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”.

Click “like” if you want to end abortion!

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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Thaddeus Baklinski Thaddeus Baklinski Follow Thaddeus

African researchers warn early sexual activity increases risk of cancers

Thaddeus Baklinski Thaddeus Baklinski Follow Thaddeus
By Thaddeus Baklinski

A report on rising cancer rates in Africa delivered at a conference in Namibia last week warned that oral contraceptives and engaging in sexual activity from a young age lead to an increased risk of breast and reproductive system cancers.

Researchers presented the "2014 Integrated Africa Cancer Fact Sheet & Summary Score Card" during the 8th Stop Cervical, Breast and Prostate Cancer in Africa (SCCA) conference, held in Windhoek, Namibia from July 20 to 22, noted that cancer is a growing health problem in many developing countries and that breast and cervical cancer are the most common forms affecting African women.

The report said that sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) play a major role in reproductive system cancers and that young girls who engage in sexual activity risk getting, among other STDs, the human papilloma virus (HPV), some strains of which are linked to cervical cancer.

The report said although HPV infections are common in healthy women, they are usually fought off by the body’s immune system, with no discernible symptoms or health consequences.

The Cancer Association of South Africa points out that of the scores of HPV types, 14 of the more than 40 sexually transmitted varieties are considered "high risk" for causing serious illness, while two, HPV-16 and HPV-18, are linked to cervical cancer.

“Long-term use of oral contraceptives is also associated with increased risk [of cancer], and women living with HIV-AIDS are at increased risk of cervical cancer,” the report said.

Dr. Thandeka Mazibuko, a South African oncologist, told the conference attendees that when an 18-year-old is diagnosed with cervical cancer, “this means sex is an important activity in her life and she indulged from a young age.”

Mazibuko said the standard treatment for cancer of the cervix is seven weeks of radiation therapy.

“After the treatment they cannot have sex with their husbands or partners. They cannot bear children because everything has been closed up. Some may still have the womb but radiation makes them infertile,” Mazibuko said, according to a report in The Namibian.

Statistics from the Cancer Association of Namibia show that cases of cervical cancer have risen from 129 in 2005 to 266 in 2012.

The SCCA Conference theme was, "Moving forward to end Cervical Cancer by 2030: Universal Access to Cervical Cancer Prevention."

In his keynote address, host and Namibian President Hifikepunye Lucas Pohamba urged African countries to help each other to expand and modernize health care delivery in the continent.

"Within the context of the post-2015 Development Agenda and sustainable development goals, the provision of adequate health care to African women and children must be re-emphasized," said the president, according to AllAfrica.

The Namibian leader urged mothers to breastfeed their children for at least six months as a measure to prevent breast cancer.


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Hilary White Hilary White Follow Hilary

Allow ‘lethal injection’ for poor to save on palliative care: Lithuanian health minister

Hilary White Hilary White Follow Hilary
By Hilary White

Euthanasia is a solution for terminally ill poor people who cannot afford palliative care and who do not want to “see their families agonize” over their suffering, Lithuania’s health minister said last week.

In an interview on national television, Minister Rimantė Šalaševičiūtė added that the Belgian law on child euthanasia ought to be “taken into account” as well. 

Šalaševičiūtė told TV3 News that Lithuania, a country whose population is 77 percent Catholic, is not a welfare state and cannot guarantee quality palliative care for all those in need of it. The solution, therefore, would be “lethal injection.”

“It is time to think through euthanasia in these patients and allow them to make a decision: to live or die,” she said.

Direct euthanasia remains illegal in the Balkan state, but activists tried to bring it to the table in 2012. A motion to drop the planned bill was passed in the Parliament in March that year in a vote of 75 to 14. Since then the country has undergone a change in government in which the far-left Social Democrats have formed the largest voting bloc.

Šalaševičiūtė is a member of Parliament for the Social Democrats, the party originally established in the late 19th century – re-formed in the late 1980s – from Marxist principles and now affiliated with the international Party of European Socialists and Socialist International.

Fr. Andrius Narbekovas, a prominent priest, lecturer, physician, bioethicist, and member of the government’s bioethics committee, called the suggestion “satanic,” according to Delfi.lt. He issued a statement saying it is the purpose of the Ministry of Health to “protect the health and life, instead of looking for ways to take away life.”

“We understand that people who are sick are in need of funds. But a society that declares itself democratic, should very clearly understand that we have to take care of the sick, not kill them,” he said.


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Islamists in Mosul mark Christian homes with an Arabic "N" for Nazarene.
Gualberto Garcia Jones, J.D.

We must open wide our doors to Iraq’s Christians

Gualberto Garcia Jones, J.D.
By Gualberto Garcia Jones J.D.

