Friday, November 29, 2013

Belgian euthanasia law may be expanded to include children and dementia sufferers

We reported last week that euthanasia was out of control in Belgium. We now report that the Justice and Social Affairs Committee of the Belgian Senate on Wednesday Nov. 27th, approved a bill aimed at extending the 2002 euthanasia law to include children and dementia sufferers. The Committee approved the measure by 13 votes to 4 votes against.
The bill will now be considered in a plenary session of the Senate and will also be examined and approved by the Chamber (National Assembly). The schedule however has not yet been set.

It should also be noted that there are other bills in the pipeline aimed at extending or facilitating euthanasia for, “persons affected by an incurable cerebral illness” (such as Alzheimers).

The president of the Belgian bishops’ conference joined other faith leaders in criticising the proposed legislation, warning the measure risks “destroying the functioning of society”. See article in the Catholic Herald. 
“We are also opposed to suffering, whether physical or moral, and especially the suffering of children,” Archbishop Andre-Joseph Leonard, conference president, said in a joint statement with Christian, Jewish and Muslim leaders.
“But to suggest minors can decide on their own euthanasia is to falsify their power of judgment and their freedom. To suggest persons with dementia can also be euthanized is to deny their dignity and hand them over to the arbitrary judgment of decision-makers.”
We can also report that on Tuesday evening prior to the approval of the bill by the committee a number of peaceful protesters were harassed by the police .
According to reports the peaceful protestors who came as "Veillerus" ("watchers") to express their disapproval of the new euthanasia in front of the Senate were warned to move on, and some were even arrested.
The protesters posed the following question to the police: 
"Why are you arresting us, the peaceful Watchers? Should not you rather arrest the doctors who admit publicly to infringe the current legislation on euthanasia by not denouncing those who perform it?"   

Thursday, November 28, 2013


The controversial Estrela report, which was referred back to the Women’s Rights and Gender Equality Committee of the European Parliament (FEMM) has once again been adopted by that committee with only minor cosmetic changes and has been placed back on the plenary agenda for December 10.

This controversial report on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights, promotes a right to abortion and also includes compulsory sex education for toddlers.

The Estrela Report was referred back to the FEMM committee following an intense debate about its controversial content, which includes not only the promotion of abortion and a call for restrictions on conscientious objection but also urges compulsory sexual education for children aged 0-4 onwards. (For example, children should be informed about “enjoyment and pleasure when touching one’s own body”, “early childhood masturbation”, etc.)

Debate in the FEMM Committee meeting was heated and opponents of the report complained about a possible breach of the Parliament‘s legal procedure because an outright ban that was placed on tabling new amendments or discussing the existing an alternative resolution which had been prepared.

Although Mrs. Angelika Niebler MEP (EPP) requested to postpone the vote on the Report until the European Parliament‘s Legal Service or Constitutional Affairs Committee (AFCO) could be asked for an official opinion on the legality of the amendment ban, the Report‘s proponents argued that there was no need to further delay the vote. This push for a vote received surprising support from shadow rapporteur Michèle Striffler, a member of the conservative European People's Party (EPP) Group in the European Parliament, who agreed with the text of the Report, along with other coordinators.

The proposal to wait for informed legal opinion on the amendment ban was rejected, and the Estrela Report was adopted with 19 MEPs voting in favor of it and 15 against.

Most of the proposed amendments were rejected, but some minor changes were adopted, the changes being only in detail but not in substance, as follows: 
  • The paragraph calling on EU Member States “to ensure compulsory, age-appropriate and gender-sensitive sexuality and relationship education for all children and adolescents (both in and out of school)” (§15), was amended to exclude the phrase“both in and out of school”. The word “compulsory” however still remains.
  • The paragraph that reads “sexuality education must be provided in a safe, taboo-free, interactive atmosphere between students and educators” (§44), was changed to exclude the words “taboo-free”, “interactive” and “between students and educators”.
  • The paragraph which reads  “emphasises, therefore, that sexuality education must be part of a broader supportive approach to young people’s emotional development so as to enable them to form mutually respectful relationships with members of the opposite sex” (§54) was amended by the exclusion of the phrase, “with members of the opposite sex”.
These amendments do not improve the report in any way, they are simply cosmetic changes. The vast majority of the radical language and proposals of the Estrela Report remain in place.

The Report has now been put on the agenda for a plenary vote in Parliament on December 10th at 11:30 a.m.

Although it’s a non-binding report, adoption of the Estrela Report would express the official opinion of the European Parliament on the matter of abortion, sexual education and conscientious objection. In each of these areas, the Report adopts a radical position that is at odds with the views of the vast majority of European citizens.

