Friday, April 30, 2010

Many States opting out of Obamacare Federal funding of abortion

Citizen Link report that concern over federal funding of abortion in the new US health care reform law has prompted several states to move toward "opting out."

Tennessee was first to get a bill to its governor that prohibits taxpayers from funding abortion. Lawmakers in Georgia, Oklahoma, Virginia and Louisiana are all considering similar measures.

Citizen Link report that Mary Harned, staff counsel with Americans United for Life, said AUL has model legislation ready for states to use, and many are taking advantage.
"There are currently 15 states that are actively working toward getting this done, and at least another 11 that we know of who are planning to do this.
Planned Parenthood has pledged to oppose the "opt out" bills, but many state officials say Congress overstepped its authority by passing the law in the first place.

"A lot of states feel that this is one area of abortion policies that has been very much in their control," [...] "Now, they're having to allow these plans that cover abortions to participate in these new exchanges

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Margaret Sanger and Planned Parenthood

American Life League who constantly monitor the evils of planned parenthood report in their April 19 edition of pro-life today report on an article that appeared in the Savannah Morning Post Savannah now and the subsequent exchange between the author Geveryl Robinson and the local Planned Parenthood director Kay Scott, who tried both to dismiss the article as being extreme and to distance planned parenthood from Margaret Sanger

Sanger column backed by facts

But had I not researched eugenics and Margaret Sanger, I might not be able to provide the following quotes, taken from, get this, Margaret Sanger's article, "The Eugenic Birth Control Propaganda," printed in Birth Control Review, Oct. 1921, page 5. "Eugenics is ... the most adequate and thorough avenue to the solution of racial, political and social problems." Then there's this quote: "As an advocate of birth control I wish ... to point out that the unbalance between the birth rate of the 'unfit' and the 'fit,' admittedly the greatest present menace to civilization, can never be rectified by the inauguration of a cradle competition between these two classes. In this matter, the example of the inferior classes, the fertility of the feeble-minded, the mentally defective, the poverty-stricken classes, should not be held up for emulation.... On the contrary, the most urgent problem today is how to limit and discourage the over-fertility of the mentally and physically defective."

Rally for Life

An Important Date for your Diary!

Following the very successful ‘Rally for Life’ gatherings held in Dublin and Belfast during the last few years, this year’s Rally is planned to take place in Belfast on Saturday, 3 July.
Here are the details:

When: Saturday, 3 July, 2010

Where: City Centre, Belfast (the actual meeting point is to be confirmed)

At: 2 p.m.

The organisers of the Rally for Life 2010 say that:

Unborn children’s lives are under threat. Powerful pro-abortion campaigners in Ireland, the UK and the European Union are attacking our pro-life laws. That’s why it’s so important we show our opposition to abortion. On 3rd July let’s do that together, at the All-Ireland Rally for Life!
Bring your family and friends for a great day out – and help to send a powerful message.

Further information will be available at at a later date.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Witness to the dignity of human life

A friend of a colleague of mine has sent the following to me:

‘The Missionary Servants of the Poor of the Third World was founded in the early 1980s by Fr. Giovanni Salerno, an Italian priest and doctor. The Movement’s primary centre of operation is to be found in the spiritually and materially impoverished Andes region surrounding the Peruvian city of Cuzco. Much of the work involves the care and education of children who have been orphaned, abandoned, handicapped…

‘The following is an eye-witness account of the invaluable work performed by the members of this Movement in the service of God and neighbour:

‘Many children were received in a serious state of malnutrition; others in a state of neglect. Today, you can see them happy, blossoming, well-nourished, eager to learn and to excel in life, some of them wishing to consecrate themselves to God, following the example of those who care for them and whom they admire so much.‘Our visit and the aid which we were able to afford to the group of handicapped children was for us the best witness to the dignity of human life, so trampled upon in our times. Night and day the Sisters watch over the cradles of children afflicted with serious malformations, feeding them and tenderly caring for these deformed bodies, which will never be “useful” to society, but which enclose a soul redeemed by Christ, which is mysteriously associated through Him in His Work of Redemption, by an existence marked by suffering. They carry their cross with patience, almost always with a smile. It was a privilege for us even to help to feed them.’

(This was written by Anne-Marie Trigueros, and appeared, in French, in the Movement’s 2009 Lenten Bulletin, published by l’Abbaye Notre Dame, F-36220, Fontgombault, France.
Further information, and a DVD on the work of the Movement, are available by writing to the above address.)

Monday, April 26, 2010

Pro-Life Climb Reminder

We reported on March 30th that the annual Croagh Patrick climb for the unborn will take place this year on Saturday May 1st.

Climbers are requested to be there at 10am. The Rosary will be recited at Our Lady's Grotto at the base, prior to the ascent. Climbers should arrive early and be ready and should depart in groups. The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass will be celebrated at the summit.

The purpose of the climb is to assist in creating awareness of the need for ongoing protection for the life of the unborn. From the moment of conception, every human being is unique, individual and unrepeatable. To interrupt the process of development of the unborn at any stage, is the taking of Innocent Human life

Participants are encouraged to wear Pro-Life T-Shirts or other distinctive pro-life insignia as a witness but are also advised to wear appropriate foot wear, to come equipped with suitable rainwear and are also advised to ensure they have adequate hydration for the duration of the climb.

