Saturday, February 27, 2010

Grisly find in Doctors Surgery: More than 24 Frozen Fetuses Found During Police Raid

Philadelphia Region Local News reported Feb 23rd that Police and federal authorities who raided a doctor's office after receiving allegations that a woman died following an abortion, made a shocking discovery: more than two dozen frozen fetuses. Sources reported to Eyewitness News that the search came after a patient reportedly died following an abortion on November 20 last.

Police, State Licensing officials and DEA agents, searched the West Philadelphia office of Dr. Kermit Gosnell on Monday for the second time.

According to the State Board of Medicine, Dr. Gosnell had an unlicensed staff member conduct vaginal exams and administer medication. It is claimed the staff member administered Demerol, Promethazine and Diazepam to the female patient and when the doctor arrived at the clinic, the patient was given more medication. Following the abortion, the patient started to have an arrhythmia and later died, state officials said. Autopsy results are pending.

Sources also told Eyewitness News that during the subsequent Police search, investigators recovered more than two dozen fetuses stored in a freezer, some dating back 30 years.

Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, has called for the remains of these tiny human beings to be given a reverent burial as soon as possible. Such a burial should be a public event where people can mourn the loss of life, he said.

“The disrespect that the abortion industry has for the human body is seen not only in the fact that they kill these children, but also in how they treat their bodies after death,” Fr. Pavone explained.

“It is time now for the bodies of these children to be honored with a dignified burial. It should be a public event, so that our nation will have the opportunity to see that abortion is not an abstraction, and so that people can make up in some fashion for the disrespect with which these children have been treated.”

Friday, February 26, 2010

Amnesty International claim Nicaraguan pro-life Law Puts Pregnant Cancer Victim at Risk

Despite the fact that the government of Nicaragua has repeatedly clarified that the country's prohibition of abortion does not ban lifesaving medical procedures that could indirectly and unintentionally cause an abortion Amnesty International has claimed that such treatment is being withheld in the case of a 27 year old woman Amalia (not her real name) who is reportedly 10-weeks pregnant and was diagnosed on February 2 with cancer. Latin American Herald Tribune report

According to Amnesty International the Nicaraguan authorities are impeding doctors from providing cancer treatment to her while she is pregnant because medical staff could face prosecution if they cause harm to the fetus during her treatment, even if the harm is caused unintentionally.

Since the Nicaraguan prohibition of abortion does not ban lifesaving medical procedures that could either indirectly or unintentionally cause an abortion, chemotherapy and other lifesaving treatments would not be denied to "Amalia" under the nation's laws. Nevertheless, Amnesty and a chorus of other international pro-abortion groups are seeking to use the case in their campaign to overturn the country's pro-life legislation.

The president of the Nicaraguan Medical Association, Dr. Ivette Pilarte, has issued a firm rebuttal to those who claim that an abortion is "medically necessary" in the "Amelia" case.

Pillarte in an official communication on Saturday wrote;

"The Nicaraguan Medical Association, faced with the media situation with has occurred in the 'Amelia' case, finds no justification to submit her to a directly provoked abortion," [...]
"Abortion is not going to cure her of her cancer nor of the metastasis, for which it is necessary to give her adequate therapy, curative or palliative,"
In response to the complaints by the pro-abortion agencies, Nicaraguan Health Minister Guillermo Gonzalez has established a special medical commission to conduct a review of the case. A decision is expected shortly.

According to the Spanish press agency EFE, Gonzalez has noted that "sadly, it seems that there are political interests behind this," apparently referring to the machinations of the pro-abortion organizations, which are constantly agitating against the government's prohibition of abortion.
See also

Thursday, February 25, 2010

A Courageous Bishop

Fr Euteneuer of Human Life International in one of his recent ‘Spirit & Life’ newsletters gives a very encouraging message as to what can be achieved when bishops speak out on moral matters in everyday life. Referring to the season of Lent, he says that one of the American bishops, Bishop Robert Vasa of Baker, Oregon ‘has given us the absolute best reason to rejoice in a penitential season.’

It seems that the reason for rejoicing is the fact that Bishop Vasa has removed the title ‘Catholic’ from a hospital in his diocese because the hospital refuses ‘actually to be Catholic.’ The hospital’s Board of Directors regarded the Catholic Church’s clear prohibition of the practice of surgical sterilisation as being ‘optional’. Fr Euteneuer writes:

‘So after a fair and timely investigation, the bishop could not convince the hospital administration to change practices and simply yanked the Catholic name and insignia from the building with the exception of the cross on top to remind them of their failure to live up to the challenge of the Cross. … One hates to think how many other nominally Catholic hospitals are getting away with the same thing due to lack of honest Church investigations into their practices.’

And it’s not only hospitals that are involved in such situations.
Fr Euteneuer praises the action taken by the Bishop as ‘an exercise of discipline and courage, which we love to see in our prelates. Bishops who are true shepherds, and not politicians, strengthen us and enliven our faith […]
‘There are just a handful of bishops in the technologically-sophisticated western world, however, who exhibit the resolute moral courage that is required to remove the title “Catholic” from an institution [or, indeed, a newspaper or a journal!] that is in rebellion against the authentic Faith […]’
There are few, he says, who have the courage ‘to discipline a public figure who betrays the Faith in favor of his own leftist values.’
‘Yet, there is a growing trend in the United States toward greater Episcopal strength and orthodoxy, and we have to applaud it when we see it because these bishops will be severely attacked and will need our support.
‘ […] Bishop Tobin of Providence, RI [Rhode Island], recently told Congressman Patrick Kennedy he couldn’t receive Communion and was assailed ferociously by the pseudo-Catholic Chris Matthews on MSNBC, yet, lo and behold, the dissenting congressman decided not to run for Congress in the next term. … When bishops do the right thing – there is no telling what can happen, even in godless politics.'

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

House of Commons approves controversial sex education Bill

The House of Commons Tuesday 23rd Feb approved the “Children, Schools and Families bill” following its third reading, by 268 votes to 177 votes against. The bill now goes to the House of Lords.

