Hilary White, Rome Correspondent

Leading pro-abortion activist appointed head of Ireland’s health service

Hilary White, Rome Correspondent
Hilary White, Rome Correspondent

DUBLIN, July 30, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The Irish coalition government is continuing to send signals that a change to the abortion law is on the table. Today pro-life advocates and Opposition party officials are outraged at the appointment of Tony O’Brien as the new Director General of Ireland’s Irish Health Service Executive (HSE). O’Brien comes to the job after years as CEO of the country’s leading abortion promoter, the Irish Family Planning Association (FPA).

Responding to a barrage of criticism, health minister James Reilly has defended the appointment, saying that O’Brien will not be involved in policy making. “Tony O’Brien has demonstrated, in a range of different areas, a capability of implementing progress,” Reilly said in a press release. Referring to the government’s plans of deep cuts to public services, Reilly added, “I have full confidence that Tony O’Brien can lead the organization through a period of significant change.”

The statement has failed to reassure pro-life advocates, however, who speculate that liberal members of the lead coalition partner, Fine Gael, are using political appointments to send a message to the more pro-life majority.

They point to the appointment as a Circuit Court judge of barrister Carmel Stewart, a member of the group who brought the notorious ABC case to the European Court of Human Rights, and the “stacking” of the government’s Expert Group on that ECHR ruling with pro-abortion members.


O’Brien comes to the job directly from serving as Chief Operating Officer of the Special Delivery Unit in the Department of Health, but through the 1990s, he led the charge for FPA against the country’s constitutional protections for the unborn. FPA is an affiliate of International Planned Parenthood Federation and one of the country’s wealthiest and most aggressive political lobbyists for abortion legalization, as well as providers of abortifacient “contraceptives” to young people. O’Brien served as chief executive of the FPA from December 1991 to August 2002 and was chief executive of the UK Family Planning Association from May 1995 to April 1996.

Despite government denials that the appointment signals a motion towards changing abortion law, pro-life people in Ireland have expressed their outrage at the appointment. Rebecca Roughneen of Youth Defence said, “Political appointments can be strongly indicative of how a particular Minister feels on a given issue.”

She pointed to comments of Eilis O’Regan, Health Correspondent for the Irish Independent, who described O’Brien as being “a key part of the Minister’s inner circle.”

“James Reilly has already caused huge controversy for Fine Gael TDs because of his remarks supporting abortion legislation in the Dáíl. Now this appointment is sending entirely the wrong message to the pro-life majority.”

Pat Buckley, spokesman for the European Life Network, told LifeSiteNews.com that pro-abortion elements in the government have “been developing this strategy for some time”.

“There have been many battles and skirmishes but the appointment of Tony O’Brien can only be viewed as an all-out declaration of war on the unborn by Minister Reilly.

“The minister delayed this appointment until after the Dail went into recess giving no opportunity for debate in the House. Nevertheless it will be firmly opposed,” Buckley said.

The appointment was also slammed by the Opposition’s shadow health minister Billy Kelleher, who accused the Fine Gael-Labour coalition government of “politicising” health care and demanded to know the position of the coalition partners on abortion.

This “inside” appointment, he said, was “anything but open and transparent,” having been carried out without the “proper process in place. He added, “The Minister is continually doing that and I’m just afraid that he is politicising health, putting a kitchen cabinet of his own people in charge of health. It’s could put us in a very difficult position, where you have a minister surrounding himself with his own people and having no accountability.”

The lead opposition party, Fianna Fáil, has forthrightly said http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/irish-gvmt-torn-apart-over-abortion-legalisation-leaders-desperate-to-quash they will not support any change to the law, warning that it would open the abortion floodgates. Fianna Fáil leader, Micheál Martin, told the Irish Examiner on the 23rd that his party remained strongly pro-life: “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.”

Writing from London, John Smeaton, head of the UK’s Society for the Protection of Unborn Children has said that Catholic Church authorities should be leading the outcry against the appointment. Pointing to what he said were some recent ambiguous actions over abortion from some of the highest positions in the Catholic Church, Smeaton called on Church leadership to “take off the shelf” the Church’s teachings on the sanctity of life and the “duty to oppose” the corruption of young people.

“Will Catholic church leaders stand up and be counted - in Ireland, or in Rome - and try to stop what is almost certain to happen to the Irish people unless they act?” Smeaton wrote.

“Accommodation of the pro-abortion lobby, as we saw in 2009 with Archbishop Rino Fisichella, hasn’t worked. It’s simply served to embolden the most powerful political leaders in the world - Obama in the US, Blair and Cameron in Britain - who know that they can promote their abortion policies without fear of disapproval.”

“It’s time to get up in the pulpits and out in the public square; it’s time to speak the truth and to defend this generation’s families and children - just as the Scottish bishops have done so well over the years and in recent weeks.”

