Thursday, December 10, 2015

Human Rights Day: Abysmal failure of the United Nations to protect the rights of unborn babies

Today December 10th the United Nations celebrates Human Rights Day.
The UN, instead of clapping itself on the back at its own perceived success in promoting human rights, should hang its head in shame at its abysmal failure to protect the rights of the most vulnerable members of our community, unborn babies. 
The UN, its agencies and organs appear to be more influenced by ideology than in upholding  truth and justice even though the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Covenents enacted under it are crystal clear.
It is now fifty years since the UN adopted the International Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) which along with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights constitute the International Bill of Rights that recognize 'the inherent dignity and the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world'. In addition to the foregoing the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) in its preamble tells us that 'Bearing in mind that, as indicated in the Declaration of 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".'

Sound science recognizes that human embryos, from the moment of fertilisation, are new living human beings. To use the words of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights we are all members of the 'human family'. From the moment of fertilisation we all share a common humanity. Human embryos are equal members of the species homo sapiens and each stage of development is equal in value to every other stage.

There is a connection between the self-interest of certain communities and the line to be drawn between recognition of persons and non-persons.  That self-interest may be driven by eugenic, economic, social or political factors such that those a society wishes to exclude are deemed to be non-persons.  History is replete with examples of this phenomenon.
However cleverly the arguments are presented, the taking of a human life, the killing of a human being is a heinous crime, it is called murder. The killing of the most vulnerable human beings, unborn babies, is the most heinous of crimes.

We call on the Secretary General and the United Nations General Assembly to redress this blatant injustice, to uphold its own declared values and to immediately reject the wholesale killing of the unborn.
Denying embryonic and foetal human beings their fundamental and inherent right to live, either by design or by omission, diminishes the whole of humanity, hinders the search for justice and truth and brings the UN, its organs and agencies, into disrepute.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Manipulation of Language

One of the issues that pro-life advocates need to be aware of is the manipulation of language by the media and by pro-abortion organizations and activists.

George Orwell in his famous novel 1984 wrote about a fictional language he called 'newspeak' supposedly designed to standardize thought to reflect an ideology that makes "all other modes of thought impossible". He may have been wrong about the date but it is abundantly clear that elements of newspeak have invaded our lexicon.
A widespread example of this strategy is political correctness, even that term has been shortened to become the letters PC.
What's the difference between ‘positive discrimination’ and ‘sexual discrimination’ ? The former is policy and the latter illegal. However, they both mean the same thing – favouring one sex over another! Have you noticed we don’t have firemen anymore, ? We have firefighters. Have you ever noticed that the non-gender specific word Homemaker has superseded the term Housewife ? We hear of ‘deadbeat’ dads – but not moms ? We also hear of ‘single’ rather than ‘unmarried’ mothers ? We have ‘family courts’ and not ‘divorce courts’

I came across a letter in the Irish examiner which expresses the issue clearly I am reprinting it below

One of the first strategies for success at any given subject is the manipulation of language. First of all, the issue is obscured, and then the other side uses your phraseology.

The pro-‘choice’ side is to be congratulated in winning this first phase of the battle. Take the word ‘abortion’.

The impression can be given that the whole procedure is innocuous, somewhat akin to the pulling of a tooth, giving immediate relief. The advocator will thus be seen as a ‘compassionate’ person, not a person bound by inflexible dogma. (Oddly, the responsibility of the man is never mentioned).

By using the word ‘abortion’, the pro-life side is actually helping the pro-‘choice’ side in covering up what, in reality, is the deliberate taking of a human (unborn) life. It is this reality that needs to be made plain, not obscured. Similarly, with the phrase, “repeal of the 8th amendment”.

Pro-lifers will be well aware of what is involved, and the consequences. Not necessarily so, in the case of others. These may be indifferent, or may be quite happy with the vagueness involved. They will be entitled to ask, “The 8th amendment of what?” Time for plain speaking.

Donal O’Driscoll

Dargle Road


Co Dublin

Thursday, November 26, 2015

The war on Ireland's unborn has entered a new and deadly phase

We reported in June and October that relentless pressure is being exerted, by pro abortion forces in the lead up to the next general election in Ireland, to remove Ireland’s remaining protection for the lives of unborn babies.
Now that it is clear that the next general election will be held in spring 2016 this pressure is becoming even more relentless.

Minister for Children James Reilly on Sunday Nov 22nd called for a referendum on the issue to take place early in the next Dáil term. Reilly called for the next government to move quickly to repeal the 8th Amendment, which gives equal rights to the life of the mother and that of the unborn.

