Wednesday, February 29, 2012

No right to conscientious objection for senior midwives: Scottish Court ruling

According to a news release from the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) judgment was handed down today (29 February 2012) in the case of two senior midwives from Glasgow who have a conscientious objection to abortion. The midwives have been told that they must accept the decision of their hospital management that they must oversee other midwives performing abortions on the labour ward.

Lady Smith, sitting in the Court of Session in Edinburgh, ruled that the senior midwives’ role is not covered by the conscience clause in the Abortion Act. 

Commenting on the judgment, Paul Tully, general secretary of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) said: “We are very disappointed by the judgment. SPUC has supported the midwives in bringing their case, and will now be considering their further legal options with them."

The senior midwives argued that their legal right included not directing or assisting other midwives performing abortions.

*Both the midwives have served for over 20 years at the Southern General Hospital, caring for many thousands of mothers and babies. The case arose when the hospital demanded that all senior midwives must take responsibility for overseeing mid-term and late term abortions. Since 2008 the hospital has insisted that these abortions, mostly for suspected disability in the foetus, must be conducted on the labour ward, rather than the gynaecology ward where most early abortions are performed.

*The midwives in the case, Miss Mary Doogan and Mrs Connie Wood, argued that they had never been required to supervise abortion procedures in the past, and that the hospital was asking them to be morally, medically and legally responsible for abortions. They argued that this conflicted with their profound objection to abortions and with the right to opt-out that is protected in the 1967 Abortion Act.

*The case was subject of a protracted grievance procedure before coming to court in January.

*The late abortion procedure, called “Medical Termination of Pregnancy” or MTOP, entails the mother being given drugs to induce labour, and then having to go through labour and deliver the baby.  In more advanced pregnancies the baby is killed first by an ultrasound-guided lethal injection while still in the womb.

*The hospital’s labour ward delivers 6000 babies every year, but is also required to provide about 1-3 MTOPs each week – a number which has increased since a special unit for diagnosing disability in the womb was transferred to the Southern General Hospital in January 2010.

*The conscience clause was included in the Abortion Act to assure MPs that no-one would be forced to participate in abortions.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Hooking Kids on Sex

American Life League (ALL) report  that (A)after just four days on YouTube, "Hooking Kids on Sex," an investigative report on Planned Parenthood sex education, exceeded 200,000 views. Then, an ex-intern of Planned Parenthood got the white-hot video blocked by YouTube. In place of the downed video, a message now appears: "This video is no longer available due to a copyright claim by Jessica Faerman."

"Even people who thought they knew better were shocked by how Planned Parenthood promotes sex to youngsters," said Paul Rondeau, executive director at American Life League. "Remember when activists alleged that just the fact that Joe Camel was a cartoon character implied kids should smoke, so he was banned? Planned Parenthood cartoons directly tell children to have sex and show them how. These cartoons for ten-year-olds and teens are so sexually explicit that YouTube restricted our video about them to adult viewing only."

"Hooking Kids on Sex" shows that Planned Parenthood uses pornographic illustrations, contests, workshops, and even cartoons to encourage sexual activity at very early ages when sexual addiction can be a real concern. The report also documents "no pants sex parties" that are sponsored by Planned Parenthood and that offer free sex kits and free sex toys to college students.

"Now go read Obamacare," Rondeau continued. "In 'Hooking Kids on Sex II,' we show that Planned Parenthood's strategy is to restructure the family by changing how children view sex. This same stuff YouTube says is too explicit for a youngster is what Obamacare will pay Planned Parenthood to put in K-12 schools."

ALL leadership firmly believes that Planned Parenthood used Ms. Faerman's claim as a ploy to disrupt the viral explosion of the ALL Report. ALL will post the new video on private servers in addition to YouTube so that "Planned Parenthood cannot create disruptions with unsubstantiated claims." Further, ALL has engaged legal counsel, guaranteeing at the outset that the new video will not be taken down without a court order.

