Tuesday, January 31, 2012

SPUC Northern Ireland Conference Belfast March 10th

Defending the rights of parents - Protecting children
With expert speakers from both the US and the UK, this conference is aimed at informing both parents and policy makers about the results of a teenage pregnancy strategy, which in the last 26 years, has done untold harm to children and families, diverted hundreds of millions of pounds from genuine healthcare and yet has never been shown to achieve what its advocates claimed it would. The re-examination of this policy is urgently needed and we hope this conference will be the first step in bringing that about.
Illegal, underage sexual activity fuels teenage pregnancies, rising rates of sexually transmitted infections and the tragedy of teenage abortion. Yet for decades it has been government policy to promote birth control to children under the legal age of consent. This practice, however, has faced no serious examination since the Law Lords denied the right of parents to object to the provision of contraception to their underage children in the case Victoria Gillick brought against her local health authority.

That was in 1985. Since then the evidence that this approach is simply not effective in cutting teenage pregnancy rates has become overwhelming. The results of this policy have, however, been widespread and deeply damaging. Graphic sex-education programmes promote the use of contraceptives, targeting children at increasingly early ages. Publicly funded agencies, such as Brook Advisory Centres, facilitate underage sex by supplying children with birth control while their parents are legally powerless to prevent it. The efforts of parents to protect their children from exploitation and sexually transmitted diseases are continually undermined by government policy.

Some of the consequences of current sexual health policy;
  • Graphic sex-education programmes aimed at younger and younger children contributing to the sexualisation of children at increasingly early ages.
  • An increase in risky sexual behaviour amongst some young people leading to rising levels of sexually transmitted infections and future infertility.
  • Increased risk of disease arising from premature sexual activity. (Sex before a girl is totally mature has a direct effect on her physical development and has been linked to a predisposition to cervix cancer.) Sexual Activity in girls under 16. British Journal of Obstetrics and GynaecologyAugust 1986 vol 3.
  • Increased risk of disease from exposure to powerful birth control drugs from an early age.

Pat Ramsey MLA is the SDLP Chief Whip and the spokesperson for Employment and Learning, serving on the DEL Committee. He is a recognised champion of vulnerable people and serves on a number of All-Party Working Groups. He is chair of All-Party Pro-life Group.

Jim Wells MLA is a senior member of the DUP, and currently deputy chairman of the Assembly’s health committee. He has been a tireless advocate for the pro-life cause. In 2000  the Assembly overwhelmingly endorsed a resolution he tabled rejecting the introduction of the Abortion Act to Northern Ireland.

Prof David Paton lectures  in economics at Nottingham University School of Business. His areas of study include the economics of abortion, family planning and teenage pregnancy. In January 2008 he told the Daily Telegraph: “There has been a tendency for the Government’s teenage pregnancy strategy to focus on creating schemes where teenagers can get the morning after pill or other forms of family planning at school or clinics. The danger with this sort of approach is that it can lead to an increase in risky sexual behaviour amongst some young people. There is now overwhelming evidence that such schemes are simply not effective in cutting teenage pregnancy rates.”

Dr Patrick Fagan is Senior Fellow and Director of the Marriage and Religion Research Institute, which examines the relationships among family, marriage, religion, community, and social problems. In particular the Institute studies the relationship between marital stability coupled with the practice of religion and their joint impacts on our social infrastructure - issues such as happiness, health, mental health and general well being, income and savings, educational attainment and family stability as well as such negative outcomes as poverty, crime, abuse, and drug addiction.

Mrs Antonia Tully co-ordinates the activities of the Safe at School campaign run by the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children. She advises and support parents and teachers who are concerned about the explicit nature of sex education in schools, and the promotion of contraceptives and abortion services to their children.

Come along on Saturday, 10 March to Belfast Castle to learn what can be done to help parents safeguard their families and why the promotion of birth control to underage children has got to stop.
Cost of the conference is £15 and includes a buffet lunch. Concessionary rate for senior citizens and the unwaged £8. Commencement 10am. Registration, tea and coffee from 9.30am.
For further information contact SPUC Northern Ireland atbelfast@spuc.org.uk or call on 028 9077 8018. or 048 90778018 from the Republic of Ireland

Monday, January 30, 2012

TV and Radio advertising of abortion in the UK

The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) have issued a question and answer briefing highlighting the urgency of UK government action to stop TV advertising by Commercial abortion providers. The question-and-answer briefing below sets out all the relevant information needed to help make this happen. Whilst the briefing is directed towards UK citizens we would also encourage that international pressure be brought to bear on the relevant authorities.

Q: What has happened?
A: This week the two bodies which draft the advertising code of practice made changes to allow “commercial post-conception advice services” - in reality, abortion clinics which earn income from performing abortions - to advertise on television and radio, in print and elsewhere. Pro-abortion organisations have welcomed the change; pro-life groups, some columnists and many ordinary people (some not pro-life) have objected to it. The change will come into effect on 30 April.

Q: Who exactly has made this decision?
A: Two committees, the Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice (BCAP) and the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP). These are committees of the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA). They are not statutory authorities. BCAP draws up the Code of Advertising Practice on behalf of Ofcom.

Q: But aren’t abortion clinics already allowed to advertise? Didn’t Marie Stopes run TV ads a while ago?
A: In early 2010 BCAP decided that there was nothing under existing law or codes to prevent non-commercial abortion centres from advertising on TV and radio, as long as the advertisements didn’t actually offer abortion directly. An advertisement by Marie Stopes International, one of the largest abortion chains in the UK and internationally, was shown shortly afterwards on TV.
The advert cleverly avoided mention of abortion. It was all done by implication. It depicted a young woman worried about her period being late. The advert asked: "Who can help her?" and the answer given was Marie Stopes. Thousands of people complained that advertising abortion in this way was illegal, indecent, dishonest and untruthful, but BCAP approved the adverts anyway. SPUC argued (and still argues) that the decision was wrong, not least because Marie Stopes was (and is) run on a commercial basis, with ‘business development’ managers, millions of pounds put aside for ‘future projects’, lucrative contracts with governments, income from fee-paying clients, and perks for its staff typical of commerce (but rare for charities).
This past week (20 January 2012) BCAP have gone further and actually changed its code to allow commercial abortion centres to advertise on TV and radio. This change gives a clear, added confirmation to so-called charities providing abortion that making money from abortion won’t bar them from advertising on TV and radio. Also, this decision will be useful to Marie Stopes and similar abortion operators if at some point they decide to drop their official status as charities, or decide to split up their operations between registered charities and registered (commercial) companies.