The Irish Independent reports that Taoiseach Enda Kenny was furious at Reilly’s intervention and gave him a severe dressing down prior to the Cabinet meeting yesterday.  With an eye on being returned to power after the next election neither Kenny nor his Finance Minister Michael Noonan wanted the issue of abortion, the taking of unborn human life, to influence their campaign or to cause further strains in the Fine Gael Party, bearing in mind that five TDs and three senators, including then minister Lucinda Creighton, were forced to resign from Fine Gael in 2013 for voting against the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill.

Reilly’s intervention according to the Irish Independent  caused a bitter split among Fine Gael Cabinet ministers over the party's approach to the divisive issue of the taking of unborn life and forced Mr Kenny to assure his parliamentary party that, in the event of a referendum to repeal the pro-life amendment, TDs and senators would be permitted vote in accordance with their conscience.
Kenny  also said the Fine Gael manifesto will not commit to a repeal of the Eighth Amendment instead it would pledge to refer the issue to a 'Citizens Convention', which is clearly a prelude to taking a decision to hold a referendum on the issue.

Meanwhile Labour Women has made clear that seeking a referendum to remove the remaining protection of the unborn from the Irish Constitution will be a major plank of the Labour Parties general election campaign.
Labour Women commenced its campaign with the publication of draft anti life legislation they hope will replace the pro-life amendment if they succeed in repealing it.
The draft legislation published by Labour Women would allow for killing unborn babies on grounds of: risk to life of the mother, risk to health of the mother, rape and foetal abnormality. In short it is a recipe for abortion on demand

No one should be under any illusion about the issue, a major battle about the rights of the unborn has already begun and everything must be done to protect all unborn life. 
Not only should article 40.3.3, the 28th amendment to the Irish Constitution remain, to ensure that the lives of all unborn babies be given constitutional protection, it is also essential for pro-life organizations to seek the strengthening of the existing amendment to counteract the effects of recent pro-abortion legislation.We must take the initiative away from the anti life forces and demand full and unambiguous protection for all unborn babies.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

WHO report shows substantial reduction in Maternal Mortality Rates

According to a  new report “Maternal Mortality 1990-2015”, issued by the World Health Organization (WHO) in conjunction with UNICEF, UNFPA,  the World Bank Group and the United Nations Population Division, maternal deaths dropped sharply in past 25 years.
WHO estimates that the global maternal mortality ratio (MMR–maternal deaths per 100,000 live births) dropped 43% between 1990 and 2015, from an estimated level of about 532,000 in 1990 to a new lower and also estimated level of 303,000 in 2015. This shows an MMR reduction of 169, from a level 385 in 1990 to 216 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births.
The report acknowledges that accurate measurement of maternal mortality levels is still a significant challenge.

The drop in the MMR estimates is most likely attributable to the Millennium Development Goals (MDG’s). MDG. 5A sought to reduce maternal mortality by 75% between 1990 and 2015. It is evident from the report that this target was not met, in that only nine countries managed to reduce their MMR level to the 75% target, although the report makes it clear that significant progress was made towards achieving it.

Despite this progress however the latest MMR estimate contained in the 2015 report is 303,000. The majority of these (99%) occurred in developing regions, 66% of which occurred in sub-Saharan Africa.

The MDG 15 year programme was replaced in September 2015 by a new programme known as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) and the post 2015 agenda which now aims to reduce the global MMR to 70 by 2030. This is certainly possible but only if the focus is placed on the measures that actually save lives.

Most maternal deaths can be prevented with adequate nutrition, basic health care, and good obstetric care throughout pregnancy, at delivery and postpartum.
The decline in maternal mortality rates in the developed world coincided “with the development of obstetric techniques and improvement in the general health status of women” (from 1935 to the 1950s), according to the World Health Organization (WHO)[i]  This took place well before the widespread legalization of abortion.

To reduce maternal mortality, we must strive to give women in the developing world access to the same standard of care that has been available to women in the developed world for decades—care that results in a healthy outcome for both mother and baby.

It is also clear from the new report that pro-abortion demands that abortion should be legalized in order to reduce maternal mortality are absurd. Contrary to the claims of organizations advocating so called safe legal abortion, no direct relationship exists between the legal status of abortion and maternal mortality rates. Indeed, abortion can be legal but unsafe for women. It is of course always unsafe for the unfortunate baby. Ireland, Poland, Malta, Chile, Kuwait, Libya, and the United Arab Emirates ban most or all abortions and have very low MMR's.

