Parliament’s part in the C of E’s rifts on equality for women and gay people | Letters

Westminster interference over women priests left a legacy that is still felt today, says April Alexander, while Andy Foster says equality for LGBTQ+ people in the church must become law

MPs may “raise concerns” about the fact that the Church of England appears not to be willing to offer marriage in church to same-sex couples (Welby ‘would rather see C of E disestablished than split over same-sex marriage’, 1 February ), but parliament has something to answer for in relation to the church and its attitude on such matters.

In 1992, the General Synod passed a relatively simple measure to allow women to become priests, but not to impose them where a parish wanted to maintain the then position of appointing only male priests. That did not satisfy the ecclesiastical committee of the time (a joint committee of MPs and peers) and they demanded “protection” and “safeguarding” against women priests by means of an Act of Synod. The church had no alternative but to oblige – and complicated arrangements were agreed whereby evangelical and, broadly, Anglo-Catholic parishes could opt out of the new regime and elect not to appoint women priests or to consider them for posts.

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EXCLUSIVE: Over 60% of Women Who Got Abortions Reported High Level of Pressure, Study Finds

FIRST IN DAILY SIGNAL: Over 60% of women who aborted their unborn baby reported high levels of pressure from other sources, a new peer-reviewed study from the Charlotte Lozier Institute found. And that same group of women also reported higher levels of mental health struggles and quality of life issues following the abortion.

The study, published in the Cureus medical journal , is one in a series of “Unwanted Abortion Studies” from the Charlotte Lozier Institute, the research arm of Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America.

“We surveyed women between 41 and 45 years of age, so they had had most of their reproductive life, and we asked about their experiences with pregnancy and abortion ,” David Reardon, Ph.D., a Lozier Institute associate scholar and lead author of the new study, shared with The Daily Signal. “And of those women, we had 226 who reported a history of abortion.”

“Over 60% reported that they felt very much pressured to abort by either their male partner, family members, other people, circumstances,” he added. “The feeling of pressure to abort was strongly correlated with more negative feelings after the abortion and more mental health problems that they attributed to the abortion specifically.”

Women who said that they were pressured into an abortion also said that they experienced significant levels of negative emotions related to the abortion; intrusive thoughts, including flashbacks to their abortion; frequent feelings of loss, grief, and sadness; and increased levels of stress answering questions about their abortion.

“Abortion clinics cannot claim to be pro-woman while at the same time allowing the majority of their clients to be pressured into unwanted abortions,” Reardon said in a statement.

“In a country torn by political debate over abortion, surely these findings underscore one point on which we should all be able to agree,” he added. “No woman should ever feel pressured into accepting an unwanted abortion. Clearly, abortion clinics need to provide better pre-abortion screening and counseling in order to prevent unsafe and unwanted abortions.”

The study was conducted using online survey tools surveying 1,000 women between the ages of 41 and 45 with a 96% completion rate. The Lozier Institute notes that those women who said they had an abortion were four times more likely to drop out of the survey once they had to answer more questions about their abortion experience—compared to the women who did not say they had an abortion and had to answer more questions about their pregnancy experiences.

“Even with our high participation rate, women with a history of abortion reported higher levels of stress completing the survey than other women, which is most likely why they were most likely to drop out before completing the survey,” Reardon said. “This is why surveys about abortion will always underreport negative outcomes. It is precisely the women feeling the most negative emotions who are most likely to not want to talk about it.” 

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Pro-life Dad Targeted by Biden DOJ Will Attend State of the Union

Catholic pro-life activist and former Biden Department of Justice target Mark Houck will attend the State of the Union as Pennsylvania Republican Rep. Scott Perry’s guest on Tuesday night, Houck shared with The Daily Signal on Monday.

“Mark Houck and his family are innocent victims of the radical Left’s reprehensible abuse of power, which systematically seeks to destroy the lives of hard-working Americans whose only ‘crimes’ are using their God-given constitutional rights to protect their families, faith, and way of life,” Perry told The Daily Signal on Tuesday.

“President Biden has weaponized the power of the federal government against anyone who thwarts his radical, Leftist agenda,” the congressman continued. “He should see the faces of some of those Americans who have been relentlessly and unjustifiably persecuted by the same government sworn to protect their freedoms.”

Houck’s family awoke on Friday, September 23, 2022, to FBI agents banging on the door, guns drawn, to arrest him.

The Houck children shared with The Daily Signal that they were terrified and uncertain when they would see their father again. Houck and his attorneys believe that President Joe Biden’s DOJ sought to make an example of him for his pro-life activism as a response to the overturning of Roe v. Wade.

“My wife and I are honored to be asked by the Freedom Caucus Chair Scott Perry to attend The State of The Union as his guests,” Houck said Tuesday after Catholic Vote reported the news . “We hope our presence with members of Congress will continue to raise awareness about the injustice that was rendered against my family and others in recent months.”

