Friday, August 31, 2012

New study shows repeat abortions lead to premature births

A new Finnish study, published in the journal Human Reproduction, has confirmed that abortion causes prematurity in subsequent births.  Pro-abortion organizations have consistently denied this despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary because they know that it weakens their position. This study found that the more abortions a woman has before her first child, the more likely she is to give birth prematurely. See BBC News report

Data from all 300,858 first-time mothers in Finland between 1996 and 2008 was analysed for the purpose of the study, which shows that women were three times more likely to have a very premature baby, born before 28 weeks, if they had had three or more abortions.

Being born too soon is linked to higher risks of infection, hypothermia and death.

Repeat abortions
The study showed there would be three babies born before 28 weeks for every 1,000 women who had never had an abortion, four per 1,000 who had had one abortion, six in those who had had two abortions and 11 if the woman had had three or more abortions.

There were similar figures for babies born before 37 weeks and for low birth weight. However, only 0.3% of women in the study had had three or more abortions before their first child.

Statistics for England and Wales show the number of women having multiple abortions is rising.

Andrew Whitelaw, a professor of neo-natal medicine at the University of Bristol, said: "While pre-term birth before 37 weeks' gestation exposes an infant to a modest but definite increased risk of a range of serious problems including brain injury and death, birth before 28 weeks exposes the infant to a hugely increased risk of death, brain injury and permanent disability.

"Thus an increase, after three or more abortions, of nearly threefold in the odds of having an infant born before 28 weeks is worrying.

"The steadily increasing survival of very pre-term infants should not be interpreted as a solution to the problem of pre-term birth. Increased survival of infants under 28 weeks is at the cost of increased survival of infants with disability."

There are now over 50 studies that have found that previous induced abortions increase preterm birth risk e.g an Australian study (Lumley, J. The association between prior spontaneous abortion, prior induced abortion and preterm birth in first singleton births. Prenat Neonat Med 1998 3: 21-24) which had a data base of 250,000 births showed a 60% increase in extreme premature birth after one abortion, a 150% increase after two abortions, a 460% increase after three abortions and a staggering 800% increase after 4 or more abortions.

Labour Party Split on Abortion

Despite the fact Labour the junior party in Ireland’s coalition government  has previously declared that it is pro-abortion many people within Labour are unhappy with that  image and it has become clear in recent times that the party is actually split on the abortion issue.
Senator Ivana Bacik  insists that her party’s official position on abortion is "pro-choice" and Communications Minister Pat Rabbitte says Labour’s position is well-established.

TÁNAISTE (Deputy Prime Minister) and Labour leader Eamon Gilmore however, despite having made previous pro-abortion statements, has reportedly refused to spell out Labour’s position on abortion before the Government-appointed expert group reports next month. Mr Gilmore has also declined to say if he agrees or disagrees with Senator Bacik.
Gilmore’s hesitation (or change of heart) appears to be due to unrest within the party as recently expressed by party member Senator John Whelan.

Senator Whelan is reported as saying there are a variety of views within the party. 
“Pat Rabbitte summed it up when he said there was a broad spectrum of views within the Labour Party. I was glad he did note there was not just a single viewpoint,” Mr Whelan said. “Some of us resent the characterisation that the Labour Party is, if you like, pro-abortion. We don’t agree with that.”
Mr Rabbitte conceded this by acknowledging at the weekend that “pretty much all of the parties” in Leinster House had differing views within their ranks.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Changing Unjust Laws Justly

I recently came across a review of a book that I had intended to review myself Colin Harte’s  “Changing Unjust Laws Justly” (Published by the Catholic University of America Press, June 2005)
The review by Francis Phillips which is reprinted below is to be found on Jacqueline Parkes Blog 

This is a profound, significant and disturbing book. It is profound because it deals with a grave subject, abortion law, in a serious and comprehensive way; it is significant because it looks at the whole question from an original angle, that of Christian humanism; and it is disturbing because the questions it raises inevitably challenge the accepted pro-life strategic response in the decades since David Steel’s Abortion Act of 1967. But its perspective is not confined to one country or pressure group; although the author is specifically concerned with abortion legislation in this country and recognises that opposition to it has come largely from Christian/Catholic sources, he rightly points out that his book concerns all countries with abortion laws and is essentially a philosophical enquiry into the essence of law itself: if ‘justness’ is an essential property of any law, what makes a law just or unjust? Thus it can also be recommended to all clear-thinking non-believers.