Q: Will abortion centres have to say that they perform abortion or have a financial interest in abortion?
A: No. BCAP considered such a requirement but rejected the need for it.

Q: Will pro-life organisations be allowed to advertise on TV and radio?
A: In principle, yes.

Q: If pro-life organisations are allowed to advertise, what’s wrong with allowing abortion centres to advertise?
A: Commercial abortion providers can afford broadcast advertising; whereas groups which provide objective information about abortion and its impact on women's health will be unlikely to afford to advertise. Most pro-life advice services charge nothing. Abortionists can just add the costs of advertising into their charges. Thus there will be a disproportionate opportunity for abortion providers to advance their cause.
CAP have said that any organisation giving post-conception pregnancy advice must first provide “suitable credentials” before being allowed to advertise. There is a real danger that the credentials of pro-life organisations will not be regarded as “suitable” because they refuse to offer abortion or refer women for abortion, and because they reject “official” guidance, such as the guidance from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG), which was drawn up with the help of abortion providers.
CAP have also said that advertisements by pro-life pregnancy centres must make clear that they do not refer women for abortions. CAP have admitted that they have adopted this requirement based on advice from the pro-abortion Department of Health, the pro-abortion RCOG and a pro-abortion parliamentary committee report.

Q: It’s a free country, with free speech. What’s wrong with abortion centres being allowed to promote what they have to offer?
A: Abortion centres mislead women, by telling them that their unborn babies are just 'products of conception', and that abortion is not killing but simply ending a pregnancy. Allowing commercial abortion centres to advertise on television immediately treats abortion as if it was a service or a desirable product.
Also, this move will increase the number of organisations able to advertise abortion. Marie Stopes and similar organisations have a vested financial interest in abortion, which they can now sustain through broadcast advertising. These organisations offer virtually no practical help to women who keep their babies, yet nowhere does this have to be mentioned.

Q: What should we think about the ASA, BCAP and CAP in the light of this decision?
A: The advertising industry is displaying a bias to support the devious and sleazy agenda of abortion operators, who have ideological and commercial interests in promoting abortion. The ASA already demonstrated a bias against pro-life groups when it attempted to ban advertisements which stated correctly that morning-after pills may cause early abortions. As an industry-based group, it is free to reflect the views of the broadcasters and publishers who want lucrative advertising deals. It is a great shame that it has not acted more impartially.

Q: What should happen now?
A: Jeremy Hunt MP, the cabinet minister with responsibility for media, is reportedly “very unhappy” about the decision but apparently lacks the resolve to act. However, Ed Vaizey MP, his deputy, told Parliament on 2 June 2010 that Mr Hunt has the power to order Ofcom, the statutory regulator, to order TV and radio stations not to broadcast certain advertisements. In contrast, ASA, BCAP and CAP are not statutory bodies. They are not answerable democratically or judicially to anyone, nor do they have power to impose any penalties or hold anyone to account. MPs should remind Mr Hunt of his powers in relation to Ofcom, and urge him to use those powers to rein-in ASA, BCAP and CAP, which have acted irresponsibly.

Q: To whom should I write?
A: Please write to your Member of Parliament (MP), asking him/her to write to Mr Hunt on your behalf, reminding Mr Hunt of his powers in relation to Ofcom, and urging Mr Hunt to use those powers to block all advertisements by abortion centres.

Friday, January 27, 2012

SPAIN / New government to roll back abortion legislation - for first time in history

LifeSiteNews.com report that SPAIN'S new government, the moderately conservative People's Party, has announced that it will seek to reform the nation's abortion law, which permits abortion on demand during the first 14 weeks of pregnancy, and allows minors to obtain the deadly procedure without the permission of their parents.
According to Minister of Justice Alberto Ruiz-Gallardon, the previous legislation was approved 'without consensus and with the unfavorable opinion of the agencies that were consulted.'
Although the extent of the reform envisioned is not yet clear, Ruiz-Gallardon raised hopes among pro-lifers of a major rollback by stating that changes would be based on the jurisprudence of the nation's Constitutional Tribunal, which would favor the restoration of greater restrictions on the killing of the unborn.
The news of the new initiative was greeted with cautious optimism by Spain's largest pro-life organization, Right to Life (Derecho a Vivir).
'Although the objective of Right to Life is the absolute eradication of abortion, we must appreciate the fact that, for the first time, abortion legislation might be changed to make it more, and not less, restrictive,' the organization stated in a release through its affiliate Hazte Oir (Make Yourself Heard).
The new initiative is 'good news' because 'it seeks to restore parental authority, which is violated by the current law,' wrote Gador Joya, Coordinator of Right to Life. However, he added, 'the proposal is still very vague, so we will be very attentive to what happens, because we are not renouncing our fundamental objective, which is the complete elimination of abortion.'
'The reference to the jurisprudence of the Constitutional Tribunal can only be understood in one sense,' said Joya, nothing that it would refer to the restoration of the previous, more restrictive law, which required medical reasons to be given for abortions.
The current abortion law was passed by the Spanish Socialist Worker's Party (PSOE) in 2010 in response to a national scandal involving Spain's 'abortion mogul,' Carlos Morin, who was arrested for performing abortions up to the third trimester for manufactured medical reasons.
In response to the scandal, instead of enforcing the existing law the PSOE eliminated the necessity of a certified medical condition for an abortion for the first 14 weeks of pregnancy, and allowed minors as young as 16 to obtain abortions without their parent's consent. The legislation sparked outrage in broad sectors of society and became a campaign issue for the People's Party in the following elections.
Mariano Rajoy, the new prime minister, has promised to reform the existing law, although he has not specified the extent of such a reform. 

