Thursday, January 31, 2013

Update on the legal challenges to the "Children's Rights Referendum" in Ireland

Kathy Sinnott has provided an update on the current status of the legal challenges to the recent Children’s Rights Referendum.

Kathy says they are taking a double case or really two cases.
The first case called "The Petition” has been taken under the Referendum Act to challenge the actual outcome of the Childrens Rights referendum.

The other case called, "The Plenary Case" is a constitutional challenge to the sections of the Referendum Act that make it virtually impossible to successfully challenge the result of a referendum.

Kathy in what she describes as a simplified lay explanation writes:
To us it is obvious that if a citizen has a right to challenge, it should be possible to challenge. And further if the government illegally interferes with the citizens right of referendum, there must be consequences.

However the two cases have two sets of arguments, opposite arguments.
In the petition, we must argue that the government's illegal interference had a "material effect" on the referendum outcome and in the plenary case we argue that it is impossible to prove material effect and that material effect is the wrong criteria for petitioning.

In view of this the running order of the case is important but for legal reasons unfortunately the petition is first but the judge in the case has taken the dilemma on board and has agreed to a running order that will allow us a fair fight in both cases.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Abortion includes procedures such as D&Cs and the deliberate pre-viability inductions of unborn babies".

John Smeaton Executive Director of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children  (SPUC) in one of his recent BLOG POSTS reminds us that, "Abortion includes procedures such as D&Cs and the  deliberate pre-viability inductions of unborn babies". In the relentless push for the introduction of abortion in Ireland there has been a blurring of the facts, which once had been expressed so clearly, leading now to confusion even among good people whose only wish is to protect life, from the moment of conception to natural death. We need to stand firmly and unequivocally in support of the life of every unborn baby whilst always ensuring that all necessary life saving treatments are afforded to every mother. Should the unfortunate death of a baby occur as a result of the life saving treatment of a mother that is an unintended consequence of the treatment and is not an abortion. There must however never be a direct attack on the life of the baby.

John Smeaton writes
The Irish pro-life movement is currently fighting an unprecedented threat to Ireland’s pro-life laws. In this very dangerous situation, it is important for pro-life commentators to avoid explicitly defending what is in fact abortion – even as a means of preventing much more widespread abortion. Thus deliberate pre-viability inductions, for example, should not defended, least of all by Catholics, as they are squarely contrary to the teaching of the Magisterium of the Catholic Church - see my blogs:
Some Irish pro-life commentators (see examples further below) have defended, not just legitimate treatments that target the woman’s own body (like a damaged womb or fallopian tube) but deliberate pre-viability removals and even D&Cs (dilation and currettage). These latter procedures specifically target the unborn baby with its own living tissues. Their comments are partly inspired by the Irish Medical Council's guidance (see section 21.4 of Guide toProfessional Conduct and Ethics for Registered Medical Practitioners)

There is a real danger that such statements will result in people in Ireland being misled into explicitly endorsing defective proposals regarding abortion. There is massive opposition to changing Ireland’s abortion law; however, some Irish pro-lifers have already indicated possible support for legislation, guidelines or clarification of the law. Instead, the Irish people need to keep on saying loud and clear to their elected representatives: leave our pro-life laws alone!

Here are some examples of the worrying statements I mention above:

Dr Eoghan de Faoite, representing Youth Defence in a hearing of the Oireachtas (Irish Parliament), said:
"Irish obstetricians and other specialists will always intervene to save the life of a mother when she has a life-threatening complication of pregnancy. This practice of intervening, which includes premature delivery of the baby even when the baby has little of no chance of surviving, is permitted in Ireland today. It is permitted under Irish law and by the Medical Council's ethical guidelines and is within pro-life principles."
Greg Daly, an Irish Catholic blogger, wrote:
"As far as I can see, Galway University Hospital would have been fully within its legal rights to have induced a preterm delivery -- or foetal evacuation -- in an attempt to save both mother and child. Indeed, not merely would it have been within its rights to do so, doing so would have been normal medical practice.

This is exactly the sort of thing that Dr Berry Kiely talked about back on what was an uncommonly good Vincent Browne show back in the Spring -- you induce a preterm delivery, thus saving the mother, and you do everything you can to try to save the child. You almost certainly fail, but you try."
Catholic Comment, the Irish version of Catholic Voices (UK), issued a statement saying:
"[F]or the hospital to have induced labour with the intention of saving Savita would have been in accord both with Irish law, normal Irish medical practice, and with Catholic teaching."
And as I blogged in December Mary Kenny, outgoing Master of the Catholic Writers' Guild, wrote:
"In truth, we do not know whether a termination of her pregnancy would have saved Mrs Halappanavar’s life, but there certainly has been pressure – rightly – to clarify the situation legally so that should it arise again, doctors may perform an abortion."
David Quinn, director of the Iona Institute, wrote in November:
“When a woman is miscarrying, there are three normal courses of action. The usual one is to let nature take its course. If nature is not taking its course quickly enough and the life of the mother is being endangered as a result of blood loss and the possibility of infection, then there are two other possible courses of action. The first is to induce labour and the second is to perform a D & C which essentially evacuates the contents of the womb, including the foetus. Why isn’t either of these two courses of action tantamount to abortion? The reason is that the intention is not to kill the baby.”

