Saturday, September 29, 2012

Irish Bishops declare "Choose Life" as 2012 day for life theme

The autumn 2012 General Meeting of the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference held this week in Maynooth issued a press release in which they declare "Choose Life" as the 2012 day for life theme followed by a month of prayer. The statement also says that the Bishops will shortly issue a full statement dealing with the Children's Referendum.
Extract from Bishops Statement
The Irish Bishops discussed the sacredness of human life and announced that the annual Day for Life in Ireland this year, on Sunday 7 October, will mark the beginning of a special month of prayer dedicated to theme ‘Choose Life!’
Parishes and individuals will be invited to pray a special ‘Prayer for the Child in the Womb’ during Masses throughout the month of prayer which ends on the Feast of All the Saints of Ireland on 6 November next. The prayer asks us to open our hearts to welcome every child as a unique and wonderful gift, and to help those who make our laws to uphold the uniqueness and sacredness of every human life from the moment of conception to natural death. 
In addition to the prayer a special pastoral message entitled ‘Choose Life!’ will be promoted in all 1,360 parishes of Ireland, North and South. This message will highlight the equal right to life of a mother and the child in her womb, and the right of each to be treated as individual persons. This positive message will also affirm that the child in the womb is not a potential life, but a human life with potential.
Bishops expressed concern about the widespread misinformation about the implications of the December 2010 judgement of the European Court of Human Rights A,B & C vs Ireland.  The Irish Government is under no obligation to legislate for abortion because of the ruling of the European Court.  On the contrary the Government is free to respond by seeking full protection in Irish law for the right to life of the baby in the womb.  This could be done while ensuring that women in pregnancy continue to receive every treatment necessary to safeguard their lives.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Holy See Statement on Maternal Mortality during the 21st session Human Rights Council in Geneva

Statement by Archbishop Tomasi Permanent Representative of the Holy See to the United Nations in Geneva

Madame President,
The 1993 Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action reminded States that “particular priority should be placed on reducing infant and maternal mortality rates.1” The Delegation of the Holy See notes some signs of hope in reports by the World Health Organization that deaths due to maternal conditions (2) have decreased significantly between 1990 and 2010 (3). However, the situation cited in the current report by the High Commissioner for Human Rights (4), namely, that 287,000 women died due to maternal conditions and between 10 and 15 million mothers suffered debilitating conditions during 2010, is truly tragic.
We wish to point out further concerns arising from the above-cited Report and influencing the Resolution of the Human Rights Council presently introduced on this issue during this 21st Session. First of all, the Report uses ambiguous terms and dubious arguments in maintaining that “maternal mortality and morbidity is a product of discrimination against women, and denial of their human rights, including sexual and reproductive health rights”(5)
According to the World Health Organization, the following are included as major causes of maternal mortality and morbidity: severe bleeding (mostly bleeding after childbirth), infections (usually after childbirth), high blood pressure during pregnancy (pre-eclampsia and eclampsia)(6). By ignoring these important health conditions, the Report gives a biased view of causality in this health emergency for mothers and children. Additional evidence-based determinants of maternal morbidity and mortality have been identified as weaknesses in health infrastructure, including absence of a skilled birth attendant during the birth process, unsanitary medical environment, lack or insufficiency of emergency medical and surgical facilities and supplies, including antibiotics and surgical gloves. Consequently, a lot of maternal deaths are preventable with basic health care, adequate nutrition and competent obstetric care throughout pregnancy, delivery and postpartum.
With regard to ensuring “universal access ... in the national plan – as essential for improving maternal health”, the Report points to “management of unintended pregnancies, including access to safe abortion services, wherever legal ...” as a major component in assuring maternal health and includes abortifacients, such as misoprostol and mifepristone, as essential medicines to be included in the facilitation of universal access. Thus the Report seems to give abortion, the main aim of which is to terminate the life of a child, precedence over such urgent interventions aimed at saving the lives of both mothers and children as “appropriate antenatal care; detection of domestic violence; management of pre-labour rupture of membranes and pre-term labour; induction of labour for prolonged pregnancy; prevention and management of post-partum hemorrhage; caesarean sections; and appropriate post-partum care.”
My Delegation wishes to register additional serious concerns with regard to the recommendations in the High Commissioner’s Report that promote access to so- called “emergency contraceptives” and to so-called “safe abortion care”. Re-affirming that human life begins at the moment of conception and that life must be defended and protected, the Holy See can never condone abortion or policies that favour abortion.(7)
Moreover, the Holy See “does not consider abortion or abortion services to be a dimension of reproductive health or reproductive health services ... [nor does it] endorse any form of legislation which gives legal recognition to abortion,”(8) which is the very antithesis of human rights.
With regard to the frequent references in the Report to the expression terms “sexual and reproductive health and rights”, the Holy See points out that such a totally unbalanced attention to sexual and reproductive health fails to address the complex and underlying causes responsible for maternal mortality and morbidity (9) in an integrated and complete manner and in a way that respects the full dignity of all members of the family.
In similar regard, my Delegation wishes to express concern about the claim advanced in this Report that “if abortion laws are overly restrictive, responses by providers, police and other actors can discourage care-seeking behaviour,” thus implying that the lack of so-called “legal” abortion is a cause of maternal mortality. This statement is unfounded and lacked citation of any evidence to demonstrate its validity. In fact, in a 2010 Report by the World Health Organization, contrary evidence can be found, namely that, during 2008, three countries that permitted “legal” abortion, i.e., Guyana, Ethiopia, and Nepal, had significantly higher numbers of maternal deaths per 100,000 births, than three countries, from their respective regions, that did not allow abortion, i.e., Chile, Mauritius, and Sri Lanka.(10)
A final concern from my Delegation relates to the recommendation in the Report that national plans “should address improved access for adolescents to comprehensive sexuality education, sexual and reproductive health information and care, including family planning.” This recommendation fails to recognize the role of parents. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights recognizes that “Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children” (Article 26.3). Thus my Delegation maintains that “parents must be always free to transmit to their children responsibly and without constraints, their heritage of faith, values, and culture”(11), as well as the need for all rights to be accompanied by concomitant responsibilities. Moreover, the Holy See wishes to point out the role of parents in educating their children in authentic human love as self-giving in communion and friendship with God and others through the exercise of authentic freedom and respect for one’s own body and those of others. Lastly, it is essential the involvement of parents in witnessing and teaching to their children that the self-giving in married love of a man and a woman expresses itself through the body, the complementarity and totality of self-giving, and that such sexual giving belongs to this married love, and to this love alone Any national plan or recommendation advanced by the High Commissioner or by this Human Rights Council cannot and should not ignore or bypass parents’ rights.

