Hilary White

N. Ireland Health Minister reveals plans to shut down Marie Stopes abortion facility

Hilary White
Hilary White
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BELFAST, December 3, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Northern Ireland’s Health Minister, Edwin Poots, has moved to create new rules on abortion aimed at shutting down the Marie Stopes private abortion facility that opened illegally in Belfast in October. Meanwhile, a poll has shown that despite much propaganda in the secular media, there remains strong public opposition to liberalising the current law that allows abortion only in cases where the mother’s life is in serious danger from continuing the pregnancy.

Poots said that his department is considering making “legal terminations” available only in hospitals at any stage in pregnancy. This would firmly bar Marie Stopes from offering “medical” or chemical, early term abortions at their private, freestanding facility. “It may be that we only permit abortions to be carried out in a health service facility,” he said, adding that several options on regulations are being considered.

Poots said that his department is dedicated to saving, not taking lives, and that they will never bring in a regime of “social abortion” such as is available elsewhere in the UK.

Speaking in the Legislative Assembly on November 26th, Poots was asked “when he will publish guidelines on the medical termination of pregnancy in light of the tragedy reported in Galway.” He responded that it “would be inappropriate” to comment on the case of Savita Halappanavar, whose death has sparked demands by the international abortion lobby for the Irish Republic and Northern Ireland to legalise abortion.

Asked whether he will “do all in his power to protect the life of the unborn child,” Poots replied, “The first and foremost rule in the Department on the provision of healthcare: it is about saving lives, not taking life. I believe that that applies to those who are born and to the unborn, because we seek to save and protect life.”

He added, “We are very clear that the life of the mother has a priority here, but that is purely in those instances in which the life of the mother is under threat. 

“Some form of social abortion is not something that I will ever be bringing before the House or seeking the support of Members for, and I do not believe that if I were inclined to do so, it would receive the support of the House because it is not something that is publicly supported.”

Poots said his department is in discussion with the Royal College of Midwives to develop “a maternity strategy” which has not included discussion of abortion.

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“I know that there are people from the Royal College of Midwives who are advisers to Marie Stopes. I am of the opinion that the role of midwives is largely to ensure quality care for expectant mothers and the babies whom those expectant mothers are carrying; to ensure that they receive the best possible support throughout that pregnancy; to ensure the safe delivery of that baby; and to provide considerable support thereafter to ensure that the baby gets the best start in life, as opposed to being involved with something that is, in fact, taking the life of the unborn child.”

Marie Stopes has made the claim that abortions are legal in N. Ireland if they are committed before nine weeks of pregnancy, but Poots was forceful on the subject of the law, saying it “is clear”. The law makes no mention of abortion being legal in early stages of pregnancy.

“Abortion in Northern Ireland is regulated by criminal law, and termination of pregnancy in Northern Ireland is illegal, unless there is a real and serious threat to the life of the woman, or if there is a real and serious threat to the physical or mental health of the woman that is either long term or permanent in its nature. 

“In any other circumstances, it would be unlawful to perform a procedure that terminates a pregnancy.”

Although the Belfast Telegraph claimed that a poll they commissioned showed the opposition in Stormont to liberalization of the abortion law was leaving legislators “out of step” with the public, the numbers actually suggest otherwise. The survey of 1130 adults found that 55.4 percent want the law to stay the same or be strengthened even further to protect the unborn, while a total of about 45 percent wanted some liberalization.

25.9 percent agreed with the proposal for abortion on demand, with the numbers about evenly split between Catholics (27.8%) and Protestants (28.3%). 18.6 percent believed abortion should be available in cases of pregnancy due to rape or incest.

The largest groups were strongly against abortion being liberalized, with 26.9 percent believing the law should be unchanged and 26.5 per cent saying abortion should only be allowed “if the mother is likely to die if the pregnancy continues,” a position somewhat stronger than the current law states. Two percent, all of them men, agreed with the statement, “Abortion is no better than shooting a child in the head and should be treated as murder.” This was the opinion given by John Larkin, the Attorney General, shortly before he was appointed to the post.

The Belfast Telegraph noted that all of the province’s leading political parties except Alliance, which allows a free vote on the issue, have policies strongly against changing the laws.

In the Assembly at Stormont, Poots said that his department can produce guidelines that will “help to provide clarity for obstetricians in particular situations,” but insisted that these will not change the current legal situation.

