Friday, 21 December 2012

Irish prime minister makes false abortion judgement claim

Liam Gibson (R) with Irish pro-life
leaders (L to R) Pat Buckley, European
Life Network, Bernadette Smyth, Precious Life,
Kathy Sinnott, former MEP Cork, Dana (intenational
singing star and former MEP)
I commend my visitors to Liam Gibson's Pro-Life Belfast blog - which today dissects the position of the Irish government on abortion and exposes the falsehoods which lie behind the Irish Prime Minister's decision to cave in to the bullying of the international abortion lobby.

With his permission, I am reproducing here Liam's blogpost in full:
So the Irish government is to legalise abortion. Enda Kenny, the Irish Prime Minister, has turned out to be just another gutless politician who would sooner go back on his promise made to the Irish electorate than stand-up to the bullying of the international abortion lobby. This will not come as a surprise to many but the fact that Kenny has caved-in to the pressure from abortion advocates in the Council of Europe, the office of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Health and International Planned Parenthood Federation is still a disappointment.

Ireland has long been a thorn in the side of the international abortion lobby because it proved that it was possible to have an excellent maternal mortality record without legalised abortion. Efforts to introduce abortion in 1992 and in 2002 failed because the Irish people rejected flawed and fraudulent amendments to their Constitution. But the protection for children before birth has been gradually erroded by the anti-life policies of successive governments (such as those of the State-run Crisis Pregnancy Agency) and anti-life rulings of the Irish Courts.

There have been a number of stages in the Republic's descent into the culture of death and each milestone has been marked by lies and falsehoods. The first and most damaging, however, was the 1992 decision of the Supreme Court in the X-case. It has taken 20 years but it seems that, unless the people rise-up in opposition, this decision will finally lead to the legalised killing of children in Ireland.

The X-case

In a politically motivated ruling, Irish judges said a 14 year-old girl, pregnant through rape, could have an abortion because her life was threatened. Not threatened in the way that ectopic pregnancy or pre-eclampsia is life-threatening, she was allegedly suicidal so the threat was one of self-harm. The Court's first mistake was to confuse actual life-threatening conditions which arise during pregnancy with a threat of suicide.

The Court’s second mistake was to pretend that abortion was a treatment for suicidal ideation. Even if there is no doubt that a threat of suicide is genuine, it signifies a psychiatric problem and can only be addressed by psychiatric means. There is no evidence that abortion can alleviate suicidal tendencies. In fact there is a mountain of research showing the negative effect abortion has on mental health. Women who undergo abortion are far more likely to take their on lives than those who carry their babies to term.

The Irish Constitution

The nature of the psychiatric evidence presented to the Supreme Court in 1992 has since been called into question. But there is a more fundamental problem with the X-case which is seldom pointed out. And this is the judges interpretation of Article 40.3.3° itself.

The Irish Constitution cannot confer the right to life, it merely recognises it. The right to life is shared by all members of the human family by virtue of their common humanity. No State, no government, no authority can take this right away.

By the adoption of the Eighth Amendment (Article 40.3.3) the Constitution enshrined the position which was already codified in Irish law in the Offences Against the Person Act (1861). Section 58 of this Act makes it a crime to procure an abortion and section 59 makes it a crime even to help to procure one.

Article 40.3.3° states:

The State acknowledges the right to life of the unborn and, with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother, guarantees in its laws to respect, and, as far as practicable, by its laws to defend and vindicate that right.

By equating the right to life of the unborn with the right to life of the mother, the Constitution is in fact saying that the right to life of the child before birth is equal to the right to life of everyone already born. It did not change the right to life of mothers. How could it since every human being shares the same right to life? The right to life of women remained the same after the passage of the Eighth Amendment as it had been before it. It is entirely false to claim, as the Court did, that the adoption of Article 40.3.3° somehow introduced a Constitutional right for mothers to take the lives of their unborn children. Abortion remains a criminal offence in Irish law and there can be no Constitutional right to commit this offence.

There is no more right to kill a child in the womb in order to protect the life of another human being than there is to kill a child already born.

Medical treatments during pregnancy can have life threatening consequences for an unborn child and sometimes result in their death. But it is never justifiable to end the life of any child, even with the sincere intention of protecting the life of another person.

The Irish Supreme Court reached a perverse and unnatural judgement in the X-case. Enda Kenny claims that he must legislate in line with this judgement but this claim is false. Contrary to what the expert group appears suggests, the ruling of European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) in A, B & C v Ireland (2010) only requires the Republic to provide legal clarity, not the legalisation of abortion. There is no right to abortion in the European Convention of Human Rights and the ECtHR recognised Ireland sovereignty over its own abortion laws.

