LIFE DIGEST: Bale honors forced-abortion foe, condemns practice

By Tom Strode
Oct 30, 2012

Actor Christian Bale finally met Chinese forced abortion foe Chen Guangcheng and presented him with a human rights award.

The star of the latest “Batman” movie franchise also decried coercive abortion and sterilization in the process.

Bale honored Chen, a blind lawyer, at Human Rights First’s annual awards gala Oct. 25 in New York City. During the presentation, Bale recounted Chen’s advocacy on behalf of women who had been forced to have abortions or sterilizations under China’s “one-child” policy. Prior to a one-year home detention that included torture, Chen served more than four years in prison on what his supporters describe as trumped-up charges by the government.

Also in this edition: Mother of Tyler’s aborted child speaks for unborn, Research moves toward 3-parent children, bioethics expert says, and French assembly OKs full funding of abortions.

“He had exposed a program of forced abortion and sterilization in Shandong,” Bale said of Chen. “A program of forced abortion means that women are being dragged from their homes against their will. They are being forced to have abortions, sometime late-term – imagine that – with some women reportedly dying in the process. Now this is true horror. And in this insane world, this man, Chen, who was helping these women – who was living by some of the most simple, brave and universally admired values – values that we teach our children every day — and helping our fellow man – for this, this man was imprisoned and beaten for over four years.”

Bale made the presentation to Chen 10 months after he, accompanied by a CNN television crew, tried to visit him in his home but was barred and roughed up by guards. Bale, who was in Beijing for a December movie premier, told CNN after the failed effort, “What I really wanted to do was to meet the man, shake his hand and say what an inspiration he is.”

Chen escaped home detention in April, and his family and he were able to leave China for the United States in May.

Reggie Littlejohn, president of Women’s Rights Without Frontiers, praised both men.

She described Chen as “a towering champion of human rights,” adding Bale “has become a human rights champion in his own right.”

The attack by the Chinese guards when Bale sought to visit Chen “brought visibility” to Chen’s treatment and “greatly helped the international effort to free Chen,” Littlejohn said. “And Bale is brave to condemn the practice of forced abortion in China.”

Women’s Rights Without Frontiers works to combat coerced abortion and sexual slavery.

Mother of Tyler’s aborted child speaks for unborn

The mother of rock star Steven Tyler’s aborted baby continues to advocate for unborn children.

Julia Holcomb, now a mother of seven, will speak Nov. 17 at the annual benefit for the Life Legal Defense Foundation in Santa Clara, Calif.

More than 35 years after her abortion, Holcomb shared the account of her relationship with Tyler, lead singer of the rock ban Aerosmith and a former American Idol judge, in a 5,000-word account published by LifeSite News in May 2011.

She became Tyler’s girlfriend in 1973 when she was only 16 years old. Her mother gave guardianship of Holcomb to Tyler, enabling her to travel with him across state lines on the band’s tours. He requested she have his child and proposed marriage to her after she became pregnant in 1975.

Tyler changed his mind, however, and pressured Holcomb to abort their child, who turned out to be a boy. In recalling the abortion, Holcomb wrote, “My baby had one defender in life; me, and I caved in to pressure because of fear of rejection and the unknown future. I wish I could go back and be given that chance again, to say no to the abortion one last time. I wish with all my heart I could have watched that baby live his life and grow to be a man.”

Holcomb said, “Nothing was ever the same between us after that day, though I did not return home for over a year. . . . I was grieving the loss of my baby and I could never look at Steven again without remembering what he had done to our son and me.”

In his autobiography, Tyler acknowledged the abortion’s impact, saying, according to LifeSite News, “You go to the doctor and they put the needle in her belly and they squeeze the stuff in and you watch. And it comes out dead. I was pretty devastated. In my mind, I’m going, Jesus, what have I done?”

After Holcomb returned home, she began attending a United Methodist church with her family. She “found forgiveness in Jesus,” Holcomb said. She met her future husband during her first year in college, and they have been married for more than 30 years. They converted to Roman Catholicism in 1992.

Of her burden to share the pro-life message, Holcomb wrote, “I pray that all those who have had abortions, or have participated in any way in an abortion procedure, may find in my story, not judgment or condemnation, but a renewed hope in God’s steadfast love, forgiveness and peace.”

Holcomb’s account is available online at

Research moves toward 3-parent children, bioethics expert says

New research in which scientists created embryos with genes from two women and a man means three-parent children are one step nearer, bioethics specialist Wesley Smith said.

Researchers at Oregon Health & Sciences University reported the results Oct. 25 in the journal Nature, saying the method could keep children from inheriting incurable diseases that include such symptoms as dementia and blindness, according to the Associated Press.

“[P]reventing illness is just the key that opens the door to many of the Brave New World technologies,” Smith blogged at National Review Online. “Eventually – given the way things go these days – if the procedure ever becomes doable, it will go quickly from the ‘medical’ to the ‘consumerist,’ e.g., facilitating lifestyle choices and personal preferences. That’s what happened with [in vitro fertilization], after all, which is no longer restricted to treating the infertile. Indeed, if we ever normalize polyamory, one could see the technique as a way for three partners to have biologically related children.”

While the scientists said they do not intend to produce children from the embryos, the embryos actually are human beings in their earliest stages.
“Certainly, new human organisms were [made] – and as an experiment,” Smith wrote. “That is a big moral deal.”

The technique involves taking nucleus DNA from a female patient to replace the nucleus DNA from a donor who has healthy mitochondrial DNA, AP reported. About one in 5,000 babies inherits a disease resulting from defective mitochondrial DNA.

The Oregon scientists transplanted DNA into 64 unfertilized eggs from healthy women and produced 13 embryos that developed after fertilization, according to AP.

French assembly OKs full funding of abortions

French lawmakers have voted to provide full government funding of abortion.

France’s National Assembly voted Oct. 26 to increase coverage of both surgical and chemical abortions for 2013 to 100 percent, according to LifeSite News. French law now covers 70 percent of the cost for chemical abortions and 80 percent for surgical abortions.

The assembly also approved the cost-free provision of all contraceptives to girls between 15 and 18 years old. This includes contraceptives that can cause abortions.

The Senate, which is controlled by the Socialist Party, is expected to approve both proposals, LifeSite News reported.

If enacted, the law will require about $17.5 million in public funds each year to pay for abortions, but the cost could jump to $40 million if the government enacts a plan for abortion coverage promoted by Health Minister Marisol Touraine.

Costs to Social Security could reach about $6.4 million under expanded coverage, according to the report. The proposed expansion came as Social Security experiences cuts in reimbursements.

Abortions number an estimated 225,000 a year in France, though 95 percent of sexually active women use contraception, according to the report.

The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission works to protect the sanctity of human life. If you would like to learn more about this issue, additional resources are available here. Our free, downloadable Impact resource is also available online. If your church is interested in purchasing materials on the sanctity of human life, please visit our online bookstore and

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