The number of reported abortions fell to a historic low in 2011, the federal government said this week in its annual tally of most of the nation’s states.
There were 730,322 abortions in those 49 jurisdictions in 2011, with 91 percent occurring by the 13th week of gestation, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in its Abortion Surveillance report.
The abortion rate fell 5 percent and the abortion ratio fell 4 percent from the previous year, reaching “historic lows for all three measures of abortion,” it said, referring to the absolute number of abortions, abortions as a share of pregnancies, and the abortion rate for the female population of childbearing age.
As always, the CDC’s abortion report does not include data from all 50 states, the three exceptions this year being California, Maryland and New Hampshire.
As a result, the government’s numbers differ from that of the Guttmacher Institute, which surveys abortion providers every few years, but both sets of numbers agree on the broader trends.
In Guttmacher’s report for 2011, which was based on around 1,700 abortion providers, the research organization also found falling rates of abortion — with 16.9 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15-44, compared with 19.4 abortions per 1,000 women in 2008.
Guttmacher also reported 13 percent fewer abortions in 2011 than in 2008, with 1.05 million procedures compared with 1.21 million, and a lower abortion ratio.
Guttmacher analysts did not focus on reasons for the decline, but reproductive health experts believe women’s use of long-lasting contraceptives and the poor economy played significant roles.
Pro-life supporters say that their efforts to educate the public about the humanity of the unborn child and alternatives to abortion, plus enactment of new laws to regulate the abortion industry, were having an effect.
The CDC said in its new report that the 2011 abortion rate fell to 14.6 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15-44, and the abortion ratio fell to 228 abortions per 1,000 live births.
It also appears that “women are obtaining abortions earlier in gestation, when the risks for complications are the lowest,” the agency said. Notably, nearly 65 percent of abortions were performed by the eighth week of gestation in 2011, higher than in previous years, and 19 percent using nonsurgical, medication abortion, it said.
However, another 7.3 percent of abortions (37,456) were done between 14 and 20 weeks gestation, and 1.4 percent (7,325) at 21 weeks or more, the agency said.
Other highlights of the CDC report for 2011:
• Women in their 20s accounted for most abortions — 58 percent or 372,687.
• Teens, aged 15-19, accounted for 13.5 percent of abortions (86,885), far lower than in previous years, while teens 14 and younger accounted for 0.4 percent (2,728) of abortions.
• Among areas with data, white women and black women had the highest percentages of abortions (37 percent and 36 percent, respectively). However, white women had the lowest abortion rate (8 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15-44) and ratio (132 abortions per 1,000 live births), while black women had the highest abortion rate (29.7 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15-44) and ratio (459 abortions per 1,000 live births).
• In 2010, the most recent year for which data were available, 10 women died as a result of complications from known legal abortions. No deaths from illegal abortions were reported.
• The District of Columbia had the highest percentage of out-of-state abortion clients (53.6 percent), followed by Kansas (50.6 percent), North Dakota (32.4 percent) and Tennessee (24.2 percent). (Contributor: By Cheryl Wetzstein for The Washington Times)
Prayer focus: Reading this article may cause a mixture of emotions. First, the good news is summarized in this statement: “The number of reported abortions fell to a historic low in 2011…” (as reported by the federal government). For this, we truly give God thanks. Second, after plowing through the statistics and percentages, we still see that more than 730,000 innocent lives were thrown away primarily for someone’s convenience. Please keep praying. Intercede for God’s mercy until these “personal choice” laws are overturned.
“Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering toward slaughter.” (Prov. 24:11 NIV)
“Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward.” (Ps. 127:3)
European security experts are reportedly trying to thwart an alleged terror plot in the skies as authorities here at home try to determine who was behind a bomb threat against a flight from Spain to New York on Sunday.
According to reports, officials in Europe have intelligence suggesting that terrorists have the goal of blowing up five European passenger planes before Christmas in a possible 9/11-style attack.
Meanwhile, the Port Authority and the FBI are investigating after a bomb threat was phoned in against an American Airlines flight from Spain on Sunday.
