Sunday, May 31, 2009

Support for Parents

I was alerted to this website by John Smeaton. Isaiah's Promise has been set up to support parents whose unborn children have received a 'poor or fatal diagnosis' and who find them isolated and under intense pressure to abort. The website featured in a recent Washington Times article, alongside Baby Faith Hope and other sites by women who have kept their babies.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Caritas Baby Hospital, Bethlehem

When Pope Benedict XVI visited the Caritas Baby Hospital in Bethlehem recently he said:
‘God has blessed me with this opportunity to express my appreciation to the administrators, physicians, nurses and staff of Caritas Baby Hospital for the invaluable service they have offered – and continue to offer – to children in the Bethlehem region and throughout Palestine for over fifty years. Father Ernst Schnydrig founded this facility upon the conviction that innocent children deserve a safe haven from all that can harm them in times and places of conflict. Thanks to the dedication of Children’s Relief Bethlehem, this institution has remained a quiet oasis for the most vulnerable, and has shone as a beacon of hope that love can prevail over hatred and peace over violence.’

For the more than 500,000 children of four years old or younger who live in Palestine, not even basic health services are routinely available. The Caritas Baby Hospital is the only paediatric hospital in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip together, and it attempts to provide this care for all children and mothers, regardless of race or creed, every day of the year. It is wonderful to see the loving care and attention that these children, and their mothers, receive, and when one sees the tiny, premature babies who make up part of the hospital’s population, one thinks of the little babies of similar size who in other places are routinely killed by abortion.

Sadly, at times, the wonderful work of the staff of the hospital is hindered when the authorities refuse access to a sick baby through the checkpoints in the Wall that surrounds so many Palestinian towns and villages. This can result in a round journey of perhaps forty or more extra kilometres, a delay that can be fatal in an emergency situation.

Friday, May 29, 2009

The Times and NaProTechnology

Fr Blake reports on a singularly unusual event - a positive and informative article about NaPro Technology in The Times of London. Ignore the pointless inverted commas around the word ethical in the headline, it is well worth reading, providing a basic outline of how NaPro Technology works and a brief interview with practitioner Ira Winter.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Dublin Rally for Life

A massive Rally for Life is scheduled to take place in Dublin on Saturday, 4 July. The rally is being organised by a number of Irish pro-life groups and it is hoped that it will be as successful as the previous Rally for Life that took place in Dublin in 2007, when thousands of men, women and children walked through Dublin city centre with banners, balloons, music and dancing.

The organisers, which include Youth Defence, Precious Life, Ultrasound – Students for Life, Life Institute, Family First and Cóir say: ‘As pro-life people we say NO to abortion, embryo research and euthanasia. On July 4th let’s do it together!’

For further information please see Rally for Life or phone 00353-1-8730463 from outside Ireland, 01-8730463 in Ireland.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

I Am Here

Lucy McCully of SPUC Scotland has produced this video of the 2nd International SPUC Student Conference, which was held in March.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Population Control and the Philippines

In July last year, I blogged about a very dangerous coercive population bill being proposed in the Philippines. Rorate Caeli mentions an article he has published in the Catholic World Report on the subject. One point he makes which pro-family campaigners are all too aware of in light of China's harrowing experience, is that state-imposed population control policies are NEVER voluntary and NEVER implemented without coercion. Whatever promises dishonest governments make, it is in the nature of population control policies to be coercive and the primary victims are women and children

Monday, May 25, 2009

Baby Faith Hope

I posted some time ago about a new blog entitled Baby Faith Hope started by a 23-year-old pregnant woman. I was very sorry to read that Myah's baby, who had anencephaly, died last week aged three months. Myah's blog has been a moving and informative journal of the brief life of a very special child and she writes particularly powerfully about Faith's final moments.

There can be nothing more heartbreaking than watching your own child dying in your arms and I would ask readers please to remember Myah as she comes to terms with the loss of her baby.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Another First-World Luxury

A very interesting article on Oli's blog by a woman whose father committed suicide twenty-two years ago. It examines the whole notion of the right to die from the perspective of a person who has had to pick up the pieces after losing a loved one to suicide. She makes the point:

It is said that for every suicide, on average there are eight people left behind who are seriously and often permanently damaged.

