Thursday, June 30, 2011

FAMILIOKRATOS COALITION FIRST EU CONFERENCE


Representatives from 31 countries attended the first EU wide pro-life, pro-family conference, hosted by Familiokratos Coalition (Family Power Coalition), which was held in Brussels from 26th to 30th of June 2011.

Leading organisations, from the 31 countries, shared recent successes and breakthroughs and discussed how their EU wide coalition would support initiatives and strategy, both at Member States and at EU level, to advance pro-life and pro- family legislation.

Speakers at the Familiokratos Coalition Conference included Congressman Christopher Smith who addressed the conference on the issue of “Advancing Legislation from a US Perspective and an Elected Official’s Viewpoint”;
Luca Volonte, EPP Chairman, Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, addressed the conference on the issue of “Presenting a Persuasive Message”;
Marie Smith, director of Parliamentary Network for Critical Issues, USA, commented on “Challenges to Laws and Policies”.
Roger Kiska, legal counsel Alliance Defense Fund, talked on the Sovereignty of Member States and the Legal aspects of Hungary’s new Constitution, which protects life from the moment of conception and enshrines the concept of the natural family.

Spanish MEP Jaime Mayor Oreja invited and hosted the Familiokratos Coalition together with the Qatar Foundation, Doha International Institute for Family Studies and Development, on Wednesday 29th June at the European Parliament. Members of the European Parliament, European Economic and Social Committee, The Council of Europe, UN Representative and USA Congressman Chris Smith met with the coalition.

Conference delegates agreed on the following three initiatives:
·      To continue advancing pro-life and pro-family legislation in Europe aiming to protect children in the womb and uphold the family.
·      Affirming the Right to Life, from conception to natural death, as a fundamental human right.
·      Supporting Family, Marriage between a man and a woman and Parents’ Primary Rights, especially that of education of their children.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Poland's new pro-life initiative; a total ban on abortion

 LifeSiteNews.com report today on a new Pro-life initiative to be debated in Poland's parliament this week seeking a total ban on all abortion. The initiative was apparently kept under wraps to protect it from foreign anti-life media until everything was ready link to article
This should also be seen both in the context of the Polish pro-life rally which took place on 29 May and in the context of Decisions of the European Court of Human Rights. 
Thousands of Poles took part on May 29th in the 6th March in Defense of Life and Family in Warsaw. 
It is estimated that nearly 20,000 people walked through the streets of Warsaw, carrying banners and posters reading ‘Stop Abortion’, and ‘Grant Every Child a Right to Life’, etc.    The marchers represented all ages – from grandparents to babies – and delegations from the U.S., Brazil, France, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Lithuania and Estonia joined with their Polish counterparts and friends in solidarity to proclaim the inherent right to life of the unborn child from the moment of conception, and the importance of the family.   Tradition, Family and Property report that on the occasion of the march 

 ‘Dozens of priests and nuns stood out among the multitude.  Several congressmen and leading personalities in Polish politics also attended.
‘This year’s march followed the success of a flash petition which gathered more than 500,000 signatures in only weeks asking for a complete ban on abortion in Poland.   It was delivered to the Legislative Assembly in April.  “Today our nation is facing many difficult, social, economic and political problems,” the appeal to the congressmen reads.  “However, the basic problem lies in the moral order”.
According to the LifeSite report the final number of signatures presented to the Assembly topped 600,000

The Polish initiative must also be viewed in the context of two adverse judgements by the European Court of the ECtHR which sought to use Poland's existing laws to to expand abortion access in Poland through legislation, Tysiac v. Poland and more recently, RR v. Poland. The 

Tysiac case was in fact the pivotal case in that the court improperly expanded private life in Article. 8 to include health and autonomy.

This new Polish initiative should be a lesson to Ireland in how to deal with adverse ECtHR judgements such as the recent A,B and C case

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

ESRI report shows Ireland has highest birth rate in Europe


The Economic and Social Research Institute (ERSI) perinatal statistics reveal that Ireland with 76,021 births recorded in 2009 has the highest birth rate in Europe.
The ESRI report for 2009, the most up to date figures, show that the total fertility rate has increased steadily over the last decade from an average of 1.9 in 2000 to 2.1 in 2009. At 2.1 the fertility rate now stands at a level required for the long-term replacement of the population in the absence of any net inward migration. France had the next highest total fertility rate for the period at 2.0 or just below replacement level.
The report also says 2009 saw a further decline in the number of stillbirths and neonatal deaths. The mortality rate was 6.9 per 1,000 live births and stillbirths in 2009, down from 8.9 per 1,000 live births and stillbirths in 2000.

Professor Michael Turner, director of the HSE Obstetrics and Gynaecology programme, said the report shows the perinatal mortality rate in Ireland has improved in the first decade of the 21st century. "There has been a significant decline in both the number of stillbirths and neonatal deaths which is a tribute to all the staff in the different disciplines working in the maternity hospitals," he said

The ESRI report says that almost 24% of the births were to mothers born outside Ireland. It also says that in the 12 months covered by the report, the average age of women giving birth was 31.3 years, 27% of births were to women over the age of 35 and 3% to women aged 19 or less.

Monday, June 27, 2011

‘The Mystery of Human Suffering and Dying’


With the increasingly ambivalent attitude in the care of the disabled and dying throughout the world, especially in the West – and not least in Ireland – it is comforting to realise that there are many who still regard death as a natural process at the natural end of life.   Only a few years ago the God-given dignity of a dying person in Ireland was always recognised and respected but, sadly, in recent times it appears that the essential elements of care to a seriously ill person – hydration and sustenance – are not being automatically provided unless relatives or friends insist.

This is by way of introduction to the information that a very important conference – albeit in the U.S.A. – will take place on 23 July next in Kansas City. The theme of the conference is: Being Faithful Even Unto Death.  It is sponsored by the St. Gianna Physicians’ Guild, an organisation that looks at and discusses Catholic wisdom on the treatment of the disabled and dying, and provides a medical, legal and doctrinal analysis of Catholic care of the disabled and dying.   The Guild is under the patronage of St. Gianna.
 
