Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Irish government’s ‘Four-year Plan’ will target stay-at-home mothers.

The Iona Institute, an Irish ‘think-tank’, has issued a statement to the effect that the Irish government’s ‘Four-year Plan’ to bring about economic recovery will target stay-at-home mothers.  The Institute maintains that the Plan will ‘penalise one-income married families compared with single people’; and that ‘married couples where one stays at home to look after children will pay more tax than single people without dependents.’    This, says the Institute, is ‘in line with the policy of the IMF, the European Commission and the OECD which believes a woman’s place is in the workforce and a child’s place is in day-care.’
These last-mentioned institutions, the Institute maintains, ‘see no role in society for couples who believe children are best served by one parent staying at home to care for them, or indeed for an elderly relative.’
Facts and figures are given relating to the implementation of the ‘Four-year Plan’.  These are very revealing, and indicate that the Plan is ‘very much part and parcel of the tax individualisation philosophy which favours double-income married couples over one-income married couples, but it actually goes further.’     
The Iona Institute statement continues: 
‘The reason it goes further is that a single person is very unlikely to have dependent children whereas a married couple, whether one or two-income will most likely have dependent children.
‘Therefore, the Government is saying that a single person with no dependents should pay less tax than a one-income married couple with a dependent spouse and dependent children.  This is scarcely believable.
‘Earlier this week it was revealed that a new IMF report wants Ireland to introduce a new tax-break of five percent for mothers who re-enter the workforce.  Stay-at-home mothers have no place in its vision of society and it sees no value in looking after young children at home
‘This dovetails perfectly with the philosophy in this regard of both the European Commission and the OECD.
‘The new four-year plan appears to be doing their bidding and so the attack on stay-at-home married women has intensified further.’

Bunreacht na hÉireann (the Constitution of Ireland) gives special attention to the institution of the family, and under a specific section (Article 41)– The Family – it declares that:
1.1 - The State recognises the Family as the natural primary and fundamental unit group of Society, and as a moral institution possessing inalienable and imprescriptible rights, antecedent and superior to all positive law.
1.2 - The State, therefore, guarantees to protect the Family in its constitution and authority, as the necessary basis of social order and as indispensable to the welfare of the Nation and the State.
2.1 - In particular, the State recognises that by her life within the home, woman gives   to the State a support without which the common good cannot be achieved.
2.2 - The State shall, therefore, endeavour to ensure that mothers shall not be obliged by economic necessity to engage in labour to the neglect of their duties in the home.
3.1 - The State pledges itself to guard with special care the institution of Marriage, on which the Family is founded, and to protect it against attack.

In pushing its ‘Four-year Plan’, then, the Government could very well be reneging on its obligations as laid down in the Constitution.   This is also an area in which the UN     CEDAW Committee has been for many years now trying to attack and destroy the family.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Politics and the right to life of the unborn in Ireland

Following the recent by-election in Ireland, in the constituency of Donegal South-West, the Sinn Féin candidate, Pearse Doherty, won the vacant seat.   His victory in doing so was (and is) a huge boost for Sinn Féin, and a great disappointment to Fianna Fáil – the leading Government party – whose percentage vote dropped to about 20, from a previous 51 percent.  The figure of 20 percent, however, was in excess of that garnered by either of the Opposition parties, although following the fourth count and distribution of first preference votes the Fine Gael candidate overtook the Fianna Fáil candidate.

The reason why I am commenting on this by-election is that each of the candidates was questioned on his or her stance in relation to pro-life/protection of unborn life.  The interesting information that emerged from that query is that the Fianna Fáil candidate gave a written personal commitment, if elected, to ‘oppose any legislation that would make abortion available in Ireland and supports a law to protect the human embryo from deliberate destruction.’    This candidate is a Senator – so, from now on, we will be looking forward to hearing his public defence of unborn life from the moment of conception.

The Sinn Féin party policy is pro-abortion, and it is therefore extremely interesting to hear that the newly elected deputy Pearse Doherty has given ‘a written personal commitment to oppose any legislation that would make abortion available in Ireland and supports a law to protect the human embryo from deliberate destruction.’   Is he indeed at odds with the policy of his party?    Will we hear Pearse Doherty standing up in the Dáil (lower house) to defend and demand protection for the unborn, from the moment of conception?  It is sad to report that it is unusual to have such a defence of human life declared in the Dáil. 
The remaining candidates gave indecisive or ambivalent replies to the query.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Pope Benedict's teaching on the importance of the right to life of the unborn

The importance of the decision by Pope Benedict XVI to hold a vigil for all nascent human life and his request to Bishops world wide to do the same is a truly historic event. Pope Benedict in doing this is asking the entire Church and encouraging others to focus on the undeniable value of human life from the moment of conception and he is doing so at very significant time, the beginning of the new church year, the first act of  Advent in the lead up to the celebration of Christmas, the annual feast of the Nativity.   Pope Benedict has on many occasions reminded us that the right to life of every innocent human being, born or unborn, is absolute and applies equally to all people with no exception whatsoever.  

