Hilary White, Rome Correspondent

Ireland’s leading opposition party ‘opposed to the legalization of abortion’

Hilary White, Rome Correspondent
Hilary White, Rome Correspondent

DUBLIN, February 21, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – With less than five days left to election day, Ireland’s leading opposition party, Fine Gael, has issued a statement saying they are “opposed to the legalisation of abortion.”

The statement was hailed by pro-lifers as an indication of their success in keeping the life issues front and centre of an election that has been dominated by Ireland’s economic crisis. At the same time pro-life campaigners told LifeSiteNews.com that are still “some serious concerns.” 

Fine Gael, the party likely to take the lead in Friday’s election, also said it was “opposed to research conducted on human embryos, and favours alternative stem cell research that does not involve human embryos such as adult stem cell and umbilical cord research.”

However, pro-lifers are concerned about the party’s promise to “establish an all-party Oireachtas [Parliamentary] Committee … to consider the implications to the recent ruling of the European Court of Human Rights and to make recommendations.”

“Fine Gael’s representatives will bring to the proposed all-party committee a clear commitment that women in pregnancy will receive whatever treatments are necessary to safeguard their lives, and that the duty of care to preserve the life of the baby will also be upheld,” said the party’s statement.

A spokesman for the Life Institute, Niamh Uí Bhriain, told LifeSiteNews.com that there are still “some serious concerns” about the party’s position and has written to the party’s leader Enda Kenny, asking the party to take the pro-life “pledge.”

“They say they oppose abortion but then they follow by stating that a Committee will decide what to do in regard to the European court ruling. They can’t have it both ways and we need clarity on this immediately.”

“What will Fine Gael do if their Committee recommends the legalisation of abortion?”

Two weeks ago, pro-life advocates in Ireland expressed their skepticism when a representative of Fine Gael told a voter that the party will uphold the country’s status quo on abortion. Each of the country’s leading pro-life groups called on the party to be much more specific.

Bernadette Smyth, Director of Precious Life, said her group welcomed this more detailed statement, but called on the party to “take the pledge.”

Smyth and Precious life were among the 30 signatories of a call for all of Ireland’s political parties to promise that they “will not dismantle Ireland’s Constitution” and will maintain the right of the people to decide constitutional changes by referendum. 

Politicians who take the pledge agree that they “will respect and uphold the Constitutional right of the Irish people to decide on Ireland’s unique pro-life status,” and “will not legislate for abortion and will absolutely oppose any attempt by unelected judges from the European Court of Human Rights, (ECHR) to usurp the Constitutional right of the Irish people to decide on abortion.”

Uí Bhriain said that Fine Gael “must recognize” that there is never any medical necessity for abortion, “or we face the danger of legislation which ‘regulates’ legitimate medical treatment by describing them as ‘lawful abortions.’” Over the last year, the Life Institute and other pro-life advocates have been fighting a running battle with abortion lobbyists who have sponsored a media campaign that claims that women are being denied “medical treatment” because of Ireland’s laws.

“There seems to be confusion - deliberate or otherwise - in Fine Gael statements when distinguishing between legitimate medical treatment and abortion,” Uí Bhriain said.

However, she said her group also welcomes the party’s opposition to embryonic stem cell research, “in particular since we’ve spent a decade explaining the difference between adult stem cell research and lethal research on human embryos.”

Last week, a poll was released showing that the Irish overwhelmingly support continued constitutional legal protections for the unborn and restrictions on embryonic research.

The strongly pro-EU Fine Gael, one of the first political parties to emerge after Irish independence, has the second largest number of seats in the Irish parliament and the most representatives in local government and the European Parliament.

While a referendum would be required to change the constitution, which protects the unborn, pro-life campaigners have long warned that abortion advocates are working to bring abortion into the country through the “back door.” One of these back-door attempts was the notorious “ABC case” brought to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).

In its ruling, the court did not call for Ireland to change its law; however, Labour Party leader Eamonn Gilmore has claimed that it required the legalization of abortion on demand, a major plank of the Labour party’s campaign.

Fine Gael is usually described in the European press as “centre right.” It has never held power in government without the Labour Party as a coalition partner.

Patrick Buckley, the EU representative for the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children said, “Politicians choose their words very carefully and there is as yet no firm commitment that they will not legislate for the introduction of abortion should the proposed all party committee make such a recommendation.”

