Hilary White

Irish Catholic hospital not allowed to opt out of abortion requirement: government

Hilary White
Hilary White
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DUBLIN, August 9, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com)  – The Irish government has told a Catholic hospital that there will be no opting out of the new law legalizing abortion, and that requires hospitals to do the procedure. The health minister was responding to comments last week by a board member of Dublin’s Mater Misericordiae University Hospital that the hospital would not be complying with the new abortion law.

Mater Hospital is one of the 25 institutions named in the so-called “Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act” where abortions must be carried out. Fr. Kevin Doran, a board member of Mater said, “The issue is broader than just abortion. What’s happening is the Minister is saying hospitals are not entitled to have an ethos.” 

“The Mater can’t carry out abortions because it goes against its ethos. I would be very concerned that the Minister [for Health, James Reilly] sees fit to make it impossible for hospitals to have their own ethos.

“The issue is broader than just abortion. What’s happening is the Minister is saying hospitals are not entitled to have an ethos.”

An official with the Department of Health, however, has responded that the right to conscientious objection does not apply to institutions: “While the legislation does provide such a right to an individual, it does not apply to a hospital.” 

Doran said, however, European law protects religious institutions from being forced to act against their religious ethos. “I believe that Catholic voluntary hospitals as a body must make it clear, both to legislators and to their own staff, that while they will always provide life-saving medical treatment for women in pregnancy, they will uphold their ethos and will never facilitate or tolerate the deliberate termination of human life, at any stage,” he said. 

The hospital said last week that they are still in the process of drafting their response to the legislation. Mater hospital is owned by a parent company made up of a number of different Catholic institutions, including the Sisters of Mercy, the Catholic Archdiocese of Dublin, the Catholic Nurses’ Guild of Ireland, the Society of St Vincent de Paul and the medical consultants of Mater Misericordiae University Hospital and the Children’s University Hospital.

Of the 25 institutions named in the legislation as having a requirement to conduct abortions, several others are owned or founded by the Catholic Church or Catholic religious orders. Portiuncula Hospital in Ballinasloe was opened in 1945 by the Franciscan Missionaries of the Divine Motherhood at the invitation of the bishop of the diocese of Clonfert. Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda, was founded by the Medical Missionaries of Mary and was taken over by the then-North Eastern Health Board (now the Health Services Executive) in 1997. St. Vincent’s University Hospital, Dublin, was founded in 1834 by Mother Mary Aikenhead, the foundress of the Religious Sisters of Charity. 

Liam Gibson, Northern Ireland development officer for the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC), told LifeSiteNews.com that the legal situation is serious for Catholic hospitals in Ireland who want to refuse to participate in the government’s abortion plans.

“The government has made it absolutely clear that they are not going to allow any latitude on the obligation to conduct abortions in all the named hospitals,” he said in an interview today. “They don’t recognise any conscientious objection for institutions on the grounds that abortion is a ‘human right,’ so conscientious objection doesn’t apply.” 

He spoke of plans in some quarters to bring legal challenges against the new law, based on several constitutional principles, including the right of religious organisations to conduct their own affairs according to their religious ethos. 

Much of the problem, however, lies in the fact that most Catholic hospitals are “Catholic in name only” and have long since given up financial control to the government’s Health Services Executive. Each hospital has a unique situation with regards to the relationship between the Church and the government, including complications with the various religious orders and bodies that founded them. 

“There might be some room for a challenge,” based on Catholic ethos, he said, “but at the moment it doesn’t look like the hospitals are in a position to insist.” 

“There are several questions being raised on the constitutionality on the obligation to protect the rights of unborn children,” Gibson said. “The government, however, are insisting that this has been taken into consideration.” 

Niamh Uí Bhriain of the Life Institute said that one legal challenge possible against the abortion legislation was in the area of conscientious objection or in the case where a Catholic hospital was being forced to set aside their ethos of protecting human life.

“The ethos of the Mater does not include the deliberate taking of human life, and this legislation allows abortion until birth, so clearly the Mater, and other Catholic hospitals will need to now stand up for their ethos,” she said.

She added that it should be the ethos of every hospital to protect human life, and noted that one of the most vocal opponents of the legislation, Dr. Sam Coulter Smith of the Rotunda Hospital, belongs to the (Anglican) Church of Ireland, but reflected the views of the majority of Irish doctors who were opposed to the deliberate killing of unborn children. 