“We pray for the opportunity to meet with those who need to hear our story and for the eventual opportunity to testify before the Judiciary Committee about our reckless experience with the Department of Justice,” he added.

A jury cleared the father of seven was cleared of the DOJ charges last week, finding him not guilty on two counts of violating the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances, or FACE, Act when, outside a Pennsylvania abortion clinic, Houck pushed a pro-abortion activist  who was antagonizing his son (local authorities had already dismissed the incident).

“We are, of course, thrilled with the outcome,” Peter Breen, Thomas More Society executive vice president and head of litigation, said in a statement Monday. “Mark and his family are now free of the cloud that the Biden administration  threw upon them.”

“We took on Goliath—the full might of the United States government—and won,” Breen added. “The jury saw through and rejected the prosecution’s discriminatory case, which was harassment from Day One. This is a win for Mark and the entire pro-life movement. The Biden Department of Justice’s intimidation against pro-life people and people of faith has been put in its place.”

Breen previously told The Daily Signal that the Justice Department sent “20-plus heavily armed federal agents with shields and long guns” to arrest Houck in late September as his children watched “to intimidate pro-life people and people of faith.”

Houck refused to take a government plea deal and pled not guilty to the federal charges. His legal team argued that the Justice Department was violating the Constitution by engaging in “viewpoint discrimination ” and “selective prosecution” against Houck, violating the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and the First Amendment’s protection for the free exercise of religion. 

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The Gareth Thomas case proves it: no one wins when an HIV transmission fight goes to court | James Greig

A civil case brought by the former rugby star’s ex-partner has played into discussions of what stance – if any – the law should take on HIV

Few public figures alive today have done more to reduce the stigma around HIV than Gareth Thomas. Since he declared his status in 2019 (saying he had been forced to, following threats of blackmail by a tabloid newspaper), the former rugby player has campaigned to promote better understanding of the virus.

It’s regrettable that such a popular figurehead recently found himself at the centre of a legal controversy. Last week, it was announced that Thomas had settled a case brought by his ex-partner, Ian Baum, who in a civil claim accused Thomas of hiding his HIV status while they were a couple between 2013 and 2016. Baum alleged that Thomas “deceptively” transmitted the virus to Baum, hiding his HIV medication and “coercing” him into unprotected sex. While agreeing to pay a settlement of £75,000, Thomas made no admission of liability or guilt, and has always denied that he gave Baum HIV. However, he has confirmed that he did not tell Baum about his HIV status because he “genuinely and reasonably” believed that it was undetectable at the time because his viral load was so low that the virus could not be passed on. He acknowledges now that this belief was mistaken.

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Why Chloe Cole Deserves the Jazz Jennings ‘Trans’ Treatment—and More

Chloe Cole is perhaps the most well-known detransitioner in America. Yet, despite a growing presence in conservative media, her public profile hardly compares to transgender activists such as reality TV personality Jazz Jennings.

Unlike Jennings, you won’t find Chloe and her story featured on the cover of Variety magazine . She’s unlikely ever to be named the face of a multimillion-dollar beauty ad campaign , have a commercial doll modeled after her, or land her own reality TV series. 

Chloe’s story of identifying as a boy at 12 years old and going under the knife at just 15—only to regret it a few months later—doesn’t qualify her for glitzy, lucrative, virtue-signaling endorsements. Her story is so absent from establishment press, in fact, that at least one expert who heads a clinic treating gender-confused youth denies that detransitioners such as Chloe are even a “real thing .” 

Aside from the obvious bias, there’s a deep irony in corporations, liberal media, and Hollywood ignoring Chloe and her harrowing story. 

At its heart, the plotline is one that most humans can empathize with: After failing to fit in with other girls her age, a young girl gets caught up in trying to change herself, only to realize that beauty is skin deep. Chloe Cole didn’t have to change how she looked on the outside to be happy and whole; she simply had to accept herself from within.

But unlike many young teens struggling to fit in with peers, Chloe learned this the hard way. After discovering an ideology that promised an escape from the hardships of being a girl, she pursued puberty blockers and hormones starting at age 13. Two years later, at 15, a surgeon proceeded to remove her breasts, which were not yet fully developed.

“A lot of my family is larger chested than I am,” Chloe, now 18, said. “I ended up with a smaller chest; but I guess I’ll never really know, because I wasn’t really allowed to grow physically.”

Like many other detransitioners who now are speaking out, having a surgeon remove her breasts failed to address Chloe’s underlying struggles with anxiety, depression, and undiagnosed autism. Instead, the surgery acted like a Band-Aid, bringing her superficial satisfaction and joy. That is, until a few weeks after the surgery, when Chloe got her stitches taken out and had to begin changing her own dressings.