As a reminder of  the importance Pope Benedict places on the right to life of the unborn the following is an extract from his address to the Bishops of Kenya on the occasion of their ‘Ad Limina’ visit to Rome some years ago:

‘A key focus of unity in a community is the institution of marriage and family life, which the people of Africa hold in particular esteem.  The devoted love of Christian married couples is a blessing for your country, expressing sacramentally the indissoluble covenant between Christ and his Church.  This precious treasure must be guarded at all costs.  All too often, the ills besetting some parts of African society, such as promiscuity, polygamy and the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, can be directly related to disordered notions of marriage and family life.  For this reason it is important to assist parents in teaching their children how to live out a Christian vision of marriage, conceived as an indissoluble union between one man and one woman, essentially equal in their humanity and open to the generation of new life.
‘While this understanding of Christian family life finds a deep resonance in Africa, it is a matter of great concern that the globalized secular culture is exerting an increasing influence on local communities as a result of campaigns by agencies promoting abortion.  This direct destruction of an innocent human life can never be justified, however difficult the circumstances that may lead some to consider taking such a grave step.  When you preach the Gospel of Life, remind your people that the right to life of every innocent human being, born or unborn, is absolute and applies equally to all people with no exception whatsoever.  This equality “is the basis of all authentic social relationships which, to be truly such, can only be founded on truth and justice” (Evangelium Vitae, 57).  The Catholic community must offer support to those women who may find it difficult to accept a child, above all when they are isolated from their family and friends.  Likewise, the community should be open to welcome back all who repent of having participated in the grave sin of abortion, and should guide them with pastoral charity to accept the grace of forgiveness, the need for penance, and the joy of entering once more into the new life of Christ.’ 

These words, needing only a change of name of location, could equally apply to so many other countries of the world, and it is sad to realise that Kenya – in particular – is one of the latest places to be targeted by UN agencies in an effort to destroy traditional family life and to impose abortion on that country.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Saving Babies Lives in Vietnam

Pro-Lifers working patiently to uphold the right to life of the unborn in the face of intense pressure from the pro-abortion lobby can sometimes feel that they have little power to effect change particularly when they are faced with the capitulation of Governments in assimilating the culture of death . 

But then we are uplifted when we hear good news stories about the effect that one committed pro-lifer can have in the recognition of the dignity and the value of all human life from conception

This YouTube post which tells the story of a Vietnamese prolifer shows what one committed, courageous and caring individual can achieve and how the ripples of his initial action have broadened into a major pro-life initiative.

His example is surely one that is relevant everywhere


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Pro-Life Billboards

Look out for the extraordinarily striking Youth Defence billboards in various locations around the country.   I couldn’t help but being impressed with the message portrayed on one of these colourful billboards that I saw last weekend.   The message reads:   

and it is accompanied by five photographs of life at different stages from unborn to old age.
The billboards are part of a campaign of public awareness to highlight the need for protection for the human embryo from the moment of conception.   The focus on human embryos comes in advance of government legislation that Minister for Health, Mary Harney, says she will introduce in the coming months – legislation which is expected to attempt to limit the legal protection of embryos outside the womb and to allow for embryonic stem cell research.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Vigil for All Nascent Human Life: Dublin, Cork, Limerick in Ireland and Brussels in Belguim

I wrote in this blog on Thursday last about the request from Pope Benedict XVI that every diocese and every parish in every country of the world would celebrate in union with him the Vigil for All Nascent Human Life that he will be leading in Rome on Saturday next, 27 November.  I mentioned that Archbishop Diarmuid Martin will be answering the Pope’s call, with prayers in Dublin’s Pro-Cathedral at 4 pm next Saturday.

While Bishops, worldwide, are announcing the individual arrangements in their own particular area for the Vigil, it is not exactly easy to find out what is happening in Ireland.  
Nora Bennis tells me that Limerick will also participate in the Vigil as follows
Diocese of Limerick.
(In response to the Holy Father’s call).
Here in Limerick arrangements have been made as follows to celebrate
Solemn First Vespers for the First Sunday of Advent
on Saturday 27th November at 4.30 p.m.
at St. Joseph’s Church, O’Connell Avenue.
The Catholic Voice newspaper (Issue 44, 21 November – 5 December 2010) is most helpful with regard to announcing news of Vigil celebrations in Ireland, and its website will give up-dated information as and when it is received.

For the moment, Catholic Voice gives the following data:

St. Peter and Paul’s Church, Cork City – Saturday, 27 November:
7 pm, talk on the Sanctity of Human Life, by Dr. Joseph McCarroll
7.15 pm, Solemn Mass of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Extraordinary Form)
8.15 pm, Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament
9 pm, Benediction

‘Let’s do everything possible so that our groups and families join in this universal prayer for life, in communion with the Holy Father.’


Solemn Vigil for All Nascent Human Life Cathedral Church of Sts Michael and Gudula, Brussels, Belgium
Saturday, 27 November 2010. In communion with Pope Benedict XVI and the particular Churches throughout the world, a Solemn Vigil for All Nascent Human Life will be celebarted in the Cathedral Church of Sts Michael and Gudula, Brussels, Belgium by His Grace the Most Revd André-Joseph Léonard, Archbishop of Malines-Brussels and Primate of Belgium, on Saturday, 27 November 2010.  This Solemn Vigil will comprise:
 First Vespers of the First Sunday of Advent, Prayer Vigil and Eucharistic Adoration
Cardinal Seán Brady will lead a Prayer Vigil in Armagh (a short phone call to the Archdiocesan office would give details).

Midlands pro-life leader, Ray McIntyre, invites people to join him in a fast of bread and water/black tea/black coffee in preparation for Pope Benedict’s Vigil.

It is possible that other Dioceses have organised special prayers to coincide with the celebrations in Rome – for instance, it is understood that Bishop Christopher Jones (Elphin) has put plans in place for the Vigil in his Diocese.