Friday, April 23, 2010


The Daily Telegraph reported April 16th on a new and terrible population control measure in China. Officials in southern China have launched a campaign to sterilise nearly 10,000 people as part of a crackdown on parents who violate the country's strict birth control policies.

Family planning authorities in Puning, a city in the southern province of Guangdong, have detained more than 1,300 people in the drive, the Nanfang Countryside Daily said in an investigative report. Those detained included parents who refused to undergo the surgical procedure and their "relatives", the report said.

They were being held in local government buildings and lectured on family planning rules, it said. China's family planning policy generally limits families to one child, with some exceptions for rural farmers, ethnic minorities and other groups.

The 20-day campaign launched last week is targeting 9,559 people considered the "most severe violators of the family planning policy in Puning," the Global Times said. So far half the couples targeted had consented to sterilisation, the paper said.

Huang Ruifeng, a 64-year-old father of three, said he was contacted by a local official ordering him or his wife to have the surgical procedure, When Mr Huang refused, claiming he was too busy his father was taken away.

Authorities said they were using "extraordinary measures" to encourage couples to undergo sterilisation, such as refusing to provide the children proper registration documents, which effectively denies the children access to public services such as health insurance and free schooling.

Se also timesonline article

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Aborted babies bodies dumped in India

The BBC reported April 19th that Authorities in the western Indian state of Gujarat say they have recovered more than a dozen human foetuses from a rubbish bin in the city of Ahmedabad.

It is suspected that the tiny unborn babies bodies could have been dumped by local abortion clinics, which have been conducting illegal sex determination tests. It is understood that the bodies, which were all female have been sent for post-mortem examinations.

Female foeticide has been a major problem in India and also in China. It is reported that millions of unborn girls may have been aborted in India over the past 20 years in sex selective abortions and despite the fact that India banned sex selection in 1994 the practice has continued.

The BBC report says the bodies were found in the east of the city on Monday morning. Some were in broken jars, which have been sent for forensic examination.
Female foeticide has led to an unbalanced sex ratio in many northern districts of Gujarat, and in other states in India.

A similar incident was recently reported in China where the bodies of 21 babies were found dumped on a river bank. Television footage showed several bodies lying on the ground by the river, covered in mud, while emergency workers searched the area. See BBC report

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Media bias on abortion issue?

The distinct lack of media response to a new new opinion poll showing 70% support for the constitutional protection of the unborn and the prohibition of abortion in Ireland appears to reflect media bias in favour of abortion.

The lack of media response contrasts sharply with the enthusiastic reception given to a recent Red C poll conducted on behalf of pro-abortion agencies that made no distinction between the carrying out of necessary medical treatments in pregnancy which do not target the life of an unborn baby on the one hand and induced abortion on the other hand. See Irish Times and Irish Independent coverage of the previous pro-abortion poll.

The new poll, which was carried out between Jan. 27 and Feb. 6 2010, was conducted by Milward Brown Lansdowne on behalf of PLC. The researchers who used a quota-controlled sample of 950 people over the age of 18 asked respondents if they favor or oppose “constitutional protection for the unborn that prohibits abortion but allows the continuation of the existing practice of intervention to save a mother’s life in accordance with Irish medical ethics.”
The poll results which, were presented at a press conference in Buswell’s Hotel in Dublin on April 15th by Dr Berry Kiely, showed seventy percent support the constitutional protection while only 13 percent opposed it. Another 16 percent of respondents did not know or had no opinion.
Dr Kiely told the meeting that the poll is distinguished from other polls showing support for abortion by its distinction between necessary medical interventions in pregnancy and induced abortion
“where the life of the unborn child is directly targeted. This is a critical ethical distinction which abortion advocates constantly seek to blur,” she said.

The fact that the the main media outlets ignored the poll shows a very worrying bias, which must be challenged

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Irish Constitution under Threat

During the Irish Labour Party annual conference last weekend Labour leader Mr Eamon Gilmore in his keynote address announced his commitment to a fundamental review of the Irish Constitution if his party becomes a coalition partner in the next Irish Government.

Mr. Gilmore is intent among other things on removing the protection currently afforded to unborn children in the Irish Constitution under article 40.3.3 . Aside from abortion, Mr. Gilmore's constitutional reform plan, according to an Irish Independent article, would also open up a host of contentious issues like the recognition of God, property rights, the definition of the family, gay marriage and the EU.
According to Mr. Gilmore
“[t]here is much about it [the Irish Constitution] that has served us well, but it is a document written in the 1930s for the 1930s”. and in the 1930s “women were considered to be second-class citizens”.

SPUC director John Smeaton in his BLOG writes
Whatever the merits or otherwise of Mr Gilmore's historical analysis, what a sad irony it is that his proposals include going much further than turning a category of Irish people into second-class citizens in 2010. If Mr Gilmore is successful, unborn Irish children will be robbed completely of citizenship, having their most fundamental right, the right to be born, cruelly taken away from them. It is highly misleading for Mr Gimore to attempt to mask a pro-abortion agenda behind the veil of equality for women. Abortion kills unborn females and harms pregnant mothers.

