Hilary White

Reporter who broke Savita story admits: there may have been no request for a ‘termination’

Hilary White
Hilary White
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DUBLIN, December 3, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Kitty Holland, the Irish Times reporter who broke the story about the death of Savita Halappanavar that launched a global crusade against Ireland’s pro-life laws, has admitted that the story of Mrs. Halappanavar asking for an abortion may have been a little bit “muddled” in the retelling, and there may have been no such request after all.

In an interview this weekend on Newstalk 106, Holland appeared flustered and defensive, deflecting blame for the uproar onto Mrs. Halappanavar’s husband, Praveen. When radio interviewer Marc Coleman of Newstalk 106, asked her, “You’re satisfied that he did request a termination?” Holland responded, “Oh, I’m not satisfied of anything.”

“I’m satisfied of what he told me,” she said, “but I await as much as anyone else the inquiry and the findings. I can’t tell for certain. Who knows what will come out in that inquiry? They may come back and say she came in with a disease she caught from something outside the hospital before she even arrived in, and there was no request for termination.”

Covering, Holland added, “One may even wonder are requests for terminations recorded at all in Irish maternity hospitals.”

Asked about discrepancies in the reports on the timeline of Mrs. Halappanavar’s care – particularly when, exactly, she started receiving antibiotics after her admittance to hospital – Holland replied, “All one can surmise is that his recollection of events is…the actual timeline… may be a little muddled.” She said that “at one point” Mr. Halappanavar told her that she was only given painkillers, and never received any antibiotics.

Holland later told the state broadcaster RTE that her coverage in the Irish Times “never suggested” that an abortion might have saved Mrs. Halappanavar’s life.

Coleman also queried Holland about discrepancies in her Times report compared to her later reporting in the Observer. After her initial article in the Irish Times on November 14th, Holland three days later wrote in the Observer the disclaimer, “The fact that Savita had been refused a termination was a factor in her death has yet to be established”.

Coleman asked her why that sentence was included in the Observer but not in her original article for the Times. Holland responded, stammering, “Well, I suppose throughout the original article …umm… I mean it was quoting the concerns of the husband, Praveen. And, at no point … I mean … there was … you know it was hinted at in the headline, which obviously I didn’t write. You know, ‘refused a termination’ was in quotes. Umm, but you know I was reporting the concerns of the husband, and what he said he was concerned about and what he said happened in the hospital.

“Whereas my piece in the Observer was a more kind of background piece from my point of view, so it was obviously important for me to say quite explicitly that, you know, it has not been established that a lack of access to a termination…”

Coleman also mentioned to Holland that there are a lot of concerns about the “contrast” between the November 14th report and her later reporting. “It did travel around the world very quickly, the assumption that this woman had died precisely because of a lack of termination,” he said.

“Well, I mean, what I wrote were the concerns of the husband,” she responded, “and I suppose what readers took … decided to infer from that is … what the concerns were of the husband and what he stated happened from his recollection of events in the hospital.”

“The fact that a healthy… as far as we know… healthy 31 year-old woman who was 17 weeks pregnant entered a hospital in 21st century Ireland and was dead a week later is a tragic story anyway, and would have been a big story anyway. A maternal death is very rare.”

She continued to reiterate that she was reporting “the husband’s recollection or take on the events, and the concerns that he was wanting to talk about that took it off around the world.”

Coleman noted that hospital records of Mrs. Halappanavar’s care contain notes of requests for “tea and toast and many other things, but they contain no request for a termination.”

“Again we only have Praveen and his solicitor’s take on what was in or not in the notes,” Holland responded. “So, we’re relying all the time on their take on what happened.”

“I don’t know. That’s a huge gap and if that is the case … that a termination was requested and Praveen says there were witnesses to these requests, that will all come out in the inquiry,” Holland said. If the inquiry finds there are no notes recording the Halappanavars’ request for an abortion, “it’s obviously a huge gap”.

