Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Is this whom we are killing now?

Question AbortionTM
Is this the face of the enemy?

Is this the face of the enemy?Look into the eyes of this baby and ask yourself, "Is this the face of the enemy?"

Feminists For Life of America is asking this question as part of their Question AbortionTM outreach campaign.

    Abortion advocates pit women against our children.
    But lack of emotional and financial support are the real enemies.

Abortion is, when you get right down to it, a Sophie's Choice kind of choice. For those of you not familiar with the story, Sophie arrives at the concentration camp with her two small children. Guards are sending some prisoners to the barracks, some to the ovens. One guard gives Sophie a choice: she can select which of her two children will go to the barracks,
which to death...

Read the rest at RealChoice.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

womb with a view

Got this from the Family Research Council website (you'll see the link to this site on the list):

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Lives

The New York Times is reporting the effect sonogram pictures are having on women in crisis pregnancies. The more information women receive about the life within them, the less likely they are to choose an abortion. In one survey, 90 percent of women who were initially leaning toward an abortion chose life after seeing their child's ultrasound. This would seem to be a victory for both sides in the abortion debate. Yet crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs) that provide free access to sonograms are an anathema to "pro-choicers." CPCs are sometimes the target of pro-abortion advocates, suffering vandalism for providing basic health information to an expectant mother in a difficult situation. It is time for the veil of deceit to be pulled back from the "pro-choice" movement. They simply are not interested in choice; they are interested in abortions. I would like to applaud those who have sacrificed to provide greater access to the important technology of ultrasound equipment. The images these machines provide literally save lives.

Voices carry

Here are two instances that demonstrate how speaking
up can bring apparent results.

One influenced congressional decisions in the US to
appropriate more funds for abstinence education
programs, truly a significant development; the other
prompted a department store to make changes in its
clothing lines, according to the fall 2004 issue of
Justine magazine.

Read on.


Lawmakers Hear Students' Voices Loud and Clear

WASHINGTON, DC, Jun 16, 2005 – Abstinence educators
are welcoming the news of an impending increase of
nearly $11 million for the Community-Based Abstinence
Education grant program. The program, found in the
Labor, HHS and Education appropriations bill, funds
more than 100 abstinence education programs across
the country. The increase in funds for abstinence
education programs was declared “a victory for
America’s children” by Leslee Unruh, president of
the Abstinence Clearinghouse.

"Finally, Congress is looking at the evidence and
saying, ‘this is healthy and it is working,’ and
then giving a priority to funding abstinence
education,” said Unruh. “Students who are abstaining
spent time on the hill, asking lawmakers to believe
in them and their ability to choose healthy

“Tonight, the legislators made a decision to help me
and my friends to receive the best possible,
healthiest education,” commented Ashley Brooks, a
sixteen year old member of the Abstinence
Clearinghouse’s National Truth 4 Youth Council.
“With their decision to increase abstinence
education, they supported my commitment to wait
until marriage.”

“Contraceptive sex education has been failing our
students, yet, it received nearly $2 billion each
year. What Congress is starting to realize is after
40 years in schools, contraceptive sex ed has never
been shown to prevent unmarried teen pregnancy or
STDs. Under this plan, abstinence, which the CDC has
shown is responsible for the majority of the drop in
teen pregnancy, is now going to receive a total of
$177 million in 2006. This is a far cry from parity,
but even this amount is a victory for America’s
children,” said Unruh.

“The million dollar question remains: What will
lawmakers do on the floor?" Unruh asked. "Are they
going to continue to take the evidence to heart,
stand up for the health and well-being of our young
people, and fund programs that work? If the increase
in abstinence finding is any indication, I think the
answer is yes. Unfortunately, more than a billion
dollars remain in the budget to fund ideologically
driven programs that put youth at risk by promoting

"The Abstinence Clearinghouse thanks Members of the
House of Representatives who paid close attention to
the mounting research, and appropriated an increase
to responsible education about sexual integrity.
Tonight’s decision was a clear mandate to improve
the health of the next generation. Abstinence
education is the best way to do that," Unruh


Eleven-year-old Ella Gunderson made front-page news
when she wrote a letter to Nordstrom execs about
their lack of appropriate apparel. Since then,
Nordstrom and many other stores have stocked their
shelves with more subdued styles.