This Bill represents the gravest attack yet on faith schools and is about imposing a liberal secular agenda on them. It also represents a clash of worldviews and attacks freedom of religion under the guise of equality and non-discrimination.

More sex education has long been the Labour government's guiding principle whenever the issue of teenage pregnancy or rising abortion rates is brought up in Parliament. It has been the normal response, even while all statistics have shown that the rates of unplanned pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases and abortion have risen steadily in lock-step with the increased emphasis on sexual education in schools since the early 1970s. see John Smeaton's BLOG

Commenting on the sex education proposals in the bill, Paul Tully, SPUC’s general secretary, told the media:
“This is a dire result for school-children and for unborn children who are in the firing¬-line of this bill. They are the ones who will bear inordinate suffering and death as a result of schools being compelled to promote abortion and the sexualisation of teenagers.

“Ed Balls, the schools secretary, made clear this morning that the intention of his sex education proposals in the Children, Schools and Families bill is to make all schools, including faith schools, teach children how to use and where to obtain birth control and abortion.

“These are the key ‘advertising’ messages that the pro-abortion lobby is fighting to have promoted throughout the education system – where children can be influenced and corrupted without parental guidance or protection.

“The sexualisation of children in schools goes further than this, however. Already, parents are being kept in the dark about sexual health interventions on their children – whether birth control (drugs, implants or devices), STI/HIV tests and treatment, or abortion, being provided via the school system.

“Using the education system to by-pass parents and corrupt their children – especially those under the age of consent - is a grave abuse of power by the state.

“Many people will be especially appalled that both the National Society of the Church of England and the education service of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference have endorsed the provisions of the bill. Mr Balls made much of the support for the bill by Archbishop Nichols, and we have called upon the Archbishop, and other faith leaders to reconsider their support even at this late stage.”

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

CEDAW Committee concluding observations on Ukraine

The UN Committee for the Elimination of Discrimination against women ( the CEDAW Committee) which held its 45th session in Geneva between January 18th and Feb 5th has now listed the Concluding Observations for the 8 countries examined during the session.

They can be downloaded from the OHCHR website

The Concluding Observations are divided according to themes / issues so it is easy to see how the Committee has dealt with each issue. The observations are currently only available in English, but will soon be available in French and Spanish too.

The only European country reporting was Ukraine. The Concluding Observations express CEDAW’s concern with the high rate of abortion in Ukraine and urges more contraception as the solution and sex education for youth.
Moreover, the Committee recommends that the State party intensify its efforts to improve women’s reproductive health and provide adequate family planning services and affordable contraceptives,

It also expresses concern with the high mortality rate among women due to alcohol abuse.
The Committee is also concerned about the little information and data on women’s health, including mortality rates of women and their causes, and the diseases that mostly affect women and girls. It is further concerned about the very high HIV/AIDS infection rates, as well as the increase of the mortality rate for reasons directly linked to alcohol abuse from 3.5 to 14.2 for women.

Research in the US shows that post abortive women often develop self-destructive disorders including alcohol abuse to deal with the grief and loss brought on by their abortion.

The Committee also reiterated its concern about what it calls;
the persistence of traditional stereotypes regarding the roles and responsibilities of women and men in the family and in the society at large, which represent a significant impediment to the implementation of the Convention and are root causes of women’s disadvantaged position in political life, labour market and other areas. The Committee is also concerned about persistent stereotypes found in school textbooks

One of the few so called traditional stereotypes which CEDAW regularly finds offensive is motherhood

Monday, February 22, 2010

Children's Rights

For some time now, so-called ‘children’s rights’ groups have been trying to have a specific reference to the rights of children inserted into Bunreacht na hÉireann, the Constitution of Ireland. This is related to the incorporation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child into Irish law (it was signed up to by the Irish Government nearly twenty years so, but it has yet to be made part of Irish law). At present, Article 41 of the Constitution of Ireland bears the title ‘The Family’. It is a very sane, sensible and comprehensive statement, declaring that:
‘The State recognises the Family as the natural primary and fundamental unit group of Society, and as a moral institution possessing inalienable and imprescriptible rights, antecedent and superior to all positive law.
‘The State, therefore, guarantees to protect the Family in its constitution and authority, as the necessary basis of social order and as indispensable to the welfare of the Nation and the State. […]’

So far, so good, you might say. There are other clauses or sub-sections that are part of the same Article, but the two quoted above are the most relevant here.
Article 42 of the Constitution of Ireland bears the title ‘Education’, and, among other declarations, states:
‘The State acknowledges that the primary and natural educator of the child is the Family and guarantees to respect the inalienable right and duty of parents to provide, according to their means, for the religious and moral, intellectual, physical and social education of their children. […]
‘In exceptional cases, where the parents for physical or moral reasons fail in their duty towards their children, the State as guardian of the common good, by appropriate means shall endeavour to supply the place of the parents, but always with due regard for the natural and imprescriptible rights of the child.’
Just last week, however, an all-party parliamentary group agreed to a replacement wording for Article 42 (whose title would be changed to ‘Children’), and it is planned that this change will be put by the people for acceptance by way of a Referendum.

But – the new wording seeks to prioritise rights for children, and the reference to ‘Family’ is deleted. Where, formerly, children could in exceptional circumstances be removed by the State ‘by appropriate means’, the proposed new wording would allow children to be removed ‘by proportionate means’ from their parents ‘regardless of their marital status’. Children could be removed from their parents and placed for adoption even if their parents are married. This is a very serious situation, and it is even more so in light of the ‘Civil Partnership’ Bill that is at present making its way through the Dáil (parliament). Although this Bill does not specifically refer to the adoption of children, nevertheless it must be borne in mind that it is considered to be just a stepping-stone to the introduction of laws that would allow homosexuals and lesbians to adopt children. This is what such groups are calling for, and they will not be satisfied until they achieve their aims.