Kenny intends to repeal the Offences Against the Person Act and designate hospitals which will carry out abortions, two proposals rejected by the people in the 2002 referendum. Kenny’s plan must be resisted - completely. It is important that pro-life groups, the Church and the people themselves are united in this resistance. There can be no negotiation over the right to life. Abortion is an intrinsic evil and there is no acceptable level of evil.

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Same-sex marriage attacks family "made up of father, mother, and child" Pope Benedict

The Telegraph reports today that Pope Benedict "has weighed in on the heated debate over gay marriage, criticising new concepts of the traditional family and warning that mankind itself" is at stake.

Read the Pope's full comments yourself in his annual Christmas address to the Roman Curia.

In this address, citing a study by the Chief Rabbi of France, Pope Benedict says:
"Gilles Bernheim ... has shown in a very detailed and profoundly moving study that the attack we are currently experiencing on the true structure of the family, made up of father, mother, and child, goes much deeper. While up to now we regarded a false understanding of the nature of human freedom as one cause of the crisis of the family, it is now becoming clear that the very notion of being – of what being human really means – is being called into question. He quotes the famous saying of Simone de Beauvoir: 'one is not born a woman, one becomes so' (on ne naĆ®t pas femme, on le devient). These words lay the foundation for what is put forward today under the term “gender” as a new philosophy of sexuality. According to this philosophy, sex is no longer a given element of nature, that man has to accept and personally make sense of: it is a social role that we choose for ourselves, while in the past it was chosen for us by society. The profound falsehood of this theory and of the anthropological revolution contained within it is obvious. [My emphasis] ... The manipulation of nature, which we deplore today where our environment is concerned, now becomes man’s fundamental choice where he himself is concerned. From now on there is only the abstract human being, who chooses for himself what his nature is to be. Man and woman in their created state as complementary versions of what it means to be human are disputed. But if there is no pre-ordained duality of man and woman in creation, then neither is the family any longer a reality established by creation. Likewise, the child has lost the place he had occupied hitherto and the dignity pertaining to him. Bernheim shows that now, perforce, from being a subject of rights, the child has become an object to which people have a right and which they have a right to obtain ... "
In an earlier post, I link to an article by Anthony McCarthy, SPUC's education and publications' manager, in Taki's Magazine, in which he identifies children as the ones whose interests are to be sacrificed on the altar of some adults’ arrogant claim for personal happiness.

(Marriage as an institution protects children, both born and unborn. Statistics show that unborn children are much safer within marriage than outside marriage. For more information on the full grounds of SPUC's opposition to same-sex marriage, see SPUC's position paper and background paper.  Please do everything you can to support SPUC's Britain-wide lobby of Members of Parliament on marriage.)

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Wednesday, 19 December 2012

We will legalise abortion: the words no true Irish man or woman wanted to hear

These are the words no true Irish man or woman wanted to hear from an Irish government:
"We will clarify in legislation and regulation what is available by way of treatment to a woman when a pregnancy gives rise to a threat to a woman's life. We will also clarify what is legal for the professionals who must provide that care while at all times taking full account of the equal right to life of the unborn child. The legislation will be drafted in accordance with the 20-year-old Supreme Court ruling on the X case, which allows for abortion when a woman's life is in danger - including the threat of suicide." James Reilly (pictured right), Ireland's health minister, 18th December 2012
For a full account of the statement from the Ireland's Orwellian-titled department of health and children(!), the response from four Catholic archbishops, the background to the Irish government's announcement - please go to Pat Buckley's blogpost: Another day that will live in infamy: Irish government decision to legislate and regulate for abortion.

Significantly for me, and significantly for Catholics, the Catholic Church, and all men and women worldwide, Pat Buckley concludes his blogpost in this vein:
"It is heartening to note that the Archbishops have encouraged 'all to pray that our public representatives will be given the wisdom and courage to do what is right' ... we would add that the entire Church needs to pray like never before to defeat the evil of abortion.

"Everyone must understand that there is a supernatural dimension to all of this and Catholic legislators need to be reminded that they risk their immortal souls if they support the introduction of abortion either by voting for it or facilitating it."
Thank you Pat. Yours is a salutary reminder for all abortion-justifying Catholics, however prestigious or high in office they may be, lay or in Holy Orders.

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Tuesday, 18 December 2012

British Cardinal makes scathing attack on Prime Minister

Cardinal Murphy O'Connor, the former archbishop of Westminster, has made a scathing attack this morning on David Cameron, the UK prime minister. In a withering analysis in today's Telegraph he pours scorn on David Cameron's election commitment to strengthen marriage as an institution, on his understanding of the nature of marriage, and on the prime minister's honesty in the Conservative Party's manifesto.

