ACL compiles a daily media monitoring service of stories of interest to the Christian constituency relating to children, family, drugs and alcohol, marriage, human rights, religious freedom etc. Visit the ACL’s website each day to see what’s of interest in the news. Please note that selection of the articles does not represent ACL endorsement of the content.



 





Abortion

Was woman killed in botched 33-week abortion told not to go to ER?


Steven Ertelt - LifeNews





Papers uncovered in trash bins outside the abortion facility where a woman was killed in a botched late-term abortion are leading to questions about whether she was instructed to not go to a local emergency room after the failed abortion. Jennifer McKenna Morbelli, a 29-year-old woman from New Rochelle, New York died from a botched 33-week abortion last week. Following a new probe started by local officials, the Maryland Attorney General has opened an investigation into the late-term abortion practitioner who killed a Morbelli. The Maryland Attorney General’s office is not specifically looking into Morbelli’s death but it is looking at illegal dumping by the abortion clinic that could result in fines or other form of punishment.
















Charities & NFP

Parents cry for help from charities


Linda Silmalis - The Sunday Telegraph





One of Australia's leading charities has reported a 30 per cent increase in calls for help, which it has attributed to the changes in the single parenting payment scheme. The new rules, which took effect in January, were expected to affect 80,000 women who would move from the parenting payment to the much lower Newstart allowance. Frontline workers for The Smith Family in NSW, Queensland, WA and the ACT told The Sunday Telegraph the change had resulted in a dramatic rise in calls for assistance from predominantly single mothers struggling to with back-to-school costs.








Children and Family

Intersex pondered as gender category

Noel Towell - The Canberra Times





ACT birth certificates could soon recognise transgender and intersex people. As well, another category, ''indeterminate'', is also being considered. The territory government is considering changes to the Births, Deaths and Marriages Act that would add to the traditional gender categories.












Classification

Iceland's bid to ban web porn: Nation could become first western country to block filth over fears of effects on children


Tanith Carney - The Daily Mail





Iceland could become the first Western democracy to block all internet porn under radical new proposals. Fears about the damaging effects on children have led the government to work on legal measures to try and stop the flood of graphic sexual material reaching the island’s shores. Interior Minister Ögmundur Jónasson has set up working parties to find the best ways to stem the tide of online images and videos being accessed by young people through computers, games consoles and smartphones. The Icelandic government's study suggested that children exposed to violent pornography at an early age showed similar signs of trauma to those who had been actually abused. Methods under consideration include blocking porn IP addresses and making it illegal to use Icelandic credit cards to access x-rated sites. A law forbidding the printing and distribution of porn has long been in place in the Nordic nation – but it has yet to be updated to cover the internet.












Iceland banning porn, Page 3 on the way out – the feminists are winning, thankfully

Ed West - UK Telegraph





Can Iceland ban internet pornography? The Nordic country has already become the first to restrict lapdancing on feminist rather than Christian grounds, but this would be a significant move. It’s part of a wider feminist backlash against sexualisation that is gaining ground in Europe. In Britain the campaign against Page 3 looks like it might finally achieve its aims, after Rupert Murdoch indicated that he might drop it (Murdoch opposed introducing Page 3 in the first place, which was brought in while he was on holiday, until he saw how popular it was).




















Donor Conception & Surrogacy

Forging a bond, and sharing the joy


Letitia Rowlands - The Daily Telegraph





It's not the role most mothers play in the arrival of their newborn baby. When little Hamish Raftery came into the world he was handed straight to his mother, Kylie. But she wasn't lying in a hospital bed, exhausted from the efforts of labour. That's because another woman gave birth to him. That other woman was Veronika Donavan, a gestational surrogate, who Mrs Raftery and husband Adrian now consider family after she gave them the ultimate gift - a healthy baby. Mrs Donavan's surrogacy was altruistic, meaning she did not receive any payment, because commercial surrogacy whether carried out here or overseas is illegal in NSW. It is a fact that angers the Rafterys. "The whole process cost more than $80,000 in doctor, psychologist and solicitor fees, yet the one person who gave so much was not allowed to get a cent," Mr Raftery said.


















