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

Preborn babies feel pain


Elizabeth Graham - Christian Post





In the not too distant past, physicians and scientists did not believe that newborn children could feel pain. Yes, you read that correctly. Thirty years ago, when babies required surgery, the standard of care included a drug administered to the child to temporarily paralyze his tiny body during the operation. Though the child was immobilized, he was not anesthetized from pain. All of that changed when Dr. Kanwaljeet Anand, as a medical resident, noticed that all of his little patients would return from surgery looking wan and anxious.




















Classification

The secret world of anorexics


Gina McColl - SMH





''Ana'' is not a real person but an identity, adopted as self, friend and foe, the embodiment of anorexia. Her speech is the self-talk and self-hate that typifies a condition that is all about internalising how you look - or think you look - on the outside, and clinging to the conviction that salvation lies in getting ever thinner. Ana (short for ''pro ana'' - pro anorexia) and her lesser known sibling Mia (or ''pro mia'' - pro bulimia) are the subjects of countless posts on social media and dedicated websites, blogs and forums. In 2008, the Eating Disorders Foundation of NSW estimated there were more than a million such sites. Federal Labor MP Anna Burke is advocating for a ban on pro anasites.
















Donor Conception & Surrogacy

Sperm donor mum tracks down her son’s ‘global family’ as she goes online to find six-year-old's 11 lookalike siblings


Natasha Courtemay-Smith - Daily Mail





With their similarly shaped faces and shared blond hair and blue eyes, it’s easy to guess that the three boys are brothers. But Max Silverwood and half-brothers Liam and Grant come from three different families – and have nine other siblings around the world. Their remarkable global ‘family’ has emerged after six-year-old Max’s mother Ellie Silverwood tracked down the other offspring of the sperm donor she used.




















Education

STDs on rise in WA, call to make sex education compulsory


Katie Robertson - PerthNow





Sex education should be mandatory in every WA high school to combat rising rates of sexually transmitted infections, the state's peak body for young people says. The Youth Affairs Council of WA says sexual health must be made a priority for all political parties and has called for a commitment before the March 9 poll for compulsory sex ed, even in private and religious schools. It comes as the latest statistics reveal WA has among the highest rates of chlamydia and gonorrhea in the country, second only to the Northern Territory.
























Human Rights

A-G eases church fears


Milanda Rout - The Australian





Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus has poured cold water on recommendations made by a parliamentary inquiry to dump key exemptions for religious organisations from the nation's proposed anti-discrimination laws. As concern among churches over the potential changes grew, the government sought to alleviate fears by vowing it would not make any significant changes to the original aims of the reform -- which did not include removing religious exemptions.












Calls for religious groups to heed discrimination laws

SBS





Rights groups and activists are calling on the federal government to adopt a Senate inquiry's proposals to no longer make religious groups exempt from the draft anti-discrimination legislation. Rights groups and activists are calling on the federal government to adopt a Senate inquiry's proposals to no longer make religious groups exempt from the draft anti-discrimination legislation.










Religious groups react against anti-discrimination inquiry findings

ABC AM





A Senate Committee has recommended draft anti-discrimination legislation be changed so churches are no longer exempt from the laws. The Opposition has rejected the report's majority finding and the Government is considering its stance. The controversial Australian Christian Lobby says if the laws are adopted then faith-based hospitals would be forced to conduct abortions.
















Marriage

Christian Marriage Conference in UK banned for opposition to gay marriage


Christian Today





The organizers of a marriage conference in Britain have been told they can no longer hold the event on their regular hired premises because they support the biblical definition of marriage as between one man and one woman. The Law Society in England has revoked its permission for "Christian Concern" to hold the conference on its premises saying that the event would breach its "diversity policy" due to the Christian group's religious beliefs that there should be no redefinition of marriage to include same-sex couples.










Is there a conservative argument for gay marriage?

Jennifer Thieme - Ruth Institute





There is a small but steadily growing idea among conservatives that they can support gay marriage and remain conservative. My position is that this is not possible. Here’s why. Gay marriage does not exist as a stand-alone policy issue. Nor is it a conservative issue, because it requires the natural family to be dismantled at the level of public policy. True conservatives support limited government, and they understand that there are other institutions which serve to limit government power. Two of these institutions are the natural family and religion.










US: For Republican Party legislators, marriage vote could pose risks

Patrick Condon - Associated Press





As some Republicans in the Minnesota Legislature weigh whether to support legalizing same-sex marriage, an analysis of gay-marriage votes from other states shows that Republican Party lawmakers who backed it often faced consequences, including loss of their seats.
















Politics

MPs return after Greens-ALP breakup


AAP





Federal MPs return to parliament this week for the first time since the Australian Greens broke up with Labor but a new opinion poll may attract most of the attention. The next Newspoll will probably add more fodder to speculation about whether Labor stays with Prime Minister Julia Gillard or returns to Kevin Rudd. Senators return to Canberra for the first time since Greens leader Christine Milne told Ms Gillard last week their post-2010 election deal was over.










