Print Edition: Feb. 22, 2015
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Facts of Life
BY Jim Cosgrove
Condoms are often promoted as means of preventing sexually transmitted diseases. But condoms, whether used correctly and consistently or not , don't prevent the spread of a sexually transmitted disease called human papillomavirus, or HPV.
The disease, which has infected some 24 million Americans, is the most common incurable sexually transmitted disease in the United States.
Apart from its visible symptoms, the disease has been linked to more than 90% of all invasive cervical cancers, which claim the life of some 5,000 women a year.
It remains true that sexual abstinence outside of marriage is the only effective protection against sexually transmitted diseases.
—Family Research Council Washington Watch, Sept. 28
BY Josh Mercer
BROOKLYN, N.Y.—A crowd of 400 Catholics alternated between praying to the Blessed Virgin Mary and protesting the desecrated portrait of her on display inside the Brooklyn Museum of Art.
“I'm here because it makes me angry that they're disgracing my mother this way,” Patrick Gallic, 17, of Warren, N.J., told the Register. “Bashing Catholics is not art.”
“We're outraged that someone would put dung on a portrait of the Blessed Virgin Mary,” Margaret Fogarty, of Bronx, N.Y., told the Register.
The contentious picture, created by Chris Ofili, shows the Virgin Mary sprinkled with elephant dung and surrounded by pornographic pictures. It's part of an exhibit called “Sensation” that opened on Oct. 2.
“And this is art?” asked Fogarty. “These people have to be sick.”
Using a megaphone to broadcast their message to hundreds of people lined outside the museum, the protesters were noisy but peaceful.
“You talk about tolerance, acceptance and compassion,” Michael Mangan, of St. Michael's World Apostate, shouted towards the Museum. “Where is it for the Blessed Mother? Where is it for Christian Catholics?”
In addition to their disgust over the portrait, the protesters were outraged over the use of taxpayer dollars that went to finance the exhibit, which will be on display until Jan. 9.
“Let them do this with private funds,” said William Donohue, president of the Catholic League, and leader of the protest. “They don't have to do it on welfare from us.”
New York City Mayor Rudy Guiliani moved recently to withhold $7.2 million in city funding from the museum. The city and the museum have since sued each other, with the museum even listing Guiliani as a defendant in its suit.
Guiliani clearly was a crowd favorite, though he did not appear at the protest himself.
“Rudy Guiliani, God Bless You,” Michael Mangan, of St. Michael's World Apostolate, shouted to the crowd. “The Lord will remember you for honoring our mother.”
Norman Seigel, president of the New York Civil Liberties Union was on hand to offer his views to the hordes of journalists covering the protest.
“Once you decide as a nation to fund the arts,” Siegel told the Register, “if you decide to defund the arts and the courts say that it was done because it was unpopular, that's unconstitutional.”
It was clear that Brooklyn's Congressman disagreed with that sentiment.
“Nowhere in the Constitution does it say that we have to subsidize art that offended our religion or any religion,” Rep. Vito Fossella, shouted to the crowd.
The museum warned patrons that the exhibit may be offensive and encouraged people to bring vomit bags, which the Catholic League supplied to over 500 people outside the Museum.
Catholics were not the only protesters, however. A dozen animal-rights activists objected to the exhibit as well, because of one piece of “art” made from sliced pigs.
“The only thing [Catholics] care about is an icon,” Michael Norcia told the Register. “I think they're oblivious to the more important issue,” which is cruelty to animals, Norcia said. “It's like talking about acne when you have terminal cancer.”
Only about six people protested on behalf of the Museum, accusing the Catholics of censorship. One protester's sign asked, “Is book burning next?” One man had cut out a large cardboard portrait of a hand with a middle finger raised. The man next to him held a sign that asked, “Find this offensive?”
The protester that received the most media attention, though, was neither a Catholic nor a vegetarian, but an anti-Guiliani protester. Holding two large paintings mocking the mayor, Robert Lederman shouted to journalists, asking to be interviewed.
Lederman, who claimed to be an artist, told the Register that elephant dung is considered sacred in Africa. Lederman also said the Catholics protesters do not understand the painting done by Chris Ofili, who is British. “It's a matter of cultural chauvinism,” Lederman said, referring to the Catholics.