“Neither have Fine Gael said what their position will be in the event that they do not have an overall majority and enter into a coalition with the pro abortion Labour Party.”


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Michelle Kaufman, New Zealand Correspondent

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Abortion group targets pro-life doctors, nurses with new website: New Zealand

Michelle Kaufman, New Zealand Correspondent
By Michelle Kaufman

Pro-life health practitioners and crisis pregnancy centres in New Zealand are the target of a new website designed to intimidate those who choose not to refer for abortion or prescribe contraception.

The website, My Decision, is created by the Abortion Law Reform Association of New Zealand (ALRANZ). 

The site lists health practitioners and crisis pregnancy centres which they believe women should avoid.  The incomplete list includes the names of individuals or organisations, the region and town, and whether they are a doctor, nurse or other provider. 

Women are asked to submit their stories of “hostile or unhelpful health professionals.”  The stories are non-identifying and can be edited for length or clarity.  At the time of writing only two stories had been posted.

In an earlier blog post, ALRANZ mentioned that the new website, which was still under construction at the time, is “aimed at shining the light on ‘conscientious objectors’… who deny people the reproductive healthcare they want or need.”

Right to Life NZ says they believe the site is “denigrating the good name and reputations of health professionals who believe that abortion is a harmful choice.”

Click "like" if you are PRO-LIFE!

Under New Zealand law, health practitioners can object to providing reproductive health services according to their conscience.  However, there is one caveat – they “must inform the person who requests the service that he or she can obtain the service from another health practitioner or from a family planning clinic.”

 “Sonscientious objection is a fundamental right and one that must be preserved if we are to continue to live in a free and civil society,” said Chris O’Brien, Vice President of Right to Life NZ. “We risk tyranny if this right is taken away.”

“There are very good doctors that appear on that website” said Dame Colleen Bayer, whose Dunedin Family Life Crisis Pregnancy Centre is also named.  “These doctors speak truthfully and have real care and concern for their patients.  Women do themselves a disservice to discount them based on this information.”

The resource section on the My Decision website links to ALRANZ, Family Planning (an affiliate of International Planned Parenthood Federation and an abortion provider), and the website Abortion Services in New Zealand. 

The Abortion Services website is sponsored by ISTAR Ltd, a registered Charitable Trust which is the sole importer of mifepristone into New Zealand.  ISTAR also provides Manual Vacuum Aspiration equipment for early surgical abortions.

ALRANZ, was instrumental in the writing of the Greens abortion policy, which was unveiled earlier this year.  That policy aims to take abortion out of the Crimes Act making it more accessible.  The policy also targets health professionals who may conscientiously object to ensure they refer patients on to a “neutral practitioner”.

More information about freedom of conscience in healthcare 


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The government is proposing allowing the killing of pre-born babies suspected of being disabled and those conceived through rape or incest.
Thaddeus Baklinski Thaddeus Baklinski Follow Thaddeus

Northern Ireland considers allowing killing disabled unborn babies: pro-lifers condemn

Thaddeus Baklinski Thaddeus Baklinski Follow Thaddeus
By Thaddeus Baklinski

Northern Ireland’s leading pro-life group, Precious Life, has condemned this week's announcement by Justice Minister David Ford that a consultation on changing the abortion law will be "ready by autumn." The government is considering allowing the killing of pre-born babies suspected of being disabled and those conceived through rape or incest.

“Abortion is a serious criminal offence in Northern Ireland,” said the director of Precious Life, Bernadette Smyth. “The law here protects unborn babies, and David Ford as Minister for Justice must ensure that all children are legally protected."

Last December, Ford revealed he would be undertaking a consultation to consider changes to the law after he heard the stories of two women, who complained that they had not been allowed to abort their babies who had been diagnosed with anencephaly. Instead, they said, they had traveled to Britain for abortions.

Abortion was refused under Northern Ireland’s laws because the diagnosis of anencephaly for the child poses no medical threat to the mother.

Click "like" if you are PRO-LIFE!

On Monday Ford told the BBC that the Department of Justice would bring forward its consultation paper on changing Northern Ireland's abortion laws by the fall.

However, Smyth warned that “the core ethical principle which must underpin this discussion is that every child deserves the right to life regardless of how short their life may be, and regardless of the circumstances of their conception."

