Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Cura Annual Conference

The annual conference of CURA, the Irish Bishops’ Conference counselling agency for pregnant mothers, was held in Athlone, Co. Westmeath, recently. CURA is funded by what was previously known as the ‘Crisis Pregnancy Agency’ (CPA)(now subsumed into the Department of Health, and known as the ‘HSE Crisis Pregnancy Programme’).

We previously reported in a number of newsletters on the sacking of four CURA workers when they objected to handing out the CPA Positive Options leaflet that lists a number of ‘crisis pregnancy agencies’ – with the exception of CURA and LIFE – that offer abortion as a ‘positive option’ for pregnant mothers.)

Approximately 180 crisis pregnancy counsellors attended the conference, and the two main themes presented and discussed were: ‘Adoption as an Option in Crisis Pregnancy Counselling’, and ‘The Role of the Father in Crisis Pregnancy Counselling’.

So far, so good, you might say. However, one of the keynote speakers to the conference was Berit Andersen, who is Senior Social Worker with the organisation PACT that provides ‘general crisis pregnancy counselling as well as being a registered Adoption Agency’. PACT is one of the agencies listed on the CPA Positive Options leaflet as offering abortion as a ‘positive option’. The website of PACT provides the following ‘information’:

‘… Another of your options is to have an abortion. While abortion is a legal option in most European countries, it is illegal in Ireland and therefore unavailable here. … ‘More than 5000 women from Ireland travel abroad every year for the purpose of having an abortion. … […] since 1995 it has […] been legal for crisis pregnancy counselling agencies such as Pact to give out information about abortion services abroad. […] it is illegal for a crisis pregnancy counsellor to advocate abortion. What this means in practice is that in order for a counsellor to provide you with information about abortion services, she is obliged to look at all three options with you; parenting and adoption as well as abortion. The counselling must be non-directive, which in three-option agencies such as Pact means that the counsellor will not try to influence your decision – only that she will help you look at all three options alike. Another aspect of not being permitted to advocate abortion is that no counsellor in Ireland can make a referral to an abortion service provider for you. […] Agencies with a pro-life ethos are open to talking to you about all three options, but will not give out contact information for abortion services.
‘Warning – “Rogue agencies”: The “Crisis Pregnancy Agency” provides state-funding for crisis pregnancy counselling services in Ireland and uses the information campaign “Positive Options” to promote these agencies […]. These agencies are all state-funded, non-judgemental and trustworthy. Pact is one of the agencies promoted using the “Positive Options” campaign. Any agency not listed on the Positive Options website is likely to be what is sometimes termed “Rogue Agencies”. In their advertisements rogue agencies purport to be genuine crisis pregnancy counselling services […]. In reality they use manipulation and alarmist information to deter women from having an abortion. […] Apart from providing you with concrete information about abortion procedures, safe and good clinics, etc, counselling offers you support in coping with the stress of your immediate situation.’

It would be interesting to know what information could be learned by CURA counsellors from a person the ethos of whose organisation is outlined above.

It should be noted, by the way, that the ‘rogue agencies’ referred to are those that tell women what abortion really is – the killing of an unborn human being – and also the physical and medical dangers of an abortion, both for the mother and for her unborn child.

Who are the real rogue agencies?
• The real rogue agencies are those that are affiliated to, and/or financially
supported by international abortion providers.
• The real rogue agencies are those that do not accept the right to life of innocent unborn children
• The real rogue agencies are those that fail to advise women of the possible physical and mental effects of abortion but nevertheless claim their counselling is non directive.
• The real rogue agencies are those that ignore the wishes of the vast majority of the Irish people and Ireland’s constitutional prohibition on abortion.