Leading pro-abortion activist appointed head of Ireland’s health service
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.
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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
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At Fine Gael Headquarters
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To contact the Department of Health,
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Fax: +353 1 6354001
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Planned Parenthood closes rural Iowa abortion facility because of low business
DUBUQUE, Iowa, May 3, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Planned Parenthood closed an Iowa abortion facility on Friday, noting low business that left the facility unsustainable from a financial standpoint.
Although Planned Parenthood of the Heartland announced in January that it planned to close the Dubuque, Iowa, office, pro-life sidewalk counselors were overjoyed on Friday to read the sign in the window that read: “Our office is closed, effective April 28, 2016.”
The office did not perform surgical abortions but did provide medication abortions to the community of about 58,000.
“Rejoice with us for the lives of unborn children saved!” Iowa Right to Life said in a statement after the closure.
As with numerous other closures, Planned Parenthood, which styles itself a provider of “care no matter what,” emphasized it was closing its doors to preserve its bottom line.
“After assessing the shifting health care landscape, changing demographics, and the challenges of operating in areas with low patient volumes, we made the tough decision to close the Dubuque Health Center,” the group said in an announcement. “This change allows us to expand hours and see more patients in Cedar Rapids, where there is unmet demand due to lack of clinician hours.”
“While we regret making this change, we know it is a necessary step in order to continue our mission to provide, promote and protect reproductive and sexual health through health services, education and advocacy. Patients have been notified, and if they wish, they can receive a broader array of services at our health center in Cedar Rapids, where we have expanded hours to accommodate more patient,” Planned Parenthood said.
American Life League’s vice president, Jim Sedlak, remembers speaking to the county right to life group nine years ago.
“I told them at the time that they needed to protest outside Planned Parenthood at least once a week,” he said. “They told me they would do better than that. Over the last eight years, these dedicated pro-lifers were outside Planned Parenthood every hour it was open. And now...it’s closed for good.”
That aligns with advice that David Bereit, the founder of 40 Days for Life, once told young people who wanted to know how to end abortion.
Be loving and compassionate, he said.
“Your peaceful, loving presence out there flies in the face of all the stereotypes they want to throw onto us,” he added. “When you show them love instead of condemnation, when you show them peace and joy instead of anger and judgment, that will begin to break down the walls.”
Iowa Right to Life credited just such tactics with closing an office in Red Oak that performed webcam abortions. “Planned Parenthood shut down in Red Oak in large part because of the constant, prayerful presence outside their clinic,” the group said.
Upon hearing of the latest abortion facility shuttering, the Dubuque County Right to Life said that Planned Parenthood isn't the only group that will move its base of operations. “We will probably put our efforts in Cedar Rapids and will continue to spread the pro-life message,” said Executive Director Marian Bourek.
Ted Cruz confronted by mom who supports aborting disabled babies…just like hers
MARION, Indiana, May 3, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Senator Ted Cruz was met on the campaign trail by a mother who strongly opposed a state pro-life law that would have protected children with birth conditions – like her own.
Andrea DeBruler, a 41-year-old nurse, confronted the presidential hopeful in the city of Marion as Cruz campaigned with Gov. Mike Pence.
DeBruler first asked Cruz, then Pence, about House Bill 1337, which bans abortions performed due to the child's race, sex, or disability, such as Down syndome.
DeBruler held up a picture of her daughter, Jania, who was born with cerebral palsy. “This was a choice,” she said.
She asked Sen. Cruz if he supported the bill, which made Indiana the second state in the nation to ban abortion for Down syndrome, after North Dakota.
“I'm not Governor Pence,” he replied. “But I'll tell you this: I believe in protecting human life.”
Pence, who endorsed Cruz in today's make-or-break Indiana primary, listened to her objections.
“I'm not here as a Republican, I'm not here as a Democrat. I'm here as a woman, a woman with choices, choices that you guys should not make,” DeBruler said.
After hearing that she felt many families lacked sufficient resources to care for children, especially in an area like Marion, Gov. Pence offered to connect her with social services.
“God bless her,” he said, looking at Jania's picture, “and God bless you.”
Though it may be unusual to encounter a woman arguing for the right to abort her own child, the governor handled it calmly. Pence had specifically reflected on “precious moments” he spent with “families of children with disabilities, especially those raising children with Down syndrome” when he signed the bill into law in March.
"We are truly thankful for the passage of this historic legislation by the Indiana House and applaud the new civil rights protections this bill creates for unborn children, as well as the new provisions this bill establishes for the humane final disposition of aborted babies," Indiana Right to Life President Mike Fichter said at the time.
DeBruler told the UK media outlet The Independent that H.B. 1337 “means you can no longer have an abortion based on deformity. I’m against this law, because I think it should be a woman’s choice” to abort for any reason.
Congressional Democrats made similar statements during hearings last month for Rep. Trent Franks' federal Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act (PRENDA), with Congressman John Conyers saying the bill is “patently unconstitutional,” because a woman has the right to abort a child before viability for any reason.
Both leading contenders for the Democratic nomination expressed their displeasure with the law, which protects unborn children from racial or sexual discrimination, as well as discrimination on the basis of an inborn trait like mental capacity.
When Gov. Pence signed the law, Sen. Bernie Sanders tweeted:
The decision to have an abortion is for a woman to make, not the Governor of Indiana. https://t.co/1VOroXS2br— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) March 24, 2016
Hillary Clinton later said, “I commend the women of this state, young and old, for standing up against this governor and this legislature.”
DeBruler told The Independent, despite her comment about not being a Democrat or a Republican, she is in fact a Democrat and will vote for Hillary Clinton in today's primary.