The main outstanding issue in respect of the SDG’s and the post 2015 agenda is the agreement of indicators which will be used as bench marks for the implementation of the SDG’s. A preliminary report on the indicators was issued by the sustainable development solutions network in June 2015 and some model indicators have recently been proposed. Careful monitoring of this process is essential as there are already significant problems with the report and the model indicators but in addition there have been a number of submissions by pro-abortion agencies and NGO’s in an attempt to further radicalise the indicators.

[i] World Health Organization, Maternal Mortality: A Global Factbook (Geneva: World Health Organization, 1991).

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Pro-abortion forces demand removal of remaining protection of unborn life in Ireland

We reported in June that relentless pressure is being exerted by pro abortion forces, in the lead up to the next general election in Ireland, to remove Ireland’s remaining protection for unborn babies.

This pressure is primarily being targeted at the government parties, other political parties and groups and even County Councils.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny, in response to the pressure is reported to have said that Fine Gael’s election manifesto will not commit to holding a referendum on removing the 8th Amendment from the Constitution.

The Labour Party the juniour member of the current coalition has on the other hand signalled it will insist on an abortion referendum if it is to return to Government with Mr Kenny’s party.

The Independent reports that Kenny, speaking at a recent Fine Gael ‘think in’, in Limerick told the media he is not in “favour of abortion on demand” but is open to listening to arguments for changing the current laws governing abortion.
“I have no intention of abolishing the 8th Amendment without considering what it might be that might replace it and that means more than any other sensitive issue. I am quite prepared to listen to people who have contributions to make in that regard,” he said.
He added: "But believe me, to commit to abolishing the 8th Amendment without consideration of what you might do is not on my radar."
When pushed Mr Kenny insisted he was not committing to “any referendum”.
"Fine Gael in the preparation of its own Fine Gael programme will consider this matter very carefully along with a number of other sensitive issues as well,” he added.

The pressure being exerted at County Council level resulted this week in a significant defeat for the pro-abortion lobby in Limerick .
According to an article in the Limerick Leader, county councillors voted by almost two to one against a motion calling for a referendum to repeal the eighth - or “right to life” - amendment in the constitution.

The motion was defeated by 23 votes to 12. There were five councillors absent.

Take note that Taoiseach Enda Kenny said he is willing to listen to people who have contributions to make so let's ensure that he gets those contributions. He can be contacted at, 

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Irish Examiner survey on attitudes to abortion.

A survey of attitudes on abortion, carried out in the farming community in conjunction with one of Ireland’s farming organisations, the ICMSA, was published in the Irish Examiner on Sept 22nd. According to the survey, 64% of farmers favour amendment of Article 40.3.3, to allow for abortion on wider grounds. 34% of respondents said they were opposed to any changes to the Amendment and 2% of respondents chose the ‘don’t know’ option. The question was framed as follows: “The 8th Amendment to the Constitution granted equal rights to the mother and her unborn child. Do you think it should be amended to allow for abortion in certain circumstances or not?”

This survey was carried out following blatant media reporting bias on the issue during recent weeks which appears to be aimed at persuading political parties to include removal of the pro-life amendment from the constitution in their political manifestos in the run up to the upcoming general election.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Relentless pressure from pro abortion forces to remove Ireland’s remaining protection for unborn babies

There have been a number of attempts since the passing of the current government’s pro-abortion legislation, The Protection of Life in Pregnancy Act, to increase access to abortion in Ireland.  Socialist TD’s (members of parliament) Clare Daly and Ruth Coppinger have made several attempts to introduce private members bills, either to remove the pro life amendment to the Constitution, or to widen the scope of the government legislation, in order to to kill unborn babies with fetal abnormalities and/or those conceived in rape.

In the wake of the disasterous result in the same sex marriage referendum, pro-abortion forces, buoyed up by that result, have continued to pressure Ireland’s coalition government to remove the pro-life amendment, Article 40.3.3.

The Irish Government, whilst indicating it was not against the idea of a referendum on the issue, has refused to do so this year as all political parties are now gearing up for a general election which must be held by the middle of next year.  Health  Minister Leo Varadkar made this clear recently when he told the Dail that a referendum to remove the 1983 pro-life amendment from the Constitution would be a matter for the next Dáil.

