NewsThu Dec 11, 2008 - 12:15 pm EST
Exclusive: Twenty Years of Eugenic Abortion at Ontario Catholic Hospital
By John-Henry Westen
LONDON, December 5, 2008 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The chief ethicist for the diocese of London in Ontario Canada recently admitted to LifeSiteNews.com in an interview that St. Joseph’s Catholic Hospital in London has been performing "early induction" procedures in cases of diagnosed lethal fetal anomalies for twenty years, under his ethical direction. While Fr. Michael Prieur attempted to justify "early induction" for lethal fetal anomaly as not being abortion, the procedure has been condemned as illicit by the US Bishops’ Doctrinal Committee and called "direct abortion" by the National Catholic Bioethics Center (NCBC).
In an "early induction" the mother is induced into labor at a point so early in the pregnancy that even a healthy child would be unable to live outside the womb without specialized intensive care; under such circumstances, a severely disabled child will likely not live more than minutes.
At St. Joseph’s "early induction" is used only when the diagnosed fetal disabilities are deemed so severe that the child will likely die within a few months, days or even hours of being born. The St. Joseph’s policy on the matter states: "An early induction may be permitted after viability for a proportionate reason which can include grave physical, psychological or psychiatric considerations." Psychological justification for inducing labor in such cases is to spare the mother the pain of carrying to term a child that is likely to die shortly after birth anyway.
Pro-life groups and church teaching on the issue, however, consider abortions of such children through early induction to be the same as regular abortion (the unjust killing of an unborn child), but with an added discrimination against those with a handicap.
One of the most extreme cases of lethal fetal anomaly is anencephaly - a congenital anomaly characterized by failure of development of the cerebral hemispheres and overlying skull and scalp, exposing the brain stem. Most infants who have anencephaly do not survive for more than a few days after birth. Nevertheless, the Catholic Church does not permit abortion of such infants. A 1996 document on Anencephaly by the Committee on Doctrine of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops explains: "It can never be morally justified directly to cause the death of an innocent person no matter the age or condition of that person."
In addition to being the chief ethicist at the hospital, Fr. Michael Prieur is a professor of Moral and Sacramental Theology at St. Peter’s Seminary, a position he’s held for over thirty-five years. He is widely known as one of the nation’s foremost defenders of the Winnipeg Statement, a controversial statement of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops which many have deemed a dissent from Pope Paul VI’s encyclical Humanae Vitae.
Fr. Prieur told LifeSiteNews.com that he wrote the protocol on the procedure with a team of obstetricians and neonatologists. "We’ve been doing it for twenty years now," he said.
He noted more than once that, "This has the approval of the bishop."
The office of Bishop Ronald Fabbro of the Diocese of London was contacted numerous times over the past week for comment but Mark Adkinson, the diocesan spokesman, told LifeSiteNews.com that while the Bishop had been made aware of the situation, the Diocese had no comment at this time. Bishop Fabbro was appointed to the Diocese in 2002, indicating that the initial permission to perform the procedure was given by now-retired bishop John Michael Sherlock.
LifeSiteNews.com spoke with Bishop Sherlock about the situation. "Well, I can’t remember any details now. You’re on a very specific topic," he said. Asked specifically about Fr. Prieur, Bishop Sherlock said, "I know that he was responsible for ensuring that the Church’s moral teaching in the matter of life was maintained at St. Joseph’s hospital and I trusted his judgement, and had absolute confidence that he would be utilizing the most advanced moral theology in judging the appropriateness of certain medical procedures and I had trust in him."
Several other Bishops offices were contacted to comment on this story but all refused comment, some stating that it was the prerogative of the local Bishop to comment on the matter.
LifeSiteNews.com has obtained the policy of the Catholic hospital permitting such procedures. (See the 1997 version of the guidelines: www.lifesite.net/ldn/2008_docs/earlyinductionIC8.pdf; See the 2006 version at: www.lifesite.net/ldn/2008_docs/EarlyInductionEthicalGuidelinesMay2006.pdf)
Fr. Prieur explained the procedure, saying, "Routinely, when we get them we would meet with ten to fifteen people to make sure of the diagnosis and the prognosis. We always pray. Because this is a very difficult area - what’s called a conflict area. So we always pray. And then the decision is made to have an early induction."