We will return to this issue at the earliest opportunity, as it is imperative that a Community wide lobbying effort should be set in motion to reject this report in plenary on December 10th.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Press Release by Mattie Mc Grath TD on the Fatal Foetal Abnormality amendment to the Protection of Life in Pregnancy Act 2013

Independent TD Mattie McGrath has said the introduction of an amendment to the Protection of Life Bill 2013 by Deputy Clare Daly must be used as an opportunity to highlight the broader abortion agenda that is being pursued in the State. Deputy McGrath was speaking after Deputy Daly introduced a Fatal Foetal Abnormality amendment under new rules governing such procedures. The new procedures allow a member to speak for five minutes without opposition on any amendment they introduce. While the Government accepted the Amendment for discussion it in no way implies that the Government supports the motion being sought:
“It must first be acknowledged that this was one of the most particularly sensitive and emotive elements of the debate on abortion which he had some months ago. During those debates there were many submissions made by both members of the Oireachtas and interested parties who sought to have the grounds for an abortion extended to include unborn children with Fatal Foetal Abnormalities. Such an amendment was not accepted then and I do not believe it should be accepted now. While compassion for the trauma that such a situation brings must be given to the families concerned, I do not believe it is possible to provide such an amendment without essentially giving rise to an abortion on demand regime. I would suggest that instead of targeting what may be an extremely sick child in the womb that we put our efforts into providing therapeutic services in place that will enable the mother and the family to continue the pregnancy in as supportive an environment as possible. We know from the research available to us that far from alleviating mental distress in these circumstances that having an abortion actually increases the likelihood of profound and lasting psychological pain.”
The Amendment comes on foot the action being taken by three Irish women who have lodged a complaint against Ireland to the UN on the grounds that they were unable to abort their fatally handicapped babies in Ireland and who are being helped by one of America’s leading pro-abortion groups, the Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR). The organisation favours ultra-liberal abortion laws. It is opposed to bans on ‘partial-birth’ abortions and sex selective abortions:
“The fact this amendment is being actively and vigorously supported by the likes of the CRR is deeply worrying and at the very least indicates that there is a broader agenda at play here. For now at least there is slim chance of the Amendment passing and that is be welcomed. I would be very concerned however that support for it may grow given the history of this Taoiseach to back track on any statements he has made on the abortion issue. It is certainly an amendment that I will be following closely because we need to keep the focus on not allowing any extensions to this abortion bill which is bad enough as it is,” 
concluded Deputy McGrath.

Mother who refused to abort following diagnosis of fatal foetal abnormality gives birth to perfectly healthy baby

The Daily Mail reports that a mother says she gave birth to a perfectly healthy daughter despite doctors advising her to terminate her pregnancy because the baby was ‘brain damaged’.
Liane Stooke, 38, says it was only her mother’s instinct that saved baby Miley, two.
Mrs Stooke said: ‘We were told Miley was probably severely brain damaged and wouldn't be able to communicate with or recognise us.
The Daily Mail article Continues,
‘It was a terrible decision to have to come to. We agonised over what we should do right up until the last minute.’
Mrs Stooke, and her husband Iain, 38, were delighted when they discovered they had conceived their third child.
But their joy turned to despair when an MRI scan revealed a shadow on their unborn daughter's brain.
 ‘The doctors said she might never walk, talk, or recognise our faces,’ said Mrs Stooke, a bank administrator. ‘It was also possible she'd be physically and facially deformed. There were a lot of unknowns.’
Although Mrs Stooke was, at 30 weeks pregnant, beyond the normal limit for abortion, doctors advised termination as an option because holoprosencephaly would prevent the child from enjoying a meaningful quality of life.
Holoprosencephaly is a condition in which the front part of the brain of an embryo fails to form two hemispheres.
The condition varies in severity but about 80 per cent of children with holoprosencephaly have facial abnormalities.

