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Irish gvmt ‘torn apart’ over abortion legalisation: leaders desperate to quash cross-party revolt

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By Hilary White
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DUBLIN, Ireland July 26, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Leading party insiders are expressing fears that the fragile coalition government will be “torn apart” if it continues to insist on liberalising the abortion law. Signs are increasing of growing tensions across party boundaries over demands from the left for legalisation.

The chairman of the ruling party, Fine Gael’s Charles Flanagan, told the heavily left-leaning Irish Independent last weekend that the government is running the risk of getting “bogged down in a liberal crusade during a time of high unemployment and economic difficulties.”

He said the party fears strife and division and “ultimate defeat” over it. “The parallels between last week and the eighties, or the errors of the Greens in the last government, are not going un-noticed.”

The Independent’s John Drennan reports that “the Government will face a large-scale, cross-party revolt of Fine Gael and Labour TDs and senators should they attempt to liberalise Ireland’s abortion regime via the legislative route.” The report follows revelations last week that the ruling party is in turmoil over abortion, with 15 backbenchers threatening a full-scale revolt.

Drennan says, however, that opposition “is far more widespread,” in the government ranks, and “far more than two” coalition TDs will resign over it should legislation be put forward. Opposition is reportedly so widespread that the government would have to secure support across parties, an outcome that is growing increasingly unlikely.

The Independent quoted an unnamed source in closed-door meetings who said, “The Taoiseach’s [Prime Minister’s] handlers are very paranoid. The usual suspects were on the phones, quelling dissent and warning people.”

Sources have revealed that even in the Labour party, whose leader Eamon Gilmore has stated that the country must legalise abortion, support is far from unanimous. The Independent quotes one Labour TD complaining of “the excessive influence of a pro-choice wing led by a Dublin elite.”  A letter signed by a group of Labour TDs said, “The attitudes of a Dublin liberal elite are not representative of the complex and diverse stance on this issue that is contained within the Labour Party.” Another party source said that should Gilmore attempt to force the issue, “it will take a fair man to bring us all to heel on a matter involving our personal consciences.”

While the coalition government is struggling under the pressure of the unpopular abortion issue, added to the country’s growing economic distress, the former leading party, Fianna Fáil, is waiting in the wings. Micheál Martin, Fianna Fáil’s leader, has strongly reiterated their opposition to legislating for abortion. He told the Irish Examiner on the 23rd that he “remains to be convinced that it’s a doable proposition” to bring in a new abortion law based on the 1992 X case.

Such legislation, he said, could open the door to abortion in more widespread circumstances than the Supreme Court intended. The court ruled that abortion is allowable in cases where the woman’s life is at risk, including in cases where she has threatened suicide. The decision was condemned by abortion opponents as a major breach in the country’s legal protections for the unborn.

Martin’s comments follow those of Minister of State at the Department of Health, Kathleen Lynch, who told RTÉ radio this weekend that she believes the government will “have no choice” but to bring forward legislation. “Clearly, there will be differences [of opinion] but, in terms of legislation, in this particular instance, we won’t have a choice,” Lynch said.

Asked whether the Health Minister, Dr. James Reilly, should go forward with legislation, Martin said, “It’s not as black and white as is being portrayed, and I’m not so sure that that route necessarily is going to lead to a significant improvement for anybody.

“I’m not absolutist in terms of being judgmental on people. But… I think we should do everything we possibly can to preserve the life of the unborn and preserve the life of the mother. And I think we do that in Ireland, actually.”

All parties are waiting for the findings of an “expert group” on the question, but the group has had to fight heavy criticism that the government has “stacked” it with abortion supporters. Currently, abortion is outlawed in the country by a constitutional amendment, which can only be changed by a public referendum. Abortion-promoters have been working to find a way around the referendum requirement since polls continue to show that the public desire to see abortion legalised remains negligible. 

Fianna Fáil are waiting with everyone else for the outcome of the expert group’s report, but Martin reiterated the party’s opposition to abortion, saying it “hasn’t changed” and “is not going to change.” “The right to life is something we believe in as a political party,” he said.