Her conclusion, having lived for some years in a developing country is:

The right to die is clearly much more of a concern among the wealthy and highly educated of the developed nations.

Naturally, you might argue — because we are wealthier and healthier, because we live longer, because we are provided with more life-saving drugs and surgery, we are also, as a consequence, confronted with this problem of choosing when to end our lives.

But I put to you that perhaps the choice itself is just another First-World luxury. A privilege, like so many privileges of the wealthy — something that poses as a symbol of self-determination and freedom but ends up, paradoxically, to be yet another source of suffering.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Spanish Doctors on Abortion

The President of Spain's Collegial Medical Association has warned against a new abortion law that allows sixteen-year-olds to seek abortion without parental consent. Juan Jose Rodriguez Sendin reminded reporters that abortion is a "traumatic surgical intervention" and that parents had a right to know what was going on so as to be able to help their own children. He also criticised the Spanish government for ignoring the views of medical experts on this issue.

The Spanish government has acted and continues to act with breathtaking arrogance. It is telling that this law was formulated through the Ministry of Equality not the Ministry of Health, presumably to bypass the very awkward medical professionals who will be expected to carry out the government's dirty work when such offensive laws are passed.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Better Ten Graves...

Oli at Superdolly has a review of Better Ten Graves than One Extra Birth exploring the effects of China's One-Child Policy. The book was not written by pro-life activists or even people sympathetic to the pro-life movement, but examines the issue from a human rights perspective and apparently comes to similar conclusions.

I have always regarded the pro-life movement as part of the human rights movement, since the right to life is the first and most fundamental human right. Moreover, the more vulnerable a human being is, the stronger his or her legal protection must surely be, as the slogan of my own blog states.

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child: “The child by reason of his physical and mental immaturity, needs special safeguards and care, including appropriate legal protection, before as well as after birth”.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Sweden and Sex Selective Abortion

Swedish health authorities have refused to protect baby girls from sex selective abortion after doctors raised concerns about a woman who had two unborn baby girls aborted because she already had two daughters.

According to the LifeSite report, women regularly travel to Sweden from Norway for sex selective abortion because the practice is illegal in Norway. Just as Switzerland is getting itself an unfortunate reputation for 'suicide tourism', Sweden is apparently the place to go if you want to commit gendercide. I have blogged on sex selective abortion in Asia (see posts here, here, here and here) but we need to be aware that the evil of sex selective abortion is a global problem.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Last Word on the Matter

I will give Fr Z the last word on the Notre Dame affair. His reflections on the evening attracted over 170 comments, which make enlightening reading in themselves.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

If ND was after publicity...

Notre Dame has certainly got itself some publicity for the shameless stunt of giving the most pro-abortion US president in history a platform and an honorary degree. Various bloggers have already commented on the decision to invite Obama to a Catholic University and on the speeches both he and Fr Jenkins delivered. The list is not exhaustive:

That the Bones You Have Crushed May Thrill

Paul Johnson

Jane Theresa

Martin Kelly

Monday, May 18, 2009

Priest arrested for praying

This is one of the saddest and most shameful films I have ever seen. What sort of country drags an 80-year-old priest off to prison for conducting a peaceful prayer vigil at a Catholic university?

h/t The Hermeneutic of Continuity

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Kathy Ireland on Abortion

Take a look at this incredibly articulate explanation of the pro-life position.
Kathy Ireland on Abortion - Watch more Videos at Vodpod.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Friday, May 15, 2009

I know I killed my baby...

Sadly, this post from Standing on My Head rings all too true. The abortion argument has moved a long way from denying the humanity of the unborn child. Looking at it positively, at least abortion advocates are now being a little more honest about their activities than in the past by admitting that they know they are killing a baby. On the other hand, it means that we cannot pretend any longer that there is any moral confusion surrounding the abortion issue. These people know perfectly well what they are doing and have no compunction whatsoever about killing the innocent. As Fiorella Nash puts it in Time for a New Feminism, those who have "the honesty to admit that abortion involves an act of killing have revealed the morally repulsive reality of contemporary feminism - that women are essentially entitled to do what they want devoid of any moral responsibility, even kill a baby if it gets in their way."