Thank you, Madame President.

1Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, 25th June 1993, article 47.
2 Deaths due to maternal conditions = deaths of women during pregnancy, childbirth, or in the 42 days after delivery. A maternal death is defined as "the death of a women while pregnant or within 42 days of termination of pregnancy, irrespective of the duration and site of the pregnancy, from any cause related to or aggravated by the pregnancy or its management but not from accidental or incidental causes." (Source: Trends in maternal mortality 1990-2008: estimates developed by WHO, UNICEF, UNFPA and the World Bank. Geneva, WHO 2010. )
3World Health Organization, et al., Trends in Maternal Mortality: 1990 to 2010 (Geneva: World Health Organization, 2012).
4 Technical Guidance on the Application of a Human Rights Based Approach to Implementation of Policies and Programmes to Reduce Maternal Morbidity and Mortality: Report of the Office of the UnitedNationsHighCommissionerforHumanRights A/HRC/21/22.
5 Op. cit., para. 14, under general principles section)
7cf., Statement of the Holy See at the Concluding Session of the 21st Special Session of the General Assembly for the Overall Review and Appraisal of the Implementation of the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development New York, 2 July 1999.
8cf., Reservations and Statement of Interpretation by the Holy See Delegation during concluding session of the Fourth World Conference on Women, Beijing, 15 September 1995,
9cf., Final Statement of the Holy See Delegation to the 4th World Conference on Women, Beijing, 15 September 1995, as recorded in Report of the 4th World Conference on Women, Beijing, 1995
10World Health Organization, et al., Trends in Maternal Mortality, 1990 to 2008 (Geneva, World Health Organization, 2010), p. 33.
11Message of Pope Benedict XVI on the World Day of Peace, 1 January 2011.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

The A. B. and C. v. Ireland judgment does not require the Irish government to legalize abortion

The A. B. and C. v. Ireland judgment does not require the Irish government to legalize abortion: The ECLJ submits its memorandum to the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe on the execution of the A., B. and C. v Ireland judgment on abortion.

Grégor Puppinck, PhD,
Director of the ECLJ,

Strasbourg, 26 September 2012

The European Centre for Law and Justice (ECLJ) has submitted to the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe a memorandum on the execution by the Irish government of the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights in the case of A., B. and C. v Ireland concerning the Irish ban on abortion. The Committee of Ministers is in charge of the supervision of the execution of the judgment by Ireland. The Irish Government is currently expecting the report of the “expert group” tasked with providing options and recommendations on how to implement the judgment. Concerns have been expressed that the composition of this expert group seems predisposed to issue recommendations that leads to the legalisation of abortion, rather than a simple clarification. The Irish Government should then decide.

Because many misinterpretations of the A. B. and C. judgment have been diffused with a political aim, the purpose of the ECLJ memorandum is to provide for an objective description of the status of abortion within the European Convention on Human Rights and a precise delimitation of the conventional obligations of Ireland in the execution of the judgment.

The ECLJ memorandum explains that while executing the A., B. and C. judgment, the Irish government does not have to address the issue of abortion in general, nor to address specific aspects that do not concern the situation of Applicant C. The A. B. and C. judgment require the government to adopt measures so that applicant C, or any other woman in the same situation, would be able to know whether her medical situation necessitate the termination of her pregnancy on grounds of the risk to her life. The decision taken by the national authorities whether the medical situation of applicant C would or not necessitate the termination of the pregnancy has no incidence provided the right to life of applicant C is protected. In other words, Ireland is not required to make sure that abortion would be available to applicant C, but only to clarify its regulation in one sense or the other. The government is free to choose the most appropriate means of complying with this obligation, such as publishing medical information on the treatment of pathologic pregnancies, as the Court suggested. While describing how medical treatments should be carried out to save the life of the mother, even if such treatment results in the unintented loss of life of her unborn child, the Government can perfectly reaffirm the prohibition of direct abortion. This clearly means that the A. B. and C. judgment does not require the Irish government to liberalize its regulation on abortion. Moreover, because abortion is not a human right and cannot stem from the Convention, such a requirement from the Court would simply not be legally possible. Ireland can legitimately maintain its constitutional choice to protect the life of the baby and the one of the mother on an equal footing.