Europe as We Know It is Dying

Steve Mosher Director of Population Research Institute (PRI) in his weekly BLOG has published a cautionary report on the future of Europe. Current European policies and lifestyle are leading to depopulation, decline and eventual takeover unless there is a major change in direction. In spite of the obvious consequences of its current strategies and lifestyle Europe continues relentlessly to disdain the bearing of children by espousing widespread policies that lead to more abortion and contraception under code-words such as reproductive rights, and reproductive health choices and services. The big questions here are first is anyone listening? and second is anyone willing to do something about it. Are we going to remain captive to anti life ideologies which can only spell disaster? There is time to change but time is short and the consequences are of huge significance.

Steve writes, “It’s happened before.”
Writing a century and a half before the birth of Christ, the Greek historian Polybius observed “nowadays all over Greece such a diminution in natality and in general manner such depopulation that the towns are deserted and the fields lie fallow. Although this country has not been ravaged by wars or epidemics, the cause of the harm is evident: by avarice or cowardice the people, if they marry, will not bring up the children they ought to have. At most they bring up one or two. It is in this way that the scourge before it is noticed is rapidly developed.”

He concluded by urging his fellow Greeks to return to their historic love of family and children. “The remedy is in ourselves,” he wrote. “We have but to change our morals.” His advice, unfortunately, went largely unheeded.

The demographic winter of the Greek city-states led to economic stagnation and military weakness, which in turn invited invasion and conquest. After a century of increasing dominance in the Eastern Mediterranean, Rome finally annexed the Greek city-states in 146 B.C.

Will a Europe in the grip of a similar demographic winter come to a similar unhappy end? Certainly Europeans of today, like the Greeks of old, are barely having children. The birthrate across the entire continent is far below the replacement level of 2.1 children per couple. Italy, Spain, Austria, and Germany have total fertility rates, or TFRs, of only 1.4 or so, while Poland and Russia languish at 1.32 and 1.2 respectively. The more or less generous child allowances these countries pay the prolific has scarcely caused these numbers to budge. The birth dearth continues to widen.

Meanwhile, adherents of pro-family sects such as Islam are moving in, having children, and repopulating historic Christendom. Is this process likely to continue? And to what end?

Most Muslim countries in North Africa and the Middle East have fertility rates two or three times as high as Europe. Afghanistan and Somalia, whose fertility rates are above 6 children (6.62 and 6.4 respectively), may be outliers. But other Middle Eastern countries with above-replacement TFRs include Iraq at 4.86, Pakistan at 3.65, and Saudi Arabia at 3.03. Even immigrants from the most Westernized Muslim countries such as Turkey and Tunisia average nearly twice as many children as the extant populations of most European countries.

While falling fertility may be humanity’s general fate, it is this differential fertility that will determine Europe’s destiny. Although the birthrates of Muslim immigrants to Europe are far lower than they were just a generation ago, they are still far more open to life than highly secularized Europeans. Moreover, these immigrants, once in place in Germany, Italy, Spain, etc., tend to maintain their relatively high fertility for a generation.

As a result of this potent mix of immigration and procreation, the number of Muslims will continue to grow. Europe as a whole, some demographers suggest, will have a majority Muslim population by 2100.

What a strange twist of history! Over the centuries, various Muslim armies have repeatedly attempted to conquer Europe. Time and time again, at Tours, Vienna, at Lepanto, at Malta, they were thrown back. Yet now what their forebears were unable to accomplish by force, their distant descendants will achieve by peacefully winning the Battle of the Cradle.

Whether they will be radicalized or secularized Muslims is the central question. If they are radicalized, then we can expect efforts to impose Sharia law in country after country, along with the growing persecution of the Christian minority. Catholics in Germany, for example, may come to be treated in largely the same way that Coptic Christians in Egypt have been for the last few centuries, that is to say, as second-class citizens, to be maligned, taxed and beaten almost at will.

If, on the other hand, the second- and third-generation Muslims are largely secularized, then the Christian minority will be, presumably, treated somewhat better, though still subject to some level of discrimination. As everyone knows by now, the Secular Left preaches a tolerance that it generally does not practice.

Either way, believers in once-Christian Europe will probably find themselves living in what might be called a pre-Constantine moment. In others words, they will be living under regimes that punish, even persecute, them for their beliefs.

At the present moment, Europeans still control their own destiny. As Polybius, were he alive today, would surely remind them: “The remedy is in yourselves. You have but to change your morals.”

Friday, January 25, 2013

Top Official: “China Must Unwaveringly adhere to the One Child Policy"

Reggie Littlejohn of Women’s Rights Without Frontiers recently issued a press release on the current thinking of Chinese officials on their inhumane One Child Policy. The press release is reprinted in full below.

It has also been announced that Ms Littlejohn will receive the National Pro-Life Recognition Award at the National Prayer Service preceding the 40th Annual March for Life in Washington, DC today January 25th.

Press Release
Beijing.  A top family planning official dashed hopes that the One Child Policy will be abolished, or even modified significantly, any time soon. "We must unwaveringly adhere to the One Child Policy as a national policy to stabilize the low birth rate as the primary task," stated Wang Xia, Chairman the National Population and Family Planning Commission, at a national conference on January 14.

Wang Xia further stated, "We need to keep the One-child policy and keep the national birth rate low . . . It's our priority."