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Spanish Government to allow unrestricted access to morning after pill

The Spanish government plans to allow the morning-after pill to be sold over the counter in pharmacies and without prescription within the next 3 months.

Spanish Health minister Trinidad Jimenez, said there would be no age restriction which implies that it will be available to teenage girls without parental consent. Irish Examiner

The Health Minister also said that she expects no objections from pharmacists and in a clear attack on any possible level of conscientious objection she said all pharmacies will be required to carry the drug. "Once the sale of this drug is authorized, the obligation exists for pharmacies to have it available," she told the media. She also claimed that a committee of physicians had determined that the drug poses no serious risks and does not need to be given by prescription.Despite much evidence to the contrary Jimenez denied that the morning-after pill is abortifacient.

Pro-life physicians strongly contradicted the Health Minister's claim. Dr. Gador Joya, spokesman for the Spanish organization Right to Life, told the pro-life website that in fact,
"the so called day after pill has an abortive effect. The measure announced by the minister envisions establishing free abortion ... It also assumes that children will be given the power to have abortions using this method without their parents' knowledge or authorization. It is not only a humanitarian aberration, but a medical one."


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Abstinence-only sex education to be defunded

President Obama's health budget proposals for 2010, eliminates funding for abstinence-only sex education programmes and increases funds for the provision of condoms and contraceptive-based sex education. The budget eliminates the $133 million set aside for CBAE (Community Based Abstinence Education) and Title V Abstinence Education Program, the two main federal abstinence-education initiatives. (AP report)

Abstinence only programmes have received about US$1.3 billion in federal funds since the late 1990s and have proved to be very effective. The only 100 percent effective way of preventing all STDs and premarital pregnancies is to abstain from sex until marriage to an uninfected spouse and to remain faithful within marriage. Contraceptive based sex education not only denies young adults this most basic truth but also places them in danger of infection from a variety of STD’s and to unplanned pregnancies.

The proposed budget according to an Abstinence Clearinghouse press release calls for an additional $150 million for contraceptive-only education, which includes competitive grants, research, evaluation and authorization for $50 million in new mandatory condom grants to states, tribes and territories,

See also SPUC Director BLOG POST

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Archbishop Burke Addresses US National Catholic Prayer Breakfast

Archbishop Raymond Burke, speaking at the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast in Washington last Friday May 8th, strongly criticised the anti-life, anti-family direction of the current US Administration. The Archbishop expressed the view that the US is arrogantly turning its back on its foundation and violating fundamental human rights. Our nation he said, which had its beginning in the commitment to safeguard and promote the inalienable right to "Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness" for all, without boundary, is more and more setting arbitrary limits to her commitment.

Those in power he said, now determine who will or will not be accorded the legal protection of the most fundamental right to life. First the legal protection of the right to life is denied to the unborn and, then, to those whose lives have become burdened by advanced years, special needs or serious illness, or whose lives are somehow judged to be unprofitable or unworthy.

Those in power, he said, propose to force physicians and other healthcare professionals to participate, contrary to what their conscience requires, in the destruction of unborn human lives, from the first or embryonic stage of development to the moment of birth. US laws he said may force healthcare professionals and institutions who wish to uphold the natural moral law to withdraw their services and close their doors. US laws he said may soon force those who have dedicated themselves to the care of the sick and the promotion of good health to give up their noble life work, in order to be true to the most sacred dictate of their consciences. See LifeSite for the full text of Archbishop Burke’s address

"With unparalleled arrogance”, the Archbishop said “our nation is choosing to renounce its foundation on the faithful”. He also said, "The path of violation of the most fundamental human rights and of the integrity of marriage and the family which our nation is travelling is not accidental”. "As Catholics”, he said, “we cannot fail to notice with the greatest sadness the number of our fellow Catholics who cooperate fully to the advancement of a national agenda which is anti-life and anti-family."

Archbishop Burke told his audience that President Barack Obama's pro-abortion policies have damaged the fundamental society that is the family and cited issues such as the President's repeal of the Mexico City Policy, which permits funding for organizations that promote or perform abortions overseas; the proposed repeal of conscience protections for pro-life medical workers; and support of the United Nations Population Fund, which supports China's one-child policy.