To contact Prime Minister Enda Kenny
In Parliament
Dáil Éireann
Dublin 2
Phone: +353 1 (0)94 9025600

Telephone: 01-6183379
Fax: 01-6184143
Email: [email protected]

At Fine Gael Headquarters
Reception & General Enquiries
51 Upper Mount Street,
Dublin 2
Telephone: 01-6198444
Fax: 01-6625046
Email: [email protected]

To contact the Department of Health,
Hawkins House,
Hawkins Street,
Dublin 2, Ireland

Phone: +353 1 635 4000
Fax: +353 1 6354001

Customer service email contact form

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John Jalsevac John Jalsevac Follow John

BREAKING: Planned Parenthood shooting suspect surrenders, is in custody: police

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By John Jalsevac

Nov. 27, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) - Five hours after a single male shooter reportedly opened fire at a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood, chatter on police radio is indicating that the suspect has now been "detained."

"We have our suspect and he says he is alone," said police on the police radio channel. 

Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers also confirmed via Twitter shortly after 7:00 pm EST that the suspect was in custody.

The news comes almost exactly an hour after the start of a 6:00 pm. press conference in which Lt. Catherine Buckley had confirmed that a single shooter was still at large, and had exchanged gunfire with police moments before.

According to Lt. Buckley, four, and possibly five police officers have been shot since the first 911 call was received at 11:38 am local time today. An unknown number of civilians have also been shot.

Although initial reports had suggested that the shooting began outside the Planned Parenthood, possibly outside a nearby bank, Lt. Buckley said that in fact the incident began at the Planned Parenthood itself.

She said that the suspect had also brought unknown "items" with him to the Planned Parenthood. 

Pro-life groups have started responding to the news, urging caution in jumping to conclusions about the motivations of the shooter, while also condemning the use of violence in promoting the pro-life cause. 

"Information is very sketchy about the currently active shooting situation in Colorado Springs," said Pavone. "The Planned Parenthood was the address given in the initial call to the police, but we still do not know what connection, if any, the shooting has to do with Planned Parenthood or abortion.

"As leaders in the pro-life movement, we call for calm and pray for a peaceful resolution of this situation."

Troy Newman of Operation Rescue and Rev. Patrick J. Mahoney, Director of the Christian Defense Coalition, also issued statements.

"Operation Rescue unequivocally deplores and denounces all violence at abortion clinics and has a long history of working through peaceful channels to advocate on behalf of women and their babies," said Newman. "We express deep concern for everyone involved and are praying for the safety of those at the Planned Parenthood office and for law enforcement personnel. We pray this tragic situation can be quickly resolved without further injury to anyone."

"Although we don't know the reasons for the shooting near the Planned Parenthood in Colorado Springs today, the pro-life movement is praying for the safety of all involved and as a movement we have always unequivocally condemned all forms of violence at abortion clinics. We must continually as a nation stand against violence on all levels," said Rev. Patrick J. Mahoney, Director of the Christian Defense Coalition, based in Washington, D.C.


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Rubio says SCOTUS didn’t ‘settle’ marriage issue: ‘God’s rules always win’

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By Dustin Siggins

WASHINGTON, D.C., November 27, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) -- Surging GOP presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio, R-FL, says that "God's law" trumps the U.S. Supreme Court’s Obergefell decision imposing same-sex “marriage” nationwide.

The senator also told Christian Broadcast Network's David Brody that the Supreme Court's redefinition of marriage is not "settled," but instead "current law."

“No law is settled,” said Rubio. “Roe v. Wade is current law, but it doesn’t mean that we don’t continue to aspire to fix it, because we think it’s wrong.”

“If you live in a society where the government creates an avenue and a way for you to peacefully change the law, then you’re called to participate in that process to try to change it,” he explained, and "the proper place for that to be defined is at the state level, where marriage has always been regulated — not by the Supreme Court and not by the federal government.”

However, when laws conflict with religious beliefs, "God's rules always win," said Rubio.

“In essence, if we are ever ordered by a government authority to personally violate and sin — violate God’s law and sin — if we’re ordered to stop preaching the Gospel, if we’re ordered to perform a same-sex marriage as someone presiding over it, we are called to ignore that,” Rubio expounded. “We cannot abide by that because government is compelling us to sin.”

“I continue to believe that marriage law should be between one man and one woman," said the senator, who earlier in the fall was backed by billionaire GOP donor and same-sex "marriage" supporter Paul Singer.

Singer, who also backs looser immigration laws and a strong U.S.-Israel alliance, has long pushed for the GOP to change its position on marriage in part due to the sexual orientation of his son.

Despite Singer's support, Rubio's marriage stance has largely been consistent. He told Brody earlier in the year that "there isn't such a right" to same-sex "marriage."

"You have to have a ridiculous reading of the U.S. Constitution to reach the conclusion that people have a right to marry someone of the same sex."

Rubio also said religious liberty should be defended against LGBT activists he says "want to stigmatize, they want to ostracize anyone who disagrees with them as haters."

"I believe, as do a significant percentage of Americans, that the institution of marriage, an institution that existed before government, that existed before laws, that institution should remain in our laws recognized as the union of one man and one woman," he said.