What, then, is Harte’s theme? Simply that restrictive abortion legislation, i.e. legislation that attempts to restrict abortion to certain time limits and categories in order to save some lives, is intrinsically unjust. This means that it can never be licit to support it or vote for it. Such an idea seems preposterous at first sight: surely, the pro-life argument runs, it is right and therefore necessary to try to mitigate the effects of abortion law if you cannot repeal it altogether. This was certainly the thinking behind David Alton’s Abortion (Amendment) Bill of 1987, which argued for an upper time limit on abortions (18 weeks) while conceding to the pro-abortion opposition that some categories, for instance disabled children and those conceived after incest or rape, could be excluded from this time limit. At the time Ann Widdicombe MP described Alton’s proposed Bill as ‘wise, just, humane and civilised’. In retrospect, such a description seems extraordinary. As Harte explains in his patient, scholarly and courteous way, there can be nothing wise, just, humane or civilised in a country’s law which does not protect the lives of its most vulnerable citizens.

 As it happened, Alton’s Bill was filibustered out of parliamentary time so never became law. It was replaced in 1990 by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act, which made 24 weeks the upper time limit for abortions - except for disabled babies who could now be aborted up to birth. The creation of a time limit and the legal (and eugenic) distinction between disabled and non-disabled babies, conceded by the Alton Bill, was largely responsible for such a disastrous legislative outcome. Not surprisingly, John Smeaton, the national director of SPUC, is wary of committing his Society to supporting current calls to restrict abortion, having learnt a bitter lesson from the aftermath of the Alton Bill.

As Harte argues, restrictive abortion legislation will always distort the genuine pro-life view; for pro-lifers, with the best of intentions, end up being tarred by the brush of the anti-natalists e.g. David Alton stated in Parliament that 18-week foetuses were “not blobs of jelly”; to the ignorant this implies that before 18 weeks they are. The public at large could be excused, therefore, for thinking that the pro-life movement found it acceptable to abort babies under the 18-week limit, as well as those in the ‘hard case’ categories.

Colin Harte took time out from his university studies in 1987-8 in order to campaign in support of David Alton’s Bill for restrictive abortion legislation. What brought about his change of mind, related with courage and humility, was meeting Alison Davis, the then coordinator of SPUC’s Handicap Division (now called No Less Human), who was born with spina bifida, a detectable abortable condition. For her, the exclusion of the disabled from the proposed legislation was completely unacceptable, as it was to other pro-life disabled people. One disabled woman wrote to SPUC at the time, stating “We could never proceed…until we have grieved over our grave omission.” Later statistics spell out this “grave omission”: 20% of non-disabled foetuses are aborted, compared to 90% of disabled foetuses. Restrictive abortion legislation invariably sends the weakest to the wall.

The book’s subtitle holds the key to Harte’s thinking. Quoting Matthew 25:45 – “Whatever you did to the least of these my brethren, you did it to Me” – he makes an eloquent case for solidarity as Christ intends it; when we exclude “the last and the least” from proposed abortion legislative reform we thereby exclude Christ himself. Restrictive abortion legislation, he emphasises, “always excludes from protection some unborn children equally entitled to protection”. The rationale behind such legislation has, he observes, a shocking resemblance to the question once posed by Caiaphas in a kangaroo court in Jerusalem: “Is it not better that one man should die…?”

 In an important chapter on the nature of jurisprudence, phrases such as ‘imperfect law’, ‘compromise legislation’, ‘lesser evil’, are carefully examined and rejected. Laws are either ‘just’ or ‘unjust’ and if a law fails to respect the right to life of every individual it is intrinsically an unjust law. Harte quotes Aquinas on law: “An ordinance of reason for the common good”. When dealing with law, the “common good” differs from the limited good of individual action (such as rescuing some but not all from a sinking ship) because it concerns “the good of each and all within the state”. We would never endorse laws for the “common good” that advocate killing ‘some’ Jews or ‘some’ black people; the very suggestion is abhorrent. Yet seemingly in good conscience we tolerate the killing of some unborn children – despite the fact that the protection of each human life “is a fundamental requirement of any system of human law”. The essence of law is its justness. According to Aquinas laws are unjust when contrary to divine and human good. It is hard to argue that restrictive abortion legislation does not fall into this category.
One of the book’s many strengths is its extensive quotations from the thinking of John Paul II in his key pro-life encyclical, Evangelium Vitae (1995). The Pope argues that a law tolerating abortion violates the natural law; therefore it is not valid as law. Thus to support any measure that makes a distinction between different categories of the unborn is to collude in something that is fatally flawed. Even if the consequence might be that some lives are saved it is an unchanging moral axiom that we cannot do evil that good may come.