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Within hours of the publication online of the Times report, the worldwide media responded with a frenzy of coverage, running sensationalistic headlines blaming Ireland’s pro-life laws for her death. Since then, abortion campaigners around the globe have concentrated their forces on demanding that the Irish Republic, one of a tiny handful of western nations that still protects unborn children in the womb, institute legalized abortion on demand.

The hospital and the government have launched investigations, but Mrs. Halappanavar’s husband and family have refused to allow Savita’s medical records to be made public. He has now announced that he intends to sue the Irish government in the European Court of Human Rights after Irish Health Minister refused his demand for a public inquiry.

Pro-life advocates in Ireland, who have been fighting the mainstream media’s misrepresentation of the case and its use by the international abortion lobby, have called Holland’s admission “extraordinary”. Niamh Ui Bhriain, head of the Life Institute, called the affair “the most cynical and deplorable exploitation of a tragedy that I have ever witnessed in my lifetime”.

She noted that Holland was careful during her interview to emphasize that the facts were not known and that it was not certain that an abortion may not have requested.

“Yet no such caution was exercised in her original Irish Times report where it was suggested to the world that an Irish hospital had allowed a mother to die because a Catholic ethos supposedly wouldn’t allow an abortion,” Ui Bhriain told LifeSiteNews.com.

“Journalists have a responsibility to ensure that the reader understands when matters are factual and when they are uncorroborated. Yet the Irish Times tossed that responsibility aside in order to force abortion into the centre of this tragic case concerning a miscarriage and septicaemia.”

“As leading medical experts have pointed this case had very little to do with abortion, yet the headlines around the world became more lurid by the moment,” she added.

Ui Bhriain noted that in her Observer article, Holland “clearly understood the global importance of the story”.

“That makes the sensationalist headline and the reporting in the previous article in the Irish Times reprehensible in my view,” she said.

Ui Bhriain has previously blasted the media coverage for besmirching Ireland’s good reputation. A recent report from the World Health Organisation said the country has the second highest rating for maternal health in the world, with its pro-life laws intact.

Meanwhile, RTE reports that Ireland’s Minister for Transport, Leo Varadkar, has said that legislation that proposes to legalize abortion could turn out to be unconstitutional and may result in a referendum. Although the government has no plans for a referendum, he said that one may be unavoidable. Ireland’s pro-life law is embedded in the Constitution, which can only be changed through a public plebiscite. Pro-abortion advocates have long attempted to bypass this outcome by working to change the law through court cases, particularly that of the A,B and C case at the European Court of Human Rights.

Listen to the full interview here (starts at 33:20)

To express concerns to the Irish offices of the National Union of Journalists:
info@nuj.ie

To express concerns to the Irish Times
http://www.irishtimes.com/about/contact/
enquiries@irishtimes.com

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Dustin Siggins Dustin Siggins Follow Dustin

PBS defends decision to air pro-abortion documentary ‘After Tiller’

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By Dustin Siggins

Under pressure for showing the pro-abortion documentary "After Tiller" on Labor Day, PBS' "POV" affiliate has defended the decision in response to an inquiry from LifeSiteNews.

The producers of the film say their goal with the documentary, which tells the stories of four late-term abortion doctors after the killing of infamous late-term abortionist George Tiller, is to "change public perception of third-trimester abortion providers by building a movement dedicated to supporting their right to work with a special focus on maintaining their safety.” 

POV told LifeSiteNews, "We do believe that 'After Tiller' adds another dimension to an issue that is being debated widely." Asked if POV will show a pro-life documentary, the organization said that it "does not have any other films currently scheduled on this issue. POV received almost 1000 film submissions each year through our annual call for entries and we welcome the opportunity to consider films with a range of points of view."

When asked whether POV was concerned about alienating its viewership -- since PBS received millions in federal tax dollars in 2012 and half of Americans identify as pro-life -- POV said, "The filmmakers would like the film to add to the discussion around these issues. Abortion is already a legal procedure."

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"This is an issue that people feel passionately about and will have a passionate response to. We are hopeful that the majority of people can see it for what it is, another lens on a very difficult issue." 