Fr. Prieur insisted that such procedures were not abortion. "Now it’s not called abortion. We’re not killing the baby. We’re bringing the baby out and allowing the baby to die. That’s a very important distinction," he told LifeSiteNews.com. When removed from the womb at 21 weeks gestation, however, even a healthy baby could not survive without highly specialized intensive care treatments.
Prieur explained that in order to do the early induction for infants with lethal fetal anomalies, "the babies have to be viable. It has to be done after 21 weeks just in case there’s a misdiagnosis. Then we can bring that child to term in a neonatal intensive care unit." Asked if such life-saving treatments are afforded to a child with the disorder, he replied, "No, no there’s nothing you can do. Some of these conditions you know, we’ve had babies that are terribly deformed. Oh my goodness, I mean you pray that the baby will die. They come out terribly deformed. Nature’s full of surprises. And remember we’re not bound to the impossible. We don’t have to preserve life at all costs. We let people die. That’s not foreign to Catholic teaching. Allowing death is a normal thing."
Prieur made a distinction between killing the baby via early induction of labour versus killing the baby by dismemberment in the womb. "And so we do not dismember the baby when we bring the baby out. Some hospitals would use dilatation and evacuation which means they would bring the child out in pieces. We will not allow that," he said.
However, the US Bishops document Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services defines abortion as including such “early induction” procedures. "Abortion (that is, the directly intended termination of pregnancy before viability or the directly intended destruction of a viable fetus) is never permitted," says directive 45 of the document. (http://www.usccb.org/bishops/directives.shtml )
In addition, the National Catholic Bioethics Center (NCBC), which has four Cardinals and several Bishops as part of its board, has called early induction of babies with anencephaly "direct abortion." (http://www.ncbcenter.org/04-03-11-EarlyInduction.asp )
The US Bishops’ Doctrinal Committee document concerning anencephaly cited above spells it out clearly: "It is clear that before ‘viability’ it is never permitted to terminate the gestation of an anencephalic child as the means of avoiding psychological or physical risks to the mother. Nor is such termination permitted after ‘viability’ if early delivery endangers the child’s life due to complications of prematurity."
According to Fr. Prieur’s interpretation, however, the procedure is totally in synch with Catholic doctrine, and even pro-life. He describes an early induction scenario in this way: "[The babies with lethal fetal anomaly] are dying and basically here’s what happens, and I’ve been doing, we’ve been doing these for, like I said, for almost twenty years. People who are pro-life to their fingertips want the baby, get the diagnosis, find out that the baby is dying, will say, ‘Is there any way we can hold that child while the child dies?’ And I’ve often felt in my heart of hearts that’s a signal from God, that what we’re doing is the right thing. And there’s a factor, and this is a technical term in theology - the instinct of the faith - and it’s like, you know, in your heart of hearts you say, you know that makes sense. This is not your normal abortion, where we want to get rid of the baby. Not at all. See what I mean. And here’s where we’ve got Catholic obstetricians here in town that say, ‘Yes, this is the right thing to do.’"
Dr. Paul Byrne, a neonatologist and former President of the Catholic Medical Association, disagrees. Speaking on early induction for lethal fetal anomaly he said: "Every time I have been contacted over the many years that I have practiced neonatology, I instruct and encourage the mother to keep the baby in the uterus. It does not help the baby or the mother to deliver early."
Byrne told LifeSiteNews.com, "Parents usually do what they are led to do. Parents ordinarily are not equipped to deal with all this. Parents and clergy need guidance from a pro-life physician. Induction is the frequently given direction and answer to many, if not most situations these days. It brings an end to the immediate problem, but parents and clergy eventually realize that they did not have to impose or encourage death."
Dr. Byrne suggests that babies in utero with lethal fetal anomaly are "not dying, but living in the mother’s womb." He adds that "they will die quicker if brought outside the uterus." Dr. Byrne concluded: "Killing is killing even when the baby has an abnormality and short gestation. We must not hasten or impose death. Sometimes when the baby gets out after natural labor, they live better than predicted."
The Catechism of the Catholic Church states, (2323): "Because it should be treated as a person from conception, the embryo must be defended in its integrity, cared for, and healed like every other human being."