At the same time, pro-life observers have called the government’s bluff, calling the “no choice” claim “disingenuous”. Patrick Buckley, the European Union and Dublin representative of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, said, “This statement is clearly disingenuous since the Expert Group is tasked with producing a range of options for consideration by the government not to recommend one particular course of action.”
 
Moreover, Buckley said, the ECHR ruling said nothing about requiring legalisation, but only that there should be “clarity” on the current law.

“Those seeking to introduce abortion in Ireland are intentionally distorting the A, B and C judgment to support their own agenda while ignoring another important fact, namely, that Ireland, without abortion, is the safest place in the world for pregnant women,” Buckley added.

In a 2002 referendum then-ruling Fianna Fáil unsuccessfully proposed removing suicide as a legal ground for abortion. Martin said, “We felt the suicide option — if you legislate for that, you’re essentially creating an open-door situation, and it will be very difficult to hold back.”

While it is thought to be impossible to change the law through a referendum, activists have been hammering on the issue by the “back door,” through the courts and medical practice guidelines in the Republic and in Northern Ireland. The most successful wedge so far was the case brought by abortion lobby groups to the European Court of Human Rights, the A, B and C case, in which three women complained that they had been denied abortions.

The ECHR ruled in 2010 that although there was no requirement for legalisation of abortion, the Irish government had violated women’s rights to privacy and must issue legislation to clarify under what circumstances exactly abortion could be allowed with regards to the notorious X case.

Red alert! Last call.

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Opposing gay ‘marriage’ may demand civil disobedience: Louisiana bishop

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By Lisa Bourne

LAFAYETTE, LA, June 29, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – The bishop of the Catholic diocese of Lafayette, Louisiana, is one of the nation’s Church leaders to come out strongly against the Supreme Court decision forcing all 50 states to recognize homosexual “marriage.”

Bishop Michael Jarrell reminded Catholics in a statement that the judiciary does not have the power to redefine marriage, and he opened the door to civil disobedience as a possible response to the June 26 Supreme Court ruling.

“Let me state very plainly that no human court has the authority to change what God has written into the law of creation,” Bishop Jarrell wrote in his statement. “This ruling is irreconcilable with the nature and definition of marriage as established by Divine Law.”

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“The marital covenant was established by God with its own proper nature and laws,” he continued.

Recognizing the tide of religious persecution across the country against those who hold the Biblical view of marriage, Bishop Jarrell addressed the issue of living one’s Catholic faith in light of the Supreme Court decision, and gave the green light to refuse to comply, even if it means breaking the law.

“I realize that this ruling will create conscience problems for many Catholics, especially those in public office,” Bishop Jarrell said. “In some cases civil disobedience may be a proper response.”

In an exercise of episcopal authority, the Lafayette prelate also issued a mandate that no representative of the diocese would enable homosexual “marriage” in the wake of the Supreme Court decision.

“No priest or deacon of this Diocese may participate in the civil solemnization or celebration of same-sex marriage,” he declared. “No Catholic facility or property, including but not limited to parishes, missions, chapels, meeting halls, Catholic educational, health or charitable institutions, or facilities belonging to benevolent orders may be used for the solemnization of same-sex marriage.”

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The bishop also cautioned against Catholics showing support for homosexual “marriage” by their presence at same-sex “wedding.”

“All Catholics are urged not to attend same-sex ceremonies,” he said.

The bishop said he hoped this October’s Ordinary Synod on the Family at the Vatican would address issues brought about by “the alteration of the traditional law about marriage.”

Bishop Jarrell also expressed deep sadness at the Supreme Court ruling, and said while Catholics have great respect for everyone as children of God, the justices’ decision had no legal or moral foundation.

“As Catholics we have a profound respect for the dignity of all God’s children,” he stated. “Nevertheless there is no basis in law or in nature for altering the traditional definition of marriage, established by God from the beginning.”

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Catholic News Service gives platform to head of union that gave hundreds of millions to pro-abort politicians

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By Lisa Bourne

June 29, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – The news service of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has published an article by the head of an organization that has given hundreds of millions of dollars to elect pro-abortion politicians.