Petitioners a 'disaffected rump', says Seselja

Peter Jean - The Canberra Times





Newly preselected ACT Liberal Senate candidate Zed Seselja has promised to fight to ensure public servants are protected from forced redundancies if the Coalition wins the federal election. And Mr Seselja has dismissed as a ''disaffected rump'' forces within the Canberra Liberals who have launched action which could lead to his preselection victory against incumbent senator Gary Humphries being overturned.












Prostitution & Sex Trafficking

Brothels safer place to work, former prostitute tells students


Jenna Clarke - The Canberra Times





Students, or ''sugar babies'', who do sex work should be working in brothels rather than relying on online prostitution organisations, a former Canberra sex worker says. The Sunday Canberra Times reported hundreds of ACT university students are receiving gifts and having their tuition fees and rent paid by so-called ''sugar daddies'' whom they have found online.














Refugees

'Problematic' detainees tried to harm themselves


Bianca Hall - SMH





Within a month of arriving at Nauru, ''problematic'' asylum seekers had tried to hang themselves or cut themselves with razor blades, internal Department of Immigration reports reveal. Incident logs obtained by Fairfax Media under freedom-of-information laws show mass hunger strikes and self-harm became regular events at the detention centre during its first three months of operation. The first transfer of asylum seekers happened on September 14. On October 13, two men tried to hang themselves inside their tents - one with a bed sheet and one with tent ropes.














Religious Freedom & Persecution

'Psychological warfare' reported by jailed pastor


WND





An American pastor jailed in Iran’s notorious Evin prison for preaching the Christian faith says prison authorities have subjected him to “horrific pressures” and “psychological warfare,” which includes death threats. The American Center for Law and Justice, which is urging the U.S. government and United Nations to intervene, today reported Pastor Saeed Abedini has written the first letter he’s been allowed since his conviction and sentence in January.










Death for preaching Christ in ‘liberated’ Libya

Raymond Ibrahim - Front Page News





Four foreign Christians—including one who holds American-Swedish citizenship—were arrested days ago in Libya. According to the Guardian, their crime is arousing “suspicion of being missionaries and distributing Christian literature, a charge that could carry the death penalty.” Apparently the four Christians had “contracted a local printer to produce pamphlets explaining Christianity.” Proselytizing to Muslims—that is, preaching to them another religion—was banned even under the late Col. Muammar Gaddafi.










Sexualisation of Society

Why Big Porn Inc had to be written: an interview with Hennie Weiss


MTR





Feminist Conversations is a regular feature here at Feminists for Choice. Today we are talking to Melinda Tankard Reist, co-editor of Big Porn Inc: Exposing the harms of the global pornography industry. Melinda is also the co-founder of Collective Shout: for a world free of sexploitation.














Sex for HECS: poor students go for cash

Ewa Kretowicz - The Canberra Times





Hundreds of cash-strapped ACT university students are turning to prostitution to pay rent and living expenses, with 200 signing up to a website that matches millionaires with young women. The US-based website, SeekingArrangement.com, has released a list that shows how many university students are exchanging sex for cash, gifts and holidays. Almost 90 students from the Australian National University have signed up, with 17 University of Canberra students and 28 Canberra Institute of Technology students also posting their details.
















Other

Self-harm ‘poses grave risk of suicide’ among young


Damir Govorcin - Catholic Weekly





A significant proportion of children under 15 are already self harming which is putting them at risk of suicide, according to Fr Chris Riley, chief executive officer of Youth Off The Streets. “Although self-harm is a very different way of dealing with emotional distress to suicide, the risk of suicide in the future is much higher compared to another young person who does not self-harm, even if at the time they are not suicidal at all,” he said. “There is also the risk that the young person may injure themselves more seriously than they intended to, putting their life at risk.












Transgender Bathroom Bills: The push for recognition of "Gender Identity and "Gender Expression" will open a Pandora's box

Campaign Life Coalition - Canada





Over the past several years in both Canada and the United States, there has been a concerted effort by gay activists to create a spurious, new right to "gender identity" and "gender expression". In 2011, private member's Bill C-389 died in the Senate when the Canadian federal election was called. Despite a Conservative majority, its successor in the next parliament, Bill C-279, shockingly passed second reading on June 6th 2012 by a vote of 150 to 132. The third reading vote is scheduled to occur February 27, 2013. A close examination of what it means to grant special status to groups who self-define by "gender expression" and "gender identity" reveals implications that are far-reaching.












Free speech stoned to death

Miranda Devine - The Sunday Telegraph





If you needed proof that free speech in Australia is on the run, look at what happened when Dutch anti-Islam politician Geert Wilders came to town. With 10 per cent of the vote in Holland, Wilders is a mainstream politician, leading the third largest political party in one of the most tolerant liberal democracies in the world. Yet in Australia he is treated like a pariah, denied a visa for months, and unable to secure a venue for his speaking tour in Perth.