In a wide ranging address Archbishop Burke also objected to President Obama's professed support for the Freedom of Choice Act, which would further enshrine permissive abortion policy into U.S. law and told his audience that it is "the source of the greatest scandal" for the University of Notre Dame to grant an honorary degree to President Obama, who is "so aggressively advancing an anti-life and anti-family agenda."

The Archbishop also noted that the contraceptive mentality is at the root of the error and confusion, "At the root of the confusion and error about marriage is the contraceptive mentality which would have us believe that the inherently procreative nature of the conjugal union can in practice be mechanically or chemically eliminated while the marital act remains unitive," he explained. "It simply cannot be sold."

Monday, May 11, 2009

European Parliament refuses to condemn Papal Statement on HIV/AIDS

Euro-fam report that the European Parliament on Thursday May 7th rejected an amendment tabled by The liberal group (ALDE) to its "Annual Report on Human Rights in the World 2008 and the European Union's policy on the matter (2008/2336 (INI))", which included a scurrilous attack on Pope Benedict XVI.

The amendment which sought to promote abortion through sexual and reproductive health rights to combat AIDS also condemned Pope Benedict's statement about the effectiveness of the use of the condom in the fight against AIDS in Africa: See previous BLOG

The text of the European parliament article with the condemnation follows,
45a. [The European Parliament] Underlines the importance of promoting sexual and reproductive health rights, as a precondition for any successful fight against HIV/AIDS, which causes enormous loss in terms of human lives and economic development, affecting particularly the poorest regions in the world; firmly condemns the recent declarations made by Pope Benedict XVI, banning the use of condoms and warning that condom use could even lead to an increased risk of contagion; is concerned that those statements will severely hamper the fight against HIV/AIDS; points out that empowerment of women also helps to counter HIV/AIDS; calls on the governments of the Member States to act together to promote sexual and reproductive health rights and education, including on the use of condoms as an effective tool in the fight against this scourge;

The amendment was rejected by 253 MEPs to 199. The total vote was only 513 as many MEP's had already left for their constituencies to pursue their re-election campaigns

The Papal statement provoked angry criticism from some countries together with UN officials and anti-family politicians but his views are supported by an increasing number of scientists who have observed an increase in the rate of HIV transmission in countries that emphasize the use of condoms as a protective measure. In contrast the only country that has succeeded in reducing its HIV/AIDS infection rate is Uganda which stressed abstention from sex before marriage and faithfulness within marriage as the two main planks of its prevention strategy.

The Belgian Parliament has already denounced the statement by Pope Benedict and the Spanish Congress is currently considering a similar motion.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Friday, May 8, 2009

Scientist Claims to have cloned 14 embryos

Culture of Life report that, Cypriot scientist Panos Zavos has claimed to have cloned 14 human embryos and transferred 11 of them into the wombs of four women happy to give birth to cloned babies. This is his third public announcement in six years claiming to have succeeded at the controversial procedure in a secret laboratory in a country where cloning is supposedly legal.

The embryo cloning was achieved by the use of somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT). A somatic cell is simply a body cell, such as a skin cell, containing the full genetic code of a person. In SCNT, the nucleus of a somatic cell is removed and transferred into a female oocyte (egg cell) which has had its nucleus removed. Because the embryo’s nucleus contains the genetic material of the donor of the somatic cell, the embryo is a biological clone of the donor. A slight electrical impulse can stimulate the embryo to begin cell division. This is also how Dolly the Sheep was brought into being

This type of human cloning according to the report has been actively pursued for nearly ten years but the interest in clones up to now has been for their stem cells, otherwise known as clone and kill, not to bring a live baby to birth. Dr. Zavos on the other hand is determined to bring a cloned baby to birth; and is convinced it will happen in the next few years.

Bishop Patrick O'Donoghue of Lancaster said in a statement that if Dr. Zavos' claims are true, his "actions are deeply repugnant for the future of humanity."
Bishop O'Donohue said, "Cloning entails manipulating human life in ever more invasive ways, and this will lead to 'making embryos to order,' as well as other more and more serious abuses."