Americans should listen to Pope Francis, at least when it comes to his message on poverty and economics, according to Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO, an organization that has done arguably more to elect pro-abortion politicians than any other group in the last 50 years.

The union chief made his case in a June 22 guest column for Catholic News Service (CNS).

The AFL-CIO donated $200 million to Democratic politicians in 2008 alone.

LifeSiteNews contacted Catholic News Service about Trumka’s column in light of the AFL-CIO’s support for abortion, contraception, and homosexual “marriage," but CNS declined to comment.

On his way in the piece to pronouncing unity between the Church and big labor, Trumka touts Pope Francis’s recently reported high approval rating and the “newfound vigor” the Roman Catholic Church has added to its “traditional social doctrine” since his election.

“For much of the last century and more, the labor movement and the Catholic Church have stood together in solidarity for people who labor for a living,” he wrote in the CNS column. “Pope Francis lives and breathes this tradition.”

“Together, the Catholic Church and the labor movement stand for a new moral and political order,” he said.

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In his June 22 piece for Catholic News Service he wrote about helping to ease the pain and suffering for others as his reasons for praising Pope Francis.

“We believe in the duty to ease pain and to offer comfort to those who are suffering -- and not just with kind words, but with action,” Trumka opined. “That is why I am so heartened by our Holy Father Pope Francis.

Trumka, raised Catholic, writes his column for CNS with a Catholic voice, but the union he heads up supports contraception and homosexual “marriage,” along with abortion.
 

While the Church today holds The Dignity of Work and the Rights of Workers among its themes of Catholic Social Teaching, giving voice in the Bishops’ own news agency to the representative of an organization which has given hundreds of millions of dollars to pro-abortion politicians contradicts the USCCB’s very own document teaching on the need for Catholics to act in support of Catholic principles and policies in public life.

 

“The Catholic community and Catholic institutions should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles,” the USCCB’s Catholics in Political Life states. “They should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions.”

 

The nation’s top union also supports the so-called “free” birth control imposed as part of the HHS mandate, something many groups – including the USCCB itself – resisted being forced to provide.

“Women have fought hard for the right to safe, legal reproductive health services and the freedom to exercise that right,” the AFL-CIO Statement on Women's Access to Quality and Affordable Reproductive Health Care says. “The Affordable Care Act provides that women will receive preventative health care benefits, including FDA-approved methods of birth control, without co-pays or deductibles.”

Many of those forms of “birth control” may act as abortifacients.

The AFL-CIO’s support for abortion and birth control isn’t where the union’s advocacy for anti-Catholic initiatives stops. It encompasses homosexual activism as well.

Pride At Work is a nonprofit organization that represents LGBT union members and their “allies,” that “organizes mutual support between the organized Labor Movement and the LGBT Community to further social and economic justice.”

Pride at Work is an officially recognized constituency group of the AFL-CIO

The deeds of the AFL-CIO as an organization are not the sole illustration of how Trumka’s CNS appearance sends a conflicting message with regard to Church principles, but also statements embracing and advocating principles in direct contrast to the faith by the man himself.

“Working people believe in equality and fairness and that’s why we are happy to stand with millions of Americans and with President Obama in supporting marriage equality,” Trumka said in a statement supporting homosexual “marriage.”

When the federal Defense of Marriage Act and California’s Proposition 8 defending marriage were overturned, he said they never should have been adopted in the first place.

“The Defense of Marriage Act and California’s Proposition 8 were radical and divisive laws that never should have been,” Trumka said. “Now, we can begin to fully clear the dark legal cloud that has hung over our nation.”

Trumka employs a childhood anecdote to frame his article complete with violence against his grandfather on the part of the profit-focused mining company that “owned everything,” in his Pennsylvania hometown.

“Pope Francis speaks for the church I grew up in when he calls for an organized moral response to the injustices of modern capitalism,” stated Trumka, whose salary level is around $300,000 per year according to unionfacts.com.