The issue will doubtless eventually go as far as the Supreme Court, but Gibson was not optimistic. “Whether the Supreme Court would agree with the government or with critics of the Act is pure speculation at this stage. There’s a possibility that they could find in favour of the pro-life objections, or discount them entirely. 

“The judiciary have not got a very good track record on questions of the unborn,” he added. “In every case that has come before them on these issues, the rights of the unborn have been diminished.”

Asked whether there are moves to launch legal action to overturn the law itself, Gibson declined to name names “for now” but said that several parties are considering options. “There are several options, but there is no magic bullet that will wipe out the legislation or overturn it,” he said. “It will be a long and difficult processes to reverse it either in the courts or through the political process.” 

Gibson also lamented the lackluster response to the crisis by the Catholic hierarchy. He told LSN that the bishops have yet to make any movement on warnings in May this year that if the bill passes, pro-life doctors will need legal and financial support when they come into inevitable conflicts with the new law. 

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Lisa Bourne

Parents say they’re now calling four-year-old son a girl

Lisa Bourne
By Lisa Bourne

OAKLAND, CA, July 7, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) -- An Oakland, California, couple is giving their four-year old son the green light to identify as a girl.

Jack Carter Christian, the son of Mary Carter and James Christian, will now be known as “Jackie” and be allowed to dress and act as a little girl.

The family acknowledged they were already letting the boy wear his older sister’s dresses on a regular basis and also that he liked to wear pink boots. James Christian said he thought for a long time that it was a phase his son would get over.

Carter detailed in an NPR interview the conversation with her son that led to the decision to allow him to live as a girl.

“Jackie just looked really, really sad; sadder than a 3-and-a-half-year-old should look,” Carter said. “This weight that looked like it weighed more than she did, something she had to say and I didn’t know what that was.”

“So I asked. I said, ‘Jackie, are you sad that you’re not going to school today?’ And Jackie was really quiet and put her head down and said ‘No, I’m sad because I’m a boy.’”

Carter continued speaking about the details of the day she encouraged her son to act upon the emotion he’d expressed.

 “You’re really not happy being a boy?” Carter queried her son.

“I thought a little bit longer and I said, ‘Well, are you happy being you?’” said Carter. “And that made Jackie smile. And I felt like for that moment that was all that really mattered. That was ‘The Day. ”

It was then that Carter proceeded to a Walgreen’s drug store and purchase elastic hair bands picked out by her son to pull his hair into little ponytails, something that offered apparent satisfaction for mother and son.

“There she was, in these cast-off Little Mermaid pajamas and five pony tails that are sticking out of her head kind, of like twigs, and this smile on her face and I’ve never seen such a happy child,” Carter stated. “To go from maybe an hour before this, this child who looks so sad, to that- pure joy, just pure joy, right there.”

Carter and Christian are one of a number of couples turning up in media stories saying that their young children will no longer live life as their biological gender. The confusion they describe is a disorder classified by the American Psychological Association as gender dysphoria.

San Diego parents Jeff and Hillary Whittington appeared in late May with their six-year old daughter Ryland, who is identifying as a boy, at the 6th annual Harvey Milk Diversity Breakfast. Milk, the first openly homosexual candidate elected to office in San Francisco as City Commissioner, was also notorious for preying sexually upon underage, drug-addicted, runaway boys, and was murdered by a political rival in 1978.

Massachusetts couple Mimi and Joe Lemay have also decided to allow their five-year-old daughter Mia, now going by Jacob, to live as a transgender child, turning to NBC News with the specifics.

They said an April DailyMail.com report that it was “his” choice to become transgender, and also that they shared their story hoping to prove there is no such thing as “being too young” to identify as transgender.

“I realized he had never really been Mia,” Mimi Whittington said. “That had been a figment of my imagination.”

Author and public speaker Walt Heyer, who underwent sex reassignment surgery to become a woman and then later returned to living as a man, told the Daily Caller children cannot be born as one gender and identify as another by accident. He now performs outreach to those experiencing gender confusion.

“There’s a lot of questions here. Kids are not born transgender,” Heyer said. “Childhood developmental disorder that comes out of some event or series of events or abuse or neglect or trauma or overbearing mother or father or someone or a lot of times its sexual abuse.”

Heyer said the experience of having parents or caretakers entertain the idea of gender confusion is at issue and this is what happened to him.

“My grandmother kept cross-dressing me and loving on me as a girl and not as the boy God made,” he said.