Rubio also hired social conservative leader Eric Teetsel as his director of faith outreach this month.

However, things have not been entirely smooth for Rubio on marriage. Social conservatives were concerned when the executive director of the LGBT-focused Log Cabin Republicans told Reuters in the spring that the Catholic senator is "not as adamantly opposed to all things LGBT as some of his statements suggest."

The LGBT activist group had meetings with Rubio's office "going back some time," though the senator himself never attended those meetings. Rubio has publicly said that he would attend the homosexual "wedding" of a gay loved one, and also that he believed "that sexual preference is something that people are born with," as opposed to being a choice.

Additionally, days after the Supreme Court redefined marriage, Rubio said that he disagreed with the decision but that "we live in a republic and must abide by the law."

"I believe that marriage, as the key to strong family life, is the most important institution in our society and should be between one man and one woman," he said. "People who disagree with the traditional definition of marriage have the right to change their state laws. That is the right of our people, not the right of the unelected judges or justices of the Supreme Court. This decision short-circuits the political process that has been underway on the state level for years.

Rubio also said at the time that "it must be a priority of the next president to nominate judges and justices committed to applying the Constitution as written and originally understood…"

“I firmly believe the question of same sex marriage is a question of the definition of an institution, not the dignity of a human being. Every American has the right to pursue happiness as they see fit. Not every American has to agree on every issue, but all of us do have to share our country. A large number of Americans will continue to believe in traditional marriage, and a large number of Americans will be pleased with the Court’s decision today. In the years ahead, it is my hope that each side will respect the dignity of the other.”

The Florida senator said in July that he opposed a constitutional marriage amendment to the U.S. Constitution to leave marriage up to the states because that would involve the federal government in state marriage policies.

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Former The View star Sherri Shepherd and then-husband Lamar Sally in 2010 s_bukley / Shutterstock.com
Steve Weatherbe

Court orders Sherri Shepherd to pay child support for surrogate son she abandoned

Steve Weatherbe
By Steve Weatherbe

November 27, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) -- Sherri Shepherd, a Hollywood celebrity who co-hosted the popular talk show The View for seven years, has lost a maternity suit launched by her ex-husband Lamar Sally, forcing her to pay him alimony and child support for their one-year surrogate son LJ. The decision follows an unseemly fight which pro-life blogger Cassy Fiano says has exposed how surrogacy results in “commodifying” the unborn.

Shepherd, a co-host of the View from 2007 to 2014, met Sally, a screenwriter, in 2010 and they married a year later. Because her eggs were not viable, they arranged a surrogate mother in Pennsylvania to bear them a baby conceived in vitro using Sally’s sperm and a donated egg.

But the marriage soured in mid-term about the time Shepherd lost her job with The View. According to one tabloid explanation, she was worried he would contribute little to parenting responsibilities.  Sally filed for separation in 2014, Shepherd filed for divorce a few days, then Sally sued for sole custody, then alimony and child support.

Earlier this year she told PEOPLE she had gone along with the surrogacy to prevent the breakup of the marriage and had not really wanted the child.

Shepherd, an avowed Christian who once denied evolution on The View and a successful comic actor on Broadway, TV, and in film since the mid-90s, didn’t want anything to do with LJ, as Lamar named the boy, who after all carried none of her genes. She refused to be at bedside for the birth, and refused to let her name be put on the birth certificate and to shoulder any responsibility for LJ’s support.

But in April the Pennsylvania Court of Common Pleas, and now the state’s Superior Court, ruled that Shepherd’s name must go on the birth certificate and she must pay Sally alimony and child support.

“The ultimate outcome is that this baby has two parents and the parents are Lamar Sally and Sherri Shepherd,” Shepherd’s lawyer Tiffany Palmer said.

As for the father, Sally told PEOPLE, “I'm glad it's finally over. I'm glad the judges saw through all the lies that she put out there, and the negative media attention. If she won't be there for L.J. emotionally, I'll be parent enough for the both of us.”

But Shepherd said, “I am appealing the ruling that happened,” though in the meantime, Sally will “get his settlement every month. There’s nothing I can do.”

Commented Fiano in Live Action News, “What’s so sickening about this case is that this little boy, whose life was created in a test tube, was treated as nothing more than a commodity…Saying that you don’t want a baby but will engineer one to get something you want is horrific.” As for trying to get out from child support payments now that the marriage had failed, that was “despicable.”

Fiano went on to characterize the Shepherd-Sally affair as a “notable example” of commodification of children, and “by no means an anomaly.” She cited a British report than over the past five years 123 babies conceived in vitro were callously aborted when they turned out to have Down Syndrome.

“When we’re not ready for babies, we have an abortion,” she added. “But then when we decide we are ready we manufacture them in a laboratory and destroy any extras. Children exist when we want them to exist, to fill the holes in us that we want them to fill, instead of being independent lives with their own inherent value and dignity.”

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