“This House is the only thing that can change the law, and, as I indicated, I will not be bringing anything before the House to change that law.” He added that he is personally glad that the law for Northern Ireland is separate from that of the rest of the UK, and that the independence of Northern Ireland’s legislature from Westminster and the full legalization of abortion are “not compatible”.

Meanwhile, the Marie Stopes facility has all but refused to participate in a legal inquiry by the Justice Committee over their appearance in October. In a letter to the committee Tracey McNeill, Marie Stopes’ UK director, issued a list of demands before agreeing to appear and give evidence. Once these demands are met, McNeill wrote, “We can arrange a mutually convenient time and place to meet.”

Justice Committee members, however called the letter “arrogant” and “impertinent” and noted that the Committee has the right to demand the presence of anyone, and refusal can be punished with up to three months in prison. 

MLA Jim Allister said, “I think it’s the height of impertinence for the Marie Stopes organisation to try and tell the committee how they should conduct whatever it is they are going to conduct.

“I think they’re showing themselves very arrogant.”

MLA Patsy McGlone, another member of the committee, said, “I would have thought first and foremost it is for the committee to determine who it calls and when they call them.

“No external body determines that. So I think they might well have started on the wrong foot there. Perhaps it’s the fact they’re new to the place.

“They should be advised that it’s for the committee to decide who it calls to give evidence.”

“The position they’re in at the moment, it’s in their best interests to cooperate with a committee of the Northern Ireland assembly,” he added.

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Lisa Bourne

‘You can’t have’ marriage equality ‘without polygamy’

Lisa Bourne
By Lisa Bourne

July 3, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – Motivated by the U.S. Supreme Court ruling legalizing homosexual “marriage,” a Montana polygamist has filed for a second marriage license, so he can be legally wed to two women at once.

"It's about marriage equality," said Nathan Collier, using homosexual advocates’ term to support marriage redefinition. "You can't have this without polygamy."

Collier, who has has appeared on the TLC reality show Sister Wives with his legal wife Victoria, and his second wife Christine, said he was inspired by the dissent in the Supreme Court decision.

The minority Supreme Court justices said in Friday’s ruling it would open the door to both polygamy and religious persecution.

“It is striking how much of the majority’s reasoning would apply with equal force to the claim of a fundamental right to plural marriage,” wrote Chief Justice John Roberts.

Collier and his wives applied for a second marriage license earlier this week at the Yellowstone County Courthouse in Billings, a report from the Salt Lake Tribune said.

Collier, who was excommunicated from the Mormon Church for polygamy, married Victoria in 2000 and had a religious wedding ceremony with Christine in 2007. The three have seven children between them and from previous relationships.

"My second wife Christine, who I'm not legally married to, she's put up with my crap for a lot of years. She deserves legitimacy," Collier said.

Yellowstone County officials initially denied the application before saying they would consult with the County Attorney and get him a final answer.

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Bigamy, the holding of multiple marriage licenses, is illegal all 50 states, but Collier plans to sue if his application is denied. Officials expect to have an answer for him next week.

While homosexual “marriage” supporters have long insisted legalization of same-sex unions would not lead to polygamy, pro-life and family advocates have warned all along it would be inevitable with the redefinition of marriage.

“The next court cases coming will push for polygamy, as Chief Justice John Roberts acknowledged in his dissent,” said Penny Nance, president of Concerned Women for America, after the Supreme Court ruling. “The chief justice said “the argument for polygamy is actually stronger than that for ‘gay marriage.’ It’s only a matter of time.”

In a piece from the Washington Times, LifeSiteNews Editor-in-Chief and the co-founder of Voice of the Family John-Henry Westen stated the move toward legal polygamy is “just the next step in unraveling how Americans view marriage.”

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Chris Christie: Clerks must perform same-sex ‘marriages’ regardless of their religious beliefs

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By Ben Johnson

TRENTON, NJ, July 3, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – Chris Christie is not known for nuance. This time, he has turned his fiery personality loose on county clerks and other officials who have religious objections to performing same-sex “marriages.”

In a tone usually reserved for busting teachers' unions, Christie told clerks who hold traditional values, “You took the job, and you took the oath.” He would offer no exemption for an individual whose conscience would not allow him to participate in a union the vast majority of the world's religions deem sinful.

“When you go back and re-read the oath it doesn’t give you an out. You have to do it,” he said.