Chinese national media quoted expert opinions that “the current low birthrate is not stable, except for a few very advanced major cities.  In most areas of the nation, if they were to give up the One Child Policy, the current low birthrate would definitely rebound significantly. Therefore, in order to stabilize the low birthrate, it is necessary to hold on to the One Child Policy as a basic national policy,” according to a Zhong Xin China News Agency report.

Wang’s announcement came amidst criticisms by demographer Gu Baochang and statistician Ma Jiantang, that the declines in the labor force due to the Policy are endangering China’s economic future.  Ma Jiantang added that China should look into “an appropriate and scientific family planning policy,” according to a Reuters report.

Reggie Littlejohn, President of Women’s Rights Without Frontiers, stated, “Gu Baochang and Ma Jiantang join a growing chorus of critics of the One Child Policy.  The fact that criticism is growing does not warrant jumping to the conclusion that the policy is at an end.

“Such critics generally do not mention human rights abuses as the reason for reform.  Nor do they advocate abolition of the policy, but rather gradual modification by transitioning to a two-child policy.  Their concern is for the potentially devastating, long-term economic and demographic consequences of the policy.”

“The central issue in the One Child Policy is not whether the government allows couples to have one or two children.  Rather, it is the coercion with which this limit is enforced.  Even with a two-child policy, women will still be subject to forced abortion if they get pregnant without a birth permit.

“Also, a two-child policy fails to discourage gendercide, the sex-selective abortion of baby girls.  In areas where couples can have a second child if the first is a girl, gendercide is rampant.”

Littlejohn concluded, “Wang Xia’s strong pronouncement should end speculation that China will abandon the One Child Policy in the foreseeable future.  Forced abortion up to the ninth month of pregnancy, and gendercide – the sex-selective abortion of baby girls – will continue until all coercive birth limits are abolished.  We at Women’s Rights Without Frontiers are dismayed by this news, but will redouble our efforts to end this hideous crime against humanity.”

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Edge of precipice

A letter in the Independent on January 24 titled "Edge of precipice" looks at the importance of language in the abortion debate and how it has been abused to further the abortion agenda.
Language is all important in the current debate about abortion. Subtle changes in the use of terms can gradually help to bring about and even justify ways of looking at ethical issues that previously were not acceptable.

A famous example of this comes from an editorial in the September issue of 'California Medicine', 1970, which referred to changing attitudes to abortion in western society. It refers, in the following excerpt, to the need for a linguistic strategy if abortion was to gain acceptance.

"Since the old ethic has not yet been fully displaced, it has been necessary to separate the idea of abortion from the idea of killing, which continues to be socially abhorrent.

"The result has been a curious avoidance of the scientific fact, which everyone really knows, that human life begins at conception and is continuous, whether intra- or extra-uterine, until death.

"The very considerable semantic gymnastics that are required to rationalise abortion as anything but taking a human life would be ludicrous if they were not often put forth under socially impeccable auspices."

It is suggested that this schizophrenic sort of subterfuge is necessary because while a new ethic is being accepted the old one has not yet been rejected.

This is a stark reminder to all of us not to allow slippage in our use of language, which could entail radically transforming our society and the state to facilitate the taking of life in an unjustifiable manner.

We can see how far the US has moved down that road of destruction since that editorial of 1970.

We are on the edge of that precipice just now.

Seamus Grimes
Tirellan Heights, Galway

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

“It's not our right to protect one life and snuff out another on a whim”

Declan Ganley in a thought provoking article in the Irish Independent Tuesday Jan 22nd writes “It's not our right to protect one life and snuff out another on a whim”
We reprint the article in full here but it can also be accessed on this link. 
"We're stepped out upon the world's stage now – the fate of human dignity is in our hands."

With the words above, Steven Spielberg's Abraham Lincoln faces his cabinet down and reminds them of the challenge facing his bleeding nation. He insists that they take a stand before the world, and fight on to abolish and criminalise slavery once and for all. Whether the real Lincoln said these exact words we will never know, but that they reflect the challenge of the moment and the certainty of his conviction is indisputable.

Lincoln came to the office of president in 1861 and, as he assumed the power of the office, his country went to war. For Lincoln, no price would be too high to achieve the sacred goal of abolition and criminalisation of slavery. The ownership of one human being by another was an idea whose time had passed. Allowing all the rights of one man to be exercised and abrogated by another man was a crime that he felt dehumanised all mankind.

History has shown him not just to have been right, but it has bestowed upon him the title "great emancipator" – the man who gave his life so that all men and women could have the right to theirs. In Ireland, 1861 saw another step in the recognition of the need to defend the most vulnerable – children yet to be born.

That year saw the introduction of the Offences Against the Person Act, which criminalised the deliberate targeting of unborn children and conferred upon that most vulnerable part of humanity the right to due process and protection under the law. No human, the act said, could have his or her rights determined solely by another. No person has ownership of another's right to exist as a free person upon the earth, and no individual may be killed purely for the convenience of another.

It doesn't require much imagination to recall some of the ugliest episodes of death and injustice the world has ever witnessed. For reasons of race, skin colour, religion, political and economic affiliation and even gender or stage of development, unfortunate members of the human race have been vilified, made subject to and declared the property of the few, placed beyond the protection of laws, made outcasts, stripped of the dignity of individual identity and humanity itself, and even deprived of the legal right to life.

The march of civilisation has been all about ensuring that such atrocities never happen again – that all mankind, male and female, are created equal, with certain rights, liberties and protection under the law.

