Grégor Puppinck, PhD

,

European Court to consider ‘unprecedented’ number of abortion cases in coming months

Grégor Puppinck, PhD
By Grégor Puppinck

STRASBOURG, France, April 4, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) currently has before it an unprecedented number of cases relating to abortion. Because the principles established by the Court in its case law are binding on the 47 member states, the next few months will be decisive for the respect of human life and dignity. The European Centre for Law and Justice (ECLJ), which intervenes as a third party in many of these cases, wishes to draw attention to these very important cases.

Among the cases that the European Court must now judge on, there is the case of a Polish mother who complained of difficulties in obtaining permission for her minor daughter to have an abortion. There is also the case of a woman who died during pregnancy, (allegedly) due to conscientious objection exercised by doctors. In another case, a woman who became sterile following an abortion complained of not having been properly informed of the risks. In two other cases before the Court, the women who gave birth to children with disabilities complain of not being able to have abortions. Finally, on a related topic, the Court also has before it a case involving a ban by the Italian legislature of pre-implantation diagnosis.

The ECLJ submitted its written observations on 2 April in the case of Anita KRŪZMANE against Latvia (n° 33011/08) in which a mother complains of not having been able to abort her Down’s syndrome daughter. She alleges in particular that her doctor had breached an obligation to prescribe a screening test for Down’s syndrome. Pretending the existence of a direct causal link between the absence of testing and the birth of her daughter with Down’s syndrome, the applicant claims to have suffered a violation of her right to respect for private life, a private life which includes—according to the applicant—the right to decide to have an abortion. In summary, it is a question of whether or not eugenics has become a human right.

This claim—which attempts to make eugenics a human right—may seem crazy. However it did not immediately shock the Court, otherwise the application would have been rejected for not complying with the eligibility criteria, or for abuse of rights, because, under the Convention, “no one may use the rights guaranteed by the Convention in order to seek the abolition or restriction of those rights” (art. 17). There is no doubt that the KRŪZMANE case and other cases now pending before the court are used strategically to try to advance the “rights” to abortion and eugenics. Eugenics, like abortion, is in danger of becoming a social normality; those who still see the inhumanity of these practices are becoming increasingly rare. In fact, postmodernism creates the inhumanity of post-humanity, and eugenics is one of the instruments of this post-humanity which aims at surpassing the human nature.

To assist the Court—which is faced with the danger and complexity of these cases—the ECLJ attempted to emphasize in its written observations the situation and stigmatization of people with disabilities. It also endeavors to highlight the true foundations and requirements of human rights and bioethics, with regard to respect for human life, the purpose of medicine and the prohibition of eugenics.

In the coming months, the European Court will have responsibility for defining, for the 47 member states, much of the legal framework of abortion and family issues such as eugenics and conscientious objection. This legal framework will bear the moral prestige of the Court. This responsibility is significant because the Court is conducted at developing these jurisprudential rules largely outside the framework of the Convention, as abortion and eugenics are contrary to the Convention, as it was conceived, written and intended by its authors. Indeed, there is no doubt that in 1950, just after the Second World War, the drafters of the Convention condemned those practices as inhumane, and it was inconceivable to them that some would one day claim that they are human rights.

Faced with a society that largely tends to deny the value and humanity of preborn life in favor of ending or exploiting it, the Court interpreted the European Convention on Human Rights in a manner that tolerates the practice of abortion while expressly denying the existence of an alleged right to abortion. While some “bioethical” authorities lobby for the legalization of “postnatal abortion”, the Court would fail in its mission by leaving the unborn child completely unprotected.

For the ECLJ, it is clear that the Court (which received from the Member States its duty of guaranteeing the fundamental rights of “all people”), should set limits to those practices, particularly with regard to late abortion (after the viability threshold) and selective abortion based on the characteristics of the child, including genetic characteristics (the sex and health status of the child). In its observations, the ECLJ has shown that the international law and the European Convention protecting prenatal human life do not create a right to abortion, but, instead the State has the positive obligation to protect life, including prenatal life. Even when a state permits abortion, it remains subject, in respect of the Convention, to the positive obligation to protect life and preserve the rights and competing interests. The State must thus, for example, prevent such stigmatization of people with disabilities and their families, protect the freedom of parents to not abort, make effective the prohibition of eugenics and genetic discrimination, respect the therapeutic purpose of prenatal diagnosis, respect the right to conscientious objection by medical personnel, etc.

These coming months will be decisive for the respect of human life and dignity. The Court will also have to rule on cases concerning euthanasia and “surrogate mothers”. The European Court of Human Rights has its roots in modern and humanist culture. Such applications invite the Court to sever these ties and to embrace the illusion of post-modernity, and with it, inhumanity. The danger is serious, because a “Court of Human Rights” that would recognize and protect abortion, eugenics, euthanasia and the practice of surrogacy would simply become inhumane.

Grégor Puppinck is the Director of the European Centre for Law and Justice.