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Does Council of Europe vote ban euthanasia and assisted suicide?

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) yesterday debated and voted on the issue of “Protecting human rights and dignity,” document 12804.

The Parliamentary Assembly reaffirmed that neither, euthanasia or assisted suicide are permissible under the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) or any previous decision.

This decision resulted from two Amendments to the original text tabled by Luca Volonte of the European Peoples Party (EPP) and Timothy Boswell of the European Democrat Group (EDG) and supported by the EPP and EDG, groups The Assembly also re-confirmed that, in case of doubt, there is always a duty to act in favor of life.

Luca Volonte chairman of EPP Group in PACE in a statement said, 
Last year we obtained a great victory in re-affirming conscientious objection, now we are re-confirming Human and Christian values. Today we also fought a good battle and thank God we have won, against a real ideological tyranny of culture of death. The Socialist left and part of Liberal group lost a fundamental battle, now euthanasia is completely banned from PACE.
Whether this is an accurate analysis remains to be seen, queries have arisen on the phrase in the approved text which says, “This resolution is not intended to deal with the issues of euthanasia or assisted suicide”.   I have been advised that this should be interpreted as meaning that this resolution cannot be used to further the cause of those who seek to legalise euthanasia. The principles set forth in the resolution do not apply to euthanasia which shall always be banned.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The personal responsibility of Catholics in public life to offer public witness to their faith

 Vatican Information Services (VIS) report that Pope Benedict XVI on Thursday last received a group of prelates from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (Regions 4 and 6), at the end of their "ad limina" visit.
The entire text of Pope Benedict's address to the Bishop's published by the VIS is well worth reading and needless to say the issues he deals with are relevant everywhere today not only in the United States can be accessed on the following link. 
 I would like to highlight some of the points he raised  as set out below
[...] "At the heart of every culture, whether perceived or not, is a consensus about the nature of reality and the moral good, and thus about the conditions for human flourishing. In America, that consensus, as enshrined in your nation's founding documents, was grounded in a worldview shaped not only by faith but a commitment to certain ethical principles deriving from nature and nature's God. Today that consensus has eroded significantly in the face of powerful new cultural currents which are not only directly opposed to core moral teachings of the Judeo-Christian tradition, but increasingly hostile to Christianity as such.
[...] The legitimate separation of Church and State cannot be taken to mean that the Church must be silent on certain issues, nor that the State may choose not to engage, or be engaged by, the voices of committed believers in determining the values which will shape the future of the nation
[...] Many of you have pointed out that concerted efforts have been made to deny the right of conscientious objection on the part of Catholic individuals and institutions with regard to cooperation in intrinsically evil practices. Others have spoken to me of a worrying tendency to reduce religious freedom to mere freedom of worship without guarantees of respect for freedom of conscience.
"Here once more we see the need for an engaged, articulate and well-formed Catholic laity endowed with a strong critical sense vis-a-vis the dominant culture and with the courage to counter a reductive secularism which would de-legitimise the Church's participation in public debate about the issues which are determining the future of American society. [...] In this regard, I would mention with appreciation your efforts to maintain contacts with Catholics involved in political life and to help them understand their personal responsibility to offer public witness to their faith, especially with regard to the great moral issues of our time: respect for God's gift of life, the protection of human dignity and the promotion of authentic human rights".

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

New Hungarian pro-family legislation

The Hungarian Parliament on 23 December 2011passed an Act on the Protection of the Family by a huge majority.

The new Hungarian law now in force since the beginning of January (2012) calls for the adoption of a cardinal act on the protection of families. Whilst this act is in preparation guiding principle were laid down as the foundation of a stable, and long-term family policy.

Protection of the family, marriage and childbearing are basic conditions for the sustainability of Hungarian society and since they constitute immeasurable value, and worth to the nation are all reflected in the new law.

The Act not only serves as a legal basis for the protection of families, but conveys important messages on the role of family in the society as well. The Act improves the reconciliation of family and work commitments and ensures long-term security and predictability for parents:  in the event of  any proposed alteration in family support regulations, a 1 year transition period must be guaranteed to bridge the time span until any new regulations enter into force – unless the change is a positive one, a change for the better.

One of the principles of the Act now the Fundamental Law of Hungary is intergenerational solidarity and the Act therefore pays attention on the elderly members of the family.

The Hungarian Government has stressed the importance of protection and support of the family and has therefore proposed that the European Union should devote 2014 as the European Year of Families during the Hungarian EU Presidency.

The Hungarian Government however have been under pressure from the EU because of the new Act