In view of the explicit content the following link to the video requires judicious and careful use link

The current real and substantial threat to unborn babies in Ireland

New threat to the unborn in Ireland
Unborn babies are once again under serious threat in the Republic of Ireland.  A new attempt to legalize abortion in Ireland flows from the decision of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) in the A, B and C case.  Ironically the Court ruled that it has no competence to create a new so-called right to abortion, while at the same time ruling that an 'existing Constitutional right to an abortion' had not been implemented in Ireland. This Court has shown in previous rulings that it supports abortion. The Council of Europe, which governs the Court, has also attempted to pressurize Ireland into legalizing abortion.

Constitutional Protection of the unborn.
The constitutional protection of the unborn in Article 40.3.3 was weakened by the Supreme Court decision in the infamous 'X' Case. Pro-life organizations together with many lawyers, including some who are pro-abortion, believe that the “X Case” decision represents a flawed interpretation of article 40.3.3 and  can only be described as a complete travesty of justice that defies logic. Nevertheless pro- abortionists have been using this judgment to try to persuade successive Irish Governments to legalize abortion.

The European Court of Human Rights confused legitimate medical treatment with abortion.
It is untrue for the ECtHR to claim that pregnant women with cancer can't be treated in Ireland. What the court failed to recognize was that medical treatment for cancer, which may cause unintentional harm to the unborn baby is not, and does not lead to a direct abortion. This treatment is therefore fully accessible to all Irish women.

“Expert Group”
The Government has now appointed a group of “experts” to consider the current law in Ireland following the decision of the European Court of Human Rights in the A, B and C case. The expert committee of fourteen members is to advise the Government on the European Court ruling on the ABC case, a case which was sponsored by the international abortion lobby with the intention of undermining Ireland's abortion laws.  At least four members of the group have been linked to abortion advocacy and/or to a drive to legalize embryo research in Ireland.

The European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms cannot be used to weaken protections afforded to human life guaranteed by a Member State.
·      Abortion is never medically necessary.
·      Expert testimony has already been given to a Government committee on this issue, where leading Irish experts confirmed that interventions for conditions such as ectopic pregnancy and cancer were not considered as direct abortions since the intention was never to harm the child.
·      The European Court ruling places Ireland under no obligation to legalize abortion. The Irish Constitution confirms that it is the people, being sovereign, who decide such matters.
·      According to the World Health Organisation, Ireland, without recourse to abortion, is one of the safest place in the world for a mother to have a baby. The expert group should also recognize the overwhelming scientific evidence - which shows that abortion produces negative mental outcomes for women. New Zealand Study: The British Journal of Psychiatry (2008) 193, 455–460. doi: 10.1192/bjp.bp.108.055079
·      Far from violating human rights, Ireland's pro-life ethos upholds and respects the human rights of both mother and child.
Please CALL: Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, TODAY, asking him to ensure that the expert group upholds our ban on abortion. Call him on (01) 6764048 or (094) 9025600
Also CALLHealth Minister, James Reilly, TODAY, Call him on (01) 6711026 or  (01) 8901300
CONTACT your local TDs.  Distribute copies of this leaflet in your area.
For further information contact:
Patrick Buckley Telephone:01 2847136 Mobile:087 2578250

Monday, February 27, 2012

Pope Benedict reiterates Catholic teaching against artificial procreation such as IVF

The Pope meeting with members of the Pontifical Academy for Life urged infertile couples to shun IVF and insisted that sex between a husband and wife was the only acceptable way of conceiving.
Pope Benedict XVI said artificial methods of getting pregnant were simply 'arrogance' as he spoke at the end of the Academy's three-day conference on infertility in Rome. See Daily Mail report
He told scientists and fertility experts that matrimony was the 'only place worthy of the call to existence of a new human being'.

The Pope reiterated the Church's stance against artificial procreation, telling infertile couples they should refrain from trying to conceive through any method other than conjugal relations.
'The human and Christian dignity of procreation, in fact, doesn't consist in a "product", but in its link to the conjugal act, an expression of the love of the spouses of their union, not only biological but also spiritual,' Benedict said.

He told the specialists in his audience to resist 'the fascination of the technology of artificial fertility', warning against 'easy income, or even worse, the arrogance of taking the place of the Creator'.