Cardinal Raymond Burke (Cardinal Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura) will be the keynote speaker at the Conference, and his address will be on ‘The Mystery of Human Suffering and Dying’.

Dr. Gianna Emanuela Molla (youngest daughter of St. Gianna) will speak on ‘The Life and Spirituality of my Mother, Saint Gianna, and the legacy she left behind’.

Other participants in the Conference proceedings will be Archbishop Joseph Naumann (Archbishop of Kansas City); Bishop Robert Finn (Bishop of Kansas City-St. Joseph);  Austin Welsh, M.D. (geriatric specialist); Peter Breen (Thomas More Society); Bobby Schindler and Suzanne Vitadamo (brother and sister of the late Terri Schiavo); and Thomas J. McKenna (founder and president of the St. Gianna Physicians Guild

Friday, June 24, 2011

Oxford Conference on Human Embryo Research


The Anscombe Bioethics Centre (formerly the Linacre Centre for Healthcare Ethics) has announced the holding of a conference on Sept 8th on “the ethics and law of research on human embryos”.
The conference will include speakers from Germany, France, Italy, Ireland, the USA and the UK in order to present an overview of the ethical and legal debates in different countries.

The main conference scheduled for Thursday 8th September will be held at Corpus Christi College Oxford, from 9.30am -5.30pm. This will be preceded on Wednesday 7th September by a seminar at 17 Beaumont Street Oxford, chaired by Professor Carter Snead. The Centre has made a call for papers on Human Embryo Research for presentation at the seminar. Papers may be on any topic relating to the ethics, law, or public policy of human embryo research, and should be suitable for a 20 minute presentation.

SPEAKERS AT THE MAIN CONFERENCE INCLUDE
Christian Hillgruber, Professor of Law in Bonn, Germany
Jean-René Binet, Professeur de droit privé à l'Université de Franche-Comté, France
Laura Palazzani, Professor of Philosophy of Law at Lumsa University, Rome, Italy
William Binchy, Regius Professor of Law at Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland
David Albert Jones, Director of the Anscombe Bioethics Centre, Oxford, UK
Michael Hauskeller, Associate Professor of Sociology and Philosophy, University of Exeter, UK
Carter Snead, Professor of Law at Notre Dame, USA
Helen Watt, Senior Research Fellow at the Anscombe Bioethics Centre, Oxford, UK


THEME: This conference will consider the various legal and ethical approaches of different countries towards experimentation on human embryos. It will focus not just on one jurisdiction or one ethical or legal topic but will consider a number of different jurisdictions and a number of different ethical concepts and issues.
 




Thursday, June 23, 2011

IVF objectifies children


LifeSiteNews reports (13 June) about a reproductive endoctrinologist who has realised that his work on infertility was part of the ‘increasing objectification of children’.   Anthony Caruso, a fertility expert, said that he was initially motivated to enter the field of fertility to ‘help bring happiness to an infertile married couple’.  However, he came to realise that IVF procedures contributed to the idea that ‘you can have whatever you want, wherever you want, whenever you want’.  He holds that the objectification of children is ‘part of the IVF mentality’, and that ‘aborting inconvenient children is both routine and encouraged.’  

Caruso is quoted as saying: ‘You’d be surprised how many people get to 23,
24 weeks, that used IVF, and have complications with their pregnancies.  And they say, “OK, fine.  Just let it go.”  Because essentially they can just go back and do it again.’
LifeSite continues – ‘Meanwhile, Caruso says his conversion is virtually unique among IVF practitioners in the United States, making him a pariah among colleagues.’   

Would that there were more like him!



Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Mayisha Campaign; Maternal Mortality is an international disgrace

The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) launched a new campaign on maternal mortality in April which has a regularly updated BLOG
 
As part of the campaign SPUC is holding a public street exhibition and education drive from 27 June - 10th July, in central London, 1pm-5pm everyday further details of which will be issued shortly. contact danielblackman@spuc.org.uk for further details or if you would like to help with the exhibition.


This campaign was launched in support of programmes for good maternal healthcare whilst at the same time opposing attempts to use the issue of maternal mortality and maternal health in general as a Trojan horse to impose abortion on developing countries rather than deal with the real problems facing mothers.


In developing countries, tens of thousands of women die as a result of childbirth every year. This figure may be in the hundreds of thousands - statistics from developing countries are often highly inaccurate and are frequently manipulated for political or ideological ends - but whatever the exact figure, these deaths are almost all preventable.

These deaths could be prevented by providing basic maternity care, improving infrastructure (such as transport and clean water supplies) training professional helpers and improving the standing of women in many countries. Unfortunately, western aid agencies and governments have included abortion as part of the solution to maternal mortality, pointing to what one charity describes as "a real poverty - the lack of compassion and love."


No woman should die in childbirth for want of basic medical care.


No baby should be sacrificed under the banner of 'reproductive health'.


The Mayisha Campaign:


* supports and campaigns for good and ethical maternal healthcare in developing countries


* lobbies the Department for International Development to adopt ethical policies regarding maternal health


* condemns attempts to use maternal health as a Trojan horse to impose abortion on developing countries rather than deal with the real problems facing mothers.

Rally for Life Reminder


Just a little reminder about the RALLY FOR LIFE – Defending the Right to Life.

Please be sure to come along to the 

5th ALL-IRELAND

RALLY   FOR   LIFE


SATURDAY,  2 JULY 2011  -  2 PM

PARNELL SQUARE, DUBLIN CITY CENTRE


We hope to see you there!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Holy See statement on UN, HIV/AIDS declaration


We reported last week on criticism of Pope Benedict and the Holy See because of the stance of the Catholic Church on the issue of HIV/AIDS.

