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Abortion ‘is gravely immoral in all circumstances’: Ireland’s Catholic bishops

Hilary White

DUBLIN, December 3, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – “International experience” has shown that attempts to legalize abortion in Ireland in “limited” cases, including where women threaten suicide, would quickly “open the floodgates” for abortion on demand, the Catholic bishops of Ireland have said in a new statement.

“A society that believes the right to life is the most fundamental of all rights cannot ignore the fact that abortion is first and foremost a moral issue,” the bishops said in the statement, issued the day after 10,000 pro-lifers rallied in Dublin. “As a society we have a particular responsibility to ensure this right is upheld on behalf of those who are defenceless, voiceless or vulnerable.

“This includes our duty as a society to defend and promote the equal right to life of a pregnant mother and the innocent and defenceless child in her womb when the life of either of these persons is at risk.”

The bishops were responding to the release of the report by the government’s “expert group” on whether a ruling from the European Court of Human Rights requires Ireland to change its laws to allow abortion. The group’s report was released a week ago, and said that abortion should be considered “medical treatment” for pregnant women. It recommended that the government bring in legislation allowing “limited” abortion.

“The judgment of the European Court of Human Rights does not oblige the Irish Government to legislate for abortion,” the bishops argue in their statement.

The bishops said the government report is faulty in that it failed to include other options allowed by the ECHR, including the option of a constitutional prohibition on abortion or a constitutional amendment to reverse the ‘X-case’ judgment.

“The Report provides no ethical analysis of the options available,” the bishops said, “even though this is first and foremost a moral issue and consideration of the ethical dimension was included in [its] Terms of Reference”.

Further, the bishops warned, the report fails to consider the risks in legislating for “limited abortion,” including creating an open field for abortion on demand under the pretext of the “threat of suicide.”

“International experience shows that allowing abortion on the grounds of mental health effectively opens the floodgates for abortion.” The bishops said that it is the unborn child’s “common humanity” that makes his life equal in value to that of the mother. “They have an equal right to life.”

“The Catholic Church has never taught that the life of a child in the womb should be preferred to that of a mother.”

In the rare cases where a seriously ill pregnant woman needs medical treatment that may be a threat to the life of her child, “such treatments are morally permissible provided every effort has been made to save the life of both the mother and her baby.”

This principle is known as the “principle of double effect,” which says where there is no direct intention to harm the child, a medical intervention is allowable that could cause a “secondary and unintended effect” of the death of the child. This is universally understood in the pro-life movement as being in no way analogous to abortion.

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The bishops reiterated this principle, saying, “Abortion, understood as the direct and intentional destruction of an unborn baby, is gravely immoral in all circumstances.

“This is different from medical treatments which do not directly and intentionally seek to end the life of the unborn baby.”

Citing the current law and medical guidelines of Ireland, they said nurses and doctors in Irish hospitals may in good conscience “apply this vital distinction in practice”.

“This has been an important factor in ensuring that Irish hospitals are among the safest and best in the world in terms of medical care for both a mother and her unborn baby during pregnancy. As a country this is something we should cherish, promote and protect.”

They warned that the expert group’s report has made suggestions for legislating to allow “limited” abortion that “could end the practice of making this vital ethical distinction in Irish hospitals”.

Three of the four options presented by the report include legalised abortion, “the direct and intentional killing of an unborn child”.

“This can never be morally justified,” the bishops said.

The bishops said that the option of changing medical practice guidelines to “ensure consistency in the delivery of medical treatment” may be permissible, but only provided that any changes completely exclude the introduction of abortion.

“If guidelines can provide greater clarity as to when life-saving treatment may be provided to a pregnant mother or her unborn child within the existing legislative framework, and where the direct and intentional killing of either person continues to be excluded, then such ethically sound Guidelines may offer a way forward.”

They called for “sufficient time for a calm, rational and informed debate” and repeated that “abortion is gravely immoral in all circumstances, no matter how ‘limited’ access to abortion may be”.

The bishops are asking all Catholic parishes in both Northern Ireland and the Republic to promote prayer to keep Ireland free of abortion. They included the web address www.chooselife2012.ie for their new dedicated website and “social media presence,” Choose Life 2012 on Facebook, and @Chooselife2012 on Twitter and, on YouTube.

They asked pro-life people throughout the country to pray: “Lord Jesus, you are the source and lover of life. Reawaken in us respect for every human life. Help us to see in each child the marvellous work of our Creator.