John Brown (brother of DANA Rosemary Scallon) in a press release asks
When will President Mc Aleese speak up to defend Ireland's Constitution? Her oath of office is quite clear, Article 12.8:"In the presence of Almighty God I do solemnly and sincerely promise that I will maintain the Constitution of Ireland and uphold its laws, that I will fulfil my duties faithfully and conscientiously in accordance with the Constitution and the law, and that I will dedicate my abilities to the service and welfare of the people of Ireland. May God direct and sustain me."

The comments by Labour party leader Eamon Gilmore, his promise to rewrite Irelands Constitution if he gets into power, clearly must draw a response from the President, as Mary Mc Aleese previously failed to speak up when Fine Gael's Enda Kenny recently said that he would abolish the Seanad completely. I for one do not believe that these party leaders represent the will of the party faithful, the vast majority of whom value our Constitution, which has served us faithfully.
Ireland's Constitution, in the democratic tradition of Europe and America, is derived, under God, from the people and in its fundamental rights articles, it guarantees the individual citizen freedom, equality and justice. Do you think America would allow the suggested destruction of their constitution - I think not, nor would President Obama sit quiet!
President Mc Aleese has held office over a period that has seen the the Irish people plunged into generations of debt with € billions of taxpayers money pledged to failing banks; cross party political corruption; a ceding of national policy, political and judicial power, citizenship and fiscal control to the EU, all contrary to our Constitution's article's 1 and 5 ; the collapse of our economy and the reintroduction of mass emigration of our young people. .
Why does the President fail to defend and maintain the people's Constitution, yet, she has no problem speaking up in supporting Turkeys application for EU membership? Does she represent the people or the politicians?
In 2004 Dana Rosemary Scallon was denied the opportunity of maintaining Article 12.2:1 of our Constitution, namely, "The President shall be elected by direct vote of the people.", when the Government and ALL political parties joined forces to re-elected their candidate - Mary Mc Aleese. I doubt that Dana would have been silent, following Enda Kenny's or Eamon Gilmore's attack on Ireland's Constitution.

Monday, April 19, 2010

UN Conference hears pro-life presentation reports that Jeanne E. Head, R.N., United Nations Representative for the National Right to Life gave an impassioned speech last week at the 43rd Session of the Commission on Population and Development (CPD) held at United Nation’s Headquarters in New York.
In her opening remarks, Ms. Head intoned the message all pro-life NGOs here at the United Nations hope to impart on the delegations of the world.
“We are dedicated to the protection of all innocent human life from conception to natural death. We see a woman’s life as a continuum deserving compassionate protections and support, beginning at her conception and proceeding throughout her entire life cycle.”

She continued by taking exception to the World Health Organizations long term claims that there has not been a significant decrease in maternal mortality since the Cairo Conference on Population and Development from 1994. Ms. Head states:
“The world has failed to reach these goals because the resources were directed toward decreasing the number of children women deliver, rather than making the delivery of their children safe, and has failed to properly direct resources to save women’s lives. I have grave concerns about the false and dangerous claims that the way to reduce maternal mortality in the developing world is to legalize abortion. I can assert without any equivocation that it is never necessary to directly attack and kill the unborn child to save the life or protect the health of the mother.”
Jeanne also underscored the fact that liberalized abortion laws do not lower maternal mortality by making strong comparisons between countries who have protective laws and those who allow abortion on demand.
“Comparison made between nations that have strong abortion restrictions, such as Ireland and Poland, and nations that permit abortion on demand, such as Russia and the United States, demonstrates that nations with strong abortion restrictions actually have lower maternal death rates than countries that permit abortion on demand.”

She reminded the delegates that previous United Nations documents have rejected abortion as a fundamental right or as a method of family planning by the International Commission on Population and Development.
“In no case should abortion be promoted as a method of family planning.”
She closed her comments by calling attention to what the women of the world truly need.
“Women in many parts of the world need clean water, nutrition, and health care for themselves and their families – not the “right” to violently destroy their children before they are born

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Lancet study on maternal mortality

According to new research data published in the Lancet the global level of maternal mortality declined substantially between 1980 and 2008. This study contradicts figures published by the UN the WHO and other UN agencies all of which have consistently reported that there has been little or no change in the numbers of maternal deaths over the period.

The study, Maternal mortality for 181 countries, 1980—2008: a systematic analysis of progress towards Millennium Development Goal 5 prepared by Christopher Murray and colleagues at the University of Washington in Seattle was funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

The study assessed 181 countries and used a combination of vital registration data including surveys, census data and autopsies to rank maternal deaths, which were classified as either early and late. Early deaths were defined as the death of women during pregnancy or childbirth or in the 42 days after delivery. Late maternal deaths were defined as being between 42 days and 1 year. The researchers estimate that the total number of maternal deaths dropped from around 526300 in 1980 to a level of approximately 342900 in 2008, a reduction of 35 percent over the period. The study additionally shows that 60,000 of the 2008 deaths related to AIDS rather than any maternity related factors. The researchers found improvements in many countries including China, Egypt and Ecuador.

The Study however also shows some surprising results.
First it is clear that decline shown by the study in maternal mortality would have been even greater but for inclusion of the HIV related deaths.