After the A., B. and C judgment became final, it is to the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe (CM) to supervise its execution. The Irish Government is required to present the measures it will adopt in order to prevent similar violations of the Convention in the future. The State has the choice of the means of addressing the issue indicated by the ECHR. The CM, as a governmental body composed by the Foreign Affairs Ministers of all the member States, is a political body and not a judicial one; therefore it can only exercise political or diplomatic pressure in order to determine a State to fulfil its obligation under the Convention. Except the infringement proceedings, which “should be brought only in exceptional circumstances” and were never applied by the CM, there are no sanctions against a State which refuses to execute a judgment or which delays complying with the ECHR judgment. Although, the CM can refer a case to the Court if it considers that the execution of the judgment is hindered by a problem of interpretation of the judgment or if it considers that the respondent State is refusing to abide by the judgment,this has never happened. Eventually, the CM adopts final resolutions, when it considers that the measures proposed by the State are apt to prevent future similar violations. The execution of a judgment is therefore also dependant on the political situation within the CM. It happens that a significant portion of the members of the CM disagree with a Court judgment and understand the reluctance of the concerned State to comply with it. Inversely, it may also happen that some members of the CM pressure a State to go further than what is required by the Court.

Therefore, the requirements of the CM toward the measures expected from the Irish government following the A. B. and C. judgment also depend, on a real extent, on the political situation within the CM, and therefore on the political strategy of the Irish government. But it cannot be said that the A., B. and C. judgment requires the legalisation of abortion in Ireland.



Communication by the ECLJ to the Committee of Ministers on the execution of A. B. and C. v. Ireland
Action plan DH-DD(2011)480  and Updated Action plan DH-DD(2012)66E submitted by the Irish government to the Committee of Ministers
A., B. and C. v. Ireland, (N° 25579/05) September 2009 (ECLJ Amicus curiae before the Grand Chamber)
A., B. and C. v. Ireland, (N° 25579/05) November 2008 (ECLJ Amicus curiae before the Court section)

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Ireland's Children's Rights Referendum

The date of the Children's Rights Referendum and the wording of the proposed amendment to the constitution has been published.
Voting will take place on Saturday Nov 10th and the wording of the proposed amendment is set out below
Thirty-First Amendment of the Constitution
1.            The State recognises and affirms the natural and imprescriptible rights of all children and shall, as far as practicable, by its laws protect and vindicate those rights.
2.             In exceptional cases, where the parents, regardless of their marital status, fail in their duty towards their children to such extent that the safety or welfare of any of their children is likely to be prejudicially affected, the State as guardian of the common good shall, by proportionate means as provided by law, endeavour to supply the place of the parents, but always with due regard for the natural and imprescriptible rights of the child.
 2° Provision shall be made by law for the adoption of any child where the parents have failed for such a period of time as may be prescribed by law in their duty towards the child and where the best interests of the child so require.
3.            Provision shall be made by law for the voluntary placement for adoption and the adoption of any child.
4.             Provision shall be made by law that in the resolution of all proceedings-
i brought by the State, as guardian of the common good, for the purpose of preventing the safety and welfare of any child from being prejudicially affected, or
ii concerning the adoption, guardianship or custody of, or access to, any child, the best interests of the child shall be the paramount consideration.
 Provision shall be made by law for securing, as far as practicable, that in all proceedings referred to in subsection 1° of this section in respect of any child who is capable of forming his or her own views, the views of the child shall be ascertained and given due weight having regard to the age and maturity of the child.


Much has already been written on the pro's and con's of the issue but I would particularly drraw the attention of readers to cautionary articles by both John Waters and Mary Ellen Synon

I would also like to draw attention to a communication from "Mothers at Home" which sets out 10 reasons for voting no in this referendum.

10 Reasons to vote No in the Children's Rights Referendum

1/ Your legal right under Article 42.5 of the Irish Constitution to decide "Best Interests" for your own child will be handed over to the State. Parents will be reduced to Caregivers under the UNCRC.

2/ Your child can be placed for adoption against your will. You will not need to be accused or convicted of any crime and the arbitrary decision can be made by one person. The entire process will take place in secret Family Courts and you will be gagged and prevented from speaking out.

3/The State can decide for example to vaccinate every child in Ireland, and the parent, and even the child have no say in the matter. You do not need to be consulted or give permission. Joan Burton has already hinted that Child Benefit will be tied into vaccination records, this could be extended to school admission.

4/ The State can decide to give Birth Control to children of any age, even if they are below the Age of Consent. The State can bring children to other countries for abortions without parental consent and even if the child disagrees. (X case, C Case, D case)

5/ The UN and the EU can make any laws for children without consent of the Irish Government if it wishes. This allows unelected people in the EU and UN to write Irish Laws without prior notice. This removes what little Sovereignty Ireland has as a nation.

6/ The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child is no mere statement of altruism, it is a legally binding Human Rights Treaty which, if Article 42 is changed, will allow unelected people in the EU and UN to re-write Irish Law. Fully ratifying the UNCRC will now make every other treaty that we have ratified also apply to all Irish Children. The entire landscape of Irish Law may need to be rewritten.

7/The UNCRC does not give Irish children any privileges they did not possess before. Parents have always vindicated the rights for their child. As children are not autonomous, the State can decide anything even if the child disagrees. Effectively, this also removes children's rights.

