Pope Francis denounced abortions of unborn children with congenital defects, reports CNN. The Pope compared the practice to Nazi eugenics.

“I have heard that it’s fashionable, or at least usual, that when in the first months of pregnancy they do studies to see if the child is healthy or has something, the first offer is: let’s send it away,” Pope Francis stated. “I say this with pain. In the last century the whole world was scandalized about what the Nazis did to purify the race. Today we do the same, but now with white gloves.”

In their quest to create a pure Aryan race, the Nazis compelled individuals with physical and mental illnesses to undergo sterilization, and terminated fetuses deemed weak or unhealthy. The modern world condemns such practices in hindsight, yet does not feel repulsed by infanticide today, noted the Pope.

Pope Francis expressed his opinions on abortion during a meeting with a delegation of Italy’s Family Association in Rome. While the Pope did not prepare his comments beforehand, they were verified by Vatican officials after the interview.

During the meeting, Pope Francis also spoke about his views concerning marriage, which consists of a union between one man and one woman. That union reflects God’s image, according to the Pope.

“Today it is hard to say this, we speak of ‘diversified’ families: different types of families. . . . But the human family in the image of God, man and woman, is the only one. It is the only one,” the Pope asserted.

Pope Francis spoke just days after Argentina, his home country, voted on a measure to legalize abortion as early as 14 weeks of pregnancy. Pro-life advocates must hope that Argentinian lawmakers remain responsive to the Pope’s spiritual authority.

Gianna Jessen: Victor for the Unborn

Gianna Jessen: Victor for the Unborn

Warrior, fighter for life, and a proclaimer of the love and compassion of God. Gianna Jessen could be considered a modern-day hero. Jessen lived through her mother’s attempt to end her life at 7 ½ months with a saline abortion. According to her website, giannajessen.com, Jessen’s medical records from the day of her birth read “Born during saline abortion.” An abortionist had to sign Jessen’s birth certificate.

Life is not without hardship for Jessen; she lives with cerebral palsy.

“[The doctors] said I would never be able to sit up straight, but I sat up straight. Then they said I would never be able to walk, but by the age of three I was walking with a frame and leg braces,” Jessen told The Telegraph. “I have a little bit of feistiness in me.”

Jessen does not let her physical health keep her from pursuing what she is passionate about.

The last week in May, Jessen visited Brazil for several speaking engagements, which included speaking to the country’s congress. According to her Facebook live, posted directly after the event on May 30th, she was told by Christians there that Satanists and feminists were present.

An “angry mob” as Jessen called it, had gathered in the building. 

Jessen said that the mob would hardly let her speak. She found out later that they were calling on the names of demons. She was impressed by the power of God.

“I didn’t feel defeated at all,” she said. “It was awesome to see how calm God can keep you. I have never seen evil manifest in that way before in my life. And I also have never experienced in quite that way the keeping power of Christ. I felt like a queen. I felt kept, I felt safe.”

By miraculous intervention or what have you, the mob was silent for just enough time for Jessen to tell her story.

Jessen is a great example of someone who is giving their all for Jesus.

“I am honest, with myself and with Jesus,” she said at giannajessen.com, “to the point where one might mistake my honesty for irreverence. But I would rather risk that and give Him my truest self than live life thinly veiled. I find most of life very funny indeed. I would say I laugh most of the time and cry at other times. But the crying is merely sowing seeds of joy for the future. My goal is to live the impossible since nothing is impossible for God.”


Teen cycles the states to raise awareness of rare diseases

Teen cycles the states to raise awareness of rare diseases

Crossing the United States by car constitutes a major undertaking. Trans-American motorists can expect to encounter inclement weather, bumpy roads, and heavy traffic on their multi-day journey from the Pacific to the Atlantic. Many cross-county travelers therefore opt to make the trip by air, rather than by road.

Not Gabriel Low. This month, the seventeen-year-old triathlete from Hawaii started a 3,000-mile road trip across the United States–on his bicycle.

Pedaling up to 90 miles a day, Low hopes to complete his ride in two months. What motivated the teen to embark on his cross-country trek? “The real inspiration, I have to say, came from my mother,” Low told KATU news.

Low’s mom suffers from Primary Periodic Paralysis, a rare disorder which causes her to occasionally lose motor function. Because the disease is genetic, Low suffers from bouts of paralysis, too. Unlike his mother, however, the teen received a diagnosis and proper treatment early in life.

“For the first 30 years [my mom] went undiagnosed,” Low explained. “All her efforts to help me grow up with the disease and not have to face the same challenges she did, that’s what I want to dedicate this ride to.”

Low hopes his ride will raise awareness not only about his own disorder, but about a host of other little-known diseases as well. According to Low, one in ten people suffer from a rare condition. Roughly 7,000 such disorders exist, and each of them “is so rare that doctors don’t learn about them a lot in med school, and they’re just not really acknowledged well,” Low said.

The teen’s cross-country cycling odyssey serves another purpose, too: transportation to the 2018 national triathlon championships in Cleveland, Ohio. That competition holds special meaning for Low. During an earlier qualifying event, an abrupt episode of paralysis tested his physical abilities to the limit.

“It was towards the second half of the triathlon, I realized that I’d forgotten to take my medication that morning,” Low explained. “As I was going, I started to feel my legs were harder to lift, and when I crossed the finish line, I collapsed.”

Low’s perseverance, however, paid off: the effort earned him a spot at the national championships in Cleveland. Thus, competing at nationals represents not only a significant athletic achievement for Low, but also a victory over his disorder.

Ultimately, Low hopes to compete in the world triathlon championships. En route to his goal, however, the teen desires to prioritize his campaign to raise awareness for rare diseases. He hopes his ride will “start a conversation and create a movement.”