Of course, the only way to guarantee that the law protects all individual members of the human species equally, is that at a minimum, from the moment that a member can be identified as such, the law insures immunity from deliberate bodily destruction.

This moment of identity is unequivocally known today as conception (as indeed the word itself suggests), when the DNA of a new member of the human species arises. It is scientifically indisputable that the DNA discovered here by science is that of a unique individual distinct from their biological mother, and that this DNA is the unique and irreplicable identifier of a unique member of our species.

So the question is not whether we know when the human individual is first created (this is unequivocally proven by science), but rather whether an individual's right to life can be made subject to another and one individual human can be fully owned by another to the point where their very life is subject only to the whims of another.

None of us are created in the fullness of our potential, but science has shown us that human life is a journey, not a static moment. Our potential is gifted us at our conception – our appearance, talents and very fingerprints are hardcoded, and the rest is up to us. We are all conceived with the destiny to be born, grow, mature, slowly fade and die. The deliberate and targeted interruption of this process at any point is the ending of a single, unique, never-to-be-replaced human existence, and is the most base form of discrimination. That is why we make killing another human the most serious of all the crimes.

Lincoln recognised that we can never be free when we take one life and give dominion over it to another, for doing so devalues the existence of all of us. Once we declare that one individual may be killed purely because of the circumstances of their humanity, then we have devalued the lives of all who share those circumstances.

This is why no country has ever had "limited" abortion. It is simply a matter of logic – if the rights of one may be removed, then the rights of all may be removed. We cannot choose "good" unborn children to protect with our laws and "bad" unborn children who may be expunged by withdrawal of the shield of law. All must be protected, or none.

Ireland remains one of the few remaining lights in the world that might inspire others to pause for thought. To allow the world to contemplate the tens of millions they are missing – those future scientists, entrepreneurs, teachers, artists, Olympians, taxpayers, mothers, fathers, people with special needs, who were brought into existence, and snuffed out because the law said they were owned by another person who could end their unique existence on a whim.

So, in the words of Spielberg's incarnation of the great abolitionist, we have indeed "stepped upon the world's stage now – the fate of human dignity is in our hands".

It is time for all of us to stand up and be counted. Posterity and millions yet to be born will thank us for it.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Critical information for members of the Irish Government

Members of the Irish Government would do well to view and take account of the following video, "Do no Harm" even though this is simply a trailer for a short documentary. 
  • They could Listen to testimonies from women damaged by legal abortions. 
  • See evidence on how abortions are hurting women physically and psychologically...worldwide studies expose the link to depression, substance abuse, suicides, sterility, pre-term births in subsequent pregnancies and Breast Cancer! 
  • Hear doctors testify on the fact that abortion is more harmful to women then giving birth to their children. 
It would even be better for them to obtain and watch the complete documentary.

The actual DVD of DO NO HARM is 20 minutes long and is available from Silent-No-More Canada at a cost of $20.00 including postage

Monday, January 21, 2013

Life Crisis in Ireland

Dana Rosemary Scallon explains the current problems Ireland faces on the abortion issue for EWTN viewers

Embryo starts the continuum of life

The Independent in in letters column on Sunday January 20th has published an excellent letter from Professor William Reville of University College Cork, under the heading "Embryo starts the continuum of life". The letter is reprinted in full below and is also viewable on the above link.
Madam – I refer to the article by Senator John Crown on the subject of abortion (Sunday Independent, January 13, 2013). I agree with much of what he said, but I entirely disagree with the point he made at the end of his article where he claimed that the early human embryo "is a form of life in the same sense that a sperm or a cancer cell growing in a dish is a form of life". This opinion is simply wrong – it contradicts elementary biological facts.
An individual human life begins at conception when a sperm cell from the father fuses with an egg cell from the mother, to form a new cell, the zygote, the first embryonic stage. The zygote grows and divides into two daughter cells, each of which grows and divides into two grand-daughter cells, and this cell growth/division process continues on, over and over again.
The zygote is the start of a biological continuum that automatically grows and develops, passing gradually and sequentially through the stages we call foetus, baby, child, adult, old person and ending eventually in death. The full genetic instructions to guide the development of the continuum, in interaction with its environment, are present in the zygote. Every stage along the continuum is biologically human and each point along the continuum has the full human properties appropriate to that point.
On the other hand, neither the sperm cell nor the cancer cell mentioned by Senator Crown has the capacity to develop along a continuum into an adult human being, or indeed the capacity to develop into anything useful beyond themselves. These cells have specific roles and limited capacities and are completely different from the early embryo.
Many pro-choice people see the early embryo as a potential human being. However, it is clear to me, and to many others, that the biological data tells us the early embryo is a human being with potential.
William Reville,

Massive turnout for pro-life vigil in Dublin

Over 30,000 people from all over Ireland attended the pro-life vigil which took place in Dublin on Saturday 19th January making it by far the largest pro-life demonstration which has ever taken place in Ireland.
The vigil which was supported by all pro-life groups sent a very powerful message to the Irish Government that any attempt to legislate for abortion in Ireland will not be tolerated.  
Speakers at the vigil included Niamh Ui Bhriain of the Life Institute, Bernie Smith of Precious Life David Manly of Family and Life Caroline Simons of the Pro-Life Campaign, Mickey Harte, the Tyrone football manager, and Bernadette Goulding of

we are attaching some of the photographs and a video of the vigil which to coin a phrase speak for themselves.

