Hilary White, Rome Correspondent

Ireland’s pro-life laws violated woman’s rights: European court

Hilary White, Rome Correspondent
Hilary White, Rome Correspondent

STRASBOURG, December 16, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The European Court of Human Rights has found that Ireland’s constitutional legal protections for the unborn violated the right to privacy of one of the three applicants in a mixed decision in the much-anticipated ABC case. The Court ordered the Irish government to pay €15,000 to the third applicant within three months.

However, at the same time the Court dismissed the complaints of the other two women and found that there is “no human right to abortion” stemming from the European Convention on Human Rights, an aspect of the decision that has been welcomed by pro-life leaders.

The case was brought by one Lithuanian living in Ireland and two Irish nationals who sought abortions in the UK and who claimed that Ireland’s 1983 constitutional amendment outlawing abortion violated their rights.

The third woman was in remission from a rare form of cancer at the time she sought an abortion. She claimed that the pregnancy could lead to the cancer’s return. Irish law technically allows abortion when the mother’s life is in danger, but she alleged that “the chilling effect of the Irish legal framework,” had violated her right to be told of the “option” of abortion.

The Court has instructed the Irish government to issue guidance to allow doctors to inform women in what circumstances abortion is a legal option. It claimed that the Irish Constitution gives women a “right” to abortion under its protection of the equal right to life of the mother of an unborn child.

Bernadette Smyth of the Irish pro-life group Precious Life said that “we welcome” the decision that there is no “human right” to abortion under the European Convention. However, she continued, “the Court has misinterpreted the Irish Constitution in its ruling on the third woman.”

Liam Gibson, who works in Ireland for the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children and spoke to LifeSiteNews.com minutes after the decision was issued, agreed that the Court had “totally misunderstood” Irish law under which there is no such thing as a “right” to abortion. 

“The court is pretending there is a legal option for abortion,” Gibson said. “But abortion is not health care. Under Irish law, everyone has the right to adequate medical care to protect life, but this can never include direct abortion, the deliberate killing of an unborn child,” he said.

The ruling, he said, “has turned the pro-life amendment on its head and says it gives a right to abortion. But that’s a complete reversal of what the constitution says and the purpose of it.

“Recognising the equal right of the mother and the child does not give the mother a right to abortion.”

Pro-life interveners made lengthy submissions to the Court demonstrating that abortion is never included in any definition of health care in Ireland. “They should have thrown the case out completely,” Gibson said. “But the ideology of abortion runs right through the European Court of Human rights.”

John Smeaton, the head of SPUC in London warned that the decision will have far-reaching effects on the attempts in Europe to secure the right to life of all persons.

“This warped decision lacks all legitimacy,” Smeaton said. “This case was never about helping women faced with a crisis pregnancy. It was instigated by the international abortion lobby, which has with the ultimate aim of forcing governments across the globe to recognise access to abortion as a legal right.”

Gibson said that ECHR, due to its “pervasive” pro-abortion mentality, has assumed that abortion is invariably included in health care. He warned that the decision will be used as a pretext for weakening Irish law, saying there is a strongly pro-abortion mentality within Ireland’s political class. While it does not immediately overturn the law, the ECHR ruling will likely cause problems at the next general election, he said.

Abortion is prohibited not only by Ireland’s constitution, but under criminal law by section 58 of the Offences Against the Person Act 1861. According to the Civil Liability Act, “the law relating to wrongs shall apply to an unborn child for his protection in like manner as if the child were born, provided the child is subsequently born alive”.

Gibson said that a new government would likely try to bring in abortion through medical practice guidelines, binding on physicians, that would not be subject to a referendum.

Such guidelines have been repeatedly brought forward by pro-abortion activists in the British government in Northern Ireland, although they have been rejected as contrary to Northern Irish law that also prohibits abortion.

Gibson said, “The problem will be when an incoming government chooses to use this ruling to establish a wider access to abortion.”

“The attitude will certainly be favourable to the pro-abortion side,” in any new government. “They’ve only been too eager to try to put through some legislation or guideline that will not have to be brought to the people.”