Almost all children with the condition experience developmental delays and many have seizures.
Most babies with the condition do not survive infancy.
The condition affects about one in 10,000 live-born babies.
‘The doctor said it wasn't too late if we wanted to abort the baby - he made it sound almost as if there was no other option,’ said Mrs Stooke.
Holoprosencephaly is a condition in which the front part of the brain of an embryo fails to form two hemispheres.
The condition varies in severity but about 80 per cent of children with holoprosencephaly have facial abnormalities.
Almost all children with the condition experience developmental delays and many have seizures.
Most babies with the condition do not survive infancy.
The condition affects about one in 10,000 live-born babies.
Source: National Centre for Biotechnology Information
‘I was shocked - it was as if I was having an out-of-body experience. I thought I was watching someone else getting the news. It was a dreadful experience.’
Mrs Stooke added: ‘It was a waking nightmare. We agonised every minute over what to do - and every time I felt her kick inside me, my heart broke.
‘We didn't know whether we could face aborting our baby, but at the same time we wondered how we would cope with a disabled child.’
Six weeks before her due date the couple arrived at the hospital for a meeting where they would give their final decision.
‘Driving to the hospital, even at that late stage, we still didn't know what to do,’ said Mrs Stooke.
‘I just couldn't let go of my child, but I also had to think of the baby's quality of life.
‘My instinct was that if the child would one day be capable of recognising us and of knowing who we are, we couldn't go through with it.
‘We were told there was still a very slim chance that the baby would recognise us. We exchanged a look and both knew instantly that we couldn't agree to the termination.’
The couple braced themselves and Mrs Stooke delivered her daughter by Caesarean section in October 2011.
After the birth, the couple, from Bristol, were amazed to discover that, far from being physically deformed, their daughter was perfectly well.
Ireland is currently under pressure from national and international pro-abortion organizations such as the Irish Family Planning Association, which is affiliated to the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) the largest abortion provider in the world and the Centre for reproductive Rights (CRR) to introduce abortion in the case of foetal abnormality. Additionally Socialist TD Clare Daly has introduced a private members bill in the Dail (Irish Parliament) toe amend the recently approved Government legislation for abortion to include abortion in the case of fetal abnormality.
Every human being has the right to life and to survive as long as he or she is capable of so doing. Mothers and their babies deserve the best possible care in these sad circumstances nevertheless doctors often suggest termination when a diagnosis of foetal abnormality is made. It should be remembered that a diagnosis can be wrong and this report is a cautionary tale for anyone who is bent on the termination of life given a diagnosis of this kind.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Pope Francis in his Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium (‘The Joy of the Gospel’) addresses abortion, marriage and the family

The Vatican has just released the text of the new Apostolic Exhortation, ‘Evangelii Gaudium’ (‘The Joy of the Gospel’) by Pope Francis.
We have not yet had the opportunity of studying it in depth and will report on it more fully in due course. In the meantime we wish to highlight two sections of the document which address pro-life and pro-family issues:
66. The family is experiencing a profound cultural crisis, as are all communities and social bonds. In the case of the family, the weakening of these bonds is particularly serious because the family is the fundamental cell of society, where we learn to live with others despite our differences and to belong to one another; it is also the place where parents pass on the faith to their children. Marriage now tends to be viewed as a form of mere emotional satisfaction that can be constructed in any way or modified at will. But the indispensible contribution of marriage to society transcends the feelings and momentary needs of the couple. As the French bishops have taught, it is not born “of loving sentiment, ephemeral by definition, but from the depth of the obligation assumed by the spouses who accept to enter a total communion of life”.[60]
[60] CONFÉRENCE DES ÉVÊQUES DE FRANCE, Conseil Famille et Société, Élargir le mariage aux personnes de même sexe? Ouvrons le débat! (28 September 2012).

213. Among the vulnerable for whom the Church wishes to care with particular love and concern are unborn children, the most defenceless and innocent among us. Nowadays efforts are made to deny them their human dignity and to do with them whatever one pleases, taking their lives and passing laws preventing anyone from standing in the way of this. Frequently, as a way of ridiculing the Church’s effort to defend their lives, attempts are made to present her position as ideological, obscurantist and conservative. Yet this defence of unborn life is closely linked to the defence of each and every other human right. It involves the conviction that a human being is always sacred and inviolable, in any situation and at every stage of development. Human beings are ends in themselves and never a means of resolving other problems. Once this conviction disappears, so do solid and lasting foundations for the defence of human rights, which would always be subject to the passing whims of the powers that be. Reason alone is sufficient to recognize the inviolable value of each single human life, but if we also look at the issue from the standpoint of faith, “every violation of the personal dignity of the human being cries out in vengeance to God and is an offence against the creator of the individual”.[176]

214. Precisely because this involves the internal consistency of our message about the value of the human person, the Church cannot be expected to change her position on this question. I want to be completely honest in this regard. This is not something subject to alleged reforms or “modernizations”. It is not “progressive” to try to resolve problems by eliminating a human life. On the other hand, it is also true that we have done little to adequately accompany women in very difficult situations, where abortion appears as a quick solution to their profound anguish, especially when the life developing within them is the result of rape or a situation of extreme poverty. Who can remain unmoved before such painful situations? when the life developing within them is the result of rape or a situation of extreme poverty. Who can remain unmoved before such painful situations?
[176] JOHN PAUL II, Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Christifideles Laici (30 December 1988), 37: AAS 81 (1989), 461.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Euthanasia out of control in Belgium

Dr Peter Saunders in his very informative BLOG looks at the huge increase in euthanasia in Belgium.
This is a critical life and death issue that needs to be highlighted and information about what is occurring must be made available as broadly as possible. We have reprinted the article in full below and it can be accessed on this link.  
It is widely acknowledged that euthanasia is out of control in Belgium: a 500% increase in cases in ten years; one third involuntary; half not reported; euthanasia for blindness, anorexia and botched sex change operations; organ transplant euthanasia; plans to extend euthanasia to children and people with dementia.
One commentator has said that Belgium has ‘leaped head-first off a moral cliff’.