Advertisement
Featured Image
Shutterstock.com
LifeSiteNews staff

,

Quebec groups launch court challenge to euthanasia bill

LifeSiteNews staff
By LifeSiteNews staff

As announced when the Quebec legislature adopted Bill 52, An Act respecting end-of-life care, the citizen movement Living with Dignity and the Physicians’ Alliance against Euthanasia, representing together over 650 physicians and 17,000 citizens, filed a lawsuit before the Superior Court of Quebec in the District of Montreal on Thursday.

The lawsuit requests that the Court declare invalid all the provisions of the Act that deal with “medical aid in dying”, a term the groups say is a euphemism for euthanasia. This Act not only allows certain patients to demand that a physician provoke their death, but also grants physicians the right to cause the death of these patients by the administration of a lethal substance.

The two organizations are challenging the constitutionality of those provisions in the Act which are aimed at decriminalizing euthanasia under the euphemism “medical aid in dying”. Euthanasia constitutes a culpable homicide under Canada’s Criminal Code, and the organizations maintain that it is at the core of the exclusive federal legislative power in relation to criminal law and Quebec therefore does not have the power to adopt these provisions.

The organizations also say the impugned provisions unjustifiably infringe the rights to life and to security of patients guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms. They further infringe the right to the safeguard of the dignity of the person, which is also protected by the Quebec Charter.

In view of the gravity of the situation and the urgent need to protect all vulnerable persons in Quebec, they are requesting an accelerated management of the case in order to obtain a judgment before the Act is expected to come into force on December 10, 2015.


Advertisement
Featured Image
Shutterstock.com
LifeSiteNews staff

,

Colorado baker appeals gvmt ‘re-education’ order

LifeSiteNews staff
By LifeSiteNews staff

A Colorado cake artist who declined to use his creative talents to promote and endorse a same-sex ceremony appealed a May 30 order from the Colorado Civil Rights Commission to the Colorado Court of Appeals Wednesday.

The commission’s order requires cake artist Jack Phillips and his staff at Masterpiece Cakeshop to create cakes for same-sex celebrations, forces him to re-educate his staff that Colorado’s Anti-Discrimination Act means that artists must endorse all views, compels him to implement new policies to comply with the commission’s order, and requires him to file quarterly “compliance” reports for two years. The reports must include the number of patrons declined a wedding cake or any other product and state the reason for doing so to ensure he has fully eliminated his religious beliefs from his business.

“Americans should not be forced by the government – or by another citizen – to endorse or promote ideas with which they disagree,” said the cake artist’s lead counsel Nicolle Martin, an attorney allied with Alliance Defending Freedom. “This is not about the people who asked for a cake; it’s about the message the cake communicates. Just as Jack doesn’t create baked works of art for other events with which he disagrees, he doesn’t create cake art for same-sex ceremonies regardless of who walks in the door to place the order.”

“In America, we don’t force artists to create expression that is contrary to their convictions,” added Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Legal Counsel Jeremy Tedesco. “A paint artist who identifies as homosexual shouldn’t be intimidated into creating a painting that celebrates one-man, one-woman marriage. A pro-life photographer shouldn’t be forced to work a pro-abortion rally. And Christian cake artists shouldn’t be punished for declining to participate in a same-sex ceremony or promote its message.”

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

In July 2012, Charlie Craig and David Mullins asked Jack Phillips, owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop, to make a wedding cake to celebrate their same-sex ceremony. In an exchange lasting about 30 seconds, Phillips politely declined, explaining that he would gladly make them any other type of baked item they wanted but that he could not make a cake promoting a same-sex ceremony because of his faith. Craig and Mullins, now represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, immediately left the shop and later filed a complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Division. The case now goes to the Colorado Court of Appeals as Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Craig.

“Jack, and other cake artists like him – such as those seen on TV shows like ‘Ace of Cakes’ and ‘Cake Boss’ – prepare unique creations that are inherently expressive,” Tedesco explained. “Jack invests many hours in the wedding cake creative process, which includes meeting the clients, designing and sketching the cake, and then baking, sculpting, and decorating it. The ACLU calls Jack a mere ‘retail service provider,’ but, in fact, he is an artist who uses his talents and abilities to create expression that the First Amendment fully protects."

Celebrity cake artists have written publicly about their art and the significant expressive work that goes into the artistic design process for wedding cakes.


Advertisement
Featured Image
Tony Gosgnach / LifeSiteNews.com
Tony Gosgnach

,

Prisoner of conscience Mary Wagner appeals her conviction

Tony Gosgnach
By Tony Gosgnach

TORONTO -- As promised, Mary Wagner has, through her counsel Dr. Charles Lugosi, filed a formal notice of appeal on numerous points regarding her recent, almost two-year-long court case that ended on June 12.

Justice Fergus O’Donnell of the Ontario Court of Justice rejected every application made by the defence – including for access to abortion center records, public funding, standing for a constitutional challenge and for expert witnesses to be heard – before he found Wagner guilty and sentenced her to five months in jail on a charge of mischief and four months on four counts of failing to comply with probation orders.