So – only a few days left!   Please telephone, email, or write to your Bishop today, and ask him what arrangements have been made in your area to pray in union with Pope Benedict on Saturday next.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Life Prize Awards 2009-2010

The Gerard Health Foundation, which in 2008 inaugurated a programme titled "Life Prizes," has recently announced its 2009- 2010 prizewinners. The Life Prizes programme is a fund of $600,000.00 which is shared annually between six outstanding pro-life leaders who “have achieved significant progress in promoting the sanctity of human life and are working to protect and preserve it.”.
This years winners included two members of the US National Right to Life Committee, Vice President for International Affairs and United Nations Representative Jeanne E. Head, R.N. (see photograph), and Federal Legislative Director Douglas Johnson.  The four other recipients of this years prize are; Marie Smith, director of the Parliamentary Network for Critical Issues; Kristan Hawkins, executive director of Students for Life of America; the Reverend Alveda King and the Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network.
Jeanne Head, R.N. who in addition to being a member of the NRLC executive committee also heads Manhattan Right to Life and has for many years worked very effectively as a volunteer lobbyist at the United Nations in New York.
Douglas Johnson has served National Right to Life as federal legislative director since 1981. Johnson was a key force behind the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act and the Unborn Victims of Violence Act, among other landmark achievements.
·     Kristan Hawkins – Young people today are overwhelmingly pro-life, and Students for Life of America and its Executive Director Kristan Hawkins have taken a leading role in engaging young people across the country in pro-life efforts through innovative use of the internet and increasing Students for Life chapters by the hundreds.

·     Marie Smith – There is a global pro-abortion agenda and Marie Smith has made it her mission to identify, unite, and strategize with pro-life groups, lawmakers, and religious leaders to advance respect for life in law and policy.  Ms. Smith is the Director of the Parliamentary Network for Critical Issues, a non-partisan global outreach of Gospel of Life Ministries.

·     Reverend Alveda King – It is altogether fitting that the niece of Martin Luther King, Jr. would become one of the most important leaders in the greatest civil rights battle of our day. As founder of King for America, Dr. Alveda King has been the public face of the pro-life movement in the African American community, speaking and advocating for years against abortion and especially the targeting of African Americans.

·     Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network – In 2005, Terri Schiavo was starved and dehydrated to death by juducial  decision despite the protestations of her family which continues to fight injustice by supporting the right to life of disabled and vulnerable men and women everywhere, and their Foundation has provided assistance to more than 1,000 families through a national network of resources, support, and medical facilities for the medically-dependent, persons with disabilities, and those incapacitated in life-threatening situations.

The awards will be presented at a ceremony held in Washington, DC on Saturday, January 22, 2011.

Friday, November 19, 2010


Vatican Information Services for Thursday November 18th report that Pope Benedict XVI sent a Message to Archbishop Zygmunt Zimowski, president of the Pontifical Council for Health Pastoral Care, and to participants in the council's twenty-fifth international conference which is currently being held on the theme: "Towards egalitarian and human healthcare in the light of 'Caritas in veritate'".

In his Message Pope Benedict highlights
"the need to work with greater commitment at all levels in order for the right to healthcare to be effective, facilitating access to primary medical assistance. In our own time", he continues, "we are witnessing, on the one hand, a care for health which risks turning into pharmacological, medical and surgical consumerism, almost a cult of the body while, on the other hand, we see the difficulties millions of people face as they seek to obtain minimal subsistence and the medicines they need to cure themselves".
After highlighting the importance of "establishing true distributive justice which guarantees everyone adequate care on the basis of objective needs", the Pope insists that "the world of healthcare cannot divorce itself from moral rules, which must govern it in order to ensure it does not become inhuman" Pope Benedict continued.

"Justice is promoted when we welcome the life of others and take responsibility for them, answering their expectations because in them we see the face of the Son of God, Who became man for us. The divine image impressed in the features of our brothers and sisters is the basis of the exalted dignity of each individual and arouses in each of us the duty to respect, care and serve"
.The Holy Father then clarified the issues by highlighting the plight of the unborn in the context of the international preoccupation with reproductive health and artificial procreation techniques and in highlighting the importance of defence of life from conception to natural death.
"healthcare justice must be one of the priorities on the agendas of governments and international institutions. Unfortunately, along with positive and encouraging results, opinions and schools of thought exist which harm this justice. I am thinking of questions such as those associated with so-called 'reproductive health', the use of artificial procreation techniques that involve the destruction of embryos, and legalised euthanasia. Love for justice, the defence of life from conception until natural end, must be supported and proclaimed, even if this means going against the tide. Fundamental ethical values are the shared heritage of universal morality and the basis for democratic coexistence"
the Holy Father concluded his message to the conference participants by reminding them
"Only by looking at the world with the gaze of the Creator, which is a gaze of love, will humanity learn to live on earth in peace and justice, equitably sharing the planet and its resources for the good of each man and woman. For this reason", the Pope concludes, "I would advocate the adoption of a model of development based on the centrality of the human person, on the promotion and sharing of the common good, on responsibility, on a realisation of our need for a changed lifestyle, and on prudence, the virtue which tells us what needs to be done today in view of what might happen tomorrow"

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Dublin's Archbishop Martin to participate in the Vigil for Life by leading Vespers in Dublin's Pro-Cathedral

We reported last month that Pope Benedict XVI will lead a "vigil for nascent life" by presiding over first vespers on Nov. 27 in St. Peter's Basilica, to mark the start of Advent.