Trumka has been implicated in encouraging intimidation and deception to advance union goals, according to a report from the National Legal and Policy Center.

Trumka has also been accused of legitimizing violence. During a multi-state coal miners’ strike organized by the United Mine Workers in 1993, Trumka, as union president, ordered more than 17,000 miners to walk off the job, and explicitly told strikers to "kick the s--- out of" employees and mine operators defying union demands.

Homes were vandalized, shots were fired at a mine office, and power was cut to one mine, temporarily trapping 93 miners underground.

A non-union contractor, Eddie York, was murdered by a union member, shot in the back of the head as he drove past strikers at a West Virginia work site. Those trying to rescue the victim were attacked by a group of union members. The union member who shot the contractor went to jail, but no one else was disciplined for what took place.

Trumka told Virginian-Pilot in September 1993 regarding the incident, “I’m saying if you strike a match and you put your finger in it, you’re likely to get burned.”

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Supreme Court suspends Texas law that would have closed half of its abortion facilities

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By Ben Johnson

WASHINGTON, D.C., June 29, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – About half of the abortion facilities in Texas got a reprieve from the Supreme Court on its last day in session.

Justices ruled 5-4 that, right now, the state of Texas may not enforce health protection laws that would have put all but nine of the state's abortion offices out of business. The court's conservative bloc – Chief Justice John Roberts, joined by Justices Scalia, Thomas, and Alito – objected, but Anthony Kennedy cast the decisive vote with the court's liberals.

At issue is whether the state may require abortionists to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals and require abortion facilities to meet the same health and safety codes as other ambulatory surgical centers.

The temporary stay of Senate Bill 5 lasts until the justices decide whether they will hear an appeal from the abortion industry, which argues the law's provisions would unduly restrict a woman's access to abortion-on-demand.

“The U.S. Supreme Court was swayed, not for the first time in a week, by illogical arguments,” said Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America. “By actively lobbying against common sense regulations that would make sure women have access to ‘safe, legal and rare’ abortions, Planned Parenthood and their allies are making a mockery of women’s health care.”

“The abortion industry cares only for their bottom line, and women and their prenatal children are merely dollar signs in their business cycle,” Hawkins said.

"Women and babies are being denied protections with the Supreme Court blocking pro-life legislation,” said Lila Rose of Live Action. “Contrary to what big abortion organizations would have us believe, the possible closure of abortion facilities is due to the refusal of these corporations to adhere to sensible and ordinary medical precautions. We look forward to the day that both the legislature and the Courts use their power to protect the most vulnerable among us."

State pro-life leaders regret the loopholes that they say put women's health at risk.

“Unfortunately, women who do not have abortions at any of the nine operating ambulatory surgical centers that perform abortions will continue to be subjected to substandard medical care,” said Joe Pojman, Ph.D., executive director of Texas Alliance for Life.

The ruling does not permanently enjoin the state. It does not even guarantee justices will hear the case.

Should they decline, the law will go into effect in its entirety.

Last October, the Supreme Court allowed Texas to implement these measures while the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals considered its decision in a 6-3 verdict. However, it added that the state must allow abortion facilities in El Paso and McAllen to operate subpar operations, defying greater protections for women, because closing those facilities would require women to drive a great distance to the next nearest abortion facility.

Earlier this month, a three-panel judge of the appeals court, based in New Orleans, upheld the health regulations. All three judges had been appointed by President George W. Bush.

Had the full requirements gone into effect, half of all the remaining abortion facilities in Texas would have closed.

The left-wing website ThinkProgress worried, if the High Court upheld the decision, it would mean that “Roe v. Wade is almost entirely dead.”

Today, representatives of the abortion lobby felt relief. "Our Constitution rightly protects women from laws that would create barriers to safe and legal abortion care, but Texas politicians have tried to sneak around the Constitution with sham regulations designed to close clinics’ doors," said Nancy Northup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a pro-life Republican, vowed to “continue to fight for higher-quality health care standards for women while protecting our most vulnerable – the unborn.”

“I’m confident the Supreme Court will ultimately uphold this law,” he added.

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