CULTURE DIGEST: Attorney General Holder's family owns abortion clinic site
NASHVILLE (BP) -- United States Attorney General Eric Holder's wife and sister-in-law own a building used as an abortion clinic by a doctor who was indicted last year on charges of Medicaid fraud, according to an investigative report.
Pro-life advocates suggested the connection may help explain Holder's refusal to prosecute abortion providers who violate federal law and his efforts to bring charges against sidewalk counselors outside abortion clinics.
Watchdog.org reported on the link between Holder's family and abortion doctor Tyrone Malloy Oct. 31 in Human Events, a conservative weekly newspaper.
Holder's wife, Sharon Malone Holder, and her sister, Margie Malone Tuckson, own a building in suburban Atlanta where Malloy once performed abortions, according to Watchdog. Though Tuckson denied they owned the building, Watchdog reviewed documents that show they moved ownership into a family trust in 2009.
After being questioned by Watchdog, Tuckson contacted the Fulton County tax assessor's office to change the ownership, according to the report. The new deed, however, lists Malone Holder and Malone Tuckson as the sole trustees, Watchdog reported.
A local grand jury indicted Malloy and his clinic's former office manager, Cathy Ann Edwards, in December on charges they had received nearly $390,000 in federal payments for illegally funded abortions and ultrasounds that were never done, according to the report. The pair appealed to the Georgia Supreme Court a judge's decision that they could not challenge the state's Medicaid law.
In addition to his 2011 indictment, Malloy received reprimands from the state in the death of a baby in 1999 and in the death of a patient after a botched abortion in 2008, Watchdog reported.
Catherine Davis of the National Black Prolife Coalition told Watchdog, "There is a clear conflict of interest when the man charged with pursuing those that abuse the system is also one who is engaged in some way with the business."
The efforts by the Justice Department to prosecute pro-lifers who seek to counsel abortion-minded women outside clinics have failed in every case he is aware of, said Troy Newman, president of the activist Operation Rescue organization.
"It looks to me like the attorney general and his wife are in business with the abortion industry, which makes a lot of sense and helps explain why [Holder's Justice Department] is prosecuting pro-lifers and losing the cases around the country," Newman said, according to Watchdog.
"I don't think it's a surprise to anybody that Holder and the Obama administration are extremely biased against pro-life people and in favor of the pro-abortion crowd," he said.
Malloy filed papers with the state in September 2011 shutting down Old National Gynecology, the corporate name for his abortion business. He apparently is still performing abortions in the Atlanta area, a Georgia Right to Life spokeswoman told Watchdog.
OBAMA'S FAITH MAY BE EVOLVING, ADVISERS SAY -- As this year's presidential campaign drew to a close, CNN.com posted a 3,200-word article suggesting that President Obama's Christian faith had evolved into a more evangelical style.
Based in part on the book "The Faith of Barack Obama" by Stephen Mansfield, who wrote a similar book about Obama's predecessor, CNN.com religion editor Dan Gilgoff described Obama's religious life as "out-of-the-box and widely misunderstood."
When Obama entered the White House, he looked for a church to attend but wound up assembling a group of spiritual advisers that he prays with via conference call, including Kirbyjon Caldwell, a Methodist megachurch pastor from Texas who has been a favorite of George W. Bush. In fact, Caldwell and others prayed with Obama before he stepped on stage for the first presidential debate, the article said.
At the Democratic National Convention, Gilgoff noted, Obama hinted at a White House prayer life.
"While I'm proud of what we've achieved together, I'm far more mindful of my own failings," the president said, "knowing exactly what Lincoln meant when he said, 'I have been driven to my knees many times by the overwhelming conviction that I had no place else to go.'"
The article also states, regarding Obama's disassociation with Jeremiah Wright, "Where Wright is a liberal mainline Protestant, emphasizing liberation and social action, Obama's new circle of pastors includes theologically conservative evangelicals like [Joel] Hunter and [T.D.] Jakes, who stress God's grace and personal transformation."
Joshua DuBois, the 30-year-old executive director of the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, is considered the president's personal pastor, Gilgoff wrote.
"He has always been on a Christian journey," DuBois said of Obama, "and the challenges of the office, of being leader of the free world, provide a deepening and strengthening of faith, and that's what you see with the president."
650-PLUS UNBORN BABIES ALIVE AFTER 40 DAYS CAMPAIGN -- More than 650 unborn children reportedly remain alive as a result of the efforts of the latest 40 Days for Life campaign.
By Nov. 6, staff with 40 Days had received reports of 652 babies saved from decisions to abort by their mothers. The 40-day effort -- which focuses on peaceful pro-life prayer vigils outside abortion clinics -- began Sept. 26 and concluded Nov. 4. Volunteers participated at locations in 49 states, the District of Columbia and seven Canadian provinces, as well as Australia, England, Spain and Uganda.
Among reports during the final week of the campaign:
-- A woman considering an abortion arrived at a Nashville, Tenn., clinic with two young children only to find it closed. Prayer vigil participants encouraged her to visit a nearby pregnancy help center. The information she received at the pregnancy center helped changed her mind, a 40 Days volunteer reported.