8/ The "Best Interest Principle" of the UN is nothing more than a slogan. Was it in the "Best Interests" of the 260 who died in Irish State "Care", or the 500 who went missing and many were later found to have been trafficked into prostitution and slavery? We believe if Ireland is to have a World-Class Child Protection System that "Best Interests" should be replaced with "to the Measured and Demonstrated Benefit of the Child" and it will need to be measured and demonstrated. Despite 760 children missing or dead in a decade, nobody has ever been held accountable. In the Baby P case 2 doctors were struck off and 4 social workers fired, in Ireland 260 dead, 500 missing and nobody was punished.

9/ The UNCRC only gives "Rights" to children but there is no obligation on the Government to comply. Children in developing nations whose Governments have ratified the UNCRC have the so-called “right” to food and water and yet children are dying. Children are executed in some countries and the UNCRCC does not protect them, only their "Rights". Many of the countries that have ratified the UNCRC allow for Child Soldiers, Child Forced Marriage, the Death Penalty for Children and even Female Genital Mutilation. The UNCRC does not protect children.   Their parents protect them.

10/ The question we are being asked here is "do you trust the Irish State, the UN and the EU to make decisions for your children when your parental rights have been eliminated?" If you are not 100% sure you must vote no.

Ireland have already signed and ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child the current referendum is to remove any Constitutional barriers to its implementation  

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Pope Benedict reminds Christian politicians of their duty to protect life from conception to natural death and to protect marriage and the family

Vatican Information Services (VIS) have issued an English version of the text of Pope Benedict’s statement to European Christian Democrat’s who met him last Saturday September 22nd in Castlegandolfo, which included Irish Taoiseach Enda Kenny.

Pope Benedict in his address to the Christian Democrat delegation said that authentic progress of human society cannot forgo policies aimed at protecting and promoting human life from conception to natural death together with the protection of marriage and the family.
The following is an extract from Pope Benedict’s address

"Your political and institutional commitment must not be limited to responding to the requirements of market logic. Rather, its central and indispensable goal must remain the search for the common good, correctly understood, and the promotion and protection of the inalienable dignity of the human person. The teaching of Vatican Council II that 'the order of things must be subordinate to the order of persons, and not the other way around' is today more valid than ever. This order of persons 'is founded on truth, built up in justice, and animated by love', and it cannot be discerned without constant attention to the Word of God and the Magisterium of the Church".

"The areas in which this decisive discernment is to be exercised are those touching the most vital and delicate interests of the person, the place where the fundamental choices regarding the meaning of life and the search for happiness are made. These areas are not separate from one another but profoundly interconnected; they possess a manifest continuum which is constituted by respect for the transcendent dignity of human beings, rooted in the fact that they were made in the image of the Creator and are the ultimate goal of any authentically human social justice.

"The commitment to respecting life in all its phases from conception to natural end - and the consequent rejection of abortion, euthanasia and any form of eugenics - is, in fact, interwoven with respecting marriage as an indissoluble union between a man and a woman and, in its turn, as the foundation for the community of family life. ... Thus the family, the basic cell of society, is the root which nourishes not only the individual human being, but the very foundations of social coexistence".

The Holy Father went on: "The authentic progress of human society cannot forgo policies aimed at protecting and promoting marriage, and the community that derives therefrom. Adopting such policies is the duty not only of States but of the International Community as a whole, in order to invert the tendency towards the growing isolation of the person, which is a source of suffering and corrosion for both individuals and for society.

"If it is true that the defence and promotion of human dignity 'have been entrusted to us by the Creator, and to whom the men and women at every moment of history are strictly and responsibly in debt', it is equally true that this responsibility particularly concerns people called to positions of responsibility. They, especially if animated by Christian faith, must be 'strong enough to provide coming generations with reasons for living and hoping'".

Monday, September 24, 2012

Incorrect assertions and unsubstantiated claims in A,B and C case

Dr EOGHAN de FAOITE, responding to earlier correspondence to the Irish Times, from Claire Brophy  (September 19th) points out that she is factually incorrect regarding the A, B, C v Ireland case. Dr de FAOITE raises some critical issues that the pro-abortion lobby like to sweep under the carpet. See Irish Times 24/9/2012

Dr de FAOITE writes;
C did not have cancer when she became pregnant and she most certainly did not have to travel to England for an abortion “so that her cancer could be treated”. C had completed chemotherapy for “a rare form of cancer” when she came pregnant and had sought information from her GP, “as well as several medical consultants” on what treatment options would be available to her should her cancer happen to relapse during pregnancy. No medical evidence on the supposed life-threatening nature of a condition she might develop was offered to the court and no information regarding which medical specialties she had allegedly consulted was offered.

There exist specialists within medicine for a reason: it is a subject too extensive for every doctor to know everything. If a patient’s healthcare needs are beyond your capabilities you refer to your specialised colleague for expert input, such as in the case of cancer complicating pregnancy. Did this happen in the case of C? We simply don’t know. Perhaps the IFPA could enlighten us before people criticise Irish healthcare.

What we do know is that we have already heard from specialists who are far more qualified in the area of gynaecological oncology than I or Claire Brophy. Speaking at the International Symposium on Maternal Health in Dublin, Dr Frédéric Amant, who for his groundbreaking research into the safe delivery of chemotherapy during pregnancy was described by Lancet Oncology as “leading the agenda on cancer in pregnancy” concluded that, “in the case of cancer complicating pregnancy, termination of pregnancy does not improve maternal prognosis”. This mirrors the comments of our own home-grown expert in oncology, Dr John Crown, who tweeted earlier this year, “I don’t think I ever had a case where abortion was necessary to save mom”. The experts have spoken.