Apart from political pressure from within the country pressure is also being placed on the Government by UN Committees despite the fact that there is no such human right as a right to abortion, and the that International UN treaties protect the lives of all human beings including the unborn.
The most recent attempt to pressurise Ireland came from the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR).

The CESCR in it concluding observations, on the third periodic report of Ireland to the Committee, E/C.12/IRL/CO/3, said that the Committee is concerned at what they termed to be ‘Ireland’s highly restrictive legislation on abortion and strict interpretation thereof’.
The Committee recommended that Ireland,
“take all necessary steps, including a referendum on abortion, to revise its legislation on abortion, including the Constitution and the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act 2013, in line with international human rights standards; adopt guidelines to clarify what constitutes a real substantive risk to the life of a pregnant woman; publicize information on crisis pregnancy options through effective channels of communication; and ensure the accessibility and availability of information on sexual and reproductive health.”
This Committee has a tendency to treat national laws with contempt as they issue instructions to countries under review to change their laws and policies on abortion, regardless of the fact the the Convention on Economic Social and Cultural Rights never mentions abortion. 

Treaty body mandates create a narrow role for treaty bodies such as the CESCR and those bodies cannot exceed the scope of the authority set forth in the treaty itself.  Specifically, committee recommendations, such as this, issued by treaty bodies are not binding on States Parties because such recommendations and comments are not part of the actual negotiated language of the treaty.

Moreover, treaty bodies do not have the authority to interpret or reinterpret treaties.  Authoritative interpretations of treaties are reserved to States Parties collectively.  Many diplomats have privately expressed concern that these treaty bodies have grossly exceeded their authority in recent years.

The Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties (VCLT) sets out interpretive norms for all treaties. The VCLT in Article 31 says:  "A treaty shall be interpreted in good faith in accordance with the ordinary meaning (emphasis added) 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. 

Monday, June 29, 2015

26 babies aborted under Ireland's abortion law

Ireland’s Minister for Health Leo Varadkar confirmed today that 26 babies were aborted under the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act. Under the new law Minister Varadkar is obliged to issue an annual report  detailing the number of abortions carried out in Irish hospitals. See Department of Health news release and reports by the IrishTimes and
The information detailing the number of abortions during the first year of operation of the legislation which emanated from the Health Service Executive (HSE) confirms that three abortions were carried out when the mother’s life was deemed at risk due to suicidal ideation. The figures also show that 14 terminations were carried out due to the risk from physical illness, with nine based on an emergency from physical illness.

It is not clear whether thes figures include the case of the baby born to Miss Y who was delivered live at 24 wweks by caesarean section after she was deemed suicidal under Section 9 of the Act.

The Protection of Life during Pregnancy Act (2013) marked a radical change in Ireland's abortion law. It repealed the comprehensive protection of unborn children under the Offences Against the Person Act (1861) and in addition stripped the right to life from children before, and even during, birth in a broad range of circumstances. The numerous inconsistencies and ill-defined terms (eg "good faith", "reasonable opinion" and "due regard")  create limitations to the  protection unborn babies under the Act.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Referendum on so called same sex marriage in Ireland.

The Irish Government has been campaigning strongly for a ‘Yes’ vote in the upcoming referendum on marriage which has been given the misleading title of ‘Marriage Equality ‘. The referendum however is not about equality and the government focus on equality distorts the reality. This is about the creation of new rights and if it is passed will have very grave consequences for our nation.

Many people are confused about marriage and think it is merely for the public recognition of committed relationships for the benefit of adults.
That is not what marriage is, but what it will actually become under the law if it is redefined.
Marriage in reality is much more than a committed relationship. Marriage not only unites a man and a woman with each other, but with any children born from their union. That expresses the fullness of what marriage is. It is a community of life and love.  This is a fact that can only be recognized and never changed. It already presumes procreation, complementarity, motherhood and fatherhood.

The three requirements for marriage are that it is unitive, procreative and indissoluble. This factual description expresses irreplaceability, and permanence, Not every married man and woman has children, but every child has a mother and father. With insertion of the word “any” even the possibility of the heartbreak of infertility is accounted for. It is the only true definition of marriage

Justice and Equality Minister Frances Fitzgerald in her statement announcing the referendum said: “People will be asked to decide whether the following new wording should be added to the Constitution: ‘Marriage may be contracted in accordance with law by two persons without distinction as to their sex'.”

Irish Foreign Affairs Minister Charles Flanagan told the Human Rights Council in Geneva in March that ‘it is one of the greatest shames of the modern world that States continue to deny individuals their human rights because of who they are or whom they love.’

