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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Although it is widely believed that people with Down syndrome are doomed to a life of suffering, in one large survey 99% of respondents with Down syndrome described themselves as "happy." Shutterstock
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‘Sick and twisted’: Down’s advocates, pro-life leaders slam Richard Dawkins’ abortion remarks

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By Dustin Siggins

Advocates on behalf of individuals with Down syndrome, as well as pro-life leaders, are slamming famed atheist Richard Dawkin’s statements made on Twitter earlier today that parents have a moral responsibility to abort babies diagnosed in utero with Down’s.

During a shocking Twitter rant, Dawkins responded to questioners saying that it was "civilised" to abort Down Syndrome babies, and that it would be "immoral" to choose not to abort babies diagnosed with the condition.

He said that his goal is to "reduce suffering wherever you can," indicating that unborn children cannot suffer, and that unborn children don't "have human feelings."

In addition to being scientifically challenged - unborn children can feel both pain and emotions - Dawkins' comments drew criticism for his callousness towards children with disabilities.  

"A true civilization – a civilization of love – does not engage in such cold and ultimately suicidal calculus"

“It's sick and twisted for anyone to advocate for the killing of children with disabilities,” Live Action President Lila Rose told LifeSiteNews. “Dawkins's ignorant comments serve only to further stigmatize people with Down syndrome.

“While many people with Down syndrome, their families, and advocacy groups are fighting discrimination on a daily basis, Dawkins calls for their murder before they are even born,” she said. “Those with Down syndrome are human beings, with innate human dignity, and they, along with the whole human family, deserve our respect and protection.”

Carol Boys, chief executive of the Down's Syndrome Association, told MailOnline that, contrary to Dawkins’ assertion, “People with Down’s syndrome can and do live full and rewarding lives, they also make a valuable contribution to our society.”

A spokesperson for the UK disabilities charity Scope lamented that during the “difficult and confusing time” when parents find out they are expecting a child with disabilities, they often experience “negative attitudes.”

“What parents really need at this time is sensitive and thorough advice and information,” the spokesperson said.

Charlotte Lozier Institute president Chuck Donovan agreed with Rose’s assessment. "Advocates of abortion for those 'weaker' than others, or of less physical or intellectual dexterity, should remember that each of us is 'lesser' in some or most respects," he said.

According to Donovan, "we deliver a death sentence on all of humanity by such cruel logic."

"A true civilization – a civilization of love – does not engage in such cold and ultimately suicidal calculus" he said.

One family who has a child with Down syndrome said Dawkins was far from the mark when he suggested that aborting babies with Down syndrome is a good way to eliminate suffering.

Jan Lucas, whose son Kevin has Down syndrome, said that far from suffering, Kevin has brought enormous joy to the family, and "is so loving. He just has a million hugs."

She described how Kevin was asked to be an honorary deacon at the hurch they attend in New Jersey, “because he is so encouraging to everyone. At church, he asks people how their families are, says he'll pray for them, and follows up to let them know that he has been praying for them."

It's not just strangers for whom Kevin prays. "My husband and I were separated for a time, and Kevin kept asking people to pray for his dad," said Jan. "They didn't believe that Kevin's prayers would be answered. Kevin didn't lose hope, and asking people, and our marriage now is better than ever before. We attribute it to Kevin's prayers, and how he drew on the prayers of everyone."

"I don't know what we'd do without him," said Jan.

Speaking with LifeSiteNews, Kevin said that his favorite things to do are "spending time with my family, and keeping God in prayer." He said that he "always knows God," which helps him to "always keep praying for my friends."

"I love my church," said Kevin.

Although it is widely believed that people with Down syndrome are doomed to a life of suffering, in one large survey 99% of respondents with Down syndrome described themselves as "happy." At the same time, 99% percent of parents said they loved their child with Down syndrome, and 97 percent said they were proud of them.

Only 4 percent of parents who responded said they regretted having their child.

Despite this, it is estimated that in many Western countries the abortion rate of children diagnosed in utero with Down syndrome is 90%, or even higher. The development of new and more accurate tests for the condition has raised concerns among Down syndrome advocates that that number could rise even higher. 


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Asked about Iraq on his return flight from South Korea, Francis replied that 'it is legitimate to halt the unjust aggressor.' Shutterstock
Steve Weatherbe

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Pope Francis: steps must be taken to halt ‘unjust aggressor’ in Iraq

Steve Weatherbe
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Pope Francis and his emissary to Iraq’s persecuted non-Muslim minorities, Cardinal Fernando Filoni, have both called on the United Nations to act in concert to protect Iraqis Christian and Yazidi minorities from the radical Islamic forces of ISIS.

Asked about Iraq on his return flight from South Korea, Francis replied that “it is legitimate to halt the unjust aggressor.”