“Open our hearts to welcome every child as a unique and wonderful gift. Guide the work of doctors, nurses and midwives. May the life of a mother and her baby in the womb be equally cherished and respected.

“Help those who make our laws to uphold the uniqueness and sacredness of every human life, from the first moment of conception to natural death. Give us wisdom and generosity to build a society that cares for all.

“Together with Mary, your Mother, in whose womb you took on our human nature, help us to choose life in every decision we take. We ask this in the joyful hope of eternal life with you, and in the communion of the Blessed Trinity.

“Our Lady of Knock, pray for us. All the Saints of Ireland, pray for us.



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‘Little miracles’: Mom gives birth to naturally-conceived quintuplets after refusing ‘selective reduction’

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An ultrasound of the five different compartments, each with its own baby, inside Kim's womb.

AUSTRALIA, February 5, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) -- A 26-year-old Australian mom has given birth to five healthy babies, all conceived naturally, after refusing the doctor’s advice that she must abort three of them in order to give the remaining two a better chance at life. 

“After my initial ultrasound I was told I could consider the selection method to give 2 babies the best chance in life,” wrote mom Kim Tucci in a Facebook post last September. 

“I watched a YouTube video on the procedure and I cried. I could never do that! Was I selfish for not giving two the chance of 100% survival? All I knew is that I already love them and that every heart beat I heard I connect with them more. For me life starts when a heart starts beating and all I know for sure is that I will do whatever it takes to bring them into this world healthy,” she wrote. 

Last Thursday Kim and her husband Vaughn welcomed the five new members into their family — one boy and four girls —increasing the number of their children from 3 to 8. The babies were born at 30 weeks, 10 weeks early, due to insufficient space in Kim’s womb. They weighed on average about 2.5 pounds. 

The quintuplets’ story began last March, after Kim and Vaughn had been trying for six months to conceive just one more child for their family. Due to health complications, Kim wondered if she would ever become a mother again. 

After what she thought was an extra long cycle, she decided to take a pregnancy test. 

“I was feeling tired and a little nauseated and thought I would take a pregnancy test just to get the ‘what if’ out of my head. To my shock and utter excitement it was positive,” she wrote on a Facebook post.

The parents got the shock of their lives when doctors confirmed in an ultrasound examination that there was not one baby, but five. 

“After a long wait for the ultrasound we finally went in. The sonographer told me there were multiple gestational sacks, but she could only see a heart beat in two. I was so excited! Twins!”

“I was moved to another machine for a clearer view and had the head doctor come in and double check the findings. She started to count, one, two, three, four, five. Did i hear that correctly? Five? My legs start to shake uncontrollably and all i can do is laugh. The sonographer then told me the term for five is ‘quintuplets,’” Kim wrote.

Even though Kim began to feel stretched to the limit with all those human lives growing inside her, she chose to focus on her babies, and not herself, referring to them as “my five little miracles.” 

“It's getting harder as each day passes to push through the pain, every part of my body aches and sleeping is becoming very painful. No amount of pillows are helping support my back and belly. Sometimes I get so upset that I just want to throw my hands up and give in.”

“Sometimes my pelvis becomes so stiff I can barely walk and my hips feel like they are grinding away constantly. I'm finding it hard to eat as I basically have no room left in my stomach, and the way it is positioned it's pushed all the way back with the babies leaning against it.” 

“My skin on my belly is so stretched its painful and hot to touch. It literally feels like I have hives! No amount of cream helps relieve the discomfort. I have a lot of stretch marks now. Dealing with such a huge change in my body is hard.” 

“Is it all worth it? Yes!!!! I will keep pushing through,” she wrote in one Facebook post days before the babies were born. 

The newborns' names are Keith, Ali, Penelope, Tiffany, and Beatrix. They were born at King Edward Memorial Hospital in Subiaco, Western Australia. Mother and babies are reported to be doing well. 



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UN rights chief tells Catholic countries to legalize abortion over Zika virus: bishops and cardinal react

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GENEVA, February 5, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) -- The United Nations, following the lead of international abortion activists, is now urging Latin American countries hit by the mosquito-borne Zika virus to lift restrictions on abortion for pregnant women who have contacted the virus and whose pre-born children may be at risk for birth defects, including having smaller than normal heads. 

The UN human rights office said today that it is not enough for South American countries to urge women to postpone pregnancy without also offering them abortion as a final solution. 