But why Belgium?
One of the reasons seems to be because of the utter failure of regulation of the practice which is exacerbated by serious conflicts of interests. One of the leading euthanasia doctors actually chairs the regulatory committee that is mean to supervise him! Other members of his ‘Commission’ are pro-euthanasia activists.

Dr Tom Mortier (pictured), Leuven University College, and Dr Georges Casteur, General Medical Practitioner, Ostend, lift the lid on Belgium’s euthanasia governance fiasco. Dr Tom Mortier is also a member of the Belgian group - Euthanasie Stop. Parts of this article were previously published by the Belgian Medical Newspaper:

In October 2013, the leading euthanasia doctor in Belgium, Wim Distelmans, received international media attention for the second time. Under his ‘medical’ guidance, he killed 44-year-old Nathan Verhelst, who was born as Nancy. Distelmans, who is an oncologist, said on the Belgian radio that his patient met ‘all’ the conditions of the euthanasia law. Furthermore, Distelmans said that unbearable suffering under the Belgian euthanasia law can be both physical and psychological.

In the case of Nathan Verhelst, euthanasia was done for reasons of psychological suffering. Distelmans said that it is not exceptional for mentally ill patients to be euthanized. When he was asked about the terms of the legislation, Distelmans replied laconically that a second opinion should be sought from two other doctors, and when the patient is not terminally ill, one doctor must be a psychiatrist. Furthermore, a month must pass between the written request for euthanasia and the lethal injection.

However, according to the Belgian euthanasia law, the opinions of the two other doctors are not binding; and the doctor who does the euthanasia can ignore a negative opinion and still give a patient the lethal injection. Basically, in Belgium, a person only needs to find a euthanasia doctor who is willing to kill! The euthanasia doctor only has to have two written reports in the medical record approving euthanasia of the patient and the doctor can ignore any negative reports.

It is striking to see that Distelmans, as the leading euthanasia doctor in Belgium, has been given so much freedom. Distelmans has become a Belgian media icon who continually propagates his ideology through various newspapers and magazines. His institutional background also has enabled him to be honoured as the ‘hero of the Belgian euthanasia law’. He has been the chairman of the Belgian Euthanasia Control and Evaluation Commission (Belgian Commission) for more than ten years.

Furthermore, he has started his own ideological association (Leif) that is giving awards to other members of the Belgian Commission. For instance, the retired Senator Jacinta De Roeck, a pro-euthanasia activist, was recently honoured by Distelmans with a ‘lifetime achievement award’, which is ironic as already more than 8000 euthanasia cases have been registered in Belgium since 2002.

As the chairman of the Belgian Commission, Distelmans is ‘controlling’ his euthanasia law, while continuing to administer lethal injections after ‘consulting’ with his close colleagues. Therefore, we strongly question whether independent consultations, a legal requirement of the law, are actually occurring during these so-called medical consultations. Is it not a conflict of interest when Distelmans declares euthanasia cases performed by himself to the Belgian Commission when he is also the chairman and when the members of the Belgian Commission include pro-euthanasia activists like Jacinta De Roeck and Jacqueline Herremans?

Furthermore, there will never be a two-thirds majority to send a case to a judge because the members of the Belgian Commission and its chairman are in a conflict of interest!

It appears that Distelmans has become both the judge and the executioner.

If the euthanasia law in Belgium has taught us anything, it is that in Belgium the euthanasia doctors have been given all of the power in contrast to the patients who are given lethal injections!

Dr Saunders has also indicated that his Blog Post isSourced both from Tom Mortier and Alex Schadenberg’s blog

Friday, November 22, 2013

New Attack on Unborn Babies in Ireland

In a new attack on the unborn in Ireland Independent TD Clare Daly is to introduce a private members bill in the Dáil (Irish Parliament) to allow for abortion in the case of fatal foetal abnormality.
--> This proposal comes just one week after a group of Irish women undertook a new attempt to broaden the basis on which terminations of pregnancy may be obtained in Ireland. The women who decided to abort their babies in the UK, following a diagnosis of fetal abnormality are taking a case to the United Nations Human Rights Committee with the assistance of an international pro-abortion law firm the Centre for Reproductive Rights (CRR). 

The Irish Times reports that the Government will not oppose the introduction of the Protection of Life in Pregnancy (Amendment) (Fatal Foetal Abnormalities) Bill.

Ms Daly claimed without any evidence that 90 per cent of Irish people believed a pregnancy should be ended where the abnormality was such that the foetus could not survive outside the womb, “and also claimed that the only argument against it is the unpublished opinion of the Attorney General, whom we are are told says it would be unconstitutional”.
On the contrary it could be said the vast majority of Irish people are pro-life and would not agree with this approach. What is clearly necessary is proper care during pregnancy and perinatal hospice care.

According to the Irish Times, Daly said that other legal experts including a former attorney general disagreed with her expressed view and said. “The only way to resolve the conflict is to introduce legislation and have the Supreme Court adjudicate it”.