Thank God that leading churchmen are standing up for our families, for the child-centred institution of marriage, not least unborn children (see below).

The Cardinal's letter to the Telegraph reads:
SIR – Charles Moore (Comment, December 15) sets out with admirable clarity why marriage is and should remain a unique and binding contract between a man and a woman, open in principle to the possibility of generating children. That in the Christian Church it is also a sacrament gives it a special value for Christian believers; but that in no way detracts from its character as an institution of central importance for the welfare of society as a whole, to believers and unbelievers alike.

Redefining marriage as simply a contract between individuals irrespective of their sex, without regard either to its procreative function or to the complementarity of the relationship between man and woman, would be an abuse of language. More important, it would weaken marriage by diminishing its implications and its significance. That, and not homophobia, is why many people outside what Mr Moore calls the culturally dominant "minority" are opposed to the Government's proposal – and why more than 600,000 people have signed a petition against it. The state has the right to oversee the administration and legal aspects of marriage, but it has never been accepted that the state can dictate to individuals and society itself what marriage should mean to us. It is clear that many problems would arise if the legislation as now tabled were to be implemented.

In the run-up to the last election, David Cameron led us to believe that the strengthening of marriage as an institution was one of his important objectives; and the Conservative Party's manifesto, which made no mention of "gay marriage", included a proposed tax break for married couples. Nothing has been heard of the latter proposal, and instead of action to strengthen marriage we have the proposal to abandon the traditional understanding of marriage on the basis of a "consultation" which explicitly excluded the possibility of a negative result. Protestations that this is all fundamentally "conservative" ring a bit hollow.

It is difficult not to wonder how far the Prime Minister is someone whose steadiness of purpose can be relied on.

Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor
Archbishop Emeritus of Westminster
London W4
(Marriage as an institution protects children, both born and unborn. Statistics show that unborn children are much safer within marriage than outside marriage. For more information on the full grounds of SPUC's opposition to same-sex marriage, see SPUC's position paper and background paper.  Please do everything you can to support SPUC's Britain-wide lobby of Members of Parliament on marriage. )

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Monday, 17 December 2012

ACTION ALERT: Welsh Organ donation consultation must be extended

The Welsh government has announced plans to introduce presumed consent for organ donation. They are calling it "deemed consent", whereby people living in Wales for a period of six months or more will be opted-in automatically as organ donors. This will include prisoners, tourists, and students. SPUC Wales region has run an effective campaign opposing this, including making a significant impact on the first consultation.

The consultation process has now entered the next stage – a six week public consultation on the draft Bill and review by the Welsh Assembly Health and Social Committee. The public gets 6 weeks to make comments and submit evidence. Invited organizations are asked to do the same. This consultation period currently closes on 18th January.

However, SPUC is urging all pro-life supporters to write to the review committee chairman:

Mark Drakeford
Health and Social Committee
National Assembly
Cardiff Bay
CF99 1NA
Email: HSCCommittee@wales.gov.uk 

to complain about the shortage of time and the unsuitable seasonal period over Christmas for the public to submit evidence. We are asking for the consultation to be extended until March 2013.

This public stage concerns everyone, not just those living in Wales. Please write to Mark Drakeford, even if you are not Welsh or living in Wales. This Bill could affect you if you, or your loved ones, ever visit Wales. This will affect you, because legislation in Wales will be used to blaze a trail in other parts of Britain and elsewhere. This involves you because anyone anywhere is permitted to make submissions to the consultation.

Mark Drakeford has been widely reported in the press as saying that this is the last time that people will be able to contribute on this issue and that it is a chance “to look at it again with fresh eyes”
(South Wales Argus, Caerphilly Observer). To do this, a proper amount of time after Christmas is needed as a minimum.

The Government’s Code of Practice on Consultation principle 2.2 states:
“If a consultation exercise is to take place over a period when consultees are less able to respond, e.g. over the summer or Christmas break, or if the policy under consideration is a particularly complex, consideration should be given to the feasibility of allowing a longer period for the consultation.”
The current consultation runs during the Christmas period, which includes three bank holidays and is a time when people go away on holiday and take time off from work and correspondence. There is no way any meaningful consultation can be concluded in anything less than 3 months which is the standard time length anyway.

Please write today to chairman Mark Drakeford, citing the points above, asking that the consultation period be extended to March 2013.


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Bishop tells Prime Minister: You are undermining the very nature, meaning & purpose of marriage

Congratulations to Bishop Egan, the Catholic bishop of Portsmouth!