Monday, January 23, 2012

Supreme Court 'X' case ruling not good basis for abortion law

Professor William Binchy, regius professor of laws at Trinity College Dublin last week wrote an opinion which was published in the Irish Times setting out his views as to why the Irish Supreme Court ruling in the ‘X’ case is not a good basis for abortion law.
Because of the importance of the issue the full article is set out below but the original article can be found on thislink.
OPINION: THE GOVERNMENT’S appointment of the expert group to address the implications of the European Court of Human Rights decision in A, B C v Ireland gives us all the opportunity to reflect on the issue of legal protection for mothers and their unborn children.
Ireland has the enviable record of being among the very safest countries in the world for mothers during pregnancy – safer than a range of countries with far greater economic resources that have wide-ranging legalised abortion.
The task for the expert group is to recommend legal support for doctors to continue to uphold the principle of doing the best possible for two patients – mother and child – during pregnancy. There are times when this can result in the death of the unborn child, which is not the intended purpose of the treatment of the mother.
The mistake that the Supreme Court made in the X case was to embrace a quite different principle: that it is permissible to target the unborn child and intentionally terminate his or her life.
The Supreme Court heard no expert psychiatric evidence. Over the 20 years since the X case, the international research has shown a different reality: studies have been published that identify abortion as involving a significant increase in suicidal ideation and outcome.
The work of Dr David Fergusson and his colleagues in New Zealand in 2005 is perhaps the most striking example, especially since Fergusson’s own personal value position favours the “right to choose”. Fergusson noted the difficulty he had experienced in getting his research published.
Contrary to sustained misrepresentation by advocates of legalised abortion, the decision of the European Court of Human Rights does not require Ireland to give legislative effect to the Supreme Court decision of 20 years ago. What it does require is that we in Ireland choose a law that is clear.
We could, choose to endorse what the Supreme Court did but, if we took that course, we would be introducing into our hospitals an abortion regime, requiring abortion at all stages of pregnancy up to birth – the Supreme Court mentioned no time limits, in stark contrast to the notorious decision of the United States supreme court in Roe v Wade.
The Supreme Court decision represents injustice to the child, since it requires that his or her life be intentionally terminated. That abortion targets the child is a sad fact we should not ignore, however unpalatable it is to contemplate.
In England, some children – a small number – survive abortion. The Confidential Inquiry into Maternal and Child Health reported in 2007 that 66 babies had survived in one year. The policy in these cases is not to attempt to resuscitate them but rather to ensure that they die. That is not the policy of Irish hospitals but, if abortion was authorised on the principles set out in the Supreme Court decision, it would have to apply.
I do not believe that Irish people would wish to introduce a legal regime where the destruction of a child’s life was the object of the exercise.
We are free to make a different choice: one that ensures that Ireland can continue to be in the forefront of maternal safety and that does not target the child.
If the debate is about medicine, then Ireland, with its world class record on the care and safety of mothers during pregnancy, is a living example of how respect for human rights maximises positive outcomes.
But in truth the debate is really about values – not just about personal autonomy and privacy but about the dignity and equal worth of every human being. It is not easy to justify the intentional termination of the life of another human being, however small, powerless or undeveloped she or he may be. The insight of human rights philosophy is that, regardless of the estimation of others, every human being has inherent dignity and worth.
An unborn child is a distinct human being, with a unique identity different from that of his or her parents. He or she is no more or no less “a lump of cells” than a mature person.
Of course many (though not all) mature people lead lives of impressive intellectual and interpersonal fulfilment that bear no comparison with the experience or capacity of an infant in its mother’s womb or in the care of its parents in the years after birth. To build a lethal distinction on these differences in capacity and experience is not consistent with respect for the core values of human dignity and equal worth.
I hope that the expert group will take a broad view of its mandate and will guide the Government on the range of social supports that parents need in the awesome challenges that they may face in rearing the children who depend on their care.

Friday, January 20, 2012

"Foetus parties"

The Chief Executive of the Royal College of Midwives, in the United Kingdom, has warned about the ongoing effects of ‘the worrying trend towards the commercialisation of pregnancy’ on expectant mothers.   But what about the effect on the child?
It appears that in the UK the latest ‘fad’ is to have a party, inviting friends and relatives to view ultrasound scans of the unborn baby.   Sometimes, it seems, an actual ultrasound scanner is hired especially for the party, so that the assembled acquaintances can ‘view’ the baby before birth.    The concern of the midwives Chief Executive, however – although she does express some doubts about the ethics involved in this scenario – is mostly to do with the effect on the mother in the event that the baby might not survive the pregnancy, or that the baby might be injured in some way.   These, without doubt, are very good and sound reasons against the holding of such ‘foetus parties’, as they are called.    But there may be one very, very small good point about these events – and that is that people can see the living, unborn, baby, in such a way as pro-life counsellors endeavour to show.   Let us hope that the midwives Chief Executive might also look on the practice in this light as, all too often, the abortion providers and promoters are terrified to allow a mother to see a picture of her unborn baby in case she should see and realise that the baby is a living human being.
On the other hand – and it is difficult to weigh the two arguments against each other – the holding of ‘foetus parties’ is a commercialisation of pregnancy.    For too long, IVF and other AHR procedures, and surrogacy etc., have contributed to the false, and selfish, idea that anybody can ‘procure’ a baby at whatever the cost to the individual human person.    Is this not treating the child as a sort of object to be acquired at the whim of people?      Is this not a form of child abuse?    And yet governments throughout the world (including Ireland) promote and fund these artificial methods of ‘creating’ human beings, in total opposition to the plan that God laid down for the human race.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Controversial testing of IVF embryos proposed

RTE news on Tuesday January 17th reported that a new private fertility clinic has opened in Ireland which will provide pre-implantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD).  to identify human embryos brought into being through in-vitro fertilisation (IVF), which are deemed to be at risk of carrying inherited disorders such as cystic fibrosis. See also Irish Times article
Needles to say this type of screening prior to implantation is highly controversial and is carried out for the express purpose of selection of some embryos and the disposal of others. It can only be described as eugenic in nature and intent. 
The new Clinic built in Sandyford Co Dublin at a cost of €2.5 million.

This controversial move, which is being lauded by the media, was made despite the fact that the Irish Medicines Board (IMB) do not appear to have not granted permission for it.
According to an Irish Times report on Wednesday January 18th. 
The IMB said yesterday it has not issued any licence yet – and an authorisation would be issued only if it complied with legislation on tissues and cells.
It is understood that several IVF clinics in Ireland also hope to begin another form of genetic screening soon involving analysing the chromosomes of embryos. 
PGD is also used in other countries to identify chromosomal abnormalities such as down syndrome

I am reminded that Professor Robert Edwards who is regarded as the father of the exploitative practice of IVF,  claimed that it will soon be "a sin" for a woman to give birth to a disabled child and 'burden society'.  see my previous BLOG

However, with the exception of "No Less Human" I have not heard any disability rights groups denounce Dr Edwards' eugenicist comments, just as remarkably few journalists have the courage to investigate and challenge the public image of IVF practitioners as caring, altruistic and responsible.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Paris March for Life Sunday next January 22nd

The pro life marching season is with us once again an apart from the major US march in Washington DC other events and marches have been organised for the same weekend.
The 8th annual pro-life march will be held in Paris on Sunday next January 22nd. If you can be in attendance please convene at 14.30 pm at the Place de la Republique 75010 Paris. The march will make its way Place de l'Opera and will disperse around 17.30 pm

During this March participants are invited to help the organisers to communicate the following instructions and see that they are courteously respected. Let the message of life be the focus of the March, so that every one's approach is respected.
1. The March for Life is a peaceful demonstration. No forma of violence will be tolerated. Should there be a counter-demonstration, we'll not respond to it, we'll remain agreable and respectful of others.

