Marie Stopes situation in Belfast ‘grim’ unless politicians act swiftly: SPUC
BELFAST, October 12, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – If politicians and legal authorities do not move very swiftly, abortion will become a daily reality in Northern Ireland, whether the procedure remains a criminal code offense or not, pro-life activists have warned. Liam Gibson, development officer for the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children in Northern Ireland, told LifeSiteNews.com that the situation is “very grim.” He said that despite the law clearly prohibiting the killing of unborn children, the immensely wealthy international abortion machine could simply steamroller over the law.
But it seems as if there is little political will to act decisively. One official, whom Gibson declined to name, said that the government can do nothing until official statistics show a jump in the abortion rate, a process which can take two or three years.
Gibson and other pro-life activists fear that once the facility is opened and operating, scheduled for October 18th, it will have opened the legal floodgates.
Gibson said he believes the only hope is an immediate court injunction to stop the opening. Once Marie Stopes begins to operate, he fears, the process will be under way, and even if charges are laid the outcome will be inevitable.
“Even if there were a prosecution here,” he said, “and it were successful they could appeal all the way to England’s Supreme Court and that would be end of the abortion law in Northern Ireland.”
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Observers around the world were shocked when Marie Stopes, the international abortion giant, announced this week that it will be opening a shop front abortion facility in Belfast. They said they will offer chemical or “medical terminations” at a cost of £450. They have claimed in their press release that they will be acting “within the current legal framework for abortion” by offering abortions only within the first nine weeks of pregnancy.
Despite the claims by some news media and Marie Stopes, however, abortion in Northern Ireland is not legal.
The provisions of the UK’s Abortion Act 1967 were never fully applied to the province, and abortion remains an offense in the criminal code under the Offenses Against the Person Act of 1861 and the Infant Life Preservation Act. It is possible for doctors to avoid prosecution for abortion under strictly defined conditions. These exceptions permit doctors to make an intervention only if the mother’s life is threatened. Case law has established that such situations have to be serious impediments, a life-changing, totally permanent, or very long-term event.
Gibson said, however, that such circumstances “in a first world country are extremely rare”. Ectopic pregnancies, the only common life-threatening condition for which medical science is not yet able to offer an option that saves the life of the child, cannot be treated with chemical, or even surgical abortion. The removal of a fallopian tube that has been implanted by the embryo is not defined by medical science as an abortion.
How then did Marie Stopes simply decide to hang out their abortion shingle in Belfast? Gibson replied, “Everybody knows the law, the politicians and the pro-lifers, even the pro-abortionists know the law. Effectively they’re just ignoring it and going ahead anyway.”
“What people don’t understand about Marie Stopes,” he said, “is that they don’t pretend to be nice, law abiding people. These are people whose business it is to go into other countries and break the law. They have gone into African countries where abortion is illegal, and where no one wants abortion, and simply done it.”
“They’ve been talking about doing this for 20 years,” Gibson said. “Marie Stopes are used to getting a lot of heat and criticism and they’re not worried about it.
“Change the law by breaking it, is the method here,” he said.
One of the effects of Marie Stopes’ action, he said, has been to muddy the waters as to the true nature of the law, with the BBC and others claiming that abortion in Northern Ireland is not illegal after all, merely “tightly regulated.” That and Marie Stopes’ emphasis on offering abortions within nine weeks of conception is already creating confusion in the media some of whom are now claiming that abortion is legal in Northern Ireland up to nine weeks gestation.
Asked how Marie Stopes’ can claim that abortion within nine weeks is “within the law” in Northern Ireland, Gibson said he has no idea, and assumed it was simply an arbitrary date set by their own protocols. “They have done a very good job of seizing control of the situation with the media.”
The problem facing Northern Irish politicians and legal authorities, Gibson said, is due in part to the nature of the criminal justice system, which is designed to punish offenses, not prevent crime: “It’s not great at protecting someone from the aggressor.” Police, he said, will be reluctant to act until it can be shown that Marie Stopes has strayed outside the law. But by then it will be too late.