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Climb for the Unborn

Photo shows Mary Quinlan, Eileen Tiernan and Caoimhe Doyle in the Church at the summit of Croagh Patrick

The Climb for the unborn which took place last Saturday on Croagh Patrick (St Patricks Mountain) near Westport Co. Mayo in the west of Ireland was well attended and the church at the top of the mountain was filled to overflowing during the celebration of the Eucharist by Fr Michael Ross.

During his homily Fr Michael encouraged the representatives of the various groups present to find new ways of working together for the sake of the unborn. He said that while each group must be faithful to its own charism, it is essential that there is a cooperative approach to national action. After Mass there was a time of prayer for the unborn and for all those working for the protection of their lives.

The ascent took about 2.5 hours and conditions in the morning and early afternoon were very good until we began to descend however it started to rain a little as we began our descent and conditions deteriorated from there. By the time we returned to the car park at the foot of the mountain we were soaked. The organisers of the climb Caoimhe Doyle and Hilary Mc Bride are determined to make this climb an annual event in the Irish pro-life calendar and that it should take place at the beginning of May each year.

Pro-Life Chains

Late last month, the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children held its annual Pro-Life Chain, where supporters all over the country stand in silent witness along busy streets and highways. The demonstrations are widely publicised in the regional press and help to raise awareness about SPUC's work and the help available to women in crisis pregnancies or who are struggling after abortion.

It was very encouraging to see how many young people were involved in the Chain this year, a trend which will hopefully continue in the years to come.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Monday, May 4, 2009

Listen, Notre Dame

A petition containing over 300,000 signatures has been delivered to Fr John Jenkins, President of Notre Dame University, protesting against an invitation to President Obama to speak there and receive an honorary degree.

The petition was sponsored by the Cardinal Newman Society. Patrick Reilly of CNS stated:

It is critical for all of us to pray that the Trustees and Fellows charged with safeguarding Notre Dame’s Catholic identity will heed the 50 bishops and hundreds of thousands of faithful Catholics urging Notre Dame to withdraw its invitation to President Obama.

Groups such as the erroneously-named 'Catholics' for a Free Choice who falsely claim to speak for lay Catholics, need to be aware of the grassroots support for the pro-life movement among Catholics and all people of good will.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Pro-lifers assaulted in Spain

h/t to Fr Z for this story about a group of pro-life campaigners who were the victims of a violent attack as they peacefully gathered signatures for a petition. I thought I would share the response of one of the victims, Jaime Dias, who made this comment from his hospital bed:

“I am fine, I did my duty by following what my conscience told me. Whenever they let me know, I will go back on the streets to collect signatures. Nobody is going to silence me with violence."

Friday, May 1, 2009

Remembering Columbine

In 1999, in the aftermath of the Columbine High School shootings, Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver Colorado, penned an article which has been reprinted in the Denver Catholic Register following the tenth anniversary of that terrible event. Part of the article reads:
‘As time passes, we need to make sense of the Columbine killings. The media are already filled with “sound bites” of shock and disbelief, psychologists, sociologists, grief counsellors and law enforcement officers – all with their theories and plans. God bless them for it. We certainly need help. Violence is now pervasive in American society – in our homes, our schools, on our streets, in our cars as we drive home from work, in the news media, in the rhythms and lyrics of our music, in our novels, films and video games. It is so prevalent that we have become largely unconscious of it. But, as we discover in places like the hallways of Columbine High, it is bitterly urgently real. The causes of this violence are many and complicated: racism, fear, selfishness. But in another, deeper sense, the cause is very simple: We’re losing God, and in losing him, we’re losing ourselves. The complete contempt for human life shown by the young killers at Columbine is not an accident, or an anomaly, or a freak flaw in our social fabric. It’s what we create when we live a contradiction. We can’t systematically kill the unborn, the infirm and the condemned prisoners among us; we can’t glorify brutality in our entertainment; we can’t market avarice and greed … and then hope that somehow our children will help build a culture of life.

We need to change. But societies only change when families change, and families only change when individuals change. Without a conversion to humility, non-violence and selflessness in our own hearts, all our talk about “ending the violence” may end as pious generalities. It is not enough to speak about reforming our society and community. We need to reform ourselves.’