Drugs & Alcohol

Customs and Border Protection report shows steroids and hormones seized at Australia's borders has tripled


Vanda Carson - The Daily Telegraph





The number of steroids and hormones seized at Australia's borders is at a record high - more than tripling in the past two years, new figures show. Ten days after the Australian Crime Commission report into drugs in sport was released, a Customs and Border Protection report shows the number of detections of steroids continues to grow. The ACC report refers to a 255 per cent increase in hormone and steroid seizures between 2010 and 2011, but the Customs report for 2012 reveals detections continue to skyrocket and are at a record high.














Euthanasia

France moves one step closer to legalising euthanasia


Henry Samuel - Telegraph





Using the term "assisted death" rather than euthanasia, the council invoked a "duty to humanity" to allow a patient "suffering from an ailment for which the treatment has become ineffective" to die. A medical team, not a sole doctor, would take the decision. The council's conclusions came after President François Hollande asked it to examine the precise circumstances under which such steps could be authorised, with a view to tabling draft legislation by June. Changes were necessary, he said, as, "the existing legislation does not meet the legitimate concerns expressed by people who are gravely and incurably ill".


















Health

Red Cross celebrates 150th anniversary


ABC





The world's oldest aid organisation, the International Committee of the Red Cross, is marking its 150th anniversary today. Since its inception, the ICRC has brought relief to the victims of war, bringing help to the destitute, visiting prisoners, uniting families. It was founded in 1863 in response to the suffering witnessed at the Battle of Solferino by Geneva businessman Henri Dunant. Today, it says it faces challenges not foreseen in the original Geneva conventions - new weapons such as drones, conflicts like that in Syria with multiple armed groups and shifting frontlines.




















Marriage

Analysis: Wider legal rights at stake in U.S. gay marriage cases


Reuters





As the U.S. Supreme Court prepares to take up same-sex marriage next month, laws barring recognition of such unions are not the only issue hanging in the balance. The very question of whether gay people constitute a vulnerable group that needs the court's help in asserting equal rights is also at stake. Ahead of two high-profile oral arguments in March, backers of gay rights and defenders of more traditional marriage are zeroing in on whether courts should be wary of any laws that target gay people. The underlying question is whether bans on gay marriage violate the U.S. Constitution's guarantee of equal protection under the law.


















Politics

PM's poll pain: Abbott and Rudd more popular


Mark Kenny - SMH





Support for both Julia Gillard and her government has slumped, wiping out most of the gains made since the carbon tax was introduced last year and raising the chances that she could be replaced by Kevin Rudd. Tony Abbott now leads Ms Gillard as preferred prime minister for the first time in seven months, but Mr Rudd d eclared on Sunday that he would not be drafted into the Labor leadership. The Herald/Nielsen poll found the gap between Ms Gillard and the former prime minister has grown, with Mr Rudd favoured by 61 per cent of respondents to just 35 per cent for her.


















Galaxy poll shows female voters choose Tony Abbott

Samantha Maiden - The Sunday Telegraph





Female voters have rejected Julia Gillard's claim Tony Abbott is a misogynist and are preparing to elect him prime minister despite some concerns about his "negativity" and views on abortion. In the nation's first female-only Galaxy poll, The Sunday Telegraph asked women to tell us the real reasons for the gender gap on voting intentions. The exclusive results reveal women stand ready to end the reign of Australia's first female Prime Minister on September 14, with just one in three women - 36 per cent - preparing to vote Labor.
