We also reported that Pope Benedict will not be the only one leading the vigil, as the initiative is being promoted through bishops' conferences throughout the world. A letter from Cardinal Antonio Cañizares Llovera of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments and Cardinal Ennio Antonelli of the Pontifical Council for the Family has been sent to the bishops of the world to invite a similar celebration and prayer initiative on a local level throughout the Catholic Church.

We can now report that the Dublin Archdiocese has announced that Archbishop Diarmuid Martin will participate in this important event by leading vespers on Saturday 27th Nov. details of participation in the vigil as follows:
The Holy Father will celebrate in St Peter’s Basilica a solemn ‘Vigil for all nascent human life’ coinciding with the first vespers of the First Sunday of Advent. A similar celebration will take place in St. Mary’s Pro- Cathedral on Saturday 27 November at 4.00 p.m. led by Archbishop Diarmuid Martin which will be incorporated into our Annual Diocesan Advent Service. The atmosphere for these Advent celebrations is quiet and tranquil and you are invited to begin your season of prayerful preparation in this quiet oasis.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

In vitro fertilisation part of the holocaust of abortion according to Argentinian Archbishop

Archbishop Hector Aguer of La Plata, has criticized in vitro fertilization as a technique that plays with the lives and deaths of thousands and thousands of people and called it a "new holocaust that is part of the holocaust of abortion.”
On Nov. 6, during his program, “Keys to a Better World,” Archbishop Aguer referred to the awarding of the Nobel Prize in Medicine to Robert Edwards, for his efforts to conceive the first child through in vitro fertilization.
“This belated recognition again raises the issue of the judgment that must be made regarding this technique that has spread notably throughout the world,” the archbishop said.
Archbishop Aguer pointed to “the fundamental ambiguity” that the procedure presents.  “It would seem that through the manipulation of gametes, as if they were an industrial product, a human being can be manufactured.”
He went on to note that “despite being conceived under such circumstances, the human embryo is still a personal being.” He explained that "it is a well known fact that in order to achieve a birth, a number of embryos are destroyed, and it is very common that only the best ones are chosen and the others thrown away as unusable biological material.”
Archbishop Aguer also pointed out that today there are “thousands and thousands of frozen embryos all over the world” whose fate is unknown and that a multi-million dollar industry has developed from artificial fertilization.
For this reason, he continued, in seeing the Nobel Prize awarded to the creator of in vitro fertilization, we must reflect on “the importance of recognizing the fundamental truths that have to do with the dignity of human life and its sacred nature, from conception to natural death.”
“Bringing about the birth of a child at any cost to satisfy the understandable desire of a couple to have a child must not be done,” he stressed.  “This desire must be conformed to objective ethical criteria.”
Catholic teaching is opposed to IVF because the procedure is contrary to the natural order of sexuality. The technique also involves the elimination of human embryos both inside and outside the mother’s womb, which constitutes abortion in each case.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

UN Committee debate "the right to sexual and reproductive health"

The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural  Rights (CESCR) during its 45th session (1 – 19 November 2010), held a Day of General Discussion (DGD) on the right to sexual and reproductive health in accordance with articles 12 and 10 (2) of the Covenant. according to the website the day was arranged in order to provide an opportunity to exchange views and to garner insights from practitioners and academic experts. The day of discussion was arranged as a series of four panel debates with minimal general debate. The debate themes were as follows:

  1. Definitions and elements of the right to sexual and reproductive health;
  2. Cross-cutting issues and groups in focus;
  3. Legal aspects and State obligations; and
  4. Conclusions.
Several weeks ago when I became aware of the arrangements for the session I submitted a paper to the CESCR on behalf of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children challenging the right of the committee to draw up a new 'general comment' on the issue. I also attended the actual session  on Monday Nov. 15th and made a statement during the session.

The panel speakers were all pro abortion and it became clear during the first session that the creation of a right to abortion was one of the main underlying purposes of the whole exercise. Many of the speakers spoke of the need for access to so called "safe and legal" abortion. There was also a suggestion that for women to be able to access this so called right the issue of conscientious objection needed to be limited. The lack of balance in the panels is just another example of the blatant pro-abortion attempts to impose their anti life agenda on every country through the UN system.  This is the sort of thing that brings the UN into disrepute.

Representatives from a number of member states attended and with one exception all their interventions were pro-life.  Good Statements were made by Nicaragua, Poland, Egypt, Pakistan, Malta, Chile and Honduras. The meeting was arranged to limit the amount of debate from the floor but due to the fact that one of the panelists did not turn up there was additional time for NGO interventions. Once again while there were a small number of anti life statements the vast majority of the NGOs who spoke were pro-life and some excellent interventions were made.

Two members of "Silent no More " women who had been hurt by abortion spoke strongly against the concept of so called "safe and Legal abortion" and told the meeting that making it legal does not make it safe. It is never safe for the baby but many women suffer both physically and/or psychologically afterwards

The following is the statement I prepared but due to time constraints I had to curtail it to some extent.

(the bold text represents the parts of the statement actually made)
Mr. Chairman, my name is Patrick Buckley, I represent the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children. I have already submitted a paper on behalf of my organisation challenging the right of this committee to draw up a general comment on a term not used in the carefully crafted wording of the Convention.

We say in addition that the right to life of all human beings from the moment of conception to natural death, is protected in the bill of rights consisting of the UN Charter, the Universal declaration of Human Rights and the subsequently enacted Covenants and other legally binding Conventions.