Second it shows that Italy not Ireland has the lowest maternal mortality in the world at 4 per 100,000 followed closely by Australia at 5 per 100,000 and with Austria, Ireland and Israel in joint third position at 6 per 100,000.

Thirdly it shows that in some first world countries maternal mortality has actually increased. The U.S. ratio for example rose to 17 per 100,000 in 2008 from 12 per 100,000 in 1980 and represents an increase of 42 percent on the 1980 figures. Looked at another way this shows that women giving birth in the United States die at more than four times the rate of those in Italy and more than double that of Britain at 8 per 100,000 which has remained virtually unchanged in the past 20 years. Some increases in the ratios were also noted in Canada, Norway, Austria, Denmark and Singapore.

Pro-abortion groups did their utmost during the negotiation of the millennium development goals MDG's to include a goal on reproductive health in order to prioritise abortion and access new funding sources. Despite their best efforts however their plans were defeated, pro-life efforts succeeded in ensuring that Development Goal 5 focused specifically on the reduction of maternal mortality only to the exclusion of the abortion agenda. The pro-abortion response to this has been their determination to find ways of including their pro-abortion agenda in MDG 5 and the main plank of of their strategy was the claim that maternal mortality levels were virtually static. The new survey is therefore unwelcome news for them as they prepare for a women deliver conference in Washington in June and the MDG review in September.

The New York Times in an article quote Dr. Richard Horton of the Lancet, who states he received pressure from maternal mortality advocacy groups not to release the new findings at this time.“I think this is one of those instances when science and advocacy can conflict,” he said.

Dr. Horton according to the article said the advocates, whom he declined to name, wanted the new information held and released only after certain meetings about maternal and child health had already taken place.

He said the meetings included one at the United Nations this week, and another to be held in Washington in June, where advocates hope to win support for more foreign aid for maternal health from Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. Other meetings of concern to the advocates are the Pacific Health Summit in June, and the United Nations General Assembly meeting in December.

“People who have spent many years committed to the issue of maternal health were understandably worried that these figures could divert attention from an issue that they care passionately about,” Dr. Horton said. “But my feeling is that they are misguided in their view that this would be damaging. My view is that actually these numbers help their cause, not hinder it.”

Friday, April 16, 2010

Medical Council attack on Catholic Conscientious objection

We report today on the case of Dr. Phil Boyle, who runs a fertility treatment practice in the Galway clinic. Dr Boyle is the foremost practitioner in Ireland in the use of NaproTechnology, a Catholic approach to treatment of infertility. Last year Dr Boyle declined to treat an unmarried couple on the basis that he limits such elective treatment to married couples only, in accordance with Catholic principles.

Following a complaint by the couple to the Medical Council Dr Boyle was summoned to appear before the Fitness to Practice Committee last week on a professional misconduct charge.

Dr Boyle was acquitted on a technicality but his right to conscientious objection was not recognised. He had been charged with refusing to treat a patient and of not referring the patient to another doctor. The Fitness to practice Committee ultimately accepted that the couple had not become his patient and that in the circumstances referral to another doctor did not arise.

The fact that this case was not dismissed on the basis of the conscientious objection of Dr Boyle is a cause for concern

It also appears that this may not be the end of the matter, it is understood that the couple may now take their case to the Equality Authority on the grounds that Dr Boyle is in breach of the Equal Status Act which outlaws ‘discrimination’ in the provision of goods and services on the grounds of marital status.

We will watch carefully how the issue progresses as it could have major implications for the conscientious objection of medical practitioners in all areas of practice

see also report on the issue by the Iona Institute

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Is CURA Really a Positive Option for Catholics

The issue of pregnancy counseling in Ireland has been fraught with difficulty and even the Catholic Bishops agency CURA has had questions to answer.
Today we publish a review of the issues by Fr Sylvester Mann who is a member of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal. Due to the importance of the issues raised the article is reprinted here in full.

Is CURA Really a Positive Option for Catholics?

Interview by: GARETH PEOPLES

In 1977, CURA was founded by the Catholic Church in Ireland to offer pro life crisis pregnancy counselling services. In recent years, however, CURA has become involved with the government sponsored Positive Options campaign whose sponsors have doled out millions of euro to CURA. This raises an uneasy question:

Does CURA’s close affiliation with Positive Options in any way compromise CURA’s presumably Catholic mission?

The CURA Controversey

One of the stated goals of the Positive Options campaign is to reduce the number of women who travel out of state to procure an abortion. Ironically, however, the pro abortion HSE, under the auspices of the Crisis Pregnancy Agency (CPA) runs the campaign which, despite its deceptive claims, actually facilitates abortions.

CURA, however, defends its decision to join the Positive Options coalition on the grounds that the Positive Options brochure helps people to find out about CURA. CURA is also clearly identified as not giving referrals for abortion. Certainly, the funding does not hurt.

But the CURA-Positive Options alliance has not been without difficulty. Readers may recall the controversy surrounding the dismissal of ‘the Letterkenny four.’ These four CURA volunteers had been let go by CURA for their refusal to distribute Positive Options brochures which lists CURA and all the other government approved crisis pregnancy services, most of who refer for abortions. Although the four were later reinstated, the controversy certainly highlights the conflict in interests which has emerged.