The bottom line on the matter from the NCBC is "early induction of an anencephalic child when there is no serious pathology of the mother which is being directly treated is not morally licit, emotional distress notwithstanding. Early induction of labor before term (37 weeks) to relieve emotional distress hastens the death of the child as a means of achieving this presumed good effect and unjustifiably deprives the child of the good of gestation." (http://www.usccb.org/dpp/anencephaly.htm )
The witness of parents who have gone through the birth of children with lethal fetal anomalies is powerful. LifeSiteNews.com spoke with one such mother, Barbara Farlow, who had this to say: "My daughter Annie was born with Trisomy 13 and she lived for 80 days. She smiled for the first time 3 days before she died. We would not have had that time if we had chosen early induction. I have come to know many families who had a baby who lived only a short period of time and every minute was unforgettable to them. Nobody has regrets. Families need a lot of support to carry to term and love their children until their natural death. The offer of early induction denies families this precious time and that is a tragedy." Mrs. Farlow has dedicated a website to the life of her child: http://www.anniefarlow.com/
Further, Farlow suggested that those interested in learning more about babies with lethal fetal anomalies may benefit from the videos of babies born with Trisomy 13 posted online (See below for links).
Alex Schadenberg, the executive director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, told LifeSiteNews.com that once the child is delivered prematurely, the omission to care for these children may be euthanasia. According to the Catholic Church, "Euthanasia is an action or omission of an action which of itself and by intention, causes death in order to eliminate suffering ...The error of judgement into which one can fall in good faith does not change the nature of this murderous act, which must always be forbidden and excluded," he said, quoting the Catechism, Section 2277. The Catechism also states: "Whatever its motives and means, direct euthanasia consists in putting an end to the lives of handicapped, sick or dying person. It is morally unacceptable."
Jim Hughes, National President of Campaign Life Coalition commented, saying, "All of this sounds pretty appalling to me. It sounds to me like this is nothing more than abortion dressed up in more attractive clothing." Hughes concluded: "Can some Catholic authority please put an end to the abortions going on at the Catholic hospital in London. Is this the only Catholic hospital that’s doing this or is this widespread?"
To express concerns:
Bishop Ronald Fabbro
Diocese of London
1070 Waterloo Street, London, Ontario N6A 3Y2
Phone: 519-433-0658 Fax: 519-433-0011
E-mail: [email protected]
His Eminence William Cardinal Levada, S.T.D.
Cardinal Prefect Congregation for Doctrine of the Faith
Piazza del S. Uffizio 11
email: [email protected]
011 39 06 6988 3357
Videos of Babies born with Lethal Fetal Anomalies:
Trisomy 13 lived 35 minutes
Trisomy 18 lived 99 days. (Shown on Oprah a few weeks ago)
Trisomy 18 lived 4.5 years
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Pope’s exhortation is a ‘breach’ with Catholic Tradition: leading German philosopher
April 28, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – A prominent Catholic philosopher and close friend of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI said Thursday that Pope Francis’s exhortation Amoris Laetitia is a “breach” with Catholic tradition and directly contradicts the teachings of Pope St. John Paul II in his exhortation Familiaris Consortio.
"If the pope is not willing to make a correction, it is up to another pontificate to officially put things back into order."
Professor Robert Spaemann told the Catholic News Agency’s German branch that changing the Church’s sacramental practice would be “a breach with its essential anthropological and theological teaching on human marriage and sexuality.”
“It is clear to every thinking person who knows the texts that are important in this context that [with Amoris Laetitia] there is a breach” with the Church’s Tradition, Spaemann said.
The professor’s remarks were translated by Dr. Maike Hickson in an article at OnePeterFive.
In Familiaris Consortio, Pope St. John Paul II upheld the Church’s longstanding approach to the question of admitting to the Sacraments remarried divorcees, by writing:
…the Church reaffirms her practice, which is based upon Sacred Scripture, of not admitting to Eucharistic Communion divorced persons who have remarried. They are unable to be admitted thereto from the fact that their state and condition of life objectively contradict that union of love between Christ and the Church which is signified and effected by the Eucharist. Besides this, there is another special pastoral reason: if these people were admitted to the Eucharist, the faithful would be led into error and confusion regarding the Church's teaching about the indissolubility of marriage.
Footnote 351 of Amoris Laetitia seemingly contradicts the above passage by asserting that in certain cases, integrating back into the Church the divorced and remarried and others in “irregular” situations “can include the help of the sacraments.” The footnote then mentions both Confession and the Eucharist.