He suggested that this was the attitude that underlies the field of artificial procreation.
Sperm or egg donation and methods such as in vitro fertilization are banned for members of the Catholic church.
The emphasis on science and 'the logic of profit seem today to dominate the field of infertility and human procreation', the Pope said.
But he added that the Church encourages medical research into infertility

Friday, February 24, 2012

Sex Selective Abortions in the UK

The killing of unborn babies simply because they are female is common in Asian countries particularly India and it has been estimated that there are around 300,000000 (three hundred million) missing girls as a result there. 
It is only in recent times however that this practice has been investigated in Western countries where abortion is available virtually on demand irrespective of what national laws say. 
The Daily Telegraph recounts, in two reports, how by use of sting operations in the UK, it established that female feticide is also practiced in UK abortion clinics.
In the first of these articles carried out in Manchester the Telegraph reports as follows
In the undercover filming Miss Prabha Sivaraman, a consultant who works for both private clinics and NHS hospitals in Manchester, told a pregnant woman who said she wanted to abort a female foetus, "I don''t ask questions. If you want a termination, you want a termination".
She later telephoned a colleague to book the procedure, explaining that it was for “social reasons” and the woman “doesn’t want questions asked”.
She said to her colleague: “This [the termination] will be under private, she doesn’t want to go through NHS. Okay, so - that’s right, because you’re part of our team and she doesn’t want questions asked”.
Miss Sivaraman, who works for the Pall Mall Medical Centre in Manchester and also as a consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist at North Manchester General Hospital, said that the cost of the termination would be £200 or £300, on top of the £500 already paid to the clinic for the consultation with her.
After taking the woman’s contact details, Dr Sivaraman asked her if she had considered her options. “Oh, absolutely… I can’t have it, this baby, because of the gender, so that’s just how it is…” replied the woman.

The second report refers to a Birmingham abortion clinic and is reported as follows

Abortion investigation: Doctor admits procedure tantamount to 'female infanticide'
One of Britain’s oldest abortion clinics is facing a police investigation after staff were caught falsifying paperwork and a doctor admitted that an abortion he was offering was tantamount to “female infanticide”.

The Calthorpe Clinic has been exposed for illicitly completing abortion forms amid concerns that doctors are not properly consulting patients before agreeing to terminations. A doctor at the clinic in Edgbaston, Birmingham, was also secretly filmed offering to arrange an abortion for a woman who said she wanted to terminate her pregnancy because the baby was a girl.
“It’s like female infanticide isn’t it?” said Dr Raj Mohan before agreeing to conduct the procedure. So-called “sex-selection” terminations are illegal.
When the pregnant woman asked if he could put down a different reason for the termination, the doctor said: “That’s right, yeah, because it’s not a good reason anytime … I’ll put too young for pregnancy, yeah?”
The patient agreed, at which point Dr Mohan again said: “It’s common in the Third World to have a female infanticide.”
He then moved on to discuss the abortion process before asking the pregnant patient to book an appointment for the termination the following Monday or Tuesday.

A nurse at the same clinic was also made aware that the reason for the abortion was because the patient “did not want a girl” but did not object to the procedure taking place.
The patient was not offered any counselling and there was no discussion of the wisdom of her requesting the sex-selection abortion.
The disclosures are likely to lead to growing pressure for pregnant women considering an abortion to be offered independent counselling.

Andrew Lansley, the Health Secretary, passed a dossier of alleged malpractice at the clinic to detectives. He also referred concerns over “criminal” practices at two other abortion clinics to the police and General Medical Council.
It is understood that the NHS watchdog that monitors the clinics, the Care Quality Commission (CQC), had already alerted the Health Secretary to concerns over the documentation being used by the Calthorpe Clinic.
The head of CQC, which also oversees care homes and hospitals, resigned following a Department of Health report that criticised the quango.
The Telegraph carried out an investigation into sex-selection abortions after specific concerns were raised that the procedures were becoming increasingly common for cultural and social reasons.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Ireland Statistics: 94% of Pregnant Women Reject Abortion have published a very interesting article by David Logan which looks at the implications of abortion statistics for Ireland and which is reprinted below in full.
Behind every statistic about human life there lies a human story, sometimes a great drama, and occasionally a bitter tragedy. As a general rule statistics are cold matter to have to deal with, and anyone who is using statistical information to deepen their understanding of issues such as childbirth and abortion would need to be aware of the great pressures that can weigh down upon a woman when she is faced with a pregnancy.
For example, a single abortion will only receive one mark on a statistical table, yet the same abortion could have occasioned a huge deal of anguish for the woman involved, as well as marking the death of her precious baby.
As a counsellor who has been working for over thirty years with Irish women in crisis pregnancies wrote: ‘I don’t think any woman makes the decision to have an abortion lightly, and it is regrettable that even one woman feels she has no choice but to have an abortion.’
In this article we will look at two sets of statistics from the year 2010 regarding the known outcome of pregnancies in Ireland. Statistics about births are available from the Irish government’s Central Statistics Office, while statistics on abortions come mainly from the British Department of Health. There are also some abortion statistics from the Netherlands, but the accuracy of these statistics is not guaranteed by the Dutch government.
Summary of statistical findings for 2010

