Hilary White, Rome Correspondent

No case where abortion was ‘necessary to save mom’: Eminent Irish oncologist

Hilary White, Rome Correspondent
Hilary White, Rome Correspondent
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DUBLIN, February 22, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – An eminent Irish oncologist, professor and politician wrote today on his Twitter account that he has never encountered a situation in which abortion was needed to save a mother’s life.

Dr. John Crown, who has lectured in 40 countries and is the author of 150 research papers told Twitter followers that he had during his medical career faced some “hard decisions re: chemotherapy in pregnancy.”

However, he said, “I don’t think I ever had a case where abortion was necessary to save mom.”

The comments come at a crucial moment in Ireland as abortion advocates have launched a media campaign pressing for full legalization of abortion. Attempting to use the existing law and legal precedents to expand abortion, they claim that women are not being allowed “life-saving medical treatment” because of the abortion ban.

Those defending the law have countered that no woman in Ireland has ever been refused medical treatment that would have the unintended effect of killing her child but that would save her life. These cases are rare, and are largely confined to ectopic pregnancy and pregnant cancer patients undergoing surgery and chemotherapy.

Abortion, pro-life advocates have said, can never be regarded as medical treatment for the mother since its only purpose is the killing of an innocent human being.

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Youth Defence and the Life Institute welcomed the comment, saying that Dr. Crown had simply bolstered other medical opinion that abortion can never be called a “life-saving treatment.”

The comments may prove especially weighty since by his own admission Crown is not pro-life, and therefore has no ideological axe to grind. “For me it’s all about functioning nervous system,” he said, and strongly criticized the pro-life position on the personhood of the human embryo, writing that the “idea that 16 cells has same rights as [a] baby [is] equaled only in absurdity by idea that [a] fully formed foetus with [an] intact nervous system has none.”

In an opinion piece published in The Independent, Dr. Crown said that “extremists” on both side of the issue should be confronted: “pro-abortion extremists who would deny the rights and humanity of what is clearly a small unborn child,” and those who advocate “the position that a fertilised egg, or an early embryo ... is as full a human being as is a new-born babe,” which he labelled a “theological” opinion.

Without playing his hand on exactly what his position is on abortion, Crown argued that “it is time for the medical profession to risk unpopularity from right and left, and to give society the best advice that we can on the issue of when an embryo becomes a person.”

Dr. Crown served as assistant professor at Weill Cornell Medical College of Cornell University until 1993, then took up the post of consultant at two Dublin hospitals, St. Vincent’s and St. Luke’s. He holds professorships in cancer research from Dublin City University and University College Dublin and was recently elected to the Irish Upper House, the Seanad Éireann or Senate.

Niamh Ui Bhriain, head of the Life Institute, wrote earlier this month that the abortion movement’s claim about “life-saving medical treatment” is a ruse to force the country to legalize abortion on demand. Youth Defence and other pro-life organizations in the country have denounced this campaign as an example of deliberate pro-abortion disinformation. 

Rebecca Roughneen of Youth Defence told LifeSiteNews.com that Dr. Crown’s statement was an important intervention “since it confirms what senior medical experts have always said: that abortion is never medically necessary.”

Abortion campaigners, she said, are brazenly engaging in “dishonest scaremongering” with the present media blitz.

“They’re repeating the same lie over and over again in an attempt to make the public believe that abortion is needed to save mothers’ lives. The fact is, as Dr Crown has just pointed out, that all the medical evidence says that’s not true.”

Niamh Uí Bhriain of the Life Institute also welcomed Dr. Crown’s statement which she said exposed the lie at the heart of the pro-abortion argument. “His statement is important at this time in particular since we’re seeing a really strident and well-funded push to see abortion legalised here on the grounds of preserving life.”

Recently a study was published by the World Health Organization, The UN Population Fund, UNICEF and the World Bank, a group of decidedly pro-abortion organizations, that showed Ireland, with its pro-life protections intact, enjoys one of the world’s lowest rates of maternal mortality in the world. 2008 statistics showed a rate of 3 maternal deaths for every 100,000 live births and 3.81 infant deaths per 1,000 live births. This places Ireland 202 out of 222 countries.

Ui Bhriain said that Ireland’s experience had shown that doctors did not need abortion to preserve women’s lives. “We’ve had a ban on abortion for almost 30 years and, in that time, not one woman has died because she couldn’t get an abortion in Ireland. The experts have spoken on this issue, and the most senior obstetricians and gynecologists in the country have publicly stated that abortion doesn’t cure any condition or preserve lives,” she said.


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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.”

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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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