Finally, there’s no room in this debate for the unsubstantiated claims made by Ms Brophy and by Patricia Lohr (September 13th) that women are travelling to England for “life-saving abortions”. I would invite them to reveal the British department of health statistics, which are available under FOI, any case whereby an Irish woman accessed a “life-saving abortion” in England on account of being refused life-saving treatment in Ireland.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Children's Rights Referendum in the context of past failures of the Irish State

Nora Bennis raises a vital question, which is central to the debate on the Children’s Rights Referendum and yet it seems to be either ignored or sidelined by an unquestioning or biased media.
Nora writes:
On more careful reading of the wording of the Children’s Referendum, it becomes increasingly difficult to believe this referendum will succeed in preventing the recurrence of the horrors of the past.  In fact, it could lead to many more and far worse abuses of children because there is absolutely nothing in the wording to show how children will be protected from the State if it fails in its NEW constitutional duty towards Irish children.

Nowhere does it say who or what will supply the place of the State in cases where the State or third parties “fail in their duty” towards the nation’s children.  And fail they will as sure as night follows day.

It is so true that hardly any Irish person needs to be reminded of the horrors inflicted on generations of vulnerable children in the past.  But it is also true that hardly any Irish person needs to be reminded that it was the State and state agents that were primarily responsible in the past for removing thousands of children from their parents and placing them in institutions where they were physically and sexually abused. 
There is no doubt but that the Irish State bears grave responsibility for past failures to respect both the family and the most basic right of every child, to be raised in his or her own family.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Radical Pro-Abortion Agenda set out in UN Technical Guidance Document for the Reduction of Maternal Mortality

In its latest efforts to establish a human right to abortion the UN trough its High Commissioner for Human Rights Navanethem Pillay, who was recently reappointed for a second term of Office, has issued a shockingly pro-abortion manifesto using the vitally important issue of reducing maternal mortality and morbidity as a vehicle  for the presentation of her deadly agenda.

Under the guise of publishing "technical guidance" promoting maternal health, Ms Pillay has issued a report seeking to make effective opposition to abortion provision unlawful on the part of parents; and to criminalize health professionals, administrators and NGOs who seek to oppose abortion provision - including abortion provision to children under the age of consent.

The document A/HRC/ 21/22 is titled, "Technical guidance on the application of a human rights-based approach to the implementation of policies and programmes to reduce preventable maternal morbidity and mortality".

"This technical guidance report purports to be about reducing maternal mortality and morbidity. However the main thrust of the document instead of focusing on issues central to the reduction of maternal mortality, contains a thinly disguised pro-abortion agenda.

"The guidance report includes, amongst other things, attacks on:parental rights, freedom of conscience and freedom of speech. It contains 87 references to 'sexual and reproductive health', 27 of which also refer to 'sexual and reproductive health rights'. These are terms which are misused by powerful governments and politicians, like Barack Obama and Hilary Clinton, and UN bodies, to promote abortion on demand throughout the world.

"There are two references to comprehensive sexuality education and various references to goods and services in the context of sexual and reproductive health.

"The report identifies 'rights holders' and 'duty bearers' and stipulates the obligations of the duty bearers. Such obligations include the removal of all barriers to sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services including abortion, abortifacients and contraceptives, which are defined as 'fundamental rights'.

"The technical guidance report in paragraph 22 stipulates that States should act against so called interference by third parties including NGO’s if they object to the agenda set out in the document.

"It also stipulates that States should enforce laws and policies and that 'States may be held responsible for private acts if they fail to act with due diligence to prevent, investigate and punish violations of rights'.

"The technical guidance doesn’t simply call on States to take action, it makes States liable if they do not act against anyone or anything seen as a barrier to the implementation of the sexual and reproductive health agenda set out in the document which as we saw includes abortion, explicit sex education for minors and paragraph 30 attacks among other issues laws that ban abortion and conscientious objection and laws that would allow for parental notification before providing contraception or abortion to children.

Ms Pillay in publishing this report is seeking to make effective opposition to abortion provision unlawful on the part of parents; and to criminalize health professionals, administrators and NGOs (like SPUC) who seek to oppose abortion provision - including abortion provision to children under the age of consent."

"According to Ms Pillay's report, laws and policies that impede access to sexual and reproductive health services must be changed, including laws criminalizing certain services only needed by women; laws and policies allowing conscientious objection of a provider to hinder women’s access to a full range of services; and laws imposing third-party authorization for access to services by women and girls.

"The technical guidance calls for Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) in schools and for a budget to be available for dealing with teenage pregnancies through the education system in addition to budgets in the health system. The report footnotes the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, (UNESCO) International technical guidance on sexuality education"
Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE)

CSE is a highly controversial, rights-based approach to sex education that encompasses much more than simply teaching children and youth about sexual intercourse and human reproduction.

CSE programmes can be disguised under a variety of different names such as sexual and reproductive health counseling, information or services; HIV education; life skills programs; sex- education; sexual education; sexuality education; Social Personal and Health Education (SPHE) etc.

Common Components of CSE Programmes
They claim access to CSE is a human right
They Encourage acceptance and exploration of diverse sexual orientation and gender identities,
They Promote the use of condoms,
They Promote abortion as acceptable, safe and without consequences,
They Encourage youth to advocate for sexual rights
They Teach youth without parental knowledge or consent under the guise of confidentiality or privacy rights
They Promote sexual pleasure as a right and necessary for sexual health,
They Promote masturbation as healthy and normal
They Teach children and youth they are sexual from birth
They Encourage anal and oral sex and peer to peer sexuality education

In 2009 UNESCO in partnership with UNICEF, UNFPA, WHO and UNAIDS published controversial International Guidelines on Sexuality Education which suggest among other things, teaching five-year-old children that they can touch their body parts for sexual pleasure.