Bishop Athanasius Schneider, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Maria Santissima in Astana, Kazakhstan criticized Amoris Laetitia for its lack of clarity on the subject. “Analyzing some of the affirmations of AL with an honest understanding, as they are in their own context, one finds that there is a difficulty in interpreting them according to the traditional doctrine of the Church,” wrote Schneider.
Spaemann also condemned the exhortation’s seeming embrace of “situation ethics” as opposed to universal norms and its call to not judge people’s actions that directly contradict the Church’s sexual ethics.
“When it comes to sexual relations which are in objective contradiction to the Christian order of life, I would like to know from the pope after which time period and under which conditions such an objectively sinful behavior becomes a conduct which is pleasing to God,” said Spaemann.
By turning “chaos into principle” with “one stroke of a pen,” Pope Francis is leading the Church “into the direction of schism,” Spaemann said—and he warned that such a schism would not be “at the periphery, but in the middle of the Church.”
Spaemann also warned that Amoris Laetitia may be used to bully faithful priests. He wrote:
Each individual cardinal, as well as each bishop and each priest is now called to preserve in his field of authority the Catholic Sacramental Order and to confess it publicly. If the pope is not willing to make a correction, it is up to another pontificate to officially put things back into order.
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Federally funded community health center may have illegally performed abortions: Report
WASHINGTON, D.C., April 28, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – A federally qualified health center (FQHC) apparently performed abortions, although nearly all federal funds are forbidden from being used for that purpose, sources tell LifeSiteNews. Now, pro-life congressmen are demanding further investigations into the use of U.S. taxpayer funds to promote abortion-on-demand.
The issue came to light when a federal inspector general's report found that six Americorps volunteers had been acting as "abortion doulas," giving emotional support to women who chose to have abortions.
The National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC) allowed the volunteers – who received tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars – to support abortions that took place inside a New York abortion facility run by the Institute for Family Health (IFH).
Americorps “volunteers” illegally supporting abortion at taxpayer expense is an ongoing problem. But there's more to the story.
The IFH proudly advertises itself as a federally qualified health center (FQHC). Federal dollars are restricted from underwriting most abortion at FQHCs, in line with the Hyde Amendment. This does not hold true for the Affordable Care Act, conventionally known as ObamaCare.
To ease qualms raised by pro-life Democrat Bart Stupak and others, on March 24, 2010, Barack Obama signed Executive Order 13535. It states that “the Hyde [Amendment] language shall apply to the authorization and appropriations of funds for Community Health Centers...I hereby direct the Secretary of HHS to ensure that program administrators and recipients of federal funds are aware of and comply with the limitations on abortion services imposed on CHCs by existing law.”
Pro-life groups warned at the time that an executive order was insufficient to prevent taxpayer funding of abortion, and the law itself had to be amended – or defeated.
Pro-life experts today say Congress must investigate whether the law is being violated and, if so, if the offense is isolated to IFH.
"For years the Obama administration has claimed that the Affordable Care Act and federally-funded health centers do not subsidize abortion, and the president finally signed additional provisions, passed last year by Congress, to ensure that community health centers do not use federal funds to support abortion,” said Arina Grossu, the director of the Center for Human Dignity at the Family Research Council. “Now we learn that CNCS is violating the law by helping women obtain abortions.”
“This blatant violation of federal law by CNCS and AmeriCorps demands that Congress investigate government-funded community health centers,” Grossu said. “It's time for this administration to stop foisting its radical abortion agenda on the American people and using their tax dollars to do so.”
Pro-life advocates have long said that there is no need to fund Planned Parenthood, because federal women's health dollars could be reappropriated to FQHCs, which do not perform abortion.
There are 9,170 federally qualified health centers compared to about 700 Planned Parenthood facilities, according to the Charlotte Lozier Institute. FQHCs see 21.1 million patients a year, while Planned Parenthood saw 2.8 million people, the institute reported.
The latest example of federal dollars being channeled to support abortion, the law notwithstanding, has undermined some confidence in the FQHCs.
Rep. Diane Black, a pro-life Republican from Tennessee, said, “NACHC didn’t just break the rules; they broke trust with the American people. My constituents expect that federal funding given to our community health centers will be used to protect and enhance people’s lives, not to be a willing partner in their destruction.”