Harte argues persuasively that pro-life supporters often misinterpret the relevant sentence in Evangelium Vitae: “An elected official…could licitly support proposals aimed at limiting the harm done…by such a law”. This does not mean, as people commonly think, supporting laws limiting or restricting abortion; it refers to proposals such as not funding abortions with public money or granting medical personnel the right not to perform abortions. Such secondary legislation can licitly be supported by pro-lifers because it is not intrinsically unjust i.e. it does not make a distinction between categories of the unborn. It is this latter legal stance which undermines that respect for the “right to life of every human being…even if he is the last and least gifted” (John Paul II, speaking on the 5th anniversary of Evangelium Vitae.) The former Cardinal Ratzinger is also cited: “Can compromises be made when it is a matter of choosing good and evil?”

This review lacks the space to do more than highlight the main arguments of such a vital contribution to pro-life literature. It should be read by everyone who is sympathetic to the pro-life cause, Christian or otherwise. In an area often fraught with high emotion, it should be added that the book is not written in emotive language, or intended as an attack on the pro-life movement in the UK which, the author emphasises, does much good work in other ways to promote “the civilisation of love”. It is not polemical or intended to convert. It is judicious, charitable, meticulously researched and carefully argued, packed with erudite footnotes, references, appendices and an extensive bibliography. Its author simply wants people to consider his argument. Not to do so would be – to use his parlance - an injustice. I would further comment that in the 36 years since David Steel’s 1967 Abortion Act, despite extensive and prolonged pro-life efforts there has been no success whatever in changing the law. Indeed, the 1990 Act made a situation already dire significantly worse. Can it be that the pro-life movement has been fighting the wrong campaign, losing sight of the moral law in its desire for partial ‘success’? It takes courage and humility to change a position long adhered to; but the author, whose preface was written on the feast of the Annunciation, once unthinkingly accepted a viewpoint he now believes to be deeply flawed.

Like Alison Davis cited above, I also have a personal stake in this most critical debate: I have a daughter with Down’s Syndrome (as with spina bifida, it is a detectable abortable condition) who was born in 1990, the same year that an Act of  Parliament allowed babies like her to be aborted up to birth. For her dear sake I too am pledged to solidarity with the ‘last and the least’. To paraphrase the seventeenth century poet John Donne, surely the father of the solidarity movement: “Any unborn child’s death diminishes me for I am involved in mankind.” Christ, as Colin Harte points out, would not abandon one sheep for the sake of the other ninety-nine. Neither should we.

Francis Phillips

According to the BLOG POST
For a limited period Changing Unjust Laws Justly can also be obtained at the discounted rate of £39 from Alison Davis, 35 Stileham Bank, Milborne, Blandford Forum, Dorset DT11 0LE.  Email:

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Irish Media hostility towards the unborn and towards the Catholic Church

The major arms of Irish print media are once again showing their hostility towards unborn life and their complete disdain for Catholicism. The Irish Times had a series of articles yesterday which underline this hostility evident not least in both Fintan O'Tooles article which declared that the "Campaign against abortion is a phony War" in which he completely misrepresents the pro-life position. This hostility is also evident in the Irish Times  editorial of August 28th which sought to highlight differences of opinion between Cardinal Brady and Dublin's Archbishop Martin, which prompted the Archbishop to write to the Times rejecting the editorial comments which he describes as 'mischievous' 

The text of Archbishop Martin's response is set out below;
Your editorial (August 28th) suggesting a difference of opinion between Cardinal Seán Brady and myself, based on comments I made at the MacGill Summer School is, if I may say so, a piece of mischievous misrepresentation of what I said.

My comments at MacGill – which were widely reported on in newspapers including your own – were aimed at directing attention away from a vision which looks on the church simply as “being against things” rather than being the fruit of a positive teaching.

Indeed my main comment in the MacGill talk was very much in line with what Cardinal Brady said last Sunday and on the debate that has ensued: “We are all tempted to succumb to the widespread opinion that Christianity is really something private and personal for our own devotion and inspiration and not something that has its relevance in the public square. The church in Ireland has to find ways to make its voice heard clearly about important moral issues which are under discussion. It must do so with respect but with clarity. It must find a new language for ‘dialogue rather than decree’. But Irish secular society also has to go along the road of dialogue and not anathema and exclusion regarding the voice of religion . . . A mature secularist or even a mature atheist should be one who is open to deep dialogue with the culture of belief and of believers. The choice – on both sides – is between dialogue and intolerance.”

