Abortion in the Middle East

Abortion in the Middle East

While the United States’s priorities in the Middle East are primarily dictated by war, oil, and trade, social issues often escape the limelight of public awareness. Islam, a conservative force that shares roots with other Judaic religions like Christianity, is often misunderstood, thus preventing interest in the culture’s policies towards abortion. And as the religion continues to dictate policy in the Middle East, spilling into Western Europe, it may be valuable to better understand the culture associated with the right to life in these countries.

The Pew Research Forum provides a plethora of information about several major players in Middle Eastern policy. Iran and Egypt appear to have the strictest set of anti-abortion laws, having banned such practices unless the life of the mother is in danger. However, Iran has made efforts to revise and loosen such restrictions, though these efforts have been ignored by the Council of Guardians, which ensures that the laws of the nation reflect those of Islam, itself.

Turkey and Tunisia are more liberal in their abortion regulations, the former allowing abortion ten weeks after pregnancy. Additionally, fetal abnormalities and risk of the mother’s life can be cited as reasons to abort at any time. Tunisia’s policy is similar, though their time period extends to twelve weeks.

While some countries accept abortion in some circumstances, Islam has a general distaste for the practice, citing the Quran’s strict guidelines about killing, “Whosoever has spared the life of a soul, it is as though he has spared the life of all people. Whosoever has killed a soul, it is as though he has murdered all of mankind.” However, nearly all schools of Islamic law, according to the BBC, teach that abortion is permissible if the mother’s life is at risk. From here, several disagreements arise between competing sects of Islamic thought. Some scholars claim that abortion is acceptable during the first seven weeks of pregnancy, others as far as sixteen weeks. Some even permit abortions to happen if the child is believed to have a mental or physical disorder.

Islamic law varies on abortion practices. Unlike Catholicism, and other unified sects of Christianity, there is no formal doctrine that outlines the faith’s stance on the subject. As a result of the close ties between Islamic law and national law, pro-life outlooks vary between nations. Even so, it is important to note the region’s general negative outlook towards the practice. As the world grows closer, via globalization, it is important to recognize key future players in the movement for life, and the Middle East serves as a fascinating ground, that should be studied, where policy and morality intersect.

The valuable information about abortion in each aforementioned country can be found at:

http://www.pewforum.org/2008/09/30/abortion-laws-around-the-world

Four sports professionals who stand for pro-life

Four sports professionals who stand for pro-life

As the political landscape gets more heated, several people turn to sports to get away from the stresses of politics. Now though, it seems that politics has infiltrated that arena as well. Whether it is through protest on police brutality, feelings over the president, or some other stance on issue politics, sports professionals and teams have begun to voice their opinion.  When it comes to sport professional opinions about abortion there are four athletes who have been vocal about their pro-life position. First up, Matt Birk.

Matt Birk

Matt Birk most recently played for the Ravens as an offensive lineman. He won the Super Bowl with the Eagles and retired afterward. To congratulate the team on winning the super bowl, President Barrak Obama invited them to the white house.  Birk respectfully declined the meeting because he did not agree with President Obama’s position on Planned Parenthood. When askeabout it Birk said,

“I’m very confused by (Obama’s) statement. For God to bless a place where they’re ending 330,000 lives a year? I just chose not to attend.” He has since been very vocal in his support for the National March for Life, evening speaking at the 2016 march.

Sal Bando 

Sal played for the Oakland A’s from 1966 to 1976 and the Milwaukee Brewers from 1977 until his retirement in 1981. It wasn’t until after his baseball career was over that Bando began to fundraise for the pro-life cause. He, along with other former and current players and coaches, endorsed the Battin’ 1000 campaign. The goal was to raise funds to create a baseball-themed fundraiser to draw more attention to the American Life League. The American Life League’s plan was to build a pro-life educational center in Virginia that would offer media-training, bioethics workshops and other resources. Bando helped draw in several endorsements, and eventually became the chair of the program. “What most of us see are the liberal media and celebrities standing out on this issue,” Bando said. “It’s time for those of us who are the silent majority to say,’ Hey, we’re pro-life!”