He told a reporter that there “might” be “individual circumstances” that “merit some examination, but none that come immediately to mind for me.”

“I think for folks who are in the government world, they kind of have to do their job, whether you agree with the law or you don’t,” the pugnacious governor said.

Since the Supreme Court voted 5-4 to legalize homosexual “marriage” last Friday, elected officials have grappled with how to safeguard the rights of those who have deeply held religious beliefs that would not allow them to participate in such a ceremony.

Christie's response differs markedly from other GOP hopefuls' responses to the Supreme Court ruling. Mike Huckabee, for instance, has specifically said that clerks should have conscience rights. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal signed an executive order granting such rights and ordered clerks to wait until a pending court case was fully adjudicated before any clerk issues a marriage license to a homosexual couple.

Christie gave up a legal appeal after a superior court judge struck down his state's voter-approved constitutional marriage protection amendment. New Jersey is the only state where such a low court overturned the will of the voters.

The decision to ignore conscience rights adds to the growing number of Christie's positions that give conservatives pause.

The natural locus of support for a Christie 2016 presidential run is the Republican's socially liberal donor class, for personal as well as political reasons. His wife works on Wall Street, and some of the GOP's high-dollar donors – including Paul Singer – have courted Christie for years.

However, this year Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, and to a lesser degree Scott Walker have eclipsed Christie as the preferred candidates of the boardroom donors – who sometimes prefer Democrats to Republicans.

Christie also used language during a speech before the Republican Jewish Coalition last year, which concerned some major GOP donors.

Christie is reportedly spending this weekend with Mitt Romney and his family at Romney's New Hampshire home. Romney declined to enter the 2016 race himself and may be able to open his donor list to Christie's struggling campaign.

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After having a girl with Down syndrome, this couple adopted two more

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By Ben Johnson

LINO LAKE, MN, July 3, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – For most people, having five biological children would have been enough. In fact, for many Americans, large families are treated as a scandal or a burden.

But one family made the decision, not just to have a large family, but to give a home to some of the most vulnerable children in the world: Girls born overseas with Down syndrome.

Lee and Karen Shervheim love all seven of their children, biological or otherwise. Undeterred by having twin boys – Daniel and Andrew, 18 – they had Sam four years later.

They now have three daughters who are all 11 years old. All three have Down syndrome.

And two of them are adopted.

About the time their eight-year-old son, David, was born, Lee and Karen decided to adopt a child with Down syndrome to be a companion to their daughter, Annie.

They made the further unexpected choice to adopt a child from Eastern Europe with the help of Reece's Rainbow, which helps parents adopt children with Down syndrome.

“Between my wife and I, we couldn’t get it out of our heads,” Lee told the Quad City Press. “So many children need families and we knew we could potentially do something about it.”

After originally deciding to adopt Katie, they spent six weeks in Kiev, visiting an orphanage in nearby Kharkov. While there, they decided they may have room in their heart, and their home, for another child.

When they saw a picture of Emie striking the same pose as their biological daughter in one of their photographs, they knew they would come home with two children.

Both girls were the same age as their Annie. She would not lack for companionship, as they worried.

Lee said after the Ukrainian government – finally – completed the paperwork, they returned to the United States, when the real challenges began.

“The unvarnished truth,” Lee told the Press, is that adopting the Russian-speaking special needs children “was really disruptive to our family. They came with so many issues that we had not anticipated.”

After teaching them sign language and appropriate behavior, they moved to Lino Lake, Minnesota and found a new support group in Eagle Brook Church. There they found personal assistance and spiritual solace.

Every year in the past seven years has been better and better, they say.

“I think my girls can do almost anything they want to do,” he said, “and that’s what I want to help them become.”

The family's devotion is fueled by their faith, and it informs the sense of humor Lee showed in a tweet during the 2014 midterm elections:

It takes a special person to believe in the potential of the “mentally retarded,” as they were once labeled. Today, 90 percent of all babies diagnosed with Down syndrome in the womb will be aborted. The percentage is higher in some countries. Some have even spoken of "a world without people with Down syndrome."

Their God, and their experience, tell them that every child has infinite worth and potential, Lee told local media, and he would encourage anyone to follow his footsteps and adopt a Down syndrome child – or two.

“The message is that it really doesn’t matter where you started or where you came from,” Lee said. “There are endless opportunities for everyone, whether they have disabilities or not. They deserve a shot.”

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