Precious Life has contacted police in Belfast but was only asked to inform police when they planned to hold demonstrations. “So, their interest,” Gibson said, “is not in the fact that Marie Stopes intends to commit criminal acts, but in policing the pro-life protesters.”
Gibson said that he has been informed that the office of the Attorney General for Northern Ireland – that has jurisdiction over civil and criminal matters that fall within the devolved powers of the Northern Ireland Assembly – is “looking into the matter.” Gibson said that although the AG does not normally receive members of the public directly, he has hopes that John Larkin, QC will be open to suggestions from pro-life Members of the Legislative Assembly.
Pro-life activists in Belfast fear a replay of the situation in Canada where Dr. Henry Morgentaler took the same route by opening illegal abortion facilities in Montreal, Toronto, and other cities, daring the authorities to prosecute him. In the end, Morgentaler was arrested and prosecuted. The final result, after decades of legal battles, was the Supreme Court of Canada overturning the law in 1988.
The court ruled that Parliament must introduce a new law regarding abortion that would withstand constitutional challenge but no government since then has had the will to do so. To this day, Canada remains the only country in the world with no abortion law whatever.
The situation in Belfast closely parallels that of Canada’s in the late 1960s, when Morgentaler started conducting abortions illegally in Montreal. At that time, abortion in Canada was a criminal act and was also allowed only in the rare, medically determined cases in which continuing a pregnancy threatened the life of the mother.
Far from being convicted of the mass murder of thousands of unborn children under the law, Dr. Morgentaler was exonerated and lionized as a hero of “women’s rights,” finally being awarded the Order of Canada in 2008 in a country that had been staunchly pro-life and nearly 50 percent Catholic.
As a registered charity, Marie Stopes International UK had a declared income of £145 million last year, mostly in fees and grants from government bodies. They handle much of the abortion business for the National Health Service along with other groups like the British Pregnancy Advisory Service. Their deep pockets have enabled them to go into countries where abortion is illegal, including the Republic of Ireland, and establish political beachheads, promoting the pro-abortion and contraceptive ideologies through sympathetic media, and lobbying politicians. The pro-life group Precious Life has said they will be presenting evidence to the Attorney General that Marie Stopes officials have admitted to doing clandestine abortions in African countries where the practice remains illegal.
“It looks very much like there’s no way of stopping them if they’re determined. I’ve been speaking to politicians, but it looks as if no one will try to stop it.”
“Pro-life politicians are in shock and do not seem to be acting decisively,” he said. “The whole thing is so crazy that I think the politicians are simply saying ‘I never thought this could happen. How can they get away with it?’ It makes nonsense of the political process.”
“It looks very grim,” he added.
Texas AG to Target: Show me how you’ll protect women and kids from criminals
AUSTIN, Texas, May 5, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – The latest backlash Target received as a result of its transgender bathroom policy was a letter from Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton asking the company to provide its safety policies to protect women and children from “those who would use the cover of Target’s restroom policy for nefarious purposes.”
“Target, of course, is free to choose such a policy for its Texas stores,” Paxton wrote in a letter to Target CEO Brian Cornell. He noted the possibility of the Texas Legislature addressing the issue in the future, but said, “regardless of whether Texas legislates on this topic, it is possible that allowing men in women’s restrooms could lead to criminal and otherwise unwanted activity.”
“As chief lawyer and law enforcement officer for the State of Texas, I ask that you provide the full text of Target’s safety policies regarding the protection of women and children from those who would use the cover of Target’s restroom policy for nefarious purposes,” Paxton continued.
More than 1.1 million people have pledged to boycott Target over its new policy allowing men to access women’s bathrooms. Opponents of the policy worry that it puts women and children at risk by emboldening predators, who may now freely enter women’s restrooms.
Target’s new policy is “inclusive,” the company claims, and they say “everyone…deserves to be protected from discrimination, and treated equally.”
“Texans statewide can no longer be silent on the issue of protecting the safety of women and children,” Texas Values President and Attorney Jonathan Saenz said in a statement Wednesday urging Texans to boycott Target. This is the first time in its history the pro-family group has called for a boycott.