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Lisa Bourne

Utah man faked anti-gay ‘hate crimes’

Lisa Bourne
By Lisa Bourne

July 7, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – A Utah man who faked a series of anti-gay “hate crimes” may face charges after his actions were debunked by rural authorities.

Rick Jones said someone beat him, leaving facial and head bruising, and carved a homosexual slur in his arm, part of a series of staged attacks that spanned from April to June.

Jones, 21, told a local TV news station in June he believed he was being targeted because he was homosexual.

Jones is also implicated in spray-painting a slur on his family’s home, throwing a rock and a Molotov cocktail through his home’s window, spray-painting the family pizza business, and also breaking in and stealing $1,000 from the business.

The Millard County Sheriff’s office found discrepancies with evidence in the case and Jones ultimately admitted to perpetrating the harassment himself.

Jones could face charges of filing a false report and reckless burning.

His lawyer said the incidents were a cry for help geared toward the people close to Jones, and that Jones didn’t realize how much attention they would get.

Attorney Brett Tolman said that Jones has since begun treatment for mental health.

Tolman said his client did not have any criminal intent and praised the community’s response to the fake accusations, saying that the outpouring of support after the hate crime claims became public still was a good message.

Utah Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox was one who had publicly declared his support after the false accusations surfaced. Cox said Tuesday he’s relieved the allegations weren’t true, and expressed concern for Jones and his family.

Tolman also used the faked crimes as evidence that gays face discrimination.

“I think it’s such good evidence of the difficulties members of the gay community deal with,” said Tolman, “and some make better choices than others.”

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U.S. senator: Individuals don’t have religious freedom, just churches

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By Ben Johnson

WASHINGTON, D.C., July 7, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – The freedom of religion guaranteed by the First Amendment applies only to churches, not to individuals, a U.S. senator said on national television recently.

Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-WI – the nation's first openly lesbian elected to the U.S. Senate – addressed the Supreme Court's Obergefell v. Hodges decision on June 27 on MSNBC's Up with Steve Kornacki.

"Should the bakery have to bake the cake for the gay couple getting married?” the host asked. “Where do you come down on that?"

Baldwin responded that the First Amendment gave Americans no right to exercise religion outside the sanctuary of their church, synagogue, or mosque.

“Certainly the First Amendment says that in institutions of faith that there is absolute power to, you know, to observe deeply held religious beliefs. But I don’t think it extends far beyond that,” she said.

Sen. Baldwin then likened the issue to the Obama administration's contentious HHS mandate, requiring employers to furnish contraceptives, sterilization, and abortion-inducing drugs to female employees with no co-pay.

“We’ve certainly seen the set of arguments play out in issues such as access to contraception,” Baldwin said. “Should it be the individual pharmacist whose religious beliefs guides whether a prescription is filled, or in this context, they’re talking about expanding this far beyond our churches and synagogues to businesses and individuals across this country.”

“I think there are clear limits that have been set in other contexts, and we ought to abide by those in this new context across America.”

That view contrasts with a broad and deep body of law saying that individuals have the right to exercise their religion freely under the First Amendment, not merely to hold or teach their beliefs.

“At the Founding, as today, 'exercise' connoted action, not just internal belief,” wrote Thomas C. Berg, the James L. Oberstar Professor of Law and Public Policy at the University of St. Thomas School of Law.

That body of cases shows the First Amendment is an individual, not merely a corporate, right.

Further, the extent – and the constitutionality – of the HHS mandate is far from settled.

The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty has won 28 injunctions against the ObamaCare regulation and lost six.

The most significant statement to date has been the U.S. Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby decision last June, when the justices ruled 5-4 that closely held corporations do, indeed, exercise conscience protections under the terms of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

"We reject HHS's arguments that the owners of the companies forfeited all RFRA protection when they decided to organize their businesses as corporations rather than sole proprietorships or general partnerships," they added. "The plain terms of RFRA make it perfectly clear that Congress did not discriminate in this way against men and women who wish to run their business as for-profit corporations in the manner required by their religious beliefs."

However, the justices did not invoke the First Amendment's guarantee to freedom of religion – the “first freedom” that many say has been increasingly constricted under the Obama administration. The president rhetorically has spoken only of the “freedom of worship,” while conservatives say the “free exercise” clause grants Americans the right to practice their religion inside or outside church, in any relevant aspect of their lives, subject only to the most extreme provisions.

The RFRA holds that the government may not substantially burden any religious belief without having a compelling governmental interest.

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