The moral challenge to Cardinal Wuerl in pending Notre Dame outrage
May 3, 2016 (CatholicCulture) -- In 2009, when the University of Notre Dame invited President Barack Obama to deliver a commencement address, dozens of American bishops lodged loud public protests. Yet this year, as Notre Dame prepares to confer an even greater honor on Vice President Joe Biden (together with former House Speaker John Boehner), the silence from the hierarchy is deafening.
Back in 2009, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Houston said that Notre Dame’s invitation to President Obama was “very disappointing,”, while then-Archbishop Timothy Dolan termed it a “big mistake.” The late Bishop John D’Arcy, then leader of the Indiana diocese in which the university is located, spoke of “the terrible breach which has taken place between Notre Dame and the Church.” For the first time in his 25 years of service to the Fort Wayne-South Bend diocese, Bishop D’Arcy declined to attend the Notre Dame commencement exercises; instead he addressed a protest rally organized by pro-life students, faculty, alumni, and staff.
These prelates and others explained their dismay by referring to the statement “Catholics in Political Life,” released in 2004 by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops. In that document, the bishops reflected on the need to maintain a consistent public witness in defense of human life, and therefore to distance themselves from public officials who support legal abortion. The statement set forth a clear policy that Catholic institutions should not give public honors to “pro-choice” politicians:
The Catholic community and Catholic institutions should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles. They should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions.
By giving President Obama an honorary degree and offering him an opportunity to speak at graduation, Notre Dame clearly violated that policy. University officials could offer only garbled partial defenses, claiming that they were honoring Obama not because he supports unrestricted abortion, but because he is President of the United States.
This year the university cannot offer even that lame defense of the decision to award the Laetare Medal to Vice President Biden. Unlike Obama, Biden is a Catholic, and by granting him this award the university is explicitly saying that the Vice President has “illustrated the ideals of the Church and enriched the heritage of humanity.” In other words, Notre Dame is honoring Vice President Biden as a Catholic political leader despite his unwavering support for abortion and same-sex marriage.
Give credit to Bishop Kevin Rhoades, the current leader of the Fort Wayne-South Bend diocese, for raising a lonely voice of protest. “I believe it is wrong for Notre Dame to honor any ‘pro-choice’ public official with the Laetare Medal, even if he/she has other positive accomplishments in public service,” Bishop Rhoades said. But if any other bishops have joined him in that rebuke to Notre Dame, I must have missed their public announcements.
Some observers, of liberal political sympathies, have argued that it is wrong to honor John Boehner, too, because the former Speaker disagreed with the US bishops’ stand on immigration. This is a tired old argument, conflating disagreement with the bishops on a prudential political decision with defiance of Church teaching on a fundamental moral principle. But it is noteworthy that Notre Dame officials saw fit to make a joint award, no doubt in a cynical effort to dodge political criticism by choosing one honoree from each side of the political spectrum.
“We live in a toxic political environment where poisonous invective and partisan gamesmanship pass for political leadership,” said Father John Jenkins, the president of Notre Dame, in announcing the Laetare Award recipients. (Notice the pre-emptive suggestion that those who criticize the school’s choices may be engaged in “poisonous invective.”) He went on to make a tortured argument that although Notre Dame is honoring two politicians, it is not honoring them for what they have done in their political careers:
In recognizing both men, Notre Dame is not endorsing the policy positions of either, but celebrating two lives dedicated to keeping our democratic institutions working for the common good through dialogue focused on the issues and responsible compromise.
By now we all know the familiar dodges. The politician claims to oppose abortion personally, but to feel a delicate reticence about imposing his views on others. He says that we must be willing to compromise (even on life-and-death decisions). He insists that he is not “pro-abortion” but “pro-choice.”
That last bubble of rhetoric was unceremoniously burst by Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington, DC, when he celebrated Mass at Georgetown after Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richard had delivered a lecture there. “The word ‘choice’ is a smokescreen,” he said, “behind which those killing unborn children take refuge. Every chance you get, blow that smoke away!”
Now Cardinal Wuerl himself has a chance to “blow that smoke away.” As things stand, he is scheduled to celebrate Mass at the Notre Dame commencement, and to receive an honorary degree. He could pull out; he could absent himself from the ceremonies, to ensure that he does not become part of an event that pays homage to a “pro-choice” Catholic politician.
And there is a precedent. Back in 2009, the Harvard legal scholar (and former US ambassador to the Holy See) Mary Ann Glendon was chosen to receive the Laetare Award. But when she learned that President Obama would be speaking, she announced her decision to decline the award. Clearly annoyed that her presence might be used to quiet the critics of the honor for Obama, Ambassador Glendon wrote that she did not want to be used as a counterweight, nor did she see the Notre Dame commencement as an appropriate venue for a genteel debate about legal abortion:
A commencement, however, is supposed to be a joyous day for the graduates and their families. It is not the right place, nor is a brief acceptance speech the right vehicle, for engagement with the very serious problems raised by Notre Dame’s decision—in disregard of the settled position of the U.S. bishops—to honor a prominent and uncompromising opponent of the Church’s position on issues involving fundamental principles of justice.
Could Cardinal Wuerl do this year what Ambassador Glendon did in 2009? Even at this late date, his withdrawal would send a powerful message of support for the right to life: an unmistakable rebuke to politicians who hide behind the smokescreen that the cardinal himself identified. To be sure, if he did withdraw, the cardinal would be caught in an avalanche of public criticism; he would suffer for his public witness. But there is a reason why cardinals wear red.
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