Hilary White

Government will act ‘speedily’ to legalize abortion: Irish Labour Party

Hilary White
Hilary White
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DUBLIN, November 26, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The media-generated uproar over the death of Savita Halappanavar in a hospital in Galway has emboldened Labour Party coalition members to push for legalization of abortion on what they believe to be a wave of public support. The government will act “speedily” to “implement a new legal framework” allowing “limited abortion,” said Brendan Howlin, the Labour Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform.

Echoing other Labour Party TDs, Howlin said that this government would not be the seventh in Ireland to “fail to act” on the 1992 Supreme Court judgment on the X case. The X case found that despite Ireland’s constitutional protections for the unborn, abortion was lawful if the mother’s life was threatened, “including by the threat of suicide.”

However, the uproar over abortion in Ireland has been ongoing since the 2010 decision of the European Court of Human Rights in the A, B & C case, which said that the country needs to “clarify” under what circumstances abortion is legal. In response to this ruling, the government appointed an “expert group” to examine the law and make recommendations.

Labour have been using the death of Savita Halappanavar in the last week to push for abortion “in a really distasteful way,” Niamh Ui Bhriain, head of The Life Institute, told LifeSiteNews.com this morning. “They think they will enjoy a groundswell of support because of the work of the media. They’re pushing for this so fast because they’re hoping that public opinion has shifted.”

“They see this as the best opportunity they’re going to have.”

The strongly pro-abortion Irish media “went into overdrive” after the death of Mrs. Halappanavar, said Ui Bhriain, “whipping up an hysteria which tried to make people believe that Ireland’s pro-life laws caused the death of this young woman.”

A new website tracking the Savita case and it’s developments is to be launched today along with a video highlighting the truth in the matter and the manipulation around it.  (this article continues after the video below)

However, the coalition government, split between Labour and Fine Gael, is said to be in a state of turmoil over the issue, with backbenchers and senior TDs vowing that abortion will never be legalized in Ireland. Labour is the only party in Irish politics that has ever advocated abortion legalization openly as policy.

The Irish Times reports that Labour party backbenchers will be “under pressure” from the party to vote for former Socialist TD Clare Daly’s revamped abortion Bill this Wednesday. The Times quoted Labour Senator Ivana Bacik saying, “It will be difficult to oppose Clare Daly’s Bill without some statement of intent to legislate.”

Minister Howlin told the state broadcaster RTE, “We have an expert group now to tell us in very considered detail how [to legislate on abortion] and I have no doubt that this Government will act very speedily in a measured, calm way to provide for that instruction from Supreme Court.”

The report by the government-appointed expert group on abortion will be brought to Cabinet tomorrow and is set to be made officially public next week. In sections that have already been leaked, however, the report presents several options for dealing with the legal situation on abortion, while prioritizing legislation that would legalize “limited abortion.” It recommends an appeal process for women who have been refused abortions and that the minister of health create centers for “terminations” to be committed.

Pro-life advocates have responded, however, saying that nowhere did the ECHR decision say that the country must institute legal abortion, which remains a criminal offense. The country’s constitution, which can only be changed through a general referendum, protects unborn life “from conception” as a human right. Moreover, pro-life groups have expressed grave concerns over the government’s expert group, arguing that the group was “stacked” with pro-abortion members.

Ui Bhriain said that the appearance of public support for abortion in the wake of Halappanavar’s death is dubious and is likely to be short lived “when the facts come out and the pro-life message is reinforced.” Polls have consistently shown that abortion remains unpopular in Irish society, pushing abortion lobbyists to use the “back door” method of court cases, rather than legislation. 

The Life Institute and Youth Defence, the country’s leading pro-life organizations, are launching a “focused” public information campaign that will emphasize the fact that the constitution does not allow the country to be governed by foreign authorities.

“We will make it clear that abortion cannot be imposed by the European Court of Human Rights, or by the expert group’s report,” she said. “That will stop this rush to legislation.”

“What we want is to make it clear to the Irish people that they have a constitutional right to a voice in serious matters,” she said. “The options given by the expert group seem to be entirely in favour of abortion, but it doesn’t offer the option of a referendum to give the people their democratic right to have a voice.”

“What is in this report should not be the deciding factor for the decision.” The campaign, she hopes, will alert the public to the danger of allowing the court to “foist abortion” on Ireland. “They’re already in charge of the economy; do we want them in charge of every aspect of our lives and laws?”

She added, “Labour is claiming that the [ECHR] ruling is binding, but the fact is it’s not binding. According to the constitution, it’s the Irish people who are sovereign.”

If the Prime Minister, she added, considers the European court to “have more power than the Irish people, then he is in direct contravention of the constitution”.

Ui Bhriain lambasted the media for its coverage of the Savita Halappanavar affair, saying they have slandered the reputation of Ireland, which was rated as one of the best countries in the world for maternal care.

“They’ve made Ireland out to be this backward country and destroyed our international reputation, when in fact, the UK, the US and especially India lag far behind Ireland in maternal care.”

Irish law and medical practice guidelines do not prevent doctors from taking any action intended to save the mother’s life, even in the “rare” cases where pregnancy is a threat to life. This includes the pre-term delivery of a child. The guidance states: “In current obstetrical practice, rare complications can arise where therapeutic intervention (including termination of a pregnancy) is required at a stage when, due to extreme immaturity of the baby, there may be little or no hope of the baby surviving. In these exceptional circumstances, it may be necessary to intervene to terminate the pregnancy to protect the life of the mother, while making every effort to preserve the life of the baby.”

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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."

Click "like" if you are PRO-LIFE!

"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

Thaddeus Baklinski Thaddeus Baklinski Follow Thaddeus
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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