2. The March for Life is pluralistic : people of different philosophies and convictions are invited to defend the preborn child.

3. March for Life is a nonparty citizenship action. No political party is represented in the collective and if any political officials would make us the honor of participating in the demonstration they are kindly invited to respect the universality of the March.

4. The associations, members of the collective, will walk without showing their own logos and they ask the other associations taking part in the March, to do the same and to merge into the procession. Theys réserve the right of asking to remove any placard, banderole or flag going against the spirit and objective of this march.

5. The participants are invited to follow the instructions given by volunteers (in yellow) or by security services and to take up, repeat the slogans announced on the podium. Any political slogans or any slogans attacking individuals are prohibited.

6.Our march has nothing in common with any verbal offence caused to women who have had an abortion. We love those women and wish they could get help and healing.

7. The participants who will answer interviews are invited to express themselves in the spirit of justice and compassion which caracterises this march.

8. "everybody has the right to be well informed and get adequate help" in this way abortion can be prevented. We want to launch an appeal to public authorities, to medias and people working in this specific area.

9. We ask protection for the preborn child without condition, and that every human being should be respected for what he is., from the time of conception to the natural death. We demand the abolition of abortion and to stop all offences on the human being at the embryonic stage.

10. Participants are asked to come if possible with the colours of the march : red = colour of life, white = colour of innocence, do not hesitate, and wear scarves etc ... Members of medical staff should be in white coats.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

An 'up-beat' Irish pro-life group

The Hermeneutic of Continuity blog recently referred to Youth Defence (YD) as ‘the up-beat Irish pro-life group’. For nearly twenty years, YD has held weekly information sessions in Dublin city centre, and they now happily announce that the 1000th such street session has taken place. In sun and rain and wind, in cold and icy weather, and hot weather, the young YD volunteers have stood patiently and courageously in Dublin’s O’Connell Street, week after week. During the afternoon they hand out information leaflets showing the humanity of the unborn child and his/her development from fertilisation until birth, and they speak to people who – very often – are quite ignorant of the wonderment surrounding unborn life, its sacredness and the dignity that must be afforded to it, and the fact that the right to life is the first and most basic of all human rights. YD are also the organisers of the Irish annual pro-life march which is held in both Dublin and Belfast in successive years.

Congratulations to YD, and may their members increase and remain faithful to the cause of protecting life – born and unborn, mothers and their unborn babies. Please pray for them, and also for the success of their upcoming celebrations to mark twenty years of pro-life witness against all the odds – official and unofficial. Typical of these young people is the fact that Holy Mass is the starting point of their celebrations

Monday, January 16, 2012

Irish Government appoint expert group on abortion.

The Irish Health Ministry on Friday Jan 13th announced the appointment of the promised “expert group” on abortion. 
When the coalition government was formed last year it announced as part of its programme for government that it would set up an expert group before the end of November 2011 to evaluate how it should respond to 2010 ruling on abortion from the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) in the A,B and C case.

The newly formed 14 member group (including chairman Mr. Justice Mr Sean Ryan) which includes medical, legal, psychiatric and nursing nominees and which, significantly includes some prominently pro-abortion names, have been instructed to report back to Government within 6 months on the options open to Ireland in order to comply with the ECtHR decision in the A,B and C case. The report of this expert group will be critical in deciding whether or not abortion legislation is introduced in Ireland but the final decision rests with the government. 

The text of the statement which can be found on this link is as follows;
As required, Ireland submitted an Action Report to the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe on 13th January 2012 in relation to the A,B, and C- v Ireland judgment of the European Court of Human Rights.  In line with Government commitments the Action Report conveys that an Expert Group has been established to examine the A, B and C v Ireland judgment and to report back to Government within six months with options on how to implement the judgment of the European Courts.
 The Expert Group will be chaired by Justice Mr Sean Ryan and consist of the following 13 members:
                    Dr Peter Boylan, Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist
                         Dr Mary Holohan, Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist
                         Dr Imelda Ryan, Psychiatrist,
                         Dr Ailish Ni Riain, General Practitioner
                         Dr Mark Walsh, General Practitioner
                         Ms Christine O’Rourke, Office of the Attorney General
                         Ms Mary O’Toole, Senior Counsel
                         Ms Joanelle O’Cleirigh, Solicitor
                         Ms Denise Kirwin, Solicitor
                         Dr. Deirdre Madden, Medical Council
                         Dr Maura Pidgeon, An Bord Altranais
                         Dr Tony Holohan, Chief Medical Officer, Department of Health
                         Mr Bernard Carey, Assistant Secretary, Department of Health

Friday, January 13, 2012


A joint letter signed by 39 religious leaders from a variety of religious backgrounds was released this week in support of traditional marriage between a man and a woman. The letter, “Marriage and Religious Freedom: Fundamental Goods That Stand or Fall Together”, is a strong statement affirming the traditional definition of marriage; it dismisses the argument that only a few religions object to homosexual marriage; it details how approval of same-sex marriage affects society; and it expresses how acceptance of same sex marriage impinges on existing human rights such as freedom of religion and freedom of speech. 
As religious leaders across a wide variety of faith communities, we join together to affirm that marriage in its true definition must be protected for its own sake and for the good of society. We also recognize the grave consequences of altering this definition. One of these consequences—the interference with the religious freedom of those who continue to affirm the true definition of “marriage”—warrants special attention within our faith communities and throughout society as a whole.  For this reason, we come together with one voice in this letter.
Among the signatories were four Catholic bishops including the head of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Cardinal-designate Timothy Dolan.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