Flight 67 from Barcelona landed safely at John F. Kennedy Airport about noon Sunday, according to Laura Masvideo, a spokeswoman for the airline.
“You’re on a flight, you’re landing and the pilot comes on and says there was a bomb threat,” said passenger Chandra Hayslett.
The aircraft was taken to a location near the tarmac where the 200 passengers plus crew members were taken off the plane, according to Port Authority spokesman Joe Pentangelo.
Police searched the plane and its contents for two hours before determining there was no danger.
“They had to examine all the luggage first just to make sure it wasn’t a legitimate threat,” said passenger Donna Graham.
“It was two hours of my time, but it was two hours of my time that I’m still standing here talking to you guys,” said another passenger.
American Airlines issued a statement saying, “We apologize for ay inconvenience this may have caused. The safety of our passengers and crew is our top priority.”
Pentangelo said authorities were investigating the source of the call.
So far, security experts have not said if there is any link between the reports of terror threats in Europe and Sunday’s incident at JFK. (Contributor: By Janelle Burrell and Joe Pentangelo for CBS News)
Prayer focus: Because every bomb threat and even rumors must be taken seriously, pray for God’s mercy, so that our security forces will be overshadowed with divine wisdom in detecting suspicious clues as to aircraft safety. Intercede that the growing unity and collaboration of the larger Church in finding allies for united prayer will continue, and that God will be pleased to protect us. Such protection would be a great mercy-gift, as our nation is not recognizing or calling upon the Lord.
“Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.” (Lam. 3:22-23)
Israel on Sunday marked the displacement of hundreds of thousands of Jews from Arab countries in the years after the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin calling for financial reparations.
In a bid to draw attention to the plight of the forced migrants, Israel formally marked their displacement with a ceremony at the president’s house under a new law naming November 30 as the anniversary.
“It is not for nothing that this day is marked on the day after the 29th of November,” Netanyahu said, in reference to the anniversary of the UN adoption of the Palestine partition plan in 1947. “The Arab countries, which never accepted the UN declaration on the establishment of a Jewish state, compelled the Jews living in their territories to leave their homes while leaving their assets behind… We have acted – and will continue to act – so that they and their claims are not forgotten.”
In his address, Rivlin appealed for greater Sephardic representation in Israeli society, as well as for compensation for their suffering. He acknowledged that the troubles of Middle Eastern Jews were not mitigated upon arriving in Israel, where European Jews were firmly entrenched in power.
“Their voices were muted, but the words were in their mouths all along, even if they were said in Hebrew with a Persian or Arabic accent, which in Israel were thought of as enemy languages and viewed as a source of shame,” he said.
“The voice of Jews from Arab countries and Iran must be heard within the education system, in the media, in the arts, and in the country’s official institutions, as it needs to be heard in the international arena as well, in order to mend the historical injustice, and to ensure financial reparations,” Rivlin said.
The president also defended his decision to exclude singer Amir Benayoun from the event. Benayoun was disinvited last Tuesday from performing after he released a song that many criticized as expressing racist sentiment against Arabs.
In his address, Rivlin said he “objected to boycotts and I do not boycott anyone,” but maintained that his position required him to “be sensitive to public trends and opinions, and the atmosphere on the street, especially during such tense and sensitive times as these.
“Of course, an artist needs nobody’s permission to express themselves, within the limits of freedom of expression. However, the President’s Residence, as the home of all the citizens of Israel, must and should be careful to show care and respect to all citizens of Israel,” he said.
Meir Kahlon, chairman of the Central Organization for Jews from Arab Countries and Iran, said that “Nearly 800,000 came here [in the years after the establishment of the state] and the rest (around 56,000) went to the United States, France, Italy and elsewhere.”
Kahlon himself came to Israel as a child from Libya and spent his first years in the Jewish state in one of the tent camps set up to shelter the flood of newcomers.
Justice for Jews from Arab Countries (JJAC), an international umbrella group of Jewish community organizations, says 856,000 Jews from 10 Arab countries, among them Morocco, Iraq, Tunisia and Algeria, fled or were expelled in 1948 and after, while violent Arab riots left many Jews dead or injured.
