Niamh Ui Bhriain

Vicious and dishonest: Irish media sink to new low on rape and abortion

Niamh Ui Bhriain
By Niamh Ui Bhriain

August 24, 2012 ( - Many Irish people were previously unaware that a controversy arose this week when a US politician, Todd Akin, spoke insensitively about rape victims while answering a question about abortion.

Mr Akin provoked a storm when he said in relation to abortion and rape that: “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down”. The use of the dreadful phrase “legitimate rape” caused particular controversy, and must have surely been hurtful to rape survivors. The bottom line is that rape is rape, and there can be no equivocation - unintended or otherwise - in how we view this violation.

This was an American controversy, however, and did not attract comments from Irish pro-life groups. That didn’t stop the Irish media from behaving in a manner that was truly disgusting, and that marked a new low even for the rabidly pro-abort hacks in this country.

They attempted to link Irish pro-life groups with Todd Akin’s remarks by dint of some remarkably dishonest reporting.

Why? Not because abortion campaigners actually care about rape victims - their absolutely deplorable treatment of the young rape victim, Miss C, is evidence of that - but because the Irish media are desperate to attack the pro-life activists who are keeping Ireland abortion-free. Irish journalists are entirely predictable when it comes to abortion. They think with one mind on the issue, and are enraged when pro-life groups rightly point out that love, compassion and support is what rape victims need - not the quick fix of abortion.

So it was shocking, but perhaps unsurprising, to see the Irish Examiner publish an outrageous piece of false reporting in relation to the Akin controversy. They (falsely) claimed that the Irish website, Life Zone, had ‘come out’ in favour of Mr Akin’s remarks. The claim seemed to have been copied and pasted from another website, Irish Central, since this is what passes for journalism these days.

The truth is that:

- Neither Youth Defence, nor Life Zone, nor any other Irish pro-life group made any comment in relation to Mr Akin’s remarks, and there is not a pro-life activist in the country who would ever use the horrible phrase, ‘legitimate rape’.

- Life Zone has ten pages which deals sexual assault and pregnancy, including advice for victims on getting support and dealing with the trauma of rape. One section discussed a study which found that pregnancy from rape may be uncommon. It made no reference whatsoever to Mr Akin either. That section is now under review in case it needs to be updated based upon new evidence.

That reality is a million miles from what the Irish Examiner and their fellow travellers wrote. Ironically, the Examiner’s chief, Alan Crosbie, recently bemoaned the “threat to humanity posed by the tsunami of unverifiable data, opinion, libel and vulgar abuse in new media.” Perhaps his own journalists didn’t get the memo. Or perhaps a real hack never lets the facts get in the way of a good story.


One of those anxious to make a story from nothing was Conor Pope of the Irish Times. He may be best known as the author of banal pieces about the prices of consumer goods, but Mr Pope is also a dab hand at being a nasty piece of work. In a phone call to the Youth Defence office yesterday he spoke to two young women who said his tone ranged from sneering to hectoring. Later that day, Mr Pope tweeted that Youth Defence “really are a ***** bunch of *****.

Now, he had been talking to two young women, remember, so while his followers on Twitter were having fun guessing what the second word was, its pretty obvious what he was saying. Crass doesn’t begin to describe this behaviour, though perhaps this is now the standard for Irish Times journalists.

Youth Defence has thousands of members, most of them young women, some of whom have suffered sexual assault and who understand better than most why abortion is not the answer. They also understand that rape victims often resent abortion campaigners exploiting the plight of women who have already been horribly traumatised to further their own agenda of legalising abortion-on-demand.

This latest attempt by the media to smear pro-life activists is beneath contempt. And it will not work. Youth Defence wo;; strive to protect both mother and baby, and to reach out with compassion to all mothers in crisis. They will not be deterred by the vicious attacks of a biased and dishonest media.