The need for public bodies to be caring in adversity

A little four-year-old boy who is severely disabled is being refused a ‘homecare package’ by the HSE (Health Service Executive).  John’s family, who live in Co. Tipperary, now fear that they may lose their home because of the cutbacks in the health system, as their son needs constant care and attention, which they themselves will now have to fund.   While his mother and father have devoted their lives to John there is always the necessity to avail of extra help.   
John was born prematurely, and he has cerebral palsy, he has never spoken and has constant, chronic lung infections.   He is profoundly deaf, and he has no use of his limbs.   His father says that ‘his world is through his eyes’.   John’s twin sister, happily, survived without the complications suffered by her brother.
We ask for your prayers and support for this amazing family, and that they may be granted the financial and other assistance that they so rightly deserve.
John’s mother and father are examples of the wonderful and saintly lives of so many parents in today’s world

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Significant Texas pro-life victory

In a huge victory for US pro-lifers the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has lifted a temporary injunction against the Texas’ sonogram law. The law requires that women seeking to abort their babies be given information on their baby’s stage of development and that they should be offered the option of hearing his or her heartbeat. see reports from LifeSite news and lifenews.com
The federal appeals court ruled that the pro-life law passed last year may now be enforced.
The law, passed in the 2011 Legislative Session had been appealed by the Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR), which also obtained a temporary injunction to stop it going into effect last September.
The three-judge panel of the Texas Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals lifted the temporary injunction against the law and dismissed opponents’ claims that the law was an assault on abortionists’ constitutional rights as a form of forced-speech.

According to Chief Judge Edith H. Jones;
“The required disclosures of a sonogram, the fetal heartbeat, and their medical descriptions are the epitome of truthful, non-misleading information,”
The point of informed consent laws according to Jones;
[…] is to allow the patient to evaluate her condition and render her best decision under difficult circumstances,” she wrote. “Denying her up-to-date medical information is more of an abuse to her ability to decide than providing the information.”
Republican presidential candidate and Texas Governor Rick Perry, who signed the bill into law last year, praised the court’s decision.
“Today’s ruling is a victory for all who stand in defense of life. Every life lost to abortion is a tragedy, and this important sonogram legislation ensures that every Texas woman seeking an abortion has all the facts about the life she is carrying, and understands the devastating impact of such a life-ending decision,” 

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

US Presidential Election

The United States of America may seem a long way away from us – but what happens in that great nation inevitably produces repercussions throughout the entire world.
As we know, one of the many problems in the US at present is the question of who will be the next president there.   We know, too, that the present incumbent is probably the most anti-life and anti-family president to have held that office.    Should we, therefore, be concerned as to whether Barack Obama will or will not succeed in being elected for another term of office as president of America?   Undoubtedly we should be concerned.    But what, as non-American citizens, can we do?    Well, we can pray – for a start – that someone with concern for the most vulnerable member of the human family, the unborn child, will win the election.
We can keep ourselves informed on events in the US, and we could perhaps encourage friends and relatives in America to follow the campaign messages of, and support, genuinely pro-life and pro-family candidates.   After all, the family is universally recognised as the basic unit that is fundamental to the good of society, and the right to life – in particular, the right to life of the unborn child – is the most basic of all human rights.
Brian Burch, of Catholic Online, has provided some material produced by Rick Santorum, who achieved a very credible second place in the recent Iowa ‘primaries’.  Here are some extracts from that material:
It’s Now or Never for Conservative voters.  We can either unite now behind one candidate and have a conservative standard bearer in 2012, or have the GOP establishment choose another moderate Republican who will have a difficult time defeating Barack Obama in November.
I don’t think that’s what you want.  Neither do I.  My name is Rick Santorum, and I am the only authentic, passionate conservative who can unite the GOP.  […]
We shocked the world last night in Iowa.  We did it with a coalition of conservatives, Tea Party members, and values voters who recognized that my successful conservative record gives the GOP the best chance to defeat Barack Obama.  […]
I will be the most conservative President since Ronald Reagan.  […]
As a conservative U.S. Senator from the swing state of Pennsylvania, I led the overhaul of welfare that moved millions from welfare to work.  I authored the bill banning partial-birth abortion,  […]
If you want a President who will stand up for conservative values, who is consistent on the issues, and who has a record to back it up, then I need you to join my campaign. 

Something to think about. 

Monday, January 9, 2012

Alice Glenn, defender of life and family, RIP

Another great defender of life and family has, sadly, died – Requiescat in Pace.   Alice Glenn was a politician – she was a member of the Fine Gael Party (now in power with the Labour Party, but no longer with the policies and principles that it had when Alice originally joined it).   
Alice Glenn’s politics were based on family, faith and fatherland.   When she eventually parted company with the Fine Gael Party she described it as ‘a once great party, now going down the road to depravity and defiance of God’s law’.    One obituary writer states that: ‘Much to the annoyance of the Fine Gael leadership, she strongly supported the anti-abortion amendment to the Constitution [of Ireland] in 1983.  Declaring abortion to be, “the most important issue to come before the nation since the foundation of the State”, she expressed her complete confidence in the electorate to make the right choice.’    The electorate did make the right choice, when the people of Ireland voted to insert a specifically pro-life clause into the Constitution.
Later on, when the government of the day tried to change the Constitution to introduce divorce into Ireland, Alice famously said that women who voted for divorce would be like turkeys voting for Christmas.  (The first divorce referendum, in 1986, was defeated, but the second attempt on the part of the government to legalise divorce, in 1995, was unfortunately successful.)
Alice Glenn spent two terms as chairwoman of the Dublin City Council Housing Committee, and she also acted as deputy Lord Mayor of Dublin in 1987/88.  In the 1980s, too, she served during two terms as a member of the Dáil (lower house of the parliament).
At her funeral her parish priest remembered Alice as ‘a formidable woman of principle’.  Ní bheidh a leithéid ann arís (we will not see her like again).