Although many migrants arrived with meager belongings packed in a single suitcase, they did not seek formal refugee status from the international community.
At the time, the newly established Jewish state was struggling to attract migration from the world’s Jews and to project its legitimacy as a sovereign state, able to care for its own people.
Its prime minister, David Ben Gurion, would not have wanted Jews returning to their “historic homeland” classed as refugees, Kahlon said.
In March this year, Canada — whose Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper is a staunch backer of Israel — formally recognized the refugee status of the Jewish emigres who fled or were expelled from Arab countries after Israel’s founding.
Some of the migrants to Israel say privately that the issue is being promoted to give Israel a bargaining card if stalled negotiations with the Palestinians should resume and the Palestinians submit compensation claims for the property and assets they left behind in what is now Israel.
“The point is to establish symmetry so that the dispute can be closed,” one migrant told AFP on condition of anonymity.
Hanan Ashrawi, a senior official with the Palestine Liberation Organisation, said the issue was entirely separate from Palestinian claims for reparations from Israel — and must remain so. “They can discuss this with Arab countries, it’s not our business,” she told AFP. “They are trying to find every possible means of circumventing and sabotaging the Palestinian refugees’ rights.”
JJAC executive director Stanley A. Urman said the campaign to seek restitution for Jews from Arab countries was not meant to negate Palestinian rights.
“History, geography, demography don’t allow any comparison between the plight of Palestinian refugees and Jewish refugees,” he told journalists on Sunday, advocating a multilateral approach.
During the latest round of peace talks, which were shepherded by US Secretary of State John Kerry until their collapse in late April, there was talk about the establishment of an international peace fund, he said.
Such a fund would provide physical infrastructure for a Palestinian state, such as roads and sewers, as well as security for Israel in the form of final borders and the funding to allow for the establishment of security perimeters along those borders, he explained.
Thirdly, it would provide compensation “to all victims of the Arab-Israeli conflict, Palestinian and Jewish refugees alike.” (Contributor: By Marissa Newman and for AFP)
Prayer focus: Many of the readers of these Alerts are friends of Israel and pray faithfully for its protection and for “the peace of Jerusalem.” Some observers in the West do not know exactly where Prime Minister Netanyahu is going with this claim for reparations. Perhaps it is a bargaining chip for later talks in the region. God is patiently waiting and wooing His old covenant people to recognize their Messiah. How long will it take before Israel recognizes its Redeemer and Deliverer? Pray for God to remove the veil from Israel’s eyes.
“He (Jesus the Christ) came to His own [people] and His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1:11-13)
“Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved. For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.” (Rom. 10:1-4)
Professor Francois Nosten ran his finger over a map showing clusters of tiny dots — each marking a border village that make up ground zero for what experts fear will become the next global health emergency.
"It's already a disaster in the making, and as physicians we have to raise the alarm," he said. "We have to do something."
Nosten is the director of the Shoklo Malaria Research Unit, a sprawling hive of scientific activity on the Thai-Myanmar border that has become the front line in the fight against drug-resistant malaria.
"We should have declared a global emergency once we understood that the parasite had changed its genome and become resistant to the latest drugs we have," he said.
Those drugs are artemisinins, derived from a Chinese plant and once hailed as wonder cures. They have become the world's principal weapon against the most deadly form of malaria, and are responsible for slashing global mortality rates in recent decades.
But even with those huge advances, the disease still kills more than 600,000 people annually — mostly in Africa and mostly children. That's more than 100 times as many people as have died during the recent Ebola outbreak.
The fear is that types of malaria that are growing immune to artemisinins will spread to Africa, like other drug-resistant strains have done in the past, and with devastating results.
The disease is caused by parasites and transmitted to people through the bites of infected mosquitoes, thousands of which are collected and analyzed at Nosten's clinic. The experts here are searching for clues about a resistance first detected on the Thai-Cambodia border in 2007.
According to a new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, resistance is now widespread along Thai-Myanmar border. It has been detected in pockets of neighboring Vietnam and Laos and is edging ever closer to India.