CURA’s Recent Conference

CURA recently hosted a conference in Athlone from 26th – 27th of March. The purpose of the conference was to train its more than 160 delegates in two main areas: adoption and counselling men. Catholic Voice correspondent, Gareth Peoples, spoke with keynote speaker Mr Fergus Hogan. CURA’s Press Representative, Charlotte Kerry, was also interviewed. The responses to Mr Peoples’ questions raise some inconvenient questions concerning CURA’s ability to balance Catholicism and professionalism as will become self-evident.

Ms Kerry said that men, feeling excluded from the woman’s decision, are coming to them in increasing numbers. ‘They often say that I want to be part of this, but everyone is angry and no one is listening to me.’

Mr Hogan, from the Centre for Social and Family Research and who said that he works closely with CURA, continued saying: ‘Often it was much later in the pregnancy decision or sometimes after an abortion that men started to feel inside new feelings about loss or grief. . . .Through services like CURA, we find that men are capable of caring, loving, nurturing, of being kind to families, and that’s the message we want to get out there.’

Troubling Issues within CURA

Whilst Ms Kerry’s and Mr Hogan’s initial observations are well taken, their further input raises serious issues concerning how CURA counsellors are being trained. Mr Hogan stated that, ‘What we’ve found in our research is that sexuality has changed for Irish men. It seems we’re having sex younger and younger. We’re having sex more often, and we have more regular partners. One of the pieces in the research was how can men act responsibly? How can they be in good, healthy relationships, but also how can they act procreatively responsibly around contraception?’

Mr Hogan believes that parents must talk more openly about sex with their teenage boys so that fathering a child becomes ‘a positive achievement, something you can choose to do.’ He added, ‘Now we [parents] won’t always do that. Many of us can’t and don’t and life is messy. But to change the conversation away from the type of a deficit around a crisis and a problem. And it often is a crisis, but to help young guys realise that “every sperm is sacred.”’ (Note: Hogan’s terminology hearkens back to Monty Python’s film The Meaning of Life which mocked the Church’s teaching against contraception. Pro abortion people and Richard Dawkins also use the term to mock the Church.) ‘The possibilities and responsibilities go right back to sex education, sex and sexuality, and I think we have had a problem where we’ve simply had to close up and say “That’s only for marriage, that only happens within marriages.” That’s not the way of the world now, whatever our morality around that.’

Ms Kerry stated that CURA has the support of the Catholic Bishops and ‘works with a Catholic ethos, but we are professional and non-judgemental,’ adding, ‘We live in a very real world.’ She also said that, ‘We talk about and listen to any option that comes up in counselling, and that could be abortion, adoption—which we are looking at today as part of the Positive Options campaign. For someone to make an informed decision, they have to be able to talk through all the options available to them, and then begin to untangle them.’ In the case of abortion, Ms Kerry said, ‘We aren’t going to tell her what to do. We work within her boundaries, that’s a given. Very often we have no idea what decision she makes. . . .ultimately, the decision is her decision, and we would respect that decision.’

When asked if CURA is equally concerned for the woman and her baby, Ms Kerry said that, ‘The needs of the woman always come first because the woman is the person who has come to us with the crisis pregnancy.’

Morally Relativistic Counselling Techniques

It is worth noting that CURA uses the counselling technique developed by Carl Rogers, the so-called non-judgemental, non-directive and client centred model. This is the same technique used by pro abortion pregnancy counselling services precisely because it holds all options as morally neutral and therefore as legitimate choices. In being non-directive, it is the client who ultimately determines what is right or wrong. Not only is this inconsistent with Catholic moral theology, it is also arguably in opposition to the pro life Irish Constitution and to the Regulation of Information Act of 1995 which specifically directs that abortion-minded women be given pro life information. Judge Girvan in Northern Ireland also questioned its legality in his decision against the medical guidelines being imposed in the North.

At the same time, Ms Kerry said that being non-judgemental means that God and religion are not mentioned unless the person brings is up. She said, ‘CURA is a professional counselling organization and has to respect the diversity in modern Ireland.’

Might one not expect—on the contrary—that CURA as a Catholic counselling organization might respect the integrity of Catholic teaching which applies always and everwhere?

The fundamental problem is that CURA has agreed not to direct an abortion-minded woman away from abortion as if such information somehow robs her of her free will. No one can rightly use force to impose a choice on another. That is typical pro abortion rhetoric. At the same time, ‘we are our sister’s keeper.’ When human lives—and souls—are at stake, one cannot escape the question: Is the HSE not paying CURA to remain silent in individual cases that come before their counsellors?

Sadly, CURA has seemingly accepted the notion that being professional and being Catholic is a dichotomy, as if one cannot possibly be both. I am reminded of the great Saint, Thomas More who declared, ‘I am the king’s faithful servant, but God’s first.’ He later laid down his life thus proving his allegiance to God.

The ‘White Elephant in the Room’

Gareth People’s troubling and telling interview is nevertheless timely in Ireland. The new ecclesial buzz words, in the wake of Pope Benedict XVI’s Pastoral Letter to the Church in Ireland are reform and renewal. Catholic institutions are no less needful.