We also say that the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) recognizes human rights during the entire pre-natal period of life.

First the preamble of the CRC expressly says that children need rights while they are in the pre-natal period of their life-cycle and this follows on from the original 1959 Declaration 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.”
  • The CRC having used the term child in its preamble in respect of a human life before as well as after birth in Article 1 defines the word child as all “human beings” who are under 18 years of age (unless the State sets a lower age limit).
  • The right to health, in Article 24 is for the benefit of the child who is the rights holder under the convention and expressly gives children rights during the entire pre-natal period.
  • When Article 1 is read in the light of Article 24, “human being” covers children during the entire pre-natal period, that is to say, from conception onwards. Article 24 reads:
1. States Parties recognize the right of the child to the enjoyment of the highest atainable standard of health …

2. States Parties shall pursue full implementation of this right, in particular, shall take appropriate measures: …

(d) To ensure appropriate pre-natal … health care for mothers.” (Article 24; italics and underlining added.)

The child is the right-holder of the right to pre-natal care, not the mother, according to the text of Article 24:  States Parties recognize the right of the child … to pre-natal … care.
  • The fact that the text says “pre-natal …health care for mothers” (emphasis added) does not convert the right into the right of the mother. By definition, pre-natal care is medical care that is delivered to the mother’s body. The care to the child is delivered through actions directed at the mother’s body.

    In other words, the child has the right to have health care given to his or her mother, for the purpose of ensuring the child’s well-being.
We also say that it is the duty of this committee to implement this Convention in accordance with the terms of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, which sets out interpretive norms for all treaties.

Article 31 of the VCLT says:  "A treaty shall be interpreted in good faith in accordance with the ordinary meaning to be given to the terms of the treaty in their context and in light of its object and purpose."
In other words, attention must be paid to the actual text of the treaty and, as an aid to interpretation, to its surrounding context.

We say that there is no such right as a right to abortion, no right to take innocent human life and there never can be such a right. We also call on this Committee to reject pressure from powerful international organizations, which derive huge financial benefit from the taking of human life.

Finally we reiterate that this committee is not empowered to reinterpret the terms of the Convention and we further assert that there is no room for ideological crusades on the part of the Committee in attempting to expand the scope of the convention whilst ignoring the plight of the most vulnerable human beings, babies once conceived and awaiting birth.
Whilst it was clear that the panelists and the committee members were taken aback by the number of pro-life interventions from both member states and the NGO sector, it was also clear that they are determined to proceed with their stated objective of preparing a general comment on the so called "right to sexual and reproductive health"

Monday, November 15, 2010

Post abortion trauma and the need for help

It is constantly being brought home to us that  – besides the obvious result that a baby, an unborn human being, is killed in the process – abortion hurts, damages and affects so many people, particularly the mother.   Members of organisations such as ‘Silent No More’ – made up of women who have had an abortion – are bravely speaking out in public about their experiences.     

‘What I’m really thinking’ is the title of a short piece in the Guardian newspaper’s ‘Weekend Magazine’ (13 October 2010), and it is a very chilling reminder to all of us of the torment that a mother contemplating abortion goes through.
It tells the sad story of a young girl.  ‘There isn’t a choice’, she says, ‘I am an unemployed recent graduate barely able to afford the pregnancy test, with a boyfriend on bar wages.  But after the scan, I want the nurse to find some unfathomable medical reason why termination isn’t an option, so I’d be justified in keeping a child I don’t want to lose but can’t really provide for.’  Following the abortion of her child, she says: ‘Hopefully soon I can focus on a career and creating the right circumstances eventually to have a child.  But the due date for this baby is seared into my mind now.  I won’t ever be able to forget it.’ [Emphasis added]

There are wonderful agencies in nearly every country now that offer the help and practical assistance that was so obviously needed by this young woman.   The tragedy is that the services provided by agencies such as, for instance, the Cardinal Winning Initiative and the Sisters of the Gospel of Life in Scotland; Rachel’s Vineyard; ARCH (Abortion, Recovery, Care and Helpline), in the UK, to name but some of them, are often over-stretched, and indeed their existence is sometimes unknown by those who need them most.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Shock report: Hundreds of foetuses, newborns dumped in South Africa

According to a report in the Irish Sun, a South African radio station reported last Friday that hundreds of aborted babies and dead newborn babies are being dumped in the Johannesburg and Pretoria area each year, .

The report by Johannesburg's private 702 radio station highlights a report by the South African Medical Research Council and the Pretoria-based University of South Africa as saying at least 446 bodies of foetuses and babies under one years of age were turning up in drains, gutters and rubbish bins in Gauteng province.

According to the report at least part of the problem was thought to stem from the proliferation of illegal abortion clinics. In addition to the dumping of aborted preborn babies the statistics also included the bodies of some newborn babies.

Dumping of newborns is apparently a well-documented problem in the South Africa and the report says that the South African media regularly carries stories of desperate, often hard-up teenagers and young women disposing of their babies in toilets following unplanned pregnancies.

Gauteng, where Johannesburg and Pretoria are situated, is South Africa's most populous province.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Multiple births rise as women seek fertility treatment abroad

The Telegraph reported Nov 9th that number of older women having multiple births has continued to increase as couples seek fertility treatment abroad where clinics are largely unregulated.
The report says that fertility clinics in Britain have been working to reduce the multiple pregnancy rate by implanting women with fewer embryos at a time.
The multiple birth rate across all age groups has increased steadily over the last ten years according to the report, but the biggest jump has been among women aged 45 and over.

