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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Lisa Bourne

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Cardinal Dolan: Debate on denying Communion to pro-abortion pols ‘in the past’

Lisa Bourne
By Lisa Bourne

As America heads into its 2014 midterm elections, a leading U.S. prelate says the nation’s bishops believe debate over whether to deny Communion to pro-abortion Catholic politicians is “in the past.”

The Church’s Code of Canon Law states in Canon 915 that those “obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to Holy Communion.” Leading Vatican officials, including Pope Benedict XVI himself, have said this canon ought to be applied in the case of pro-abortion Catholic politicians. However, prelates in the West have widely ignored it, and some have openly disagreed.

John Allen, Jr. of the new website Crux, launched as a Catholic initiative under the auspices of the Boston Globe, asked New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan about the issue earlier this month.

“In a way, I like to think it’s an issue that served us well in forcing us to do a serious examination of conscience about how we can best teach our people about their political responsibilities,” the cardinal responded, “but by now that inflammatory issue is in the past.”

“I don’t hear too many bishops saying it’s something that we need to debate nationally, or that we have to decide collegially,” he continued. “I think most bishops have said, ‘We trust individual bishops in individual cases.’ Most don’t think it’s something for which we have to go to the mat.”

Cardinal Dolan expressed personal disinterest in upholding Canon 915 publicly in 2010 when he told an Albany TV station he was not in favor of denying Communion to pro-abortion politicians. He said at the time that he preferred “to follow the lead of Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI, who said it was better to try to persuade them than to impose sanctions.”

However, in 2004 Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who became Pope Benedict XVI the following year, wrote the U.S. Bishops a letter stating that a Catholic politician who would vote for "permissive abortion and euthanasia laws" after being duly instructed and warned, "must" be denied Communion. 

Cardinal Ratzinger sent the document to the U.S. Bishops in 2004 to help inform their debate on the issue. However, Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, then-chair of the USCCB Task Force on Catholic Bishops and Catholic Politicians, who received the letter, withheld the full text from the bishops, and used it instead to suggest ambiguity on the issue from the Vatican.

A couple of weeks after Cardinal McCarrick’s June 2004 address to the USCCB, the letter from Cardinal Ratzinger was leaked to well-known Vatican reporter Sandro Magister, who published the full document. Cardinal Ratzinger’s office later confirmed the leaked document as authentic.

Since the debate in 2004, numerous U.S. prelates have openly opposed denying Communion to pro-abortion Catholic politicians.

In 2008, Boston Cardinal Sean O’Malley suggested the Church had yet to formally pronounce on the issue, and that until it does, “I don’t think we’re going to be denying Communion to the people.”

In 2009, Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington D.C. in 2009 said that upholding of Canon 915 would turn the Eucharist into a political “weapon,” refusing to employ the law in the case of abortion supporter Rep. Nancy Pelosi.

Cardinal Roger Mahoney, archbishop emeritus of Los Angeles, said in a 2009 newspaper interview that pro-abortion politicians should be granted communion because Jesus Christ gave Holy Communion to Judas Iscariot.

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However, one of the Church’s leading proponents of the practice, U.S. Cardinal Raymond Burke, who is prefect of the Vatican’s Apostolic Signatura, insists that denying Communion is not a punishment.

“The Church’s discipline from the time of Saint Paul has admonished those who obstinately persevere in manifest grave sin not to present themselves for Holy Communion,” he said at LifeSiteNews’ first annual Rome Life Forum in Vatican City in early May. "The discipline is not a punishment but the recognition of the objective condition of the soul of the person involved in such sin."  

Only days earlier, Cardinal Francis Arinze, former prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, told LifeSiteNews that he has no patience for politicians who say that they are “personally” opposed to abortion, but are unwilling to “impose” their views on others.

On the question of Communion, he said, “Do you really need a cardinal from the Vatican to answer that?”

Cardinal Christian Tumi, archbishop emeritus of Douala, told LifeSiteNews around the same time that ministers of Holy Communion are “bound not to” give the Eucharist to Catholic politicians who support abortion.

Pro-life organizations across the world have said they share the pastoral concern for pro-abortion politicians. Fifty-two pro-life leaders from 16 nations at the recent Rome Life Forum called on the bishops of the Catholic Church to honor Canon 915 and withhold Communion from pro-abortion politicians as an act of love and mercy.

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Kirsten Andersen Kirsten Andersen Follow Kirsten

‘His bones are basically like paper’: Parents refuse to abort baby with rare condition

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By Kirsten Anderson

At just 11 weeks old, little Layton Diven is not like other babies. Every time his parents pick him up or cuddle him, there is a chance they will break his bones. In fact, Layton has already suffered more than 20 fractures in his short life – beginning at the moment of his birth.

Layton has Osteogenesis Imperfecta (OI), a rare disease that makes his bones brittle and prone to breakage. There are several types of OI, and Layton’s type, OI Type III, is the most severe type found among infants. Most babies born with the disease, like Layton, are born with multiple fractures, especially along the rib cage. Many struggle to breathe or swallow. The incurable disease is progressive, so it will get worse as he gets older.