Mr. John Waters, writing in the Irish Times last week, said:
There are many sinister elements in this amendment, which most media voices, being on the same ideological hymnsheet as the Oireachtas committee, will refrain from pointing out, and may indeed seek to suppress. … The insertion in the Constitution of the ostensibly unexceptionable idea that “the welfare and best interests of the child shall be the first and paramount consideration” in all disputes concerning “guardianship, adoption, custody, care or upbringing” … of children, is the cutting edge of this underhand initiative. This would mean that, in marital situations, the previous inalienable and imprescriptable rights of the family will be supplanted by a pseudo-principle which is nowhere spelt out and which will be defined at the whim of judges, social workers and so-called “child experts”.
‘Whereas the State can at present intervene in families only in exceptional circumstances, where the parents for physical or moral reasons fail in their duty to their children, it will, if this amendment is passed, have the right to interfere, with force if necessary (by “proportionate means”) if parents are deemed by agents of the State, according to criteria not laid down, to have failed parental responsibilities. In other words it will replace an objective criterion with a subjective one. Should the State’s agents decide that parents have “failed “ for “such a period of time as shall be prescribed by law”, the child or children may be put up for adoption. […]’

Friday, February 19, 2010

More on the tired notion of population control saving the planet

I have blogged on the population issue before and will no doubt return to it again, because the penny is beginning to drop with some governments that their policies in pushing contraception and abortion has caused major population depletion, which combined with population ageing will ultimately cause economic collapse

The Guardian weekend magazine (13 February 2010)published an article,"Climate change: calling planet birth" on the subject of population control for the so called ‘saving of the planet’.

‘Twelve years ago, the American author Bill McKibben published a short book entitled Maybe One: A Personal And Environmental Argument For Much Smaller Families.’ This is how the article starts. It’s a long article, and it makes for some interesting reading. Here are a few extracts:

‘… Even commentators who warn of the evils of overpopulation, proudly trumpeting their willingness to raise controversial issues in defiance of “political correctness”, only rarely emphasise the notion that we – rather than those in the developing world – might consider doing less of the populating. […]
‘If you live in Britain or the US in 2010, there is nothing you can do to reduce your impact on the environment that even comes close to the effects of having one fewer child. This makes intuitive sense: every new human is a new consumer with their own carbon footprint, along with their own potentially limitless chain of descendants.
‘[…]The Stop At Two position caused a minor furore last year when Jonathon Porritt, the veteran environmentalist and then a government adviser on sustainability, told an interviewer, “I think we will work our way towards a position that says that having more than two children is irresponsible.”’

Commenting on this statement, Josephine Quintavalle – described as ‘the pro-life campaigner’ – is quoted as saying: ‘This seems to be the same old thing: save the world but kill a human.’

The article ends with a quote from The World Without Us, by Alan Weisman (2007) – ‘At such far-more-manageable numbers […]’ [referring, presumably, to the aftermath of a massive population control] ‘we would have the benefit of all our progress, plus the wisdom to keep our presence under control. That wisdom would come partly from losses and extinctions too late to reverse, but also from the growing joy of watching the world daily become more wonderful. The evidence wouldn’t hide in statistics. It would be outside every human’s window, where refreshed air would fill each season with more birdsong.’

The only problem with such an idyllic picture of the world is – who is left to enjoy it?

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Boys born through IVF method may face infertility problems

As is well known, there are many couples today who – sadly – cannot conceive and bear children. A great number of these people accept the fact that they will not have the joy of having their own children, and gladly offer their love and affection through adoption to children who for whatever reason do not have the benefit of the care of their own natural mother and father. Others may prefer to remain childless, but at the same time offer their love to children, and adults, who cannot live within a natural family. While not for a moment denying the hurt and isolation of a couple who cannot have their own children, yet today there are some people who look on a child nearly as a commodity, and who will go to any lengths, and cost, to have a child ‘of their own’.

Medical science is forever trying to find new methods to overcome the problem of infertility but many of these methods, particularly those in the area of IVF, can and do cause more problems than that of infertility itself. Stress, physical dangers, cost – all of these, and more, are associated with IVF. The child – born, and yet to be born – cannot but suffer from these procedures, and even apart from the moral and ethical implications involved through the use of IVF, this whole approach to bringing a new human being into the world is not to be favoured.

One of the latest reports relating to IVF and the dangers associated with it is highlighted in the Telegraph newspaper (7 February 2010). It seems that a procedure in the area of IVF, called ICSI, can lead to baby boys inheriting fertility problems from their fathers. So the cycle goes on!

It is important to state, of course, that a child conceived through IVF is just as much a child created by God as a child conceived in the natural way.

IVF however is an outmoded solution of the last millennium. It is an unnatural method of dealing with problems of infertility and is now outdated. Only one embryo out of every 25 brought into being through IVF is actually born, it therefore lacks effectiveness and is extremely costly compared with the new direction that the science of dealing with problems of infertility has taken in the meantime

Napro Technology is a science that is natural and non-invasive in the treatment of infertility. It seeks to find and identify the reason for infertility, and it then proceeds to treat that problem. Napro Technology has also been found to be extremely successful in overcoming infertility in most cases.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Euthanasia proposed for disabled babies

Mark Mostert in his BLOG disability matters reports on a shocking article by a Russian Journalist. The article titled “Finish it off so it doesn’t suffer,” calls for the euthanasia of disabled newborn children and has caused public outrage in Russia.

Aleksandr Nikonov argues in the article that the birth of a disabled child for many families would be an unbearable tragedy, “a hell”, and that “the killing of the newborn is in fact the same as an abortion” (Clearly he also sees abortion as acceptable and tries to use this as some kind of justification for his bizarre proposal). He states that depriving infants, who will never be able to take care of themselves, of life is “true humanism”. He also calls to give parents of such children a right to euthanize their newborns
Mostert points out that Nikonovis not alone in this view and that some academics are actually saying something similar.