The President, Michael D. Higgins (formerly Labour Party), was represented by his aide-de-camp, as was the Taoiseach, Enda Kenny (Fine Gael) by his aide-de-camp, at the funeral

Friday, January 6, 2012

Falconer report on euthanasia 'biased and flawed'.

Pro-life organisations in the UK have roundly condemned the Falconer report as being biased and flawed.
Lord Falconer's report on assisted suicide is worthless, according to the Society for the protection of unborn children. See John Smeaton's BLOG
The report which was prepared according to SPUC,
"by a self-styled commission funded by pro-death activists amounts to a renewed attack on the legal status of disabled and elderly people. The report's conclusions, due to be published in full tomorrow, were summarised earlier this week by Lord Falconer in the Telegraph newspaper.
The commission has been widely discredited as stacked with supporters of assisted suicide. Over 40 organisations, including the British Medical Association (BMA), refused to give evidence to Lord Falconer's "death-for-the-disabled" group."
Paul Tully, SPUC Pro-Life's general secretary, commented:
"Predictably, Lord Falconer's report calls for Parliament to change the law to allow assisted suicide. His group was set up following Parliament's repeated rejections of attempts by Lord Falconer and his ilk to change the law. This is part of a thoroughly nasty strategy to convince the public that many disabled people want to die - and that they are sensible to want to die. Lord Falconer's cooking-up of a dodgy dossier via a stacked panel shows the lengths to which the assisted suicide lobby will go.

They seek to create a two-tier system: people who deserve a right to life, and those who maybe don't. In fact, this shabby exercise was bankrolled by Sir Terry Pratchett, a patron of Dignity in Dying, formerly the Voluntary Euthanasia Society. "Disabled people are justifiably frightened when the protection the law gives them against pressure to end their lives is attacked like this. The moves to undermine their right to life are often accentuated by fawning, uncritical media coverage. The assisted suicide lobby represents a mentality of aversion to people who suffer, and it represents celebrities who have more money than sensitivity. We encourage people to show solidarity with disabled people by dismissing out-of-hand Lord Falconer's thinly-disguised propaganda."
Dr Peter Saunders of Care not Killing in a strong statement said:
This investigation was unnecessary, biased and lacking in transparency and its report is seriously flawed. It is being spun as a comprehensive, objective and independent review into this complicated issue. It is anything but.

This private commission was sponsored by Dignity in Dying, formerly the Voluntary Euthanasia Society, and financed by one of their patrons, with panel members being handpicked by Lord Falconer, a leading advocate of changing the law.

Nine of its eleven members were known backers of assisted suicide with a strong ideological vested interest in this as the outcome. Those with a differing view including representatives from the major disability rights organisations and doctors groups were not invited to join the Commission. The overt bias in the structure of the commission is why over 40 organisations including the British Medical Association and many individuals boycotted the inquiry.

Its terms of reference were drafted to ensure that the final report backed a change in the law and ruled out maintaining the status quo. In the commission’s own words they were to, ‘investigate the circumstances under which it should be possible for people to be assisted to die; recommend what system, if any, should exist to allow people to be, assisted to die; identify who should be entitled to be assisted to die and recommend what changes in the law, if any, should be introduced’.

What the commission is proposing is a less safe version of the highly controversial Oregon law, which sees the terminally ill offered drugs to kill themselves, but not expensive life saving and life extending drugs. It’s so-called ‘proposed safeguards’ are paper-thin and have already been rejected three times in the last six years by British Parliaments. These recommendations if implemented will place vulnerable people under increased pressure to end their lives so as not to be a burden on others. This pressure can be especially intense at a time of economic recession when families and the health service are already feeling the pinch. The so-called right to die can so easily become the duty to die.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

SPUC issue position paper on "same sex marriage"

The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) has launched a campaign in the UK against the Westminster government's proposals for same-sex marriage.  John Smeaton writing in his BLOG states.
We have published today a position paper on same-sex marriage following a resolution by SPUC's Council last month. SPUC has also made available today a background paper to be read in conjunction with the position paper and which provides some additional references and reflections.

The position paper, which can be viewed on this link , states

  • Marriage - the permanent, exclusive union of one man and one woman - is the basis of the family, the fundamental group unit of society. Upholding marriage is therefore in everyone’s interests.
  • Marriage as an institution protects children, both born and unborn. Statistics show that unborn children are much safer within marriage than outside marriage.
  • Same-sex marriage lacks basic elements of true marriage e.g. the complementary sexual difference between spouses necessary for the procreation and healthy upbringing of children.
  • Same-sex marriage represents an attempt to redefine marriage, thus undermining marriage. This undermining lessens the protection for unborn children which true marriage provides.
We can't build a true culture of life if we don't defend the truths which connect sexuality to human life. Homosexual unions, whether the existing civil partnerships or the proposed gay marriages, are radically disconnected from those truths. SPUC's Council, elected by SPUC's grassroots volunteers, has therefore resolved to defend human life by defending marriage from the government's proposed redefinition to include homosexual couples.