Tim Tebow

Tim Tebow is an obvious pick because what’s not to love about this guy. He is a polite, hardworking, down to earth guy who helps others as much as possible. After health complications abroad, Tim’s mom was advised to abort her baby, Tim’s parents refused to abort. From that moment, Tim has strived to live a modest, yet giving life. Tebow has been dedicated to building churches in foreign countries, just one example of his commitment to give to others.  In 2010, Tim Tebow and his mother Pam Tebow ran a 30 sec Super Bowl Commercial explaining his birth. The add explained the complications and the incredible joy they both shared because of her choice to not abort Tim. Tim Tebow has always received hate based on his beliefs in Jesus and abortion issues. The criticism towards Tebow came forward in an interview with Former Arizona Cardinals quarterback Jake Plummer when he said, “I wish he would just shut up about it.” The ad was described by several people from CBS reporters to sports fans alike calling it a “divisive ad” that is ruining the big game. Tim responded perfectly to their hate by saying, “I know some people won’t agree with it, but I think they can at least respect that I stand up for what I believe.”

 

John Stephens

Stephens is a Special Olympics athlete who fights for equal treatment for people with special needs, specifically Down syndrome. He criticised Ann Coulter after she ridiculed Obama following his second presidential debate with Mitt Romney. He made his way on this list after his speech at the UN regarding selective abortions targeting babies with Down syndrome. In his speech, Stephens asked, “How would the world react if a nation proclaimed that it would use genomic testing to make itself ‘Unpopular ethnic minority free’ by 2030?” Stephens hypothetical is not totally untrue, and his point was to shed light on the population control happening in Iceland.  In Iceland, 100% of the babies who are pre-diagnosed with Down syndrome are aborted.

In a nation divided by politics, businessmen need to remember to stay neutral politically so they can sell their product to a larger group of people. Professional Athletes are no exception to this. That is why it is remarkable that these four men are willing to take the heat and voice their opinion and stand up for life.

NIFLA v. Becerra: The Most Important First Amendment Case

NIFLA v. Becerra: The Most Important First Amendment Case

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.” – First Amendment

On March 13th one of the most important cases concerning the freedom of speech was argued before the United States Supreme Court, NIFLA v. Becerra.

The central issue at stake, in this case, is whether the government can compel organizations and individuals to share a message that is fundamentally in opposition to the organization’s purpose or an individual’s belief. 

In 2015, AB 775, the Reproductive FACT Act, was passed in California. The FACT Act mandated both licensed and unlicensed pregnancy resource clinics (PRC’s) to post large signs with information about abortion and contraception services provided by the state.

AB 775 is about freedom of speech and pushing a pro-choice agenda. This can be seen in the fact that 98% of the clinics subject to this law are pro-life. Compelling PRC’s to share about abortion in such a detailed manner is wholly against the PRC’s purpose.

It was argued that the reason for the law is that pro-life PRC’s are manipulating women into a carrying out an unwanted pregnancy. 

During a visit to a pregnancy resource center, however, the woman is counseled on all of her options. Even abortion is discussed. While these resource centers hope the woman will choose to keep her baby, they do not force her into a decision, and they will support her after regardless of her decision.

Josh McClure, a pregnancy center director, said this law will “require us to use our walls as a billboard to promote abortion.” 

The case was argued before the Supreme Court of the United States on March 13th. Attorney, Michael Farris, arguing on the behalf of the National Institute of Family and Life Advocates (NIFLA) said: “A government that tells you what you can’t say is dangerous, but a government that tells you what you must say—under threat of severe punishment—is alarming.”

Should the United States Supreme Court Justices deliver an opinion in favor of the California law, the first amendment as we know it will be no longer exist with the same power and protection it has afforded the American people for centuries. The opinion from the Supreme Court is slated to be published sometime in June. Let’s hope the Justices keep the First Amendment intact and protect our freedom to speak or not speak certain messages.