Among pregnant women and girls who are resident in the Republic of Ireland, 6% opt for abortion, while 94% choose to give birth.

Circumstances of the pregnancy

Outcome of known pregnancies

Where the couples are married
Less than 2% of their pregnancies end in abortion

Where women are not in an on-going relationship with a man

11% of their pregnancies end in abortion

Where couples are unmarried but are in an on-going relationship
Just less than 13% of their pregnancies end in abortion

Among teenagers in general
20% of their pregnancies end in abortion

Where the mothers are adult teenagers
17% of their pregnancies end in abortion

Where the mothers are minors

25% of their pregnancies end in abortion

Overall statistics for abortions
Based on the available statistics the following can be said:
In 2010 there were 4,402 abortions carried out in England and Wales on women and girls from the Republic of Ireland. This is the ninth consecutive year that the numbers have declined. They had reached a peak of 6,673 in 2001.
An Irish government agency has stated that it is aware of 31 Irish women going to the Netherlands for abortions in 2010. This figure is preliminary, but the final figure is unlikely to be much different.
Information from England and Wales
There is considerable background information available concerning those Irish residents who had travelled to England and Wales to obtain abortions. Focusing our attention now on this group of persons, we can say that:
Of the 4,402 abortions carried out in 2010, 3,430 clients were described as ‘single’. Of this number, 1,319 had no partner, while 1,966 did have a partner. There was no information on this question from the remaining 145 ‘single’ clients.
In addition, 598 clients were married; 67 were separated; 16 were divorced, and 13 were widowed. In a further 278 cases no information on marital status was available.

Marital status of Irish residents having abortions in England & Wales during the year 2010

Breakdown of single clients
Single   78%
Having a partner  45%

Not having a partner  30%

Not classified    3%
Married   13%

Separated or divorced
 or widowed     2%

Not classified     6%

Of the 4,402 abortions carried out in 2010, 2,318 were done on women in their 20s. Another 1,354 were done on women in their 30s. There were 271 abortions carried out on women aged 40 or older. 303 abortions were done on adults between the ages of 18 and 20; and 156 were carried out on minors (those under 18 years). 41 of those minors were under the age of 16 (they were aged 15 years or even younger).
Age ranges of Irish residents having abortions in England & Wales during the year 2010

Under 16 years old
 Just less than   1%
All persons under 18 years
Just less than   4%
Persons aged 18 and 19 years
Persons in their 20s
Persons in their 30s
Persons in their 40s

The total number of births registered in the Republic of Ireland in 2010 was 73,724. When we consider that the number of known abortions on Irish women that year was 4,433 (4,402 done in England and Wales, plus around 31 done in the Netherlands), this would suggest that somewhere near 6% of all known pregnancies are ending in abortions.
The impact of lifestyle choices
 The parents of unborn children can be divided into three groups:
(a) those who are committed to each other for the long term (in general, this would show itself by the fact that the couple are in a marriage relationship);
(b) those who are living with each other but who have not made a life-long commitment to each other, and;
(c) those whose relationships are only casual encounters, which incidentally give rise to the conception of a baby.
Here is what the available statistics are saying about the impact of these lifestyle choices upon the issue of abortion:
Of the 73,724 births in Ireland in 2010, the parents of 48,864 babies were married – that’s 66% of the total number of births. That same year there were 598 abortions to married women. This would suggest that of all known pregnancies in married women, less than 2% ended in abortion.
In a further 13,498 births, the mothers, though not married, were living at the same address as the baby’s father (that’s 18% of the total number of births). At the same time there were 1,966 abortions done on ‘single’ women who said that they had a partner. This would suggest that where unmarried women are in an on-going relationship of some kind with a man, just less than 13% of their known pregnancies ended in abortion.
In 2010 there were 11,362 births to women who said that they had no husband or partner. That same year there were 1,319 abortions to ‘single’ women who said that they had no partner, along with another 96 abortions to women who had left a relationship. This would suggest that where women are not in an on-going relationship with a man, 11% of their known pregnancies are ending in abortions.
Taken together, these findings indicate that the only kind of man who influences a pregnant woman not to opt for an abortion is the one who has made a life-long commitment to her.
Abortions and births to teenagers

