Thursday, 25 September 2014

New Northern Ireland Health minister supports abortion ban

Jim Wells MLA
New Northern Ireland Health minister supports abortion ban
Jim Wells, who has previously stated in an interview that the abortion ban in Northern Ireland should be upheld, including in cases of rape, has been appointed as Northern Ireland’s new Health minister by first minister Peter Robinson. Mr Wells said in the interview, which took place in August 2012, "That is a tragic and difficult situation but should the ultimate victim of that terrible act [rape] – which is the unborn child – should he or she also be punished for what has happened by having their life terminated? No." Although tipped to takeover at the health department two years ago, Mr Wells recently said that he would like to remain on Stormont's Justice Committee in order to oppose the Minister of Justice's plans to legalise the abortion of children diagnosed with a disability or conceived in rape. A public consultation on the proposal is expected to begin in the coming months. [Guardian, 23 September]

Spanish abortion law reform scrapped; justice minster resigns
Mariano Rajoy, the Spanish prime minister, has withdrawn a bill which would have reformed abortion law in Spain, limiting its availability only to cases of rape that have been reported to the police and cases where the mother’s health is considered to be in danger. Currently, Spain’s law allows abortion on demand up until 14 weeks. Alberto Ruiz Gallardon, the justice minister who championed the reform, resigned from his post soon after it was announced that the bill had been withdrawn. [Irish Times, 24 September]

Catholic Bishop of Shrewsbury asks for promotion of Gospel of Life
Bishop Mark Davies of Shrewsbury has spoken of the need to promote the "Gospel of Life with joy". Bishop Davies, who was attending an annual pro-life pilgrimage to Walsingham, said that, "We will be asked whether we stood idle all day or whether we prayed and made reparation, used our own voices for the defenceless and gave witness to the sanctity of human and family life." [Catholic Herald, 23 September]

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