The Catholic Church has a clear position on the dignity of every human life which it has every right to present, rationally defend and lobby for in the public square and will do so “with respect but with clarity”. – Yours, etc,

Dublin 9.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Responses to the Call by Cardinal Sean Brady to protect unborn life

There have been a number if interesting responses to the call by Cardinal Sean Brady to protect unborn human life and to resist the new attempt to legislate for abortion in Ireland.
The Cardinal said on RTE Radio that,
 Dail Deputies and Ministers will be lobbied by bishops and priests as part of a full-scale campaign of opposition if there is any attempt by the Government to legislate for abortion.
The Cardinal also suggested that another referendum on abortion was possibly the only solution to deal with the controversial issue.
The Labour Party Minister for Communications Mr Pat Rabbitte, speaking on the same programme, said he would be “somewhat surprised at the cardinal’s reference to lobbying and engaging with, canvassing, public representatives and so on, on the matter. […]
Minister Rabbitte then unhelpfully misconstrued the Cardinals reference to lobbying as follows,
“I don’t have any objection to any of the churches stating its position and making it clear, but I think it would be a retrogressive step if we were to go back to the days of the Catholic Church dictating to elected public representatives how [they] should address an issue,” he said.
The Irish Independent today reports that a minister last night said the Government should consider allowing Labour and Fine Gael TDs a free vote on any abortion proposals that come before the Dail.

Meanwhile junior Finance Minister Brian Hayes told the Irish Independent that abortion was such an emotive issue that Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore should consider giving their TDs a free hand.
"It certainly is something the Government should consider," Mr Hayes said. "This is an issue for people's individual conscience. The option of a free vote is something a mature parliament should be able to do more often.
"There are differences within Labour and within Fine Gael. To present it as a party political issue is a distortion."
Another Fine Gael minister admitted there was a growing desire among rank-and-file TDs for a free, unwhipped vote.

"A lot of our lads would like a free vote on it because it's a personal issue and not a budgetary issue," the minister said. "The only worry is it would create a precedent. There has been talk of it between members."

But the source added: "It would be a matter for the party leaders. And I would be shocked if abortion is dealt with in the lifetime of this Government."

Monday, August 27, 2012

Powerful statement by Ireland's Cardinal Sean Brady stating Catholic Church opposition to the introduction of abortion in Ireland

The Primate of All Ireland Cardinal Sean Brady entered into the ongoing controversy that has arisen on the issue of abortion by making a powerful statement on the issue at the Edmund Rice Summer School in Waterford and subsequently in an RTE Radio programme. See Yahoo News report

Cardinal Brady firmly expressed the Catholic Church teaching and told his audience
the Church would vigorously oppose any Government proposals to legislate for abortion in Ireland. The Cardinal, who appealed for calm and reasoned discussions on the issues of abortion and same-sex marriage, told the Summer school that it was important the Church prepares, with others, to defend the equal right to life of a mother and child against any effort to introduce abortion.

Continuing the Cardinal said the Catholic Church believed a referendum on abortion was possibly the only solution on dealing with the controversy and said the Church, through a media campaign will oppose any attempt to legislate for abortion. The Cardinal also told the meeting that the campaign will include lobbying of public representatives and providing resources to priests to preach on the topic. "We would want to inform people of the ills of abortion," said Cardinal Brady.

Cardinal Brady said it was important people have the courage to make their voices heard on why human life should be protected and respected from the first moment of conception through to natural death.
"It is important that we do justice to the logic and human reason behind the values we hold," he said. "They cannot be relegated to the realm of private religious beliefs with no place in our laws or public policy in the name of secularism or tolerance.
"These values are rooted in human reason and available to all. They have the same right to be heard, promoted and respected in our laws and to be put to the people in democratic decisions as other perhaps less representative views."

Friday, August 24, 2012

Urgent Appeal to All Elected Public Representatives:

Theresa Heaney of  Mothers Alliance Ireland has issued a strongly worded appeal to Irish politicians to reject any proposal to legislate for abortion, which we are printing in full below.
As a former nurse, who trained in a London hospital, where abortions were routinely carried out, I appeal to Irish politicians who are considering legislating for abortion, to think beyond that word
‘abortion’ to the reality of the horrendous act of violence that is perpetrated against the child in the womb and against the mother of the child killed by abortion.  (Thank God I was exempted by the ward sister from administering medication or having anything to do directly with abortion. I was exempted because I was Irish. It was generally understood and accepted in the 1980's that Irish nurses did not participate in abortion because of our faith and our culture.)