After a number of UN Member States complained, UNESCO released a new publication called the International Technical Guidance on Sexuality Education, which was not quite as controversial as their original guidelines although many of the objectionable publications were still footnoted.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

No need for referendum on children’s rights

HLI Chief Executive  Patrick McCrystal in a letter to the Cork Examiner challenges the need to hold a referendum on children's rights. The text of the letter is set out below and is accessible on this link

Fergus Finlay (Sep. 11) is misleading your readers and doing them a huge disservice by causing them to focus on the "words" of any proposed changes to the Constitution. The real threat waiting in the wings is the wording of Article Two of the UN Convention of Rights of the Child which states that children will be "protected" from the "expressed opinions or beliefs of the child’s parents…"

This referendum would be about the State "protecting" children from their parents. What an insult to the thousands of caring parents all over this country. This referendum is really about a power grab of monstrous proportions by the State that will eliminate parents’ rights to a horrendous degree unimagined by the public.

There is absolutely no need for a referendum as the rights of every child born and unborn are better protected in the Irish Constitution than anywhere in the world. Mr Finlay and Co know that full well and are not telling the whole story.

Report: Chinese Government Has NOT BANNED Forced Abortion

The caution expressed in our article "Has China really banned forced abortion" appears to have been well founded. Reggie Littlejohn of Women’s Rights Without Frontiers writes that despite Recent Report, Chinese Government Has NOT BANNED Forced Abortion

Reggie Littlejohn’s article dated September 17th follows and can be accessed on this link
On September 13, All Girls Allowed (AGA) sent out a press release with the bold title, “Chinese Government Bans Forced Abortion.”  We wish we could agree with our colleagues at AGA.  Unfortunately, this time, we cannot.

AGA’s claim that “the Chinese Government issued a document to Family Planning offices that bans forced abortion and sterilization” is based on links to two Chinese documents and a call to a family planning official in Chonqing City.  The press release states, “What the officer in Chonqing said was incredible.  Not only did they ban forced abortion, but the change came from the top down:  “Earlier the government issued a document to all family planning committees,” he said.  “Everyone has received it.”    The AGA press release touted this statement as “a major change” and stated, with respect to the One Child Policy, “its days are numbered.”

Women’s Rights Without Frontiers has no doubt that forced abortions continue to happen at this very moment in China. When the message goes out that this is nolonger happening, it undermines the movement to stop it.

Considering the facts set forth in the AGA press release, WRWF reaches the opposite conclusion:  The Chinese Government has NOT BANNED forced abortion.  Until proven otherwise, we believe that any rhetoric generated by the Chinese Communist Party ostensibly banning forced abortion is propaganda designed to deflect the heat generated by the notorious forced abortion at seven months of Feng Jianmei in June 2012.  Here’s why:

1)  Forced abortion has long been officially “banned” in China, yet it happens all the time.

In January 2011, Chinese President Hu Jintao told Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen that China has no forced abortion policy, yet numerous cases of forced abortion have surfaced since that time.  In addition, Article 4 of The Population and Family Planning Law of the People’s Republic of China already protects against forced abortion.  It states that Family Planning Officials shall “enforce the law in a civil manner, and they may not infringe upon legitimate rights and interests of citizens.” This law is not worth the paper it is written on.  Many credible reports of forced abortion have surfaced since this law was promulgated in 2002.  To see examples from 2012, read WRWF’s Complaint to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women.

2)  The documents cited in the AGA press release do not support the conclusion that the Chinese government has banned forced abortion.

Both documents mention a ban on late-term forced abortion only.  They are silent on early and mid-term forced abortion, and therefore do not ban such forced abortions.  Further, both documents take the position that late-term abortions must be voluntary.  The Chinese Communist Party, however, already insists that abortions must be “voluntary,” and forced abortion is still practiced.  In April 2012, for example, Pan Chunyan was grabbed out of her grocery store and forced to place her thumbprint on a document authorizing her abortion at eight months of pregnancy.  Does this count as “voluntary” under the Policy?

These documents do not cite any penalty for breaking the “ban” on forced abortion. Nor do these documents discuss what will happen to women who are more than six months pregnant, but who cannot or will not pay the often impossible fines.  To the contrary, both documents extol the virtues of the One Child Policy.  To read English translations of these documents, scroll down.

3)  The documents cited in the AGA press release do not remove the financial or structural incentives that keep forced abortion in place.

The often excessive fines paid by couples to save an “out of plan” pregnancy are used to feather the pockets of family planning and other officials.  These fines can reach up to ten times a person’s annual salary.  Job loss is another form of financial coercion and can be catastrophic.  In March 2012, the head of the Chemistry Department at Renmin University in Beijing jumped to his death because he was accused of having a second child and threatened with being “discharged from public employment.” Meanwhile, officials are promoted or demoted based on whether they meet birth, abortion and sterilization quotas.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Powerful US Election Video

In the lead up to the US Presidential election the Susan B. Anthony List (SBA List)  recently launched a  television ad campaign in Missouri highlighting President Obama's extreme record on abortion and featuring abortion survivor Melissa Ohden. 