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Brian Fisher

Birth mothers: real heroes of the pro-life movement

Brian Fisher
By Brian Fisher
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What does it mean to be brave? Is it the doctor who dedicates himself to improving the health of a third-world nation? Is it the woman who faces her third round of chemotherapy to fight the progression of cancer? Is it the teacher who forgoes the comforts of a suburban school to reach minorities in the inner city? All of these are examples of bravery demonstrated in exceedingly challenging circumstances. And our society longs for stories of bravery to inspire us and fill us with hope.

As someone who works day in and day out with those on the front lines of helping rescue babies from abortion, I’m no stranger to stories of bravery. I see courage every day in the eyes of the men and women who sacrifice their time and energy to help women facing unplanned pregnancies. I see it every time a young mom — despite being pressured by her parents or significant other to get an abortion — chooses LIFE. And perhaps more profoundly than in any other situation, I see it when an expectant mom with no relational support, job, or income chooses to place her baby for adoption rather than abort her son or daughter.

This was Nicky’s situation.

When Nicky found herself pregnant with her boyfriend’s child, her life was already in shambles. During her 26 years, Nicky had already given birth to and surrendered sole custody of a little girl, committed several felonies, lived in her car, lost several jobs, and barely subsisted on minimum wage. So when she met up with an old boyfriend, Brandon, Nicky believed she was being given a second chance at happiness. “Our first year together was beautiful. We were getting to know each other and deciding if we would stay together forever.” Unfortunately, a positive pregnancy test result changed everything.

“When I told him I was pregnant, Brandon sat down on the bed, looked me in the eyes, and told me to ‘get an abortion’.” Nicky says those three little words changed everything for her. “I became depressed living with someone who wanted his child ‘dealt with.’”  Like thousands of women every day, Nicky began searching online for information on abortion, hoping her boyfriend would eventually change his mind. Through our strategic marketing methods, Online for Life was able to guide Nicky to a life-affirming pregnancy center where she received grace-filled counsel. “The woman I sat with was beyond wonderful. She helped me to just breathe and ask God what to do….And so I did.”

Nicky left the pregnancy center that day with a new resolve to choose life for her child, even though she still wasn’t sure how she’d financially support a child. “I was alone with just $10 in my pocket…and without any type of plan for what I was going to do.” So Nicky relied on the support of the staff she met at the life-affirming pregnancy center. With their help and through a chain of fortunate events, Nicky was put in contact with the couple who would eventually become her daughter’s adoptive parents.

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After meeting this couple face to face and coming to terms with her own desperate situation, Nicky conceded that the best thing for her unborn child would be to place her in someone else’s loving home. She told Brandon about her plans and he agreed that adoption would give their child the best chance at a happy and secure future. He even returned home to help Nicky prepare for the birth of their child. “The weeks leading up to my delivery were filled with a mixture of laughter, tears, protectiveness and sadness,” Nicky recalls. But one sentiment continued to be shared with her. “Brave…so brave.” That’s what everyone from the life-affirming pregnancy center to the adoption agency to the birthing center kept calling Nicky. “The nurses kept coming up to me and telling me they were honored to care for and treat someone like me.” After several weeks of preparation, Nicky finally gave birth to a healthy baby girl, and she made the dreams of a couple from the other side of the country come true.

Nicky’s adoption story continues to be riddled with a strange combination of pain and joy. “I cry every day, but I know my baby, who came out of a very bad time, ended up being loved by people from across the country.” When asked what message she’d like to share with the world about her decision to give up her child for adoption, Nicky responds, The voice of the mother who gives up a baby for adoption isn’t heard. We need to change that.”

To learn more about Online for Life and how we’re helping to make stories like Nicky and her daughter’s story a possibility, please visit OnlineforLife.org.

Author, speaker, and business leader Brian Fisher is the President and Co-Founder of Online for Life, a transparent, metric-oriented, compassion-driven nonprofit organization dedicated to helping rescue babies and their families from abortion through technology and grace.