At least two Congressional leaders – the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and the chair of the House Health Subcommittee – have promised they will take action immediately.
“Federal law demands that taxpayer dollars are never to be spent on abortion activities. Not one penny. Period. But a disturbing report from an independent watchdog reveals that was not the case with brazen pursuits by the National Association of Community Health Centers,” said Congressmen Fred Upton and Joseph Pitts of Pennsylvania, both Republicans. “The law was violated and this shameful failure of trust will not be tolerated.”
Abortion lobbyists demand Ted Cruz renounce pro-life leader Troy Newman
WICHITA, Kansas, April 28, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – The nation's largest abortion providers, an abortion lobbying group, and an ultra-liberal political organization are demanding that Senator Ted Cruz cut ties with Operation Rescue President Troy Newman – something that only proves how effective he has been, Newman's organization says.
Planned Parenthood, NARAL Pro-Choice America, and People for the American Way are asking Cruz to fire Newman as national co-chair of the “Pro-Lifers for Cruz” coalition, claiming that Newman supports violence.
“Troy Newman’s history of violent rhetoric and harassment toward women’s health providers is truly beyond the pale,” the three say in a letter to Sen. Cruz, linking to quotations from his 2000 book, Their Blood Cries Out.
“What Planned Parenthood and their cohorts call 'violent rhetoric' is really a discussion of Old Testament Bible verses taken out of context,” said Cheryl Sullenger of Operation Rescue and co-author of the book Their Blood Cries Out. The work establishes the sinful guilt of abortion before highlighting the mercy available in the New Testament for those who accept Jesus Christ, Sullenger said.
The letter also cites a report from the National Abortion Federation stating that abortionists have experienced an increase in “hate speech and internet harassment” since the release of CMP's undercover videos of Planned Parenthood, “which Newman was a driving force behind.”
“What they call 'harassment' is peaceful activism that is completely protected by the First Amendment,” Sullenger responded.
Newman has consistently denounced criminal action and violence of any kind during his decades in the pro-life movement, Operation Rescue said of the allegations – many of which were circulated to prevent Newman from entering Australia last year.
“Newman’s position on abortion-related violence is clear. He denounces violence against abortion providers as well as the violence perpetrated by the abortion cartel against innocent babies in the womb and their mothers,” Sullenger said.
“Attacking the messenger is the only way they have to try to discredit the hefty volume of evidence against them. This most recent attack is all about manipulating the public’s perception against those who exposed Planned Parenthood in order to deflect attention from their own crimes.”
But the three groups poured vitriolic scorn on Newman. Michael Keegan, president of People for the American Way, called Newman's role “completely unacceptable...No politician should be allowed to pander to violent anti-choice extremists without being called out.”
NARAL Pro-Choice America President Ilyse Hogue said, "Troy Newman is an anti-choice extremist and misogynist ideologue.”
A Planned Parenthood executive said the choice proved Sen. Cruz and his vice presidential choice, Carly Fiorina, are unfit for office.
“It is not surprising to see Ted Cruz embrace this type of violent extremism -- after all this is the same man who has told malicious lies about Planned Parenthood, would criminalize abortion, and tried to shut down the government” to defund Planned Parenthood, said Dawn Laguens, executive vice president of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund. “This is what the Cruz-Fiorina ticket stands for."
Sullenger dismissed their rhetoric as “a feeble attempt to hurt the presidential candidacy of Sen. Ted Cruz, who they know will seek to enforce the laws against them.”
Cruz has repeatedly stated that, if he is elected president, he will defund Planned Parenthood – before prosecuting them.
Their letter has led to a number of articles in the mainstream media, including Politico, the Huffington Post, and Glamour. The last publication, a feminist magazine aimed at young women, slammed Ted Cruz's choice of Carly Fiorina for vice president, telling its readers to “hold on to your uterus.”
“Not one of these publications bothered to reach out to Newman or Operation Rescue’s staff for their response,” Sullenger said.
This morning and afternoon, both sides of the abortion debate have used the Twitter hashtag #FireTroy to get their message across.
Sen. Cruz has not responded to the call, but the letter implies that purging Newman from the campaign would not satisfy the pro-abortion coalition. “There are a number of coalition members whose records raise serious concerns,” they say.