In addition to the documentary, POV has written materials for community leaders and teachers to share. A cursory examination of the 29-page document, which is available publicly, appears to include links to outside sources that defend Roe v. Wade, an examination of the constitutional right to privacy, and "a good explanation of the link between abortion law and the right to privacy," among other information.

Likewise, seven clips recommended for student viewing -- grades 11 and beyond -- include scenes where couples choose abortion because the children are disabled. Another shows pro-life advocates outside a doctor's child's school, and a third is described as showing "why [one of the film's doctors] chose to offer abortion services and includes descriptions of what can happen when abortion is illegal or unavailable, including stories of women who injured themselves when they tried to terminate their own pregnancies and children who were abused because they were unwanted."

Another clip "includes footage of protesters, as well as news coverage of a hearing in the Nebraska State Legislature in which abortion opponents make reference to the idea that a fetus feels pain." The clip's description fails to note that it is a scientifically proven fact that unborn children can feel pain.

The documentary is set to air on PBS at 10 p.m. Eastern on Labor Day.

Kirsten Andersen contributed to this article.

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Pete Baklinski Pete Baklinski Follow Pete

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He defended ‘real’ marriage, and then was beheaded for it

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By Pete Baklinski

A Christian man was executed during the night by a high-profile ruler after making an uncompromising defense of real marriage.

The Christian, who was renowned for his holiness, had told the ruler in public that his relationship with his partner was “against the law” of God. The Christian’s words enraged the ruler’s partner who successfully plotted to have him permanently silenced.

John the Baptist was first imprisoned before he was beheaded. The Catholic Church honors him today, August 29, as a martyr and saint.

While John’s death happened a little less than 2,000 years ago, his heroic stance for real marriage is more pertinent today than ever before.

According to the Gospel of Mark, the ruler Herod had ‘married’ his brother’s wife Herodias. When John told Herod with complete frankness, “It is against the law for you to have your brother’s wife,” Herodias became “furious” with him to the point of wanting him killed for his intolerance, bullying, and hate-speech.

Herodias found her opportunity to silence John by having her daughter please Herod during a dance at a party. Herod offered the girl anything she wanted. The daughter turned to her mother for advice, and Herodias said to ask for John’s head on a platter.

Those who fight for real marriage today can learn three important lessons from John’s example.

  1. Those proudly living in ungodly and unnatural relationships — often referred to in today’s sociopolitical sphere as ‘marriage’ — will despise those who tell them what they are doing is wrong. Real marriage defenders must expect opposition to their message from the highest levels.
  2. Despite facing opposition, John was not afraid to defend God’s plan for marriage in the public square, even holding a secular ruler accountable to this plan. John, following the third book of the Hebrew Bible (Leviticus 20:21), held that a man marrying the wife of his brother was an act of “impurity” and therefore abhorrent to God. Real marriage defenders must boldly proclaim today that God is the author of marriage, an institution he created to be a life-long union between one man and one woman from which children arise and in which they are best nurtured. Marriage can be nothing more, nothing less.
  3. John did not compromise on the truth of marriage as revealed by God, even to the point of suffering imprisonment and death for his unpopular position. Real marriage defenders must never compromise on the truth of marriage, even if the government, corporate North America, and the entire secular education system says otherwise. They must learn to recognize the new “Herodias” of today who despises those raising a voice against her lifestyle. They must stand their ground no matter what may come, no matter what the cost.

John the Baptist was not intolerant or a bigot, he simply lived the word of God without compromise, speaking the word of truth when it was needed, knowing that God’s way is always the best way. Were John alive today, he would be at the forefront of the grassroots movement opposing the social and political agenda to remake marriage in the image of man.

Click "like" if you want to defend true marriage.

If he were alive today he might speak simple but eloquent words such as, “It is against God’s law for two men or two women to be together as a husband and wife in marriage. Marriage can only be between a man and a woman.” 

He would most likely be hated. He would be ridiculed. He would surely have the human rights tribunals throwing the book at him. But he would be speaking the truth and have God as his ally. 