Figures from the Office of National Statistics revealed that in 2009, 156 women gave births to twins or triplets compared to just 29 a decade earlier. It means the multiple birth rate in women over 45 has increased by 123 per cent in ten years.

Fertility experts said this was largely down to the rise in egg donation, where older women are implanted with the fertilised eggs donated by younger women.

In Britain fertility clinics have been working to reduce the multiple pregnancy rate by implanting women with fewer embryos at a time.

Multiple births according to the report are the largest single risk to pregnant women and their babies following IVF, with a greater chance of miscarriage, pre-eclampsia, and mother is twice as likely to die after a multiple birth.

Babies are more likely to be premature, have physical abnormalities, are three to six times more likely to die at birth and long term problems include an increased risk of cerebral palsy.

IVF is very big business and one that preys on vulnerable women who wish to have their own babies. Reports on IVF tend to ignore the immorality and intrusiveness of the procedures and the fact that around 96% of embryos brought into being through IVF perish, with only about 4% actually surviving to birth.
NaproTechnology on the other hand which is a natural and inexpensive alternative can be used to diagnose and treat many of the causes of infertility and has a better success rate than the very expensive IVF procedures

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Report on the Viva la Vida Conference

The Viva la Vida! Conference, jointly organised by Youth Defence and the Life Institute, took place in Dublin last weekend. Many hundreds of participants, young and older (but mainly young!) enjoyed nearly three days of great talks, testimonies, etc. On Saturday a lively céilidhe ended the day.

It’s very difficult to pinpoint even one or two of the speakers at the conference – the audience was spellbound by each and every one of them. Dr. Colin McGuckin, who now works from his laboratory in Lyon, gave a fascinating and extraordinary account of his work over the past twenty years in the area of adult stem cell treatments. One of his achievements is the creation of the world’s first ‘mini liver’ from umbilical cord blood, in 2005. He rightly expressed his disappointment that Ireland does not have an umbilical cord blood bank. It would be impossible to give a short account of his talk, but the conference talks will be available on disk in the near future.

Other great speakers were: Andy Pollard (on the subject of the so-called ‘population explosion’); Sr. Rosann Reddy (the ‘driving force’ behind the Cardinal Winning Pro-Life Initiative in Glasgow); Eric Scheidler (his father is the ‘veteran’ pro-life leader Joe Scheidler) … The list could go on!

During the Conference, Niamh Úi Bhriain of the Life Institute, and one of the founders of Youth Defence in 1992, launched a booklet entitled JOIN THE DOTS – Who’s behind the push for embryo research in Ireland. It’s an amazing – and at times frightening – account of the history of the co-operation between the Irish Government, government-established quangos, big business, the international pharmaceutical firms, some academic personnel, etc., to establish embryonic stem cell research and experimentation in Ireland. Despite the constant rejection of proposals for embryo experimentation in our country on the part of the people of Ireland – in referenda, in submissions to government-sponsored ‘commissions’, etc. – the Irish Government appears to be determined to ignore the people’s stated wishes, and commonsense. JOIN THE DOTS is part of an awareness campaign to bring to the attention of the people of Ireland what is being done in their name by those who are pushing for embryo research and the resulting destruction of human life.

Finally – here are two dates for your 2011 diary:

Dublin City Centre, Saturday, 2 July 2011 – All-Ireland Rally for Life.

Madrid, 17 August 2011 – Viva la Vida! Conference.
This event will take place as part of
World Youth Day 2011

Monday, November 8, 2010

The Siege of Jericho

You may already have come across a website called ‘The Siege of Jericho’. I saw a mention of it just a few days ago.

Established in 2007, through the inspiration of a nun in Birmingham (UK), the group organises a week-long ‘siege’ of prayer and action at an abortion clinic in that city. Those involved pray that as in the Biblical account of the actual siege of Jericho, the walls surrounding abortion will eventually come tumbling down in a mighty act of reaction to the evil of abortion.

The group taking part in the 'prayer siege’ will already have prayed consistently during the year for the intentions of the ‘siege’. They then gather together each day for one week and, starting with Mass at 3 pm, and accompanied by the Blessed Sacrament, hidden, they recite five decades of the Rosary as they walk once around a local abortion clinic. On the seventh day the group, ‘accompanied by the ringing of bells’, walks around the abortion clinic seven times, and – the local Bishop permitting it – with the Blessed Sacrament openly displayed.

The purpose of the siege is best described in the following aims:
* The conversion of hearts of those engaged in abortion and in the abortion industry;
* The reinstatement of the dignity of the priesthood in the eyes of the faithful.

As the website so aptly puts it: As the walls of Jericho came tumbling down so we pray that the walls enclosing the hardened hearts of those involved in abortion may yield to the promptings of Divine grace and human compassion.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Fighting the left's new agenda

Fr Brian McKevitt in the current edition of his monthly newspaper ALIVE has an article "Called to fight the Left’s new agenda"

There is an old saying that if you put a frog into boiling water it will immediately jump out but if you put it into cold water and gradually turn up the heat it will be boiled.
The Irish nation along with most European nations have been slowly immersed into the culture of death and sadly most do not even recognise it. Fr Brian in his article notes that the parties of the right do not grasp what is happenning nevertheless he see the seeds of new initiatives that foster hope

Fr Brian writes
A huge division now threatens the foundations of Western culture, in what one writer has called "a clash of orthodoxies", another "a civil war".