Visitors to my blog may wish to visit Bishop Egan's website to read and to print out and to pass on to others his excellent letter to David Cameron, the Prime Minister, which is reproduced in full below.

Rt. Hon. David Cameron MP
Prime Minister and Leader of the Conservative Party
10 Downing Street
London
SW1A 2AA

15th December 2012

Dear Mr Cameron

From Rt. Rev. Philip A. Egan, Bishop of Portsmouth
I am writing to you to send you best wishes from the priests and people of the Catholic Diocese of Portsmouth, and the promise of our prayers for you, as you carry the heavy responsibility of leading our great nation. However, I am also writing to ask you, indeed to urge you, to change course on your intention to introduce same-sex marriage.

You have said you are an enthusiastic supporter of marriage and that you do not want "gay people to be excluded from a great institution." Yet I wish respectfully to point out that behind what you say lurks a basic philosophical misconception about the nature of 'equality.' Equality can never be an absolute value, only a derivative and relative value. After all, a man cannot be a mother nor a woman a father, and so men and women can never be absolutely equal, only relatively equal, since they are biologically different. So too with marriage. Marriage, ever since the dawn of human history, is a union for life and love between a man and a woman. It is a complementary relationship between two people of the opposite sex, the man and the woman not being the same, but different. They are not, in other words, absolutely equal but relatively equal. This is why gay couples, two men or two women, are not being ‘excluded’ from marriage; they simply cannot enter marriage.

By enabling gays to 'marry' and by equating the union of gay people with marriage, however well-intentioned, you are not only redefining what we mean by marriage but actually undermining the very nature, meaning and purpose of marriage. Marriage, and the home, children and family life it generates, is the foundation and basic building block of our society. If you proceed with your plans, you will gravely damage the value of the family, with catastrophic consequences for the well-being and behaviour of future generations. The 2011 Census shows the parlous state of the institution of marriage which you claim to believe in so strongly, and of family life in general, with one in two teenagers no longer living with their birth parents and over 50% of adults living outside of marriage.

Can you imagine the confusion and the challenge for teenagers as they grow up and seek to reach a fully mature and integrated sexuality? This is why I fail to see how your intentions can possibly strengthen the institution of marriage and family life. Rather they will dilute it.

More, you are ignoring the huge opposition of Christians, Jews and Muslims alike, as well as that of a huge number of ordinary people. You are imposing the aspirations of a tiny minority on the vast majority. Make no mistake, the change you are proposing is of immense significance. By it, you will be luring the people of England away from their common Christian values and Christian patrimony, and forcing upon us all a brave new world, artificially engineered. What you are proposing will smother the traditional Christian ethos of our society and in time strangle the religious freedom of the Catholic Church in Britain to conduct its mission. There is no sanction whatsoever in the Bible and the Judaeo-Christian tradition for gay marriage. I cannot see how anyone who claims to be a Christian can possibly justify what you are intending to do.

I know you have spoken of the 'quadruple lock' and other legal safeguards. Yet for me many grave concerns remain about the brave new world you are fashioning in the name of the false gods of equality and diversity. For example, will I as a Christian have to support your ideology when preaching? Will you exempt the Church, its resources and premises, from charges of discrimination if it declines to host same-sex social activities? Will Catholic schools, Catholic societies, Catholic charities and Catholic institutions be free (and legally protected) to teach the full truth of Christ and the real meaning of life and love?

I appreciate how politically difficult it can be to undertake a U-turn and to sustain the attendant criticism such would bring. But when it is a matter of the truth, and the reasons are cast-iron clear, a U-turn would be hailed by history only as brave and courageous. This is why, like a Thomas a Becket appealing to Henry II, I do not hesitate to ask you to consider doing what is the right and just thing to do. Otherwise, will we ever be able to forget that it was the leader of the Conservative Party (sic) who finally destroyed marriage as a lasting, loving and life-giving union between a man and a woman?

I assure you of my respect, best wishes and prayers.

Rt. Rev. Philip A. Egan
Bishop of Portsmouth
CC: Priests and People of Diocese of Portsmouth
(Marriage as an institution protects children, both born and unborn. Statistics show that unborn children are much safer within marriage than outside marriage. For more information on the full grounds of SPUC's opposition to same-sex marriage, see SPUC's position paper and background paper.  Please do everything you can to support SPUC's Britain-wide lobby of Members of Parliament on marriage. )
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Cross-party parliamentary alliance launches campaign against same-sex marriage

An interesting letter opposing British Government plans to legalize same-sex marriage, signed by Conservative, Labour, Democratic Unionist, and independent MPs and Peers, is published this morning in The Daily Telegraph.
  • It begins by emphasising the nature of marriage in the complementarity of a man and a woman in a child-centred loving and committed union
  • It points out the democratic deficit in the government's proposals and, indeed, that none of the three main parties included the legalization of same-sex marriage in their manifesto
  • And the letter points out that half a million British residents have been completely ignored in the government consultation whilst anonymous submissions "from anyone anywhere in the world" have been taken on board
The letter reads:
SIR – As parliamentarians from different political parties and none, we are united in supporting the institution of marriage defined in law as a union between a man and a woman. We recognise the value of a loving and committed relationship and we respect civil partnership, but affirm the distinctive value of marriage reflecting the complementarity of a man and woman often evidenced in parenthood.

