Archive for the ‘Catholic US News’ Category

Gosnell movie fundraiser tops $1.2 million

Los Angeles, Calif., Apr 24, 2014 / 04:08 am (CNA/EWTN News).- A fundraising campaign to create a movie about the notorious Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell has surpassed $1.2 million in donations, more than halfway to its goal.

“We have to keep the momentum going,” film producer Phelim McAleer said at an April 22 briefing at the Heritage Foundation.

The filmmaker considers Gosnell “the biggest serial killer in American history.”

In May 2013, Gosnell was convicted of three first-degree murder charges for killing babies who had been born alive after his failed abortion attempts. Testimony had indicated that Gosnell and his staff snipped the necks of more than 100 infants who survived abortion.

McAleer, his wife and co-producer Ann McElhinney, and fellow filmmaker Magdalena Segienda have asked thousands of donors to contribute $2.1 million or more by May 12 to help make a made-for-TV movie about Gosnell.

By the afternoon of April 23, the movie had more than $1,274,000 in donations from over 13,000 funders on the collaborative fundraising site IndieGogo. The fundraiser is an example of “crowdfunding,” relying on the ability to find many donors on the internet who are interested in the same kinds of projects.

If the moviemaking effort does not raise $2.1 million by midnight Pacific Time on May 12, all contributions will be returned to donors and the movie will go unfunded.

According to McAleer, the Gosnell movie project is “the most successful” crowdfunded movie hosted on IndieGogo. He believes it is presently about the fourth most successful crowdfunded movie project ever.

He also believes that the project is attracting first-time donors to a crowdfunded project. He said that the number of individual funders is almost as important as the donation amount to encourage wider media attention.

“If we have 20 to 30,000 people who have funded this movie to make it happen, it’s a ready audience, and their family and their friends, that’s difficult for them to ignore,” he said. “(Even) if people give only one dollar, it’s important for us and this project.”

National media covered the Gosnell case only after pro-life advocates launched a grassroots social media campaign to raise awareness about the gruesome case.

“We’re getting funded probably because the story was covered up,” McAleer said. “The media cover-up is a great part of the story too, it’s a great part of the media drama.”

Gosnell’s clinic had not been inspected by the state of Pennsylvania since 1993. A federal drug raid in 2010 uncovered blood-stained rooms and filthy equipment.

According to reports, the clinic stored aborted human fetuses in a basement freezer in plastic food containers and bags next to staff lunches. Gosnell kept severed feet of unborn babies preserved in specimen jars, allegedly for future identification or DNA samples.

The abortion doctor was also found guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the death of a patient who died of an overdose in 2009. He is currently serving a life term in prison.

McAleer said the Gosnell case has many elements of a great story: whistleblowers who were ignored, a “passionate” prosecutor, and a “fascinating” trial.

Gosnell “was allowed to keep killing because of indifference, bureaucratic inertia, politics too,” McAleer said. He noted that Gosnell committed most of his crimes under a Republican governor, Tom Ridge, who had been elected after opposing restrictions on abortion access in Pennsylvania that could have stopped Gosnell.

“The word went down from on high that abortion facilities were not to be inspected,” McAleer charged. “They weren’t inspected. So he kept killing and he kept killing and he kept killing.”

In the months since the Gosnell case, attention has been given to the state of abortion clinic inspections throughout the country. In early April 2014, the New York Post reported that some eateries and tanning salons in New York City undergo more regular inspections than the city’s abortion clinics do. In mid-April, a new Arizona law ended special health inspection restrictions for abortion clinics, bringing them up to the same standards as hospitals and dialysis centers.

While the Gosnell movie internet fundraiser has gained support from many pro-life advocates, it also has other support. McAleer told the Heritage Foundation briefing that one of the movie’s biggest funders is someone who favors legal abortion with limits but wants the Gosnell story to gain more attention.

“We get many emails from people who have had abortions and they want this film to be made because they regret it,” he added.

The movie producers had intended to use the crowdfunding platform Kickstarter, but switched to IndieGogo after problems with the administrators of Kickstarter.

According to McAleer, Kickstarter objected to the use of the phrase “thousands of babies murdered” in its description of Gosnell, saying it was against its community guidelines. The filmmaker contended that the site was selectively enforcing its community standards, citing other objectionable and obscene projects that the site hosts.

McAleer said one reason for poor media coverage of the effort is that the Gosnell case raises “too many awkward questions.”

“I’m not saying what the answers are, but they don’t want the questions asked,” he said. “That’s what I’m doing, I’m going to ask some questions.”

The website for the movie’s fundraising campaign is GosnellMovie.com.

Knights of Columbus prepares to celebrate papal canonizations

New Haven, Conn., Apr 23, 2014 / 04:05 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- The Knights of Columbus will sponsor major celebrations of the double canonization of Pope John Paul II and Pope John XXIII in several U.S. cities, in addition to providing financial and logis…

Ariz. law to allow surprise inspections of abortion clinics

Phoenix, Ariz., Apr 23, 2014 / 02:04 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Arizona governor Jan Brewer has signed into law a bill that ended special health inspection rules for abortion clinics, an action proponents say will help prevent dangerous conditions at abortio…

Nevada Republicans drop pro-life, pro-marriage stand

Las Vegas, Nev., Apr 18, 2014 / 02:03 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Several hundred delegates of the Nevada Republican Party approved a party platform Saturday that lacks a pro-life plank and drops support for the definition of marriage as a union of one man an…

Radical abortion bill dies in Colo. Senate after call to prayer, action

Denver, Colo., Apr 16, 2014 / 09:42 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Amid growing protests led in large part by the Catholic Church, the Colorado Senate on April 16 killed a controversial bill that could have banned all pro-life laws in the state.