For one, Mostert says,
“Peter Singer has noted that: In any case, the position taken here does not imply that it would be better that no people born with severe disabilities should survive; it implies only that the parents of such infants should be able to make this decision. (Practical Ethics, 1999, p. 189)”
Nikonov according to Mostert hasn't learned the Western trick of making killing much more acceptable when it's prettified. The pro-death crowd he says would recoil in horror at the description of finishing people off. Instead, they talk about euthanasia, aid in dying, dying with dignity - making the ugly beautiful. Most people don’t like ugly, but they do like beautiful. It’s simply a matter of lying often enough that the lie becomes desirable truth.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Human Dignity is inalienable: Pope Benedict XVI address to Pontifical Academy for Life

Pope Benedict XVI on Saturday addressed members of the Pontifical Academy for Life during their 2010 General Assembly on the topic of "Bioethics and Natural Law” and CNA Reports

Pope Benedict asserted that human dignity must be protected as an "inalienable right" and that ethical decisions cannot be left solely to the State, which is subject to "relativistic drift."

When we speak of bioethics, said the Pope, the "dignity of the person" is often put at the forefront of the discussion. This is "a fundamental principle that the faith in Jesus Christ, Crucified and Risen, has always defended, especially when it is disregarded towards the simplest and most vulnerable subjects."

Benedict XVI called the right to recognition of human dignity "inalienable" and added that its establishment is not "written by the hand of man, but... by God the Creator in the heart of man."

"Without the founding principle of human dignity it would be arduous to find a source for the rights of the person and impossible to reach an ethical judgment as to the achievements of science that intervene directly in human life."

The Pope pointed out that "joining bioethics and natural moral law permits the best confirmation of the necessary and unavoidable reminder of the dignity that human life intrinsically possesses from its first instant to its natural end."
He underlined the task of ensuring "that human life always be seen as the inalienable subject of rights and never as an object subjugated to the will of the strongest."

"History has shown us how dangerous and deleterious a state can be that proceeds to legislate on questions that touch the person and society while pretending itself to be the source and principle of ethics," the Pontiff warned.
He explained, "Without universal principles that permit a common denominator for the whole of humanity the danger of a relativistic drift at the legislative level is not at all something should be underestimated."

"The natural moral law," the Holy Father affirmed, "strong in its universal character, allows us to avert such a danger and above all offers to the legislator the guarantee for an authentic respect of both the person and the entire created order."

He insisted that it is of upmost importance that the comprehension of human dignity not be considered as strictly tied to "external elements" such as scientific progress or the "gradualness" of the formation of human life. Rather, the invocation of dignity must be "full, total and without strings, besides that of recognizing that we are always before a human life."

Monday, February 15, 2010


An international conference on FERTILITY, INFERTILITY AND GENDER will take place at Maynooth College, Maynooth, Co. Kildare (Ireland) from 16 to 18 June next. The conference is being organised by the Linacre Centre for Health and Ethics (U.K.)

Some of the topics that will be discussed at the meeting are as follows:

Marriage, fertility and celibacy; Biblical perspectives; Psychological issues in gender identity; Marriage, singleness and homosexuality; Love, unity and contraception; Population growth and control; STDs, teenage pregnancy and abstinence strategies; Assisted conception: ethical approaches; IVF and sexual ethics; The effects on children of the reproductive revolution.

A very broad range of subjects!

Speakers to the different topics will include: Fr Paul Mankowski; Professor Luke Gormally; Dr Philip Sutton; Professor Alexander Pruss; Dr Dermot Grenham; Dr Kevin O’Reilly; Professor David Paton; Dr Phil Boyle; Dr Mary Geach; Fr Kevin Flannery; Elizabeth Marquadt.

The conference opens at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, 16 June 2010, and closes with lunch on Friday, 18 June 2010. Overnight accommodation is available at the College, and it may also be possible for participants to stay at the College on the nights before and after the conference.

Provisional booking may be made – by telephone +44 (01) 1865 610212
by fax +44 (01) 1865 610213
by e-mail

Further information, and other details, are available from Gwen McCourt at or by this link to the Linacre website

Saturday, February 13, 2010

The greatest human rights struggle in the world.

Congressman Chris Smith of New Jersey delivered an address to representatives of approximately 30 nations at a Focus on the Family briefing titled "The Inherent Right to Life: the First and Most Fundamental Human Right" at UN headquarters in New York. reports

Smith told the UN amdassadors and other delegates,
"It is important to keep in mind that the Universal Declaration was just that—a declaration, not a law nor an international covenant. Appropriately, the UN and its member states did not claim to be creating the rights enumerated in it; they were merely recognizing and proclaiming them. The Declaration itself made clear that member states must recognize the “inherent dignity” and the “equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family”. Such fundamental rights do not come from the United Nations or from sovereign governments. If they did, then governments would have the moral authority to abridge or rescind such rights.

If our fundamental rights are truly rights—and not mere privileges conveyed by civil authority—then they must be derived from a source that precedes and transcends any earthly or political power; indeed they must come from God.

Our job is to recognize these God-given rights and then act decisively. Our duty is to protect all those at risk, even when it is profoundly inconvenient. Each generation, it seems, confronts new and sometimes unique threats to the sanctity of human life although some types of hate and abuse seem never to abate.

Smith told his audience that
The most vulnerable among us owe each of you in this room an extraordinary debt of gratitude for your hard work, sacrifice, diligence and compassion expended daily on their behalf.
Today, the most persecuted minority in much of the world are unborn children. Ironic, isn't it. At a time when ultra sound imaging has given us a window to the womb, when microsurgery and fetal health interventions are commonplace, some have chosen this time in history to dehumanize and exclude unborn babies.

Smith also said,
I have been in the pro-life movement for 38 years. It is the greatest human rights struggle on earth. I say that as a US Congressman for thirty years who has authored numerous landmark laws to combat human trafficking, assist torture victims, promote religious freedom, enhance refugee protections worldwide, fund and expand the child survival revolution, and help prisoners of conscience. I have also played a leading role in global HIV/AIDS programs, malaria mitigation, efforts to cure autism and other health causes.
That said, the Right to Life especially for unborn children and others at risk remains the greatest human rights struggle in the world.

"Morning After Pill"

A report in the Irish Medical times based on a sample of 100 GP's claims that over two-thirds of GPs believe that some form of legislation should be introduced to allow teenagers to consent to or refuse medical treatment, including the ‘morning-after’ pill. Needless to say what the survey shows in that two thirds of the sample were in agreement with this but this does not necessarily mean that two thirds of all Irish GP's would agree.

