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Irish Children’s Rights Referendum passes with massive support from government, leftist groups

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DUBLIN, November 14, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The passage of the Children’s Rights Referendum in Ireland this weekend – 57.4 per cent to 42.6 per cent – is a blow to families, NO campaigners have said.

Opponents of the amendment say it rewrites the constitutional rights of families and replaces them with the statist priorities of the UN. Critics focused mainly on language that allows state agents to remove children from the family and place them in care if they believe it is in the child’s “best interests.” The amendment also allows children to be adopted out to other families without parents’ consent.

NO campaigners have charged that massive government and NGO spending for the YES side amounted to rigging the vote and “subverting the democratic process” - a position that the Irish Supreme Court vindicated in a ruling last week.

“This was a government-driven amendment, not from the people, with woefully inadequate explanation to the voting people of Ireland on a matter of such profound ramifications for the institution of the family,” said Human Life International Ireland (HLII) Chief Executive Patrick McCrystal, one of the leading opponents of the amendment told LifeSiteNews.com.

“Without the people realising it, the institution of the family based on marriage has been replaced as the primary institution possessing inalienable rights and is now relegated to second place after the State with respect to ‘best interests’ of children.”

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Despite laws to the contrary, he said, it was clear that the government not only actively supported the YES campaign, but worked to suppress opposition. In the midst of the campaign, a judgment from the Supreme Court found that the Government acted unlawfully in spending €1.1 million unfairly promoting the YES side. Following this decision, support for the amendment fell significantly.

Patrick Buckley, European Affairs Officer for the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, told LifeSiteNews.com that despite the final outcome, the closeness of the vote is a sign that there is still significant public opposition to the government’s plans. Considering the poor representation given to the NO campaign, the fact that over 42 percent of the Irish people did not trust the government’s proposal was a “creditable result,” he said.

He asked, “How is it that there is no major political party that is willing to represent the views of 42% of the Irish people?”

“Saturday was a sad day for the people of Ireland,” he said. “I can only say that we did our best to alert them to the anti family agenda contained in the Referendum. The people have made their choice, and will have to live with the consequences which may or may not show up immediately.”

One of the obstacles faced by the NO campaign was the lack of support from the Irish Catholic bishops. The archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin issued a statement early in the campaign saying he was satisfied with the safeguards proposed by the government for families.

In a statement the bishops’ conference said they “share the concern of others to ensure that the proposed amendment on children does not undermine the rights of parents and the presumptive place of the family… as the unit in which the welfare and rights of children are best exercised and safeguarded.”

However, the bishops gave the YES side cautious support, saying, “When read in conjunction with the unaltered constitutional provisions on the family and education, the wording of the Thirty-First Amendment on Children suggests that a reasonable and balanced approach to framing the proposed new article on children’s rights has been taken.”

McCrystal and other NO campaigners, however, said the public, including the bishops, had been duped. He insists the campaign was really a ploy by government, under pressure from the UN, to abolish the Irish Constitution’s protections for the family, replacing it with the statist priorities listed in the United Nations Convention on Rights of the Child.

Former MEP and presidential candidate Dana Rosemary Scallon agreed with this view. In the midst of the campaign, she issued a scathing analysis of the proposed wording saying it abolished the traditional family-centred view of Irish society.

Pro-family groups, the Mother’s Alliance and Human Life International had joined the campaign against the government’s referendum proposal, warning that a Yes vote would be tantamount to Irish families signing away their own constitutional rights.

Former MEP and disability rights campaigner Kathy Sinnott said that some Irish parents were “terrified” over the prospect of the state being granted the power to remove children from families and adopt them out without parents’ consent. One independent legal expert said that the proposed new wording to the constitution would make children the de facto property of the state who would retain to itself all rights to determine how they are raised.

McCrystal charged that the YES campaign has been “profoundly unjust, deceptively conducted,” and that it had been run by the government, “in coordination with a plethora of interest and lobby groups.” During the lead-up to the November 10th vote, even YES campaigners appeared concerned that the NO side was lagging. Tanya Ward, chief executive of the Children’s Rights Alliance, told the Irish Times there was concern that there was not enough debate to fully inform the public.

McCrystal also accused the leftist pressure group Atlantic Philanthropies of “subverting the democratic process” by pouring as much as €15 million into the YES campaign.

At the same time, state media did not give “fair access” to the other side of the debate, McCrystal said. This assertion appeared to be confirmed by Senator Catherine Noonan, who called on the media to exercise “editorial discretion” in order “to ensure that this campaign does not give a voice to NO campaigners whose main motivation is to raise their own profile.”



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A photo of Kim Tucci at 25 weeks gestation Erin Elizabeth Photography
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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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