Ms Daly also claimed the previous attorney general had argued before the European Court of Human Rights that there was a tenable argument that the issue should be considered by domestic courts on the grounds that the foetus was not unborn for the purposes of article 40.3.3 of the Constitution.
This is clearly an incorrect interpretation of the Irish Constitution.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Action Alert: Estrela Report

We reported on October 22nd that the controversial Estrela report to the European Parliament on “Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights” (SRHR) was referred back to the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality (FEMM).

We can now report that this controversial report and is to be dealt with by the FEMM committee very swiftly. The report is scheduled to be discussed and voted on, in the Committee next Monday and Tuesday November 25th and 26th.

The report and resolution on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights presented by Portugese MEP Edite Estrela, actually represents an assault on parental rights and would undermine the Sovereignty of member states, in that it attempted to make abortion a fundamental human right, remove conscientious objection and introduce pornographic sexuality education even for young children .

The Commission of the Bishops' Conferences of the European Community, COMECE, condemned the resolution and pointed out that the EU had no competence in the matter.

The report although presented by Edite Estrella is reported to be the work of  radical NGO’s including the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) in Brussels. 
This was clearly stated by Ms Estrela herself as she thanked NGOs during discussion on the report on the evening prior to the plenary vote. The involvement of IPPF in the preparation of the report was confirmed within the FEMM Committee: IPPF Europe's representative publicly claimed having contributed to the draft report on the very same afternoon it was presented in the FEMM Committee.

The speed at which the report is coming back to the table is surprising given that there are many other reports awaiting attention. Not only has the FEMM Committee put this as the first item on its agenda for its next meeting on November 25th, but the report and its resolution has also been placed on the draft agenda for the December plenary session

We recommend that readers should in the first instance contact the members of the Femm Committee before next Tuesday and to ask them the following:

  • To promote transparency and the public parliamentary debate: the MEPs should be invited to explicitly express a request for amendments to be tabled in the Committee.

Explanation: As the agenda of the Committee stands today there is no room for amendments that could change the content of the report but the report would actually just be debated and then voted. According to the procedure of the European Parliament it is not necessary to make “cosmetic” changes when a report is referred back to its’ committee but the political contents should reflect the different political positions. 
  • To vote the alternative resolution: 
This was tabled for the plenary session and therefore cannot be ignored. MEPs should be asked to ensure that the alternative resolution is voted in the Committee.

  • Ask for a public vote in the Committee. 
The rules of the European Parliament allow for a nominal vote (roll call vote) in committee (art. 195-3 of the Rules of the European Parliament). A quarter of the voting members, i.e. in this case 9 of the 33 members must support such a request. All members of the Committee, both full members and substitutes can ask for a nominal vote. 
We will return to this issue next week to report on the outcome of the FEMM committee deliberations and with further recommendations.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Beautiful Video of Twin Babies

Since this beautiful video of twins who continue to hold onto each other while being bathed was placed on YouTube there have been almost 10 million viewings.

The nurse who invented a bathing technique for newborns has commented on the video that has been seen by millions over the last week that features a parent washing newborn twins in a wash basin. The twin infants have their eyes closed and appear to be peacefully sleeping and enjoying the warm bathwater. 
In the video, the twin babies finally begin to move and, when they do, they hold each other and snuggle closer.

The twins—a boy and a girl—were only a few days old when the video was shot last month at the maternity clinic where Sonia Rochel, a maternity nurse at the Clinique de la Muette in Paris, France, works.

“As the bathing video of the newborn twins shows, the babies are – just like in the womb – in an enclosed basin filled with water,” the Examiner’s Tina Burgess reported. “While keeping their noses and mouths above the water level, the newborn twins experience the gentle movement of water as an adult is carefully pouring the water over their foreheads and eyes. In addition to the flowing water, the newborn twins are also gently massaged and relaxing music is played.”

Tuesday, November 19, 2013


The Economic & Social Research Institute (ESRI), Health Research and Information Division, has issued its perinatal statistics report for 2012 for all babies born in Ireland in 2012.
The statistics show that Ireland’s birth rate is declining and that 71,986 births were notified to the NPRS in 2012 compared with 74,377 births in 2011. This represents a reduction of 3.2% since 2011 and 5.3% since the peak in 2009.
Ireland has consistently had the highest birth rate over the period, and while it shows an increase from 15.5 per 1000 population in 2003 to a high of 16.8 per 1,000 population in 2008 it has declined to 16.2 per 1,000 in 2011 and 15.6 per 1,000 population in 2012. 
After Ireland, the countries with the next highest birth rates are the United Kingdom and France (12.8 and 12.6 respectively) followed by Sweden and Cyprus (11.9 and 11.8 respectively). In 2012, Germany (8.4) had the lowest birth rate and Portugal had a birth rate of (8.5). The average birth rate for the 27 EU countries is 10.4 per 1,000 population.