Regarding minors (those under 18 years of age): there were 156 abortions carried out on them in 2010. In that same year there were 483 births to minors. This would suggest that there were around 639 pregnancies to minors in Ireland in 2010, of which just under 25% ended in abortion.
Regarding adult teenagers (those over 18 years but under 20 years): there were 1,536 births to them in 2010, and 303 abortions. This would suggest that just less than 17% of their known pregnancies ended in abortion.
Putting together this information on births and abortions among teenagers in general, we can estimate that around 2,478 pregnancies occurred to teenagers in Ireland in 2010. Of that number, just under 20% ended in abortion.
All of these statistics are based on examining pregnancies over whose outcome the mother had control.
I have not included ectopic pregnancies or pregnancies that ended in miscarriages either before or after implantation, since the mothers had no say in how those pregnancies came to an end.
Also excluded are very early pregnancies that could have been interrupted by family planning devices, drugs, implants or injections, because often the mother would not have been aware of how they could work to cause the death of a newly conceived child.
Comments on the statistics

1) 94% of pregnant women in Ireland bring their babies to birth. 6% opt for an abortion. However, from the time that a man makes a life-long commitment to a woman, the risk that she would choose an abortion falls to less than 2%.
2) Where a man is in an on-going relationship with a woman but has failed to commit to her for the long-term, this gives no protection against the likelihood that she would opt for an abortion. One possible explanation for this would lie in the fact that a pregnancy signals the arrival of a child who will need up to twenty years of care and nurturing. If a woman believes that she cannot rely on her partner to support her throughout those twenty years, she could easily become fearful about her capacity to raise her child on her own. Some such women might be tempted to think that their difficulties would be resolved by having an abortion.
3) Among unmarried women who have a partner, 13% of their known pregnancies end in abortions. Among women who have no husband or partner the percentage is a bit less than this, at 11%. This latter figure may be lower than the real figure on the ground, and in practice there may be no significant difference between the two categories.
4) The available statistics would also suggest that the numbers of abortions on Irish women have been falling since the early 2000s. If such information is a true reflection of the real situation on the ground, it is a very welcome development.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Dolphins are persons with the right to life, claim experts

SPUC report today that a group of experts meeting in Canada are claiming that dolphins are persons with the right to life. The experts are calling for recognition of their Declaration on the Rights of Cetaceans. [Metro, 21 February]

Anthony Ozimic of SPUC commented: "The most commonly-accepted definition of person is 'an individual substance of a rational nature'. Dolphins are not of a rational nature, unlike unborn children who have an innate rationality which develops with age. The proposed declaration shows just how far modern bioethics has become divorced from reality."

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Skilled Attendance at Birth and Maternal Mortality – what the data show

My Colleague Vincenzina Santoro who is  Chief United Nations Representative for the American Family Association of New York who has researched the most recently published figures on the issue of maternal mortality writes as follows:
While maternal mortality is rare in developed countries, in poorer parts of the world many women sadly die in childbirth. When the United Nations established the eight Millennium Development Goals in 2000, one goal (MDG 5) called for the reduction by three-quarters of maternal deaths globally between 1990 and 2015 – the year all MDGs are supposed to be achieved. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon used the phrase “no woman should have to pay with her life in giving life”[1] to bring home the point.

Doctors, nurses and other medical personnel emphasize that many, if not most, maternal deaths occur because there are no trained medical personnel available before, during or after childbirth.