John Dunleavy, of Bronx, couldn't disagree more. “If it was a Star of David with a swastika on it,” Dunleavy told the Register, “it certainly wouldn't be shown as art.”
One art patron, after leaving the Museum, mocked a nun outside the museum for refusing to see the exhibit, but was chastised by her friend. “Don't try reason with them,” he told her. “They're morons.”
Despite such hostility, the sponsors of the protesters deemed it a success.
“I'm very pleased that there's such a diverse crowd,” Donohue told the Register. “We're sending an unmistakable message that public funds should not be used to finance private hate speech.”
BY Brian McGuire
CHICAGO—A study which links the 1990s drop in crime with the dramatic rise of abortion in the 1970s has shocked many social critics and pro-life advocates, who see the report as an endorsement of abortion—with racial overtones.
The authors of the “Legalized Abortion and Crime” denied that their as-yet unpublished study promotes abortion.
Yet the study's premise—that those who would have committed crimes were aborted in the years following the Supreme Court's 1973 Roe v. Wade decision—is viewed by many as promoting not only abortion, but eugenics as well.
“The abortion-related reduction in crime is predominantly attributable to a decrease in crime per capita among the young,” the report said. It then suggests that two “mechanisms” could account for crime decreases, “selective abortion on the part of women most at risk to have children who would engage in criminal activity, and improved childbearing or environmental circumstances caused by better maternal, familial, or fetal circumstances.”
Rejecting the claim that reduced crime is a result of improved policing techniques in urban areas like New York, the authors of the report cite cities like Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles, where crime has gone down without them. “While all of these factors may have served to dampen crime to some degree, we consider a novel explanation for the sudden crime drop of the 1990's: the decision to legalize abortion over a quarter century ago,” the report said.
Critics of the report said they don't object to the claim that fewer young people would result in fewer crimes. What they object to is the suggestion that minorities are more likely to commit crime and thus abortion, which reduces their numbers, should be welcome.
“We didn't have any interest in stepping into the abortion debate,” Stanford University law professor John Donohue, one of the report's authors, told the Register.
Referring to him and co-author Steve Levitt, a University of Chicago economics professor, Donohue said, “We have written several papers on crime, but couldn't explain the drop. In the course of our studies we stumbled upon the data of abortion—that it may be linked with the drop in crime.
“Our view is that nothing in the paper should be seen as an endorsement of abortion, [though] obviously we're concerned about the negative consequences of bringing unwanted children into the world. But there are many ways of avoiding births that don't rely on abortion.”
He added that the controversy surrounding the report is “a bit of a media issue.”
Charles Osgood, host of CBS News Sunday Morning, however, told the Register that he thought the report was “scary.” He said that in his view the report resembled eugenic theories.
Such theories, which at times devalue human beings based on racial or other genetic characteristics, were once strongly identified with Nazi Germany and the Holocaust.
“It's a sort of dangerous road to start going down,” Osgood said, “to identify a group that is likely to contain a lot of criminals and to suggest that because many were aborted there is now less crime. I think it's racist, genocidal and bad science.”
Though he said the authors of the report don't want their study to be seen as promoting abortion, there are too many other factors involved in the lower crime rates to justify their focusing in on abortion.
“One factor is the economy,” Osgood said. “When prosperity goes up, crime goes down. Another is government programs, which seek to reduce crime. Yes, it's true that some are born poor and are more likely to become criminals, but the answer is not to abort these pregnancies, but to present poor people with more opportunities.”
Joe Scheidler, who heads the Pro-Life Action League, agreed with Osgood.
“This is eugenics,” Scheidler told the Register. “It says that if you're a minority and young, you're going to have trash, so kill it.” Scheidler said the report should be welcome news to pro-abortion groups like Planned Parenthood, which, he said, was founded on the principles of eugenics.
“They know that minorities comprise the highest number of abortions by percentage,” Scheidler said. “Margaret Sanger [the founder of Planned Parenthood] thought minorities were scum. She was very upfront about this when she referred to abortion as ‘eliminating the human weeds.’”