The following excellent statement made by the Holy See in New York at the adoption of the recent UN declaration on HIV/AIDS, points out, that Catholic Institutions care for over a quarter of those who suffer from HIV and Aids worldwide, that the only safe and completely reliable method of preventing the sexual transmission of HIV is abstinence before marriage and respect and mutual fidelity within marriage, which is and must always be the foundation of any discussion of prevention and support. The statement upholds the responsibilities rights and duties of parents to provide appropriate guidance and direction to their children and it also comments on the difference between harm prevention and so called "harm reduction programmes" favoured by the international community.
Photograph shows Archbishop Francis Chullikatt Permanent Observer of the Holy See at the UN in New York

The full statement follows
Mr. President,

On the adoption of the declaration, the Holy See offers the following statement of interpretation. I would ask that the text of this statement, which explains the official position of the Holy See, kindly be included in the report of this high-level plenary of the General Assembly.
In providing more than one fourth of all care for those who are suffering from HIV and AIDS, Catholic healthcare institutions know well the importance of access to treatment, care and support for the millions of people living with and affected by HIV and AIDS.

The position of the Holy See on the expressions "sexual and reproductive health" and “services,” "reproductive rights" and on the Secretary-General's Global Strategy on Women and Children's Health is to be interpreted in terms of its reservations in the Report of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) of 1994. The position of the Holy See on the word “gender” and its various uses is to be interpreted in terms of its reservations in the Report of the Fourth World Conference on Women.

The Holy See understands that, when referring to “young people,” the definition of which enjoying no international consensus, States must always respect the responsibilities, rights and duties of parents to provide appropriate direction and guidance to their children, which includes having primary responsibility for the upbringing, development, and education of their children (cf., Convention on the Rights of the Child, Articles 5, 18, and 27,2). States must acknowledge that the family, based on marriage being the equal partnership between one man and one woman and the natural and fundamental group unit of society, is indispensible in the fight against HIV and AIDS for the family is where children learn moral values to help them live in a responsible manner and where the greater part of care and support is provided (cf., Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 16,3).

The Holy See rejects references to terms such as “populations at risk” and “populations at higher risk” because they treat persons as objects and can give the false impression that certain types of irresponsible behavior are somehow morally acceptable. The Holy See does not endorse the use of condoms/commodities including as part of HIV and AIDS prevention programmes or classes/programmes of education in sex/sexuality. Prevention programmes or classes/programmes of education in human sexuality should focus not on trying to convince the world that risky and dangerous behaviour forms part of an acceptable lifestyle, but rather should focus on risk avoidance, which is ethically and empirically sound. The only safe and completely reliable method of preventing the sexual transmission of HIV is abstinence before marriage and respect and mutual fidelity within marriage, which is and must always be the foundation of any discussion of prevention and support.

The Holy See does not accept so-called “harm reduction” efforts related to drug use. Such efforts do not respect the dignity of those who are suffering from drug addiction as they do not treat or cure the sick person, but instead falsely suggest that they cannot break free from the cycle of addiction. Such persons must be provided the necessary spiritual, psychological and familial support to break free from the addictive behavior in order to restore their dignity and encourage social inclusion.

During negotiations, the Holy See rejected the characterization of persons who engage in prostitution as “sex workers” as this can give the false impression that prostitution could somehow be a legitimate form of work. Prostitution cannot be separated from the issue of the status and dignity of persons; governments and society must not accept such a dehumanization and objectification of persons.

What is needed is a value-based approach to counter the disease of HIV and AIDS, an approach which provides the necessary care and moral support for those infected and which promotes living in conformity with the norms of the natural moral order, an approach which respects fully the inherent dignity of the human person.

Thank you, Mr. President.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Mothers Alliance lodge official complaint on "Gardasil" to Ombudsman for Children


Mothers Alliance Ireland has been campaigning for some time now, amongst other things, on the dangers of the Gardasil vaccine.   Thousands of young Irish girls have already been inoculated with Gardasil, and the ‘Minister for Health’, Dr James Reilly, declared recently that he is about to extend this vaccination programme to more Irish girls. Please also see my blog for 9 March 2011, and previous blogs  

Mothers Alliance Ireland has already lodged a formal complaint with the Health Service Executive and also appealed to the former Minister for Health to suspend the vaccination programme until the full truth about the vaccine and its adverse reactions on young girls is made known.   MAI has received no reply from either, and has now lodged an official complaint with the Ombudsman for Children.   Why? Two ingredients of Gardasil – sodium borate (pesticide) and Polysorbate 80 – are linked to infertility.  As well as that, the link between Gardasil and the huge increase in stillbirths and the early death of children in the womb is already well documented.

Now – why would the Irish government (or indeed any government) want to inoculate young girls with a vaccine that would in future years cause them to be infertile?

Another reason for stopping the Gardasil vaccination programme is that injuries, illnesses and deaths have been found to be associated with Gardasil.   Since it was introduced, nearly 100 deaths have taken place, and nearly 22,000 adverse reactions worldwide.   In Ireland alone, hundreds of adverse reactions have been reported to the authorities – who have ignored this information. 

Mother Alliance Ireland now asks the Irish government what is the justification for the Gardasil vaccination programme?  Why is it necessary to use drugs that cause infertility, death, and various injuries and illnesses in the promotion of a vaccination programme that purports to ‘prevent’ cervical cancer at some future date?

The obvious answer is too horrific to contemplate.

Friday, June 17, 2011

“Have you ever met one of those babies that you rescued?

 Concerned Women for America (CWA) President, Wendy Wright in a recent speaking engagement was faced with an interesting question to which there was a really beautiful answer

Wendy reports as follows
After speaking to Generation Joshua home school students, telling stories of rescuing babies from abortion, I explained why Christians need to be engaged in public policy by showing what happens when we’re not.

During the Q&A session, a young woman asked, “Have you ever met one of those babies that you rescued?” I said, “I hope to one day. Gosh, they’d be about your age now!”

I was shocked by her response. “I was rescued from abortion and adopted because of you,” she said. Her birth mother wrote her letters mentioning me. What a beautiful gift, to see the fruit of a seed that was sown years ago!
Photograph shows Lauren Dillingham (Left) and Wendy Wright

Nursing Home subventions reduced for the aged while cohabiting couples get a tax break

The ‘Fair Deal’ scheme for nursing home residents in Ireland was established in 2009 by the then Minister for Health.   The scheme, whose purpose it is to ease the anxieties of people who for one reason or another find it necessary to live in a nursing home rather than their own home.   In brief, the person in question pays 80 percent of his or her State pension, if applicable, to the nursing home, and the State pays a certain proportion of the overall cost incurred in nursing home care.   If there is a discrepancy between the cost of the nursing home and the combined amount paid in by the resident and the grant from the State, then the resident has the possibility of acquiring a repayable ‘loan’ from the State to make up the shortfall.   The scheme has been in operation for some time now, and it appears to be working well.