"Once you go to India and to Africa, here you are talking about potentially hundreds of millions of people affected," said Professor Nicholas White, a senior author of the study who is based at the Mahidol Oxford Tropical Medicine Research Unit in Bangkok.
Resistance to just about every major anti-malarial has started in the border areas. Nobody can agree quite why. Poor treatment practices, substandard and fake drugs are chief suspects. They're exacerbated by poverty, migration and conflict.
"We have to be bold, radical and decisive"
On a misty morning along the Moei River near Mae Sot, packed rickety boats move back and forth, linking dozens of unofficial border crossings between Thailand and a region of Myanmar that has been at on-off war with the central government for decades.
Resistance to chloroquine, an earlier anti-malarial that also began in these borderlands, took about a decade to reach Africa, White said.
"The price of our inability to contain it in South East Asia was millions of deaths — millions of children died. We mustn't let that happen again," he said. "This time it will probably move faster, because people move faster these days."
At the Wang Pha clinic near Mae Sot, doctors said that while the number of malaria patients they treat is falling, the cases are more resistant to treatment. Whereas in the past it would take perhaps 24 hours to clear the parasite using artemisinins, it can now take several days.
"The response to them is starting to get less and less and less," said White. Right now there is nothing available to replace the artemisinins.
"The drug development pipeline is better than it has ever been, but we still don't have anything as good as the artemisinins which will be readily available in the next three to five years," he said. "There's no quick fix."
Researchers have also discovered that many people are carrying the parasite without falling sick.
"It's better to try and eliminate malaria now while it is at its lowest level, rather than waiting to see it exploding," Nosten said.
He and White have come up with a radical and controversial plan: Flood the borderlands with anti-malarial drugs to be taken by everybody, sick or not, to eliminate the parasite once and for all.
It is not the first time this approach has been tried. Earlier programs in China and Nicaragua — which tried to medicate its entire 2.5 million population — raise practical as well as ethical issues.
"You have to persuade people to take the drugs even though they are not showing symptoms," said Ric Price, head of the WorldWide Antimalarial Resistance Network. "And if you don't do it properly you can make the resistance worse."
He says earlier mass medication efforts have had "varied success," but that the dangers from resistance are now so great that "we have to be bold, radical and decisive."
Backed by the Gates Foundation and Global Fund, Nosten has already overseen the mass medication of four trial villages on the Myanmar side of the border. Malaria has largely vanished in the three that cooperated fully. He's extending the program to 800 villages, and his map with those tiny clusters of dots are the master-plan.
"It's clumsy, it's difficult," White concedes. "But I think we have to do everything we possibly can to stop it."
Nosten says the opening of Myanmar and the easing of conflicts are making working there and monitoring the treatment easier.
Another challenge is that mass medication doesn't kill the mosquitoes that transmit malaria. In earlier programs elsewhere, malaria has later returned.
But along the critical Thai-Myanmar border, the program might at the least provide a firewall and buy time.
"If we don't do anything, if we sit on our hands and have meetings, it's not going to go away. It's going to get worse," Nosten said. His statement is also a dig at the world's slow reaction to the Ebola emergency —from which he believes there are lessons to be learned.
White agrees: "The larger lessons are that you really have to respond quickly and you have to take tough decisions. Time is everything, and I think Ebola illustrates that more than anything." (Contributor: By Ian Williams for NBC News - Ian Williams is a correspondent based in Beijing.)
Prayer focus: It is built into God’s creative process for living organisms to adapt for survival. In this case, the development of a drug-resistant strain of the virus spreading malaria is threatening literally millions of lives in Africa and Southeast Asia, mostly children. Intercede for wisdom and success for the research scientists working to develop better protection from this “super bug.” Pray for the self-sacrificing missionaries who place themselves at risk as they seek to evangelize the most vulnerable people groups. “Time is of the essence,” so intercessors appeal to God’s providence and mercy.