No doubt the faithful who serve in CURA are good, well-meaning people. Having met a few myself, I know that to be the case. No doubt people have been helped and babies have been saved. The point, here, is not condemnation but deeper conversion. More good can be done by relying on the wisdom of God. ‘It is better for us to trust God than men.’

It is clear that Catholic institutions must ‘Render what is Caesar’s unto Caesar and to God what is God’s.’ Martyrs like Saint Thomas More remind us of what really matters, to be faithful not counting the cost. Jesus also exhorts the faithful to ‘cut off whatever causes one to sin.’ Might this not include tax exemptions and subsidies???

If we have learned nothing else from the scandals, we have learned that silence is not golden. ‘Let those who have eyes to see’ what is going on in ‘Catholic’ institutions have mouths to speak lest the proverbial ‘white elephant’ die whilst people continue to manoeuvre around it, and soon we will be unable to bear its foul stench. At the same time, ‘let those who have ears to hear, hear’ the prophetic call to reform and renewal.

Those who carry the burden of leadership in Catholic institutions, both clergy and laity, have a grave responsibility to ensure that not only the highest standards of professional services are offered, but that Catholicism is not martyred on the altar of professionalism. Let those who think this is all a bit too extreme, it was Jesus who said, ‘No one can follow me unless he takes up his cross.’ Yet is not the cross, but the Resurrection that has the final say!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Ireland's Civil Partnership Bill

We have to keep on talking, and writing, about the ‘Civil Partnership Bill 2009’
Maybe it may now be called the ‘Civil Partnership Bill 2010’, or the ‘Civil Partnership and Co-habitants’ Bill 2010’, or ….

There are so many amendments to, additions to, and deletions from this Bill that one wonders what the final title will be. We hope, however, that it may never finally see the light of day.

Mr. Dermot Ahern, Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform (that’s his title) is concerned that a suggestion that ‘mediation’ prior to dissolution of a ‘Civil Partnership’ be offered to homosexuals and lesbians might tend to appear to equate marriage with civil partnerships – which of course is exactly what this Bill will do.
Provision is to be made in all relevant legislation to enable civil partners to be granted the same tax and social welfare privileges as married people enjoy.
In the debate on the Bill, a government deputy actually queried the wisdom of replacing ‘marital status’ with ‘civil status’ in all relevant or related legislation, his reason being that: ‘If we want to re-assure people that marriage is not being down-graded’, the term ‘marital status’ should be retained. I am not aware that this deputy’s concerns were noted. Yes, ‘marital status’ will be deleted from all relevant legislation – going back over many years – to be replaced by ‘civil status’. And some people still think that marriage is not being equated with homosexual and lesbian partnerships?

Then there is the question of ‘co-habitants’ – I wonder how many of them realise that they will be required legally to ‘opt out’ of the legal status into which they will automatically be incorporated under the terms of the Bill? Think of the lawyers’ fees that may be involved!

Another interesting thing – a small number of pro-family groups requested permission to address the Select Committee that is at present debating the Bill. The Committee chairman, however, said that the Committee members
‘do not have time to meet these groups before proceeding with our deliberation of the Bill.’

A substantial number of individuals and pro-life/pro-family groups sent in submissions to the Committee, but it is not known if these were even read.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Another tragic death by contraception

It has been reported that yet another death occurred as a result of taking the contraceptive pill. The Telegraph reports that Jenna Morris, of Poulton, Wirral, died after a deep vein thrombosis developed in her legs and spread to her lungs.

A post mortem revealed she died of a blood clot, possibly caused by the contraceptive pills which she had been taking since she was a teenager.

According to the report Miss Morris' sister Suzanne said: "I'm still in shock. I still cannot believe what happened. I keep thinking it is a terrible dream.
"Jenna was originally told she had kidney stones. She was due to go for a scan but it would not have detected the blood clot, which we were told was possibly caused by the contraceptive pill.

"People should be aware because it could happen to anyone. Jenna was our beautiful pink princess and a fantastic sister. I miss her so much."

Death due to pulmonary embolism resulting from the taking of hormonal birth control is not as rare as those involved in the family planning industry care to admit and when it is accepted the risk level is usually minimised. Three cases of pulmonary embolism due to the taking of contraceptives were reported in Switzerland last year, two of which resulted in death and the third victim was left in a comatose state. See my BLOG “Death by Contraception”

Despite this the Telegraph article also reports a comment by an FPA representative Lynn Hearton who said:
"The pill is an extremely safe method of contraception and fortunately reactions with women developing blood clots are rare.
"However there is a small risk which is highest in the first year of use. So the normal advice for women who have: previously had a blood clot, who are smokers over the age of 35 or who have mobility problems is that they should not use the pill.

Women deserve to be told the whole truth.

Monday, April 12, 2010

More on Kenyan Constitution

On 2 April last I wrote about the new Kenyan Constitution, which contains a considerable amount of anti-life and anti-family material.

