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.




Marking four decades of abortion politics

Tobin Grant - Christianity Today

Like every year since 1974, pro-life demonstrators participated in this week’s March for Life in Washington, D.C. to protest the Supreme Court's decision. Organizers hope that the march brings focus to the issue of abortion, but they are often dismayed by event coverage. This year, pro-life activists were particularly upset with coverage by CBS, which posted a slideshow that initially only featured images of those protesting the March for Life. CBS has since changed the content so that it now includes photos of pro-life participants.


Do we need a morality pill?

Michael Cook - Bioedge

Princeton bioethicist Peter Singer and a research assistant, Agata Sagan, proposed a “morality pill” in a column in the New York Times this week. They speculate that moral behaviour is at least in part biochemically determined. Hence, it should be possible to engineer moral behaviour with drugs.

IVF doctor faces $10 million 'wrongful birth' case

Paul Bibby - SMH

Debbie and Lawrence Waller love their 11-year-old son, Keeden, but they believe he should never have been born. Just days after Mrs Waller gave birth in August 2000 following IVF treatment, Keeden suffered a massive stroke that caused severe brain damage and meant he was never able to walk, talk or go to the toilet. The stroke was the result of a rare blood clotting condition known as antithrombin deficiency which Keeden inherited from his father.

Children & Family

How divorce ruins children’s lives

William West - Mercator Net

A new study on divorce, looking at the complete spectrum of research on the subject, confirms what most people already know – even if they are not willing to admit it: divorce causes “irreparable harm” to the whole family, but particularly to the children. There have been plenty of individual studies exposing one or more effects of divorce, but rarely do researchers give an overview of the findings to date – and it makes disturbing reading.

Mums prefer online parenting advice: survey

The West Australian

With the kids back at school, mums and dads will again be chatting at the school gate at pick-up time. But don't bother swapping parental tips; it appears the internet has replaced mothers' wisdom and is the go-to for family advice. New research has found that eight in 10 mums are more likely to log on than go to their own mums for parenting advice, turning to parenting websites such as Netmums, Mumsnet, Google and Facebook rather than taking advantage of their mum's hard-earned parenting experience.

Family violence erupts across the north

Tara Murray - Macedon Ranges Weekly

Family violence in Melbourne's northern suburbs has increased by more than 50 per cent in the past five months, according to an agency that helps victims. Berry Street Northern Family and Domestic Violence Service, which takes in seven municipalities including Hume, says it's receiving, on average, 360 police referrals a month to help victims. The agency's Felicity Rorke said a number of referrals were from Sunbury police. Police also refer people to the Sunbury Community Health Centre.


Tony Abbott to establish Online Safety Working Group

Hamish Barwick - Tech World

The Coalition has announced plans for an Online Safety Working Group designed to assist parents and teachers in protecting young people from the risks associated with the internet and social media. The Coalition will consult with technology, education and cyber safety representatives, to develop its online safety policy in the areas of education, regulation and enforcement. Federal opposition leader, Tony Abbott, said in a statement that approximately 2.2 million Australian children actively engage via the internet and are vulnerable to its risks.

Drugs & Alcohol

Hard drug users in 50s more likely to die earlier

News Medical

Young adults often experiment with hard drugs, such as cocaine, amphetamines and opiates, and all but about 10 percent stop as they assume adult roles and responsibilities. Those still using hard drugs into their 50s are five times more likely to die earlier than those who do not, according to a new study by University of Alabama at Birmingham researchers published online Jan. 27, 2012, in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.


Clubs ACT to meet on trial offer


Clubs ACT will meet to consider the Gillard government's offer to host a trial of mandatory pre-commitment technology for poker machines this week. In late January, Prime Minister Julia Gillard reneged on her deal with anti-pokies MP Andrew Wilkie to tackle problem gambling by rolling out the measures by 2014, in return for his support of her minority government.

Cyber gambling on the rise in Australia

The Conversation

Internet gambling is becoming more popular in Australia due to increased convenience and availability, according to a new research involving 6680 participants, the largest survey of online gamblers in the country to date. Credit cards and online banking have facilitated the rise, with more than half of the 450 problem internet gamblers surveyed saying that the availability of such technology increased the amount they spent.


Senior church figures back Christian counsellor Lesley Pilkington over 'gay' cure

Huffington Post

Senior figures in the Church of England have supported a Christian counsellor who treated a gay man when he asked to be cured of his homosexuality. Lord Carey, the former archbishop of Canterbury, as well as Bishop of Chester the Rt Rev Peter Forster, and Bishop of Lewes the Rt Rev Wallace Benn were among signatories to a letter giving support to 60-year-old psychotherapist Lesley Pilkington. The counsellor is due to mount an appeal this week following a British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) ruling that she was guilty of professional misconduct over a therapy session with gay journalist Patrick Strudwick.

Christain counsellor recievs backing from Lord Carey

Christian Concern

Lord Carey, along with other senior figures, has stated in a letter of support for Lesley Pilkington that she should be able to continue providing her therapy. Lesley Pilkington is a Christian counsellor and psychotherapist who was approached by an undercover homosexual rights journalist at a largely Christian conference in 2009. The journalist convinced her that he had unwanted same-sex attractions and needed her counselling assistance. He later attended several sessions with Lesley at her home where he secretly recorded her. He subsequently attacked her in the press and complained to her professional body, the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy.

Nixon clarifies 'gay is a choice' remarks


Actress Cynthia Nixon is trying to clarify her earlier remarks that got her in hot water with some fellow gay rights activists. After some gay rights activists complained that Nixon's remarks could be used to deny a biological basis for homosexuality, the actress on Monday released a statement to The Advocate magazine explaining she is technically bisexual, and not by choice. "What I have 'chosen' is to be in a gay relationship," Nixon told the magazine.


NSW Greens 'riven by branch warfare'

Matthew Franklin - The Australian

Greens MPs and activists have complained that the party's NSW branch is run by a small "cadre" of Leninist-style ideologues whose activities are making it appear to be populated by "lunatics". And the NSW branch is attempting to censure, gag or even expel MPs critical of its policies, including last year's controversial move to back a ban on Israel and blockades of Israeli-owned chocolate retailer Max Brenner.

Religious Freedom & Persecution

Ethiopian Christians to be deported from Saudi Arabia


Some 35 Ethiopian Christians face deportation from Saudi Arabia for "illicit mingling", the global rights body Human Rights Watch (HRW) says. Police arrested the group - including 29 women - after raiding a prayer meeting in the second city of Jeddah. The women were subjected to strip searches and the men beaten and called "unbelievers", according to HRW.


Tankard Reist furore: feminists on the attack

Clair Bongiorno - ABC

In recent weeks social commentator, Melinda Tankard Reist, has been subjected to scornful criticisms from certain feminist commentators following a profile piece in Sunday Life magazine. This group, composed mainly of second-wave feminists, has sought to publicly delegitimise Tankard Reist. Three challenges to Tankard Reist are particularly troubling.