“But as for me, I trust in You, O Lord; I say, ‘You are my God.’ My times are in Your hand; deliver me from the hand of my enemies…” (Ps. 31:14-15)
“The Lord is gracious and full of compassion, slow to anger and great in mercy. The Lord is good to all, and His tender mercies are over all His works.” (Ps. 145:8-9)
During the days of Nazi Germany there arose a Confessing Church movement that rose against the German Church movement, which became the religious arm of the Fascist Nazi Socialist movement. Of the 18,000 pastors in Germany during that time (from 1933 to 1945), less than 5,000 were aligned with the Confessing Church. Hence, only a remnant held fast to the biblical position with about half of the churches conforming due to political and societal pressure. Unfortunately, this demonstrates that, when push comes to shove, a large percentage of pastors, churches and so-called Christians will probably bow to pressure and allow the norms of culture to become their credo for Christianity.
We see the same thing today in churches in the USA and beyond. With the accelerated pace of the attack on religious liberty today, there could develop a great divide in the church between confessing churches and compromising churches similar to what happened in Nazi Germany. This will not be a divide based on denominational affiliation but based on the degree of loyalty to biblical fidelity. It is sad but true that more and more believers will be compromising core biblical values and standards rather than be stigmatized or persecuted, and lose influence in society.
In John 12:42-43 we see that many contemporaries of Jesus believed in Him but would not confess Him because they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.
The following are contrasts between the confessing church and the compromising church.
1. In the confessing church, Christ is over culture. The compromising church accommodates Christ to culture. The confessing church believes Jesus is Lord over all creation. Hence, they attempt to reflect Christ in every area of culture. The compromising church has a posture of accommodation. Hence, the Christ they believe in and preach is shaped by the culture they live in.
2. The confessing church holds fast to the Word of God in spite of opposition. The compromising church alters the Word of God because of opposition. Soon in America it is quite possible that it will be illegal to preach from certain passages of the Bible dealing with human sexuality. Because of this, many will alter their theology to fit the culture while the confessing church will preach the Word of God in spite of governmental fines, penalties, lawsuits and even serving time in jail.
3. The confessing church puts the kingdom of God above their culture and ethnicity. The compromising church puts their ethnicity before the kingdom of God. The German Church during the Nazi era put nationalism and their Aryan heritage above the Word of God. Many pastors and believers today view the Scriptures more through the lens of their ethnicity and national heritage than through a proper exegesis of Scripture.
When, and if, our nation officially makes biblical Christianity illegal, we will soon see who will be the confessors and who will be the compromisers. In many ways, practicing biblical Christianity is already illegal when it comes to believers attempting to walk out their faith in the marketplace because private Christian-owned businesses do not have the same level of protection today as do local churches.
4. The confessing church alters their methods of preaching. The compromising church alters the message they preach. While it is wise and biblical for the body of Christ to be relevant to culture regarding the preaching of the gospel, it should never put being relevant above being faithful. The compromising church puts being relevant before biblical faithfulness. Hence, they not only change the method of preaching but also the message they preach.
5. The confessing church is a remnant in the minority of church and state. The compromising church wants to be in the mainstream of both church and state. The confessing church endures long seasons of feeling like aliens and strangers in their own communities. The compromising church wants to be in the mainstream of culture more than living in the divine flow of God's favor and presence.
6. The confessing church is penalized by the state government. The compromising church is applauded by the state government. While the confessing church is hunted down and ostracized by the humanistic state, the compromising church is celebrated by the far-left radicals and used as a model of how church and state should function together.
7. The confessing church prophetically speaks truth to power. The compromising church conforms to those in power. The confessing church knows that at various seasons in their existence they will not gain a lot of converts and/or experience societal transformation. The best they can do is to maintain a prophetic witness to the cultural elites and surrounding communities. Since the compromising church enjoys the power and prestige the elites grant them, they always conform rather than confront.
8. The confessing church desires the praise of God. The compromising church desires the praise of men. Ultimately at the end of the day it boils down to this: Are we living for the praise of men or the praise of God? If things don't change in the coming days, we will be shocked at how many megachurches, mid-size churches and smaller churches compromise the word of God so they could continue to keep their doors open.