On July 18, the largest Christian community in Iraq, the Chaldean Catholics of Mosul, were given a grotesque ultimatum: leave your ancestral home, convert to Islam, or die.

All but forgotten by the 1.2 billion Catholics of the world, these last Christians who still speak Jesus’ native tongue of Aramaic and live in the land of Abraham and Jonah are being wiped out before our very eyes.

As a way of issuing a thinly-veiled threat, reminiscent of the Nazi persecution of the Jews, the Arabic letter “N” (for Nazarean) has been painted on the outside of the homes of all known Christians in Mosul.

These threats, issued by the fanatical Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) known for its bloodthirsty rampage of executions, have been taken very seriously by the several hundred thousand Christians in Mosul who have left with little more than the clothes they were wearing. 

At least most of these Christians were able to flee and find temporary protection among the Kurds in their semi-autonomous region.  However the Kurds do not have the resources to defend or shelter the Chaldean Christians for much longer.

On Monday, during an interview on Fox News, Republican U.S. Rep. Frank Wolf, who recently joined with 54 other members of the House of Representatives in a letter to President Obama asking him to act to protect these communities, stated that while Iraqi President Maliki had sent military flights to Mosul to evacuate Shiite Muslims, the US has done nothing to protect the Chaldean Christians.  Rep. Wolf also stated emphatically that President Obama has done “almost nothing” about the genocide taking place.

The silence from the White House is deafening.  But the lack of leadership from the hierarchy of the Catholic Church in America has been shocking as well.

Nevertheless, the plight of these Iraqi Christians is beginning to be taken seriously.   This is due in large part to the heroic efforts of local Iraqi religious leaders like Chaldean Patriarch Sako, who has gone on a whirlwind tour of the world to alert us all of the plight of these Iraqi Christians.  In a statement demonstrating his character, he told the Christians of Iraq last week, “We are your shepherds, and with our full responsibility towards you we will stay with you to the end, will not leave you, whatever the sacrifices.”

Before the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq was launched there were approximately 1.5 to 2 million Christians living in Iraq.  Today, there are believed to be less than 200,000.  The numbers speak for themselves.

Now that the world is beginning to be aware of the genocide in Northern Iraq, many of us ask ourselves: what can we do?  As citizens and as Christians blessed to live in nations with relative peace and security, what can we do?

The answer is quite simple and unexpected.  Demand that our government and church pull its head out of the sand and follow France. Yes, France.  

Yesterday, in a heroic gesture of Christian solidarity that would make Joan of Arc proud, the government of France opened wide its doors to the persecuted Iraqi Christians.  

”France is outraged by these abuses that it condemns with the utmost firmness," Laurent Fabius, France's foreign minister, and Bernard Cazeneuve, France's interior minister, said in a joint statement on Monday.

"The ultimatum given to these communities in Mosul by ISIS is the latest tragic example of the terrible threat that jihadist groups in Iraq, but also in Syria and elsewhere, pose to these populations that are historically an integral part of this region," they added. "We are ready, if they wish, to facilitate their asylum on our soil.  We are in constant contact with local and national authorities to ensure everything is done to protect them.”

The French statement drives home three crucial elements that every government, especially the United States, should communicate immediately:

  1. Recognize the genocide and name the perpetrators and victims.

  2. Officially condemn what is happening in the strongest terms.

  3. Offer a solution that includes cooperation with local authorities but which leads by making solid commitments such as offering asylum or other forms of protection.

With regard to the Church, we should look to the Chaldean Patriarch and the Iraqi bishops who shared their expectations explicitly in an open letter to “all people of conscience in Iraq and around the world” to take “practical actions to assure our people, not merely expressions of condemnation.”  Noticeably, the last section of the letter from the Iraqi bishops, before a final prayer to God, is an expression of thanks to the Kurdish government, which has welcomed them not just with “expressions” of goodwill but, like France, with a sacrificial hospitality.

On Friday, July 25, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops did issue a statement, but unfortunately it lacked much in terms of leadership or solutions.  We should encourage our bishops to do better than that, be bolder and stronger for our persecuted brothers and sisters, name names and offer concrete sacrificial aid. In a word, be more like the French.

In 1553, Rome welcomed the Chaldean church into the fold of the Catholic Church.  Nearly 500 years later, Catholic Americans must find ways to welcome these persecuted people into our country, into our churches, and into our own homes if need be.

I say, I am with you St. Joan of Arc.   I am with you, France.  I am with you, Chaldeans!

Gualberto Garcia Jones is the Executive Director of the International Human Rights Group, a non-profit organization based in Washington, DC, that seeks to advance the fundamental rights to life, the natural family, and religious liberty through international law and international relations. 


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