On one side are those who uphold the culture’s Christian character based on natural law and objective morality. On the other side is the new Left, out to destroy this heritage in the name of individual choice, pleasure and freedom.

Having abandoned its economic agenda of ending capitalism, says Professor Francisco Contreras, the Left underwent a major change. Seeking a new reason for its existence, it opted to work for "a sexual, moral and cultural revolution."

The principal battles in this ‘war’, said the professor, are over: 1) respect for the dignity of human life; 2) sexuality and family structure (sexual laxity, cohabitation, divorce, gay marriage, etc.; 3) the role of religion in public life.

Christians in the US have been quicker than in Europe to recognise the Left’s new agenda. Their response includes a vigorous prolife movement, a vast array of pro-family groups, think-tanks and media, and strong political and religious leaders.

In Europe, on the other hand, the Left more or less dominates the public culture. Parties on the right have still not grasped what is happening and, as a result, have developed no distinctive alternatives to the new Leftist goals.

In Ireland the hard Left’s agenda is being openly and vigorously promoted by Fianna Fail, with the other parties in a support role and the national media acting as knuckle-headed cheerleaders.

The Church, weakened by scandals, internal division, sheer incompetence, loss of confidence in its mission and lack of courageous leadership, has virtually removed itself from the public square.

But there is too much at stake for Christians to allow our present apathy to continue. A first step is to grasp just what a huge assault a tiny minority is carrying out on our society. And the devastation it will cause.

Each of us must then oppose this injustice with all our might, wherever we find ourselves. Hundreds of tiny initiatives have already begun all over the country. They deserve our support. The time for action is now.
The article can be found on this link

Friday, November 5, 2010

Northern Ireland abortion guidance

The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children have issued an update on the current position regarding the provision of abortion guidance in Northern Ireland through their NI development officer Liam Gibson, who issued the following resumé of the current situation:
"The consultation on the latest proposed guidance on abortion law and clinical practice in Northern Ireland finished on Friday 22 October. This consultation was a result of SPUC’s legal victory last year when the High Court ordered the withdrawal of the health department’s original guidance. SPUC’s success was a serious setback for both the department of health and the abortion advocates who had hoped to use guidelines to undermine Northern Ireland’s abortion law in the same way the euthanasia lobby undermined the law on assisted suicide. The original guidance had the potential to make abortion more readily available in the province and would have forced pro-life doctors to facilitate abortion by referral. SPUC therefore had no choice but to seek a judicial review.

The High Court singled out flaws in two crucial areas, counselling and conscientious objection. The importance of these issues is underlined by the fact that the problems in these sections meant the entire guidance had to be withdrawn. Despite this, however, the health officials were so determined to press ahead with the guidance that it was quickly reissued without the sections on counselling and conscientious objection. It was only after SPUC was granted permission to begin a second court action, that the health department finally withdrew the entire document and called the consultation process which has just ended.

The new proposals contain many of the problems of the original guidance. For example:

* the need for specialised counselling for women traumatised byabortion is ignored
* there are no proposals for comprehensive monitoring procedures to ensure doctors comply with the law
* it lacks a forthright rejection of eugenic abortion
* it misinterprets statements on conscientious objection from the General Medical Council and the Nursing and Midwifery Council.

But the most serious difficulty with the new version of the guidance is that it has failed to take on board the criticisms of the High Court regarding conscientious objection. Section 4.2 describes the circumstances where “a practitioner or other healthcare professional may not refuse to participate in a termination procedure”. It describes these circumstances as including “where the life of the woman is in danger”. The High Court ruled that the same statement in the original guidance failed to make sufficiently clear whether such circumstances would include a threat to life on mental health grounds. Remarkably this passage still appears in the reissued guidance.

Pro-life efforts to date have resulted in gradual improvements but the overall tone of the guidance still reflects a broadly permissive interpretation of abortion law in Northern Ireland. Ultimately, the ministers in the Executive will have to give their approval to the guidance before it can be published. Until then the pro-life movement must continue to call on politicians to ensure the final version of the guidance establishes highest possible levels of protection for children, their mothers and members of the medical profession."

Thursday, November 4, 2010

US midterm elections show massive rejection of Obama anti life policies

The majority of the nominal pro-life Democrats who along with Representative Bart Stupak provided the votes for the pro-abortion health care bill were sent packing as a result of voter outrage. Meanwhile pro-life Republicans such as Christopher (Chris) Smith (see photograph) were easily returned

The Democrats claimed at the time that the legislation that would allow a government-run health care program, which did not fund abortions and claimed that an executive order signed by President Barack Obama would ensure that was the case.

Pro-life voters however were not taken in and punished the betrayal in Tuesday’s election: Representatives Alan Mollohan, Steve Driehaus, Baron Hill, Chris Carney, Kathy Dahlkemper, Marcy Kaptur, Charlie Wilson, Brad Ellsworth, Jim Oberstar and John Boccieri lost their seats with only a handful escaping the voters' wrath.

On the other hand one of the few pro-life Democrats to oppose the pro-abortion health care bill, Rep. Dan Lipinski from Illinois, won his re-election bid.

Concerned Women for America Director of Legislation and Public Policy Shari Rendall said afterwards
“Last night's vote was crystal clear: Americans do not want their money to pay for abortions,”
And CWA CEO Penny Nance said,
selling their votes to pass the controversial health care bill most Americans oppose was their ticket home. “Yesterday's vote showed that Americans realized that President Obama's executive order was just a sham to ram through this unpopular bill.”