However, the new Minister for Health announced recently that the finances required to continue with the scheme were drastically reduced, and he called a halt to new applications for participation in it.   Then he decided that he would resurrect the scheme – but the finances needed to do so were to be provided partly by increasing nursing home charges for existing residents!    A big proportion of these residents are already just about making ends meet in paying the cost of their care and accommodation, and to continue the running of the scheme by putting an extra burden on these, mostly elderly and ill people, seems a very cruel way in which to raise the finances required to continue the running of the scheme into the future.

Meanwhile, a newspaper headline stating: ‘Cohabiting couples to get equal tax treatment’, is a somewhat misleading description of what is promised by the Minister for Finance.   The newespaper report tells us that: ‘The Government has published legislation that will allow cohabiting couples the same tax treatment as married couples.  The legislation, arising from the Civil Partnership Act, will allow registered civil partners the same treatment in matters of income tax, stamp duty, capital acquisitions tax, capital gains tax and VAT.  The measures contained in the Finance (No. 3) Bill 2011, published by Minister for Finance Michael Noonan yesterday [9 June 2011] were among the commitments in the programme for government.   … The Bill was strongly welcomed by the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network, which described it as a critically important development for civil partners.’ 
One of the spokespersons of the homosexual agenda is quoted as saying that the Bill ‘provides important certainty and security for the many same-sex couples who have registered or are planning to register their civil partnerships.’ 
There are a few points here that need commenting on.  The first is that the ‘Civil Partnership … Act’ was enacted primarily to give legal recognition to the unions of same-sex couples, and by doing so and particularly by cementing that recognition with concessions which up until the present time were enjoyed only by married couples, same-sex unions have now been put on a par with marriage.  Also, sadly, a child/children of one of the same-sex union partners will now be part of the proceedings – is this a foretaste of adoption of children by same-sex partnerships being made possible?
A second point is in relation to the ‘cohabiting couples’ referred to in the headline.  The ‘Civil Partnership … Act’ was enacted on behalf of same-sex couples.  They are the people who can now legally enter into a ‘civil partnership’.    Ordinary couples have always been free to contract a civil marriage, if they so wish.   The ‘Civil Partnership … Act’, in order not to appear to be favouring same-sex couples, grants some concessions to cohabiting couples who don’t wish to contract a civil marriage, in a number of tax and other matters.
Apart altogether from the attack on marriage and the family arising from the implications of the ‘Civil Partnership … Act’, an important question to be considered is this – where, in the present financial crisis, will the money come from in order to give effect to the tax and other concessions being granted to same-sex couples?  If and when such finance is found, would it not be more equitable to apply it to the nursing home scheme that I dealt with at the beginning of this blog?    Are elderly and ill people to suffer, while same-sex couples enjoy tax reliefs and concessions properly the right of married people?

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Response to media criticism of Pope Benedict XVI on the HIV/AIDS issue

The media never miss an opportunity to criticise Pope Benedict XVI and the Catholic Church particularly when it comes to issues such as  HIV/AIDS and the use of condoms

Predictably at the outset of the recent High Level Conference on HIV/AIDS in New York the Guardian had an opinion piece by Nancy Goldstein in which she castigates Pope Benedict for the Catholic Church's stance. Of course in doing so she sublimely ignores the fact that the Catholic Church is actually present on the ground in third world countries caring for and assisting those who are infected by this dreadful scourge.

Zenit.Org has this week published a response by law professor Jane Adolphe to the Goldstein article in which she highlights the truth about Catholic teaching, points out that the key to avoid disease is the avoidance of risky behaviours, and why this is in fact the only adequate response to the issue. Professor Adolphe's article is titled  "WHAT THE POPE HAS TO SAY ABOUT WOMEN AND HIV/AIDS"

This opinion piece is in response to Nancy Goldstein's discussion of the debate occurring at the United Nations over the drafting of the Political Declaration on HIV and AIDS (See "Why Wont the Pope let Women Protect themselves from HIV” June 8, Guardian).

She criticizes Benedict XVI (otherwise known as the Holy See in international law) for having an all-male delegation, but in fact, the delegation contained three women, two of whom were law professors. She also implies that the Pope is anti-woman, when in fact he strongly promotes respect for the inherent dignity of women and girls in fundamental documents, as well as in his catechesis, speeches, messages, homilies, conferences and other activities. Moreover, one of the Vatican's dicasteries, the Pontifical Council for the Laity, has a section devoted to the Study of the Dignity and Vocation of Women, where it implements teachings with particular attention to the equal dignity of man and woman. 

The Pope maintains that there are "deep fundamental anthropological truths of man and woman, the equality of their dignity and the unity of both, the well rooted and profound diversity between the masculine and the feminine and their vocation to reciprocity and complementarity, to collaboration and to communion" (Benedict XVI's address to the conference "Woman and Man, the Humanum in its Entirety," 2008; cf. Pope John Paul II, "Mulieris Dignitatem," 1988, No. 6). In this way, the Pope avoids an indistinct uniformity between women and men, which constitutes a dull and impoverishing equality and counters an understanding of the relationship between women and men that pits one against the other in an endless struggle for power.

He underlines that women bear the brunt of the negative consequences associated with a denial of the complementarity of man and woman, which often dovetails into a disordered view of masculinity, and autonomy. He acknowledges the "disheartening" results flowing from the simple fact of being a female, and the reduced likelihood of: being born, surviving childhood, avoiding violence, receiving adequate nutrition, obtaining an education, accessing basic health care as well as evading HIV and AIDS (cf. Pope John Paul II, Address to Members of the Holy See Delegation to the Fourth World Conference on Women, Beijing, 1995; See also Address of Pope Benedict XVI to the Participants of the Fifth General Conference of the Latin American and Caribbean Bishops' Conferences, Brazil, 2007).