Minister Flanagan the shame is on you and your colleagues for your blatant rejection of the truth and beauty of human sexuality expressed through the committed love of  men and women for one another.  Your actions will undermine the family, attack the rights of parents in the moral education of their children, and attack freedom of religion, as has happenned in other countries where same sex marriage has been introduced. Take for example the Court ruling in Lexington Massachusetts, which ruled that schools are permitted teach about homosexuality without parents consent or even a right to remove their children from the class. In the lead up to the case one parent was arrested because he objected to the indoctrination of his son.
The major push is to indoctrinate the next generation and the way it will be done is through so-called comprehensive sexuality education.
Our children are precious and we need to protect them from early sexualisation.
We as Christians are all called to love one another but that does not mean that we uncritically accept the actions of others without comment. Real love resides in expressing the truth in all situations because it is the truth that sets us free. In truth marriage is between one man and one woman and cannot be extended to others, anything else is a sham.
Marriage is the foundation stone of the family and is recognised in the Irish Constitution in Article 41 which declares that: the State recognises the family as the natural, primary and fundamental unit group of society and as and as a moral institution possessing inalienable and imprescriptible rights, antecedent and superior to all positive law. It also says that: 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. 

The Universal Declaration on Human Rights is also very explicit and article 16 tells us: Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family.
Article 16 also tells us that: ‘The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.’

The Irish Constitution was enacted, ‘In the Name of the Most Holy Trinity, from Whom is all authority and to Whom, as our final end, all actions both of men and States must be referred.’ Has it not occurred to our political leaders, Taoiseach Enda Kenny together with Ministers Flanagan, Fitzgerald and Labour leader Joan Burton that what is proposed is directly flouting God’s law and it is adding insult to injury by proposing the inclusion of such an abomination in the text of our Constitution dedicated to the Most Holy Trinity.  

Taoiseach, when future generations evaluate your words and actions the lasting shame will be on you and your colleagues for your blatant rejection of God’s Commandments and for kow-towing to so called political correctness at the expense of genuine marriage and the family.
It is to be hoped that the Irish electorate will have more sense than you do and will not approve this outrage.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

UN pro-abortion and sexual rights agenda defeated at major conference

The 48th UN Commission on Population and Development (CPD) ended on Friday April 18th with a firm rejection of the anti life and family policies the UN is attempting to impose globally. 

The 48th session of the Commission, was themed, ‘Integrating population issues into sustainable development, including in the post-2015 development agenda’. This was the last Commission before the upcoming negotiations on a new 15 year programme to be known as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) and was regarded by UNFPA the UN population fund and their anti life allies, such as International Planned Parenthood (IPPF), as their best opportunity to influence the outcome of the SDG’s by forcing the acceptance of controversial language on sexual and reproductive rights and comprehensive sexuality education.

In recent years the negotiating strategy adopted by Western governments has been to insert controversial issues into documents during the negotiating period and rely on the chair to issue a compromise text which inevitably retains some of those issues.
In this case negotiations on the outcome document over a period of 10 days were similarly loaded up with controversial language and by Thursday evening (April 16th) had become completely unacceptable. Negotiations continued on Friday when a so called compromise text was produced by the chair Ms. Bénédicte Frankinet from Belgium.  The Chair had removed a reference ‘sexual rights’ from the text but it still contained a number of unacceptable references.

Ms. Frankinet made it clear that her so called compromise text was final and demanded that the text be accepted without alteration as a consensus document. The Nigerian Ambassador Usman Sarki speaking on behalf of the African Group informed the meeting that the text needed further work and that in his opinion agreement could be reached in 10-15 minutes given the political will to do so. The chair was  unwilling to accommodate the concerns of the African countries regarding terminology such as ‘comprehensive sexuality education’ (CSE) and reproductive rights. Rather than qualify or delete the controversial terms the Chair withdrew the document.

The decision by the chair to withdraw the document was greeted with a shocked silence by the anti-life and family brigade, when the realisation sunk in that there would not now be any outcome document and that there was no agreement on how to integrate population policies in the post-2015 development agenda, the actual purpose of this year’s commission.