The mere idea that doctors should follow what the UK have done is utterly unacceptable. This kind of practice in the UK has caused major difficulties with increased teen pregnancy rates not to mention increased levels of STD's

the report continues; However, only a small minority of those who felt that legislation was undesirable actually felt that the current laws were correct, and under-18s should not be treated as adults.

One hundred GPs were polled by IMT in January on a range of issues affecting healthcare in Ireland. A large majority (70 per cent) agreed that teenagers should have access to such healthcare, and already do informally — they differed only on whether the legislation was necessary. Twenty-seven said no. Three GPs had no opinion.

There were concerns that legislation would create guidelines and protocols that would over-regulate treatment and result in a situation where GPs would be forced to treat against their better judgment.

Some GPs had concerns that opening a debate over the issue might result in ‘outrage’ among lobby groups who could seek to reduce access to contraception or the ‘morning-after’ pill.

Many GPs who agreed that legislation was necessary added the proviso that it should apply only to over-16s. GPs in favour of new regulations were of the opinion that practices surrounding the treatment of teenagers needed to be formalised. It was suggested that doctors should follow guidelines already in place in the UK.
Some GPs were eager to have new legislation to protect them from potential legal action should they prescribe the ‘morning-after’ pill to a teenager against the wishes of her parents.

Others simply wanted to legitimise their position.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

End of Life Issues

The Irish Times reports [4.2.10] on the guide on spiritual care of the dying published by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales.

The report gives various quotations from the publication, but does not comment on it.
Meanwhile, it is reported that ‘six people from Ireland have taken their lives at a Swiss-based assisted suicide service since its foundation, according to figures released by the organisation. … Although suicide ceased to be a crime in the Republic in 1993, the law states that the act of suicide must be achieved without assistance.

According to gardaí [police] a person who aids, abets, counsels or procures the suicide of another could be arrested and imprisoned for up to 14 years, even if the suicide occurs abroad.’ [IT, 8.1.10]

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

German Family granted asylum in United States

A German home-schooling family was recently forced to leave their own country and seek asylum in the United States of America. Why? Because they home-schooled their own children. And why did they wish to do so? Because they objected to their children being forced to follow a curriculum that they considered to be anti-Christian. Commenting on the case, the US Immigration Judge, Lawrence O Burman, in Memphis, Tennessee, had this to say:

‘We can’t expect every country to follow our constitution. The world might be a better place if it did. However, the rights being violated here [the pursuit of the family owing to the fact that they home-schooled, contrary to German educational diktat] are basic human rights that no country has a right to violate. … Homeschoolers are a particular social group that the German government is trying to suppress. This family has a well-founded fear of persecution […] therefore, they are eligible for asylum […]’

Gerald Warner, described as ‘author, broadcaster, columnist and polemical commentator who writes about politics, religion, history, culture and society in general’, gives us his observations on the case of the German family:
‘[…] Do we understand that, as citizens of the European Union, we now belong to a totalitarian state from which fleeing citizens are being granted political asylum in the United States? Twenty years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, tyranny is back in business in Germany. […]

‘Why did the German homeschoolers not seek political asylum in Britain? Because our rulers subscribe to the same tyrannical statist philosophy, is the answer. Every possible obstacle is put in the way of homeschooling parents in Britain.
‘The mentality is that the state – not parents – is the natural controller and shaper of children’s lives and beliefs. When a schoolgirl can be given an abortion without her parents’ knowledge, we know that, while public utilities may have been privatised, children have been nationalised. [The family] who fled from Germany objected to their children being forced to follow a curriculum that they believed was anti-Christian. The same would apply in British state schools, where pornographic sex education is increasingly being made compulsory. […]’

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Pontifical Academy for Life meeting promises to be stormy

The Pontifical Academy for Life meets in Rome this week from February 8th -11th

For several years the Academy has been open to all those who were interested in attending, this year however the meeting is closed and has been notified to members only. This is a great pity as it has been reported that the conference will focus on Human Rights and many others would be keen to attend.

Sandro Magister writing in Chisea claims that the Academy for Life president, Archbishop Fisichella, no longer has the trust of some of its members because of an article written by him and published in "L'Osservatore Romano," concerning the case of an extremely young Brazilian child-mother in Recife, who was forced to abort the twins she was carrying.

The meeting according to Magister promises to be a stormy one and he claims that some of the members of the academy are openly questioning whether Fisichella is fit to be president. Foremost among them according to Magister is Monsignor Michel Schooyans, Belgian, professor emeritus of the Catholic University of Louvain, who is a member of three pontifical academies: for social sciences, of Saint Thomas Aquinas, and – most relevant here – for life.

Magister reports that in view of the meeting, Monsignor Schooyans has written a scathing critique of the "trap" into which he believes Archbishop Fisichella fell: a false concept of "compassion."

"Pseudo-compassion", according to Schooyans
frequently invoked in favour of the perpetrators of acts which are inherently wrong, such as abortion, hence leads to scandal; it invites others into grave sin. Scandal is the first thing to be avoided. Pseudo-compassion also leads to heresy and division within the Church, because it incites the faithful to deviate from a non-negotiable element of the doctrine of the Church: the duty to respect innocent life. Pseudo-compassion reinforces the movement towards the "tyranny of relativism", observable in some pastors and/or theologians. Ultimately, pseudo-compassion could lead to a situation in which the Church's doctrine and natural morality would be the outcome of a procedure of consensus based on compromise.

The following link to the Magister article sets out all the relevant issues and the article incorporates the carefully argued Schooyans document THE PITFALLS OF COMPASSION

Monday, February 8, 2010

Catholic Education under grave attack

The so-called ‘liberal’ class in Ireland has recently become more and more vociferous in its calls to ‘take the Catholic Church out of education.’
Let the ‘Educate Together’ movement (which is entirely secular in its approach to education) take control of schools, particularly primary schools, they say. The Catholic Church – and, logically, all others such as the Church of Ireland, Presbyterians, Methodists, and Muslims, etc. – should relinquish their ‘hold’ on primary education.