UN Women, the new gender entity, recently published data for skilled assistance at delivery and maternal mortality ratios to indicate where – and where not – progress has been made. Data correlate significantly between the two, as shown in the tables that follow.[2]

According to this source, “Skilled assistance at delivery refers to live births attended by trained health personnel such as a doctor, nurse/midwife or community health worker.” Maternal mortality is measured as ratio of deaths per 100,000 live births (MMR). The latter data compare 1990 with 2008 but, given the difficulty in data gathering, the percentage of births receiving skilled assistance is shown as an average for 2000-2008. This makes it impossible to see if there has been an increase over time for the latter.

As shown in the table below, globally the MMR declined by one-third between 1990 and 2008 from 397 to 264 deaths, while skilled assistance was available for two-thirds of births. Not surprisingly, the MMR was generally higher where skilled assistance at delivery was lowest and vice versa. Regional data show a drop in the MMR everywhere except in the developed countries where the very low MMR has risen slightly.

In Southern Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa, where skilled assistance is below 50%, the MMR remained in triple digits. Only Sub-Saharan Africa, where skilled assistance at delivery ranged from 6% in Ethiopia to 91% in South Africa, registered a below-average decline in maternal deaths. The Middle East and North Africa registered the largest regional decline in MMR.

                                      Maternal Mortality Ratios - MMR    % Skilled Assistance at Delivery
Region                                         (mortality per 100,000 live births)            (2000-2008 average)
                                                1990            2008            % change

Developed regions                          11              14            27%                                  99%
C & E Europe & Central Asia        63              31            -51                                    97
East Asia and Pacific                    198              88            -56                                    90
Latin Amer. & Caribbean             144              85            -41                                    90
Middle East & North Africa         210              91            -57                                    79
Southern Asia                               592            275            -54                                    44
Sub-Saharan Africa                      867            646            -25                                    47
World[3]                                      397            264            -34                                    67

The MMR improved in 143 of the 171 countries for which data were available, or 84% of all reporting countries. In 1990 there were 16 countries with a MMR of 1,000 or more but by 2008 the number had come down to four: Afghanistan with a ratio of 1,400 followed by Chad and Somalia at 1,200 then by Guinea Bissau at 1,000. Both Afghanistan and Chad had skilled assistance at delivery of only 14%.

As indicated below, there were 15 countries that had a MMR of 500 or higher in 2008, all but two located in Sub-Saharan Africa. Since 1990, some made progress but others did not. Only Laos stands out for halving its MMR.

                        Maternal Mortality Ratios – MMR              % Skilled Assistance at Delivery
Country            (mortality per 100,000 live births)                        (2000-2008 average)
                                    1990                        2008

Afghanistan                        1,700                        1,400                                                14%
Chad                                   1,300                        1,200                                                14
Somalia                              1,000                        1,200                                                33
Guinea-Bissau                    1,200                        1,000                                                39
Liberia                                1,100                           990                                                46
Burundi                              1,200                           970                                                34
Nigeria                                1,000                          840                                                39
Mali                                    1,200                           830                                                49
Niger                                  1,400                           820                                                33
Tanzania                                880                           790                                                43
Sudan                                    830                           750                                                49
Guinea                                1,200                           680                                                46
Angola                                1,000                           610                                                47
Laos                                    1,200                           580                                                20
Rwanda                               1,000                          540                                                52

The countries with the lowest MMR in 2008 were Greece with two and Ireland with three. There were six countries with a ratio of five: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Italy, and Sweden.

Curiously, three of the most developed countries saw the ratio rise: the United States from 12 to 24, the United Kingdom from 10 to 12 and Switzerland from 8 to 10.

Other countries of interest: in Russia, known for having the world’s highest abortion rate, the MMR has declined from 74 to 39 with 100% skilled assistance at delivery. China’s MMR came down from 110 to 38 with 98% skilled assistance at delivery.

In conclusion, the one-third reduction in worldwide MMR in 18 years is notable, but the three-fourths decline targeted by 2015 appears illusory. Nonetheless, on a country-by-country basis, individual success may be within reach for at least a few countries. In the period under review, four countries already have cut the MMR by three-fourths: Estonia (from 48 to 12), Bhutan (from 940 to 200), Iran (from 150 to 30), and Maldives (from 510 to 37).