Niamh Ui Bhriain of the Life Institute told the crowd that "Fine Gael are pressing to legalise the direct and intentional killing of children on the grounds of suicide" and that "we are here to remind them that votes are transferable things - and that on the issue of abortion the people are not for turning."

"They should, as that great patriot Patrick Pearse said, beware of the risen people who would take what you would not give.

"Because if Fine Gael don't protect life, they will truly have awoken a sleeping giant. They will have crossed the line for the pro-life majority. And today we pledge to Fine Gael that if they break their pro-life promise they will never get our votes again," she said to sustained applause.

The pro-life spokeswoman told the crowd that the British David Steele, who is described as the architect of the British Abortion Act recently said 'I never envisaged there would be so many abortions'.

"Is that what Fine Gael want? To be the party that looks back and says, 'We never envisaged there would be so many abortions'? " she asked.

She urged Fine Gael to take the opportunity to do the right thing. "To stand with the people, to stand for mothers and babies, to have the courage to stand on the world stage, and be leaders in protecting human life."

Friday, January 18, 2013


Ireland United for Life has confirmed that Luca Volontè a member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe has challenged the Committee of Ministers of the  Assembley on Imposing abortion in Ireland.
Whilst Irish members have stayed silent, Mr. Volontè,  representing the Italian Group of the European People’s Party, in a written question to the Council of Ministers, states that the Irish people have rejected the legalisation of abortion three times. The written question can be found on this link
The written question also says:
The European Court of Human Rights affirmed several times that the European Convention does not contain a right to abortion but a right to life; the Court also specified that prenatal life is not excluded in principle from the scope of protection of the Convention and that it belongs to each State within its margin of appreciation to decide when life begins.
Following the A., B. and C. v. Ireland case of 16 December 2010, Ireland is the target of an international campaign pressuring it to liberalise abortion. It is obvious that the Convention system is being used in order to impose an obligation that was never part of the Treaty and that is moreover contrary to the original intention of its drafters  Mr. Volontè, has challenged Committee of Ministers,
  • how can a country be pressured to legalise abortion in the name of a Convention which does not enshrine a right to abortion ?
  • does the Committee of Ministers envisage that such ultra vires practices may ultimately undermine the authority of the Council of Europe?
  • Ireland is among the safest countries in the world in respect of maternal services.
Therefore, why did the Committee of Ministers decide to give “precedence” to this case, when so many important cases of violations of human rights guaranteed by the Convention are treated under the ordinary procedure?

Ireland's Members of the Parliament now need to speak out and support Mr. Volontè

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Three reasons not to amend abortion law

The Irish Examiner published a very interesting letter from Barry Walsh of Clontarf in Dublin on Tuesday last January 15, 2013 which we have reprinted below but can also be accessed on this link  
During the three days of hearings of the Oireachtas Health Committee, amid claim and counter-claim, there were just three points on which the witnesses agreed.

These were, firstly, that no maternal deaths have occurred as a result of any deficiencies in the existing law; secondly, that no doctors have been prosecuted under the 1861 Act, which outlaws the procurement of an abortion; and, thirdly, that there is no body of international medical or psychiatric evidence that suggests abortion is a cause, treatment or cure for suicidal ideation.

Not a single witness disagreed with these three conclusions, be they pro-choice, pro-life, or otherwise.

This raises serious questions that our legislators must address.

If the law poses no danger to the lives of women, why the rush to amend it? If no doctors have been prosecuted under the existing law, then why do we need to amend it to protect doctors from prosecution?

If there is no evidence linking pregnancy to the risk of suicide, why should we enshrine such a link in Irish law?

Ireland United for Life Press Release

Says Archbishop Brown, Papal Nuncio

Ireland United for Life welcomes the statement from Archbishop Brown, Papal Nuncio to Ireland, who states that; “2013 is an incredibly important one for the sanctity of human life in Ireland and in other nations as well. People of conscience from all religions and from no religion need to work vigorously and courageously to protect and nurture human life from conception to natural death."

It is now clear that political parties and party leaders cannot be trusted to keep their pre election promises. Pro life people must unite to protect life from the moment of conception. Ireland United for Life is clear in that there must be no legislation for abortion - no deals, no more broken promises, no redefining of when life begins and no half truths.

The final day of the recent "Health hearings on abortion" was a talking shop and all about the way to introduce abortion, with all arguments against ignored and with a determination to set aside the 1861 Offences Against the Person Act. We must ask - why do those seeking to introduce abortion want to repeal the 1861 Act?

The Government does not have the legal authority to introduce legislation for abortion in Ireland

Nora Bennis, from Mothers Alliance Ireland, states that Mervin Taylor, a former Labour Minister, in the Fine Gael led Rainbow Coalition outlined the legal position in 1997 in a report to the United Nations five years after the X case Judgement. The Irish Government made it quite clear that abortion was still illegal in Ireland. Ireland's Combined Second and Third Reports under the United Nations CEDAW, introduced by Mervin Taylor, Minister for Equality and Law Reform, in February 1997, states quite clearly on page 116 that: “Abortion is prohibited in Ireland by the Offences Against the Person Act 1861.”

European Life Network’s Patrick Buckley states that this very point was put to the people of Ireland in 2002 as part of the then referendum, that sections 58 and 59 of the Offences Against the Person Act 1861 should be repealed. The people in voting to reject the 2002 Referendum therefore clearly voted to retain sections 58 and 59 of the Act.