The good news is that the pattern of decline in the perinatal mortality rate is continuing. This rate is estimated at 5.9 per 1,000 live births and stillbirths in 2012 compared with 6.1 per 1,000 live births and stillbirths in 2011 which represents a reduction of over 3%. When compared with 2003, when the perinatal mortality rate was 8.6 per 1,000 live births and stillbirths, the 2012 rate represents a reduction of 31%.
The stillbirth rate is estimated at 3.9 per 1,000 live births and stillbirths in 2012 compared with 5.8 per 1,000 live births and stillbirths in 2003, and 4.0 per 1,000 live births and stillbirths in 2011, representing a reduction of 33% over the decade and a slight decrease of 3% between 2011 and 2012.

The Total Period Fertility Rate (TPFR) for a given year indicates the number of children a woman could expect to have if the Age-Specific Fertility Rates (ASFR) for that year applied throughout her fertile years. The ASFR refers to the number of live births to women in a particular age group per 1,000 women.
The Irish TPFR increased from an average of 1.97 in 2003 to a high of 2.07 in 2008 and is now declining, the estimated TPFR for 2012 being 1.99.

The TPFR for Ireland is based on population data for 2012, and at 1.99 is below the level required for the long-term replacement of the population in the absence of any net inward migration (2.10).

Ireland also had the highest TPFR in the 27 EU countries for 2012.
France and Sweden were just behind Ireland with a TPFR of 1.98 and 1.93 respectively, while Portugal (1.32) and Malta (1.36) recorded the lowest TPFR in 2012.

The full report can be found on this link

Monday, November 18, 2013

Gates Foundation African Conference promotes more abortion and contraception

The relentless attack on African countries continues apace and despite the protestations of Melinda Gates that her global family planning campaign was not about abortion, the third international Conference on Family Planning (ICFP) co-hosted by the Gates Foundation which took place in Addis Ababa in Ethiopia last week had a number of abortion related sessions, such as “Efforts to Implement Policies that Expand Access to Safe Abortion,” “Access to Safe Abortions,” “Abortion and Quality of Care,” and “Abortion: Before and After.”

Obianuju Ekeocha in her BLOG, 'Culture of Life Africa', commenting on conference, raises questions in respect of the presentations and points out that the real question the world should be asking at this point is - Access to what? Choice of what?

In an excellent article which is reprinted in full below and is also accessible on this link Obianuju poignantly says,

We are thirsty and they give us condoms! We are hungry and they offer us contraceptive pills! We are sick and they offer us the most modern techniques of abortion! We are naked and they lead us into the arms of sexual hedonism! We are imprisoned by poverty and they offer us sexual liberation!!!
Silent tears roll down for Africa in a modern world that can neither see our pain nor hear our cry for help.
We mourn deeply for the destructive seeds of sexual revolution which were sown last week in Adis Ababa.

The text of complete article follows (please access the BLOG for live links in the original  text)

Last week, the heavy noose of population control was placed around the neck of Africa
as the Gates Foundation hosted what they called, the biggest family planning event in history with about 3000 attendees.

The International Conference on Family Planning Adis Ababa  was a 4-day event which had so many tentacles targeting almost every layer of the African society- women, men, youth, singles, married, professionals, academicians, politicians, celebrities,dignitaries and law makers.
They featured an impressive line-up of key note speakers that included the most influential African movers, shakers and leaders.
There were also international and western organisations who were there to support and strengthen the core purpose of the conference - population control of Africa.
Their theme was "full access , full choice"
But the real question the world should be asking at this point is - Access to what? Choice of what?

Africa is home to millions of people who have no access at all to basic education or even basic healthcare.
Most of us know or have friends or family members who have no choice in their impoverished situations.
And yet, a hand full of people who have access to the greatest material wealth in the world come to us to tell us that what Africans need most is full access to sex without attachments.
Terms like LARC(long-acting reversible contraception) were thrown around a lot during this conference.  Emergency (abortifacient) contraception was put on a pedestal. Increasing access to Abortion  was also another major area of discussion. African leaders in attendance were highly encouraged to increase their national budget and schemes  for birth control. Adolescent "friendly" contraception initiatives were also flaunted for the young and supposedly unmarried ones as some of the western speakers and officials described and labelled African societies as "judgemental" in considering sex outside of marriage.