“How can they ask these women not to become pregnant, but not offer… the possibility to stop their pregnancies?” UN spokeswoman Cecile Pouilly told reporters. 

UN human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein said that governments should make available contraception and abortion services.

“Laws and policies that restrict (women’s) access to these services must be urgently reviewed in line with human rights obligations in order to ensure the right to health for all in practice,” he said.

But Brazil’s bishops strongly asserted yesterday that efforts should be made to eradicate the virus, not the people who may be infected by it. 

The disease is “no justification whatsoever to promote abortion,” they said in a statement, adding that it is not morally acceptable to promote abortion “in the cases of microcephaly, as, unfortunately, some groups are proposing to the Supreme Federal Court, in a total lack of respect for the gift of life.”

Honduras Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga has also come out strongly against the notion of “therapeutic abortions” as a response to the problem. Unlike Brazil where abortion is legal in the case of rape or health of the mother, abortion remains entirely illegal in Honduras.

“We should never talk about ‘therapeutic’ abortion,” the cardinal said in a homily at a February 3 Mass in Suyap. “Therapeutic abortion doesn’t exist. Therapeutic means curing, and abortion cures nothing. It takes innocent lives,” he said. 

While the World Health Organization (WHO) declared an international public health emergency February 1 on account of concerns over the virus, critics have pointed out, however, that not one death as resulted from the virus. Even on WHO’s own website the virus is described in mild terms. 

“It causes mild fever and rash. Other symptoms include muscle pain, joint pain, headache, pain behind the eyes and conjunctivitis. Zika virus disease is usually mild, with symptoms lasting only a few days,” the website states. “To date, there have been no reported deaths associated with Zika virus,” it added. 

Critics suspect that the crisis is being manipulated to advance an anti-human agenda on the pre-born. 

“Is Zika, actually, a hideous virus that threatens to spread uncontrollably across the world creating an army of disabled children with tiny heads and low IQ’s? Or might this be a willful misinterpretation of the scarce data to manipulate public opinion and legislatures?” wrote pro-life critic Mei-Li Garcia earlier this week.

“It becomes very clear that the publicity surrounding this story has a very little to do with medicine and a lot to do with a convenient crisis that is being used by those pushing for the legalization of abortion around the world,” she wrote.



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Hillary’s litmus test for Supreme Court picks: They must ‘preserve Roe v. Wade’

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DERRY, NH, February 5, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) - Hillary Clinton has a litmus test for Supreme Court nominees - several, in fact. At a Democratic event on Wednesday, Clinton unveiled her criteria in selecting a judge for the nation's highest court.

“I do have a litmus test, I have a bunch of litmus tests," she said.

"We’ve got to make sure to preserve Roe v. Wade, not let it be nibbled away or repealed,” she said.

There have been over 58,000,000 abortions since the 1973 court ruling legalizing abortion in all 50 states, according to National Right to Life.

That echoes her recent call to arms speech before Planned Parenthood last month, when she stated that taxpayers must fund abortion-on-demand in order to uphold the "right" of choice.

“We have to preserve marriage equality,” Clinton said, referring to last summer's Obergefell v. Hodges case, a 5-4 ruling that redefined marriage nationwide. “We have to go further to end discrimination against the LGBT community."

Her views differentiate her from the Republican front runners. Ted Cruz has called the court's marriage ruling "fundamentally illegitimate," and Donald Trump told Fox News Sunday this week that he would "be very strong on putting certain judges on the bench that I think maybe could change things." Marco Rubio has said he won't "concede" the issue to the one-vote majority.

All Republican presidential hopefuls say they are pro-life and will defund Planned Parenthood.

Her husband, Bill Clinton, raised the makeup of the Supreme Court early last month in New Hampshire, saying it receives "almost no attention" as a campaign issue.

On Wednesday, Hillary said "the next president could get as many as three appointments. It’s one of the many reasons why we can’t turn the White House over to the Republicans again.”

Clinton said her judicial appointees must also reverse the Citizens United ruling on campaign finance and oppose a recent decision striking down a portion of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. In 2013's Shelby County v. Holder, justices struck down Section 4(b) of the act, which said that certain states and jurisdictions had to obtain permission from the federal government before changing their voting laws.

At one time, most politicians frowned upon any "litmus test" for judicial nominees, emphasizing the independence of the third branch of government. "I don't believe in litmus tests," Jeb Bush told Chuck Todd last November.

But with the rise of an activist judiciary in the middle of the 20th century, constitutionalists have sought to rein in the power of the bench.



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