At some point we will all have to stand the ultimate test, which is whether we desire God more than we love our lives, or whether we love our pleasures, conveniences and material goods more than God. Truly, if we confess Christ before men He will confess us before His Father in heaven, but if we deny Him before men He will deny us before His Father in heaven (Matt. 10:32-33). (Contributor: By Bishop Joseph G. Mattera for Charisma News - Joseph Mattera is overseeing bishop of Resurrection Church and Christ Covenant Coalition, in Brooklyn, New York.)
Prayer focus: We have published the writings of Bishop Mattera before and found his work to be insightful for the larger Church. We urge a thorough reading of this article. We pray that some readers will share these thoughts with pastors and church leaders. Religious freedom in the U.S. is being threatened in our military complex and in churches and other Christian ministries. Pray that the Church, when pressured to compromise, will stand strong for biblical principles. Pray for repentance to lead to widespread renewal and revival.
“Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed … work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure … that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life….” (Phil. 2:12-16)
The latest case of alleged government intrusion into the home comes out of Savannah, Georgia, where homeschooling parents were reported to a state agency by a social worker for the “educational neglect” of their 12-year-old daughter — who they have successfully and legally taught at their home for some time.
Without cause or warning, one social worker in northeastern Georgia contacted the Chatham County Department of Family and Children Services, alerting the agency that she suspected a family of neglecting the educational needs of their preteen daughter.
Not understanding the basis of the allegations or extent of her rights as a registered homeschool parent, the mother finally agreed to meet with the intrusive social worker outside of her home in order to get a better idea of exactly what she was being accused of regarding her daughter’s education.
After a brief discussion, the homeschool mom communicated to the social worker that she would give in and allow her inside of her home so that she could observe her daughter, but the mother would not agree to let the worker conduct a private interview with her 12-year-old.
Once the Homeschool Legal Defense Association was informed about the nature and conditions of the social worker’s visit, attorneys found the situation to be highly disturbing and unusual. As a member of HSLDA, the mother was quickly told that the intrusive investigation was extremely odd and problematic for two reasons: 1) the social worker, whose duties do not transcend into the realm of education, demanded to enter the homeschool family’s home and 2) the social worker aggressively pressed the family to allow her to observe the mother homeschool her daughter.
The rationale the social worker gave the homeschool mother for such an intrusive investigation was that she merely desired to ensure that her daughter was “getting the best education.” No concerns or allegations of misconduct or lack of learning were given to warrant any government invasion into her home.
As a matter of fact …
Once HSLDA Senior Counsel Dewitt Black gave the Savannah mom legal consultation as to how she should deal with the social worker moving forward, he proceeded to issue the government agent a letter clearly stating the homeschool parents’ constitutional rights to educate their own. He began by notifying the overreaching state employee that both parents were implementing a home study program for their daughter that was in direct compliance with Georgia state law.
Backing up his assertion, Black continued to lay out the facts pointing to legal documentation proving that the mother had already filed a mandatory declaration of intent for homeschooling, which she had submitted to the Georgia Department of Education at the commencement of this year’s fall semester. Also included in Black’s letter was a statement verifying that both parents were in full compliance with various other sections of the law by instructing their child above and beyond the minimum 4.5 hours per day, 180 days per year for the fall and spring semesters.
Black further notified the social worker that choosing to continue her invasive investigation would be a violation of the homeschool parents’ constitutional rights.
“The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution protect[s] the family from any unreasonable searches or seizures, such as entry into their home would involve,” Black stated to the social worker in his letter.
On second thought …
In just a matter of days after Black had send his letter to the social worker on behalf of the homeschool parents, the mother received a phone call from the state employee, who took an extreme change of course.
The social worker made it clear to the Savannah homeschool mom that a visitation to her home to investigate whether her daughter was receiving satisfactory home education was no longer necessary. Furthermore, the social worker also changed her tone — and apparently her perspective on homeschooling, as well.
“I think you’re doing a good job,” the social worker expressed to the homeschool mom in her phone conversation.