The Pope promotes a values-based response to HIV and AIDs, which focuses on risk-elimination through: abstinence before marriage and mutual fidelity in marriage, avoiding risk-taking behaviors, and promoting universal access to drugs that prevent the spread of HIV from mother-to-child. In regard to prevention, Benedict XVI does not try to convince women that irresponsible sexual behavior or risky and dangerous encounters form part of an acceptable lifestyle. Rather, he encourages every human person to live in conformity with norms of the natural moral order, an approach that respects fully the inherent dignity of the human person by nature endowed with reason and conscience having rights and responsibilities to self, others and the community. By the way, this position is fully in conformity with international human rights law (e.g. cf. et al. Universal Declaration of Human Rights, preamble para. 1, arts. 1, 29). 
In brief, the Holy Father first and foremost supports character formation and education toward proper behavior, as the key to avoiding the disease. The starting point is that the women and men can and should change irresponsible behavior. The contrary position would accept such behavior, at all costs, and then emphasize simply risk reduction (e.g. condom use or clean needles), as if persons were somehow incapable of breaking free from engaging in self-destructive behavior.

Jane Adolphe is an associate professor of law at Ave Maria School of Law, Naples, Florida. She was a member of the Holy See's delegation to the June 10 meeting at the United Nations on HIV/AIDS.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Interview with an Unborn Child

Dave Andrusko in his National Right to Life column, recently included a pro-life video which is really heart rending and one which should be widely used by pro-life people everywhere. 
Link to “Interview with an Unborn Child”, which Dave describes as follows;

The creators of this very brief video (4:16) know that abortion is a sensitive topic and even many pro-lifers find brutally honest pictures of aborted babies very unsettling. So they immediately tell the viewer, “The film contains NO shocking images.” And it doesn’t!
Instead the narrator (the unborn child) ever-so-quietly reduces you to tears in about 60 seconds in. Why?
Some of the reasons are obvious. The music is perfectly haunting. We understand immediately that this child is utterly….. alone…. and…. helpless.
From his words and the images, we know that he has been abandoned by his mother. Even after more than 30 years in the Movement, this truth still cuts me to the quick. This pain is only exacerbated by the truth that as often as not, the child’s father (at a minimum) will encourage the child’s mother to “get rid” of him.
Listening to narrator, we know that he anticipates being hurt. Physically and existentially. Even if he didn’t, we, as his parents, do. And we try to keep his cries muffled and our indifference barricaded. And when he says, “My greatest pain will not reach the ears of anyone, not even my mother,” you (or at least I was) are stunned into silence.
[The refrain “not even my mother” is the narrative thread that binds the video together, that and the expressions of deep, DEEP pain etched on his mother’s face.]
What else? There is the finality of abortion. “Even though my heart is beating fast,” he tells us, ‘how quickly the star of my life will be snuffed out.”
Finally, and this comes early and is geared to people of faith, the child knows that even if no one knows his individuality, his uniqueness, his last hours, God does. If we are to be His hands and feet, what can be more important than saving His children?
Take 4:16 seconds out and watch “Interview with an Unborn Child.”

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

New Threat to Ireland's Pro Life position from Council of Europe

Council of Europe Commissioner Thomas Hammarberg during his visit to Dublin last week demanded that the Irish Government should respond to the decision of the European Court of human Rights decision and legislate for the introduction of abortion in Ireland.

The following press release by Dana Rosemary Scallon challenges Hammarberg's demands
Council of Europe Commissioners should keep out of Irish Constitutional affairs and mind their own business. 

Commissioner Hammarberg, while visiting here last week, demanded that the Labour / Fine Gael government legislate for abortion. His meeting was hosted, according to reports, by Labour leader and Tánaiste, Eamon Gilmore; Fine Gael’s Minister for Justice Alan Shatter and was also attended by members of some chosen groups.

It is not the job of Council of Europe Commissioners to act as tourists going around Europe promoting abortion. An unelected Commissioner has no right to bully and intimidate the Irish people or seek out politicians who would provide an “open door” for their agenda.

Both Minister for Justice Alan Shatter and Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore must know full well that last year’s ECHR opinion is not binding on Ireland. The question is why did they not tell him so?    Also why did they miss the opportunity to tell him that the Irish people, as Ireland’s Attorney General has previously stated, have spoken in 3 referenda rejecting abortion?”

 Regardless of their own personal opinions it is a duty of Ministers to represent the democratic views of the Irish people. We are a Sovereign Nation and the people, under Ireland’s Constitution, make all decisions relating to this matter.

We are dealing with nothing more than an opinion of the European Court which has no legal authority and whose decision is not binding on Ireland. An Taoiseach Mr. Enda Kenny must tell the Council of Europe Commissioner that this matter can only be decided on by the Irish people and that he will also uphold his election promise not to legislate for abortion.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Death of Brian Lenihan


Brian Lenihan, who was Minister for Finance in the previous Irish Government, died on 10 June, Requiescat in Pace.   We extend our sympathy and offer our prayers to his family – his wife Patricia and his two children, together with his mother and all the other members of his family.    Mr. Lenihan was a great Irishman, a statesman, and a gentleman.  When people of note die they are usually – even if not always appropriately – eulogised to the skies.   It is difficult, therefore, to find a worthy and true description for Brian Lenihan that has not already been plagiarised on behalf of someone less worthy than he is.