To every Irish politician I ask, which act of abortion are you considering legislating for?

It could hardly be the Suction Abortion, whereby a hollow pipe with a sharp tip is fed into the womb. It sucks the little baby out by tearing the developing baby apart, sucks the pieces through the tube
and deposits them in a bag. The body pieces are then assembled by the abortionist or the assistant, to ensure that all the 'baby parts' are accounted for.

The Dilation and Curettage (D&C method) achieves a similar result, except it is done with a sharp looped knife that scrapes the wall of the uterus.  Then the baby is cut up, before body parts are removed from the womb.

Then, there is abortion by Dilation and Evacuation, where the baby is dismembered, limb by limb. The surgeon waits for the baby to bleed to death before proceeding.  In some cases, he crushes its head, to allow it to pass through the cervix.

The violence inflicted on the unborn through the procedure of Saline Abortion is no less barbaric. Approximately 200 mls of amniotic fluid is withdrawn from the womb and replaced with a concentrated saline (salt) or a solution of urea.  The unborn baby then breathes and
swallows this concentration and dies painfully over a period from salt poisoning, dehydration, brain haemorrhage and convulsions. Mothers have reported the frantic movements of their unborn babies as they felt them trashing around the womb, dying in unspeakable agony. The skin of these little babies is either completely burned off or turned a cherry red colour.

What about partial birth abortion, which is practiced in some jurisdictions? In America the abortionist pulls a living baby feet-first out of the womb and into the birth canal as if the baby is being born. The baby's body, except for the head, is delivered. The abortionist purposely keeps the baby's head lodged just inside the cervix (the opening to the womb).  The abortionist then punctures the base of the baby’s skull with a surgical instrument, such as a long surgical scissors or a pointed hollow metal tube called a trochar.  He then inserts a catheter (tube) into the wound, and removes the baby's
brain with a powerful suction machine.  This causes the baby's skull to collapse, after which the abortionist completes the delivery of the now-dead baby.

This is the reality of abortion.  I know that as an elected member of the Irish government you would never consider legislating for other acts of violence against women and children.  How then can you
support any of the above barbaric violent acts.?

Irish abortion regime must be resisted

The Irish Examiner has published an excellent article by Cora Sherlock opposing the introduction of abortion in Ireland. The introduction of abortion she says has far-reaching effects and everyone should be free to voice an opinion.The article is reprinted below and is also accessible on the above link.

WE’VE come to expect a certain level of divisiveness in the abortion debate. It’s an emotive subject simply because it concerns the most fundamental right of all — the right to life.

Ironically, many call for a calm debate one minute, and then revert to accusations of cowardice the next. We saw this in action recently when a group of Fine Gael TDs indicated that they were not prepared to vote for abortion legislation.

But why should they, or anyone who opposes abortion, be accused of cowardice? Surely we’ve wrestled with this issue for long enough to have passed the stage of name-calling? The introduction of abortion to a society has far-reaching effects. As such, everyone living in that society should be free to voice an opinion without fear of being castigated, regardless of where they stand on the issue.

Health Minister James Reilly’s comments and actions over the past few weeks mean it will not come as any great surprise if the expert group on abortion reports back in September with a limited list of options, all of which lead to the introduction of abortion, whether by legislation or regulation. However, if this happens it will be on the basis of a political decision and will have nothing to do with the requirements of either medicine or law.

Women don’t die in Ireland because abortion is illegal here. We have a lower maternal mortality rate than countries such as the Netherlands or the UK, where abortion is legal. This fact is often dismissed by those who would like to see abortion introduced here, but their arguments ignore the fact that pregnant women in Irish hospitals already receive whatever treatment they need for an existing medical condition. The only difference is that doctors here have a duty of care towards the unborn child as he or she is recognised as a separate patient. The same cannot be said of the UK, for example, where abortion is legal up to 24 weeks and up to birth if the baby is suffering from even a minor disability.

Earlier this year, The Daily Telegraph carried out an undercover investigation which revealed systematic abuses in a number of abortion clinics, including the illegal practice of sex-selective abortion. Babies are born alive during "botched abortions" in the UK — and then left to die.