Scheidler said that there were very few crimes by Jewish boys in the 1940s as a result of Nazi efforts to eliminate Jews a decade earlier, but that it would be “diabolical” to view this as a social benefit.
“The fact is that a growing majority of people, especially women, are coming to view abortion as bad,” he continued. “Planned Parenthood knows this and is trying to show people that abortion has some good effects, and that it's gonna get better,” he said.
Roger Rathman, vice president of media relations for Planned Parenthood, refuted Scheidler's claim, saying it “could not be further from the truth.” Planned Parenthood's goal, he said, “is what it has always been, to see that every child in America is a wanted child.”
Rathman added that Planned Parenthood had no comment to make on the crime report since it had not yet seen it.
Statistics obtained from Planned Parenthood's research arm, the Alan Guttmacher Institute, show that abortion is far more common among blacks than whites. In 1995, for example, there were 409 abortions per 1,000 pregnancies among minority women, compared with 210 abortions among whites.
Susan Tew, deputy communications director for the Guttmacher Institute, said it was “extremely premature” to comment on the crime study until it had undergone peer analysis. She confirmed, however, that many of the data contained in the study came from Guttmacher studies.
Dolores Bernadette Grier is vice chancellor for community relations in the Archdiocese of New York. Grier, who is black, takes a different tack than Scheidler on the question of eugenics.
“As for singling out minorities, I used to think that was the case because the majority of Planned Parenthood's clinics are in minority neighborhoods,” she said. “But the bottom line is that abortion is a big business. And what do you do in a business? You try to sell your product to the most vulnerable. These medical hit men can make a million dollars a year performing abortions. Planned Parenthood has no feeling for the babies, their concern is the money and they don't care who they kill to get it.”
Grier recounted a visit she once made to a Planned Parenthood clinic in New York City, claiming to show an interest in their literature. “I went in and saw all of these couples on the first floor—black and white,” she said. “But when they took me upstairs to get the materials I felt like I was in the corporate offices of IBM. There were plants and white businessmen in three-piece suits.—The point is that this is big business.”
A 1987 Church document, Donum Vitae (The Gift of Life), from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, warned specifically about the link between abortion and eugenics.
”The abortion mentality…thus leads, whether one wants it or not, to man's domination over the life and death of his fellow human beings and can lead to a system of radical eugenics.”
A Different Theory
Father Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life, said, “Abortion and crime are indeed linked, but not in the way that the pro-choice people would like them to be.—t is necessary for us to give serious consideration to the psychological dynamics that have been unleashed by the abortion culture.”
Father Pavone said that many children born after the Roe decision are strongly affected by the realization that they were viewed as a mere choice by their parents.
“Nobody who is really serious about ending violence in our society can afford to leave any stone unturned in that effort [to end abortion],” he said. “Those who can least afford it, of course, are the children themselves.”
FACTS of LIFE
BY Jim Cosgrove
Kosovar refugees in dire need of assistance turned to the United Nations for assistance in the past months and received — abortion and contraceptive kits. The kits include oral contraceptives, condoms, manual vacuum extraction devices used for early term abortions and IUDs. Meanwhile, the biggest needs in Kosovo continue to be for the basic necessities of life, particularly food.
The April/May Population Research Institute Review reported that the United Nations could not afford to meet its goals for food for a time, but could afford the more expensive kits.
● In April, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees released a budget calling for $12 per refugee for food. It had raised about 34% of the budget, or $4.08 per person. Meanwhile, the United Nations Population Fund was spending $4.60 per woman for the contraceptive kits it was sending.
BY Jim Cosgrove
Statistics show a strong correlation between fatherless homes and a host of other domestic problems. A Father's Day editorial in the Boston Herald credited the Massachusetts Family Institute for gathering these statistics:
In Massachusetts, the percentage of fatherless families has more than quadrupled since 1960.
In the same period, its crime rate tripled and homicides increased 100%
Since 1979, the number of juveniles in trouble in its justice system has grown 90%. The adult prison population tripled.
“It's not just his financial contribution” that is important, said the Herald, “but the discipline and the model of love, understanding and guidance a father provides.”
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