- from Justine magazine's fall 2004 issue

Sunday, June 19, 2005

they're not passing the buck

If you really look around you, you're bound to find sources of inspiration--such as people who make quiet but significant efforts to help those around them. Leafing through the June 20 issue of Time revealed a few pages devoted to philanthropists and their ways of giving. Here are two of them and a little about what they're doing:

Charles Best: doing his part from a small public high school
In the cramped, windowless lunchroom at Wings Academy, a small public high school in the Bronx in New York City, teachers are often buzzing about big new ideas on how to teach and reach students. But few of their improvement schemes made it into classrooms until rookie teacher Charles Best had the best idea of all: to create an online charity that would give citizen philanthropists direct access to needy classrooms.

Best's vision became donorschoose.org, a site that allows donors to search teacher requests and fun the projects they like best. The charity then buys the supplies--anything from colored pencils to microscopes--and ships them to classrooms. "People knew the plight of students in our public schools," says Best, 29, whose own education, at Yale University and an exclusive New Hampshire boarding school, was unmarked by economic hardship of any kind. "They wanted to help out but wondered if their contributions were going to go into a black hole."

In the spring of 2000, Best used roasted pears (his mom's recipe) to lure 10 sweet-toothed colleagues to post proposals on the site. He initially failed to find donors, but he believed in the project so strongly that he used his own meager's teacher's salary to anonymously fund all 10 of them--then moved in with his parents to keep the site and himself fiscally afloat. Since then, residents of all 50 states and 10 foreign countries have donated over $3.5 million to fund more than 7,000 projects. The charity garnered a Tech Museum laureate for innovations in e-procurement and has won over corporate sponsors such as Yahoo, Lehman Bros. and Bank of America.

DonorsChoose may be a virtual charity, but its effect on children is very real. Every shipment inclues a disposable camera and guidelines for writing class thank-you notes. A fifth-grader in the Bronx reduced a regular donor to tears with this note: "No one has ever done anything that nice for me before...I want to do something nice for you. Just let me know what you need, and I'll take care of it." Vani Khajuria, a North Carolina fourth-grader, wrote her patron, "My children's children's children will treasure this book." Eloquent proof that a minute or two on a website can have an effect for generations. - By Amanda Bower

** Best's online charity has since helped some 6,000 needy classrooms throughout New York City, Chicago, the Bay area and North Carolina.
Los Angeles is next.

Zainab Salbi: providing hands-on aid and support via mail to women in war-torn regions
Zainab Salbi was a terrified teenager in Baghdad during the war between Iran and Iraq. Bombs routinely fell around her house. Years later, as a 23-year-old student at George Mason University in Virginia [USA], she read a TIME article about the systematic rape of Bosnian women by Serbian soldiers, and it moved her to action. "I grew up in a war, so I was drawn to suffering," she says. Within six months, having raised $2,000 with the help of a local Unitarian church, she traveled to Bosnia, determined to do something. Today, Salbi's group, Women for Women International, based in Washington and with 180 staff members and a budget of $11.1 million, is a lifeline for war-torn women in eight countries: Afghanistan, Bosnia, Colombia, Iraq, Kosovo, Nigeria, Republic of the Congo and Rwanda. The organization picks up where humanitarian aid leaves off. "We work with women as they get out of the refugee tent--out of the victim stage--and help them become survivors and active citizens," Salbi says.

A third of the budget is raised through "sister to sister" sponsorship. Women in the U.S. and other countries contribute $27 a month for a year to women in a conflict zone. And they exchange letters. The cash is for the war victim to buy food and pay for her children's schooling. The letters help overcome the bitterness. "You feel hopeless," Salbi says. "Then a stranger writes to say, 'I care. I am listening to you.'" Last year, women in the program exchanged 44,000 letters. Salbi is looking to expand. Says she: "It is cheaper to build peace than go to war." - By Margot Roosevelt

** Outside Sarajevo, Salbi's staff helped set up a messenger system so that if a wife was being beaten by her husband--domestic violence often increases after a war--40 women would converge to shout down the offender.

The rest of the feature is in Time magazine's June 20 issue (Asia).

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Make a difference

Here's something from an old magazine that I dug up recently. It's a principle that can really fire you up if you live by it--

Make a Difference

As the old man walked the beach at dawn, he noticed a young man ahead of him picking up starfish and flinging them into the sea. Finally catching up with the youth, he asked him why he was doing this. The answer was that the stranded starfish would die if left in the morning sun.

“But the beach goes on for miles and there are millions of starfish,” countered the old man. “How can your effort make any difference?”

The young man looked at the starfish in his hand and then threw it to the safety of the waves. “It makes a difference to this one,” he said.

When you feel that your presence is worthless,
can make
a difference.

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