Refugees

Asylum seekers ram a billion-dollar hole in budget


Simon Benson and Gemma Jones - The Daily Telegraph





The federal government's boat people policy is sinking Treasurer Wayne Swan's budget with the cost of detaining asylum seekers blowing out by $1 billion. As the number of arrivals continues to mount - 10 more asylum seekers arrived by boat yesterday - The Daily Telegraph can reveal the five-year contract with the private firm Serco to run the majority of the country's detention centres until 2014 has blown out by a further $700 million.Contracts for providing public health services have also been revised up by $200 million and the cost of providing residential homes will rise by $50 million.


















Religious Freedom & Persecution

Christian prisoners in Shiraz, Iran still held after more than a year


Mohabat News





It is now more than a year since four Christian converts were arrested in Shiraz. They are still being held in Adel-Abad prison in a ward known as "Ebrat" (edification) awaiting the court's decision. The Christian prisoners are Mojtaba Seyyed-Alaedin Hossein, Mohammad-Reza Partoei (also known as Koroush), Vahid Hakkani, and Homayoun Shokouhi. Since their arrest, they have been taken to the Revolutionary Court of Shiraz several times in a pitiful condition with their hands and feet chained, where their charges were officially announced as participating in house-church services, evangelizing and promoting Christianity, having contact with foreign Christian ministries, distributing propaganda against the regime and disturbing national security.


















Saudi Arabia detains 53 Ethiopian Christians

BosNewsLife





Dozens of Ethiopian Christians, mostly women, have been detained in Saudi Arabia after attending a worship service in a private home, BosNewsLife learned Wednesday, February 13. The Christians - 46 women and six men including three church leaders - were arrested last Friday, February 8, said the well-informed Religious Liberty Commission of the World Evangelical Alliance, or 'WEA-RLC', which represents evangelical believers worldwide. It said the three church leaders - two of them women - were produced in an Islamic court in the eastern city of Dammam on charges of converting Muslims to Christianity. The Saudi government persists in banning all forms of public religious expression other than that of the government's own interpretation of one school of Sunni Islam; prohibits churches, synagogues, temples, and other non-Muslim places of worship.










Islamic extremists attack Coptic church, wounding pastor

Asia News





A crowd, incited by a Salafi leader, attacked the church of Saint Georgas. The Cross on the dome destroyed, part of the interior and the sacred images devastated. The police witnessed the violence, but did not intervene. Fr. Domadios saved by a Muslim family. In recent months, extremists had opened a hole in the wall to "monitor" his activities.
















Other

Call for prayers as church deals with abuse inquiry


ABC





The Catholic Church has written a letter to its parishioners urging them to redouble their prayers as it deals with the royal commission into child sex abuse. The letter, which is signed by 15 New South Wales bishops including Cardinal George Pell, tells parishioners that the Catholic Church intends to cooperate fully with the upcoming royal commission. Church spokesman Francis Sullivan says they are ready for whatever comes out of the investigation. "All the truth must come out, and some of that truth will be painful and some of it will require us admitting that in the past there were cover-ups," he said.












Southern Poverty Law Center's hate campaign against ex-gays

Christopher Doyle - Christian Post





Dr. Martin Luther King once said, "Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that." The lesson Dr. King taught us when he spoke those words, was that a righteous cause must be fueled by love, truth, and justice. The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), which claims to be "a nonprofit civil rights organization dedicated to fighting hate and bigotry, and to seeking justice for the most vulnerable members of society," has been conducting a hate campaign for several years against former homosexual leaders, therapists, and persons with unwanted same-sex attraction (SSA).
















Unprotected sex leads to rise in gay men in UK contracting HIV

Conal Urquhart - Guardian





The number of gay and bisexual men contracting HIV rose over the past 20 years because of an increase in numbers having unprotected sex, researchers have found. The number of UK men who have sex with men and having intercourse without a condom rose by 26% between 1990 and 2010, the study by the Health Protection Agency (HPA) and University College London showed. The HPA said one in 20 men who have sex with men in the UK now had HIV, with the figure rising to nearly one in 12 in London.