Fr. Euteneuer Human Life International President, in his ‘Spirit and Life’ newsletter this week tells us that:
‘Under tremendous pressure from the international abortion juggernaut and acting against the wishes of the people, the Kenyan Parliament just approved a new Constitution that intends to enshrine abortion as a legal right.
‘It now goes to the people for a national referendum in July. If it passes, abortion will be legal in this pro-life country. […]
‘This is an assault on the very heart of Kenya. It is an imperialist move designed to rob Africa of its future by eliminating her children. It is part of the population controllers’ worldwide anti-life conspiracy. …
‘The situation is critical and the pro-life leaders of Kenya are crying out to us for help!’

The U.S. ambassador to Kenya, Fr. Euteneuer says, is calling on Kenya’s political leaders to rally the people to pass the referendum, and also that it is strongly rumoured that ‘the ambassador has promised that the Obama administration would fund a national campaign … to persuade the people to adopt the document.’
Fr Euteneuer recalls that actively pro-abortion Hillary Clinton (U.S. Secretary of State) recently stated that: ‘You cannot have maternal health without reproductive health and reproductive health includes contraception and family planning and access to legal, safe abortions’

‘Obama himself calls the proposed Constitution “a new chapter in the Kenyan history.” It’s “new” all right’, says Fr. Euteneuer.
‘But what’s new is the legalization of abortion and the end of Kenya’s pro-life way of life.’
When Barack Obama assumed control as President at the White House, Dr. Stephen Karanja, pro-life leader and champion of Kenya’s unborn children, said:
‘We in Kenya know [Obama] as a person who is anti-family. A person who supports abortion … Now we are in big trouble because of these Americans. They have no business electing a person who is going to destroy our countries.’

Fr. Euteneuer ends his piece with a request to ‘remember to pray in a special way to St. Michael the Archangel and to the Guardian Angel of Kenya’ for the defeat of the referendum in that country.

The great pro-life priest, Fr. Ted Colleton, CSSp, who spent many years working in Kenya, during the course of an interview some years ago said that:
‘I was in Kenya for 30 years with the people there and I was teaching. I was the principal of schools there and pastor in charge of missions and I had never – this was 40 or 50 years ago – I had never heard of an abortion being committed in Africa. … I had never heard of an abortion being committed, the idea of killing a baby. This was among Africans who didn’t believe in the church, maybe didn’t believe in Christ, but they all believed in God. I never met an African who was an atheist.’

Since his time in Kenya, Fr. Colleton (who is now about 97 years of age) has lived and worked in Canada where on numerous occasions he has been arrested and imprisoned for his pro-life work.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Significant Pro-Life Victory in the UK

The announcement of the British general election has resulted in a significant pro-life victory in the UK.

In what is termed “wash up”, or the enactment of remaining legislation at the dissolution Parliament, anti family sex education clauses were dropped from the education bill. These clauses would have made it mandatory for all schools to provide, among other things explicit Sex and Relationship Education (SRE) for children as young as five and would have forbidden parents from removing their children from sex education classes once they turned fifteen.

The Bill, known as the Children, Schools and Family Bill in its original form would also have made it mandatory for Catholic schools to provide “non-judgmental” information about abortion and contraception to students.

Widely different views were expressed about this with Ed Balls, the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families, who heavily backed the PSHE legislation, expressing his disappointment,“ This is a very significant set back which will deny many young people proper and balanced sex and relationships education.” According to Balls

John Smeaton, executive director of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) in contrast wrote in his blog on Wednesday that the removal of SRE and PSHE regulations represented a “huge pro-life victory.”

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Brussels Pro-Life March

The first-ever March for Life to take place in Brussels – the seat of the European Union Parliament – was held there just over a week ago. The March itself was organised by a group of young volunteers, and it attracted an attendance of over 2500 young pro-life people, who joined forces together at the Cathedral at Place Royal in the city.

Monseigneur André-Joseph Léonard (the recently appointed Archbishop of Brussels) addressed the gathering with strong words of encouragement for the pro-life work that they are doing. A number of people, representing international pro-life groups from around the world – including some Youth Defence members from Ireland – also spoke to those present. The March then progressed from the Place Royal to the Palace of Justice, where 800 red and white roses were laid in remembrance of the victims of abortion.

Groups such as Stand True, Silent No More, and the March for Life committee addressed the crowds there, and it was agreed that the March was a tremendous success and, as YD says in their account of the event, ‘a testament to the hard work, commitment and passion of the new generation of pro-lifers that is emerging across the world.’

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.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Freedom of thought, expression and conscience in Europe

It seems that the European Union is becoming, more and more, ‘Big Brother’ to all and sundry, and that soon we will find it very difficult – if not impossible – to express our thoughts, beliefs and comments without being subject to EU/government scrutiny.

One of the latest manifestations of this is a proposal for a new EU Directive which would threaten the expression of one’s religious beliefs on any specific subject. David Fieldsend, of Christian Action Research and Education (CARE), was recently testifying to the Social Affairs Committee of the Dutch Parliament. This was in relation to the discussions being held by the Dutch Parliament to consider its decision on the proposed Directive from the EU Council of Ministers. Legislation enacted following the Directive could, said Mr. Fieldsend, leave the way open for interpretations of ‘harassment’ and ‘tolerance’ that effectively required agreement with the point of view of the person to be tolerated.