Over ten years ago a Government Committee was established to look at the question of abortion, in the light of the ‘Green Paper’ on the subject that had recently been issued by the Government.    Brian Lenihan was appointed as Chairman of the Committee and the proceedings lasted for eleven days, spread out over a number of weeks.   It was a difficult period, overseeing the members of the Committee in his capacity as Chairman each day, and listening to the many diverse contributions from various groups and organisations, both pro-life and militantly pro-abortion.   It was a measure of Brian Lenihan’s stature that at the end of that tiring time he graciously gave space to a colleague of mine to make a contribution to the proceedings.    My colleague had not been scheduled to take part, but having made a late request to do so Brian Lenihan agreed, noting that he had been aware of her presence during the different sessions.    That is something that will not be forgotten.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Norris in last ditch effort to salvage his Presidential bid

Independent newspapers report that David Norris is in the process of making a last ditch attempt to salvage his bid to become President of Ireland

Independent Senator David Norris will make a last-ditch attempt to salvage his near-doomed presidential campaign next week with a blitz on councils.
However, the likelihood that he will receive the backing of local councillors was regarded as non-existent last night.
The senator has been embroiled in controversy over comments on a range of moral issues, including sex and drugs.
As the damage to his campaign mounted, Mr Norris had to explain his position on the ancient Greek practice of pederasty, involving the relationship between an older and younger man, and his stance on the age of consent.
Mr Norris is appealing for his presidential bid to be judged on his overall record in politics.
The senator says he is confident he can secure a nomination to run in the presidential election in November.
However, political sources from a number of parties said he only had a slim chance of getting support for his nomination from TDs, senators or councillors.
Mr Norris needs the support of 20 Oireachtas members and four local authorities to secure a nomination.
Fine Gael has already banned its councillors from backing any Independent candidates' bid for a nomination -- thereby removing the largest group on many councils.
Mr Norris will address councils in Carlow, Wexford and Wicklow next Monday in what he is dubbing 'Super Monday'.
The controversy over the senator's nomination flared up again after a second interview emerged in which Mr Norris expressed a number of contentious views.
"I don't think it would be appropriate for me to be judged simply on a couple of sensational newspaper headlines," he said.

Illinois 'Civil Unions' law


Christian News Wire reports that Peter LaBarbera, who is president of Americans For Truth About Homosexuality, and who is also a principal behind the Illinois Defense of Marriage Initiative, has issued this statement in relation to the new Illinois ‘Civil Unions’ law that took effect there from the beginning of June.

‘Homosexual behavior is always wrong, according to [the] vast scope of Judeo-Christian history, so it is tragic to behold the State of Illinois – or any government entity – recognizing immoral same-sex relationships and treating them like marriage.  Moreover, for the City of Chicago … to celebrate homosexuality with a mass Civil Union ceremony June 2nd is an act of hubris and defiance toward the Creator that mocks His wonderful plan for real marriage – the sacred union of a man and a woman to produce children and family. …
‘The anti-Christian Civil Unions law must be repealed.  It was passed in a lame-duck session that once again revealed the contempt that liberal Illinois lawmakers have for the citizens they are supposed to serve.   Ironically, shortly after passage of this bill – mischievously titled the Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Unions Act – religious liberty for Illinois citizens and religious institutions was immediately put in jeopardy.  A homosexual male couple targeted Paxton, Illinois, bed-and-breakfast owners Jim and Beth Walder – who now face prosecution by the State because they refuse – as Christians – to hold “civil union” ceremonies celebrating homosexuality on their own business property.   And the Rockford Diocese’s Catholic Charities announced that it will halt its state-funded foster care and adoption services rather than be forced by the State of Illinois to place children in same-sex households that are motherless or fatherless by design. …
‘Already, there are “conservative, pro-family” defeatists who argue that the radical Civil Unions bill cannot be repealed. It’s funny how “gay” activists never display such timidity.  The well-financed Homosexual Lobby sees “Civil Unions” as a mere pathway to full, legalized “same-sex marriage”.  We must work diligently to repeal this anti-Christian law, while also collecting 300,000 signatures to put a referendum on “same-sex marriage” on the Illinois ballot in 2012.  Also, we will continue to push for House Speaker Mike Madigan to stop blocking a vote on a binding constitutional marriage amendment that will permanently prevent the radical redefinition of marriage in our state.’

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Women Hurt launches billboard campaign about abortion

 A new group called Women Hurt has launched a nationwide billboard campaign in Ireland to reach out to women suffering from the after-effects of abortion. The group consists of women who experienced abortion and regret the decision but have found hope, help and healing over time.
 
Bernadette Goulding, spokesperson for the group said:

My hope is that by sharing my story, it will help someone who is suffering in silence, to know that there is hope and there is healing. Women Hurt wishes to break silence surrounding the suffering some women endure after abortion. Our group has the support of countless women who have been through the experience of abortion and feel that the views of women who regret the decision have not been properly aired.
Lynn Coles, who is also a spokesperson for the group said:
We are women who regret the decision to opt for abortion but over time have found healing. We wish to reach out to women in similar situations to let them know that they are not alone. The purpose of the group is not to engage in counselling but to share our stories and make women aware of the professional help that is available to them.
The nationwide billboard campaign which began last Monday will run for two weeks.

Lynn and Bernadette are available for interview this week. For more information contact Nora at 087-4134888.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Pope Benedict congratulates pro-life Italians for their "yes to life"


During his Regina Caeli address on 22 May last, Pope Benedict had these words to say to a group from an Italian pro-life movement:

‘Dear friends, I congratulate you in particular for the commitment with which you help women who face difficult pregnancies, engaged couples and married people who desire responsible procreation.  In so doing, you work concretely for the culture of life.  I ask the Lord that, thanks also to your contribution, the “yes to life” will be a motive for unity in Italy, and every country of the world. …’

In this context, I would like once again to remind everyone about this year's Rally for Life in Ireland that is scheduled to take place in Dublin on Saturday, 2 July next – less than four weeks away!