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Dustin Siggins Dustin Siggins Follow Dustin

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New York farmers stop hosting weddings after $13,000 fine for declining lesbian ceremony

Dustin Siggins Dustin Siggins Follow Dustin
By Dustin Siggins

New York farmers Robert and Cynthia Gifford, who were ordered last week to pay $13,000 for not hosting a same-sex "wedding," say they are closing that part of their operation.

"Going forward, the Giffords have decided to no longer host any wedding ceremonies on their farm, other than the ones already under contract," said Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) lawyer James Trainor. ADF represented the Giffords in their legal fight against New York's non-discrimination law.

Last week, the Giffords were ordered to pay a $10,000 fine to the state of New York and $3,000 in damages to a lesbian couple, Jennifer McCarthy and Melisa Erwin, who approached them in 2012 about hosting their "wedding." The Giffords, who are Roman Catholic, said their religious convictions would not let them host the ceremony, but that McCarthy and Erwin could hold their reception on their property.

Unbeknownst to the Giffords, lesbian couple recorded the two-to-three minute conversation. After declining to hold the reception on the Giffords' farm, on which they live and rent property, the lesbian couple decided to make a formal complaint to the state's Division of Human Rights.

Eventually, Judge Migdalia Pares ruled that the Giffords' farm, Liberty Ridge Farm, constitutes a public accommodation because space is rented on the grounds and fees are collected from the public. The Giffords argued that because they live on the property with their children, they should be exempt from the state law, but Pares said that this does not mean their business is private.

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Trainor told TheBlaze that the Giffords' decision to end wedding ceremonies at Liberty Ridge “will hurt their business in the short run," but that was preferable to violating their religious beliefs.

“The Giffords serve all people with respect and care. They have hired homosexual employees and have hosted events for same-sex couples,” he said.

However, "since the state of New York has essentially compelled them to do all ceremonies or none at all, they have chosen the latter in order to stay true to their religious convictions," Trainor explained to LifeSiteNews. "No American should be forced by the government to choose between their livelihood and their faith, but that’s exactly the choice the state of New York has forced upon the Giffords."

"They will continue to host wedding receptions," said Trainor.

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Thaddeus Baklinski Thaddeus Baklinski Follow Thaddeus

South African mom files ‘wrongful life’ lawsuit on behalf of Downs son

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By Thaddeus Baklinski

A South African woman has launched a "wrongful life" lawsuit against the Cape Town-based Foetal Assessment Centre, claiming a failure to inform her that the child she was carrying was at risk of having Down Syndrome prevented her from aborting her baby.

A twist in this lawsuit is that, unlike other "wrongful birth" lawsuits, the mother in this case missed the time limit to file the claim on her own behalf, so she is asking the South African Constitutional Court to allow her to sue the center for “wrongful life” on behalf of her now-born son.

“You have a duty to tell my mother carrying me that I'm malformed so that she can make an informed decision as to whether or not to carry me to term,” the statement of claim against the Foetal Assessment Centre reads, according to SABC News.

“It is not as if the foetus is sort of putting up its hand and saying why you didn’t destroy me," the mother's lawyer, Paul Hoffman, explained to Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke. "The foetus is complaining that its malformation, its development is the result of the bad advice that was given.”

The SABC report did not say what compensation the woman is seeking.

The scope of the case is similar to that of a New Zealand couple who won a lawsuit claiming monetary compensation after a routine 20 week ultrasound scan failed to discover that their daughter had spina bifida.

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The mother, whose name has not been released, claimed that the continuance of the pregnancy was a “personal injury,” and, had she been given the correct diagnosis after that scan, she would have aborted her daughter.

"We consider that the continued pregnancy of the appellant following a misdiagnosis in the 20 week scan is capable of being an injury suffered by the appellant,” the court ruled, and directed the New Zealand Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) to make the woman eligible for compensation for the ongoing surgical and physiotherapy expenses incurred by their child.

New Zealand disability advocate Mike Sullivan said the underpinning attitude behind the decision is that those with disability, both born and unborn, are seen as a burden on society.

“This is what happens,” Sullivan said, when “the children become reduced to nothing – wrong even to exist.”

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