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Today’s chuckle: Rubio, Fiorina and Carson pardon a Thanksgiving turkey

Steve Jalsevac Steve Jalsevac Follow Steve
By Steve Jalsevac

A little bit of humour now and then is a good thing.

Happy Thanksgiving to all our American readers.

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Building of the European Court of Human Rights.
Lianne Laurence


BREAKING: Europe’s top human rights court slaps down German ban on pro-life leafletting

Lianne Laurence
By Lianne Laurence

STRASBOURG, France, November 26, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – The European Court of Human Rights ruled Thursday that a German regional court violated a pro-life activist’s freedom of expression when it barred him from leafleting in front of an abortion center.

It further ruled the German court’s order that Klaus Gunter Annen not list the names of two abortion doctors on his website likewise violated the 64-year-old pro-life advocate’s right to freedom of expression.

The court’s November 26 decision is “a real moral victory,” says Gregor Puppinck, director of the Strasbourg-based European Center for Law and Justice, which intervened in Annen’s case. “It really upholds the freedom of speech for pro-life activists in Europe.”

Annen, a father of two from Weinam, a mid-sized city in the Rhine-Neckar triangle, has appealed to the Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights at least two times before, Puppinck told LifeSiteNews.

“This is the first time he made it,” he said, noting that this time around, Annen had support from the ECLJ and Alliance Defense Fund and the German Pro-life Federation (BVL). “I think he got more support, better arguments and so I think this helped.”

The court also ordered the German government to pay Annen costs of 13,696.87 EUR, or 14,530 USD.

Annen started distributing pamphlets outside a German abortion center ten years ago, ECLJ stated in a press release.

His leaflets contained the names and addresses of the two abortionists at the center, declared they were doing “unlawful abortions,” and stated in smaller print that, “the abortions were allowed by the German legislators and were not subject to criminal liability.”

Annen’s leaflets also stated that, “The murder of human beings in Auschwitz was unlawful, but the morally degraded NS State allowed the murder of innocent people and did not make it subject to criminal liability.” They referred to Annen’s website,, which listed a number of abortionists, including the two at the site he was leafleting.

In 2007, a German regional court barred Annen from pamphleteering in the vicinity of the abortion center, and ordered him to drop the name of the two abortion doctors from his website.

But the European Court of Human Rights ruled Thursday that the German courts had "failed to strike a fair balance between [Annen’s] right to freedom of expression and the doctor’s personality rights.”

The Court stated that, “there can be no doubt as to the acute sensitivity of the moral and ethical issues raised by the question of abortion or as to the importance of the public interest at stake.”

That means, stated ECLJ, that “freedom of expression in regard to abortion shall enjoy a full protection.”

ECLJ stated that the court noted Annen’s leaflets “made clear that the abortions performed in the clinic were not subject to criminal liability. Therefore, the statement that ‘unlawful abortions’ were being performed in the clinic was correct from a legal point of view.”

As for the Holocaust reference, the court stated that, “the applicant did not – at least not explicitly – equate abortion with the Holocaust.”  Rather, the reference was “a way of creating awareness of the more general fact that law might diverge from morality.”

The November 26 decision “is a quite good level of protection of freedom of speech for pro-life people,” observed Puppinck.

First, the European Court of Human Rights has permitted leafleting “in the direct proximate vicinity of the clinic, so there is no issue of zoning,” he told LifeSiteNews. “And second, the leaflets were mentioning the names of the doctors, and moreover, were mentioning the issue of the Holocaust, which made them quite strong leaflets.”

“And the court protected that.”

Annen has persevered in his pro-life awareness campaign through the years despite the restraints on his freedom.

“He did continue, and he did adapt,” Puppinck told LifeSiteNews. “He kept his freedom of speech as much as he could, but he continued to be sanctioned by the German authorities, and each time he went to the court of human rights. And this time, he won.”

ECLJ’s statement notes that “any party” has three months to appeal the November 26 decision.