A date for your diary – 2 pm, Saturday, 2 July, at Parnell Square, Dublin City Centre.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Pope Benedict XVI highlights the special commitment of marriage and the value of life and family


Pope Benedict XVI on June 5th gave a wonderful pro-life and pro-family address during his visit to Croatia last weekend in Zagreb's Hippodrome where up to 400,000 people gathered  for Sunday Mass to mark the first National Day of Croatian Catholic Families.
Zenit.Org report that during the celebration, in which some 1,000 priests and 60 bishops from Croatia and neighboring countries participated, the Pope encouraged Catholic families to love without reservations and to not be afraid of committing themselves for life in marriage.
"Dear families, be courageous," he exhorted in what was the most anticipated moment of his two-day trip. "Do not give in to that secularized mentality which proposes living together as a preparation, or even a substitute for marriage!"
"Show by the witness of your lives that it is possible, like Christ, to love without reserve, and do not be afraid to make a commitment to another person," the Pontiff added.
The Holy Father encouraged families to also "rejoice in fatherhood and motherhood": "Openness to life is a sign of openness to the future, confidence in the future, just as respect for the natural moral law frees people, rather than demeaning them!"
Treasure of the Church
Benedict XVI explained that "the good of the family is also the good of the Church," and that the "Christian family has always been the first way of transmitting the faith and still today retains great possibilities for evangelization in many areas."
In fact, he stated, "everyone knows that the Christian family is a special sign of the presence and love of Christ and that it is called to give a specific and irreplaceable contribution to evangelization."
In expressing his gratitude to the bishops of Croatia for initiating
the National Day of Croation Catholic Families, the Holy Father noted that the family "has to face difficulties and threats, and thus has special need of evangelization and support."
The Pontiff underlined the importance of the family as it is a "decisive resource for education in the faith, for the up-building of the Church as a communion and for her missionary presence in the most diverse situations in life."
"Your daily labor for the faith formation of future generations, as well as for marriage preparation and for the accompaniment of families," he said to the bishops, "is the fundamental path for regenerating the Church anew and for giving life to the social fabric of the nation. May you remain dedicated to this important pastoral commitment!"

Monday, June 6, 2011

Pro-Life motorcade stopped by Moscow police


THE THIRD CAR RALLY against abortion  took place in Moscow on May 29th in preparation for the celebration of International Children's Day (June 1st 2011). 
Unfortunately, when the pro-life motorcade had only partly completed its planned route it was stopped by police, and a plain-clothes police colonel who arrived at the scene rudely prohibited the completion of the rally.
See Demographia.ru article and videos of the incident
The rally's organizer Igor Beloborodov who is a Russian demographer and leader of pro-life movement in Russia is quoted as saying:

'It is the third time we have carried out this peaceful and absolutely inoffensive action. One would think there's nothing wrong with public support of the demographic policy declared by the Government and the President himself […]
'We have thoroughly followed all the formal procedures: the appropriate notifications as well as examples of our flags and car stickers were given in advance to the Moscow mayor's office and GIBDD (State Road Safety Inspectorate). We also asked GIBDD for a police escort, but, of course, they didn't give it to us.

'We were supported by Russian Orthodox Church: some well-known Moscow priests, including archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin-the head of Synodal Department for Church and Society Relations, have blessed our action.
'The route of our car rally was previously planned and ran around the central part of Moscow. To avoid causing traffic jams, the rally was specially scheduled for Sunday afternoon.
'Our organized motorcade consisted of 36 cars. All the cars were technically sound. All the participants were in good spirits. Some of them were appointed to be responsible for traffic safety, some for communication on the move, some for video shooting, etc.
'The slogans on our flags, balloons and car stickers were also rather appropriate: 'Wait until the baby smiles, Save your child, Stop to abortion, Give life!', 'Abortions disgrace Russia, Abortions kill geniuses,' Abortions kill geniuses,' etc.
Besides Muscovites, there were people from some other Russian towns among the participants. One car driver was from distant Nigeria. Several families came to take part in the rally with their children.

Predominant focus of Ireland's final preparatory public meeting relating to its UPR review was once again the right to life of the unborn


I have already written a number of blogs on Ireland's Universal Periodic Review (UPR, for short) which will take place in October in Geneva and for which the Irish Government is preparing a report  – 20 and 28 April 2011, 18 and 21 May 2011 and, in particular, 15 February 2011.   So you have a fair idea of what this is all about.
A number of Government-sponsored public meetings have been held throughout the country recently in conjunction with the UPR process.  The seventh, and final, ‘public consultation’ took place in Dublin last week.  These event consisted of a fact-finding exercise towards the preparation of the Government’s report to the UN Human Rights Council which will be examining it next October.

Having been given to understand that there would be no presentations to introduce the meeting (on other occasions, the Irish Council for Civil Liberties and the Irish Human Rights Commission – both advocates of abortion – were among the groups giving presentations) it was somewhat of a surprise to see that the IHRC was there once more, complete with a screen showing power-point overheads.   When the IHRC presence was queried it was noted that the overheads were changed very soon afterwards.

Although there were some other aspects of human rights raised for discussion during the evening, it was quite evident that the predominant subject was that of the human rights of the unborn child.   A call was made once more that a pro-life/pro-family representative should be at least appointed as an adviser to the Government to assist in the preparation of the official report, if not indeed appointed as a member of the Government delegation that would appear before the UN committee in October.  The Government official who chaired the meeting appeared to be getting more and more agitated and frustrated as the evening wore on, and the meeting eventually ended fairly abruptly.   We understand that all of the UPR consultation meetings held since the beginning of this particular process followed the same pattern.

Will the Government take on board anything that was put forward by the many pro-life and pro-family people at this and the other six meetings that preceded it?  
 It will be interesting to see if they do so.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Heartbreak of Chinese Women

 We blogged yesterday on China's one child policy which has been very much in the news again recently

Thanks to Fiorella Nash for her Blog illustrating a video of the horror of China's one policy in action.

Reggie Littlejohn who is featured in the video has worked solidly along with many others to draw attention to the cruelty of China's one child policy.


The video represents a powerful witness to the violence and the heartbreak associated with this inhuman one child policy

http://monstrousregimentofwomen.blogspot.com/2011/06/end-war-on-women.html

Friday, June 3, 2011

"Illegal Children" Abducted by Chinese Authorities and Trafficked Abroad

The Population Research Institute (PRI) reports that so called "illegal children" in China are being abducted by Chinese authorities and trafficked abroad. see full PRI report

According to a report in the Caixin Century magazine, population control officials in the Chinese province of Hunan seized at least 16 babies born in violation of the one-child policy, sent them to state-run orphanages, and then sold them abroad for adoption.