He added, however, that “halt” does not mean to “bomb” and lamented “how many times with the excuse of halting the unjust aggressor…have powerful nations taken possession of peoples and waged a war of conquest!”

He also cautioned that no single nation could determine the right measures. Any intervention must be multilateral and preferably by the United Nations, he said.

Meanwhile, Cardinal Foloni, who is visiting Iraq on behalf of Pope Francis, issued a joint statement this week with Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Louis Raphael I Sako and the Iraqi bishops that urged the international community to “liberate the villages and other places that have been occupied as soon as possible and with a permanent result.”

The statement also urged efforts to “assure that there is international protection for these villages and so to encourage these families to go back to their homes and to continue to live a normal life in security and peace.”

Archbishop Giorgio Lingua, the Vatican nuncio to Iraq, was also asked by Vatican Radio earlier this month about the U.S. airstrikes in Iraq.

“This is something that had to be done, otherwise [the Islamic State] could not be stopped,” the archbishop said. 

Although Pope Francis’ own remarks about an intervention in the war-torn country were carefully guarded, Catholic commentator Robert Spencer, author of such bestselling exposes of Islam as “The Truth About Muhammad: Founder of the World's Most Intolerant Religion,” told LifeSiteNews he believes the pope was clearly calling for an “armed intervention, though a very limited one.”  

“Only a fool would think there is another way to stop an ‘unjust aggressor,’” he said.

Spencer expressed concerns that both Francis and Pope John Paul II before him have both referred to Islam a “religion of peace,” which Spencer says is “completely false.” However, he suggested that Francis’ remarks calling for action in Iraq are a sign of a more realistic attitude towards Islam.   

On this, Spencer would likely have the support of Amel Nona, the Chaldean Catholic archbishop of Mosul, who issued a letter last week warning the West in stark terms about the encroaching threat of Islam.

“Our sufferings today are the prelude of those you, Europeans and Western Christians, will also suffer,” Nona warned. “Your liberal and democratic principles are worth nothing here.

“You must consider again our reality in the Middle East, because you are welcoming in your countries an ever growing number of Muslims. Also you are in danger. You must take strong and courageous decisions, even at the cost of contradicting your principles,” he said

“You think all men are equal, but that is not true: Islam does not say that all men are equal. Your values are not their values. If you do not understand this soon enough, you will become the victims of the enemy you have welcomed in your home.”


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'Apparently I'm a horrid monster for recommending WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENS to the great majority of Down Syndrome fetuses,' said Dawkins. 'They are aborted.' Shutterstock
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Richard Dawkins: it’s ‘immoral’ NOT to abort babies with Down syndrome

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By Dustin Siggins

In a bizarre rant on Twitter earlier today, atheist Richard Dawkins wrote that choosing not to abort a child with Down Syndrome would be "immoral."

The conversation started when Dawkins tweeted that "Ireland is a civilised country except in this 1 area." The area was abortion, which until last year was illegal in all cases.

A Twitter user then asked Dawkins if "994 human beings with Down's Syndrome [having been] deliberately killed before birth in England and Wales in 2012" was "civilised."

Dawkins replied "yes, it is very civilised. These are fetuses, diagnosed before they have human feelings."

Later, Dawkins said that "the question is not ‘is it 'human'?’ but ‘can it SUFFER?’"

In perhaps the most shocking moment, one Twitter user wrote that he or she "honestly [doesn't] know what I would do if I were pregnant with a kid with Down Syndrome. Real ethical dilemma."

Dawkins advised the writer to "abort it and try again. It would be immoral to bring it into the world if you have the choice."

According to Dawkins, the issue of who should be born comes down to a calculation based upon possible suffering. "Yes. Suffering should be avoided. [The abortion] cause[s] no suffering. Reduce suffering wherever you can."

Later, however, he said that people on the autism spectrum "have a great deal to contribute, Maybe even an enhanced ability in some respects. [Down Syndrome] not enhanced."

When Dawkins received some blowback from Twitter followers, he replied: "Apparently I'm a horrid monster for recommending WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENS to the great majority of Down Syndrome fetuses. They are aborted."

It is estimated that in many Western countries the abortion rate of children diagnosed in utero with Down syndrome is 90%, or even higher. The development of new and more accurate tests for the condition has raised concerns among Down syndrome advocates that that number could rise even higher. 

Although it is widely believed that people with Down syndrome are doomed to a life of suffering, in one large survey 99% of respondents with Down syndrome said they were "happy." At the same time, 99% percent of parents said they loved their child with Down syndrome, and 97 percent said they were proud of them.

Only 4 percent of parents who responded said they regretted having their child. 

A number of Dawkins' statements in the Twitter thread about fetal development are at odds with scientific realities. For example, it is well-established that 20 weeks into a pregnancy, unborn children can feel pain. Likewise, unborn children have emotional reactions to external stimuli -- such as a mother's stress levels -- months before being born. 

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