He further levied two years of probation, with terms that she stay at least 100 metres away from any abortion site. However, because Wagner had spent a greater time in jail than the sentence, she was freed immediately. She had been arrested at the “Women’s Care Clinic” abortion site on Lawrence Avenue West in Toronto on August 15, 2012 after attempting to speak to abortion-bound women there. She then spent the duration of the trial in prison for refusing to sign bail conditions requiring her to stay away from abortion sites.

Wagner is using the matter as a test case to challenge the current definition of a human being in Canadian law – that is, that a human being is legally recognized as such only after he or she has fully emerged from the birth canal in a breathing state.

Wagner’s notice states the appeal is regarding:

  • Her conviction and sentence on a single count of mischief (interference with property),
  • Her conviction and sentence on four counts of breach of probation,
  • The order denying public funding,
  • The order denying the disclosure of third-party records,
  • The order denying the admission of evidence from experts on the applicant’s constitutional challenge concerning the constitutional validity of Section 223 of the Criminal Code,
  • The order denying the admission of evidence from experts concerning the construction of Section 37 of the Criminal Code,
  • The probation order denying Wagner her constitutional rights to freedom of speech, freedom of expression, freedom of conscience and freedom of religion on all public sidewalks and public areas within 100 metres of places where abortions are committed,
  • And each conviction and sentence and all orders and rulings made by O’Donnell.

In the notice of appeal, Lugosi cites numerous points on which O’Donnell erred:

  • He denied Wagner her constitutional right to make full answer and defence.
  • He denied Wagner her right to rely on Section 37 of the Criminal Code, which permits “everyone” to come to the third-party defence and rescue of any human being (in this case, the preborn) facing imminent assault.
  • He decided the factual basis of Wagner’s constitutional arguments was a waste of the court’s time and that no purpose would have been served by having an evidentiary hearing on her Charter application because, in the current state of Canadian law, it had no possibility of success.
  • He misapplied case law and prejudged the case, “giving rise to a reasonable apprehension of bias and impeding the legal evolution of the law to adapt to new circumstances, knowledge and changed societal values and morals.”
  • He accepted the Crown’s submission that it is beyond the jurisdiction of the courts to question the jurisdiction of Parliament legally to define “human being” in any manner Parliament sees fit.
  • He ruled Section 223 of the Criminal Code is not beyond the powers of Section 52 of the Constitution Act, 1982.
  • He ruled Section 223 of the Criminal Code does not violate the Preamble to, as well as Sections 7, 11(d), 15 and 26, of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
  • He denied Wagner standing to raise a constitutional challenge to the validity of Section 223 of the Criminal Code.
  • He ruled that Section 223 of the Criminal Code applied generally throughout the entire Criminal Code and used it to deny unborn human beings the benefit of equal protection as born human beings under Section 37 of the Criminal Code.
  • He denied the production and disclosure of third-party records in the possession of the “Women’s Care Clinic” abortion site, although the records were required to prove Wagner was justified in using reasonable force in the form of oral and written words to try to persuade pregnant mothers from killing their unborn children by abortion.
  • He denied Wagner the defence of Section 37 of the Criminal Code by ruling unborn children did not come within the scope of human beings eligible to be protected by a third party.
  • He ruled Wagner did not come within the scope of Section 37 because she was found to be non-violent (in that she did not use physical force).
  • He ruled the unborn children Wagner was trying to rescue were not under her protection.
  • He denied Wagner the common-law defences of necessity and the rescue of third parties in need of protection.
  • He denied Wagner public funding to make full answer and defence for a constitutional test case of great public importance and national significance.
  • He imposed an unconstitutional sentence upon Wagner by, in effect, imposing an injunction as a condition of probation, contrary to her constitutional rights of free speech, freedom of expression, freedom of conscience and freedom of religion.

Click "like" if you are PRO-LIFE!

Among the orders Lugosi is seeking are:

  • That an appeal be allowed against conviction on all counts and that a verdict of acquittal be entered on all counts,
  • That Section 223 of the Criminal Code be found unconstitutional  and contrary to Section 52 of the Constitution Act, 1982, as well as the unwritten constitution of Canada,
  • That the sentence be declared unconstitutional and contrary to Section 52 of the Constitution Act, 1982, and the unwritten constitution of Canada or that a new trial be conducted, with Wagner permitted to make full answer and defence, be given standing to make a constitutional attack on Section 223 of the Criminal Code, with the admission of expert witnesses,
  • That the Women’s Care Clinic abortion site be made to produce third-party records pertaining to patients seen on August 15, 2012 (when Wagner entered the site),
  • And that there be public funding for two defence counsels at any retrial and for any appeal related to the case.

No date has yet been established for a decision on the appeal or hearings.

A defence fund for Wagner’s case is still raising money. Details on how to contribute to it can be found here.


Advertisement

Customize your experience.

Login with Facebook