“Lift u…

Obama says Pope Francis is a reminder of human dignity

Washington D.C., Apr 15, 2014 / 12:20 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Speaking at the 2014 Easter Prayer Breakfast at the White House, U.S. President Barack Obama reflected on his recent meeting with Pope Francis, whom he described as an inspiration.

“I&…

Bishops invited to support 2014 March for Marriage

Washington D.C., Apr 12, 2014 / 03:45 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Two U.S. bishops leading efforts to defend and promote marriage offered their support for this year’s national March for Marriage and invited their fellow bishops to do the same.

“We are very grateful for this opportunity to express our support for the March for Marriage and to encourage participation in this event,” said Bishop Richard J. Malone of Buffalo and Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone of San Francisco.

In an April 7 letter, they encouraged their fellow U.S. bishops to promote the march in their respective dioceses.

Bishop Malone is the chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth, and Archbishop Cordileone chairs the Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage.

The 2014 March for Marriage will be held in Washington, D.C., on June 19, 2014. It is the second national demonstration to support the institution of marriage existing as a unique union between a man and a woman.

The first March for Marriage was held March 26, 2013, during the first day of arguments before the Supreme Court concerning the federal definition of marriage and states’ ability to define marriage.

In June 2013, the Supreme Court ruled that the federal government should accept the definitions of marriage offered by each state rather than holding its own definition of marriage as the union of a man and a woman.

The court also discarded a case defending a California amendment approved by voters to defend the definition of marriage. The high court dismissed the case on procedural grounds, allowing a lower court’s ruling that the amendment was unconstitutional to stand.

The bishops said that this year’s march will be held days before the third annual Fortnight for Freedom, a two-week period of prayer, education and advocacy in support of religious liberty both at home and abroad.

The 2014 march, the bishops said, “will provide an ideal occasion for participants to celebrate and give public witness to the unique meaning of marriage,” particularly “at a time when the religious liberties and conscience rights of those who promote and defend marriage are increasingly threatened.”

“The March for Marriage will be an important means to promote and defend marriage for the good of our culture, to pray for our federal and state governments, and to stand in solidarity with people of good will,” they added. “It also complements well the bishops’ Call to Prayer for Life, Marriage, and Religious Liberty.”

“This is a critical time for marriage in our country, as marriage amendments are being struck down by federal courts and appeals of these decisions are being made. We are deeply grateful for any support you can offer for this march,” they told their brother bishops.

Colo. archbishop: urgent prayer, action needed against ‘right to abortion’ bill

Denver, Colo., Apr 12, 2014 / 01:02 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila is asking the people of Colorado to spend 10 minutes in prayer and take concrete action over the weekend to support the sanctity of human life in the face of a serious…

HHS Secretary Sebelius, face of contraception mandate, resigns

Washington D.C., Apr 11, 2014 / 06:20 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- After months of criticism over the troubled rollout of the Affordable Care Act, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has announced her resignation.

U.S. President Barack Obama officially made public Sebelius’ departure April 11, praising her as “a tireless advocate for women’s health.”

However, Rep. Diane Black (R- Tenn.), a co-sponsor of pro-life legislation proposed to clarify ambiguities about abortion funding in the Affordable Care Act, criticized Sebelius’ tenure.

Black noted in an April 11 statement that the controversial federal contraception mandate was issued under Sebelius’ leadership.

She charged that the mandate “forces those who stand up for their conscience to choose between paying crippling fines that could shut down their business or dropping healthcare coverage for all their employees.”

As Secretary of Health and Human Services since 2009, Sebelius was responsible for the implementation of the Affordable Care Act after its passage in 2010. In recent months, she had drawn criticism for the problems experienced in the state health care exchanges and technical glitches troubling the rollout of the HealthCare.gov website.

Sebelius has also been the face of the federal contraception mandate, a directive issued under the authority of the Affordable Care Act. The mandate requires employers to offer health insurance plans including coverage of contraception, sterilization and some drugs that can cause early abortions.

Despite a series of revisions to the mandate, critics argue that it fails to respect the religious freedom of employers who have moral and religious objections to its demands. More than 300 plaintiffs have sued Sebelius and her department over the mandate, and the U.S. Supreme Court will rule on two cases involving the mandate this summer.

In announcing her resignation, Obama acknowledged that “there were problems” with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act and Healthcare.gov, but praised the secretary’s work to enroll people in the exchanges.

Obama also announced his nomination of Sylvia Mathews Burwell, director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, to replace Sebelius in the position.

In her resignation speech, Sebelius called her time as HHS Secretary the “most meaningful work I’ve ever been a part of” and “the cause of my life.”

Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, praised the outgoing secretary in an April 10 tweet, writing “Kathleen Sebelius did more for women’s health than anyone in history – our champion!”

She added in an April 11 tweet that “27 million women are benefiting from no-cost preventive health care, including birth control.”

Sebelius had also sparked controversy in her previous role as governor of Kansas due to her Catholic faith and adamant support for abortion.

Bishop laments lack of charity in high school controversy

Charlotte, N.C., Apr 11, 2014 / 02:02 pm (CNA).- Bishop Peter J. Jurgis has said he is “shocked” by reports of “a lack of charity and respect” at a North Carolina high school meeting about a religious sister whose discussion of …

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