However, Cardinal Seán Brady, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland, has spoken out very forcefully against such a suggestion. In the course of an address at the launch of Catholic Schools Week and the inauguration of the Catholic Schools Partnership, at the end of January 2010, Cardinal Brady said:

‘[…] The presumption that the Catholic Church wants to control as many schools as it can, irrespective of parental demands, in increasingly seen to be unfounded.
‘Equally, the idea that the only way to accommodate religious and cultural diversity in society is to remove the church completely from State-funded schools is increasingly seen as unjust, unhelpful and contrary to the principle of pluralism.[…]

‘If […]the dialogue is simply a Trojan horse for removing faith from schools – whether Catholic, Protestant, Jewish or Muslim – then we are destined to remain locked in unnecessary tensions about the future of education, to the detriment of children and society. […]

‘Critical to this dialogue is the clear recognition that parents have a right to have their children educated in accordance with their philosophical and religious convictions. Consequently, the State has a duty to support this right with public funds. […]

‘Those parents who choose and value the Catholic education provided for their children are taxpayers in exactly the same way as parents who send their children to other types of schools. To disadvantage any group of parents because of their faith is completely contrary to the principle of equality and pluralism.
‘There is no such thing as a value-free school. If parents want the government of the day to define and manage the ethos of their schools, it is important to ask what philosophy of life, of the human person, of the child would the government of the day promote? What system of values would it seek to promote? That of the particular party in power? Would it change from government to government? […]’

Referring to the results of a recent poll on the subject of religious involvement in education, he went on to say:

‘If the editorial comment on the poll is right, then a key factor in the result was the completely justified anger with bishops and religious orders over the findings of the Ryan and Murphy reports [on the sexual abuse of children on the part of clerics]. But what, then, of the implications of the less publicised but very significant criticisms of State-run organisations in the same reports? …
‘Catholic schools today are well placed to win the support and confidence of parents who want a values-based education for their children.
‘We should not apologise for who we are. In an increasingly diverse culture, the future lies in ensuring that our schools become more authentically Catholic, both in terms of the authentic Catholic doctrine they teach and the Christian environment which they create.’

It is interesting to note that, back in 1980, a ‘National Women’s Forum’ – called to formulate a National Plan of Action ‘specifically relevant to Ireland’, following the UN World Conference of Women held in Copenhagen – presented a report to the government via the Council for the Status of Women. Among the proposals put forward at that time were:

* The abolition of ‘sexism’, i.e., role identification with respect to sex, in education, with the demand that teacher training include input on the topic. Progress was to be monitored by a government-funded National Committee under the auspices of the CSW.
* Sex education for all students, beginning at primary level, and including ‘remedial and slow learners’, and giving top priority to the ‘physically and mentally disabled’.
* The end of Catholic control of education in Ireland.
* A national programme covering sexuality for schools, community health centres and the media.
* A charter of children’s rights, to include the right to ‘freedom of sexual expression’.

And that’s only a sample! It’s frightening to think that all this was being planned thirty years ago. What plans are afoot today that could very well affect family and life in Ireland in the years to come? Take, for instance, the Civil Partnership Bill. Many individuals and groups who are concerned about the dangers inherent in this Bill are trying to warn the Government about it. But will they be listened to? The current Irish Government seems to be unwilling to do so.

I would like to draw the attention of readers to John Smeaton’s blogs ( on various related matters during the past few weeks. Of particular interest to Irish readers are items on the Children, Schools and Families Bill in the UK, and the growing erosion of parental authority that would come about if the Bill becomes law. Strongly recommended reading, too, is the text of Pope Benedict’s recent address, in Rome, to the Hierarchy of England and Wales.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Dishonesty in reporting rise in teen pregnancy

The Guttmacher Institute recently released a report raising alarm over a one-year increase in teen pregnancy. “Safe sex” experts quickly pinned the blame on abstinence education.

This is a bit hypocritical according to Robert Rector of the Heritage Foundation writing in National Review Online.
In the decade after the federal government began its meager funding of abstinence education, teen pregnancy fell steadily. Safe-sex experts never linked that decline to abstinence education. But when the news went bad, they swiftly identified abstinence programs as the culprit.

But did teen pregnancy actually rise in 2006, as Guttmacher claims? It depends on what you mean by “teen.” For most people, “teen pregnancy” implies pregnancy among high-schoolers, girls under age 18. According to Guttmacher’s own data, the pregnancy rate for 15- to 17-year-old girls barely changed, and the rate for girls 14 and under (the group most affected by abstinence programs) actually dropped.

By contrast according to Rector
the pregnancy and birth rates for young adult women aged 18 and 19 rose sharply. The rise in pregnancies and births in this age range is part of a much larger story: the collapse of marriage and explosive growth of out-of-wedlock births in lower income communities.

Between 1997 and 2007, the percentage of births outside of marriage rose from 32.4 percent to 39.7 percent of all births in the U.S. Very few of these non-marital births occurred to minor girls; most were to less-educated young adult women aged 18 to 26. Since non-married moms are less likely to postpone childbearing than those who patiently wait for marriage, it should be no surprise that the ongoing collapse of marriage in low-income communities would lead to a bump in the birth rate among 18- and 19-year-olds.

Heather Boonstra, Guttmacher Institute senior public policy associate in a blatant attempt to ensure no further funding would be available for abstinence programmes said, "After more than a decade of progress, this reversal is deeply troubling. It coincides with an increase in rigid abstinence-only-until-marriage programs, which received major funding boosts under the Bush administration. A strong body of research shows that these programs do not work.