These facts are unpalatable, but it is incumbent on those who advocate the introduction of abortion to explain how we will be any different to countries such as the UK, which introduced abortion on supposedly "limited grounds" and subsequently found it impossible to restrict or control. Legally, there is no obligation on the Government to introduce abortion. The oft-quoted ABC European court decision merely obliged us to state our laws clearly; it did not state what those laws should be but recognised the right of the Irish people to decide this issue.

If, as some have suggested, we legislate on the basis of the X Case, we would be ignoring the fact that the court in X heard no medical evidence. In making its decision, the court set no time limits. Legislation based on X means late-term abortions would be protected in law right up to birth. Since the X Case too, there has been a wealth of peer-reviewed evidence showing that abortion often has negative consequences on the woman involved — a fact exemplified by the testimonies of the women in groups like Women Hurt and this year’s HSE/Crisis Pregnancy Programme Study, which found a marked increase in the level of abortion regret since the last study carried out in 2003. An honest debate accepts that there are negative effects on many women. Their voices must not be drowned out.

In its pre-election commitment to the Pro-Life Campaign, Fine Gael restated its opposition to the legalisation of abortion and research conducted on human embryos. It undertook to bring to the expert group a clear "commitment that women in pregnancy will receive whatever treatments are necessary to safeguard their lives and that the duty of care to preserve the life of the baby will also be upheld".

This is the genuine pro-life, pro-woman position that is currently in practice in Irish hospitals and is consistently supported in independent opinion polls. A careful review of the facts has meant several governments have realised abortion is not necessary to safeguard women’s health. On the contrary, it may jeopardise their psychological wellbeing and end the life of a separate human being.

Right now, Dr Reilly has primed the expert group to produce a list of options that would impose an abortion regime on Ireland. This is an affront to human dignity and the right to life and must be opposed.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Protection of the unborn in Ireland

Nora Bennis has, in a circular letter, set out the current position in respect of protection of the unborn in Ireland.
Nora expresses the belief that the Irish Government that cannot legally introduce legislation for abortion and cites a number of reason in support of her argument.    
Nora writes that William Binchy rightly pointed out in the Irish Human Rights Commission (IHRC) Submission to the UN in 2005 that the Irish people rejected the proposal to introduce abortion legislation in the 2002 referendum.  The IHRC had recommended that the Government should introduce legislation but William Binchy opposed the recommendation because, in his view, "legislation of this type would violate the human rights of unborn children up to the time of birth, denying them the right to life, dignity and equality, and would be inconsistent with the democratic will, since the referendum of 2002 demonstrated that the majority of voters oppose such legislation.”  (IHRC Submission s. 2.h asterisk.)

Nora also points out that the Irish Government, in the 1997 Second and Third Reports to the United Nations on CEDAW, clearly stated that abortion was illegal in Ireland because of the existence of the 1861 Offences against the Person Act.  In addition to this the people voted NO in the 2002 referendum which included a proposal to eliminate Articles 58 and 59 of that Act.  The Irish Government in its Fourth and Fifth Report on CEDAW said that the legal position remained as it was before the 2002 referendum.   What did they say it was before the 2002 referendum?  They said it was illegal because of the 1861 Act.   Therefore, it is still illegal.  In fact, the argument could be made that sections 58 and 59 are now even more binding since the people have voted by referendum in 2002 to retain them.   

Nora also points out the anomalies of the the infamous X case and says it is arguable that the X case judgement is null and void  - “per incuriam”. The judges in the Supreme Court were in breach of Art. 34.5.1 of the Irish Constitution because, despite their Oath to the contrary, they made no attempt during that hearing to get full knowledge of the facts necessary for them to come to a proper decision (they didn’t have a medical doctor present to fully inform them about abortion, only a psychologist,  and not a medical doctor.) The first principle governing any law states that everything must be presumed to have been properly and correctly done – “omnia praesumuntier rite et solemnitier”. If the Court is silent on important matters that would have changed the judgement, as in the X Case, the judgement is invalid.

The European Court of Human Rights did not call for abortion legislation to be introduced in Ireland. They called for “clarity” of Ireland ’s position.  Ireland ’s position is quite clear:-

  • The Irish people said no to abortion legislation in 2002.
  • The Irish people also in 2002 voted for the retention of Articles 58 and 59 of the Offences Against the Person Act, 1861.
  • The Government has already clarified to the United Nations that the legal position after the 2002 referendum remained the same as it was before it, i.e. abortion is illegal because of the 1861 Act.
  • The X case judgement is void.  
These arguments can be legitimately made, and we must all make them now, and stand together on them for the sake of Ireland ’s unborn babies and their mothers.  The fact that abortion kills babies and puts the health and welfare of mothers in grave danger, can no longer be denied.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

6th World Prayer Congress for Life Vienna October 4th-8th

The 6th World Prayer Congress for Life will be held in VIENNA from the 4th to the 8th of October at the Palais Niederoesterreich conference centre, see venue details on this website

Accommodation is available for conference participants at the Hotel IBIS Mariahilf and special rates apply for those making a reservation by August 30th.