The Cause of Death that is not Reported

The Cause of Death that is not Reported

This past January, the Statesman Journal published an article highlighting the top 11 causes of death for Oregonians in 2016. These causes and total deaths included: 

  1. Cancer 8,076,
  2. Heart disease 6,976,
  3. Unintentional injury 2,108,
  4. Chronic lower respiratory heart disease 2,081,
  5. Stroke 1,944,
  6. Alzheimer’s disease 1,786,
  7. Diabetes 1,240,
  8. Alcohol-related 829
  9. Suicide 771,
  10. High blood pressure 557,
  11. Firearms 510

While these numbers are horrific and far higher than desired, there is a secret cause of death not mentioned in the Statesman Journal’s article.

The cause of death: abortion. In 2016 the Oregon Health Authority recorded 8,942 abortions. This startling number reveals more babies were killed from abortion that year than those who died from cancer. On average over 22 babies were aborted every day in Oregon. This injustice must be stopped.

There is hope. In the past 5 years, abortion rates have been going down. Since 2012, Oregon’s average abortion numbers have gone down by 909 babies. You can be a part of that change. Help abolish abortion today by becoming an advocate ORTL.org.

Women and girls shine at unique beauty pageant

Women and girls shine at unique beauty pageant

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Ten-year-old Brianna Heim poses elegantly for the camera, a bedazzled sash ornamenting her beautiful purple dress. The tiara on Brianna’s head is nearly as bright at the cheerful smile on her face. Sitting close by is Brianna’s service dog Emily, who recently accompanied her on a special trip to Los Angeles to compete in Miss Amazing, a pageant designed for girls and women with special needs.

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Earlier this year, Brianna won the title of Miss Preteen in Utah’s regional Miss Amazing Competition. Brianna, who lives with a speech and motor-skill imparing disorder called glutaric acidemia type 1, attended the National pageant where she participated in the weekend’s activities, including a talent portion, interviews, and an evening gown walk.

Brianna even got to witness the opening ceremony for the 2015 Special Olympics, held in Los Angeles that same weekend. Brianna’s mom says, “(The pageant) is a nice place for these girls to go and be themselves and it doesn’t matter what your disability is.”

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The Miss Amazing Pageant was founded in 2007 by Jordan Somer in Omaha, Nebraska. Now, eight years later, the program has impacted more than 800 girls and women with disabilities all over the nation. Somer explains that Miss Amazing is designed to help young women see their unique capabilities and celebrate their individuality.

Jordan Somer says: “According to a study conducted by The Center for Women Policy Studies, disabled women and girls live at the corner of disability and womanhood. With two minority identities, a double dose of discrimination and stereotyping, and multiple barriers to achieving their life goals. Miss Amazing is looking to change that fact.”

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Several promotional videos on Miss Amazing’s website highlight the joyful energy of the women who participate in this event. They dance, perform on instruments, bond with friends, and are given a platform to articulate their thoughts and to express themselves. These ladies tear up as they are handed trophies, and wave happily as crowns are placed on their heads.

Somers states: “The Miss Amazing Pageants are inspiring a culture that encourages women and people with disabilities to reach their fullest potential.” It’s clear that this is the case when one looks at girls like Brianna and young women like Mikayla Holmgren, individuals who truly are embracing their identity and thriving.

 

TLC star and Oregon-native gets married

TLC star and Oregon-native gets married

Those of us who grew up watching the TLC reality show Little People, Big World were in for a heart-warming thrill with the news of Zach Roloff’s wedding this past weekend.

Zach (25) and his bride, Tori Patton (24), wed at his parent’s farm in Hillsboro, Oregon on Saturday, July 25th. The couple had been engaged for more than a year; the countdown began last May after Zach proposed to Tori in an open field.

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According to People Magazine, the wedding was nature-inspired and took place by a gazebo in front of a specially planted field of wheat. The bride wore an ivory dress with a chiffon-like skirt and a lacy, detailed bodice. Zach was quick to tell People magazine that the 200 guests made him feel a little nervous: “Neither of us are spotlight kind of people.” However, he also said the two of them are “looking forward to setting their lives in motion.”

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Zach, who was born with dwarfism to two parents with dwarfism, has had unique issues to cope with in his lifetime. But despite adversity, and with support from Little People, Big World’s fan base and his supportive family, he has thrived and is now embarking on his own journey with his beautiful new wife.