Thursday, October 9, 2008

Ireland’s day for life: Cork Conference celebrating 25th anniversary of the pro-life amendment

Held at Frankfield/Grange parish centre in Douglas Cork, the conference was organised as a series of four panels dealing with different aspects of the pro-life amendment of the Constitution and its implications for Ireland . The event included campaigners from the 1983 referendum as well as medical, economic, legal and ethics experts from all over Europe.

Speaking on this historic anniversary, Kathy Sinnott, who is Vice President of the Bioethics Intergroup and the Intergroup on Family and Protection of Childhood in the European Parliament, said,
The laws protecting life are fragile and need ongoing commitment from our lawmakers, especially in a Europe where many consider such protection obsolete.

The first panel looked at the historical perspective and was presented by a panel of pro-life activists from the Munster region, who looked at the issues involved in first establishing the pro-life protection and then maintaining it despite the myriad attacks which have wounded but not overturned it

The second panel looked at the medical social and economic benefits of the pro-life amendment over the 25 year period. Dr John Monaghan pointed out that that the level maternal care in Ireland is excellent and as a result Ireland’s maternal mortality rate is the lowest in the world. Patrick Fagan of the Family Research Council produced US Federal statistics which clearly show that the safest and most beneficial place for children is to grow up in an intact home having a married mother and father who are regular church attendants. From the social science perspective the more an individual practices religious beliefs the more he/she thrives in education, health and mental health, marriage and family and the less likely is he/she is to be involved in crime, addiction, abuse or a host of other ills.

The third panel looked at the legal and legislative challenges to its pro-life ethos, faced by Ireland from the EU, the UN, the Council of Europe, the European Court of Human Rights, the World Health Organisation and international NGO’s. Roger Kiska from the European Centre for Law and Justice outlined the current challenge to the Irish Constitution, the ABC case currently before the European Court of Human Rights The fourth panel, which looked at the constitutional protection, consisted Of Kathy Sinnott Bernadette Goulding of Rachael’s Vineyard and Fr Brian Mc kevitt, editor of the Alive newspaper