Anthony Murphy, editor of Catholic Voice, says that once an Act is decriminalised it will become accepted by society as normal and accepted practise, thus the occurrence of it will grow. The Irish people have always protected the most vulnerable and will never live in a society where killing is acceptable, especially of the weakest, most vulnerable and innocent members of society. "

Precious Life’s Bernadette Smyth says abortion is a criminal offence and prohibited in both the North and South of Ireland by the Offences Against the Person Act 1861. 
Life, as the Papal Nuncio has made absolutely clear, is from conception to natural death.


Call for prayer and Eucharistic Adoration to protect unborn life in Ireland

Last June in anticipation of the impending attack on unborn life we published a BLOG article titled PRO LIFE ALERT in which we said, Ireland has been described by the pro-abortion lobby as the ‘jewel in the crown’ of the pro-life movement, but there is a new and lethal determination to remove that jewel and the danger is imminent. Ireland is currently under more pressure to introduce abortion than ever before.

Sadly this prediction has not only been realized but the pressure on our country if far greater now than ever before.
The question we posed at that time was what is needed? we also answered that question.

We need
·      International support
·      Education (on the issues)
·      And most of all prayer

We invited readers at the time to join with us in a prayer campaign to which there was a great response.  We wish thank all those who have generously given of their time and have offered, or continue to offer, prayer and we ask everyone to redouble their efforts.
You may remember we encouraged Catholic readers at the time to commit to an hour of Eucharistic adoration every week specifically for the intention of protecting unborn life in Ireland and we asked members of other denominations or faiths to commit to an hour of prayer each week for the same intention.

In view of the current prolonged attack on Ireland we are now re-issuing this appeal and we ask those who have already committed to doing so, that you not only continue your good efforts but also to encourage others to join in. We are determined to ensure there is round the clock prayer and adoration and would appreciate a note of the day and time you are able to commit to weekly.

To our new readers who have not received this invitation previously and to those who may not have been in a position at the time to commit to prayer or adoration we at European Life Network (ELN) would very much appreciate if you could let us know if you are willing to join in this call to prayer and Eucharistic Adoration by e-mailing or writing to us at the following address Glenrue, Ballinclea Road, Killiney, Co Dublin, Irelan.

High Court rejects assisted suicide case

The recent much publicised landmark case brought by terminally ill Marie Fleming to establish a right to assisted suicide in Ireland raises very profound questions which were given due consideration by a three judge sitting of the High Court in Dublin. The High Court in a unanimous verdict rejected her request to be lawfully permitted to have assistance in taking her own life. See Irish Times Report. The case is likely to be appealed to the Supreme Court.

High Court president Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns delivering the verdict said,
The absolute ban on assisted suicide does not disproportionately infringe Ms Fleming’s personal rights under the Constitution and is wholly justified in the public interest to protect vulnerable people.
Dilution of the ban could open a “Pandora’s box” impossible to close afterwards, with the risks of abuse “all too real”. The court had heard “deeply worrying” evidence from doctors that there would be “a paradigm shift” with “unforeseeable and perhaps uncontrollable” changes in attitude and behaviour regarding assisted suicide.
Even with the most rigorous safeguards it “would be impossible to ensure the aged, the disabled, the poor, the unwanted, the rejected, the lonely, the impulsive, the financially compromised and emotionally vulnerable would not avail of this option in order to avoid a sense of being a burden on their family and society”.

In delivering the verdict, which was very clear Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns issued an unusual recommendation in suggesting that the Director of Public Prosecutions would adopt a humane and sensitive approach in the event of assisted suicide occurring in this case.

He said the court, comprising himself, Mr Justice Paul Carney and Mr Justice Gerard Hogan, was “sure” the DPP, knowing the “appalling” plight of Ms Fleming (59), who is in the final stages of multiple sclerosis, would adopt a “humane and sensitive” approach.

Ms Fleming’s solicitors wrote to the DPP last August asking her to set out the factors she would consider in deciding whether to prosecute for assisted suicide. The High Court agreed with the DPP she cannot set out guidelines as that would involve her legislating when the Constitution stipulates making law is solely for the Oireachtas.

However, it said a “different set of affairs” might arise after any event of assisted suicide and provided there was evidence of compliance with guidelines set out by the UK DPP in assisted suicide cases. In those circumstances the DPP was free to exercise her discretion.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

British abortion giant offers placments to Irish medical students to learn about abortion provision

In what can only be described as the height of political opportunism the British Pregnancy Advisory Service BPAS, one of Britain’s largest abortion providers, has offered placements for Irish medical students in order to teach them about abortion provision according to an Irish Times report of January 16th.

The Irish Times story reads:
A sexual health charity in Britain has confirmed it is offering placements to Irish medical students to observe abortion procedures and gain experience in abortion care and pregnancy options counselling.

The British Pregnancy Advisory Service said students would “have the opportunity to gain an insight into the many and varied reasons why women may present with an unplanned pregnancy or a pregnancy which cannot be carried to term”.

During placement at the charity’s largest London clinic, students will also gain experience of other services including advising on contraception and fitting contraceptive devices, testing for and treating sexually transmitted diseases. The placement will also include a half day learning about the issues facing couples who receive a diagnosis of foetal abnormality.