The background paper can be viewed on this link

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Victory for New Jersey Nurses in conscientious objection to abortion case

Catholic Culture .org report that (T)welve nurses who say that they were told by the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey that they had to participate in abortions have successfully negotiated a settlement with their employer. See article
“It is a victory because the hospital finally agreed to obey the law and not force our clients to do any work on abortion cases in violation of their beliefs,” said the nurses’ attorney, Matt Bowman of the Alliance Defense Fund. “The hospital agreed not to penalize our clients in any way because they choose to not help abortions, according to their legal rights. The hospital is required to fully staff all abortion cases so that our clients would never be needed for those cases, and the hospital cannot use pro-abortion staff to replace our clients or reduce their hours.”
“The [US district] judge warned the hospital that our clients could return to his court if they were assigned to work abortion cases or if the hospital claims that routine abortions are emergencies,” Bowman added. “We hope that other hospitals will realize that they should agree to obey conscience laws that protect pro-life medical personnel.”
See also National Right to Life Report

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Shopping at TESCO

Do you shop in Tesco stores?   If you do, then the next time that you go through their doors you might think about the most recent allocation of ‘charitable’ funding that the Tesco company is making.   It appears that Tesco – in the UK at least – has decided to sponsor the 2012 international homosexual and lesbian parade that takes place in London later this year.   (The company has already sponsored ‘national’ homosexual parades that marched through London in previous years.)    
Tesco has a recognised group devoted to those members of their staff who are homosexual  – ‘Out at Tesco’ – and the Head of Research and Development for the company, who is a prominent figure in the group, has stated publicly that Christians who object to the redefinition of marriage to allow for ‘same-sex marriage’ are evil   The executive, who is responsible for the Tesco website, wrote that:
‘I’m also campaigning against evil Christians (that’s not all Christians, just bad ones) who think that gay people should not lead happy lives and get married to their same-sex partners.’      
The ramifications of various homosexual groups that are related to the Tesco patronage of the practices involved, it seems, are endless.
Whether or not Tesco stores in countries other than the UK have ties with the homosexual agenda is not known, but it might be something to bear in mind when you next go shopping at Tesco.

It has also been reported that due to pressure from concerned Christians, Tesco have apologised and have now decided to refrain from supporting the 2012 international homosexual and lesbian parade. Their letter of apology however still suggests they will find other ways of supporting the so called "gay agenda" rather than supporting the parade.
see the following BLOG post article from the BLOG "Ex Umbris Et Imaginibus" BLOG article 

Civic Responsibility for the Common Good

Although he wrote his Pastoral Letter on Civic Responsibility for the Common Good back in 2004, Cardinal Raymond Burke’s words are more than ever relevant for us today – for 2012 and for the years ahead of us.  Here are some extracts from the document:
‘We are morally bound in conscience to choose leaders at all levels of government who will best serve the common good, “the sum total of social conditions which allow people, either as groups or as individuals, to reach their fulfillment more fully and more easily.”  “[T]he sum total of social conditions” embraces a wide spectrum of concerns which the Catholic voter must have before his or her eyes, for example, safeguarding the right to life and the sanctity of marriage and the family; securing domestic and international peace; promoting education and public safety; assisting those suffering from poverty; providing sufficient and safe food, health care and adequate housing; eliminating racism and other forms of injustice; and fostering justice in the work place.
‘The “fulfillment” which the common good helps us to attain is not self-fulfillment in the popular sense.  It is, rather, the fulfillment of God’s plan and destiny for us and our world.  […]
‘In considering “the sum total of social conditions,” there is, however, a certain order of priority, which must be followed.  Conditions upon which other conditions depend must receive our first consideration.  The first consideration must be given to the protection of human life itself, without which it makes no sense to consider other social conditions.  […]
‘The safeguarding of human life is understandably foundational to all other precepts of the natural law.   […]
‘The Church’s teaching on the intrinsic evil of procured abortion forbids the destruction of human beings from the moment of fertilization through every stage of their development.  It is intrinsically evil to destroy human embryos, even for some intended good. […]
‘ “This evaluation of the morality of abortion is to be applied also to the recent forms of intervention on human embryos which, although carried out for purposes legitimate in themselves, inevitably involve the killing of those embryos.  This is the case with experimentation on embryos, which is becoming increasingly widespread in the field of biomedical research and is legally permitted ink some countries. … [I]t must nonetheless be stated that the use of human embryos or fetuses as an object of experimentation constitutes a crime against their dignity as human beings who have a right to the same respect owed to a child once born, just as to every person.” (Evangelium Vitae)   […]
‘Another intrinsic moral evil which seemingly is growing in acceptability in our society is euthanasia.   […] Our thoroughly secularised society fails to understand the redemptive meaning of human suffering, while, at the same time, it views a human life burdened by advanced years, serious illness or special needs as unworthy and too burdensome to sustain. […]
‘Another moral concern of our time touches both upon the inviolability of human life and upon the sanctity of marriage and the family, in which human life has its beginning and receives its first and most important education.  The attempt to generate human life “without any connection with sexuality through ‘twin fission,’ cloning or parthenogenesis” is a grave violation of the moral law.  […]
‘Another moral concern touching upon marriage and the family, which is of particular urgency in our time, is the movement to recognize legally as a marriage a relationship between two persons of the same sex.  Such legal recognition of a same-sex relationship undermines the truth about marriage, revealed in the natural law and the Holy Scriptures, namely that it is an exclusive and lifelong union of one man and one woman, which of its very nature cooperates with God in the creation of new human life.   […]  Likewise, the legal recognition of a homosexual relationship as marriage redounds to the grave harm of the individuals involved, for it sanctions and even encourages gravely immoral acts.
‘Among the many “social conditions” which the Catholic must take into account in voting, the above serious moral issues must be given the first consideration.  The Catholic voter must seek, above every other consideration, to protect the common good by opposing these practices which attack its very foundations.   Thus, in weighing all of the social conditions which pertain to the common good, we must safeguard, before all else, the good of human life and the good of marriage and the family. […]’
Time and space have prevented me from quoting at greater length from Cardinal Burke’s pastoral.

I would like, however, to direct you to a recent interview that Cardinal Burke gave to EWTN/CNA News, when he stated that it is ‘critical at this time that Christians stand up for the natural moral law’, especially in defence of life and the family.  We should take particular note, too, of the Cardinal’s devotion to and admiration of St. Thomas More, Patron Saint of Lawyers and of Politicians.   Referring to St. Thomas’s last words before his execution – ‘I die the King’s good servant but God’s first’, Cardinal Burke said that by these words St. Thomas showed how he served his king best, and served the law best, by serving God.   What an example to us today, when we are being bombarded on all sides by immoral laws and practices that are so lethal to the common good of society