Dearest people of the world, this is absurd! This is twisted and distorted!
To convene in Africa some of the most brilliant minds from around the world only to deliberate and discuss the best ways of getting the most effective birth control into the most remote parts of Africa. To bring in sexual and reproductive rights giants like International Planned Parenthood Federation so as to have them encourage sexual hedonism among  our African youth. To have well known pro-abortion organisations like Ipas speaking on increasing and expanding access to abortion in Africa. To bring in medical "experts" from halfway across the world so as to have them teach, demonstrate and simulate second trimester D & E abortions...
This is heart-breaking for the entire Continent of Africa!
Going through some of these presentations , I was brought to tears for my people who lack and want so much to have access to even the most basic tools of development and all they get is the neo imperialists telling them how great things will be for them if they have "full access and full choice" of the finest contraceptive paraphernalia, tools and devices that will give them unconstrained and unrestrained sexual freedom.
We are thirsty and they give us condoms! We are hungry and they offer us contraceptive pills! We are sick and they offer us the most modern techniques of abortion! We are naked and they lead us into the arms of sexual hedonism! We are imprisoned by poverty and they offer us sexual liberation!!!
Silent tears roll down for Africa in a modern world that can neither see our pain nor hear our cry for help.
We mourn deeply for the destructive seeds of sexual revolution which were sown last week in Adis Ababa.
The pain is almost unbearable to imagine the effects of a sexual revolution on a Continent that is already heavily laden with much human suffering.
And so we weep bitterly.
We weep not just for ourselves but for our children who will reap the devastating dividends of this extensive contraceptive project in the future.
          Melinda Gates

Ever since Melinda Gates unveiled and unleashed her extensive and expensive contraception project in Africa more than a year ago, millions of dollars have been spent across the Continent leading to a reactive trend of events like the increased efforts among our African leaders to expand access to contraception, the launching of more population control initiatives in various parts of Africa, the stronger and more insistent push for legalised abortion in many African countries, the increased amounts of government money being diverted (from other development projects) to be channeled into providing birth control and subsequently, an undeniable increase in the usage of artificial contraception in almost all parts of Africa. And yet the lives of the African women have not improved at all. They may be having more vacuous and sterile sex which is free from conception on every day of the month and every month of the year but they are certainly not better fed, they are not healthier , and they are not even more educated than before Melinda's project and therefore they are not more empowered. This project has failed the African women on every single note!

I have begged and appealed to Melinda Gates last year when she tripped the switch of population control in Africa and I will readily do it again today with much respect where it is due.
The African women deserve so much more than this humanitarian project that promises them nothing more than sexual liberty above all else.
And as you inadvertently flood our nations with birth control pills, injectables, Intra Uterine devices and condoms, our culture is being drowned out by your own, our priority is being replaced by your own, our opinion is being eclipsed by your own and our value is being swallowed up by own.
We highly respect, and dare not define, your western sensitives and values, please mercifully respect our own African sensitives and values.
The African women deserve to stand proudly among the women of the world within the context of their own cultural sensitives and values. They deserve to be recognised in the full esteem and stature of their radiant African femininity, beauty, and dignity that is firmly rooted in a vibrant culture of life and family.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Lucinda Creighton TD, interview on Spirit Radio 31st Oct 2013

Lucinda Creighton TD, who resigned from her role as Minister of European Affairs and from the Fine Gael party whip, rather than vote in favour of the Government abortion legislation, was interviewed on Spirit Radio by Ronan Johnston, during his programme Rojo in the morning, on October 31st
During the interview Ms Creighton said;
“The reality was also that you had a junior coalition partner in the doldrums in terms of opinion polls, under pressure because of the very difficult economic decisions we had taken as a government. And they needed something.  And I think it’s pretty horrific to think that a trade-off could be made between budget cuts and the introduction of abortion, but that’s actually what happened, let’s be frank about it.
So the trade-off was to keep the Labour Party happy that people in Fine Gael who were deeply uncomfortable with the idea of legalising abortion or legislating for a more liberal abortion regime in Ireland would just have to, as somebody said in the corridors of Leinster House, they’d just have to “suck it up”.  And, you know, the Labour Party backbenchers were feeling pain on the economy so therefore Fine Gael backbenchers would just have to suck it up on the issue of abortion.  And that’s basically what happened.” 
The full interview is available on podcast on this link

Thursday, November 14, 2013

The World of MEMES

The advent of online imagery, in the form of memes, for sites such as Twitter is gaining more and more popularity.

It is possible with a few graphic images to convey a critical message visually and very effectively with a minimum of words.
The image below published by is a great example of this.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

BOOK REVIEW: DO NO HARM a novel by Fiorella de Maria Nash

Book Review by Fr. John I Fleming,
I have just finished reading Fiorella de Maria Nash's book, "Do no Harm". This is what I think of it.
In a world which has lost its moral compass, a doctor elects to save the life of woman attempting suicide. He is arrested and charged with assault and battery. His entire life and career hangs in the balance.
In this novel Fiorella de Maria Nash takes the reader through the exquisite dilemma of a doctor having to deal with the new legal situation created by legally enforceable living wills. Set against the background of a complacent society, a complacency shared by Catholic bishops, parliamentarians, and the mass media, Nash explores all of the problems which occur when medical ethics based on Hippocrates conflicts with what appears to be the legal requirements of the state.