Three Irish students have so far signed up for the week-long internships at the clinic, where abortions are carried out at up to 24 weeks’ gestation, and they will observe about 50 procedures during the week, a spokeswoman said.

Dr Richard Lyus, a mentor for students undertaking the placement, said doctors in Ireland might be called on to assist a woman whose life was threatened by her pregnancy, or to provide information to a woman considering abortion overseas.

“We hope these placements will give Ireland’s next generation of doctors an important insight into the needs of women in this situation, which they can make use of in the course of their careers,” he said.

The sad fact that some students have already accepted the BPAS internships is a cause for grave concern as are the comments attributed to their mentor.
We have to ask what ever happened to the “Hippocratic Oath”, the concept of protection of the vulnerable and the commitment of doctors to "do no harm"?

Major resistance to the imposition of so called "Same Sex Marriage" in France

Last Sunday saw a massive demonstration in Paris when hundreds of thousands of French citizens marched in Paris, in bitterly cold temperatures, to oppose plans by Socialist President Francois Hollande to force a bill legalizing so-called same-sex marriage through the parliament by June of this year.

The demonstration, which was supported by the French Catholic hierarchy, was organized in defence of  traditional marriage between a man and a woman, the natural family based on marriage and the adoption of children.  

The sheer force of the turnout estimated by various sources as being between 800,000 and 1.3 million demonstrates that the push for so called ‘same-sex marriage’ is unacceptable to the wider population and likely to be rejected by the overwhelming majority of families in France if put to a vote.

You can watch the following video clip "La manif pour tous" which verifies the numbers present at the demonstration as seen from a vantage point on the Eiffel Tower.   

The Parisian demonstration was also supported by many other similar demonstrations throughout the world as can be seen by this second video

The video clips and photos of the demonstration were provided by the Fedration of Catholic Family Associations in Europe FAFCE

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Abortion Hearings

Three days of hearings by the Oireachtas Health Committee, on the Irish Governments decision to legislate and regulate for abortion were held this week with medical evidence being presented on Tuesday, legal evidence on Wednesday and Churches and lobby groups on Thursday.

Sadly it appears from many of the interventions made that medical practice in Ireland has strayed from the traditional understanding of Catholic moral theology.

The hearings were wound up with a final statement by Dr James Reilly who told the Committee the Government had already decided to legislate for abortion where there is a threat to the life of a woman, including the risk of suicide.  This is necessary he said in order to clarify what should lawfully be available to women.
The hearings were presented with a variety of different and contradictory opinions on how to deal with the European Court of Human Rights decision in the A,B and C case.

The committee discussion was primarily placed in a medical context rather than in the Justice area with a primary focus on issues such as suicide ideation. Considerable opposition was expressed to sections 58 and 59 of the 1861 Offences against the Person Act by some of the medical experts and by the pro-choice/pro-abortion lobby. 

We report today on some of the exchanges which occurred at the hearings but will report on them in more detail in due course. The quotations below are extracts from the presentations not the complete texts. We intend to revisit these however when the texts become available.

 On Tuesday a group of medical experts told the Committee that saving a woman’s life never requires the direct and intentional killing of an unborn child. This group also told the committee that suicide in pregnancy was 'extremely rare' and that to legislate for abortion in such circumstances would not help any Irish women.

Obstetricians and Gynaecologists Dr. Sam Coulter Smyth, Dr. Mary McCarthy, and Dr. Rhona O'Mahoney responding to questions from Oncologist Senator Dr. John Crowne all confirmed that they were not aware of any needless maternal deaths' from Ireland’s current ban on abortions and they further confirmed they had never been prevented from providing life-saving medical treatment by Ireland's current pro-life laws.

The medical experts were also questioned on whether there were cases, which required the killing of an unborn child. In response Dr. Coulter Smyth replied that in 'most' cases there was 'no need to kill the fetus', Dr. Mahoney said that while delivery before viability might be required there was 'no intention to kill the fetus.'
Dr. Coulter Smyth and Dr. McCarthy also confirmed that not one woman had committed suicide in their hospitals in the 20 years since the X case because they could not obtain an abortion.

The meeting was addressed on Thursday morning by representatives of the Churches and Faith communities.

Dr Christopher Jones spokesman for the Catholic Church told the Committee
Any suggestion that Ireland is an unsafe place for pregnant mothers because we do not have abortion is a complete distortion of the truth. It is also gravely unjust to the doctors, nurses and midwives in our hospitals who have achieved such internationally celebrated standards of maternity care.

We believe these high standards of maternity care have been influenced in no small part by the recognition in Article 40.3.3 of Bunreacht na hÉireann that a mother and her unborn child have an equal right to life. This coincides with our belief as a Church, based on human reason and affirmed by Sacred Scripture that the life of a mother and her unborn baby are both sacred.  The Catholic Church has never taught that the life of the child in the womb should be preferred to that of the mother, or the life of the mother to that of the child.

Moreover, there is clearly considerable confusion about the terminology being used in the discussion about medical intervention to save the life of a mother.  The Catholic Church recognises a vital moral distinction between medical intervention to save the life of a mother and abortion.  Abortion, understood as the direct and intentional killing of an unborn child in the womb, is never morally permissible.  This is because directly and intentionally taking the life of any innocent person is never morally acceptable.

This is different from medical treatments to save the life of the mother where there is no other option and where the intervention does not directly and intentionally seek to end the life of the unborn baby. Every effort is made in this situation to preserve the life of both mother and baby throughout. This position, which is ethically sound, represents best practice in Irish hospitals today.

