Hilary White, Rome Correspondent

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

Hilary White, Rome Correspondent
Hilary White, Rome Correspondent
Image

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.”

(Click “like” if you want to end abortion! )

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.

 

Support hard-hitting pro-life and pro-family journalism.

Donate to LifeSite's fall campaign today


Share this article

Advertisement
Featured Image
President Obama speaks at Planned Parenthood's national conference in 2013.
Dustin Siggins Dustin Siggins Follow Dustin

Obama remakes the nation’s courts in his image

Dustin Siggins Dustin Siggins Follow Dustin
By Dustin Siggins
Image

It has often been said that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is President Obama's greatest achievement as president. However, that claim may soon take second place to his judicial nominees, and especially their effect on marriage in the United States.

In a new graphic, The Daily Signal notes that while President George W. Bush was able to get 50 nominees approved by this time in his second term, Obama has gotten more than 100 approved. According to The Houston Chronicle, "Democratic appointees who hear cases full time now hold a majority of seats on nine of the 13 U.S. Courts of Appeals. When Obama took office, only one of those courts had more full-time judges nominated by a Democrat."

Three of the five judges who struck down state marriage laws between February 2014 and the Supreme Court's Windsor decision in 2013 were Obama appointees, according to a CBS affiliate in the Washington, D.C. area. Likewise, the Windsor majority that overturned the Defense of Marriage Act included two Obama appointees, Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan. Obama has nominated 11 homosexual judges, the most of any president by far, says the National Law Journal.

Only one federal judge has opposed same-sex "marriage" since the Supreme Court's Windsor decision. He was appointed under the Reagan administration.

This accomplishment, aided by the elimination of Senate filibusters on judicial nominees, could affect how laws and regulations are interpreted by various courts, especially as marriage heads to a probable Supreme Court hearing on the constitutionality of state laws.

Democrats eliminated the filibuster for all judicial nominees except for Supreme Court candidates last year, saying Republicans were blocking qualified candidates for the bench. However, the filibuster was part of the reason Democrats were able to keep the number of approved Bush appointees so low.

The Supreme Court may hear multiple marriage questions in its 2015 cycle. 

Share this article

Advertisement
Featured Image
Shutterstock.com
Lisa Bourne

, ,

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.

Click "like" to support Catholics Restoring the Culture!

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.

Share this article

Advertisement
Featured Image
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?

John-Henry Westen John-Henry Westen Follow John-Henry
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.

Click "like" to support Catholics Restoring the Culture!

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.”

Share this article

Advertisement

Customize your experience.

Login with Facebook