Niamh Ui Bhriain

Why London is burning

Niamh Ui Bhriain
By Niamh Ui Bhriain
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DUBLIN, August 11, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Everyone wants someone to blame for the urban riots which have literally shaken London, Birmingham and other major British cities in the past week. That is understandable, since the statistics emerging are grim: at least four people directly killed, many others left seriously injured, £100 million in damage caused to businesses and to homes, and whole sections of the community terrified and living under siege.

In the blame game, the lines are, predictably and unhelpfully, already clearly demarcated as the political parties and commentators on the media spectrum jostle for position. The Tories insist this is a law and order matter, while Labour blame the spending cuts ushered in under the Coalition. The [far-left] Guardian says that young people are alienated and abandoned, while the Telegraph blames the parents, and others cite unemployment, the failure of the education system, poverty and lack of opportunity.

In fact, all of these are valid observations, but some factors are more fundamental than others. Social order in some communities - and unfortunately more often in the most vulnerable communities - is breaking down. And it is being driven by an unprecedented breakdown of the family, which in turn is causing a vicious cycle of poverty, lack of education, lawlessness and further erosion of the basic values people need to keep society in order.

It is difficult to say this without being accused of targeting single mothers or attacking absent fathers. I know many single mothers who are doing an amazing job, in difficult circumstances, and who have raised the best of kids. And there certainly are other pressing issues which need to be tackled, such as the fact that there are huge inequalities of income and opportunity in British society.

But some facts are so startling, and some effects so obvious, that even the most liberal newspaper of the British press, the Guardian, is now acknowledging that lack of family structure is creating a huge problem. On Wednesday, the paper interviewed a youth worker from Tottenham who has spent 30 years working with disadvantaged communities. He said that parental authority had now been eroded to the point where the parents of rioting children would be afraid to discipline them.

His views were echoed by the local MP David Lammy who commented, “There is none of the basic starting presumption of two adults who want to start a family, raise children together, love them, nourish them and lead them to full independence. The parents are not married and the child has come, frankly, out of casual sex; the father is not present, and is not expected to be. There are not the networks of extended families to make up for it. We are seeing huge consequences of the lack of male role models in young men’s lives.”

There are 3.5 million children from broken homes in Britain. Their growing numbers, and the effect on of family breakdown on children, caused a leading family law court judge, Sir Paul Coleridge, to recently describe the scale of the problem as “social anarchy” and to urge the government to work to promote marriage.

The decline of marriage has left a significant proportion of children with a confused understanding of stability and of boundaries. And the lack of a male role model means that young men in particular seek out the toughest in the gang for an authority figure rather than their father. That means just one bad apple can influence a whole community of young teens.

The rioters this week were mostly teenagers, young people who seemed to believe that the best way of expressing their discontent was to loot, smash and assault innocent people. Some of them were just kids: one an 11-year-old boy who is before Highbury Corner Youth Court as part of a gang who looted a Debenhams store on Monday night.

Some commentators called the looters feral. But though they were obviously terrifying to the unfortunate people caught up in the rioting and burning, I think that description lets the people who have contributed to this mess off the hook. The truth is that society is falling apart (and it is happening here as well as in Britain) mostly because of the social engineering which is driven by the affluent chattering classes.

The most-educated and the most-privileged love to imagine themselves as radicals pushing out boundaries and tearing down social constructs (such as that daft old-fashioned notion, marriage), but their own lives usually remain as stable and secure as self-preservation and common sense has always dictated.

So, while liberal (usually affluent) policy-makers have spent decades talking down morality and ridiculing “old-fashioned” notions of family values, they make sure that their own families benefit from the security those values bring to their lives. Meanwhile, working class children increasingly grow up without a Dad or a sense of responsibility, and the rates of teenage pregnancy, poverty, school dropout and crime continue to spiral.

In opposition David Cameron talked a lot about British society being “broken,” and what he would do to bolster marriage and the family. Since taking office, though, precious little has been done.

It is time that Britain - and Ireland - faced up to the evidence that the fractured family has everything to do with the fact that a significant number of young people do not accept any authority, see crime and violence as a glamorous way of life, and will go on to be absent from their own children’s lives. Early reports indicate that a small number of the accused rioters now appearing in court come from more affluent backgrounds than was previously expected. Now that the problem is starting to seep out of disadvantaged areas, maybe the policy makers will act, even if just to protect themselves.

It is pointless for David Cameron to talk tough on law and order unless he gets serious about fixing the family in Britain. Otherwise, he can lock up each and every one of the young men who smashed their own areas to pieces, but they will simply be replaced by more looters and rioters - and in increasing numbers.

Niamh Ui Bhriain is the head of Dublin’s Life Institute and a long-time campaigner in the political realm, defending the family and Ireland’s pro-life laws


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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.

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

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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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