With little news to report from 2016 yet, we commence the year with some late breaking stories from the latter part of 2015


Editor’s note: This is an American story with Australian implications hence our carrying it in Australian news.


A man who is paying a surrogate mother to carry his child has demanded the woman abort a baby after learning she is pregnant with triplets. The US man has hired a lawyer and threatened Melissa Cook, who is 17 weeks pregnant with the triplets, with financial ruin if she does not go ahead with the procedure. Despite the threats Melissa Cook does not wish to abort a baby. “They are human beings. I bonded with these kids. This is just not right,” the 47-year-old told the New York Post. Ms Cook has four children of her own, including a set of triplets. She has also acted as a surrogate once before, resulting in the birth of one baby.


The intended father’s demands come despite the fact he agreed to the implantation of three embryos, created from his sperm and the eggs of a 20-year-old donor, after hiring Ms Cook as a surrogate. A letter from the intended father’s lawyer, was delivered to Ms Cook and reportedly states the surrogate will not receive the agreed $33,000 pregnancy payment and will be sued for damages. The letter states the father “understands, but does not agree, with your decision not to abort. As you know, his remedies where you refuse to abide by the terms of the agreement, are immense and include, loss of all benefits under the agreement, damages in relation to future care of the children and medical costs associated with any care the children may need,” the letter reads.


Under the terms of her surrogacy contract Miss Cook is entitled to a $33,000 pregnancy fee for one baby, plus an additional $6,000 for each additional baby.

Ms Cook received a second legal letter requesting she organise a “selection reduction” by the end of the day. The intended father and Ms Cook both reside in California where the law states abortion is illegal, apart from in life-threatening situations, after about 20 weeks gestation. Ms Cook said she learned she was having triplets when she was eight or nine weeks pregnant. The man immediately raised concerns which have grown increasingly threatening as the weeks have passed.


Ms Cook said she wrote a letter to the intended father, who she has never met. The letter read: “The doctor put in three healthy embryos. The chances were high they were all going to take. You knew I was 47 years old. If you knew you only wanted two babies, then why put in three embryos?” Despite her desire to carry all three babies to term, Ms Cook is worried she will have to go ahead with the abortion. “I have to abort. I’m scared. I don’t want to suffer,” she told the Post. Surrogacy fee arrangements are legal in at least 22 US states. This example of a surrogate mother being ordered to abort a baby in the US should cause Australians to question whether surrogacy is in the best interests of children and women, according to the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL).


ACL spokeswoman Wendy Francis said the latest case should serve as a warning to the NSW Government which earlier this year reviewed surrogacy laws and mooted the possibility of allowing parents to advertise for surrogate mothers. “Rather than making surrogacy easier, the NSW Government should be doing everything it can to stop surrogacy,” Mrs Francis said. “Children shouldn’t be regarded as off-the-shelf commodities or products designed to meet the requirements of adults. “Deep bonds are formed between mother and child during gestation and, unsurprisingly, there have been several cases where the mother has resisted relinquishing the child.


“While sympathising with couples who cannot have children, ACL does not believe surrogacy is in the best interests of the relinquishing mothers or their children. Surrogacy, even when done altruistically, objectifies children and surrogate mothers and creates lifelong emotional issues for both. The only thing a new-born baby knows is her or his mother and this bond should not be severed unless absolutely necessary.”


Source: New York Post

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Prior to rising for the Christmas break last year the Senate passed a motion without dissent to investigate the impact that pornography has on Australian children.  FamilyVoice research officer Ros Phillips said “I congratulate the Senate for passing, without dissent, a motion to set up an inquiry into the impact of pornography on Australian children.” The cross-party motion, moved by Labor Senator Joe Bullock and Liberal Senator Chris Back, said:


(1) That the Senate notes that: 


(a) in today’s culture, children’s use of smart phones, tablets and computers has increased markedly; 


(b) online pornography is easily accessed, and a growing number of children are viewing it at an early age; 


(c) recent studies have shown that exposure to pornography has measurable negative effects on brain development and behavioural outcomes; 


(d) online pornography is increasingly violent in its content, particularly against women, and exposure correlates with children’s acceptance of violent attitudes and beliefs; 


(e) violence against women is often linked back to early and repeated exposure to pornography; 


(f) violence towards, and abuse of, children is often linked to early and repeated exposure to pornography; 


(g) children increasingly access the Internet outside their home environment; and 


(h) previous inquiries in Australia have not adequately addressed the question of children’s (those under 18 years-of-age) exposure to online pornography and the harm caused because of that access. 


(2) That the following matter be referred to the Environment and Communications References Committee for inquiry and report by the first sitting day in December 2016: 


Harm being done to Australian children through access to pornography on the Internet, with particular reference to: 


(a) trends of online consumption of pornography by children and their impact on the development of healthy and respectful relationships; 


(b) current methods taken towards harm minimisation in other jurisdictions, and the effectiveness of those methods; 


(c) the identification of any measures with the potential for implementation in Australia; and


(d) any other related matters. 


“There is mounting evidence that pornography can act like an addictive drug in vulnerable young people, leading to serious relationship and other problems,”

Ros Phillips said.  “This inquiry is long overdue!”


Source: FamilyVoice Australia

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The bloodthirsty monsters of Islamic State (IS) have threatened revenge attacks in Australia. In a vile propaganda video, IS leaders have gloated over recent terrorist deaths and sworn vengeance against all nations opposed to them. They praise their “brothers” who have planned or launched terrorist attacks in Australia, and call for supporters worldwide to “fight the infidels”. The propaganda video promises attacks “worse and more bitter” than others before. The video spokesman says: “You have seen what one Muslim did in Canada, and what our brothers did in France, Australia and Belgium. There are many more like them who have killed, ran over others and terrorised until we have seen the crusaders’ armies go on alert in Australia, Canada and Belgium.”


The video does not name teen terrorist Numan Haider — who stabbed two counter-terror police outside Endeavour Hills police station last year — but IS has previously claimed credit for his attack. The video was released by a group based in northern Iraq called Wilayah Kirkuk and included several armed fighters ranting about attacking other countries that were bombing IS. “We say to the states that take part in the crusader campaign that, by God, you will have a day, God willing, like France’s,” one fighter said.By God, as we struck France in the centre of its abode in Paris, then we swear that we will strike America at its centre in Washington.” The IS fighters are from Northern Iraq group.


It came as CIA director John Brennan warned the attacks in Paris were likely not a “one-off event” and he expected IS was plotting more terrorist attacks. “Security and intelligence services right now are working feverishly to see what else they can do in terms of uncovering it,” Mr Brennan said. “The Paris attack was not something done in a matter of days. This is something that was carefully and deliberately planned over the course of several months in terms of whether they had the operatives, the weapons, explosives, suicide belts. I would anticipate that this is not the only operation IS has in the pipeline.” US Secretary of State John Kerry has described IS militants as “psychopathic monsters”.


Meanwhile, the first Syrian refugee family have arrived in Australia as part of a plan to resettle 12,000 people fleeing the crisis. The family of five from the Syrian city of Homs were living in a refugee camp in Jordan for several years but had their application fast-tracked as the mother is seven months pregnant. In a statement, the father thanked the Australian Government for giving his family “a chance at happiness”.


Source: Compiled by APN from media reports

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