The time may not be far off when those who defend real marriage, like John, will be presented with the choice of following Caesar or making the ultimate sacrifice. May God grant his faithful the grace to persevere in whatever might come. St. John the Baptist, pray for us!

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The Wunderlich family Mike Donnelly / Home School Legal Defence Association
Thaddeus Baklinski Thaddeus Baklinski Follow Thaddeus

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German homeschoolers regain custody of children, vow to stay and fight for freedom

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By Thaddeus Baklinski

One year to the day since a team of 20 social workers, police officers, and special agents stormed a homeschooling family’s residence near Darmstadt, Germany, and forcibly removed all four of the family’s children, aged 7 to 14, a state appeals court has returned custody of the children to their parents.

The reason given for the removal was that parents Dirk and Petra Wunderlich continued to homeschool their children in defiance of a German ban on home education.

The children were returned three weeks after being taken, following an international outcry spearheaded by the Home School Legal Defense Association.

However, a lower court imposed the condition on the parents that their children were required to attend state schools in order for them to be released, and took legal custody of the children in order to prevent the family from leaving the country.

In a decision that was still highly critical of the parents and of homeschooling, the appeals court decided that the action of the lower court in putting the children in the custody of the state was “disproportional” and ordered complete custody returned to the parents, according to a statement by the HSLDA.

The Wunderlichs, who began homeschooling again when the court signaled it would rule this way, said they were very pleased with the result, but noted that the court’s harsh words about homeschooling indicated that their battle was far from over.

“We have won custody and we are glad about that,” Dirk said.

“The court said that taking our children away was not proportionate—only because the authorities should apply very high fines and criminal prosecution instead. But this decision upholds the absurd idea that homeschooling is child endangerment and an abuse of parental authority.”

The Wunderlichs are now free to emigrate to another country where homeschooling is legal, if they choose, but they said they intend to remain in Germany and work for educational freedom.

“While we no longer fear that our children will be taken away as long as we are living in Hessen, it can still happen to other people in Germany,” Dirk said. “Now we fear crushing fines up to $75,000 and jail. This should not be tolerated in a civilized country.”

Petra Wunderlich said, "We could not do this without the help of HSLDA,” but cautioned that, “No family can fight the powerful German state—it is too much, too expensive."

"If it were not for HSLDA and their support, I am afraid our children would still be in state custody. We are so grateful and thank all homeschoolers who have helped us by helping HSLDA.”

HSLDA’s Director for Global Outreach, Michael Donnelly, said he welcomed the ruling but was concerned about the court’s troubling language.

“We welcome this ruling that overturns what was an outrageous abuse of judicial power,” he said.

“The lower court decision to take away legal custody of the children essentially imprisoned the Wunderlich family in Germany. But this decision does not go far enough. The court has only grudgingly given back custody and has further signaled to local authorities that they should still go after the Wunderlichs with criminal charges or fines.”

Donnelly pointed out that such behavior in a democratic country is problematic.

“Imprisonment and fines for homeschooling are outside the bounds of what free societies that respect fundamental human rights should tolerate,” he explained.

“Freedom and fundamental human rights norms demand respect for parental decision making in education. Germany’s state and national policies that permit banning home education must be changed.

"Such policies from a leading European democracy not only threaten the rights of tens of thousands of German families but establish a dangerous example that other countries may be tempted to follow,” Donnelly warned.

HSLDA Chairman Michael Farris said that acting on behalf of the Wunderlichs was an important stand for freedom.

“The Wunderlichs are a good and decent family whose basic human rights were violated and are still threatened,” Farris said.

“Their fight is our fight," Farris stressed, "and we will continue to support those who stand against German policy banning homeschooling that violates international legal norms. Free people cannot tolerate such oppression and we will do whatever we can to fight for families like the Wunderlichs both here in the United States and abroad. We must stand up to this kind of persecution where it occurs or we risk seeing own freedom weakened.”

Visit the HSLDA website dedicated to helping the Wunderlich family and other German homeschoolers here.

Contact the German embassy in the U.S. here.

Contact the German embassy in Canada here.

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