At the last election, none of the three main parties stood on a platform to redefine marriage. It was not contained in any of their manifestos, nor did it feature in the Coalition’s Programme for Government. These facts alone should have led to extreme caution on the part of those calling for this change to be made.

Instead the Government is ignoring the overwhelming public response against the plans. The consultation has ignored the views of 500,000 British residents in favour of anonymous submissions from anyone anywhere in the world. We believe that the Government does not have a mandate to redefine marriage.

We recognise these are issues of conscience which will be given free votes in Parliament. We will be seeking legal guarantees of the same freedom of conscience for our constituents and religious organisations to teach, preach and express a traditional view of marriage.

We are sceptical that the proposed protections will prevent the erosion of liberties of religion and conscience. The proposed redefinition of marriage is unnecessary, given the legal rights established through civil partnerships. We understand some parliamentarians support freedom for same sex couples to marry, but we support a freedom from the state being able to redefine the meaning of marriage.

David Burrowes MP (Conservative)
Joe Benton MP (Labour)
David Davis MP (Conservative)
Mary Glindon MP (Labour)
Lord Hylton (Crossbench)
Nigel Dodds MP (Democratic Unionist Party)
Lord Anderson of Swansea (Labour)
Fiona Bruce MP (Conservative)
Jim Dobbin MP (Labour)
Lord Carey of Clifton (Crossbench)
Rehman Chishti MP (Conservative)
Lord Griffiths of Fforestfach (Conservative)
Sir Gerald Howarth MP (Conservative)
Tim Loughton MP (Conservative)
Peter Bone MP (Conservative)
Jeffrey Donaldson (Democratic Unionist Party)
Andrew Selous MP (Conservative)
John Glen MP (Conservative)
Sir Jim Paice MP (Conservative)
Stewart Jackson MP (Conservative)
Lord Edmiston (Conservative)
Jim Shannon MP (Democratic Unionist Party)
Lord Palmer (Crossbench)
Andrew Bingham MP (Conservative)
Lord Shrewsbury and Waterford (Conservative)
Julian Brazier MP (Conservative)
David Simpson MP (Democratic Unionist Party)
Pauline Latham MP (Conservative)
Nick de Bois MP (Conservative)
Richard Drax MP (Conservative)
Lord Tombs (Crossbench)
Jonathan Evans MP (Conservative)
Sir Roger Gale MP (Conservative)
Ian Paisley (Democratic Unionist Party)
Gordon Henderson MP (Conservative)
Philip Hollobone MP (Conservative)
Lord Stoddart of Swindon (Independent Labour)
Marcus Jones MP (Conservative)
Lord Swinfen (Conservative)
Baroness Fookes (Conservative)
Jeremy LeFroy MP (Conservative)
Lord Vinson (Conservative)
Karl McCartney MP (Conservative)
Dr William McCrea MP (Democratic Unionist Party)
Anne McIntosh MP (Conservative)
Stephen Metcalfe MP (Conservative)
Anne-Marie Morris MP (Conservative)
David Nuttall MP (Conservative)
Matthew Offord MP (Conservative)
David Davies MP (Conservative)
Mark Pawsey MP (Conservative)
David Ruffley MP (Conservative)
Lord Marlesford (Conservative)
Henry Smith MP (Conservative)
Baroness O'Cathain (Conservative)
Bob Stewart MP (Conservative)
Ben Wallace MP (Conservative)
Craig Whittaker MP (Conservative)
Marriage as an institution protects children, both born and unborn. Statistics show that unborn children are much safer within marriage than outside marriage. For more information on the full grounds of SPUC's opposition to same-sex marriage, see SPUC's position paper and background paper.  Please do everything you can to support SPUC's Britain-wide lobby of Members of Parliament on marriage. Like Cardinal O'Brien, let's not be intimidated by charges of 'homophobia' as we seek to uphold the institution of marriage, which is the faithful lifelong union between one man and one woman, which is the foundation of the family and the fundamental group-unit of society.

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