The programme has a number of Marian themes and offers a variety of activities, which will include presentations by pro-life leaders such as Dr Anthoni Zieba from Poland and Monsignor Philip Reilly of the protectors of God’s Precious Infants  from the US and many others. The group will visit the Cistercian Holy Cross Abbey on Friday for a ceremony of atonement, (This Cistercian monastery dates back to 1135 when it was founded by Leopold III. In 1188 Duke Leopold V gave the monastery a relic of the Holy Cross that is still venerated there today.) On Saturday the group will pray outside the largest Austrian abortion clinic
The Congress will commence with Mass at 5pm on Thursday Oct 4th, which will be celebrated by Bishop Elmar Fischer following which the Icon from Jasna Gora  in Poland will be welcomed as part of the Ocean to Ocean pilgrimage.
Bishop Fischer will then address the congress on the topic “Mary, Mother of life”

Full details may be found on this link

Monday, August 20, 2012

Canadian Medical Association deny the humanity of unborn babies

The Vancouver Sun reports that the organization representing Canada's doctors says life begins when a baby emerges from its mother's womb. This approach is in a similar vein to that set out in an article by Peter Singer, we reported on last week, which says that being human does not confer the right to life.
Delegates to the Canadian Medical Association's annual general council meeting last Wednesday supported retention of the section of the Canadian Criminal Code that declares a child becomes a human being at the moment of birth.
According to the report: 
Their move comes after concerns a private member's motion in Parliament could be a back door to criminalizing abortion and the doctors who perform it.
Conservative MP Stephen Wood-worth tabled his motion this spring. It has been regarded as a move to reopen the abortion debate.
The motion seeks to create a House of Commons committee to review the Criminal Code section that declares a child becomes a human being "when it has completely proceeded, in a living state, from the body of its mother."
The report goes on to say that Prime Minister Stephen Harper has continually said his government will not bring forward abortion legislation. With some top Conservative cabinet ministers saying they will vote against Woodworth's motion, it appears assured a death in the Commons when debate resumes in the fall.
"This attempt to modify the definition of a human being could legally recognize the fetus, which would give the fetus rights," said Montreal physician Dr. Genevieve Desbiens. "This constitutes a recriminalization, not only of abortion, but any form of contraception.
"We must ensure women seeking to terminate pregnancy and the doctors who support them and want to help them are not criminalized."
She said it's urgent for doctors to exert pressure on the government "so this motion has no chance of being passed and the debate is not reopened.
"I'm not asking if you are for or against abortion. I'm asking for you to recognize that women must retain their full and complete rights," she said to applause.
Ontario physician Dr. John Ludwig warned the group against "unintended consequences." He said the criminal code is "ancient and needs to be revised."
"If an assailant plunged a knife in the 38-week gestational belly of your spouse, we would all consider that murder. But the Criminal Code says that, because that fetus did not leave the body alive, it doesn't have any rights.
"We need a new policy that somewhat more balances the rights for women to have a therapeutic abortion when they wish, up to 20 weeks, and then protects the life of that child from 20 weeks on, once it's able to live on its own upon delivery from the womb."
Dr. Carole Williams, of Victoria, said the private member's motion "is a back door way for government to reopen Roe versus Wade, the 1973 decision that legalized abortion in the United States.
"It's inappropriate to have government intervention into control of our-selves, our bodies and our children."
This is a shameful case of ideology trumping reality and truth. The decision of the medical association in this case actually goes beyond the argument about personhood, (the claim that even though human the unborn baby was a non person.) This approach even denies the humanity of the unborn baby.