However, as it stands, the European Court of Human Rights’s ruling affects “all the national courts,” noted Puppinck, and these will now “have to protect freedom of speech, recognize the freedom of speech for pro-lifers.”

“In the past, the courts have not always been very supportive of the freedom of speech of pro-life,” he said, so the ruling is “significant.”

As for Annen’s pro-life ministry, Pubbinck added: “He can continue to go and do, and I’m sure that he does, because he always did.”  

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A vibrant church in Africa. Pierre-Yves Babelon /
Pete Baklinski Pete Baklinski Follow Pete

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‘Soft racism’: German Bishops’ website attributes African Catholics’ strong faith to simplemindedness

Pete Baklinski Pete Baklinski Follow Pete
By Pete Baklinski

GERMANY, November 26, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) --  The only reason the Catholic Church is growing in Africa is because the people have a “rather low level” of education and accept “simple answers to difficult questions” involving marriage and sexuality, posited an article on the official website of the German Bishops' Conference posted yesterday. The article targeted particularly Cardinal Robert Sarah of Guinea, the Vatican's prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and ardent defender of Catholic tradition.

First Things blogger Leroy Huizenga, who translated a portion of the article, criticized the article's view as “soft racism.”

In his article, titled “The Romantic, Poor Church,” editor Björn Odendahl writes: 

So also in Africa. Of course the Church is growing there. It grows because the people are socially dependent and often have nothing else but their faith. It grows because the educational situation there is on average at a rather low level and the people accept simple answers to difficult questions (of faith) [sic]. Answers like those that Cardinal Sarah of Guinea provides. And even the growing number of priests is a result not only of missionary power but also a result of the fact that the priesthood is one of the few possibilities for social security on the dark continent.

Huizenga said that such an article has no place on a bishops’ conference website. 

“We all know that the German Bishops' Conference is one of the most progressive in the world. But it nevertheless beggars belief that such a statement would appear on the Conference's official website, with its lazy slander of African Christians and priests as poor and uneducated (Odendahl might as well have added ‘easy to command’) and its gratuitous swipe at Cardinal Sarah,” he wrote. 

“Natürlich progressives could never be guilty of such a sin and crime, but these words sure do suggest soft racism, the racism of elite white Western paternalism,” he added. 

African prelates have gained a solid reputation for being strong defenders of Catholic sexual morality because of their unwavering orthodox input into the recently concluded Synod on the Family in Rome. 

At one point during the Synod, Cardinal Robert Sarah urged Catholic leaders to recognize as the greatest modern enemies of the family what he called the twin “demonic” “apocalyptic beasts” of “the idolatry of Western freedom” and “Islamic fundamentalism.”

STORY: Cardinal Danneels warns African bishops to avoid ‘triumphalism’

“What Nazi-Fascism and Communism were in the 20th century, Western homosexual and abortion ideologies and Islamic fanaticism are today,” he said during his speech at the Synod last month. 

But African prelates’ adherence to orthodoxy has earned them enemies, especially from the camp of Western prelates bent on forming the Catholic Church in their own image and likeness, not according to Scripture, tradition, and the teaching magisterium of the Church. 

During last year’s Synod, German Cardinal Walter Kasper went as far as stating that the voice of African Catholics in the area of Church teaching on homosexuality should simply be dismissed.

African cardinals “should not tell us too much what we have to do,” he said in an October 2014 interview with ZENIT, adding that African countries are "very different, especially about gays.” 

Earlier this month Belgian Cardinal Godfried Danneels, instead of praising Africa for its vibrant and flourishing Catholicism, said that African prelates will one day have to look to Europe to get what he called “useful tips” on how to deal with “secularization” and “individualism.” 

The statement was criticized by one pro-family advocate as “patronizing of the worst kind” in light of the facts that numerous European churches are practically empty, vocations to the priesthood and religious life are stagnant, and the Catholic faith in Europe, especially in Belgium, is overall in decline.

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