Strongbridge Biopharma, a pharmaceutical firm which specializes in developing treatments for rare disorders, is sponsoring Low’s cross-country trip. “Strongbridge has given me a van and hotel rooms every night, and it’s insane what has happened,” Low said.

The teen feels grateful for the support he has received thus far, and invites fellow cyclists to join him on portions of his ride. See his Facebook page and website for updates on his journey. Additionally, well-wishers can show their support by contributing to Low’s GoFundMe account. Donations will cover Low’s trip expenses, and any leftover funds will support the Periodic Paralysis Association.

Will Korea be the next nation to abandon it’s pro-life policies?

Will Korea be the next nation to abandon it’s pro-life policies?

In May, Ireland passed a referendum that relaxed its laws on abortion, making the practice more accessible to its citizens. While the Pro-Choice movement continues to grow at an alarming rate in Western, traditionally Christian, countries, other cultures are finding themselves in a similar struggle with abortion. And because of the actions of one doctor, the issue has come to the forefront of Korean politics, demonstrating the universality of the debate.

Since 1953, in Korea, abortion outside of rape, incest, and health has been punishable by law. Women who engage in such procedures can face up to a year in prison. Doctors can receive twice the amount of time. A doctor who has performed almost 70 abortions within the last two years, and has recently been prosecuted, is now challenging this law.

The doctor remains unnamed by media sources, but it has been reported that his challenge of South Korea’s law has reached the Constitutional Court, the highest authority in the nation. If his case wins out, the court could deem the aforementioned law as unconstitutional, thereby nullifying it and opening the nation to accessing abortions.

Despite its stringent laws, it appears that enforcement of them has been very liberal. The Korean Women’s Development Institute, according to The Korea Herald, estimates that approximately 20% of women who have been pregnant have had an abortion. Out of this figure, only about 1% said they had a legal reason, being rape, incest, or health risks.

Support for legalizing abortion appears to be split, for now. Korea’s Christian population remains strongly Pro-Life, while an additional bloc concerned with low birth rates across the country has become prominent, as well. This group, which extends beyond any specific religion or ideology, could be key in preserving the nation’s laws. This marks a key difference between Ireland’s abortion debate, which seemed to morph into a discussion focusing on religion.

Also unlike Ireland, South Korea’s rule has a distinct clause. A part of the law that remains relatively unique to Korea is the requirement for a husband’s permission to carry out an abortion. This not only limits the practice to married women, but leaves the decision in the hands of their husbands, too. This could potentially work against the Pro-Life movement of South Korea, which could be accused of being sexist, citing the law’s dependence on the husband.

To say the least, South Korea technically remains quite Pro-Life in policy. However, the severe lack of enforcement remains concerning to both Pro-Life groups who insist on the protection of the unborn, and the Pro-Abortion groups that cite the lack of enforcement as a reason to get rid of the law altogether.

While Ireland and Korea differ in culture, the fact that the subject of abortion has become so prevalent in both countries illustrates how dire the fight for life is across the globe. At this point, more details are still emerging from the upcoming court hearing, though no date has been set for it yet.

A New Pro-Life Deputy

A New Pro-Life Deputy

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has a new deputy assistant secretary for population affairs, and she’s Pro-Life. Dr. Diane Foley is a women’s health specialist who has contributed to several Pro-Life causes and organizations throughout her career. Once the CEO of Life Network, a Pro-Life pregnancy resource center in Colorado, Foley has accepted a pivotal position in the fight to defend life.

As mentioned in a previous article here on the Oregon Optimist, President Donald Trump is considering a new Title X regulation that could prevent several Pro-Choice organizations, such as Planned Parenthood, from receiving federal funding. Now that Dr. Foley has been selected for her position, many Pro-Life advocates are eager to see President Trump’s plans come through. Her specific role oversees the Title X funding that Trump seeks to modify.

Left-wing media websites have been quick to attack Dr. Foley, labeling her clinics as “fake,” though there is little to evidence supporting such claims. Dr. Foley replaces Theresa Manning, another Pro-Life advocate.

As the President continues his avid support of the Pro-Life movement, scores of supporters hope for changes to come in national policy. Appointees, like Dr. Foley, serve as an example of the Trump administration’s efforts in fulfilling his promises made at the March for Life in 2018, the first annual march where a sitting president made remarks.

A Legal Victory for Oregon Right to Life

A Legal Victory for Oregon Right to Life

Oregon Right to Life is no stranger to endorsing, supporting, and providing information about political candidates. In June 2016, however, a bitter battle ensued between Republicans, that culminated in a lawsuit that threatened Oregon Right to Life’s first amendment right to communicate with voters.

Former Representative Matt Wingard (R-Wilsonville) was accused in 2012 of giving alcohol to a staffer under 21 and pressuring her into a relationship. This led to his stepping down from his position. Wingard ran again in 2016, and Oregon Right to Life (ORTL), alongside the Oregon Family Council (OFC), informed voters of Wingard’s action while in office. Soon after the fliers were printed and distributed, ORTL and OFC were sued by Wingard for defamation.

The lawsuit was filed in Multnomah County Circuit Court, where the judge initially ruled in favor of Wingard. ORTL and other defendants appealed under an Anti-SLAPP motion. The Oregon Court of Appeals reversed the lower courts ruling.

Finally, as of June 11, the Oregon Supreme Court denied Wingard of his appeal, granting Oregon Right to Life a key victory in their legal battles. A statement was sent out to Oregon Right to Life supporters, reading, “This is a great day for us, but more importantly this is a great day for free speech in Oregon. The right to communicate freely with voters about candidates was upheld.”