SBA List President Marjorie Dannenfelser releasing the video said;
"In light of the recent national discussion over abortion, it's important Americans know the President's best-kept secret: his extreme record on abortion. Melissa Ohden's powerful story draws a stark contrast to his unbending support of abortion and the abortion industry and reveals the human face to this debate."
Dannenfelser continued;
"President Obama's appalling record on abortion is not just limited to his four votes to deny rights to abortion survivors but spans to his recent heartless refusal to support bans on sex-selection and late-term abortions. These actions fly in the face of mainstream American views and run counter to the President's first term pre-election talk of finding common ground. Recent polling reveals the majority of Americans support bans on these horrific practices."

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Has China really banned forced abortion?

The Christian Post reports that China's Population and Family Planning Commission has issued an order to ban the use of forced abortion. This follows huge international pressure on China following the very graphic reports of  cases such as Feng Jianmei. Link to article
Whilst this undoubtedly a step in the right direction if it is confirmed it is still a long way short of a complete reversal of the infamous one child policy.
It would be good to hear the views of the blind Chinese Lawyer Chen Guangcheng and others 

The full article is reprinted below
Following international outcry, China's Population and Family Planning Commission issued an order to ban the use of forced abortion when enforcing its one-child policy. The directive is being hailed as a significant step forward in human rights.

All Girls Allowed founder Chai Ling called it "awesome progress."

"When God told Moses that the Red Sea would part, it did. Last year a prophecy was given that God would end the One-Child Policy in China, and I rejoice that God is already doing it," she said in a statement. "The media's exposure of this injustice has been invaluable, and people in China and around the world are standing boldly against injustice. This has made China understand that they can no longer hide the brutal truth."

Under China's one-child policy, family planning officials have long dragged women pregnant with an additional child to hospitals where they were forced to have an abortion.

One case that drew international attention and widespread media coverage in June involved a 7-month pregnant woman, Feng Jianmei. After being beaten by family planning officials, she was forced to sign an abortion "consent" form and toxins were injected into the brain of her unborn daughter. She gave birth to her deceased child on June 4. A picture of her lying on a hospital bed next to her baby was released.

All Girls Allowed spokesperson Kat Lewis believes the attention this case gained placed immense pressure on the Chinese government.

"If there had been no graphic picture of her (Feng Jianmei), no media firestorm, no global outcry, and no anger voiced by social media users in China …. then the central government might never have done anything," Lewis told The Christian Post.

"In fact, a photo that was almost identical to Feng Jianmei's (of another woman and baby following a forced abortion) was released in 2006, but the media didn't pick it up and no one really tracked down the perpetrators."

She also credited prayer from Christians for the change.

All Girls Allowed confirmed with the family planning office in Chongqing that the order to end forced abortions, particularly late-term abortions, and sterilization was issued on Aug. 30. The order came from the Population and Family Planning Commission in Beijing.

In July, during the commission's semiannual meeting, Minister Wang Xia had called upon policy enforcers to "absolutely stop performing late-stage abortions," saying they should only "guide people to do family planning voluntarily," according to All Girls Allowed.

"This contrasts starkly with earlier family planning statements in China, which have called for mandatory abortion as a 'remedial measure' and encouraged enforcers to 'spare no effort' in terminating the pregnancies of women who lacked birth permits," said the human rights group.

The use of forced abortion was on the books in family planning policies in 18 out of 31 provinces in China as late as last year, said Lewis.

Despite progress, there are still other forms of coercion that the government is utilizing to keep families from growing. This includes the huge fines that families are forced to pay for an additional child.

Xiao Zheng and Xiao Guo are permitted by law to have a second child because they both come from single-child families. But after the birth of their second child they were fined more than $11,000 which is several times the couple's annual income. Local planning authorities say the married couple did not submit the proper application on time.

"Even with Minister Wang's call to end late-term forced abortions, the policy remains coercive: it still threatens parents with huge fines and job loss for having a second child," said Ling.

"Human rights will take a back seat as long as the government continues to use family planning fees as a major revenue source. China cannot genuinely claim that the policy is 'coercion-free' until it no longer threatens parents' livelihoods and ability to provide."

More than 13 million abortions are performed each year in China. Family planning leaders claim that the one-child policy has prevented 400 million births over its 32 years

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Controversial new pre-natal test for down syndrome raises the possibility of eugenics

The launch of "Praenatest" a new prenatal blood test for Down syndrome, developed by biotech company LifeCodexx, continues to be controversial raising the possibility of a new wave of eugenic abortion. "Praenatest"is available in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Liechtenstein.

The new PrenaTest is “targeted exclusively toward women in their 12th week of pregnancy and beyond who are at an increased risk” of having a child with Down syndrome. Interestingly, the test doesn’t replace amniocentesis. LifeCodexx calls it “a complement to other prenatal diagnostic analysis methods.” But what this test really does is put unborn children with Down syndrome at increased risk for abortion.

And it won’t stop there. “In the near future, the PrenaTest will also be able to identify other chromosomal mutations such as trisomy 13 and 18,” said Dr. Michael Lutz, CEO of LifeCodexx. The goal seems to be a society free of “imperfections.”

The medical world is split on the issue with some welcoming the fact that this test makes it possible to know if an unborn baby has Down syndrome or not,  Others regard it as a new and extremely dangerous threat to the unborn .

The German Centre for Information on Down syndrome considers that, with this test, "people with Down syndrome will be, in the long term, the first people with a genetic malformation to disappear from our society, with the tacit approval of the majority."

Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, Archbishop of Vienna, vehemently criticized the test: 
“The issue here is artificial selection or eugenics, pure and simple. Is the infernal term ‘life unworthy of life’ going to become reality again?”
The Cardinal’s words and the complaints of others highlight the contradiction between the intentions behind the PrenaTest and the most fundamental human right to live one’s life. This test serves only one purpose – to abort children.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


It has been reported that Mayo Co Council has followed both Donegal and Monaghan County Councils by passing a motion opposing the legalisation of abortion in Ireland. The news has been warmly welcomed by local pro-life activists in Mayo and by pro-life organisations nationally,

It is understood that Councillor Frank Durcan’s motion calling on the 31 elected members of the council ‘to oppose any form of legalisation of abortion under any circumstances’ was unanimously approved following a debate on the  Monday’s meeting of the authority.

The motion follows moves by Donegal County Council in July where councillors overwhelmingly voted against "any form of legalisation of abortion in any circumstances" and a similar vote by Monaghan Co Council earlier this month.

It is understood that the Fine Gael Council members would have preferred to defer the vote until after the expert group has reported to Government however in the end they voted in favour of the motion.

Co Councils like Mayo, Monaghan and Donegal are to be congratulted for showing the courage to stand up and be counted when it comes to upholding the lives of the most vulnerable

Monday, September 10, 2012


AN INTERNATIONAL symposium on maternal healthcare attended by up to 140 health professionals on Saturday December 8th in Dublin issued an important declaration to be known as “the Dublin Declaration” which confirms that abortion is never medically necessary to save the life of a mother.

The symposium was organised by the Committee for Excellence in Maternal Healthcare, chaired by Professor Eamon O’Dwyer, professor emeritus of obstetrics and gynaecology at NUI Galway who said the outcome of the symposium would provide “clarity and confirmation” to doctors and legislators dealing with these issues.

Other members of the committee include Dr John Monaghan, Dr John Greene and palliative care nurse specialist Sinéad Dennehy.

The full text of the declaration is as follows


“As experienced practitioners and researchers in Obstetrics and Gynaecology, 
  • we affirm that direct abortion is not medically necessary to save the life of a woman.
  • We uphold that there is a fundamental difference between abortion, and necessary medical treatments that are carried out to save the life of the mother, even if such treatment results in the loss of life of her unborn child.
  •  We confirm that the prohibition of abortion does not affect, in any way, the availability of optimal care to pregnant women.”
Professor Eamon O'Dwyer also said that the Symposium was timely given that the issue of abortion was one of current public debate, and that attempts were being made to confuse legitimate medical treatment with abortion.

“Irish Obstetricians and Gynaecologists have previously pointed out that treatment for conditions such as ectopic pregnancy are not considered abortion by doctors, yet misinformation in regard to this abounds in public debate. The Symposium clarifies that direct abortion is never medically necessary to save the life of a woman, and that’s good news for mothers and their babies,” said Professor O’Dwyer.

Abortion debate continues in Ireland

Fintan O’Toole is once again spreading his pro-abortion propaganda and in presenting his view that the loss of a baby resulting from an ectopic pregnancy is an abortion he fails to take account of evidence presented to a previous Oireachtas Committee by the then Chairman of the Institute of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists Professor John Bonnar, who told the Committee, 
 “It would never cross an obstetrician’s mind that intervening in a case of pre-eclampsia, cancer of the cervix or ectopic pregnancy is abortion. They are not abortion as far as the professional is concerned, these are medical treatments that are essential to save the life of the mother.”
O'Toole also fails to take into account the unfortunate loss which has befallen many women who have lost their much wanted babies in this way and in addition to this may also have had to deal with the consequences of the loss of a fallopian tube and a resultant reduction in fertility levels. 

Fintan asks a question and answers it promptly himself:
HOW DO you make a problem go away? The Irish answer, of course, is to pretend it doesn’t exist. But in the age of statistics, there is a special refinement to this strategy – make sure it doesn’t show up in the numbers.
 Is Fintan so determined to have abortion introduced here in Ireland that he is insensitive to, or does not care about the offence he is giving by telling women who have suffered such a terrible loss that she actually had an abortion?

O'Toole's claims and those and various other correspondents are ably answered by Niamh Ui Bhriain in today's Irish Times;

Sir, – Fintan O’Toole (Opinion Analysis, September 4th) claims that treatment for an ectopic pregnancy is an abortion. According to the most senior medical professionals dealing with pregnancy, he is wrong. As the then chairman of the Institute of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, Prof John Bonner, told an Oireachtas Committee, “It would never cross an obstetrician’s mind that intervening in a case of pre-eclampsia, cancer of the cervix or ectopic pregnancy is abortion. They are not abortion as far as the professional is concerned, these are medical treatments that are essential to save the life of the mother.”

Niall Behan (September 6th) claims that women with life-threatening conditions are travelling to the UK to avail of abortions. He offers no verifiable evidence of this claim and – again – he is contradicted by the evidence of the institute, which also told the Oireachtas committee that their members “could preserve mother’s lives and health without abortion”.

The claim made by Jacky Jones (a former HSE employee) went further again, however (HEALTHplus, September 4th).

Seeking to disprove the fact that Ireland is the safest place in the world for a mother to have a baby, Dr Jones claimed that a recent ESRI report showed that Ireland was “the 15th safest place to give birth among 22 European countries”. But the ESRI report deals only with perinatal mortality (the death of children just before or after birth) and not with maternal mortality. Such an error is astonishing.

Spin and scaremongering has no place in this debate. Abortion advocates need to get their facts straight. – Yours, etc,

The Life Institute,
Capel Street,
Dublin 1.