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Holy Family Maternity Hospital Bethlehem clebrates 50,000th birth

The 50,000th baby to be born at the Holy Family Hospital in Bethlehem recently was a cause of particularly great joy for all concerned. Aisha is the daughter, and first-born, of a young Palestinian couple. Commenting on the occasion, the general manager of the hospital, said: ‘Women are symbolic of the future, and here in this country we have to work a lot for the women of Palestine to get their rights, including decent health care.’
The Holy Family Hospital has been in Bethlehem since 1990, and it is run by the Order of Malta in partnership with the Daughters of Charity order of nuns.
Readers will recall my blog (30 May 2009) about another fantastic hospital in Bethlehem – the Caritas Baby Hospital – and the wonderful work of caring for the mothers and babies of Bethlehem, and surrounding areas, that is taking place there.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

UN World Youth Conference: The battle for the minds and hearts of youth

At the UN World Youth Conference that was held in Leon, Mexico, in August last, the Holy See expressed its concern that the final document of the conference, the Guanajuato Declaration, did not reflect the true position of marriage and the family. The Holy See, during its interventions at the conference, emphasised the necessary role of parents in the lives of their children, particularly in the area of education in sexuality, and pointed out that ‘the word “parents” does not appear once in an outcome document devoted to youth, which means that the vital role parents must play in fulfilling their responsibilities for them has not been recognized.’ Further, the Holy See expressed concern that
‘the reference to “comprehensive education on human sexuality” stands alone without reference to parents’ “prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children”, including religious, moral and spiritual dimensions of authentic human love, and related matters concerning the nature of sexuality, marriage and the family.’
The Holy See also stated that, in the context of the term
‘sexual and reproductive health’ used in the document, it ‘does not consider abortion or access to abortion as a dimension of this concept, nor contraception or the use of condoms as an acceptable family planning measure.'
Referring to the term ‘family … in its plurality of forms’, used in the document, the Holy See set out its recognition of ‘one family form’ – only –
‘based on marriage, the equal partnership between one man and one woman, that is, husband and wife, and the duty of the state to strengthen the family.’
This is the point at which I would like to refer to the booklet Tried but Untested – the aims and outcomes of sex education in schools that I mentioned in this blog recently.
The booklet was published by the Family Education Trust (Milton Keynes, England) in 1995, and it is an invaluable reference source in relation to the question of ‘sex education’ in schools. Contributors include Valerie Riches (‘Sex Education and Social Engineering’); Paul Atkin (‘Local Authority Sex Education Policies’); Robert Whelan (‘Teaching Sex in Schools: Does it Work?’), and others. Even though it was written fifteen years ago, an Appendix entitled ‘Local Action for Parents’ is still very relevant to the problems that today’s parents face with regard to ‘sex education’ in schools. In introducing her contribution to the booklet, Valerie Riches says:
‘Most people would agree that children need to be told properly about human sexuality, rather than being left to find out about it for themselves. Many parents will take comfort from the fact that schools now provide sex education, perhaps believing that they are thus being supported in their parental duty to bring their children to a sensitive understanding of one of the most important aspects of human life.
‘However, my own family’s experience, as well as research that I have done, suggest that sinister motives underlie the sex education movement, and that the content of a lot of sex education is actually hostile to the family values which many parents still support.’
Nothing much has changed! If you don’t already have a copy of Tried but Untested do try to acquire a copy of it. It can happen that the relevance of something written many years ago is brought home to us only much later.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Irish customs seizure of abortion drugs

The truth is out!
Reporting on the confirmation by the Irish Medicines Board recently that the Irish customs authorities made 1,216 seizures of ‘illegal drugs to induce abortions in Ireland’ during 2009, The Irish Times newspaper in a report dated Oct 28th states that:
‘Medical experts have warned many women taking these drugs may be unaware of the proper dosage or administration of the drugs which can result in severe bleeding or incomplete abortions.’
[The Life Institute, having made official enquiries about the seizures and having established that the figure of 1,216 actually refers to the number of tablets involved, and not to the number of ‘seizures’ have accused the Irish Times of sloppy reporting.]
The report goes on to say that:
‘Clinics such as the Marie Stopes Reproductive Choices … say they have seen an increase in women seeking assistance after taking these drugs. In many cases, they say women affected said they could not afford to travel abroad for an abortion or, in the case of immigrant women, felt unable to leave the country due to their residency status.
’(The severe CEDAW admonitions to Ireland some years ago included the recommendation that Ireland’s pro-life laws should be relaxed to accommodate immigrant women, amongst others.)
The newspaper report continues:
‘Experts say medical abortion should only be completed in the first nine weeks of a pregnancy. The medical complications of abortion include bleeding, infection, incomplete abortion, laceration of the neck of the womb, perforation of the womb and the possibility of a clot moving. The later the abortion the greater the risk of side-effects.’
It is extraordinary that such information should be made so available in the media – if a pro-life agency or group were to offer this information in the public arena they would be, and indeed so often have been, targeted as ‘right-wing fundamentalists trying to frighten women’!
Despite the truth about the evil of abortion being given an airing such as this in the national media, let us not be distracted, however, from the relentless push by pro-abortion forces, for Ireland's pro-life ethos and its Constitution to be diminished or, indeed, overturned.