-- A woman drove from another county to a Bakersfield, Calif., clinic and stayed inside long enough to have an abortion. When she left the center, a prayer volunteer asked if she could use some help. "I couldn't do it," the woman told the 40 Days volunteer, according to a staff report. "They were doing an ultrasound, so I asked if I could see it. At first they refused, telling me, 'You don't really want to see it.' But I insisted, 'Yeah, I do want to see it, because if I can see it ... maybe I won't do it.'" When she saw the image of her 9-week-old unborn baby, she decided not to have an abortion.
-- A volunteer drove three hours to pray outside a Fayetteville, Ark., abortion clinic. On the same day in the same city six years before, she had learned she was pregnant and scheduled an abortion. "Thankfully, a pro-life group was there for me and helped me make the right decision and I have a beautiful 5-year-old daughter now," she said, according to 40 Days staff. "I was really wanting a chance to ... pay forward the kindness once shown to me."
HINDUS, MUSLIMS REPORT LOW PREMARITAL SEX RATES -- Christians and Jews are more likely than Hindus and Muslims to engage in premarital sex, according to a new study in the American Sociological Review.
The rate of premarital sex among Christians and Jews is 79 percent and 94 percent respectively, the study found, compared to 43 percent among Muslims and 19 percent among Hindus.
The study, conducted by the City University of New York's John Jay College of Criminal Justice, based its findings on the responses of those interviewed. The findings included data from 31 developing countries collected between 2000 and 2008, including questions on religious affiliation, marital status and sexual behavior outside of marriage, according to the study analysis.
Study co-author Amy Adamczyk said the restricted interaction between the genders in Muslim and Hindu societies probably affects the findings.
"In many countries around the world, but in Muslim countries specifically, there's just much less interaction between the sexes," Adamczyk said in The Huffington Post. "It's just going to be much less likely that they're going to meet a potentially romantic partner."
Catholic University of America sociologist Paul Sullins said the findings are not surprising, according to The Post.
"The burka really works," Sullins said. "When you cover your women head to toe with cloth to keep them from being viewed by men outside their family, and you keep them strictly segregated from men throughout their growing years until they get married, you're going to have less premarital sex."
The Christian teaching against premarital sex is based on Scripture forbidding fornication and adultery. Yet other studies also have found high rates of premarital sex among Christians.
According to 2011 statistics from the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unwanted Pregnancy, 42 percent of evangelical singles between the ages of 18 and 29 were involved in a sexual relationship; 22 percent had had sex in the past year; and an additional 10 percent had had sex at least once in their lifetime.
BRITISH END-OF-LIFE PROTOCOL 'BACKDOOR EUTHANASIA' -- A British end-of-life protocol known as the Liverpool Care Pathway "has mutated into a form of euthanasia," a pro-life bioethics specialist said.
The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), described by some as a rationing board, has urged health care providers in recent years to follow the Pathway when caring for patients near death. Doctors use drugs to place patients in a coma, then withdraw food, water and medicine until the patients die.
Bioethics specialist Wesley Smith described the Pathway's use as "backdoor euthanasia." In making the charge, Smith cited an Oct. 31 article in the British newspaper The Independent. That report quoted an article in the British Medical Journal in which Scottish doctor Des Spence said the Pathway enables a sedated patient to have a "peaceful, pain-free, dignified death."
Reports imply some doctors are making "death lists" of patients to place on the Pathway, according to The Independent. Reports also assert hospitals may be using the protocol to reduce expenses and free up beds, the newspaper said.
"This means that at least some patients who can still eat and drink are put into comas and deprived of sustenance," Smith wrote in a Nov. 1 blog post for National Review Online. "That is appropriate when a patient can no longer assimilate food or water at the very end of life. But making it so they can't eat or drink water by mouth and then depriving them of the sustenance needed to keep them alive, is killing. And it hasn't been restricted to the imminently dying."
BOY WITHOUT BRAIN DIES AFTER LIVING TO 3 -- A Pueblo, Colo., boy who was born without a brain and expected to live no more than a few days died Oct. 31 at 3 years of age.
Nickolas Coke stopped breathing after catching what may have been a virus, said his grandmother, Sherri Kohut. He received CPR treatments but died after the third effort, according to KOAA-TV, the NBC affiliate in Colorado Springs and Pueblo.
Nickolas had anencephaly, a condition in which a child is born with only a brain stem and typically lives no more than a few hours or days.
"He was never hooked up to any machines, no tubes, no nothing," Kohut said, KOAA reported. "He taught us everything, he taught the love, how to be family."
LEADING PREGNANCY HELP NETWORK NAMES WARREN PRESIDENT -- Roland Warren is the new president of Care Net, the country's largest network of pregnancy help centers.
Warren had served as president of the National Fatherhood Initiative for 11 years before accepting the Care Net post. He replaces Melinda Delahoyde, who stepped down after five years as Care Net's president.
More than 1,100 pregnancy help centers in North America are part of Care Net's network.
Compiled by Tom Strode, Erin Roach and Diana Chandler of Baptist Press. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress ) and in your email ( baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).