“We need all Texans to understand that Target is using this radical change in their store policy to try convince people that our laws should be changed in this dangerous direction as well,” said Saena. “Our goal with this boycott is for Target to change its dangerous new policy, to raise awareness of the real threats to safety that these policies bring and to help businesses and lawmakers understand the significant opposition to such measures that is growing daily… Texans all across our state must join this Boycott Target effort before someone gets hurt.”
On Tuesday a male allegedly filmed an underage girl at a Frisco, Texas, Target fitting room. Police are searching for the man.
There have been numerous incidents of male predators across North America accessing women’s facilities and citing transgender policies as allowing them to do so.
Christians, America has reached a crisis point. Are you ready to take up this challenge?
May 5, 2016 (Albert Mohler) -- For nearly two and a half centuries, Americans have enjoyed the enormous privilege and responsibility of forming our own government—a privilege rarely experienced throughout most of human history. For most of history, humanity has struggled with the question of how to respond to a government that was essentially forced upon them. But Americans have often struggled with a very different reality; how do we rightly respond to the government that we choose?
To put all of this in historical perspective, the Framers of the American experiment understood that a representative democracy built on the principle of limited government would require certain virtues of its citizens. These would include a restraint of passions and an upholding of traditional moral virtues, without which democracy would not be possible. As the idea of limited government implies, the citizenry would be required to carry out the social responsibilities of the community without the intrusion of government and, thus, citizens would be expected to have the moral integrity necessary for such an arrangement. The Framers of the American Republic also agreed that it would be impossible to have a representative democracy and a limited government if the people did not elect leaders who embodied the virtues of the citizenry while also respecting and protecting society’s pre-political institutions: marriage and family, the church, and the local community.
Thus, the idea of a limited government requires that society uphold and pursue the health of its most basic institutions. When a civil society is weak, government becomes strong. When the family breaks down, government grows stronger. When the essential institutions of society are no longer respected, government demands that respect for itself. That is a recipe for tyranny.
Much of this was essentially affirmed until the early decades of the 20th century when progressivists began promoting an agenda that fundamentally redefined the role of the federal government in public life. By the middle of the 20th century, the Democratic Party had essentially embraced this progressivist agenda, becoming committed to an increasingly powerful government—a government whose powers exceeded those enumerated in the Constitution. At the same time, the Democratic Party also began advocating for a basic redefinition of the morality that shaped the common culture. By and large, however, the Republican Party continued to maintain a commitment to the vision of America’s founders, advocating for a traditional understanding of morality while also upholding the principle of limited government.
By the 1980s, the two parties represented two very different worldviews and two very different visions of American government. For decades, each party has acted rather predictably and in ways that accord with their fundamental principles. All of that, however, has now changed.
The 2016 presidential campaign has developed in an entirely unpredictable manner and, in many respects, represents a crisis in American democracy. This crisis is not limited to either party. Bernie Sanders, the Independent senator from Vermont, has won several stunning victories in the primary season over presumed Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. While it is still extremely likely that Clinton will become the Democratic nominee, Sanders support among voters represents a populist flirtation with Democratic Socialism. This pattern is something few Democrats could have imagined just one year ago. What this foray into Democratic Socialism represents, then, is a radical adjustment of the Democratic Party’s basic economic principles. Thus, even if Hillary Clinton becomes the nominee, the process will likely drag her even further to the left, eventually redefining the Democratic Party before our very eyes.
But if it is remarkable to see what is happening in the Democratic Party, it is absolutely shocking to see what is happening among Republicans. Traditionally, the Republican Party has established its reputation by standing for the principles advocated by the American Founders—limited government upheld by the health of society’s primary institutions such as marriage, family, and community. Yet Donald Trump, the presumptive nominee for the Republican Party, represents virtually everything the Republican Party has typically defined itself over against. Clearly, both political parties are now redefining themselves. What is not clear is where each party will ultimately end up. What is also not clear is whether the American experiment can survive such radical political change.
As already noted, the American experiment in limited government requires that the citizenry and those who hold public office honor certain moral virtues and respect the institutions that are crucial for a society to rightly function. Yet, we now find ourselves in a situation where the three leading candidates for president show little to no respect for such institutions in their articulations of public policy.
