Hilary White, Rome Correspondent

Italy must allow embryo genetic screening because of unrestricted abortion law: Euro court ruling

Hilary White, Rome Correspondent
Hilary White, Rome Correspondent

STRASBOURG, August 29, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The European Court of Human Rights has decreed that the Italian law prohibiting genetic “screening” of in vitro embryos “violates the right to respect for private and family life” guaranteed by Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

The court specifically noted the “incoherence” of Italian law that bans preimplantation genetic diagnosis on embryos, but allows the abortion of unborn children suspected of genetic or physical anomalies. The law, the court said, pushes couples to abort children regarded as defective.

It “only gives the plaintiffs one option, full of anxiety and suffering,” said the court. “Get pregnant naturally and then abort when a prenatal examination shows the foetus is affected”

According to the judges, Italian law on preimplantation genetic diagnosis “is inconsistent: on one side [it] deprives the applicants access to PGD and on the other authorizes them to perform therapeutic termination of pregnancy when the fetus is affected from this same disease”.

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Nichi Vendola, a homosexualist activist and far-left politician, praised the court’s decision, calling it a “wise judgment”. The Court “ tells us that we need to free Italy from an unbearable mortgage, made of obscurantism and cruelty, on the grounds of the rights of the people.”

Flavia Perina, a parliamentarian for the National Alliance, said the decision “should lead Italy to understand that the confrontation of rights can not be transformed into a religious war, because this only leads to ambiguous and messy [legal] provisions.”

The centre-right PDL, however, condemned it saying, that it is a manifestation of the “war on the embryo” being carried out by activists on the left. “I’m sure,” said former Welfare Minister Maurizio Sacconi (PDL), “that the Italian government will appeal against the judgment.”

“The defense of a state law is a must in principle and in this case also justified on the merits. Italy cannot in any way, in the absence of conscious parliamentary will, surreptitiously take the path of genetic selection,” Sacconi added.

Since 2004, Italy has had one of the most restrictive laws regarding artificial procreation of any western nation, banning pre-implantation testing, and consequent discarding, of embryos found to have genetic anomalies. As it was originally passed, the law bans cloning and requires that artificial forms of reproduction be restricted to “stable heterosexual” couples who are “clinically infertile”, and bans gamete donation, surrogacy and the provision of any artificial means of reproduction for single women or same-sex partners.

It restricts the number of embryos that can be created per attempt to three and requires that all the embryos created be implanted, banning the long-term cryogenic storage of embryos that has created legal and ethical dilemmas elsewhere. Violations carry a potential prison sentence between 10 and 20 years or fines up to one million Euros.

Pro-life analysts are warning that the court’s decision in reality has nothing to do with human rights, but is in effect a demand that the country follow the path of totally unrestricted killing of unborn children. Enzo Pennetta, writing on the website Libertà e Persona, said the court has highlighted the conflict between the abortion and IVF laws, and demanded that Italy bow to the abortion law.

“Something significant is happening here, once it is established that the two laws are inconsistent, you decide which of the two, without any explanation reflects a correct principle and what does not. In practice, what does the European Court is to determine which is to prevail over the law … ”

“In short, the Court finds that the embryo is not a person and therefore he should not be recognized as possessing human rights.

“But what is the scientific basis for this decision? There is simply none. Such statements are arbitrary have no theoretical or experimental support.”

The case came in response to a complaint by a couple whose artificially conceived child was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis. It follows a previous ruling by the country’s Constitutional Court and lower court cases complaining of the law’s restrictions. The national courts ruled that restricting the number of embryos created was counter to “good clinical practice” and said the decision should be left to clinicians.

The couple, Rosetta Costa and Walter Pavan, said they were “forced to abort” their potentially disabled child in 2010. The ECHR awarded them 15,000 Euros but denied further complaints of discrimination.

Unlike a national court, the ECHR does not directly have the power to overturn Italian law, and the government has the right to appeal the decision.

Italy’s IVF law is hated by the far left that complains it is the result of “interference” by the Catholic Church. In 2005, an attempt was made to gut the law by the extreme left Radical party, which collected the 500,000 signatures needed to bring a referendum; but the plan failed when only half the necessary number of voters turned out after some bishops called for a boycott.

It is not yet known whether the EU-appointed “technocrat” government of Italy plans to appeal the decision. The ECHR, however, is unpopular in Italy, where it is widely regarded as an interfering foreign bully following a 2009 ruling in which the court ordered the removal of all crucifixes from public classrooms and offices.

The court said that crucifixes, which are required by the Italian constitution, violated the “religious freedom” of non-Catholics. That case came as the result of a complaint by one woman, a Finnish national living in Italy, who said that her son was being “exposed” to Catholicism against his will. 

The decision triggered a wave of outrage across the country and several local jurisdictions responded by erecting crucifixes in town squares and ordering schools and public offices to install them where they were missing. One town in southern Italy held a public ceremony, presided over by Communist Party politicians, erecting a large crucifix in the town’s central piazza, and declaring the right of Italy to govern its own affairs.

Red alert! Last call.

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Lisa Bourne

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

Lisa Bourne
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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Lisa Bourne

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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