Before the conclusion of the phone call, the social worker let the home educator know that she was officially drawing the investigation to a close. (Contributor: By Michael F. Haverluck for One News Now)
Prayer focus: Those aware of the ministry of the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) know that the action of attorney Dewitt Black on behalf of their member in Georgia is all in a day’s work for him and his colleagues. Sadly, such attempts at home intrusion are not uncommon, and usually all an overreaching social worker needs is to be reminded of the law. Give thanks for this victory and the myriad of similar challenges homeschooling families overcome through HSLDA efforts. Homeschooling is legal in all 50 states. Officials interfere at times, often through ignorance of the law. Not all families are called to homeschooling, but those who are remain grateful for HSLDA.
“Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.” (Gal. 5:1)
“And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.” (Eph. 6:4)
“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” (Prov. 22:6)
Many public schools across the nation have regularly invited speakers from Planned Parenthood to inform high school and middle school students about under-age and premarital “safe sex” and how to use various forms of contraception, but when one abstinence speaker was scheduled to inform students in southeastern Pennsylvania about the rewards of saving sex until marriage and the dangers of casual sex, her speech was quickly cancelled, with critics calling it “hate speech.”
Devoting her life to informing America’s youth about the dangers of casual sexual activity, Pam Stenzel was looking forward to sharing her message with Warwick High School and Warwick Middle School students on November 19, but she was quickly informed that her two presentations were cancelled because a handful of people considered her abstinence standpoint as offensive.
There was far from an outpouring of protests — as only a few outspoken parents and students raised any objections to Stenzel’s message — but because of reported bullying from parents over the issue to school officials and biased media coverage, hundreds of students were unable to glean from Stenzel’s views on chastity and wholesome living.
The school district issued a statement explaining why Stenzel’s two daytime presentations were cancelled.
“[The cancellations were made] in order to protect the students and staff of Warwick School District from the credible threats to obstruct, intimidate and disrupt the educational process and rights of the students and families who elected to attend the school day presentations,” district officials announced.
Stenzel was invited to speak at both the high school and middle school, as well as at a nighttime presentation in the neighboring town of Lititz, located north of Lancaster in the Keystone State, but she ended up just sharing with about 500 students at the evening presentation, to which leftist activists also objected.
After many applauded Stenzel’s speech back in 2006, a local business decided to pay for Stenzel to speak on abstinence once again to give a broader perspective than what the schools offered through their sex education curricula. If so choosing, parents were granted the opportunity to opt their children out of the talks.
Reason for contention
The loud outcry of a few who took offense to Stenzel’s advice to abstain from all sexual activity before marriage reached various media channels.
One local resident was livid that Stenzel was originally scheduled to speak to students on a public school campus and she thought that the opt-out alternative was justnot enough. She went as far to call abstinence training “hate speech.”
“[The ability to opt out] completely misses the point,” local resident Allison Lakehart-Childs expressed to Superintendent April Hershey in a letter. “I do not want any students exposed to Ms. Stenzel’s hate speech.”
Leftist parents also had a problem with Stenzel communicating the message of purity until marriage.
“[Scheduling Stenzel was a] completely and totally irresponsible choice for a public school,” voiced parent Marie Firestone through Lancaster Online.
Local media also reportedly played up Stenzel’s menace to society, as Lancaster Online Reporter Kara Newhouse announced numerous times that she told West Virginia attendees, "If you take birth control, your mother probably hates you." Newhouse also reported that the abstinence speaker told them, "I could look at any one of you in the eyes right now and tell if you're going to be promiscuous."
After being asked about her critics’ reaction, Stenzel said that they speak their vulgar remarks out of ignorance, since most have never even seen per present, and if they have, it was most likely via a brief YouTube excerpt.
“They talk about tolerance,” Stenzel asserts. “They're the most intolerant people.”
I really said that?
Addressing the allegations to LifeSiteNews.com, Stenzel attempted to set the record straight.
“I never in my life said that,” Stenzel insisted. “I say the same thing over and over again.”
Stenzel attested that anyone familiar with her presentations would know the truth about the allegations.