This fundamental redefinition of the American political landscape requires Christians to think carefully about their political responsibility. Make no mistake; we cannot avoid that responsibility. Even refusing to vote is itself a vote because it privileges those who do vote and increases the value of each ballot. In truth, we bear a political responsibility that cannot be dismissed or delegated to others. Every Christian must be ready to responsibly steward his or her vote at the polls.
To put the matter bluntly, we are now confronted with the reality that, in November, Hillary Clinton will likely be the Democratic nominee and Donald Trump the Republican nominee. This poses a significant problem for many Christians who believe they cannot, in good conscience, vote for either candidate. As a result, Christians are going to need a lot of careful political reflection in order to steward their vote and their political responsibility in this election cycle.
Headlines from around the world tell us that other representative democracies are at a similar moment of redefinition. Political turmoil now marks the United Kingdom and also nations like France and other key American allies. Perhaps democracy itself is now facing a crucial hour of decision and a crucial season of testing. It is no exaggeration to say that democracy is being tested around the world; it is certainly being tested here at home. Yet if this is a moment of testing for democracy, it is also a crucial moment for Christian witness. This election cycle is going to be a particular test for American Christians—and we are about to find out if Christians are up to this challenge.
Reprinted with permission from Albert Mohler.
‘Sick and twisted’: Scientists keep embryos alive outside womb up to 13 days for experimentation
May 5, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Two teams of scientists have announced that they have been able to keep human embryos alive outside the womb for 13 days for the purpose of conducting scientific experiments. Some call the announcement the onset of a “Brave New World,” while others are petitioning lawmakers to lift sanctions that would keep scientists from experimenting on newly conceived babies even longer.
Researchers from Cambridge University, King's College, and Rockefeller University said in two separate reports that they stopped at 13 days only to avoid violating an internationally accepted law. At least 12 nations restrict the amount of time a newly conceived child may be kept alive in a laboratory to 14 days, the point at which scientists believe “individuality” begins.
The newest development allows scientists to observe newly conceived human beings after the point at which implantation in the womb would have occurred.
Professor Magdalena Zernicka-Goetz, one of the studies' lead researchers, said her team's breakthrough could advance embryonic stem cell research and “can improve IVF success.”
Some scientists have called on the international community to extend the amount of time such experimentation can take place.
“If restrictions such as the 14-day rule are viewed as moral truths, such cynicism would be warranted,” three experts – Insoo Hyun, Amy Wilkerson, and Josephine Johnston – wrote in a commentary published yesterday in Nature magazine. “But when they are understood to be tools designed to strike a balance between enabling research and maintaining public trust, it becomes clear that, as circumstances and attitudes evolve, limits can be legitimately recalibrated.”
Pro-life experts said the experimentation destroys human life and could lead to grave ethical dilemmas by extending the research.
“No human being should be used for lethal experimentation, no matter their age or stage of development,” said Dr. David Prentice, a professor of molecular genetics and an Advisory Board Member for the Midwest Stem Cell Therapy Center. “The 14-day rule is itself arbitrary, and does not assuage those who believe life begins at the moment of sperm-egg fusion. Moreover, allowing experiments on human embryos beyond 14 days post-fertilization risks the lives of untold more human beings, because it further encourages creation and destruction for research purposes.”
Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America, called the experimentation “sick and twisted.”
“Science has undeniably proven that a new human life, with unrepeatable DNA, begins at conception,” she said. “There is no reason for experimentation on that human life and science itself should not be heralding thae fact that a tiny human being can survive now for two weeks outside of the womb, all for the sole purpose of experimentation.”
Dr. Prentice noted that embryonic stem cell research “has yielded no benefit thus far,” leading even its most vocal advocates, such as Michael J. Fox, to admit it has not lived up to its promise.
“If this research does not stop at 14 days, where does it stop?” asked Prentice. “This is a risky step which could encourage further eugenic attitudes and actions.”
Dr. Prentice encouraged Congress “to have a full and open debate on the issue of human embryo research before the research community moves further without oversight.”