Ambassador Sarki, who had diplomatically tried to persuade the Chair to be more accommodating when he sought time to discuss proposed changes spoke very forcibly following the withdrawal of the document. “We came to the meeting with an open mind,” he said, adding that from the outset they had to deal with drafts “replete with controversial issues that have in the past not only proved difficult to deal with but are also extremely divisive in nature.” He put down a marker for future negotiations saying that member state delegations and UN officials “should refrain from putting language in drafts on which there is no consensus”.  He also said that lack of an outcome document should not be seen as a failure. “Member states”, he said, “have resisted the imposition of unhelpful ideas and concepts on all the membership.”

Mr.Babatunde Osotimehin, head of the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) told the meeting, in an obviously crestfallen manner, that he “regretted” that an agreement could not be reached and then went on to criticise countries for not being “tolerant,” because of their resistance to the UNFPA agenda.

The delegate from Nauru, Rennier Gadabe, complained about UNFPA harrassment of his Government during the negotiations “Does UNFPA he said, think they can do this because Nauru is the smallest member state?” UNFPA had pressured the Nauru Government to change its position on reproductive rights and CSE and was critical of the position taken by the Nauru UN delegation. The delegate angrily told the meeting that such tactics were “unacceptable.”

UNFPA has over the last few years spent hundreds of thousands of dollars arranging conferences throughout the world, in places like, Accra, Kuala Lumpur, Ocho Rios, Montevideo and other venues, with the sole purpose of firstly influencing the outcome of this session of the Commission and ultimately the Sustainable Development Goals. 

Monday, April 20, 2015

Mass in Knock for the protection of the sanctity of marriage, family and life and for Ireland

Mass for Ireland - The Lamb Will Conquer - in Knock Basilica, Sat 25th April at 3 pm for protection of the sanctity of marriage, family and life and for Ireland.

Stations and rosaries from 2 pm. Celebrant Fr John Mockler with fellow priests. Prayer groups and banners welcome. Please come and unite in prayer for Ireland at this crucial time. If you are coming to the mass on Sat, please stay over / come back for day of Eucharistic Adoration on Sunday. 

Notice is short, however, this was the only date available.

So far buses are running from the Dioceses of: 
Cashel and Emly, 
Cork and Ross, 
Cloyne (overnight bus), 
Down and Connor, 
Galway (free bus) 

Please consider attending and uniting with others in prayer to The Holy Family for Ireland.
Please share this information with your friends and prayer groups. 
More information together with posters or flyers is available from: 
N Orla 07545452362,  
S Mary 0876325406  
E Catherine 0874199249 
W Bernie 085-1661754.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Cynical pro-abortion campaign targeted babies with life limiting conditions

The private members bill introduced by Clare Daly, in an attempt to expand availability of abortion in Ireland to include babies with life limiting conditions, was defeated on Tuesday by 104 votes to 20.  It would be foolish to take comfort from the result on the basis that the government could not vote in favour of a bill they had been advised was unconstitutional.

This was a cynical move by pro-abortion forces and a compliant media in manipulating public opinion. Clare Daly knew perfectly well that her private members bill was unconstitutional and could not be accepted by the Government in the absence of a referendum. The bill was designed to take aim at 40.3.3 of the Irish constitution with a view to putting pressure the Irish Government to hold a referendum.

There is no doubt that Daly mounted an effective campaign judging by the fact that many of those who voted against it expressed sympathy with its objectives, including the Minister for Health Leo Varadkar.  Three members of the Fianna Fail party also voted for it, including the health and justice spokesmen.

There is growing pressure from the pro-abortion side to remove Article 40.3.3 from the Irish Constitution which would inevitably lead to abortion on demand. Taoiseach Enda Kenny however says he is not prepared to have another divisive abortion referendum at the present time. It is likely however to be an issue in the next election and afterwards.

Daly argued the bill on compassionate grounds but everyone knows she supports abortion on demand up to birth and will do everything possible to further her deadly agenda.

Daly’s approach ignores the hundreds of women who decide to give life a chance and allow their babies to live as long as they possibly can.  It is also very hurtful to such women when Daly and her colleagues describe their babies as ‘non-viable’ and ‘incompatible with life’.

Sadly the unfortunate women who had been encouraged to terminate the lives of unborn babies suffering from life limiting conditions were used in the process.

Friday, February 6, 2015

One sided media comment on fatal fetal abnormality

The pro abortion forces in Ireland not content with the fact that Ireland has introduced abortion in certain circumstances have moved to demanding that abortion be made available in the case of fetal abnormality. Needless to say their ultimate goal is abortion on demand.
Pro-abortion TD Deputy Clare Daly recently tabled her latest draft bill demanding the availability of abortion in cases of fatal fetal abnormality. Daly’s bill is due for second stage debate on Friday February 6th.