However, legislating for the ‘X Case’, removes the obligation to make every effort, at all times, to preserve the life of both the mother and her unborn baby.  It allows for abortion, for the direct and intentional killing of the baby in the womb.  It is not necessary to legislate for the X Case to ensure that women in Ireland receive all the life-saving treatment they need during pregnancy.  It is not necessary to satisfy the European Court of Human Rights. There is another way. Other options are available to the Government that do not involve legislating for abortion.  These include the option of appropriate guidelines, which continue to exclude the direct and intentional killing of the unborn, or a referendum to overturn the X Case judgment.  We believe both these options should be fully explored by the Oireachtas.

As a Bishops’ Conference we have always held, with many others, that the judgment of the Supreme Court in the X Case is not a basis on which to move forward on this critical issue.  In that judgment, the Court unilaterally overturned the pro-life intention and the will of the people in the 1983 referendum.  It heard no psychiatric evidence.  It believed that abortion was an answer to suicidal ideation, whereas current research indicates that suicidal ideation rarely relates to a single cause and that abortion itself can lead to suicidal ideation and mental health difficulties.  The position it took is also morally unacceptable.  You cannot morally equate the possible but preventable death of one person with the deliberate and intentional destruction of the life of a different, totally innocent person.
Also on Thursday the Committee heard evidence from both pro-life and pro-choice/pro-abortion groups.  Dr Eoghan de Faoite of Youth Defence/ Life Institute echoed the evidence of some of the medical specialists  in telling the hearings that there was "a distinction between the termination of a pregnancy and the termination of the life of a child. Irish doctors he said have such freedom to intervene under current Medical Council guidelines because there is a clear difference between intervening to save a woman’s life, which includes premature delivery of the baby, and abortion which intentionally destroys the unborn child. The blurring of the distinction between these two practices is what is contributing most to public confusion".

"Birth he said is a termination of pregnancy. An emergency cesarean section is a termination of pregnancy. Premature induction of labour is a termination of pregnancy, and thanks to the expertise of our Obstetricians and Neontatologists many of these premature infants survive. How can that be described as an abortion?" he asked.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The importance of Humanae Vitae

Bishop Philip Egan of Portsmouth in the UK in his Pastoral letter for the Feast of the Holy Family turned his attention to the 1968 Encyclical of Pope Paul VI Humanae Vitae.

Bishop Egan Writes;
In 1968, at the height of the Sixties, Pope Paul VI wrote an Encyclical Letter that then and now many Catholics find difficult. He repeated the traditional teaching of the Church, based on the natural law and confirmed by revelation, that sexual intercourse is an integral act for love and for life, and that these two aspects of sexuality – love and life - cannot be divorced. Humanae Vitae was a prophetic document. Pope Paul spoke of catastrophic consequences for society and culture if these two ends of marriage were split. 45 years on, we can see what he meant in such things as the reduction of sex to a leisure activity, the trafficking of people for prostitution and pornography, broken family relationships, and the explosion of addictive behaviours leading to despair, shame and guilt.

As Catholics, we believe in the natural way of life. We believe that the purpose of sexual intercourse is to express the love between a man and a woman, a love which, within the permanent commitment of marriage, is open to being fruitful to life. This is the way to lasting happiness and fulfilment, even if to become chaste - that is, to develop a mature and fully integrated sexuality, as a single person or a married couple - involves a life-long struggle and “apprenticeship in self-mastery”. To help us, Jesus calls us to be his disciples, and offers us the healing balm and the strength we need, above all in confession and Holy Communion.

Jesus Christ is the way to personal happiness and authentic humanism. Sadly, the teaching of Humanae Vitae about sexual morality and family values has become something of an ‘elephant in the room’ that no-one seems to mention. In this Year of Faith then, I would like to invite everyone to discover again the Church's wonderful vision of love and life, as expounded in the Catechism. I would also like to ask all families, whatever their form or circumstances, to think about developing a deeper and richer Catholic ethos in the home, so as to give a clearer witness to contemporary culture. For instance, why not spend an evening together as a family, occasionally switch off the computer, make the Sign of the Cross on entering the house, adopt a communal work of justice and charity, or keep special the fast-days and feast-days? I am sure you will think of many other ways of preserving our Catholic distinctiveness.
This encyclical which reaffirmed the Church’s constant teaching on the regulation of births is perhaps the most misunderstood papal encyclical. It simply teaches the truth about human sexuality, a truth which was (and still is) unpalatable to many, a truth that became the spark which led to decades of doubt and dissent among many Catholics, plunging us into what Pope John Paul II so aptly called the “culture of Death.”
Denounced by critics inside and outside the Church, Humanae Vitae has nevertheless proved to be chillingly prophetic in its warnings. Now over forty years later this encyclical is more relevant than ever.

The Encyclical warned of four trends which would occur if the use of artificial contraception became widespread. 
  • First it claimed there would be a general lowering of moral standards throughout society. 
  • The second claim was that there would be a rise in infidelity. 
  • The third claim was that there would be a lessening of respect for women by men, and 
  • finally that it would lead to the coercive use of reproductive technologies by governments. 
Any truthful analysis of modern society will clearly show that all of these predictions have come to pass, each with its own drastic consequences, the moral destruction of society Paul VI warned about in his encyclical can be seen all around us.