In the words of Steven W. Mosher, China expert and president of the Population Research Institute,
“if this is true (which we at PRI believe it to be based on our own research in China), then this act represents a serious human rights violation and a clear instance of human trafficking.”
“Before 1997, they usually punished us by tearing down our houses for breaching the one-child policy, but after 2000 they began to confiscate our children,” the magazine quoted villager Yuan Chaoren as saying.

The children, reportedly from Longhui county near the city of Shaoyang, were abducted by local authorities who accused their parents of breaching the one-child policy or illegally adopting children. Then, according to Caixin Century, the local family planning office sent them to local orphanages, which listed them as being available for adoption. The report added that the office could get 1,000 renminbi or more for each child. The orphanages in turn receive $3,000 to $5,000 for each child adopted overseas, money that is paid by the adoptive parents. The magazine reported that at least one migrant worker said she had found her daughter had been adopted abroad and was now living in the United States.

According to Steven Mosher, this report is heartbreaking, but not surprising.
"This report," says Mosher, “is corroborated by research that PRI conducted on the ground in China back in 2009. In Lipu county, located in northern Guangxi province, we were told by a village official that ’at the present time, if you don't pay the fine, they come and abduct the baby you just gave birth to and give it to someone else.’ It is also worth noting that these two reports come from the same general area of China and occurred in neighboring provinces."
“Of course,” Mosher continues,
“local officials deny any involvement in child trafficking. But it is well known that the so-called ‘job responsibility system’ requires them to rigorously enforce the one-child policy, and that their success (or failure) in this area will determine future promotions (or demotions). Abducting and selling an ‘illegal’ baby or child would not only enable an official to eliminate a potential black mark on his record, it would allow him to make a profit at the same time.

“In this way,” Mosher concludes, “the one-child policy, through its system of perverse and inhumane rewards and punishment, encourages officials to violate the fundamental right of parents to decide for themselves the number and spacing of their children.”

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Attempts to reverse Russia's declining population


The Parliamentary Network for Critical Issues (PNCI) reports that Russian Members of Parliament have teamed up with the Russian Orthodox Church to introduce legislation to dramatically reduce abortions. Russia, which according to a 2004 UN survey has one of the world's highest abortion rates at 53.7 per 100 women, also has one of the lowest birth rates.  See report

The proposal would ban free abortions at government clinics, make the morning-after pill only available with a prescription, and require spousal consent for married women and parental consent for adolescents seeking abortions. Yelena Mizulina, sponsor and chair of the State Duma Committee for Women's Affairs, Family and Children, added that the legislation would also institute a week-long waiting period for abortion and create "safe haven" centers for women to leave babies under six months. 

While the Russian Health Ministry's data, reaching 1.3 million abortions in 2009, does show a decline in the numbers of abortions, Mizulina points out that the Ministry does not include abortions at private clinics and from the morning-after pill and suggests the number is closer to 6 million abortions.   

The World Congress of Families has also made arrangements for a major conference on World population decline in Moscow at the end of this month. The first summit on the worldwide phenomenon of rapidly declining birthrates – The Moscow Demographic Summit: Family and The Future of Humankind -- will take place at the Russian State Social University, June 29-30, sponsored by the World Congress of Families. 
World Congress of Families Managing Director Larry Jacobs noted: 

“Russia is ground-zero for demographic winter. With an average birthrate of 2.1 children per woman needed just to replace current population, Russia’s is only 1.2. Little wonder Russia’s population has declined from 148.5 million in 1995 to 143 million today. Some demographers believe it could fall below 120 million by mid-point in this century. Adding to the tragedy, it’s estimated that there are 4 million abortions a year in Russia, and only 1.7 million live births.”

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

More problems associated with the contraceptive pill


We BLOGGED twice in April on the dangers to women of the contraceptive pill April 27th and 

Reuters have since reported that more new evidence has emerged that women taking Bayer's best-selling contraceptive Yasmin may run a high risk of dangerous blood clots.

Two studies cited in the report showed that users of pills containing drospirenone, one of the hormones used in Yasmin, had a two to threefold higher risk of venous thromboembolism than did users of those containing the older synthetic hormone levonorgestrel, according to two studies in the British Medical Journal.

In the first study, based on U.S. medical claims data, researchers found a twofold increased risk of non-fatal venous thromboembolism in women using drospirenone-containing contraceptives compared with women using levonorgestrel.

Thromboembolism is the medical term for a blood clot in the veins, often in the legs, that gets dislodged and can cause fatal clogging in the lungs' arteries.

The second study, based on data from the British General Practice Research Database, even found a threefold increased risk.

Bayer, not unexpectedly, were critical of the methodology used for the study which they say showed "significant flaws."

Studies assessing the blood clotting risk of drospirenone had yielded inconsistent results in recent years with some studies showing elevated risks and others suggesting drospirenone was as safe as levonorgestrel.

In March 2010, Bayer put additional risk warnings on the European product label for the Yasmin pill but said at the time that the overall benefit-risk profile remained unchanged.

Bayer said in its 2010 annual report that there were about 6,850 lawsuits pending in the United States with plaintiffs claiming they had suffered injuries from Bayer's Yasmin and Yaz pills or generic copies sold by Teva's Barr Laboratories.

In 2010 Bayer realized 1.1 billion euros ($1.6 billion) of sales from drospirenone-based pills such as Yasmin, down 13 percent from a year earlier, still making it Bayer's second-best-selling pharmaceutical product after multiple sclerosis drug Betaseron.

Yasmin revenue is slipping because of cheap generic copies on sale in the United States but also in part because of concern about a heightened risk of thrombosis.

Comment; 
The damage caused to women's health and fertility by the regular taking of the hormones has never been fully addressed and the partial studies which have taken place are usually resisted and contradicted. Many women are completely unaware that there is a natural alternative which renders the constant taking of hormones unnecessary. The science of NaproTechnology has been developed to such an extent that not only does it assist in the planning and spacing of pregnancies, it is also used to assist many seemingly infertile women to become pregnant thus making IVF redundant. 
NaproTechnology is the first women's health science to network family planning with reproductive health monitoring and maintenance. It is a fertility-care based medical approach rather than a fertility-control approach to family planning and gynecological health.