“That is when reality started to hit,” Chloe said. “Every single night after every bath, after every shower, I would have to look down at these huge wounds that were on my chest.”

Recovery from a double mastectomy, or “top surgery,” as activists call it, is serious and invasive. Patients aren’t supposed to lift their arms more than 90 degrees away from their body or over their head, nor push, pull, or lift anything greater than 5 pounds for several weeks. Patients often must change their own dressings and empty drains that prevent fluid from collecting in the chest area. 

Compression garments and surgical bras are often necessary to prevent postoperative bleeding and fluid collections. According to Johns Hopkins Medicine , a slew of risks, side effects, and complications can ensue beyond that. 

“No 15-year-old girl should have to go through that,” Chloe said.

As Chloe realized she missed little things about being a girl, her mental health continued to decline. When nobody was home, she remembers trying on girls’ clothes and applying makeup. 

Chloe eventually had to drop out of school and enroll in an alternative program where she could get more support. It was there that she took a psychology class and learned about the ways that both physical touch and breastfeeding support the emotional and cognitive development of a child—and how that child goes on to function later in life.

“During one of the consultations for my surgery, I was told that I would lose my ability to breastfeed,” Chloe said. “But at the time, this didn’t mean anything to me, because I didn’t know anything about that. I wasn’t even thinking about being a parent because I was 15 years old. I had just completed my sophomore year and I only had so much life experience.”

Then, Chloe said, she realized “something beautiful and uniquely female was taken away from me forever.”

“And I was perfectly healthy before that. I was only a kid,” she said.

Two and a half years later, Chloe still struggles to come to terms with what she lost. She feels so deceived and betrayed by medical professionals who encouraged her down this path, she decided to sue the endocrinologist who put her on puberty blockers and opposite-sex hormones, the gender specialist who referred her for a double mastectomy, the surgeon who removed her breasts, and the health care provider in the hospital that went through with the surgery.

“I don’t think the biggest problem with my transition was that I regretted it,” Chloe said, explaining: 

What’s more damaging was that they lied to me and my parents. They coerced my parents into allowing me to do this. And while my parents were required to sign off on everything, they were also putting it on me, because I desired to do this. They withheld a lot of information from us, but even then at the age I was, I just wasn’t capable of giving informed consent. And it’s seriously affected both my mental and physical health. I’m still recovering to this day. I don’t know if I’ll be able to conceive a child or safely carry to term, and I certainly won’t be able to breastfeed.

“The people that did this to me need to be held accountable,” Chloe added.

Despite no longer having breasts and having to cope with ongoing complications from drugs with side effects in children and adults that aren’t well known, Chloe radiates beauty and grace. 

Her willingness to vulnerably share the emotional details of a young, gender-confused girl who finds herself by simply accepting the person she is makes for the perfect character in a Hollywood script. Her contagious smile and imperfect body make for a fitting cover girl for brands wanting to promote natural and authentic beauty. Her advocacy work to protect children from experiencing the same medical harms she went through as a young girl makes for a compelling story for media interested in telling the truth about gender ideology and its impact on our youth. 

And yet, for the most part, Chloe and her story are siloed to the conservative press. 

For Chloe, the elite’s lack of interest in her story doesn’t discourage her. She’d welcome the opportunity to share it on a larger platform to warn other children from making her mistakes, but Chloe has found peace with not fitting in—both with her peers and with the larger narrative surrounding transgenderism and children. 

No longer does Chloe feel the need to change herself to fit ideas she now knows aren’t true. Instead, she is working to change those ideas by using her own story as documented evidence. 

And at 18, her story is far from over. After being fast-tracked to a medical transition by a team of eager doctors, Chloe is working through the process of detransitioning, mostly by herself. 

“I reached out to every physician, every therapist who is involved with this, and I haven’t really gotten any help at all,” she said. 

Left to navigate on her own, Chloe stopped taking testosterone “cold turkey,” and still struggles with urinary complications that doctors have yet to help fix.

Chloe now knows she’s on the autism spectrum, which explains much of her struggle to fit in with other girls her age. She’s also learned that, despite the hardships women often face, there are a lot of amazing things that come with being female.

“I think it takes time and experience in this world to be able to really learn about it and appreciate that,” she said. “I kind of had to learn that for myself.”

After a traumatic and in some ways tragic journey, Chloe Cole has learned that happiness doesn’t come from pretending to be something she’s not. She doesn’t need the fancy accolades, money, or fame that trans-identifying youth often get, although some recognition for the courage it takes to tell her story again and again might be nice. 

But that won’t stop Chloe from continuing to share that story, now that she is determined not to let what happened to her happen to another innocent boy or girl. 

It’s a shame that so few in the corporate, Hollywood, and media world are willing to match Chloe’s bravery, sharing the truth about the irreversible, damaging procedures that changed her life, as only a young girl, forever.

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