However, the American Life League says that while (planned parenthood and the Guttmacher Institute) the abortion provider seeks to portray the unsettling statistics as an indictment against the Bush administration's abstinence policy, the timeline points to a different culprit – Planned Parenthood.
"This is not rocket science," American Life League Vice President Jim Sedlak said.
"When you don't tell kids to remain abstinent, they have more sex and more of them get pregnant. Pregnancy rates go down when kids don't have sex."
American Life League pointed to the following trends as evidence that Planned Parenthood's sex-ed programs are to blame:
• Prior to 1990, teen pregnancy rates were increasing just about every year as Planned Parenthood's sex-ed programs dominated public and even private school sex-education courses.
• In the early 1990s, it became popular to teach the abstinence message to teens and preteens. Teen pregnancy rates began to fall. The Guttmacher Institute claims the decline was the result of more use of contraceptives among sexually active teens.
• By 1995, the federal government was funding an abstinence-only message while pregnancy rates continued to fall.
• By 2000, Planned Parenthood began lobbying the various states to refuse abstinence money and reduce abstinence programs and, predictably, in 2006, the teen pregnancy rate increased for the first time in 15 years.
• Today, partnering with President Obama, Planned Parenthood lobbying has succeeded in virtually cutting off abstinence-only funds.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Some legislation violates the natural law: Pope Benedict XVI tells Bishops

Pope Benedict XVI addressing the Catholic bishops of England and Wales earlier this week encouraged them to stand firm against proposed legislation that he said opposes the natural law, and to present the Catholic Church's moral teaching in the face of the acceptance of moral relativism.

Your country Pope Benedict said,
is well known for its firm commitment to equality of opportunity for all members of society. Yet as you have rightly pointed out, the effect of some of the legislation designed to achieve this goal has been to impose unjust limitations on the freedom of religious communities to act in accordance with their beliefs. In some respects it actually violates the natural law upon which the equality of all human beings is grounded and by which it is guaranteed. I urge you as Pastors to ensure that the Church’s moral teaching be always presented in its entirety and convincingly defended. Fidelity to the Gospel in no way restricts the freedom of others – on the contrary, it serves their freedom by offering them the truth.

Pope Benedict also reminded the Bishops that in a society in which many opinions are expressed that it is only the revealed truth that sets people free.
In a social milieu that encourages the expression of a variety of opinions on every question that arises, it is important to recognize dissent for what it is, and not to mistake it for a mature contribution to a balanced and wide-ranging debate. It is the truth revealed through Scripture and Tradition and articulated by the Church’s Magisterium that sets us free.

Pope Benedict’s statement is being interpreted by the British media as being aimed at the current Equality Bill that the Catholic bishops have warned will force churches to violate their religious beliefs on homosexuality, marriage and the priesthood. But others have suggested that the pope was also reminding the Bishops that they must be orthodox in their teaching of Catholic faith and morals

SPUC national director John Smeaton in his BLOG on the issue wrote,
What I have yet to see is a reference to the bishops' 2005 Diversity and Equality guidelines. These guidelines no longer appear on the bishops' conference website, but are listed and replaced with a holding page informing visitors that new guidelines are being drafted to take account of recent legislative changes. The guidelines are a policy statement on British government and EU law on the equal employment rights of male and female homosexuals, and bisexuals and transsexuals.

One result of the previous legislation was that many Catholic adoption agencies were either closed down or cut their links with the Catholic Church because they were refused exemptions from anti-discrimination rules that forced them to consider homosexual couples as potential parents.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

The efficacy of abstinence education

The Washington Post on February 2, 2010 reported on a randomized control study on sexual abstinence among early teens, Efficacy of a theory-based abstinence-only intervention over 24 months” was carried out by John B. Jemmott III, PhD; Loretta S. Jemmott, PhD, RN and Geoffrey T. Fong, PhD published in the February edition of Archives of Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine and adds to the growing body of research showing the effectiveness of abstinence education programs.

The study showed that a high-risk population of 6&7 graders receiving abstinence-centered education had the following behavioral changes:

•Reduced sexual initiation (32.6% abstinence intervention vs 51.8% for “safer sex” and 41.8% for “comprehensive” sex education.)

•Reduced the number of sexual partners (a crucial determinant in acquiring an STD),

•The author cites the value of a single focused abstinence approach for encouraging sexual delay, as opposed to a mixed “comprehensive” message. (AP article 2/2/10: “Jemmott said the single focus may have been better at encouraging abstinence than the other approaches in his study. ‘The message was not mixed with any other messages,’ said Jemmott)

Clearly this information challenges policies that claim to want to fund “evidence-based programs,” yet ignore the results of abstinence programmes such as this important study.

This new study proves,
* Single-focused abstinence-centered education is the most effective approach in reducing teen sex.

The study clearly showed that students receiving the Abstinence centered approach were significantly less likely to initiate sex than either the “Safe-Sex” and “Comprehensive” sex education approaches. The safer sex and comprehensive interventions did not reduce sexual initiation.

* Abstinence education has a long-term positive impact on teens’ sexual behavior. Reduction in teen sex continued over a 24-month timeframe.

* Abstinence education is effective among high-risk teens.
The study was conducted among urban, low-income, African American youth, a population at high risk for pregnancy and STDs, including HIV.

The abstinence–centered approach is preferred over condom-based instruction in many communities throughout the US, as cited in the study (this is also true of many communities throughout the world). Offering parents and schools a choice in the type of sex education their children receive not only supports pluralism but the value of local control in education.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

"Assisted suicide"

Two cases relating to ‘assisted suicide’ occurred in the UK recently. In one case, the mother of a young woman who had suffered from ME for nearly fifteen years, and who had helped her daughter to take her own life, was acquitted of complicity in bringing about her death. In the second case, where a mother had made two attempts to kill her brain-damaged son (the second attempt proved ‘successful’), she was convicted and sentenced to the mandatory life sentence, with a recommendation that she should serve at least nine years.

The prosecuting counsel in the case said:
‘This is a tragic case … but it is not a defence to murder that a mother wants to put her son out of his misery, whether that misery was real, or, as in this case, merely perceived … You are not entitled to terminate someone’s life in this way.’