Layton was diagnosed with OI in the womb, but abortion wasn’t an option for his parents, Chad and Angela Diven, who considered their baby a gift from God, no matter his condition.

“We weren't going to have an abortion, so he was born with the disease,” Angela Diven told KSLA. “God chose me for him, to be his mom, so I have to take that huge responsibility and do what's best for him.”

That responsibility comes with a heavy price. Layton requires 24-hour care, but both Angela and Chad have full-time jobs. He can’t go to regular daycare, because it’s not safe for him.

“You can't just pick him up like a normal baby,” Diven said. “You can't dress him like a normal child; his bones are basically like paper. He can't go to daycare because of his condition. He's medically fragile, and a daycare can't handle him."

Childcare costs are just the beginning, though – the treatments Layton will need throughout his life are expensive and may not be covered by insurance.

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Layton is currently receiving pamidronate IV therapy, which will help to strengthen his bones. But in order to be able to stand or walk, he will need metal rods implanted in his legs – an operation that will cost the Divens $80,000. The OI specialist coordinating Layton’s care is in Omaha, Nebraska, while the Divens live in Louisiana. As he grows, Layton will also require special equipment, such as a wheelchair, along with extensive physical therapy.

Despite the hardships they knew would come, the Divens stepped out in faith to bring Layton into the world. Now, they are reaching out to the internet for help to shoulder the financial burdens that came with their baby blessing. The family has set up both a GoFundMe and a Facebook page called “Lifting Up Layton Diven,” where people can receive updates on Layton’s condition and contribute to the cost of his care.

To donate to baby Layton’s medical trust fund, click here.

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Cardinal Raymond Burke, prefect of the Vatican's Apostolic Signatura Steve Jalsevac / LifeSiteNews
John-Henry Westen John-Henry Westen Follow John-Henry

Sources confirm Cardinal Burke will be removed. But will he attend the Synod?

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By John-Henry Westen

Sources in Rome have confirmed to LifeSiteNews that Cardinal Raymond Burke, the head of the Vatican’s highest court, known as the Apostolic Signatura, is to be removed from his post as head of the Vatican dicastery and given a non-curial assignment as patron of the Order of Malta.

The timing of the move is key since Cardinal Burke is currently on the list to attend October’s Extraordinary Synod on the Family. He is attending in his capacity as head of one of the dicasteries of the Roman Curia, so if he is removed prior to the Synod it could mean he would not be able to attend.

Burke has been one of the key defenders in the lead-up to the Synod of the Church's traditional practice of withholding Communion from Catholics who are divorced and civilly remarried.

Most of the Catholic world first learned of the shocking development through Vatican reporter Sandro Magister, whose post ‘Exile to Malta for Cardinal Burke’ went out late last night.

If Burke’s removal from the Signatura is confirmed, said Magister, the cardinal “would not be promoted - as some are fantasizing in the blogosphere - to the difficult but prestigious see of Chicago, but rather demoted to the pompous - but ecclesiastically very modest - title of ‘cardinal patron’ of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, replacing the current head, Paolo Sardi, who recently turned 80.”

At 66, Cardinal Burke is still in his Episcopal prime.

The prominent traditional Catholic blog Rorate Caeli goes as far as to say, “It would be the greatest humiliation of a Curial Cardinal in living memory, truly unprecedented in modern times: considering the reasonably young age of the Cardinal, such a move would be, in terms of the modern Church, nothing short than a complete degradation and a clear punishment.”

On Tuesday, American traditionalist priest-blogger Fr. John Zuhlsdorf also hinted he had heard the move was underway. “I’ve been biting the inside of my mouth for a while now,” he wrote. “The optimist in me was saying that the official announcement would not be made until after the Synod of Bishops, or at least the beginning of the Synod. Or at all.”

“It’s not good news,” he added.

Both Magister and Zuhlsdorf predicted that the controversial move would unleash a wave of simultaneous jubilation from dissident Catholics and criticism from faithful Catholics. The decision to remove Cardinal Burke from his position on the Congregation for Bishops last December caused a public outpouring of concern and dismay from Catholic and pro-life leaders across the globe.

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Both men speculated on the reasons for the ouster. 

Magister pointed out that Burke is the latest in a line of ‘Ratzingerian’ prelates to undergo the axe.

“In his first months as bishop of Rome, pope Bergoglio immediately provided for the transfer to lower-ranking positions of three prominent curial figures: Cardinal Mauro Piacenza, Archbishop Guido Pozzo, and Bishop Giuseppe Sciacca, considered for their theological and liturgical sensibilities among the most ‘Ratzingerian’ of the Roman curia,” said Magister.

He added: “Another whose fate appears to be sealed is the Spanish archbishop of Opus Dei Celso Morga Iruzubieta.”

Fr. Zuhlsdorf observed that Pope Francis may also be shrinking the Curial offices and thus reducing the number of Cardinals needed to fill those posts. He adds however, “It would be naïve in the extreme to think that there are lacking near Francis’s elbows those who have been sharpening their knives for Card. Burke and for anyone else associated closely with Pope Benedict.” 

“This is millennial, clerical blood sport.”

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