The record of the discussion is very revealing and shows that the overriding consideration was to ensure that there should be no restriction on the availability of, or access to abortion.  
The very idea that an unborn human baby does not become human until birth is offensive and coming from a scientific community such as a medical association is a gross betrayal of the "Hippocratic Oath". If the unborn was a white whale or a panda there would be no doubt but that the unborn cub was of the same Genus as its parent. If an unborn baby is not human what is it? 
There is another aspect to this decision which must be considered. The medical association appears to have indirectly conceded that denying personhood is not enough, they must actually deny humanity, because acceptance of the humanity of the unborn weakens the pro-abortion argument.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Controversial article by Peter Singer: claims that being human does not confer the right to life

The Scotsman on Wednesday August 15th published an article by Peter Singer titled

Analysis: Why it’s irrational to risk women’s lives for the sake of the unborn
Singer who is professor of Bioethics at Princeton University and Laureate Professor at the University of Melbourne postulates the notion in his article that being human, (being a member of the species Homo Sapiens) does not confer the right to life and he argues that restricting access to legal abortion leads many poor women to seek abortion from unsafe providers. He concedes the weakness of arguments based on the so called 'right to choose' but argues that legalisation of abortion causes numbers to drop citing South Africa as an example. He also argues that the development of abortifacient drugs such as misoprostol and mifepristone has been a "positive" development.
[…] we cannot simply invoke a woman’s “right to choose” in order to avoid the ethical issue of the moral status of the foetus. If the foetus really did have the moral status of any other human being, it would be difficult to argue that a pregnant woman’s right to choose includes the right to bring about the death of the foetus, except perhaps when the woman’s life is at stake.

The fallacy in the anti-abortion argument lies in the shift from the scientifically accurate claim that the foetus is a living individual of the species Homo sapiens to the ethical claim that the foetus therefore has the same right to life as any other human being. Membership of the species Homo sapiens is not enough to confer a right to life.
Singer has consistently expressed radical views
According to earlier published comments Singer has opined that some humans are non-persons, while some non-human animals are persons. The key he says is not nature or species membership, but consciousness. A pre-conscious human cannot suffer as much as a conscious horse.

According to Singer, in his book “Rethinking Life and Death” unborn babies or neonates, lacking the requisite consciousness to qualify as persons, have less right to continue to live than an adult gorilla. By the same token, a suffering or disabled child would have a weaker claim not to be killed than a mature pig.

In one of his most controversial statements Singer says that human babies are not born self-aware or capable of grasping their lives over time. They are not persons he claims hence their lives would seem to be no more worthy of protection that the life of a fetus. Writing specifically about Down syndrome babies Singer advocates trading a disabled or "defective child" (one who is apparently doomed to too much suffering) for one who has better prospects for happiness:

There is so much amiss in Singers thinking that its hard to know where to begin.
First I profoundly disagree with Singer, every human being born or unborn possesses the right to life from the moment of their conception onwards. This is a fundamental and imprescriptible right superior to all positive law. I am not alone in this view it is supported by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC)

"Every human being has the inherent right to life. This right shall be protected by law. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his life."  ICCPR, Article 6-1
Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law.”UDHR Article 6 and ICCPR Article 16
“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”. CRC preamble
I would add that personhood exists from the time of conception. Sadly there is a connection between the self-interest of certain groups or communities & a line drawn between persons and non-persons which may be driven by eugenic, economic, social and political factors such that those a society wishes to exclude are deemed to be non-persons. There are many examples of this in human history such as Chief Justice Taney [US Supreme Court & Dred Scott (a Negro slave), Egyptian Pharaohs & the Israelites, Hitler & Jews, Gypsies, the ‘degenerates’ and the 'asocials', just to mention a few examples.
On the issue of consciousness once again I profoundly disagree with Singers reasoning and whilst I would like to see the lives of animals protected, I reject the comparison he draws between humans and animals.  I would also argue that ‘nature does not revolve around function’; ‘function actually revolves around nature’

Additionally the Catholic Church, Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith  says in its 1987 instruction Donum Vitae: 
The human being is to be respected and treated as a person from the moment of conception; and therefore from that same moment his rights as a person must be recognized, among which in the first place is the inviolable right of every innocent human being to life. 
With regard to the other issues raised in Singers article there is no such thing as a life saving abortion   Abortion is not medical treatment and never has been a treatment for any condition or disease. Ireland Malta and Chile have excellent maternal mortality statistics and have among the lowest maternal death rates in the world in spite of having either no abortion or extremely restrictive abortion laws. Chile changed its laws and outlawed abortion but continued to have improved maternal mortality statistics. 
The article also ignores the solid body of research evidence in respect of the problems associated with the availability of legal abortion
The claim that the introduction of legal abortion has cut maternal death rates in South Africa is spurious.This may have happened initially but the universal availability of legal abortion is now increasing maternal mortality rates there,