Commenting on the media and public outcry against the conviction and sentence imposed on Mrs. Inglis, the mother who succeeded in killing her son, Dominic Lawson (writing in the [London] Independent), says:
‘One of the reasons why there seems such a public willingness to accept Mrs. Inglis’s actions as not only justifiable, but actually heroic, is that it is widely assumed that a dependent life is a pointless life. In the vast majority of cases, that is not the view of those in such a vulnerable position. … The wholesale extermination of the handicapped which took place in Germany in the late 1930s is often seen as a purely Nazi phenomenon. Yet that policy could not have been enacted if the German people had not already indicated their acceptance of the idea of “lives unworthy of life”.’

He tells us that:
‘Three years ago this month, my wife’s nephew sustained a dreadful brain injury by the banal process of falling downstairs. … We were told that the prognosis was grim.’ Despite extraordinary measures to try to save his life, the young man ‘registered at the very lowest end of the scale measuring signs of brain activity.’ For weeks, he was tended and cared for in the intensive care unit at Charing Cross Hospital in London. ‘It was an agonisingly slow process, but gradually he made a recovery – and a much better one than even the most optimistic of the doctors had predicted. … Yesterday I called Dominic [his wife’s nephew], to tell him about this case. What did he think of the fact that the British media seemed to regard Mrs Inglis’s actions as heroic? “Chilling,” he said. He should know.’

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Portuguese approval of so called same sex “marriage"

Tradition, Family, and Property, commenting on the recent legislative approval of same-sex ‘marriage’ on the part of the Portuguese parliament, has this to say:

‘The Portuguese parliament’s approval of same-sex “marriage” on January 8 is shocking for many reasons. …

The article then sets out the reasons as follows
‘There is no doubt that the general decay of morals, chaos in people’s minds, loss of the sense of logic and of the moral sense, have also hit the country once known as the Land of Santa Maria (Saint Mary). However, that alone does not explain what happened. We must also consider another phenomenon, painful to Catholic hearts.
‘Unfortunately, it is not rare for some bishops and cardinals to present “dialogue” as a way to avoid confronting the errors of the modern world even when they are so clearly aberrant such as abortion and so-called homosexual “marriage”. The latter is supposed to “normalize” the practice of homosexual acts by equating them with the conjugal act in legitimate marriage. …
‘Unfortunately, in Portugal, the position of the bishops’ conference and above all that of the Cardinal Patriarch of Lisbon, Most Rev. Jose da Cruz Policarpo, has been one of dialoguing in such a way that it rather confused and discouraged Catholics instead of attaining any positive result in the defense of religion and Christian civilization.
‘The result of years of such policies has been tragic: In 1975, divorce, which had been approved by the socialist Republic in 1910 and ceased to be applicable to Catholics in 1940, was extended to everyone, even those married in the Church. In 2008, that divorce law was broadened with the approval of “fast track” or “no-fault divorce.”

The article points out that abortion was legalized in 2007; and now, in 2010, the Portuguese Parliament approved homosexual “marriage.”
The article then continues
‘In 2007, a national plebiscite was held to decide on the law authorizing abortion. The attitude of the Portuguese bishops, and above all that of the Cardinal Patriarch, was to avoid a clash. The laity took the initiative to fight against abortion but they were unable to count on support from the clergy, since ecclesiastical authorities forbade them to speak from the pulpit against the approval of abortion. They could deal with the issue only theoretically, without attacking the proposed legislation.
‘Moreover, the Cardinal made confusing statements that he later rectified, when he stated that abortion was not a religious issue. Worse, after the law’s approval, he refused to ask the country’s president, his personal friend, to veto it. …
‘Furthermore, the Patriarch of Lisbon admits that Catholics can ask for a referendum as a way to forestall the law, but insists that such a decision will be up to the socialist-dominated Parliament. He makes it clear that the Church will not support effectively’ those who seek such a referendum. He also gave instructions to his clergy ‘for the signature petition campaign not to be proclaimed from the “Church’s rooftops.”’


These are worrying times, there has been a sea change in the understanding of human rights in the international arena and very few voices have been raised to halt the march of the anti-life and family agenda currently being championed as human rights.

There has always been an expectation on the part of the lay faithful that leadership in the proclamation of authentic human rights and moral values will come from the national hierarchies within the Catholic Church. There is no doubt that the lay faithful also need to take responsibility and oppose the ani-life and family agenda but it is disheartening when they do so to find that there is no support for their action from those who should be foremost in giving that support. It is even worse in some cases to find there can be active opposition to lay initiatives

Monday, February 1, 2010

The dignity and integrity of the person must be respected in all stages of life

One never tires of listening to what Pope Benedict XVI says on various subjects, but particularly with regard to the respect that must be accorded to human life. Recently, I came across the following piece which is taken from the ‘Common Declaration’ made and signed by Pope Benedict and H.B. Christolodoulos, Archbishop of Athens and all Greece, in December 2006:

'We wish to pay tribute to the impressive progress achieved in all areas of science, especially with regard to the human being. However, we invite governments and scientists to respect the sacredness of the human person and his dignity, because his life is a divine gift. We are concerned to see that some branches of science are experimenting on the human being, without respect for either the dignity or the integrity of the person in all the stages of his life, from conception to his natural end.
‘Furthermore, we ask for greater sensitivity in order to protect more effectively in our countries, in Europe and internationally, the fundamental human rights that are based on the dignity of the human being created in God’s image.
‘We look forward to a fruitful collaboration to enable our contemporaries to rediscover the Christian roots of the European Continent which forged the different nations and contributed to developing increasingly harmonious links between them. This will help them live and promote the fundamental human and spiritual values for all people, as well as the development of their own societies.’

This accord is particularly significant in today world when there are ever more and more attacks on the human embryo. It is to be hoped for example that this invitation to protect the sacredness of the human person and his dignity, will be adopted by the Irish Government in proposed legislation. Following the recent Supreme Court case regarding the fate of three frozen embryos the Irish Health Minister before Christmas announced that her Department would draft legislation on the issue for discussion in the Dail (The Irish Parliament). It is to be hoped that this legislation will recognise that human life is sacred, that it must be protected from conception and that natural methods of dealing with infertility are recognised instead of the current anomolous position which stores human embryos in a frozen limbo.

(Picture shows Archbishop Christolodoulos former head of the Greek Orthodox Church who sadly, died in 2008)