The novel is superbly written in impeccable English, yet with a universal appeal to include those who speak other variations to this wonderful language. Nash employs all of the skills of the language, and her excellent grasp of bioethics (medical ethics) to tell us a wonderful story involving real human beings in deeply distressing circumstances which are at once believable and disturbing.

This book should appeal to everyone, and has particular relevance for those who love a good story dealing with real issues in the complex area of how medicine should be practised by a conscientious physician. I commend this book. It will make an excellent birthday or Christmas gift.

Monday, November 11, 2013

SPUC International Pro-Life Youth Conference 2014

The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) has announced an International Pro-Life Youth & Student Conference to take place from 7th-9th March 2014 at Telford Campus, England.
SPUC in announcing the conference say;
We want you to receive the best possible pro-life formation in an enjoyable and stimulating environment. This conference is run over three days, where you can expect the following:
                A line-up of international experts speaking on up to date pro-life topics.
                Opportunities for questions, panel discussions/debates so that you can ask and discuss the most important pro-life issues we face today.
                A top quality range of literature for you to take away.
                The chance to spend three days in the company of other young pro-lifers in the UK and abroad. You’ll make new friends and learn about the pro-life and student experiences of others.
                Each day you’ll be served meals and refreshment. These are great opportunities to talk with the speakers and relax with other young adults.
                We’ll guarantee you entertainment and a reasonably priced bar for drinks. Previous conferences have included films, talent shows, ceilidh bands and dancing.
The SPUC youth blog has a permanent page dedicated to the youth conference: We are now taking bookings. Do not delay. If you’re booking as part of a group it’s best to start organising early. Booking early also means you’ll be able to book your coach or train tickets at a cheaper price, and don’t forget to apply for SPUC Branch sponsored places. 

Email with your details and we’ll send you the booking form. Also feel free to email us if you have any questions. [SPUC youth blog, 5 November]

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Women who had UK abortions to bring case against Ireland to the United Nations

In a new attempt to broaden the basis on which terminations of pregnancy may be obtained in Ireland the Journal reports that a group of Irish women who each decided to abort their babies following a diagnosis of fetal abnormality are taking a case to the United Nations Human Rights Committee with the assistance of an international pro-abortion law firm the Centre for Reproductive Rights (CRR).
It is understood that the lodgement of petitions to have their case considered by the committee will take place next week.

There is no such right as a so called 'right' to abortion in any International UN Treaty, quite the reverse in fact, the right to life of all members of the human family is protected in the Universal declaration of human rights and its associated covenants.
There has however been much criticism of treaty monitoring committees, such as the committee in question, that they bring the United Nations into disrepute by reinterpreting the texts to find so-called non existent rights.

It must be stated, whist one has every sympathy with a woman who finds herself in this appalling predicament abortion is not the answer. Despite the pressure placed on women in this difficult situation to abort their babies and the tendency to describe the unfortunate children as monsters, abortion is not the way forward, there is a better way, a caring way of dealing with the devastating news that an unborn baby has not developed fully and is suffering from a terminal condition.
It is essential for women in this awful predicament to have support such as that which can be provided by perinatal hospice care.
The perinatal hospice approach is one that walks with families on their journey through pregnancy, birth, and death, honoring the baby as well as the baby's family. Perinatal hospice is not a place; it is more a frame of mind. It is a way of caring for the pregnant mother, the baby, the father, and all involved with dignity and love. Even in areas without a formal program, parents can create a loving experience for themselves and their baby, and health professionals and family and friends can offer support in the spirit of hospice care.
Many Irish women have taken the decision to cherish every day of the life their baby without ever having heard of the perinatal hospice concept as is presented in this BLOGPOST and video
The following is the text of the Journal report
THE GROUP REPRESENTING women who travelled to the UK to terminate unviable pregnancies are to bring their case to the United Nations.

Terminations for Medical Reasons (TFMR) and the Centre for Reproductive Rights will file three petitions alleging human rights violations with the UN Human Rights Committee next week

The mothers have campaigned since last April – when some of them appeared on the Late Late Show - to change the current situation in Ireland which sees women travel to other jurisdictions for terminations if their babies are suffering with fatal foetal abnormalities.

Various pleas and protests directed at government members failed to garner the necessary support to be included in the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act 2013 because of fears that the provision would be unconstitutional.

Another demonstration will be held outside Leinster House on Wednesday afternoon ahead of a press conference to discuss the petitions being filed.

Members of TFMR were devastated of the omission from the legislation this year but vowed to take their cases to Europe and beyond.

The women have shared the trauma of having to travel to Liverpool and other English cities to undergo terminations to journalists and politicians in the past eight months.

“We are looking for nothing extreme here. Just decency, dignity and compassion,” Deirdre Conroy, the woman at the centre of the ‘D’ case which was heard at the European Court of Human Rights, said earlier this year.