“You can go listen to it yourself; my talks are all over YouTube,” Stenzel continued. “What I said was that if you are on birth control, you are at a greater risk of becoming infected with an STD.”
Her claim of innocence was corroborated by George Washington High School Principal George Aulenbacher, who attended Stenzel’s assembly on his school’s West Virginia campus.
“I didn’t hear anything like that,” Aulenbacher responded to the Charleston Gazette after being questioned about Stenzel’s alleged quotes during her speech in the Mountain State.
It was later found that Newhouse’s left-leaning bent ties her to numerous feminist political movements, which some say explain her failure to report on Stenzel’s rejection of her allegations.
Stenzel also contended that just a limited few rose objections to her abstinence viewpoint, but made such a stir that the protest seemed much larger than it actually was.
“[It] really was a small group — less than a handful of people — but they were being really loud, and they wouldn't let it go,” noted Stenzel, who was conceived in rape, which is instrumental in her passion to share abstinence and self-control with youth.
Stenzel’s agent, who arranges her speaking engagements, was also cognizant of the small disturbance that led to the unwarranted cancellation.
“Some of the parents were opposing her,” said Enlighten Communications Program Director Colin Hearn. “A lot more were for her.”
“The administration supported Pam 100 percent,” Hearn added in a statement to LifeSiteNews.com. “The school administration just saw some activity on social media and were a bit concerned [and called things off] when it started to get into a problem of a safety concern.”
Hearn indicated that the last thing Stenzel wanted was a controversy — she just wanted an avenue to help steer kids away from a destructive path.
“We don't want to disrupt the school — that's not our intention at all,” Hearn disclosed. “Education is tough enough as it is.”
In fact, even though it caved in to the pressure, the Pennsylvania school district was quick to blame a few dissentients for ruining a good presentation for the rest of the school.
“[A negligible minority of parents] with differences of opinion used what can only be described as bullying tactics through social media to personally attack individuals, to attempt to discover the name of the business contributor in order to boycott and/or picket the business, to threaten the continued use of the local media and the additional use of national media to ‘make an example’ of the district, to continue to spread inaccurate and inflammatory information, and as a platform for planning to create an unsafe environment for our students,” school officials pointed out.
More false claims?
Besides having problems with the promotion of abstinence, a number parents were bothered about Stenzel’s faith — given that she delivers one presentation to school audiences and another one to church audiences. They brought up contentions that her religious affiliation could present a problem with the so-called “separation of church in state,” which, in fact, does not preclude the freedom to express religious beliefs on campus.
“I'm not bringing faith into it at all — never have, never will in a public school setting,” argued Stenzel, who is more about presenting students with as much information as possible about the dangers of casual sex.
Those protesting Stenzel’s presentation also contend that she skews her statistics, but her booking agent says that she actually underrepresents the figures that she receives from government agencies like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which reports that of the 1.4 million chlamydia infections in the U.S., more than two out of three of them occur with people between the ages of 15 and 24.
Stenzel is not apologetic about the fact that the only way to confidently avoid getting sexually transmitted infections is by not having extramarital sex.
“I could have sex a million times if my husband has only been with me and never use a condom and I will never get an STI,” Stenzel shared at the assembly. “All we can do is love you, tell you the truth, and hope you make good choices.”
When asked about not being able to speak as scheduled on the two public school campuses, Stenzel had this to say:
“Pam Stenzel didn't lose today — your kids did,” the devout speaker told the community’s parents, according to Lancaster Online. “And that's too bad.”
Once Stenzel concluded her speech, the students in attendance gave her a standing ovation for giving them the bare facts out of a genuine love and concern. (Contributor: By Michael F. Haverluck for One News Now)
Prayer focus: This is about those who call evil good and good evil. How any adult could characterize a call for abstinence before marriage as “hate speech” boggles the mind. Report after report indicate that those who “wait” for the appropriate expression of sexual intimacy within marriage seldom express regrets, whereas those who do not wait are often sorry later for the premature loss of purity. Only a biblical worldview through the gospel of Christ can open such blind eyes. Pray accordingly.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” (Prov. 3:5-6)
“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.” (Phil. 4:8)