Daly argues the bill on compassionate grounds but everyone knows she supports abortion on demand up to birth and will do everything possible to further her deadly agenda. Daly’s approach ignores the hundreds of women who decide to give life a chance and allow their babies to live as long as they possibly can.  It is also very hurtful to such women when Daly and her colleagues describe their babies as ‘non-viable’ and ‘incompatible with life’.

Neither can there be any doubt that the liberal media is anti-life and anti-family judging by the almost blanket acceptance of this new and discraceful pro-abortion campaign which is using the grief of unfortunate women who having been diagnosed as carrying so called ‘non viable’ babies were encouraged to terminate them, whilst at the same time ignoring grief and the beautiful witness of those women in the same situation who lovingly opted to give their babies the opportunity of living as long as they possibly could.
There has been little if any reportage on the need for peri-natal hospice care in these circumstances. Parents of babies with life-limiting conditions are surely entitled to hear about the positive benefits of such care. So much for media balance!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Cloned embryos and designer babies: the appalling vista of Britian’s brave new world.

The House of Commons voted on Feb 3rd to approve draft legislation that will make the United Kingdom (UK) the first country in the world to permit "three parent" babies.
Babies resulting from this process will be genetically modified having DNA from a mother, a father and from a female donor. The draft legislation known as, The Human Fertilisation and Embryology (Mitochondrial Donation) Regulations 2015, was passed by a vote of 382 to 128 against. The measure will now go to the House of Lords for their consideration later this month.

The treatment combines the genetic material from the eggs of two women with the sperm of a man to produce an IVF embryo that has DNA from three individuals. The Regulations would permit two techniques: Maternal Spindle Transfer, which modifies the mother's egg pre-fertilization and Pro Nuclear Transfer, which modifies an existing embryo in attempts to prevent the transfer of mitochondrial disease from mother to child.

MPs approved the Regulations despite serious safety, ethical and legal concerns with the untested practice. Not only will mitochondrial donation open the door to the eugenics of "designer children" with the favoring of certain traits over others, it shows no dignity for the preborn child, who is created and destroyed at will. The practice itself is untested. Fiona Bruce MP asked, "Where will it lead? The answer has to be that we stop here. The answer has to be that we say this is a red line in our country, as in every other country in the world, that we will not cross."
Prior to the vote SPUC General Secretary Paul Tully called on MP's to reject
the so-called "three-parent" embryo regulations designed to allow the cloning of embryos. The regulations would permit human germ-line manipulation for the first time.

The Society according to Tully is appealing to MPs to oppose the regulations being debated in the House of Commons today which would allow cloned human embryos to be created and implanted in a woman.

Dr Peter Saunders in his BLOG Christian Medical Comment sets out the problems associated with this practice in a very clear manner, and raises what he terms as 5 big questions for consideration. 

We would not however go along with the suggestion of IVF with egg donation both of which bring their own sets of ethical issues.

Is it necessary?

This is not about finding a cure. It is about preventing people with MCD being born. We need first to be clear that these new technologies, even if they are eventually shown to work, will do nothing for the thousands of people already suffering from mitochondrial disease or for those who will be born with it in the future. Parents will generally not even know that they run a risk of producing an affected baby until after the birth of the first. And it is very difficult to predict the severity of the disease in a given case. There is huge variation even within affected families.

Mitochondrial disorders are also relatively rare. Perhaps 1 in 200 children are born each year with abnormal mtDNA but only 1 in 10,000 are severely affected. It was suggested in 2001 that the proposed techniques, if they work, could 'save' around ten lives each year.

Last week however a JME article upped these numbers to 150.  I'm not in a position to seriously dispute these figures as I don't have access to the patient data on which they are based. 

Nevertheless, to jump from 10 to 150 (via 20 and 80) is quite a jump and raises serious questions about creative accounting.  How were their original estimates so off the mark, if the new estimates are supposedly more reliable?  Moreover, there is a fair bit of extrapolation involved and the validity of this depends on the distribution of people with mutant mitochondrial DNA being evenly spread throughout the UK and also the USA.

Either way we are not talking about huge numbers here. There are also already some alternative solutions available for affected couples including adoption and IVF with egg donation. (see note above)

Is it safe?