She vowed that Precious Life will launch a public campaign in support of the life of all unborn babies.

“We all feel enormous sympathy for parents in these traumatic and distressing cases," Precious Life stressed in a statement. "But parents in these difficult situations deserve much more than our sympathy – they need a professional support system in place, which will provide them with help, support and resources.

"Precious Life are resolved to work towards a solution that loves and protects both mother and baby. Once again we call on the Health Minister to immediately establish perinatal hospice services for parents who have received a poor or difficult prenatal diagnosis for their baby,” said Smyth.

 

Contact:

Justice Minister David Ford
Department of Justice
Stormont Estate
Belfast, Northern Ireland
BT4 3SG
Phone:(028) 9076 3000
Email: via website (http://www.dojni.gov.uk/contact-us.htm)


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80% of parents who have an unborn child with spina bifida choose abortion. But Chad Judice (pictured with Eli) knows that life is worth it.
Dustin Siggins Dustin Siggins Follow Dustin

Abortion? No way. Dad says son with spina bifida is a ‘gift’ to the family.

Dustin Siggins Dustin Siggins Follow Dustin
By Dustin Siggins

What is the most pro-life, pro-God influence in your life? According to Catholic author and speaker Chad Judice, his five-year old, disabled son has been a tremendous source of happiness and faith for even the hardest of hearts.

In an op-ed published in The New York Post, Judice writes that when he and his wife found out their unborn son Elijah had spina bifida, they were offered the option of abortion. While they chose life, it didn't stop them from fearing the worst for their careers, eldest child, and Eli.

"That evening...Ashley cried as she read to me from the literature we’d been given," writes Judice. "It said 80 percent of parents who receive a spina bifida diagnosis choose abortion."

"And it told us that our son might have learning disabilities and be paralyzed from the waist down, unable to ever walk."

According to WemMD.com, the two most common forms of spina bifida have few, if any effects, on those who have them. However, the most rare and most aggressive form of the disability can result in significant problems for life:

  • Little or no feeling in their legs, feet, or arms, so they may not be able to move those parts of the body.
  • Bladder or bowel problems, such as leaking urine or having a hard time passing stools.
  • Fluid buildup in the brain (hydrocephalus). Even when it is treated, this may cause seizures, learning problems, or vision problems.
  • A curve in their spine, such as scoliosis.

Eli's form of spina bifida was severe, but -- as it turned out -- manageable, writes Judice. Despite surgeries and "medical challenges," he was out of the hospital within thirty days, though seizures and surgeries would continue to challenge the family. At five-and-a-half, he is entering kindergarten, learning to walk with modern technology, and "his intelligence is at or above average, and he's very talkative."

But perhaps the greatest miracle of all, Judice says, is the effect Eli has had on those who are outside of the family. His story has helped "some pregnant mothers...to reject abortion," and "rekindle the dormant faith of some...drawing them into a life with more room for God and family."

One of those rekindled Christians was a man who, after years in prison, prayed for Eli "as he recited The Lord's Prayer." According to Judice, "it was the first time he’d prayed in 30 years."

Since Eli's birth, Judice has written two books about his son and their family. "Waiting for Eli: A Father's Journey from Fear to Faith" was the first, and has received praise from Father Frank Pavone of Priests for Life. According to Pavone, it is "an inspiring story of faith, hope, love, and the power of prayer."

"The world judges the value of human life by physical perfection, but God sees things differently. To Him, we are perfectly lovable in our imperfection. Uplifting in its reverence for human life in its most fragile stages, WAITING FOR ELI will encourage pro-life activists everywhere, from the most seasoned to the newly initiated."

Also unstinting in praise was the Chair of the Committee for Pro-Life Activities, Archbishop Daniel Cardinal Dinardo, who writes for Judice's website that the book "chronicles [Judice's] spiritual journey from fear of one’s personal limitations to self-abandonment to the divine mercy of God’s providence."

The second book, "Eli's Reach: On the Value of Human Life and the Power of Prayer," received the "Best Book by Small Publisher" award in 2013 by the Catholic Press Association.

"I think of Eli as God’s special gift to my family," Judice wrote in the Post. "And as I share about him, Eli’s story softens hearts and brings people to a greater appreciation of the beauty and sacredness of life."


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