Mr. Fieldsend continued as follows:
‘Whether it be a religious publishing house, a retreat centre for Christian conferences or an elder care centre provided for church members, the founding religious ethos will be diluted, if not lost altogether, if the management are not able to say no when there is a request to make use of their services from someone who does not subscribe to either the beliefs or moral code of the organisation concerned.’

Shades of the refusal of the Irish Minister for Justice to allow a ‘conscience clause’ in his ‘Civil Partnership Bill? I wonder if Irish people are aware of the consequences for them (a hefty fine/imprisonment) if they decline to provide services in a situation where their conscience requires them not to provide such services?

Friday, April 2, 2010

Kenyan Parliament approves anti-life draft constitution

ELN has learned that the Kenyan Parliament have voted in favour of a Draft Constitution which on the one hand recognises the right to life from conception but also incorporates a right to abortion.

Section 26 of the new constitution allows for abortion when in the "opinion of a trained health professional, there is need for emergency treatment, or the life or health of the mother is in danger, or if permitted by any other written law." The new Constitution will now be put to the people in a referendum and if it is approved in its present form will undoubtedly open the door to abortion on demand.Link to article

The new constitution reverses the previous Kenyan law - which required the opinion of two medical doctors to agree that an abortion was necessary for the life of the mother-

Abortion is also advanced in Article 43 of the Draft which states: (1) Every person has the right- (a) to the highest attainable standard of health, which includes the right to health care services, including reproductive health care;

Parliamentary Network for Critical Issues Director Marie Smith in a press release commented,
"This section can fool those unschooled in pro-abortion deceptions but in the US we know that reproductive health is defined by pro-abortion advocates at the highest level of government as including access to abortion. Hillary Clinton believes it does and as the US undertakes a new Global Health Initiative, Clinton is in a key position as Secretary of State to make sure her definition is imposed on US-sponsored health programs globally, including in Kenya."

Another section of the Draft Constitution uses a pro-abortion tactic, which can escape attention if one is not 'abortion literate'. According to Smith,
"The Draft creates the Kenya National Human Rights and Equality Commission to 'act as the principal organ of the State in ensuring compliance with obligations under treaties and conventions relating to human rights.' "

"The problem is that pro-abortion agitators continually re-interpret UN treaties and conventions to advance their abortion agenda, including radical members of treaty bodies. If such individuals serve on the Kenyan Human Rights Commission--as they did on the Committee of Experts tasked with writing the final Draft Constitution--any Kenya law or policy which limits abortion will be eliminated."

According to Smith
Leading pro-abortion legal entity, the Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR), implored Clinton to send a message to Kenya expressing support for the Draft Constitution and opposing any amendments to eliminate abortion language or the Human Rights and Equality Commission. The Clinton letter by Nancy Northup attacked the right to life clause using common pro-abortion propaganda:

"It is also directly at odds with international human rights law. International and African regional human rights treaties and the official bodies that have interpreted their provisions have not extended "right to life" protections to fetuses. Instead, their decisions support the position that recognizing the right to life from conception would interfere significantly with women's basic human rights."

An intense campaign to protect the unborn and their mothers from the violence of abortion will soon begin in Kenya as the nation moves to a referendum on the new constitution in July.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

US Healthcare Bill

It is sad to realise that, worldwide, there are still many people who are not even remotely aware of the pro-abortion agenda of the current President of the United States, Barack Obama and his Secretary for State Hillary Clinton.

The passage of the‘healthcare’ bill was achieved only because President Obama promised to sign an order, in conjunction with the bill, that would ‘limit’ or ‘restrict’ funding for abortion already provided for in the bill. The major pro-life organisations in the US all say that the order is not worth the paper it is written on and as the mid-term elections approach it is expected that there will be a backlash against the Democrats for ignoring the will of the people.

The National Right to Life Committee issued a statement on the matter, as follows:
‘The National Right to Life Committee (NRLC) remains strongly opposed to the Senate-passed health bill (H.R.3590). A lawmaker who votes for this bill is voting to require federal agencies to subsidize and administer health plans that will pay for elective abortion, and voting to undermine longstanding pro-life policies in other ways as well. Pro-life citizens nationwide know that this is a pro-abortion bill. Pro-life citizens know, and they will be reminded again and again, which lawmakers deserve their gratitude for voting against this pro-abortion legislation.
‘The executive order promised by President Obama was issued for political effect. It changes nothing. It does not correct any of the serious pro-abortion provisions in the bill. The president cannot amend a bill by issuing an order, and the federal courts will enforce what the law says.
‘To elaborate: The order does not truly correct any of the seven objectionable pro-abortion provisions described in NRLC’s March 19 letter to the House of Representatives, which is posted here.

‘Prof. Destro clearly explains why it is the statutory language that will govern.

‘[…] The order does nothing at all to mitigate the other abortion-related problems described in the NRLC letter, dealing with bill provisions that create dangerous regulatory mandate authorities, revise Indian health programs, and create pools of directly appropriated funds that are not covered by existing restrictions on funding of abortion. Nor can the order correct the omission from the pending legislation of the necessary conscience-protection language that had been included in House-passed health care legislation last November (the “Weldon language”).

For additional information regarding the abortion-related components of the legislation, and NRLC’s assessment of the gravity of these issues, please refer to the March 19 letter linked above, and other materials posted on the NRLC website