This is far from established. Each technique involves experimental reproductive cloning techniques (cell nuclear transfer) and germline genetic engineering, both highly controversial and potentially very dangerous. Marcy Darnovsky, executive director of the Center for Genetics and Society in Berkeley, California has argued  in an piece titled ‘A slippery slope to germline modification’ that were the United Kingdom to grant a regulatory go-ahead, it would unilaterally cross ‘a legal and ethical line’ observed by the entire international community that ‘genetic-engineering tools’ should not be used ‘to modify gametes or early embryos and so manipulate the characteristics of future children’.

Cloning by nuclear transfer has so far proved ineffective in humans and unsafe in other mammals with a large number of cloned individuals spontaneously aborting and many others suffering from physical abnormalities or limited lifespans. Also, any changes, or unpredicted genetic problems (mutations) will be passed to future generations. In general, the more manipulation needed, the higher the severity and frequency of problems in resulting embryos and fetuses.

Will it work?

There are reasons to be deeply sceptical about the grandiose claims being made by scientists and patient interest groups with vested interests. This technology uses similar ‘nuclear transfer’ techniques to those used in ‘therapeutic cloning’ for embryonic stem cells (which has thus far failed to deliver) and animal-human cytoplasmic hybrids (‘cybrids’). The wild claims made about the therapeutic properties of ‘cybrids’ by the biotechnology industry, research scientists, patient interest groups and science journalists duped parliament into legalising and licensing animal human hybrid research in 2008.

Few now will remember Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s empty promises in the Guardian on 18 May that year of ‘cybrids’ offering ‘a profound opportunity to save and transform millions of lives’ and his commitment to this research as ‘an inherently moral endeavour that can save and improve the lives of thousands and over time millions of people’. That measure was supported in a heavily whipped vote as part of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill, now the HFE Act. But ‘cybrids’ are now a farcical footnote in history. They have not worked and investors have voted with their feet. Ironically, it was in that same Act of Parliament, that provision for this new research was also made.

In In early 2009 it was said that there was no funding for cybrids in the UK and ironically only three research licences were granted: to Dr S Minger of King’s College London (R0180), to Prof Lyle Armstrong of University of Newcastle Upon Tyne (R179) and to Dr Justin St. John of the University of Warwick (R183).

What happened? Basically zilch! Dr St John emigrated to Australia (where such work is prohibited), Lyle Armstrong eventually switched to working with iPS cells (a more fruitful ethical alternative) and Stephen Minger left academia to work for GE Healthcare (where he promotes work with hES cells for drug screening but definitely does not work with interspecies combinations).

This is hugely relevant for the three-parent embryo debate as 223 charities, egged on by the false promises of the scientific community, wrote to the Prime Minister in 2008 to get him to reverse his decision on hybrids and not stand in the way of disease treatments. Déjà vu?

Is it ethical?

No, there are actually huge ethical issues. A large number of human eggs will be needed for the research, involving ‘harvesting’ that is both risky and invasive for women donors. How many debt-laden students or desperate infertile women will be exploited and incentivised by being offered money or free IVF treatment in return for their eggs?

Egg donation is neither straightforward nor harmless. It involves using drugs to shut down the woman’s own ovaries, then stimulating them to produce multiple follicles then surgically extracting the resulting eggs. This all has significant health and ethical implications for the donor, including health risk to the donor from powerful hormonal treatments, injections, invasive surgery, and yet it is not for her own benefit.

A study at the Newcastle Fertility Centre, reported in Human Fertility, found that more than 20 eggs were collected from at least one in seven patients, that 14.5% of these women were subsequently admitted to hospital and nearly all reported symptoms consistent with ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS). We do know from a recent report that just under half of 864 reported clinical incidents between 2010-2012 were due to OHSS. And: ‘Each year approximately 60 instances of severe OHSS and 150 cases of moderate OHSS are reported to the HFEA.’

How many thousands of human embryos will be destroyed? If it ever works, what issues of identity confusion will arise in children with effectively three biological parents? What does preventing those with mitochondrial disease being born say about how we value people already living with the condition? Where will this selection end? Some mitochondrial diseases are much less serious than others. Once we have judged some affected babies not worthy of being conceived, where do we draw the line, and who should draw it?

Is the debate being handled responsibly?

No. The research scientists involved have huge financial, ideological and research-based vested interests and getting the regulatory changes and research grants to continue and extend their work is dependent on them being able to sell their case to funders, the public and decision-makers. Hence their desire for attention-grabbing media headlines and heart rending (but highly extreme and unusual) human interest stories that are often selective about what facts they present.