Hilary White, Rome Correspondent

Leading pro-abort defends illegal UK sex-selective abortions after undercover sting

Hilary White, Rome Correspondent
Hilary White, Rome Correspondent
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LONDON, February 24, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – While the revelations that British doctors are performing illegal sex-selective abortions has caused a furor in the media, abortion advocates have lost little time defending the practice.

The day after the Daily Telegraph published the results of an undercover “sting” operation that showed the law was being routinely flouted, Marge Berer, a major player in the international abortion movement, wrote that a doctor can justify sex-selective abortion on the grounds that the woman’s health may be endangered by the abuse she will suffer from male relatives “whose cultures practise discrimination against women and girls” if she gives birth to a girl.

Berer is the founding editor of the online magazine Reproductive Health Matters and has been the chair of the Steering Committee of the International Consortium for Medical Abortion since 2002. She contends that sex-selection can be justified by “taking the woman’s social situation into account, and because the woman’s physical and mental health and well-being may be at risk, and also her existing children.”

“The potential for abuse of a woman by her husband and family, and poor treatment of and even purposeful neglect of girl children (leading to poor development and even death), are common outcomes in Asian cultures that demand that women produce boys.”

Berer continues, “Moreover, it is also the case that a woman may not want another baby anyway, for other valid reasons, and fetal sex may be the only acceptable excuse she can give in her family situation for seeking an abortion.”

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She reiterates the pure abortionist ideology, saying, “I believe health professionals and everyone who is pro-choice on abortion should support pro-choice doctors and women seeking abortions, whatever their reasons, even when sex selection may be involved.”

Berer blasted the Telegraph for what she called an “unethical” attack on abortionists, saying their aim was only to “stigmatise abortion and women who have abortions, to frighten women and abortion providers that they are breaking the law, and to seek to restrict the law on abortion.”

While the Health Secretary Andrew Lansley has called sex-selective abortion “morally repugnant” and illegal, and today police have reportedly visited the Telegraph offices, Berer pointed out that the law does not contain a specific prohibition against sex-selection.

Meanwhile, pro-life advocates have condemned Britain’s abortion law, the provisions of which are regularly interpreted by doctors to allow abortion on nearly any justification, filed under the sweeping grounds of the woman’s “mental or physical health.”
The British government’s own statistics show that 185,000 of the of the UK’s 200,000 annual abortions, 92 percent, are granted under the “mental health” grounds, but a review by the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges (AMRC) published in December last year, showed that abortion does not improve mental health outcomes for women with unplanned pregnancies. In fact, the review found that in some circumstances the risk of serious mental health issues increases after abortion.

Dr. Peter Saunders, head of the Christian Medical Fellowship, contends that this means that the great majority of Britain’s abortions are being carried out illegally. Saunders wrote today that the Telegraph’s revelations are just the “tip of the iceberg” when it comes to illegal abortions.

“By forcefully making the point that some abortions (ie. for sex selection) are illegal [Health Secretary Lansley] has already opened the question as to where exactly the line should be drawn.”

“Having started asking questions, Mr. Lansley may now find it very difficult to stop, because in reality sex selection abortions are actually just the tip of a large iceberg of illegal activity.”

The Abortion Act 1967 does not specify any particular circumstance under which it is illegal to have an abortion. The Act is worded entirely in the negative, listing only those circumstances under which an offense has not been committed. This means that it does not give any provision for prohibiting abortions under specific circumstances, including for reasons of sex selection.

In addition, it provides for no penalty for coercion of abortion or if the woman is under age, both recognized by both social workers and police as ongoing problems in Britain’s Asian community.

The law requires two doctors to sign off for each abortion, but specifies that the requirement can be waived if one physician “is of the opinion, formed in good faith, that the termination is immediately necessary to save the life or to prevent grave permanent injury to the physical or mental health of the pregnant woman.”

In 2007 Dr. Vincent Argent, the former medical director of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, gave evidence to the House of Commons Science and Technology committee, saying that there is widespread abuse around signing of abortion permission forms.

He said he had personally witnessed doctors signing batches of forms before patients are even seen for consultation. He said that doctors commonly sign the forms with no knowledge of the particular patient and without reading the notes, without seeing or examining the patients and even signing after the abortion has been completed. Forms are regularly faxed to other locations for signature and in some cases, abortion facilities use signature stamps without any consultation with the doctor.

At that time, the Labour government’s Health Secretary did nothing about these allegations.

 


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

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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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